The Missing Marker & Thai Democracy

The missing marker &
Thai democracy

Do all Thai roads lead to Singapore?

Do all Thai roads
lead to Singapore?

Who will come crawling?

Who will come

Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

Analysis: Thailand’s
half democracy

Thaksin shifts puppets

Thaksin shifts puppets

How many died in the Thai drug purges?

How many died in the Thai drug purges?

Black May 1992

Remembering the Red Shirt protests of 2010

Remembering the Red Shirt protests of 2010

Remembering the checks & balances of the 1997 charter

Remembering the checks & balances of the 1997 charter

During Red Shirt rally, Thaksin kids withdraw 10 billion baht

During Red Shirt rally, Thaksin kids withdraw 10 billion baht

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Democrats shut out

From Manager, May 3, 2018
On the green wall: Military zone, do not enter.
Democrat leader Abhisit: Keeping the cash machine for only yourself… not fair!!
On the pink ATM: CP
On the blue ATM: Billionaire Charoen.

[The ATMs refer to the supports from Thailand’s wealthiest businessmen. One is Dhanin Chearavanont, owner of CP Group and Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who controls Thai Beverage. Both conglomerates are powerful enough that their influence probably rivals the government itself, but both have been cautious not to overtly engage in politics (unlike Thaksin).
The cartoon reflects that these mega-power brokers have apparently thrown their support behind the junta.
IN the foreground, Democrat leader Abhisit laments that the money and influence of these business groups are shutting him out of power.]

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Prayuth catches lizards

From Manager, April 29, 2018
PM Prayuth at left: “Black cat, white cat. You can catch the mouse, you are good too.”
Man at right: Son of a bitch!… That is a lizard… not a cat!!!
Caption: Be careful of this phrase’s owner. He would stand up mad.

[Refers to Mao Zedong’s quote “it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” Mao’s quote refers to the political system used to govern China in that, whatever system it is, if it works it is good for the country.
Here, PM Prayuth is making alliances with venal old politicians, here represented by monitor lizards, which are reviled animals in the Thai world.
Prayuth uses Mao’s quote to mean that it does not matter how bad his political allies are as long as they assist in shutting Thaksin out of power.
In the caption, the owner of the phase is Mao Zedong. The cartoonist shows that PM Prayuth uses Mao Zedong’s phase in the wrong way. Mao did not mind what political system it was as long as it was good for the country. However, in case of PM Prayuth, he seems to say he can join hands with anyone as long as they are against Thaksin. This brings very bad politicians to power which must be bad for the country.]

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Old allies, new allies

From Naewna, May 10, 2018
Left, Newin speaks to Thaksin: It is already the end, boss.
Right, Newin speaks to Prayuth: it is just the beginning, boss.

[The political world was stunned recently when it became clear that the military junta had forged an alliance with one of the major factions that once underpinned Thaksin’s political empire–Newin Chidchob.

Newin is among the most notorious of Thai politicians and the very symbol of the rural mafioso kingpin.

1996: Newin’s canvassers caught red handed in vote buying
2010: 20 million baht is too cheap to assassinate Newin
2010: Nothing in this world causes as much pain as what Newin did to me!
2010: Newin’s Tears and Drool
2010: Beware of the Newin Pipe!
2017: The beginnings of the military coalition–What do these bombs mean?
2018: The worst of politics comes to support PM Prayuth

Newin was also the rarest of politicians–one who dared betray Thaksin by joining a Democrat coalition in 2008. The betrayal of Thaksin saw Newin hounded from politics by the strong arm tactics of the Red Shirts.

Newin publicly swore off politics, instead building his own sort of potential political muscle to counter the Red Shirts in his Buriram football club.

The present emerging political climate, crafted by the junta, is compelling for old political hands like Newin who wish to finally participate in a government that is not controlled by Thaksin nor harried by the Red Shirts.

From the perspective of those who cheer on the military for its role in preventing a Thaksin return to power, an alliance between Newin and PM Prayuth seems to be the ultimate hypocrisy.

The junta has spent years now crowing about how they are superior to elected politicians. The association it is making with Newin contradicts all of the military’s high flown rhetoric about its purity of intention in ruling. There would have to be, no doubt, shady big money deals that the junta would have to promise Newin to keep him on board in a government.

Still, the apparent gains the junta is making in courting factions is something that has not happened before. It is an erosion of control by Thaksin that observers have been watching for since the 2006 coup. It never materialized before.

