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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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

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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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The Dead and Thaksin

160814manager

From Manager, August 14, 2016
Man: We got four dead people… Master, please eat them so you have relief from sadness… and depression.
Caption: Food for happiness

[This refers to the bomb attacks and arson in several southern provinces in Thailand before Mother’s Day weekend. This caused at least four deaths and many injuries.

The government implied that the bombing wave was related to the domestic political situation in Thailand, clearly implying Thaksin, the ultimate power behind the opposition, was involved.

The cartoonist plays on the idea that a person is unhappy if his enemies are happy. The results of the referendum vote were a humiliation for Thaksin and seems to dash his hopes at future charter rewrites and amnesties for himself. It sends the message to Pheu Thai politicians that Thaksin has little hope to return so perhaps they might be tempted to reject his influence. Thus, the news of the deaths and the troubles these events are causing to the junta and the economy should cheer Thaksin up according to the cartoonist.

Whether Thaksin was involved in the recent violent incidents or not (and many believe considering the events of 2009 and 2010 that nothing is out of the question for him), Thaksin has made his reputation by fearlessly transcending the traditional rules of Thai politics.

The line promoted by the Red Shirts–that the referendum was really a vote for or against military rule–backfired. The result was supposed to be either close or “no” with resulting stories in the media explaining how it all meant that Thai people were hungry for democracy.

The overwhelming yes vote seemed to disappoint the international media as well. Foreign media outlets (as well as analysts) had been building up the story that the vote would either be very close or likely “no” and would thus reflect growing dissatisfaction with military rule.

Indeed, the avalanche of reporting predicting a closeness in the vote reflected the media mood before the Bangkok Governor elections in 2013. At that time every source–even pollsters–falsely promised a huge win for Thaksin’s “power pole” candidate.

The overwhelming “yes” vote for the charter, despite the repressive atmosphere under which the referendum was conducted, initially seemed to take Thailand off the geopolitical map with the media reports signing off with “elections coming in 2017.”

Hardcore opponents of the junta would have to be pleased since the bombings have removed the notion that it will be smooth sailing for the junta after their referendum win. The bombings resulted in more “trouble for the junta” stories as well as somber pondering about how badly tourism and the economy would suffer.

The bombings call into question the peace of the country, the junta’s claim that the people support their rule, and even their very control of events on the ground.

Thaksin is even reviving a customary tact from his time as prime minister–bringing lawsuits against those who speculate that he is behind the bombings.

The Manager Group (publisher of this cartoon) has been fearless (as well as often profane and politically incorrect) in criticizing Thaksin, the Democrat Party, and even the military. Thus, this graphic cartoon and the accusations it makes should be no surprise.

However, editorial cartoonists usually escape lawsuits simply because the media itself is seen as partisan and thus all view their assertions with a grain of salt.

Academics however are consequential figures and what they say is respected and meant to be taken seriously. That is why Thaksin’s lawsuits target academics rather than editorial cartoonists in partisan newspapers.]

Earlier: Analysis: Mother’s Day Bombings

Earlier: Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

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How foreigners views Thais

160912thairathsai

From August 12, 2016
Title: How farangs [foreigners] view Thais
Man with glasses, a foreigner: My god
On his headband: Thailand
On the machete: Referendum
On his right hand: Human rights
On his right leg: Freedom
On his left leg: Democracy
The man says: [Thia is] Happiness.
Mouse man: Wait until the new ones grow.
Mouse: Waiting for a miracle.

[This shows the view of those who oppose the both the new charter and the junta that drafted it. The new constitution rolls back many of the innovations first put into practice in the 1997 constitution that was meant to usher in an era of fully elected governments and independent oversight agencies.
Many restrictive parts of the new charter–not to mention the appointed senate–will mean that any future elected government will also have a very difficult time rewriting the charter to benefit themselves or pass an amnesty for Thaksin.]

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Best place for Pokemon to hide in Thailand

160810manager

From Manager, August 10, 2016
Pokemon: Hey… we should hurry and hide at this temple!!… I am sure it is safe… nobody can come and catch us!
Caption: Sure thing… Everyone can come to hide here.

[The cartoonist jokes that Pokemon can avoid being captured in Thailand by hiding in Wat Dhammakaya where fugitive monk Phra Dhammajayo has been successfully hiding out with the help of his supporters.]

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Hard to Gamble: Abhisit and the Referendum

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From Manager, August 9, 2016
Title: Gambler.
On the table: Not accept it / Accept it
Left: [He] Used to be waver between.
Center: Want to change the side…
Right: …[then] penniless!

