C

Chuwit case to be ruled on after 12 years

B

Do all Thai roads lead to Singapore?

A

On Thaksin’s Birthday

D

The withering of Section 44

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How many died in Thai drug purges?

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Changing the Diapers of Politics

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The arrest of Kamronwit in Japan

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Junta gives up on reform of the police

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Dig happiness out of the poor

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5 Years Ago: Thaksin kids withdraw billions

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We want slow justice!

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From Thairath, September 16, 2016
Left: Politicians are opposing the ECT [Election Commission of Thailand] regarding the election corruption case if the ECT is the one who judges the case. We prefer to have the Supreme Court make the judgement!
Middle: Do you think you can escape if the court makes the judgement?
We don’t think we can escape…
Right: …but we hope that the Supreme Court decision would be [delayed] more than 10 years and that we can get elected and go into Parliament to get our money back a few times.

[Political parties tend to oppose the Election Commission of Thailand ruling on corruption cases. This is because their verdict would be swift and such a body represents the dreaded independent organization with oversight of the elected. Dismantling such organizations was a priority of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party in the early 2000s.
If such cases are left to Thailand’s courts, such verdicts can be drawn out almost indefinitely based on which political group holds power. This is done with endless legal diversions and delays as well as influence peddling which the Thai system specializes in.
The reference to “get our money back a few times” refers to Thai perceptions of democracy. It is thought that only people who have obligations to others run for office and their goal is to pay themselves back and bring financial benefits to their allies. Thus, the corrupt do not want allegations of them promptly ruled on so they have time to recoup more money in the meantime.
The depiction of the politians as wild animals refers to the Thai saying about “tiger-lion-bull-rhinoceros.”]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Chai | Leave a comment

Get off the sidewalk!

160913tharathchai

From Thairath, September 13, 2016
Left: Good news or bad news?
Good news first.
Middle: The good news is the cars on the road is a little bid decreasing.
Then what is the bad news?
Right: It is decreasing because motorcycles use the sidewalks as roads.

[This refers to recent news of motorcycle taxi drivers beating someone who complained that they were driving on a bikepath.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Chai | Leave a comment

Sondhi will still shine

160907manager

From Manager, September 7, 2016
Only say goodbye to come back again in the same sky
Return with the light to the world
Still be the same Sun but different timing
Standing with the mightiness of the Sun
By Surawitch Verawan

[This refers to former Yellow-shirt founder and head of the Manager Media Group Sondhi Limthongkul. He was jailed for fraudulent dealings involving his company that violated the Securities and Exchange Act.
In the poem, Sondhi is praised as the Sun since his offices are on Phraarthit Road. “Phraarthi” means the “sun” in Thai. The poem says that even though Sondhi is jailed, he is still shining.
Some claim that Thaksin’s unwillingness to help Sondhi evade his legal cases is what initially sparked Sondhi-sponsed protests against Thaksin (although the excess of Thaksin’s regime provided plenty of reasons for protest).
Others speculate that Sondhi’s willingness to face justice and be incarcerated is supposed to contrast with Thaksin’s unwillingness to serve time for charges brought against him.
Most feel that Sondhi will be pardoned after a few years for good behavior. This is an expected outcome for high profile people who humbly submit to the law and serve their time.]

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Prayuth’s Brother Defends Lucrative Army Contracts Awarded to Son

Prayuth’s Brother Defends Lucrative Army Contracts Awarded to Son – Khao Sod, September 19, 2016
A nephew of junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha received nearly 27 million baht in contracts from the army region his father once commanded, an investigative news agency reported Monday…

[This is an example of the “lucky” dynamic that infects Thai society. It is entirely possible that there may have not been direct influence exerted to win the contract. However, Thais would tend to bend over backwards to cater to those they know who are connected–thus giving an overwhelming advantage to relatives of those they know hold real power.
This recalls Thaksin’s own lucky son who was able to have an advertising deal renegotiated to cut him in.]

Posted in 2Bangkok News | 1 Comment

The development of tools for hanging

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From Thairath, September 6, 2016
Mose man Phi Nooring: CPR can cause a ruptured liver
Mouse: The world’s amazing.
Caption: The development of tools for hanging

[Refers to the investigation of the mysterious death of former Phuket Provincial Land Officer Thawatchai in the custody of the Department of Special Investigation (DS). First, the DSI reported that he died because he hanged himself with socks. Later, his family called for the clearer explanation of his death after finding out Thawatchai’s liver was ruptured. However, the DSI said the ruptured liver might have been caused by CPR he received.]