Ultimately, it will not be (and has never been) about the popularity of Thaksin. It is about the co-opting of of longstanding MP cliques that are consistently elected. Turning their support to one candidate created the Thaksin political juggernaut. Turning them elsewhere will determine if the junta can make a convincing case to hold on to power after the next elections.]

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Can do anything, but do nothing wrong

From Thairath, May 3, 2018
Title: Special type of man.
On chair: The prime minister from a coup
On Prayuth’s paper: Taking in politicians [vacuuming politicians], stay on in power
Sign at middle bottom: Illegal, but gave amnesty to themselves already.
Above right: Official residence for justice.
Man in front of the residence with sign: Legal, but… wrong in Good Governance.
Mouse man: Thinking that you are a god.
mouse: Can do anything, but do nothing wrong.

[The cartoonist shows that the ruling junta makes sure every rule and law supports the legality of their actions–even though they wrote the rules and can give themselves amnesty.
It also shows the controversial judges residences being built in Chiang Mai. These were widely opposed by the public, but the junta initially seemed to be dragging their feet in stopping the construction.]

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

Absorbing is the Thai Way

From Manager, May 1, 2018
On the sign at top left: Polluted politicians
PM Prayuth, bottom left: Must [big word] absorb!!! It’s Thai culture.
The cartoonist shows Thai PMs who used this strategy starting from the bottom left to right, Prayuth, Thaksin, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
Top right to left: Chuan Leekpai, Suchinda Kraprayoon and Chatichai Choonhavan.

[Each party, particularly the big parties, will try to attract MPs to their teams with the aim to win the election and thus support the party’s choice for PM.

The cartoonist shows this as a septic tank collection pipe which sucks up useless, old-guard politicians.

The 1990s were rife with MPs being offered huge sums of money to switch parties or otherwise ditch existing alliances.

Then, for years, this process was muted as Thaksin successfully collected MPs first into his Thai Rak Thai Party. He was then able to prevent MPs from leaving his party largely due to the 1997 charter that made it difficult to switch. Those who switch alliances, like Newin, found themselves hounded out of politics.

Foreign observers often mistake the installation of a prime minister as proof of public support. However, it merely means that MPs (regional bosses who will win one way or another), have been bought up to support a certain party’s pick for PM.

This time, Thaksin’s control finally seems weakened and there is a free for all with PM Prayuth welcoming any political groups to join his alliance.

This is often referred to as a Political vacuum cleaner.]

Also: Fertilizing the junta party with crap of the past

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Four Years Ago: Another Coup in Thailand

June 3, 2014: Shinawatras caught in the country
Nothing said more about how unexpected the coup was than the Shinawatra family members being trapped in the country. Before other contentious political events, like the 2009 and 2010 Red Shirt marches on Bangkok, Shinawatra family members were all safely in foreign capitals. The location of the Shinawatras is closely watched as their absence from the country often foreshadows political conflict.

Also: The 2006 Coup
Also: The 1991 Coup

May 24, 2014: Coup headlines from Thai-language newspapers

May 22-26, 2014: Coup news

May 21, 2014: Another coup in Thailand

Above: One of several foreign media gaffes that occurred when reporting on the Thai coup

May 21, 2014: Martial Law: What’s really going on in Thailand

May 26, 2014: TV blocking and branding during the coup

From Komchadluek, May 13, 2014
“The ripe mango… dropped”
[The man is Thaksin Shinawatra. Reference is to Dr. Thirayuth Boonmee’s quote on the Thai political situation. He compared the Thaksin regime to a mango on a tree. The anti-Thaksin demonstrators just waited for the mango to ripen and fall, meaning the regime was at its lowest point for many reasons and was about to fail.]

May 27, 2014: The Evolving Banner of the Junta

May 27-28, 2014: Coup news

May 29-31, 2014: Coup news

Above: The background of the coup – June 6, 2014: Thaksin’s Fear of the Eastern Tigers

June 6, 2014: All about Sombat Boonngamanong, a rebel Red Shirt

Above: Social media graphic circulated in the months after the coup

June 6, 2014: Is the United States the puppet master?

June 10, 2014: The Thai Airways CEO who was fired after leading a financial turnaround

June 25, 2014: Arun’s “Grand Cycle”

July 20, 2015: Washington Post predicts the majority will reject the junta and unrest will rise

2013: Reuters: General Prawit Wongsuwan & former army chief General Anupong Paochinda behind Thailand protests

Also: The 2006 Coup
Also: The 1991 Coup

Posted in 2014 Coup, Today in History | Leave a comment

The power of the absorbing storm before the election

From Arun, May 1, 2018
The power of the absorbing storm before the election

[Refers to the attempts to absorb MPs and their groupings before the coming elections. Many parties are trying to attract well-known and famous politicians to join their team, particularly the junta. These MPs are powers in their region and will win one way or another. The critical factor is what party they will be a part of and who they will support as PM.
This is also referred to as political vacuum cleaners.]

