Shunt the trains carefully

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Above: From Thairath, February 11, 2015
Top left, President Xi Jinping says: Provide a loan with high interest
Top right, President Obama says: Stop martial law
Bottom right, Japanese PM Abe says: Return democracy
Mouse man: True friends
Mouse: Shunt the trains carefully
[The cartoon warns the junta government led by PM Prayuth to manage relationships with the international community well lest they cause the trouble to the country.
The mouse man is artist Sia’s caricature of activist Sombat Boongamanong, whose nickname is Nuling (or “mouse”). He always appears at the edge of Sia’s cartoons, often calling for human rights and reform.]

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

Thailand tourism video Love En Route criticised for featuring Instagram stalker

Thailand tourism video Love En Route criticised for featuring Instagram stalker – Indepoendent, February 28, 2015
…Jennifer Perry, CEO of the Digital-Trust abuse charity, has accused the video’s makers of being naive in their portrayal of what is effectively stalking.
She told The Independent that there are many apps which are geared around people meeting each other, but she warned that like the Love En Route film makers, the creators don’t think like an abuser. They therefore do not realise that they are feeding into a pervading view that it’s OK to pursue someone even if they say no.
…She added that the video reflects a naive attitude towards relationships, and it may have had a different ending if it reflected reality.
“It’s a naive view of the world and a very naive view of women that suggests we want to be pursued, and that as long as you’re persistent and charming you can get them to change you mind and you will end up with her as a prize. We see that in film after film. It’s a common thing. That’s a dangerous myth,” she said.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has not yet responded to a request for a comment.

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Military order displaces police again: Senior police officers moved after Army leads raids on gambling dens

Senior police officers moved after Army leads raids on gambling dens – The Nation, February 28, 2015
…Speaking later, Somyot said the Army units were taking active roles in anti-vice operations because they were authorised to initiate raids under martial law. He said the Army raids were not considered interference in police duties and many raids were joint operations with police taking part.
A team of 50 soldiers and 10 local police raided a network of notorious gambling dens in Bangkok’s Tao Poon area yesterday afternoon, and seized a large number of handguns, betting equipment and narcotics.
…The raids were initially resisted by local residents, who allegedly act as lookouts, as has been reported regularly in news reports over the years. They accused the officials of damaging private property and causing a disturbance after officials hammered down many walls and cut off padlocks, and found the contraband items…

This is the famous Tao Poon gambling syndicate that thoroughly owns the police in the area and has protection from both residents and elected officials.

10 years ago they were shutting them down also: Number’s up for infamous den

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More scapegoats

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From Post Today, February 2, 2015
Goat: Damn it!! We have run now.
[Refer to the late-January bombing at Siam Paragon. The goats symbolic “scapegoats” that the police have been accused of creating after high-profile crimes. Most recently in the Koh Tao murders.]

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Shock ruling: Secured real estate leases to allow foreigners a 90-year lease in Thailand are not valid

Phuket court rules ‘secured’ or ‘collective’ leases are void – thephuketnews.com, February 27, 2015
…The Phuket News’ legal correspondent, Jerrold Kippen, has revealed that not only has the structure been ruled invalid but the courts’ decision may mean that the original underlying 30-year lease, even if registered with the Land Office, is now void – it never existed, leaving the buyer with two handfuls of nothing…

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America, you see… we’re happy

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Title: America, you see… we’re happy.
A tie of the man on the left: NLA
A tie of the man on the right: NRC
On the box lid: Martial law
On the box: Bureaucrat-democracy
Phi Nooring: The way to seek happiness
A mouse: Quickly return the democracy to us.
[Refers to the junta government’s reaction to the call of the US to end martial law. The junta government led by PM Prayuth insisted martial law was needed to prevent the violence. The military, the National Reform Council (NRC) and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) are the main actors having significant roles in governing the country under the junta government. In the picture, the man on the left is Mr. Pornpetch Wicitcholchai, a NLA president, while the man on the right is Mr. Tienchay Kirananda, a NRC president.]