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The three P’s

160906manger

From Manager, September 6, 2016
Left letter: I built you and hope one day when you grow up, you will be like me. Don’t you want it?
Right letter: No, I don’t want it!
Right: I want to be like that ‘P’!
Caption: New hero of brother ‘P’

[We are not entirely sure of the meaning. The letter is the Thai letter for “p” which, in this case seems to stand for the “3 P’s” of Thai political power now–Deputy PM Prawit (considered the most powerful figure in government), PM Prayuth (attention-grabbing leader of the junta and government), and Privy Councilor Prem (former army commander-in-chief, prime minister, and now head of the Privy Council).
The cartoon implies that either Prawit or Prayuth seek to be elevated to head of the Privy Council once Prem, now 96, passes away.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | 1 Comment

How to get Sondhi out

160906manager

From Manager, September 6, 2016
Dhammachayo: The death of you, Mr. Thawatchai, made the DSI lose their credibility to arrest me. Here, a hammer to break heaven’s door. I give you for free… Don’t need to donate… naja.
Caption: Must give him huge rewards.

[Refers to the mysterious death of former Phuket Provincial Land Officer Thawatchai Anukul in the custody of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). Initially, the authorities announced that Thawatchai committed suicide by hanging himself with socks. However, his family suspect he was killed in custody by officers. Due to this case, the credibility and of the DSI has been further damaged.
The cartoon shows Dhammachayo, Dhamakaya temple’s abbot, who is facing a charge from the DSI for money laundring. The death of Thawatchai in custody helps Dhammachayo to question the ethics and vercity of the DSI that brought charges against him. The DSI has long be a political tool that governments have used to harass the opposition.
The cartoon shows Dhammachayo giving Thawatchai (with socks still tied around his neck) the hammer to open the door of heaven in gratitude for harming the DSI’s reputation.
‘Naja’ is a polite word used by a girl to end at the sentence. However, Dhammachayo uses this word as well and the media mocks him for this affectation.]

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Weekly News Magazines, September 9-16, 2016

9

From Nation Weekend, Sep 9, 2016
Main cover reads: People have their own karma.

[Refers to Buddhist principle of ‘karma’ in the way Thais interpret it to mean that we do in the past will come back to punish us in the future. In this case, Sondhi, a founder of the Yellow Shirt groups and the Manager Media Group was jailed for 20 years because he violated the Securities and Exchange Act.
This many also imply that Sondhi’s actions have created his fate–including extreme protest that went beyond the bounds of Thai rules of compromise and bringing royal symbols into his protests. He is also hated as his media machine went on the attack against anyone who has been in power, including the Democrat Party and the military.]

Above right:
Special dancing [yellow] ‘Laos-America’ [white] Sweet relations

[Refers to the recent ASEAN Summit in Laos. The US announced it would help Laos to clear remnants of US bombs from the Vietnam war era.]

Left side:
Buran Ranti [yellow} Mani Sakai’s way

[Refers to Buran Ranti’s article about the old tribe named Sakai where stays in the southern part of Thailand.]

Chamlong Fungcholjitr [white] leave it to the land.

[Refers to Chamlong’s article about the new amulet named “Leave it to the land”]

Chalermsak Ngaemngarm [yellow] “A House with 2 Floors”

[Refers to Chalermsak’s novel titled “A House with 2 Floors”]

Paiwarin Khao-Ngam [yellow] Issue on reading

[Refers to Paiwarin’s article about reading in Thailand]

Jitra Kornuntakiat [yellow] Warning for people playing stocks.

[Refers to Jitra’s article warning people to prepare for the risks before playing the stock market]

9-15sep

From Matichon Weekly, Sep 9-15, 2016
Main cover reads: Heating up at G20 China

[The men in the photo from left to right: PM Prayuth and China’s President Xi Jinping.
Refers to the recent G20 Meeting held in China. The article notes that the issues of the meeting might not be as interesting as the events taking place outside the meeting, particularly the conflict between the U.S. and Chinese staff during the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama.]

Top right: Liver was ‘ruptured.’ To DSI. Mystery case of the death in custody.

[Refers to the  mysterious death of former Phuket Provincial Land Officer Thawatchai in the custody of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). First, the DSI reported that he died because he hanged himself by using socks. Later, his family called for a clearer explanation of his death after finding out his liver was ruptured. However, the DSI said the ruptured liver might be caused by CPR performed on him.]

10-16

From Lokwannee, Sep 10-16, 2016
Main cover reads: Good licking, getting a good result. Bad licking, getting a bad result.
A sign held by a water monitor: Appointed by the group of people

[This cover shows as water monitor emerging from a military egg.
In Thai, to call someone a water monitor is an insult. Licking is mean to mean fawning behavior to ingratiate oneself with someone.
This cover implies that the new draft constitution allows non-elected people to be appointed in the government including the prime minister. This means that persons with close ties to high-ranking military will have a good chance to get these appointments.]

20 years jailed Sondhi. Being deleted from the power board.

[Refers to the founder of the Yellow Shirt group and the Manager Media Group Sondhi Limthongkul who was jailed for 20 years due to violating the Securities and Exchange Act. Many influential political figures have been decreased their roles in politics. Sondhi is another of these figures.]