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Remembering the Red Shirt Protests of 2010

2018: Victims of May 19 crackdown await justice – eight years later – The Nation, May 18, 2018
…Although evidence showed the military was behind most of these abuses, no one has been held accountable so far. The red-shirt umbrella organisation, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), has constantly lodged petitions with the National Anti-Corruption Commission to review the cases and hold officials involved in the killings accountable but so far without success…

2012: Red Shirt deaths: Should we forgive and forget?

When the Red Shirts Accepted an Offer of New Elections & Announced an End to Their Rally

The snipers:
Snipers on the Skytrain racks
Snipers vs Slingshots – Who Killed the People?
Checking for Snipers on the BTS

Red Shirt Protests – May 16-18, 2010
Red Shirt Protests – May 19, 2010
Red Shirt Protests – May 20-21, 2010
Red Shirt Protests – May 21, 2010
Red Shirt Protests 2010 Main Page

Also: the 2009 Red Shirt siege of Bangkok
Also: 26 Years Ago: Black May
Also: Thaksin’s Fear of the Eastern Tigers

Posted in Red Shirt Protest 2010, Today in History | Leave a comment

Remembering Black May 1992

Above: Censorship explanation from the Bangkok Post, May 18, 1992 – The Nation and other Thai newspapers ignored the government censorship and printed as usual.

A new story from the Bangkok Post: The night a Bangkok protest turned deadly – Bangkok Post, May 15, 2017
…The image was one of awesome firepower: M16 rifles, belt-firing M60s, M89 grenade launchers, jeeps mounted with heavy machine guns, armoured personnel carriers with rapid-fire cannons. At one point I even saw a soldier with a clumsy-looking bazooka strapped to his back. Neither truncheons nor riot shields could be seen. These troops brought to the streets of Bangkok were a fully armed division headed into combat…

Eyewitness Accounts

2Bangkok editor Ron Morris’ account

Part IBackground & A night on the bridge

Part IICrossing the lines

Part IIIA hot afternoon

Part IVThe shooting starts

Part VIan Neumegen, a foreigner killed in the disturbances

Part VI – Soldiers advance through Banglampoo

Part VIIAftermath

Comments on the Black May 1992 story

Tomas’ Black May Story

AP photos from Black May

From 2005: Thaksin’s Revolution – Coming full circle from Black May

From 2005: The context of Black May and what it led to in Thailand

Newspaper Accounts

Front page: Huge protest in City Bangkok Post, April 21, 1992

Front page: ‘Drastic’ action to quell riot Bangkok Post, May 18, 1992

Censorship issue, p.2-3Bangkok Post, May 18, 1992

Enough: End this terrible tragedyBangkok Post, May 19, 1992

Young doctor tells of battles to save lifeBangkok Post, May 19, 1992

Front page – Bloody battles rage in CityBangkok Post, May 19, 1992

Disastrous End – Burning – Chaos in the cityThai Rath, May 20, 1992

Where peace took its last turnThe Nation, May 20, 1992

City braces for more riotsThe Nation, May 20, 1992

No elegance on blood-soaked, battle-scared Rajadamnoern RoadThe Nation, May 20, 1992

Chronology of eventsThe Nation, May 20, 1992

Shootings were in self-defence, says spokesmanThe Nation, May 20, 1992

Cartoon: Joys were goneThai Rath, May 20, 1992

Posted in Black May 1992, Old newspapers | 2 Comments

The pair who changes the world

From Thairath, May 1, 2018
Title: The pair who changes the world.
Mouse man: Suddenly the world cools down.
Mouse: Peace in the region.

[Refers to the unexpected detente between North and South Korea.]