[This shows Democrat Party leader Abhisit and his uncertain views on whether he supported the charter or not.
After a long period of ambiguous statements, Abhisit finally said he could not support it. However, Democrat Party supporters overwhelming voted for the charter. This seems to indicate Abhisit’s influence with the voters is not strong.
Others hypothesize Abhisit’s lack of support was a ruse to preserve his democratic credentials while his party will certainly benefit from the charter in future elections.]

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Weekly News Magazines, August 12-19, 2016

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From Lokwannee, Aug 13-19, 2016
Main cover reads: It’s not lost, but it’s just not only won yet.

[Refers to the result of the referendum of the draft constitution. Many groups, including the Red Shirts, announced that they would accept the result.
However, these groups, and the politician believed to be directing them (Thaksin), remain bitterly opposed to the new charter and will certainly fight on against the junta and its roadblocks to Thaksin’s return to power.]

12

From Nation Weekend, August 12, 2016
Main cover reads: A hunter of PokeMeaw

[This shows PM Prayuth hunting a “PokeMaew” (“Maew” being the nickname of Thaksin). This shows the reality of the junta and its charter. Both are ultimately a response to Thaksin and an effort to block his return to power.]

On the left: [yellow] Pokemonism [white] dominating the world

[Refers to the worldwide phenomenon of the Pokemon Go app.
The headline is Thai is ‘ลัทธิ [yellow] โปเกม่อน.’ we think meaning something like “Pokemonism.”]

Bottom: Two power girls [white] writing new history

[The women from left to right: Weightlifters Sukany Srisurat and Sopita Tanasan who won the gold in the Rio Games.]

12a

From Matichon Weekly, Aug 12-19, 2016
Main cover reads: Election [red] year of 2017

[Refers to the election next year. It is widely anticipated that PM Prayuth might be able to maneuver events after the elections so that he remains prime minister under the new charter.]

Top right: Hero Go! Rising weightlifters ‘Nan-Pai-Taew-Tuy’

[Pictures from left to right: Sopita Tanasan or Nan, Sukany Srisurat or Pai,  Pimsiri or Taew and Sinphet Kruaithong
Sopita and Sukany won gold medals while Pimsiri won silver and Sinphet received the bronze.]

13-19

From Manager Weekly, Aug 13-19, 2016
Main cover reads: Uncle Tu Go

[Refers to the result of the referendum on the draft constitution which turned out to be a victory for the junta led by PM Prayuth, whose nickname is Tu. This result, according to the political experts, reflects that people still trust the junta rather than politicians. This victory will pave the way for the junta to move forward on the road map for reforming without political forces interfvering.]

Top: 2 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
[Refers to winning Thai weightlifters at the Rio games.]

Bottom left: Getting in trouble. Ponzi scheme. Hiso Manfah

[Refers to Hiso (High-society) figure Manfah who is investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after posting her picture and calling on people to invest in her company. The SEC is questioning whether the investment is a ponzi scheme.]

Bottom right: Interior destroys it. Accept subtraction. Discredit People’s state.

[Refers to a village chief who begged a chief district officer for help due to deductions made from budgets for state projects. This news made PM Prayuth being angry since as it hurts the image of the Ministry of Interior who is in charge of the projects.
Over the last decade, Thai governments have used the distribution of money to rural areas to bolster their popularity.]

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Why they voted no

160909thairathchai

From Thairath, August 9, 2016
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: I noticed that some of us went to vote YES on referendum day.
Middle: I will report this to the Big Boss [Thaksin]. Why did they betrayed by not going to vote NO?
Right: After Big Tu [PM Prayuth] becomes the prime minister, they are going to jail one by one because they all carry criminal cases.
(Sender: Khun Nick Pongpoo – San Francisco) [this is crediting the person who gave the cartoonist the idea]

[We think this means that approving the new charter is the only way to get Prayuth out of the position of prime minister. The former Pheu Thai Party-led government attempted to dismiss charges against Red Shirts and instead brought cases against Democrat Party members.
When the military took over and Prayuth became prime minister, cases and investigations against Red Shirts, Pheu Thai Party members and government officials were revived.]

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Finding Pokemon All Over Thailand

160809manager

From Manager, August 9, 2016
Above left on the railroad tracks: Yes!… I see another Pokemon. I’m catching you now.
Above right at the crocodile farm.
Sign: Danger zone.
Man: There you are… hiding here, I catch you Pokemon.
Below left at a funeral. The man is walking on the coffin: There!… You are here Pokemon, [catching] this one is difficult.
Below right at the separatist hideout.
On the flag: Southern separatist group.
Man: Oh!.. here you are Pokemon, this is a splendid one. I have been looking for you..
Caption: Soon enough, we will see these happen.