10-16septem

From Manager Weekly, Sep 10-16, 2016
Main cover reads: My Way

[Refers to Manager Media Group founder Sondhi Limthongkul who was jailed for 20 years due to violating the Securities and Exchange Act. Sondhi has been praised from many in the public for not fleeing the charge and instead faced the Supreme Court’s decision. This is in contrast to Thaksin who has lived in exile since 2008 to escape a jail term.
“My Way” refers to the English-language song about charting one’s own path. Here on the cover of Sondhi’s publication, Manager Weekly, it seems to extol and lionize him for his brave stand to face jail instead of running away. Few “big men” in the Thai world allow themselves to be subject to the decisions of courts.]

On the right side
Future of ‘Zico’? If can’t qualify to the World Cup… ?

[Refers to the future of Thailand’s football manager Kiatisuk Senamuang, known as Zico, after his disappointing performance in the recent matches of the final round of World Cup qualifying campaign.]

Taking advantage

[Refers to Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya who recently denied the planning to use Article 44 to build Mae Wong Dam. This plan is opposed by environmental groups and NGOs.]

Posted in Thai Newspapers and Magazines | 2 Comments

Thailand’s Authoritarianism

160903thairathsia

From Thairath, September 3, 2016
Title: Ticks are so noisy.
Words from the men on the army boot: Having malicious intention, Prem’s model, Cheating, Don’t believe
On the men’s shirts: Fellow, servants, appointed by a group, patron-client system
Signs held by Red Shirt leaders from back to front: The charming PM must be elected by the people. And follow the democracy model accepted by the international community.
Phi Nooring: Afraid of not having something to hold on to.
Mouse: Thailand’s authoritarianism.
In the bubble next to the mouse: Itchy.

[In Thailand, to call someone as a tick implies they are a parasite that stick to other people for their own benefit. The cartoon illustrates that there are lot of people trying to stick to the junta for their own benefit.
The cartoon mentions “Prem’s model” to refer to Thailand’s political system in the 1980s. The new constitution appears to recreate this semi-democratic system from that period.]

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Weekly News Magazines, September 3-9, 2016

3-9se

From Lokwannee, Sep 3-9, 2016
Main cover reads: Lesson 1. Reform before election. Elected politician = Bad, Appointed politicians = Good

[Refers to the junta’s promise to reform the country, including the approved draft constitution which will allow appointed persons to participate in politics, particularly the prime minister who can apparently be a non-elected person. This mimics the Thais system that was prominent 30 years ago. This issue is discussed as not being democratic since politicians should represent the people’s voice.]

2-8

From Matichon Weekly, September 2-8, 2016
Main cover reads: Thailand 4.0 ‘P’ model

[Men in the photo from left to right: Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, PM Prayuth Chan-ocha and Dep PM Prawit Wongsuwan. These are believed to be the most powerful people in Thailand at this time.
The headline refers to Thailand’s new economic model named ‘Thailand 4.0’ which will focus on creativity and innovation.
However, the cover implies that reform and development of the country really is based on these three persons who have names that start with ‘P’.]

Top right: Matichon Weekly Go, 2 September Share; Show

[This is an advertisement about the launch of Matichon Weekly’s new website.]

2sep

From Nation Weekend, September 2, 2016
Main cover reads: Elite model

[The man in the picture is PM Prayuth. This refers to concept that the prime minister can be appointed as an unelected “outsider.” This raises concern that the new system will allow PM Prayuth to retain power as prime minister.]

Top right headline: Thepchai Yong, Not only [yellow] ‘Big Tu’ [white] that need to be charming

[Refers to Thepchai’s article on PM Prayuth’s future. The article is curious whether he will be not involve with the politics after having the election due to the new draft constitution which allow the PM to be appointed.]

Headlines on the left:

1. Daily novel from [red] ‘Kim-eng’ [white] to [red] ‘Ying Kai’

[Refers to the recent arrest of fraud suspect Kamonthat Thanathornkhositjira, sister of lese majeste suspect Monta Yakrattanakan or Ying Kai. Kamonthat is also known as Kim-eng.]

2. Impact from digital [red] kills song writers-musicians

[Refers to the impact of illegally downloading songs on the livelihood of musicians.]

3. Troublesomeness of October people [red] Doctor Leab’ [white] was jailed

[Refers to former ICT minister Surapong Suebwonglee, known as Doctor Leab. He was jailed due to dereliction of duty for authorizing the amendment of a concession to allow Thaksin’s business Shin Corp to reduce its minimum shareholding in Thaicom corp.
He is one of political activists during the 1973 Thai popular uprising. The article points out the irony of how some of the heroic democracy activists of the past joined with Thaksin to defraud the country.]

4. Isan singer who is going to the wrong band. [red] Doctor ‘Pherm’ [black] misbehavior

[Refers to Ban Phai district municipality mayor Premsak Piayura who is forced a reporter to strip off his clothes to humiliate him. The saying “Isan singer who going to the wrong band” is an idiom meaning as people acting inappropriately.]

5. Cycle of life. The poor who knows what is ‘enough’

[The article is about the poor who live their lives in a self-sufficient manner.]