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

Weekly News Magazines: the PM in Buriram, May, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, May 11-17, 2018
Main cover picture: Magic of Sowground
[Refers to PM Prayuth’s trip to Buriram province which is the hometown of veteran politician Newin Chidchob. During the trip, PM Prayuth (pictured right) visited the Chang Arena football stadium, home of Thai Premier League champions Buriram United Football Club (owned by Newin).
Officially he was there to see the preparations for hosting the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, the country’s first “MotoGP” world-class motorcycle racing event.
Although Newin (pictured left) is officially retired from politics, he still maintains political influence, particularly among politicians of the Bhum Jai Thai Party.
PM Prayuth denied that his trip involved political deals between himself and Newin in preparations for the coming elections.
“Sowground” is a Khmer word meaning “very rural.” This word became popular after Thai famous stand-up comedian Udom “Note” Taepanich used it at his talk show.
Here the headline implies that the ruling junta is harassing the power of the rural masses of the Northeast for his election aspirations.]
Top right: Through the eyes of ‘Muslim’ ‘Mo Salah’ who never gave up to become the world’s football player.
[Refers to Egyptian professional football player Mohamed Salah from the English football premier league club Liverpool. He has been praised as the hero of the poor as he helps his hometown and the poor in his country.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, May 11-17, 2018
Main cover reads: Show pow
[Refers PM Prayuth’s latest visit to the northeastern province Buriram. More than ten thousand people gathered in the Chang Arena football stadium, home of the Thai Premier League champions Buriram United Football Club owned by former politician Newin Chidchob.
The PM’s trip illustrates PM Prayuth’s intention to ally with several political groups to offset Thaksin’s influence in the coming election.
This cover illustrates how PM Prayuth (left) shows his power to confront his opponent Thaksin (right).
Thaksin once rode a motorcycle during his trip to visit the northeast province.
Motorcycles are a common sight in the provinces and the sign of the common man there. Thus, politicians on motorcycles are showing their common touch.
The words “Show pow” means “show power” and is a common expression.]

From Manager Weekly, May 12-18, 2018
Main cover reads: Are you [yellow] Fin, [white] uncle
[Refers to PM Prayuth who received a warm welcome from people in Buriram province. His trip to the northeastern province showed his attempt to align himself with several political groups in the coming election.
Buriram is a hometown of politician veteran Newin Chidchob.
The word “Fin” is slang in Thai meaning “happy” or “have a great time.” This word probably comes from the English “finale” referring to the final part of something that is the best or has a happy ending.
The headline asks whether the PM is pleased with the political deals he has made and the reception he received.]
Top: Have an affair… secret loves [black] “Jaolaem-Nong Kae” behind the cancellation of the wedding
[Refers to the break up between super-flyweight champion boxer Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, known as Jaolaem, and his long-time ex-girlfriend Patchareewan ‘Kae’ Kanha (pictured top middle).
Patchareewan insisted that she did not cheat on him as they had split before seeing someone else. Pictured at top right is Kae and her new boyfriend.]
Bottom left: “Mahathir” comes back to power. “Najib” is destined to die. “Anwar” re-surges.
[Refers to the surprising Malaysia election when former PM Mahathir Mohamand unseated scandal plagued PM Najib Razak.]
Right: Slough off “Santana Prayunrat” – “Big person” turns to a “voided person”
[Refers to the arrest of Talad Mai Don Muang market adviser Pol. Lt. Col. Santana Prayunrat (pictured bottom right) due to the charges of extortion of vendors at the market.
The court allowed him to be released on bail, but barred him from leaving the country.
Santana then announced he was taking legal action against three or more police officials he believes are responsible for his arrest.]

Posted in Thai Newspapers and Magazines | Leave a comment

Bully the monk

From Thairath, April 23, 2018
Left: I heard that the monks are attacked by the junta.
Middle: The fact is the monks are investigated by the stock market officials.
Foreigner: Why is that?
Right: They are the managers who transform the temple into a company to speculate in the market without inform the stock exchange market officials.

[This refers to the allegation that senior monks embezzled temple funds. The cartoonist jokes that the monks are like the manager of the company who did not follow the rules of playing the stock market.]

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

AP: Bangkok Post editor ousted for criticizing Thailand’s military government

Editor ousted for criticizing Thailand’s military government – AP, May 15, 2018
…Umesh Pandey said Tuesday that he lost his post as editor-in-chief of the Bangkok Post after a meeting with company executives where he was told that government officials had been pressuring them…

Bangkok Post statement: Committed to editorial autonomy – Bangkok Post, May 16, 2018
…Following the transfer of former editor Umesh Pandey, the Bangkok Post would like to assure readers and the public of our editorial independence and reaffirm that our content, whether published in the newspaper or on other platforms, has never been interfered with by either the government or company executives…