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Who will give us legitimacy after the next coup?

160811manager

From Manager, August 11, 2016
Meechai: I draft this constitution as my last constitution… Then, I will stop.
2nd man from the right: Ao… Then, when it’s our turn to do a coup, who will draft the constitution for us?
1st military from the right: Um!
Caption: Bad news for the revolutionaries

[This shows Meechai Ruchupan, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, who helped the junta draft the new constitution. He vowed he would no longer participate in writing further charters.
The military has always looked to respected legal figures to draft post-coup charters. The refusal of figures like Meechai to participate in such a process again leaves the leaders of future putsches without respected legal figures to lend their charters legitimacy.]

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Burn my own house down!

160801manager

From Manager, August 1, 2016
Left: Damn it. I broke the glass! If my wife see it, I’ll die… what should I do?
Right: Ha…ha… Now my wife doesn’t know that I broke the glass…
Caption: This is a way Dr Prem gets rid of his problems.

[This refers to the news that Dr. Premsak Piayura, Ban Phai district municipality mayor, had a reporter’s pants stripped off for reporting on a rumor that the mayor was engaged to a teenager.
The cartoonist jokes that the scandal was made much worse by the mayor’s assault on a journalist which now has caused investigations and calls for his dismissal.]

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Everyone is shackled by the new constitution

160910thairathsai

From Thairath, August 10, 2016
Title: We won’t be released in this life.
On the constitution/shackle: Constitution 59 [meaning the constitution approved this year–2016 or 2559 in Buddhist era years]
Phi Nooring: In the future which we can’t choose.
Mouse: Fetters the people.

[This shows both the “yes” and “no” voters in the referendum will now be shackled by the new restrictive charter.]

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The charter is not interesting

160731manager

From Manager, July 31, 2016
Above the constitution pamphlet on the ground: Only 7 days left, most of people haven’t read it yet.
On the newspaper: Doctor Prem strips the journalist’s pants off.

[This cartoon jokes that people are not much interested in the charter referendum. Instead they are interested in the news that Dr. Premsak Piayura, Ban Phai district municipality mayor, had a reporter’s pants stripped off for reporting on a rumor that the mayor was engaged to a teenager.]

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Weekly News Magazines, August 5-12, 2016

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From Lokwannee, Aug 6-12, 2016
Main cover reads: [top arrow] Don’t agree [bottom arrow] Agree [middle] Long-term stay

[This cover uses the Red Shirt line on the charter–that it is a referendum on continued military rule–to suggest that the charter be voted down. Ironically, it appears that the majority of voters saw the referendum in this light, but actually voted for military oversight of elected politics. More explanation here.]

5-11

From Matichon Weekly, Aug 5-11, 2016

Main cover reads: Killing Zone. Zone of the real bullet. Referendum.
On the sign at bottom right: Life Firing Zone [This is the translation of the incorrect English of the military’s notorious “Live Firing Zone” signs that were put up as the military pressured the armed camps of the Red Shirts in central Bangkok in 2010.]
A box in the bottom-right corner: 7 Aug. Don’t forget to go vote

[We think this cover implies that a no vote in the referendum is a “real bullet” in which to fight against continued junta rule.]

Top right: Nose Udom with Brother Tu [meaning PM Prayuth] – Pop culture and Thai politics

[The man in the picture is famous stand-up comic Nose Udom Taepanich. This refers to an advertisement promoting Nose’s new stand-up comedy act. There is a video clip showing Nose calling PM Prayuth (whose nickname is “Tu”) to invite him to come to his show. Those clips were edited by combining PM Prayuth’s actual voice with Nose’s funny questions.]

5au

From Nation Weekend, August 5, 2016
Main cover reads: Poison of love of power

[This cover headline mimics the popular TV drama “Poison of Love” to refer to the National Council for Peace and Order (the ruling junta). The cover implies that the political conflict, particularly the referendum on the draft constitution, is the result of the military’s aim to extend its time in power.]

Top right: Heroine “Prof. May” smashing the rice pots for the champion

[The woman is Thai woman professional golfer Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn. This refers to the story of the first Thai professional golfer–Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn–to win a major title at the Woman’s British Open. The phrase “smashing the rice” is used for war strategy meaning that people will destroy all of their food supply to encourage themselves to win at war in order to get new food from the defeated enemy.]