3-9

From Manager Weekly, September 3-9, 2016
Main cover reads: I am not involved.

[The man on the cover is Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda.
The article examines the appointment of the new army chief. This article implies that not only do PM Prayuth and Dep PM Prawit have the power to appoint the new chief, but Prem also played the role in the appointment. However, Prem always denies he wields power behind the scenes.]

Top right: Phuket Conspiracy [blue] ‘lands in Phang Nga’ [black] ruptured liver and died

[Refers to the mysterious death of Thawachai Anukul who was being held by the Department of Special Investigation (DS). Initially, authorities claim he committed suicide, but many suspect he might have been killed in by officer to silence him.]

Bottom left: “Tum” The star [pink] Responsible for only kids–not his wife. The saying hurts his wife’s feeling.

[Refers to singer Suthon “Tum” Boosamsai who divorced with his wife after having an affair with other women.]

Right: Disclose [red] “Pol Dutchie” [black] Influential person in the media

[Refers to a business conflict between well-known actor Atichart ‘Aum’ Chumnanon and Pol Dutchie.]

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Thaksin is the People’s Choice

160831thairathsia

From Thairath, August 31, 2016
Title: Charming PM in the democratic way [this shows how charming and respectful at PM is who comes from elections as compared to one with military backing]
Left: People elect
This shows former PM Thaksin being put in the prime minister’s chair
Signs held by people from left to right: He’s the people’s choice. It [the Prime Minister] must come from parliament members.
On the backs of the men: People
Phi Nooring: This is what we want.
Mouse: The real democracy
Right: Followers elect
On the back of the soldiers: Return happiness [this is the junta’s motto]
On the paper: Write their own rules, approve it by themselves for their own benefit
On men’s back from left to right: NRSA [National Reform Steering Assembly], appointed senators, NLA [National Legislative Assembly]

[The cartoon contrasts the prime minister coming from elected MPs as opposed the the current junta method who stage managed a new charter to thwart the people from electing Thaksin (or Thaksin’s proxy) once again.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

13 years ago: Mad scramble as Thai police fight for 10 million dollar reward for capturing top al-Qaeda figure

Mad scramble as Thai police fight for 10 million dollar reward for capturing top al-Qaeda figure

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12 years ago: Going after Akeyuth

Going after Akeyuth

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12 years ago: Thaksin’s increasing anger and boldness

Thaksin’s increasing anger and boldness

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Why keep Prayuth When You Can Have Another Thaksin Relative?

160830manager

From Manager, August 30, 2016
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn gestures to PM Prayuth: Under the dictator… you can’t choose the PM. The PM must be this man… It doesn’t work compared with democracy.
Right: We have four PMs for you to choose.
The people are four close Thaksin relatives (left to right): Panthongtae, Peathongtarn, Yaowapa, Pintongtha
Caption: The difference [between]… Dictatorship and democracy

[Red Shirt leader Jatuporn who has been pointing out that the system under the new charter will return PM Prayuth to power. The cartoonist jokes that democracy would inevitably return non-politicians like Thaksin family members to the prime minister post again to try to engineer another Thaksin amnesty.]

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Who got rich?

160828manager

From Manager, August 28, 2016
Thaksin’s sister Potjaman says: Look, kids… Doctor Leab helped corruption for this huge amount of money for our family to have unlimited funds.
Thaksin’s children from left to right are Peathongtar, Panthongtae, and Pintongtha
Caption: If he looks outside, will he see this picture?

[The man in jail is Dr. Surapong Suebwonglee, former ICT minister during Thaksin’s government, whose nickname is Leab.
Recently, he was jailed for malfeasance in office by illegally changing a telecom concession contract to help then Prime Minister Thaksin’s Shin Satellite Corp. This was one of the most notorious incidents of government policy and Thaksin family interests intersecting during Thaksin’s time in office.
The Thai media often point out how low-level political appointees and minions of the Thaksin family end up serving time in jail while Thaksin’s family itself remains untouchable.]

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Who said the police couldn’t arrest the bombers?

160825manager

From Manager, August 25, 2016
Title: Who said the police couldn’t arrest the bombers?
Under the cage: Bombers who were arrested
Under the camera: The officer who arrests

[This criticizes the police’s performance in dealing the Mother’s Day bombing case and bombing cases in general.
In most high-profile bombings–especially of a sensitive nature like the 2006 New Year’s Bombings or the more recent Erawan Shrine bombings–either no one is arrested or the police put forward a murky and confusing case to the public.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager, Terrorism, Thai Police | Leave a comment

Snake and Tiger

160824naewna

From Naewna, August 24, 2016
Above the small snake: Phai Daodin
Above the tiger’s head: NCPO
Caption: The highest dream of a little anaconda

[This cartoon ridicules anti-coup activist Phai Daodin’s hunger strike to protest the NCPO (National Council for Peace and Order or the present ruling junta). Phai Daodin was first jailed due to distributing leaflets with opposing views on the draft constitution.]