Editor Removed For Mismanagement – Not Junta Pressure: Bangkok Post – Khao Sod, May 15, 2018
…“Things have been accumulating about this issue since late last year already,” Deputy Chief Operating Officer Nha-Kran Loahavilai said in an interview today. “In November, I personally proposed removing him, because his behavior was unfit to be the Bangkok Post editor … But the board gave him a second chance, so I let him stay…”

Editor of Bangkok Post ‘forced to step down’ over coverage of government – The Guardian, May 15, 2018
…An editorial from 14 May, in which the paper criticised the banning of all broadcasts by pro-democracy Peace TV, was said to have been a particular source of contention.
The paper slammed the ban as a “blatant and poorly thought out act of censorship” and added: “The charge used to once again shut down the only popular outlet of a major political force is ludicrous.”
Pandey had also recently wrote a damning op-ed on the military government, who rule as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), led by prime minister General Prayuth…

More on the Bangkok Post:

1992: Black May – Censorship issue of the Bangkok Post

2004: Thaksin’s Senators and Lawsuits: Bangkok Post chooses its words carefully

2004: Bangkok Post editor Veera Prateepchaikul is fired under political pressure

2005: When Thaksin tried to take over the Matichon and the Bangkok Post

2005: Government Threatens Newspapers Over Runway Cracks Story

2006: Bangkok Post’s 60th Anniversary

2014: Bangkok Post Reporter Retracts Interview With Yingluck

2015: CJR conducts a “broad review” of exposé on the Bangkok Post, changes article title

Posted in Thai Newspapers and Magazines | Leave a comment

Good news for the hungry ghosts

From Manager, April 26, 2018
Hungry ghosts: It’s good to hurry up and deal with them… Those people have stolen our merit for so long.
On newspaper: Pongporn submits a complaint accusing 5 monks of misuse of donations
Caption: Good news for the hungry ghosts

[Refers to Pongporn Pramsaneh, director of the National Office of Buddhism, who submitted a complaint accusing five senior monks of siphoning more than 70 million baht from a Buddhism development fund.
Here, “hungry ghosts” who lurk around temples to suck up merit, applaud such action as the dishonesty of the monks was sucking up the merit they should have.]

More: Sucking Ghost

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Thai markets open for the Chinese

From Thairath, April 26, 2018
Title: Seize the merit of Jack Ma
Jack Ma: Thailand open sesame!
On his suit coat: Alibaba
On Prayuth’s shirt: Return the happiness [the junta’s motto]
On the cave door: Investment in Thailand
Phi Nooring: Extending a breath
Mouse: Who will benefit?

[Refers to massive investment plans of Chinese businessman and Alibaba owner Jack Ma. Ma visited Thailand and met with PM Prayuth and signed several agreements with the junta to promote e-commerce. This helped to improve the credibility of the junta on improving the country’s economy.
The cartoon shows Jack Ma opening the Thai markets as if he is in “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and is opening the cave. Prayuth is holding on to Jack Ma’s coattails to give benefit from the deal. In the Thai world this is personified as “seizing merit” or grasping at the benefits.
This cartoonist now always shows Prayuth with a Pinocchio nose to show the repeated delays in having an election.]

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

All About Royal Ploughing Day

Today is Ploughing Day. This ancient Brahmin rite has been celebrated in many ways in Thailand over the years with Buddhist elements added in the Rama IV era.

After being abandoned for many years, the modern one-day version of the ceremony (and reintroduction of the ploughing itself) dates from the 1960s.

The actions of the oxen pulling the plough are said to foretell a good or bad growing season. In recent times large crowds gather at Sanam Luang to witness the event and collect the seeds used in the ceremony for good luck.

Above: We believe this is a report of the first Thai ploughing ceremony since the practice was abandoned in the 1920s. Reporting on the May 2, 1960, event, the Bangkok Post, May 3, 1960 wrote:
Omens Determined From Ceremonies
Not So Much Water; Farang Contacts Grow
Officials Draw Plough After 3 of 4 Bulls Run Away
“…More and more contacts will be made with foreigners. This will help improve the economy of the nation.”

Also note the news item: Kra Canal Digging In Next 3-4 Years

"…illustrated account of this Siamese ceremony, which took place at the residence of Phya Surisak, the High Priest of Agriculture, when no farming will commence until the year is foretold by astrology and the results of the ceremonial ploughing."