Headlines on the left:

Closely watch the referendum to test the power of ‘Democrat people’

[Refers to the conflict among Democrat Party’s members on the referendum on the draft constitution and the unclear stand of the party toward voting yes or no. At the last minute, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced that the party does not support the draft constitution. The article posits that the result of the referendum would show the influence the party has over its supporters.]

Impact of the rice pledging scheme [white] charging elected people

[Refers to the impact of the rice pledging scheme which has resulted in many elected politicians being charged with crimes, such as former PM Yingluck. The inference is that, in Thailand, politicians often claim that, by virtue of them being elected, they are immune from oversight. This is the line from when Thaksin was prime minister that claimed that independent monitoring bodies were unfair in daring to check an elected government.]

‘Doctor Prem’ doesn’t end yet – Showing an unstable condition

[Refers to Premsak Piayura, the Ban Phai district municipality mayor. He was attacked by the media after ordering his staff to strip off a journalist’s pants after it was reported that the mayor was allegedly engagemed to a teenager. The mayor is still being investigated over this incidents.]

‘Dog delivery’ a big problem of ‘humans’

[Refers to the protest of a dog owner whose dog died during its transport with Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air. Due to this, the airline decided to cancelled its pet delivery service to avoid such problems happening again.]

6-12

From Manager Weekly, Aug 6-12, 2016
Main cover reads: Monkey show 7 August. The event to deceive the people
On the monkey god Hanuman’s shirt: ECT
On the paper: Ballot paper

[Refers to the referendum on the draft constitution conducted on 7 August 2016. The cover questions the transparency of the referendum conducted by the ECT (Election Commission of Thailand). There is concern that cheating might occurs in order to help the draft get approved.  The monkey god Hanuman is the mascot the ECT used to encourage people to vote. Hanuman is known for his honesty.]

Top: Secret of reviving of Hiso Fah ‘doing a difficult act’

[The woman is a celebrity and businesswoman Jilamiga ‘Fah’ Chalermsuk. This is an interview about her life and how she overcame the leaked clip showing her and her boyfriend having an affair. Fah is known for loving to doing difficult exercises rotuines, such as “aerial silk” and pole dancing fitness.]

Bottom: Have to lose before winning ‘Prof. May’

[The woman is professional golfer ‘Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn who is the first Thai woman golfer ‘Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn’ to win a major title at the Woman’s British Open. She was behind other golfers at the beginning of the game, but later won the tournament.]

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3 Years Ago: Pheu Thai Tries Its Own Reform Council

Pheu Thai Tries Its Own reform Council

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Analysis: Mother’s Day Bombings

See also: BBC: The surreal investigations into Thailand’s unresolved bombings
See also: Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

Without knowing the composition of the bombs, the initial single pair of bombings in Hua Hin originally appeared to be a typical deep south-related bombing. These occasionally occur in parts of the country other than the deep south. Even Bangkok has not been immune.

However, the coordinated spate of bombings at this time (the Queen’s Birthday) recalls the 2006 new year’s eve bombings Continue reading

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Editorial cartoons on the Turkish coup…

160723thairathsia

From Thairath, July 23, 2016
Title: It isn’t the same!
Left: Coup [showing the situation in Turkey where the military was defeated]
Right: Anti-coup [showing the situation in Thailand where the military was successful]
On man’s shirt: PDRC [referring to the anti-Pheu Thai protest group that agitated against the government]
On the shirts of the people in the cage:: People, Student

[On the left, the Turkey’s coup failed as people went out to support the elected government. In contrast, in Thailand, many people led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supported the military overthrown the Pheu Thai government.
The men at the bottom right represent governmental officers as well as the justice system that supported the junta to fight against anti-junta groups who called for democracy.]

160719manager

From Manager, July 19, 2016
A man on the left: Brother Tu… Brother Ten… let’s go out to fight against the military coup!
Jatuporn and Nattawut: No!… The funds to support us haven’t come yet!
Title: If Turkish people were like these two… the military coup would have succeeded.