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13 Years Ago: Debating the Sukhothai Stone

Sukhothai Stone: Historians affirm artefact’s value

[13 years ago, such historical questions could still be openly debated within Thailand. This was despite suggestions and warnings that historians should not debate the authenticity of the stone.
However, as Thailand’s royalty and its royal history began to be invoked in pro- and anti-Thaksin protests, such questioning grew off limits and scholars were threatened with lese majeste charges.]

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Outsider or Insider PM?

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From Manager, August 24, 2016
Left: PM must be an outsider.
In the man’s hand is current PM Prayuth
Right: PM must be an insider… insider!
In the man’s hand is Thaksin’s son Panthongtae
Caption: Looking at whom they will designate… then you can decide.

[Refers to the current debate on the outsider PM concept that the new charter seems to allow. This raises concern that PM Prayuth will retain the post of prime minster after the next elections.
The cartoonist makes the point that if Thailand was a full democracy, one of Thaksin’s political novice relatives would be appointed to the prime minister post instead.]

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Justice for Thaksin

160821manager

From Manager, August 21, 2016
Maj. Gen. Khattiya: Oh, Dear. I’m your real dad… who was shot in the head. But, why didn’t you call for the justice for me?
Khattiyah: I would like to call for a justice for Daddy Thaksin… who was slandered.
Caption: Good kid

[Refers to former PM Thaksin asking Maj. Gen. Khattiya’s daughter “Dear” to file a defamation complaint with the technology crime suppression division against Dr. Arthit Urairat and others for suggesting that Thaksin was involved in the Mother’s Day bomb attacks.
Maj. Gen. Khattiya was a military officier who broke with the military and joined the Red Shirt cause during the 2010 occupation of Bangkok.
When rumors circulated that Red Shirt leaders had reached a deal to end the protest, Maj. Gen. Khattiya announced he was taking control of the movement and would fight on rather than surrender. Shortly thereafter he was shot in the head (presumably by a military sniper) in preparation for an army operation to clear the Red Shirt fortifications in the heart of Bangkok.
Having a person of symbolic importance like “Dear” file charges or make important announcements is commonly employed in Thai politics. The cartoonist mocks this by suggesting that “Dear” should have concentrated on justice for her father rather than acting on Thaksin’s behalf.]

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Duterte should learn from Thai drug policy

Duterte should learn from Thai drug policy – Bangkok Post, September 2, 2016
…”We have to be as ruthless with drug dealers as they are to our children,” Thaksin said in a speech in Bangkok in January 2003, a few days before his proposed war on drugs began. Thaksin went on to say drug dealers “deserved” to be shot dead and have their assets seized…

How many died in the drug purges?

More: Thaksin’s War on Drugs

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Weekly News Magazines, August 26-September 2, 2016

26

From Nation Weekend, August 26, 2016
Main cover reads: Communism hasn’t died yet.

[Refers to the news about the establishment of new communist groups in Thailand.]

Top right: ‘Good’ PM. ‘Outside’ PM. An old story being repeated.

[The man in the picture is PM Prayuth. Refers to the new constitution which will allow an unelected PM. Many expect that this will allow current Prime Minister Prayuth to retain his position.]

Other headlines: The legend of [yellow] ‘Seub’ 30 years at Cheow Lan

[Refers to the 26th anniversary of the death of Thai conservationist Seub Nakhasathien. Among his well-known works to protect animals and forests, he was also known for trying to help animals at the Cheow Lan dam in 1986.]

Anaconda [white] How did it come to Thailand?

[Refers to an anaconda illegally brought to Thailand.]

3. Bad joke for intelligence. Arrest the [red] “Red in Ban Bangkhae”

[Refers to the arrest of elderly Red Shirts in connection with the Mother’s Day bombings. “Ban Bangkhae” is the name of a senior centre. This headline mocks the idea of arresting elderly people.]

4. Street Fighters [yellow] Arena of Men.

[Refers to a group of informal street fighters who planned to expand their tournaments nationwide. However, the authorities have tried to halt their plans with legal threats.]

26-1

From Matichon Weekly, Aug 26-Sep 1, 2016
Main cover reads: To enter from an alley and exit at ‘PM’s’ gate

[The man is PM Prayuth Chan-ocha. In the picture, PM Prayuth promoted the food truck project named ‘Noonich’ launched by Minister of Commerce.
This headline uses the Thai idiom “To enter from an alley and exit at a gate” meaning to do something thing properly or follow the rules. This headline seems to imply that to return to a normal country will only come following PM Prayuth’s decision.]

Top right: Add more 16 pages. Xclusive. The world is in her hands.

[This is an advertisement for Matichon’s exclusive magazine. The latest issue is about the powerful women in Thailand and the world.]

27-2

From Manager Weekly, August 27-September 2, 2016
Main cover reads: Tiger [red] fights [black] with Tiger [red] taking a power from Pom.