Above and below: More photos from the ploughing ceremony in the late-nineteenth century

(Source: Undated postcard)

Above and below: Postcards showing the ceremony in the past – The location of the scene below is "Dusit Park"

(Source: Undated postcard)

(Source: Undated postcard)

Posted in Thai Holidays and Festivals | 8 Comments

More Vacuuming

From Daily News, April 24, 2018
Left: Uncle loves things to look clean… he is vacuuming the dust by himself.
Right: No… what I see is not dust…
On vacuum cleanser: political stronghold
On bodies: Politicians

Another reference to the Political vacuum cleaners

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Invasion of Chinese products

From Arun, April 24, 2018
Title: “Jack Ma” invades Thailand “Profit-Loss”

[Refers to the recent high-profile visits of Chinese tycoon Jack Ma. Many Thais are suspicious that more open trade with China will cause Thai markets to be swamped with Chinese goods that local producers cannot compete with while Chinese companies take all the profits.
The cartoon shows Jack Ma carrying some durians. After the agreement with the government, Chinese consumers bought up 80,000 durians online in a few minutes.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons – Arun | Leave a comment

Fertilizing the junta party with crap of the past

From Manager, April 24, 2018
On the toilets from back to front: Phalang Chon, Democrat, Bhumjaithai, Phea Thai
On the sign by the plant at left: People-state party [this is thought to be the junta’s political party]
Deputy PM Somkid: Mr. PM, you don’t need to be afraid… We got this fertilizer… it will help grow up very fast…
Caption: Faster-grow fertilizer

[Refers to an attempt of the junta to maintain PM Prayuth’s premiership through a political party’s list of prime ministerial candidates rather than hoping he will be chosen as an “outsider prime minister” by the proxy parties.
This means “vacuuming up” MPs factions and political parties just as Thaksin did.
Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak apparently supported this strategy and it is believed that his subordinates formed the party named People-state party to serve this strategy.
In the cartoon, it shows how the junta is trying to absorb the old-guard politicians from various groups to join them for winning the vote.
The cartoonist seemed to be expressing disappointment that the junta, which promised reform, is relying on the dirty political king pins of the past to cling to power.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | Leave a comment

Jack Ma vs Thaksin

From Manager, April 23, 2018
Top, Jack Ma: I took 1 minute to sell eighty thousand Thai durians.
Bottom, Thaksin: Very simple, I took only few seconds to sign and sell half of this country.
Caption: Same face, but capability is still far different.

[Refers to Chinese businessman and owner of Allibaba Jack Ma who recently visited Thailand with a plan to invest in e-commerce. He creates the “Alibaba effect” which was demonstrated when 80,000 Thai durians were sold in one minute.
This cartoonist contrasts this with Thaksin, accusing him of selling off state assets to foreigners during his administration.
Thais think Jack Ma looks like Thaksin and the cartoonist plays on this with the similar drawings of their faces.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Indented Forest, May, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, May 4-10, 2018
Main cover picture: “Indented” power
[Refers to the controversial construction project of judges’ residences built on a forested area on Doi Suthep mountain, Chiang Mai.
The junta has been pressured by the public to handle this issue transparently.
The media calls this controversial construction “indented forest residences” as this construction juts into a forested area on the side of a mountain. The headline uses the phrase to suggest that the construction “indents” PM Prayuth’s power (his photo is all around the construction on the cover).]
Left side: Avenger ‘Kim’ in the view of ‘Num mueng chan’ [author of the column] who changes the world
[Refers to the surprising detente between north Korea and the rest of the world. The author compares the North Korean leader’s role to the “Avengers” movie as his moves cause a change in the world political atmosphere.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, May 4-10, 2018
Main cover reads: Korea ‘North-South’ not the end!
[Refers to an inter-Korea summit that raises hope for Korean unification. Some experts warned that it is too fast to be optimistic as there are still many issues, particularly denuclearization, that need to be solved.]