[“Tu” is a nickname of Red Shirt leader Jatuporn while “Ten” is nickname of Red Shirt leader Nattawut.
The cartoon contrasts the recent events in Turkey with those in Thailand. As the coup in Turkey got underway, the people went out on the streets to fight the military and defeated the coup plotters.
In Thailand, the Red Shirts threatened bloodshed and separatism while the Pheu Thai Party boasted their followers had stockpiled millions of guns to fend off a coup. However, when the coup came, the promised resistance never occurred.
It is believed that the Red Shirts operate under direct command from Thaksin and are on his payroll, thus they cannot simply take a stand on their own, but must wait for orders from their boss.
The overall contention is that the Red Shirts are not interested in democracy, which already existed when their party, the Pheu Thai, held power. Instead, they are political muscle to effect a longer-term goal–the return of Thaksin himself to political power. Thus their actions after the coup are very strategic and conservative and are focused on the future goal of somehow pardoning Thaksin.]

160723thairathchai

From Thairath, July 23, 2016
Left: Thailand is now being isolated. Democratic groups hate military dictatorships…
Middle: Foreigner: Meanwhile, the military dictator groups also hate it because it’s shameful for dictatorships.
A man: How is it shameful?
Right: There is no dictatorship that drafts a constitution and asks people to vote on whether to accept or reject it. If reject it, they will draft the new one.
At the bottom: Sent by Nick Pongpoo SF [The cartoonist is giving credit to the person who gave him the idea for this cartoon.]

[This cartoon suggests that the junta is not so bad since they are allowing people to vote on a new charter.]

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Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

Foreign analyses of the charter have often lamented the return to Thailand’s “managed democracy” or “semi-democracy” of the 1980s. Implicit in this is the assumption that an appointed and military dominated senate would naturally be loathed. However, within the Thai world, this period is often recalled as a golden age that Continue reading

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Thai-language editorial cartoons on the referendum

160726thairathsia

From Thairath, July 26, 2016
Title: 7 Aug 2559 referendum for the future
On the ballot box: Referendum. Accept/don’t accept. Constitution version of the NCPO
Papers held by black men from left to right: Long stay [of the military in power], appointed senator, PM from the outside [non-elected prime minister], successfully keep power, control people’s freedom, reform
On the flag: Referendum
Phi Nooring: Please come to vote [implying that people should vote “no”]
Mouse: Depends on what you like

160727manager

From Manager, July 27, 2016
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: Hey… Don’t kill Abhisit!!! In the future, he will help us overthrow the military’s constitution
Caption: 7 years ago.

[The cartoon references the Red Shirt attacks on cars in a government compound that were thought to be an attempt to assassinate then Prime Minister Abhisit in 2009 (here and here).
In the run-up to the present referendum on the new charter, Abhisit has said he rejects the draft. As the coup and the charter were specifically intended to keep Thaksin out of power, it is ironic that this figure that the Red Shirts longed to unseat or even kill with their protest activity may now tip the balance in the vote and cause the anti-Thaksin charter to be rejected.]

160728naewna

From Naewna, July 28, 2016
On the torch: Anti-fraud version of the draft constitution
Caption: Final lap..!!

[The draft written by the Constitution Drafting Committee chaired by Meechai Ruchupan (pictured running with the torch) is opposed by many groups including the Red Shirts led by Jatuporn (who is at the left of the image). They contend it is written to serve the military and keep them in power.
Recently, Democrat Party leader Abhisit (at right) announced he would not support the draft. The cartoon implies that Abhisit is helping to ignite a dangerous situation by opposing the draft.]

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Weekly News Magazines, July 30-August 5, 2016

30-5

From Manager Weekly, July 30-Aug 5, 2016
Main cover reads: The secret of Doctor Prem, who loves kids [white] He should check up his health often.

[The photo is of Dr. Premsak Piayura, the married Ban Phai district municipality mayor. In the photo he is sitting near a young girl with money in front of them at the girl’s house. This looks like a typical Thai marriage ceremony.
The circulation of this embarrassing photo led to a series of scandals for the mayor including the widely publicized incident where he made a reporter disrobe in retaliation for publicizing the photo.
Premsak contends he was in the girl’s house because he was helping the girl’s family (apparently during some ceremony).
The headline refers to a country music song which about an old man who has a young girl friend. The lyrics of the song suggest that the old man frequently check his health in order to “stay firm” with his young girlfriend.]

Top: 3 monk protectors [yellow] ‘Fon-San-My’ don’t leave Somdet Chaung alone [meaning that powerful monks pictured continue to support Somdet Chaung as Supreme Patriarch]
Monks top left to right: Somdet Chuang, Phra Methithammamajarn,
Below left to right: Dhammachayo, Phra Kru Palad Sitthiwat

[Refers to the controversial appointment of a new Supreme Patriarch. PM Prayuth has insisted that the Supreme Patriarch not be appointed until all the disputes surrounding the appointment are settled.
Somdet Chaung was nominated by the Sangha Supreme Council, but is opposed by many groups due to a tax evasion case and his close ties with Dhammachaya, the abbot of Dhammakaya Temple.]