[At left is PM Prayuth Chan-ocha and at right is Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan (nicknamed “Pom”).
Refers to the nominee of the new army chief. Nominated is Assistant Army Chief Gen. Chalermchai Sitthisart who does not come from the Eastern Tigers clique of military officers who conducted the 2014 coup and who have dominated the country since then.
Despite the foreign media focus on the antics of PM Prayuth, Deputy PM Prawit is the real power in the government.
The surprise nomination of Gen. Chalermchai is thought to be a way for other Eastern Tigers to reduce Prawit’s power in the wake of his inability to prevent the Mother’s Day bomb attacks.]

Top left: Bye ‘Chai Moo’ – Being Released from the governor post (finally)

[Refers to Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra (nicknamed “Chai Moo”) who was suspected from his post under the Article 44 due to scandals and project irregularities.
The headline refers’ to Sukhumbhand’s infamous quote in response to press questions about Bangkok flooding–“It’s not flooding. It’s just the water waiting to be released.” So the headline jokes that the governor is the one being released]

Top right: Street Fighter. A manly way to fight on the street

[Refers to a street fighting league that wishes to expand nationwide.]

Bottom: 3 kind and sexy girls were known in one night

[Refers a girl who posted a photo with two of her friends on Facebook. Others seemed to misunderstand the post and reposted it asking people to help them because they were so poor. The girls denied they were asking for money and took the photo when they went to help out at a charity shelter.]

27-2se

From Lokwannee, Aug 27-Sep2, 2016
Main cover reads: Southern ghost. Using “Thaksin’s” name still works after all this time

[Refers to bombing attacks in many places during the Mother’s day, particularly in the southern parts of Thailand. The junta said that the bomb was related to political conflict. This clearly referred to Thaksin. The cover mocks the junta’s claim and implies that the accusations were just used to scare people.]

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More on the outsider prime minister

160826thairathsia

From Thairath, August 26, 2016
Title: Tear it up before using it; Not guilty [we think this means something like “don’t use the new charter and those who dare to say this have not committed a crime”]
Above the prison: Jail to shut in people who disagree with the new constitution
In speech ballon at top: Preparing for an outside prime-minister
Man wearing suit and holding the constitution plinth: CDC [He is the charter drafter Meechai Ruchuphan.]
On the three men trying to hold onto the constitution statue from left: Future senator from Lark Taung [“Lark Taung” means not coming from an election or an unelected person]
Man in the middle wearing a suit: NLA [National Legislative Assembly]
Paper near man on the right: Amend the constitution to give senators the right to nominate the prime-minister
Paper on the ground: Second referendum question [refers to the second question on the recent charter ballot that asks if the senate should be able to nominate the prime minister]
Mouse man: Satisfy the power of human passion
Mouse: In flavor of Lark Taung [the unelected]

[This is more trepidation about the new charter and the possibility that it would permit an unelected prime minister to be installed after the next elections. See also: If the PM stays, watch out for more bombs]

Also: Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

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Thailand’s Tallest Building, Designed by Büro Ole Scheeren, Opens with Light Show

Thailand’s Tallest Building, Designed by Büro Ole Scheeren, Opens with Light Show – archdaily.com, August 29, 2016
…Designed by Büro Ole Scheeren, the 77-story mixed-use skyscraper contains space for a hotel, retail, bars, restaurants and an observation deck, as well as 200 condominium units managed by Ritz-Carlton Residences with unparalleled views out onto the Bangkok skyline and beyond. The building’s distinct appearance is created through carving a pixelated spiral up the building, creating “an architecture that encloses and protects its inhabitants while revealing the inner life of their city…”

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9 Years Ago: No kidding, they actually ‘own’ political parties in Thailand

No kidding, they actually ‘own’ political parties in Thailand
…It’s the party’s “owner” who counts. The party’s leader will only be a figurehead – an “image booster” perhaps, but he won’t have a say in anything that’s of any significance…

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If the PM stays, watch out for more bombs

160816thairathsia

From Thairath, August 16, 2016
Title: Be careful of future bombs
On the blast: Blasts in the south of Thailand
Paper on the table: Order to stay longer [referring to the accusation that the new charter will enable the military to remain in power longer]
On the bombs on table from left to right: ACT [Act of Law], Perform, Create, Crisis [meaning something like the actions the junta and the charter writers in creating unjust laws will lead to violent unrest]
Bomb on the man’s lap: Constitution
Mouse man: What you created in the past [meaning what was created will lead to trouble in the future]
Mouse: Don’t forget bloody May 35 [refers to Black May in 1992, here referred to by the Buddhist Era year 2535, this means that misuse of the charter will trigger more bloody events in the future]

[This pro-Thaksin/pro-Red Shirt cartoonist illustrates the political context of the recent bombings and the charter vote.

The new charter is written to allow unelected powers, such as the senate, to exert influence over the elected government and possibly install an unelected “outsider” prime minister in the case of a political deadlock.