From Manager Weekly, May 5-11, 2018
Main cover reads: Blood fighting of Naorngdej
[Refers to a squabble of the Narongdej family, owner of the KPN group. Recently, the group issued a statement that accused Nop Narongdej (pictured top middle) of improperly using the Narongdej family name to advance his business in Wind Energy Holdings (WEH).
The statement said that no member of the Narondej family, including Kasem Narongdej (father, left), Krishn Narongdej (Nop’s elder brother, bottom right) and Korn Narongdej (Nop’s younger brother, bottom left), was involved in WEH. Although the family announced they are not involving with Nop, many think that the statement was made to avoid legal charge that might impact the family. This is because, Nop, his wife Poruethai (pictured right) and his father are facing the legal allegations regarding the WEH company.]
Top: Disclose the mission on ‘not demolishing’ indented forest. Change the ‘new person’ to ‘delay’ and send ‘I.O.’ to discredit the ‘anti group’
[Refers to a controversial construction project of judges’ residences build on forested area on Doi Suthep mountain, Chiang Mai.
Recently, the junta appointed the Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana (pictured top) to be in charge of this issue. This illustrates the junta’s attempt to delay the decision on this issue even public surveys show that the public wants this project to be demolished.
There is an Information Operation (IO) from the government apparently trying to spread the news those who oppose the construction are merely Red Shirts who will attack the government on any issue.]
Bottom left: See Top 5 of the most reviewers ‘Woonsen’ is number 1.
[Refers to celebrities who review (and promotes) products through their social media. Virithipa ‘Woonse’ Phakdeeprasong is the celebrity who reviews the most products the compared to others. Recently, this sort of practice has come under scrutiny as illegal or fake products were promoted by some celebrities.]
Right: Look at the treasure of ‘Thailand Post 4.0’ the leading hope amid the war of ‘e-commerce’
[Refers to Thailand Post led by president Samorn Terdthampiboon which hopes to be a major part of the junta’s strategy to ‘Thailand 4.0’ to transfer the country to a digital economy. The ability to quickly and efficiently ship items purchased online is an important part of the strategy.]

Posted in Thai Newspapers and Magazines | Leave a comment

The profits go to the rich

From Manager, April 22, 2018
Left, Jack Ma: I sold eighty thousand durians within 1 minute.
Right, Thai farmer: I sold one durian within eighty thousand minutes.
Caption: Ma takes it all.

[Refers to the concern about expanding e-commerce in Thailand by Chinese businessman and owner of Alibaba. 80,000 durian were sold in one minute through Alibaba websites. This demonstrated the high demand of Chinese people to obtain Thai products.
However, Thai farming and industry have long been structured so that the lowest level laborers receive very little extra benefit even when there is strong demand. This was why Thaksin’s direct subsidized cash handouts to farmers was popular.
The deal with Alibaba raises concern as to whether Thai farmers will really get any benefit from the deal.]

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Premchai and the tusks of the mammoth

From Stephff, The Nation, May, 2018

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Will the elections solve anything?

From Thairath, April 18, 2018
Left, a foreigner: I’m so happy for you that Thailand is going to have an election.
Middle, Thai man: It can be either good or bad news.
Foreigner: How can it be bad news?
Right: Those old-face politicians who are hungry will return to the parliament by using the old means.

[Refers to the upcoming elections in Thailand. The cartoon illustrates the concern that the election will simply bring old-style politicians to return to the politic arena.
These old-style politicians make deal to gain power without regard to ideology or doing anything for the people. Most are multi-generation political-business-mafia groupings that monopolize power in a certain region of the country.
Since the junta took the power, those politicians have had to stay silent on military orders. Those who support the military welcomed the lack of these old political men and their backroom big money deals that always seemed to benefit their allies and cronies.
The cartoonist explains that the old politicians are hungry to gain control of the government again and all the money it can return to them.]

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A good person

From Thairath, April 14, 2018
Title: RIP a truly good person Natee Saravari
On his shirt: Life of Issarachon
On wreath: Activist who helps the homeless and disadvantaged people.
Phi Nooring: Good person must be in the heaven.
Mouse: Sacrificer

[Refers the passing away of well-known activist Natee Saravari, Secretary General of Issarachon Foundation. He was an activist who sacrificed much of his life to help homeless and disadvantaged people.]

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More difficult to bribe the judges

From Thairath, April 13, 2018
Left: As a lawyer, I’m against on constructing the carved out-forest residence far from people.
Middle: If you are a lawyer then what is a reason for your opposition?
Right: The judge should not stay in the far forest. Please sympathize with the lawyer who has to bring a snack to them.

[Refers to the controversy over the construction of judge’s residences that were carved into a scenic mountainside in Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai.
After there was demands from the public for the the junta to use Article 44 to demolish those houses, Deputy PM Prawit refused and insisted that everything has to run its legal course before other actions could be taken.
The cartoonist jokes that the remote location of the development will mean it will take for time for lawyers to travel to the judges to bribe them (bribe being euphemistically described as a “snack”).]

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Infinity war on corruption

From Stephff, The Nation, May, 2018

And appearing later:

From Daily News, May 3, 2018

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Weekly News Magazine: Obsessed with votes from the young, April, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, April 27-May 3, 2018
Main cover picture: New future?
[Refers to famous girl group BNK48 who met with PM Prayuth at Government House. This was a part of a public relations event to promote the Public Relations Department’s Happy Family Radio project, which aims to attract younger listeners to its radio station, FM 105 MHz.
Recently, a lot of famous people were invited to visit PM Prayuth. This leads observers to believe that PM Prayuth is trying to attract younger people to support him as the next prime minister.]