Bottom-left: Mark ‘Gano’ cockroach’s nest is explored.
Suthep: Ga-yes [“Ga-yes” is a word mixed between Thai and English to mirror Abhisit’s call to reject the charter or “gano.” It means Suthep said “vote yes” while Abhisit said “vote no.”]

[Refers to the conflict among Democrat Party’s members on the referendum on the draft constitution. Suthep Thaugsuban, former Democrat member, announced his stand to support the draft constitution while party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (whose nickname is Mark), announced he would reject the draft.
This headline also refers to an incident when authorities banned the advertising flags of a coffee brand named “Gano.” The name of this brand sounds like “vote no” in Thai. Red Shirts had been posting images of the coffee container with these words online as a way to express their opinion on the charter vote without violating the military ban on campaigning against it.
Democrat Party is often derisively referred to as “cockroaches” for their ability to survive any political landscape. Thus the article title jokes that it will explore the Democrat’s inner-workings as different parts of the party oppose and accept the new charter.]

Bottom-right: GMM25 in crisis and One Channel also losses

[The woman is Saithip Montrikul na Ayudhaya, chief executive officer at GMM Channel Digital TV and man is GMM One chief executive Thakonkiat Viravan.
Refers to the struggles of companies involved in starting new digital TV stations. Many companies have shut down their operations and even big entertainment companies like GMM are facing losses.]

29

From Nation Weekend, July 22, 2016
Main cover reads: Democrat partially

[The man is Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Refers to the conflict among Democrat Party members on the referendum of the draft constitution and the unclear stance of the party itself towards voting yes or no.]

1st headline on the left: Subdue [red] ‘Jae Dang’ – The NCPO handles with ‘family [yellow] ‘Buranupakorn’

[The woman is Thaksin’s sister Yaowapa Wongsuwat, nicknamed “Dang.” “Jae” is Chinese word meaning “elder sister.” This word also used to refer to a respected elder woman.
Refers to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The NCPO recently seized documents said to contain misinformation about the draft constitution and investigated the link to Thaksin supporter Boonlert Buranupakorn, the chief executive of Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organisation and a former Chiang Mai Mayor. The Buranupakorn enjoys the patronage of Thaksin’s sister Yaowapa Wongsawat. If Boonlert is involved, it shows a very close connection to Thaksin himself.]

2nd headline: Unexpected [yellow] ‘Doctor Prem’ [white] unstable condition

[Refers to Premsak Piayura. Ban Phai district municipality mayor. He was attacked by the media after ordering his staff to strip off a journalist’s pants off after publicizing a photo that allegedly showed him in a marriage ceremony with a teenager. He denied he had married again and explained that he was in the picture with the girl because he was helping her family.]

3rd headline: A fight on an appointment of a new Supreme Patriarch. Deep conflict of monks.

[Refers to a controversial appointment of the new Supreme Patriarch. Somdet Chaung nominated by the Sangha Supreme Council has been opposed by many groups including monks due to a tax evasion scandal and his close tie with Dhammachaya.]

4th headline: Old karma [yellow] ‘Nang Kai’ [white] doesn’t need to wait for the next life

[Refers to Buddhist principles about karma. Whatever wrong things one does, the result of it will reappear in the future. Similarly, Monta Yokrattanakan, know as Ying Kai, lodged a false complaint against her former employee. But later, she herself was charged after it was discovered she was involved in many crime cases.
“Nang” is a Thai tile for a woman.]

5

From Lokwannee, July 30-August 5, 2016
Main cover reads: Concern shows

[This cover refers to the junta’s concerns on the upcoming referendum of the draft constitution. This concern is shown through their actions, such as banning all advertising flags from the coffee brand “Gano.” This word in Thai sounds like “vote no.”
On the cover, the cup of coffee mimics the junta’s actions with the “Gano” brand by writing the word “Americayes” instead of “Americano.” This refers to the many entrepreneurs in the region who naturally think that copying a famous logo like Starbucks for their own shop would be a good idea.
On the cover, the word is humorously changed to avoid a brand-name misunderstanding just as happened with the coffee brand “Gano.”]