The outsider prime minister means no amnesty, no constitutional amendments, and no power that can guide a future government to risk everything to take action for Thaksin. It means no political force can completely influence police and military appointments specifically to advance the fortunes of the political party in power. It also will create unresponsive, weak, and corrupt political coalitions specifically designed to resist Thaksin dominance of politics.

Most importantly, it probably portends further monetary handouts at all levels of society to maintain these coalitions and mute Thaksin influence. This dynamic has already created a lack of an economic program for Thailand focusing on investment in labor and industry to raise the country from its middle-income trap.

All of this recalls the events of 1991-1992 when a post-coup military junta engineered a charter that allowed one of its leaders to retain the post of prime minster even after elections. This led to mass protests with people being shot down on the streets of Bangkok and a humiliating back-down by the generals who had attempted to retain political power.

Such an eventuality is the hope (and warning) of the Red Shirts and those who oppose the junta. They warn that, if the junta uses its charter to install a non-elected general as prime minister after the next elections, there will surely be more bombings and unrest. They hope that history will be on their side and that a wide cross-section of people would rise up to oust a government that dares to retain an unelected general as prime minister.

This cartoon’s implied linking of the recent Mother’s Day bombings to Bangkok politics is surprising. Thaksin and the Red Shirts have vigorously denied that the violence was related to the charter vote (on the other hand the cartoonist could also contend no such linkage is actually implied and he is only warning against future violence).

Will the military heed this new threat?

The military probably feels extremely confident of its position even after the bombings. The overwhelming vote for the charter demonstrates that the voters (whether they were well-informed or not about the actual provisions of the charter) do not oppose the concept of military rule and its “half-democracy.” This is probably not surprising considering Thai tolerance for strong-arm tactics and distrust of elected politicians (more here: Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy).

The Red Shirts attempted to make the charter vote a referendum on extended military rule and on those terms the people seemed to have spoken. The Red Shirts are often minimized by their detractors with the claim that they are uneducated about democracy. It is ironic then that the Red Shirts’ response to the charter vote was that the voters where uneducated about the undemocratic provisions of the charter they were voting on.

The public “no” campaign was indeed brutally suppressed, but in the age of internet-based media and the Red Shirts’ own intense “no” campaigning online it seems unlikely that the presence of physical billboards and public speeches would have swayed voters who get most of their information from the net.

Despite any public show to the contrary, the Mother’s Day bombings are still viewed by those in power as a response to the charter vote and specifically a warning of what can happen if the military dares to cling to power after the next elections.

When the army combines their perceived big win on the charter with this recent unrest (along with direct warnings from Red Shirts about retaining power), it is likely that some generals are even more adamant that Prime Minister Prayuth should retain his post after the elections.

This would happen in a similar way to the events of 1992–a political impasse would be generated by submitting an unsuitable PM candidate who would create a deadlock among MPs. Then the “neutral” military man would emerge as the unelected compromise choice.

This is both the nightmare and the last hope for Thaksin. It creates a situation where mass protest–staged in the historical frame of Black May 1992–would seem justified and could possibly attract supporters outside of those who wish a Thaksin return.

However, this is a much different political atmosphere from 1992. Military intervention into politics in 2014 occurred after protracted political disruption and, in terms of the Thai value of unity, it seems to have fulfilled its imperfect role by halting the machinations of the despised and compromised elected politicians. Such characterizations seem incredible to Westerners who assume much different values in their politics, but in a Thai hierarchy of values, this might be seen as the common sense understanding of what is happening.]

Also: Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

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Weekly News Magazines, August 19-26, 2016

19

From Matichon Weekly, August 19-25, 2016
Main cover reads: Magic mirror, please tell me how it’s–bombing

[Refers to the recent bomb attacks. Some are concerned that the junta will use the attacks as a pretext to attack and muzzle opposition to military rule.
The headline plays on Snow Withe’s “Mirror mirror on the wall” saying here meaning that the junta are trying to create their own reasoning for the bombing (i.e. that it is related to Thaksin and the Red Shirts).]

Top right: 2 stories 2 dimensions ‘Searching for a son’: 6 Oct 1976 ‘The truth which is gone’: May 1992

[Left is Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon and right is Prof. of Southeast Asian history Thongchai Winichakul.
This refers to articles written by Prof. Thongchai. One about Black May 1992 (2535 in Thai reckoning) when people protested the appointment of a post-coup junta general–Gen. Suchinda–as prime minister after elections. The other is about massacres on October 6, 1976 (2516 in Thai reckoning). After the October 6 massacre, many students and protesters when into exile or hid in the forest to hide from the military.
All of this is meant to refer to the new military-dominated charter. It is expected that it will lead to a general from the junta holding the prime minister post after elections. Judging from history, this might lead to another grand conflict with people trying to dislodge the military PM.]

19au

From Nation Weekend, August 19, 2016
Main cover reads: Hiring for bombing!

[Refers to bomb attacks in many provinces in Thailand before Mother’s Day. The junta has stated that the bombers were linked with internal political conflicts rather than the terrorism groups in the Thai deep south.]