Top: Analyze a game of ‘Jack Ma’ and the ‘Durian effect.’ Who are a winner-losers?
[Refers an analysis of the visit of Chinese businessman and owner of Alibaba Jack Ma (pictured with Prayuth top left). He signed a massive investment deal with the government to help improve e-commerce in Thailand, particularly in the agricultural sector.
One day after his visit, 80,000 Thai durian were ordered through Alibaba which demonstrated a huge demand from the Chinese market.
However, this caused concern as to whether the biog money deals will result in a real benefit to Thai people and farmers.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, April 27-May 3, 2018
Main cover reads: ‘Absorbing’ model
[Refers to PM Prayuth (pictured at right as a pale shadow of Thaksin who is on the left) who is expected to retain his PM post after the next elections.
Recently, the junta appointed two former politicians to the government in what is seen as attempt to build alliances with MP factions.
Sontaya Kunplome, a Phalang Chon Party leader was appointed as adviser to the prime minister on political affairs. His younger brother Ittipol was appointed an adviser to Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat.
This has raised expectations that PM Prayuth is now following Thaksin’s model to attract well-known politicians to his party in order to amass enough MPs to insure he keeps the post of PM.
This is also known as being a “vacuum cleaner.”]

From Manager Weekly, April 28-May 4, 2018
Main cover reads: OTu
[Refers to the junta led by PM Prayuth who met with famous girl group BNK48 at Government House to promote the Public Relations Department’s Happy Family Radio project.
Recently, a lot of famous people, such BNK and the cast from the popular Thai period drama Bupphaesannivas (or “Love Destiny”) were invited to visit PM Prayuth.
This causes speculation that PM Prayuth is trying to attract the votes from young for the upcoming election.
This headline mimics the word “Ota” used among BNK’s fanclub. “Ota” is from the Japanese word “Otaku” meaning a person who is obsessed with something such as pop culture. The word is combined with PM Prayuth’s nickname, “Tu.” So, it becomes ‘OTu’ meaning, perhaps, that the prime minister is obsessed with youth culture in an attempt to gain votes in the next election.]

Top: Phenomenon of [red] ‘jointly delay’ indented forest. Invisible hands VS people’s power
[Refers to a controversial construction project of judges’ residences build on a forested area on Doi Suthep mountain in Chiang Mai. This issue received much attention from the public as it is thought as a test of the junta conern in addressing issues popular with the public.
Although the junta ordered a temporarily stop the project in order to investigate this case, there is concern that the junta may not permanently end this project to return the forest back to the people.
“Jointly delay” refers to this concern as the junta and the judges, probably referred to here as “invisible hands,” may help delay this investigation and the hand back of the land. Then when the public forgets about it, they can move forward again on the construction.
Recently, an interview with Supreme Court judges Sawat Surawattananan and chamnarn Rawiwannapong (pictured at right) showed they supported the of continuing of the project and caused public disappointment.]
Bottom left: “Mohamed Salah” King of Egypt and god of the poor.
[Refers to Egyptian professional footballer Mohamed Salah who plays forward for the English club Liverpool and the Egyptian national team. He is praised as the hero of the poor as he donates funds to help his hometown and the poor in the country.]
Middle: New hope of Kantana planning to buy the channel NOW from the Nation
[Refers to media group Kantana which is planning to buy the NOW channel from the media group Nation to expand their business during the intense competition in the digital TV sector.]
Right: “Danger” of food supplement products
[Refers to the danger of food supplement products which are now popular and easy to buy, particularly from online.]

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Somyot is free

From Stephff, The Nation, May, 2018

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Remember what they did!

From Daily News, April 18, 2018
Title: Turn back the timeline.
Left: Today
Abhisit days: After 4 years of the NCPO [the military junta], reform has failed and the economy has fallen.
Center: On that day
Sound of the whistle: Peep…
Right: Those days
Words next to the ballot box: Boycott the election.

[The cartoonist reminds the readers that the Democrat Party boycotted the last elections with anti-election protesters attempting to blockade polling places. These events eventually resulted in a coup that brought the NCPO to power.
Recently however, the Democrat Party has been distancing themselves from the junta, criticizing its performance and accomplishments.]

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