29-4a

From Matichon Weekly, July 29-August 4, 2016
Main cover reads: A volunteer of Hanuman
On a paper: Ballot paper

[Refers to the referendum on the draft constitution. The cover shows “Hanuman,” a Hindu god and an ardent devotee of the God Rama. This image is on the posters encouraging people to go referendum and vote. Recently, there is an incident in which monkeys tore up voters’ list. This cover shows the irony of monkeys doing this as the mascot for the vote is a monkey himself.]

Top right: Adding more than 16 pages to Matichon Weekly – Xclusive ‘Prompt Pay’ new economic landscape

[Refers to an advertisement for the new Matichon Weekly online. This latest issue will be about the new e-payment “Prompt Pay.” This is a money transfer service via internet or mobile banking which attempts to create a system to record all transactions that were formerly cash.]

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The Democrats are not sure

160723arun

From Arun, July 23, 2016
Title: The real Democrat
Waiter: Accept or reject, sir.
Abhisit: Hold on a second
On the menu held by Suthep: Constitution 2559 [year of 2016]
On the table: Democrat

[Refers to Democrat Party’s political strategy concerning the charter referendum. The Democrat Party leader Abhisit finally decided he could not accept the charter, saying so in words that made it unclear as to whether the party was urging a “no” vote like the Red Shirts are. When pressed, Abhisit seemed to avoid the question, saying there were disagreements in the party and that it could not meet to decide because of the junta’s ban on political activities.
The international media seemed to take Abhisit’s declarations on the charter at face value, blandly reporting that both the Pheu Thai and Democrats now oppose the junta’s plan.
However, in the Thai world, the Democrats’ tortured position on the referendum is though to be a tactic to be able to later claim they stand for democracy once the charter passes and they are called upon to form the core of a new government. It is often characterized a cynical calculation, perhaps in cooperation with the junta, as part of the overall plan to diminish the future electoral victory of the Pheu Thai and thus stall another round of gambits for amnesty by Thaksin.]

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Prayuth and his elders

160717manager

From Manager, July 17, 2016
PM Prayuth: It’s ok if you will ride on my back, bro, but don’t show my egg to another? I’m embarrassed.
On the sword: Article 44
Caption: Then, the Eastern Tiger realizes his younger brother has limitations.

[We are not completely sure of the meaning on this one. It seems to illustrate that PM Prayuth, a member of the influential military group the Eastern Tigers, agreed to take the lead in seizing power from the Pheu Thai government and became the PM. However, as time goes by, he has chaffed at being involved in power struggles by other senior Eastern Tiger members, particularly Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan who is now thought to be the most powerful figure in the government eclipsing PM Prayuth.]

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Weekly News Magazines, July 22-29, 2016

22-28

From Matichon Weekly, July 22-28, 2016
Main cover reads: Turkey’s Referendum

[Refers to the defeat of Turkey’s military that tried to conduct a coup against the Turkish government. However, a number of people joined the government to fight against the coup. This cover is meant to relate to the situation in Thailand where a referendum on the draft constitution is to be held.
The cover illustrates that the people’s decision shall be respected. Many anti-junta groups are afraid that the junta will reject the results if it turns out that the draft constitution is voted down by the people.]

Top right: A lesson to the dreams of ‘Olympics’ – ‘Nong May’ Ratchanok cleared of doping allegations by a hair’s breadth

[Refers to the badminton player and Olympic-hopeful Ratchanok ‘May’ Intanon who was cleared of doping allegations. In Thai, “Nong” literally means “younger sister” and is used to refer to a younger woman.]

22jul

From Nation Weekend, July 22, 2016
Main cover reads: #because of what Turkey doesn’t have

[Refers to a popular hashtag on twitter where Thai people shared their views on the causes leading to a defeat of Turkey’s coup. It implies something like, “the Turkish coup failed because of what Turkey doesn’t have” which leads to a discussion of how Thailand’s situation differs from Turkey.
Some said it failed because Turkey did not have someone like Thaksin who many Thais see as an impatient risk-taker who created his own problems. Others said the Thai coup would have failed if more people would have come out to support the government. Others said the Turkish military does not have canny generals like Prayuth who were able to decisively overthrow the Pheu Thai government.]

On the right: A night when a dog is not howling. Referendum is ‘completely silent’ which makes it more scary

[The poster is one promoting the upcoming referendum of the draft constitution.
This article examines the likely results of the referendum on the draft constitution in the Northeast provinces which are the heart of Thaksin’s Red Shirt supporters. It predicts that the results will depend on how people like or dislike the junta and Thaksin–and not the contents of the draft constitution.
In Thai, the night before the election is “the night when a dog is howling” because politicians will visit people secretly (thus alerting neighborhood dogs) to buy votes.]