Top right: ‘Big Jiew’ what does he do? In Thaksin’s battlefield.

[The man in the picture is Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh who has close ties with Thaksin and is believed to maneuver behind-the-scene to support Thaksin’s political movement. He has come to the fore of politics once again as the Mother’s Day bombings in some ways resemble the New Year’s Eve bombings of 2006 that were alleged to be orchestrated to pressure the then junta.]

Headline on the left: ‘Phai Dao Din’ [white] with the two ways of fighting

[Refers to Jatupat Boonpattararaksa (known as Phai Dao Din) an anti-coup activist who has gone on a hunger strike while in detention for allegedly violating the Public Referendum Act.]

RIP [yellow] ‘Uncle Khuay’ [white] a close friend of Prem

[Refers to the death of Uncle Khuay, a close of Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda. They were classmates when they first became friends. Although Uncle Khuay was just an ordinary man, he still became close friend with the Privy Council President.]

Karma of [yellow] ‘Dhammakaya’ [white] an abbot was charged due to forest reserve encroachment

[Dhammakaya’s abbot Dhammachayo was issued another arrest warrant for alleged encroachment on three forest reserves to build a forest monastery in Loei province.]

Monks and the southern violence [white] The peace shall be returned.

[Refers to the violence in the southernmost provinces of Thailand. Buddhist monks have begun to become targets for attack.]

20-26

From Manager Weekly, Aug 20-26, 2016
Main cover reads: Theory of [red] conspiracy
The man in the yellow ring is Thaksin Shinawatra dressed in his royal hat which the Manager group uses to refer to Thaksin alleged royal aspirations.
The man in the green ring is Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan.

[Refers to the bomb attacks in Thailand during the Mother’s day. This cover implies that the bombing is related to the old political powers–Thaksin’s group whose power is declining and the military’s whose star is rising. The CIA is assumed by many to be involved with in the attack as the U.S. is accused by many of wishing to reinstall Thaksin in power.]

Top: From Set Zero [black] to the PM from the outsider. No matter what, it is still Uncle Tu.

[A man in the picture is PM Prayuth, nicknamed “Tu.” This uses the phrase “set zero” meaning to start from a clean slate. This phase is a part of the junta’s road map to reform the political system. To avoid compromised politicians or puppets from becoming prime minister, the draft constitution seems to allow “outsider” prime ministers to be appointed. It is thought that this rule will allow the present military PM to remain in power even after the next elections.]

Below: ‘Flook Worawut’ [black] millionaire tycoon… ‘Aum Patchrapa’

[Refers to gossip about famous actress Aum Patchrapa and her new boy friend, Flook Worawut, a well-known businessman.]

Left: A failure of Olympic boxing [white] it’s time for reform.

[Refers to criticism of refereeing at the Olympics.]

20-26a

From Lokwannee, Aug 20-26, 2016
Main cover reads: Bomb… Bae…

[Refers to the concern that the authorities will come up with a scapegoat to blame for the bombing attacks in many places before Mother’s Day.
Pro-Red Shirt media are particularly annoyed Thaksin-connected groups are being blamed for the bombings.
The cover compares the attempt of the police to catch the suspects with Pokemon Go implying they are trying to catch a scapegoat rather than the real bombers. ‘Bae’ is the sound a goat makes.]

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Do Whatever Makes You Happy

160814thairathchai
From Thairath, August 14, 2016
Title: Do Whatever Makes You Happy [the implication being that you can think anything you want even if it is not true]

Top left: Catching the trend without be careful
[Refers to Pokemon Go and people who play it without being careful of their surroundings.]

Top middle: Dividing Thais is the U.S. Ambassador’s job

[Refers to the role of U.S. ambassadors which has been criticized for pandering to the Red Shirts. Those who hold this view see the Red Shirts and their threats of dissatisfaction, separatism, and support for Thaksin as acts that transcend the highest-held Thai value of unity.]

Top right: Only voices of people who didn’t read the draft constitution

[Those who opposed the charter claimed that those who voted “yes” did so because they did not read the draft carefully.]

Bottom left: Democracy has already died

[Refers to the victory of the junta’s charter in the referendum.  The results seem to indicate that people support the junta over any desire for democracy.]

Bottom middle: The constitution will make the country move backwards
On the cart: Corruption in the rice-pledging scheme

[Refers to statements made by former PM Yingluck claiming the new charter will move the country backwards. The cartoonist contends that when the country was democratic, it allowed politicians to corrupt the country such as when the Pheu Thai-led government was allowed to raid the country’s treasury with its rice pledging scheme. This program seemed designed to reward Pheu Thai supporters and ensure a stable government until an amnesty could be crafted for Thaksin.]

Bottom right: Thailand is at top of the world’s least miserable [list]

[Refers to the Misery Index from Bloomberg. It showed that Thailand is the lowest in misery or sadness followed by Singapore and Japan.]

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10 Years Ago: Thaksin Escapes Assassination Attempt

Thaksin Escapes Car Bomb

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