Headlines on the left: Behind the painting. Khunying of “May”

[Refers to the story of Badminton Association of Thailand president Khunying Pattama Leeswadtrakul who helped behind-the-scenes to clear the doping allegations of Thai badminton player Ratchnok “May” Intanon. This headline uses the name a drama, “Behind the painting” in which a main character is a “Khunying,” a title given by the King meaning Madame.]

The Buddhist Lent Day with “women entering the monkhood”

[Refers to the article about the project conducted during the Buddhist Lent Day which invited women to be ordained to study about Buddhist principles.]

Mushroom village to hide the hardcore “Red”

[This refers Red Shirt groups that are pretending to be silent during the junta time in power, but are continuing their political activities secretly. Some hardcore Red Shirt members have hidden in the countryside or outside the country to be ready to renew their political activities against the junta.]

The trend of coup is scaring “Hun Sen”

[Refers to the trends of coups around the world that is causing fear in Cambodian strongman Hun Sen regime amid an unsettled political situation.]

23-29 July

From Manager Weekly, July 23-29, 2016
Main cover reads: Saranghae [meaning “love”] Sayonara? [meaning “goodbye”] Sanit, a fellow of the uncle Tu. Net idol whom no one loves.

[The men are Metropolitan Police Area 2 chief Pol. Maj. Gen. Charoen Srisalak and Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahathavorn
The headline refers to Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahathavorn, who was recently been appointed to become the new metropolitan police commissioner. Pol Lt. Gen. Sanit has been criticized by the media due to his performance on the job. Although a lot of people including many high-level police officers do not like him, he has close ties with PM Prayuth.
This photo was taken during a press conference. He made the pose when he was asked how he would solve the problem of students fighting.
This heart pose was popularized by K-pop idols and is called “saranghae” in Korean. The headline implies that Sanit is not a proper choice for his post.]

Top: Order from [pink] tootsie [black] Drama of [pink] Tos [black] and [blue] Fa Barbie

[The woman is Fah Barbie. Refers to a well-known director named Poj Arnon refusing to work with an actor Tos after she had a quarrel with the popular internet idol Fah Barbie.]

Below: Turkey coup reflects the fear of [blue] ‘Hillary’

[Articles theorizes that the Turkish coup reflects fears of increased U.S. intervention in Turkey and the region if Hillary Clinton becomes president.]

23-29July

From Lokwannee, July 23-29, 2016
Main cover reads: Counting down. Going down… drive carefully

[Refer to idiom “riding on a tiger’s back” meaning that someone is in a situation from which they cannot turn back or extract themselves from. The cover and article warns the military needs to seriously consider immediately giving up their power if the draft constitution is not accepted by the public.]

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Which charter do the people really want?

160714thairathsia

From Thairath, July 14, 2016
Title: Closely take a look… which on is real or fake
On the constitution plinth on the left: People want it. [front] Written by people
On the constitution plinth on the right: The NCPO want to give it. [front] written by Meechai and his team
On Meechai’s tie: CDC [Constitution Drafting Committee]
Phi Nooring: Let’s go and vote on the referendum
Mouse: To accept-reject are the rights [we have]

[Refers to the coming referendum of the draft constitution. The draft is written by the Constitution Drafting Committee led by Meechai Ruchupan has been criticized as being written to serve the military and prolong their time in power.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | 1 Comment

Burn and burn

160723naewna

From Naewna, July 23, 2016
Left: If you seize the power, we will burn the country.
On the fire: Burn houses, burn the city [refers to Red Shirt leaders’ threats to commit arson]
Right: If you return the power, we will also burn nationwide.
On the fire: Burn the referendum voter’s lists
Thaksin: Good boy…
Caption: Seizing the power then burning; Returning the power then the son of burning

[This cartoon implies that Thaksin together with his Red Shirt supporters are behind the recent incidents where voter lists for the referendum were destroyed and burned.]

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Hi-so’s fall

160712Arun

From Arun, July 12, 2016
Top left: Arun’s cartoon [white] Arun Watcharasawad
Title: Set a sign to seize a thousand rai of Hi-so’s lands
On the floor: ALRO

[This cartoon uses Marylin Monroe to illustrate how the junta using its absolute power under Article 44 to seize land illegally allocated by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) to rich families for commercial development. “Hi-so” is short for “high society.”
Such actions by the junta are meant to highlight how civilian elected governments have been completely unable and unwilling to prevent such corruption in land allocation.]

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