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Red Shirt Digital Economy

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From Manager, February 8, 2015
Above in the black box: Monday long cartoon story by Nga
Title: Digital Economy Continue reading

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Same as ISIS

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From Thairath, February 4, 2015
Left: Your movements that are trying to intervene in Thailand’s internal affair shows that you are in the same group with ISIS.
Middle: What make you think that I’m the same group with the ISIS?
Right: Because your behaviors are “I-idiot” and “S-stupid.”
[This cartoon plays with the sound of “I” and “S” from the word “ISIS.”]

Another U.S.-ISIS editorial cartoon

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Follow the old charter or not?

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From Thairath, February 9, 2015
Left: Man 1: Why can’t the NLA remove two former Senate and House speakers and one former PM? [meaning the retroactive impeachment of Yingluck and parliament speakers for breaking the rules to allow constitutional amendments to be forced through]
Man 2: I’m a lawyer. I insist the rights under the Constitution 50 [the constitution of 2007] are already terminated. [meaning that it makes no sense to impeach politicians who served under a constitution that has been abolished]
Right: Soldier: Now, there is the order not to allow people to gather to meet [and thus show support] with the suspect who allegedly made a fake royal statement.
A fat man: I’m a lawyer. I insist on my rights under the Constitution 50 [the constitution of 2007].
[Refers to the Red Shirt lawyers who insisted on referring to the previous constitution in some cases, but not in others. Then National Legislative Assembly (NLA) recently impeached Yingluck from office, but former Senate speaker Nikorn Wairatpanij and former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont survived the impeachment. Later, the Red-Shirt member was accused of spreading a fake Royal declaration.]

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You’re so mean, dictator

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From Komchadluek February 111, 2015
Yingluck: What!! I just want to go to Hong Kong for rice porridge, not going to China to watch the Olympic Games.
Words on the right: You’re so mean, dictator
[Refers to Yingluck’s request in February to travel abroad to Hong Kong. The request was denied. In 2008, Thaksin left the country on the pretext of attending the Olympic Games in Beijing. However, he instead jumped bail and has lived in exile ever since.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Komchadluek | Leave a comment

Stop using drugs and go back home because your family is waiting for you

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The billboard reads: Go back, son… “miss you”
On blur band at the bottom: Bangkok is safe from drugs, The safe city, Love Bangkok, join hand to build Bangkok, Mr. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Bangkok Governor
[This is a part of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s campaign to improve the image of the city. The meaning is that young men using drugs should give up the practice and return home to their families.]

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Uncle Sam and Yingluck

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From Komchadluek, February 4, 2015
Uncle Sam: Listen, now the world is besieging you. Please return democracy to us.
Sign over the house: Thailand
[Yingluck stands behind Uncle Sam. The U.S. envoy’s meeting with Yingluck, carried on the front pages of Thai newspapers was deeply embarrassing to the junta that had tried to portray to the public that she was inconsequential and finished in politics.]

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Big Men Always Go Too Far

ThaiBook Download a free chapter from The Thai Book, A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations: “Big Men Always Go Too Far” (pdf)

The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations is available in the Kindle Store.

Posted in 2014 Coup, Analysis, Thai Politics | 1 Comment

Why the country can’t move forward

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From Naewna, January 31, 2015
Title: Because we have the politicians like this… That is why the country can’t move forward!!!
Above the soldier: NCPO [the junta]
Above the feet (representing politicians) from left to right: Corrupt, revolt, protest, agitate and slave
[Refers to the Thai idiom “(they) don’t help, when instead of using their hands for rowing the boat, they put their feet in the water instead.” It means people who don’t help, but try to cause trouble.]

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Why are they killing Chatuchak Market?

Chatuchak Market has a relatively short history. Bangkok’s weekend market was originally located at Sanam Luang until the 1980s when vendors were gradually forced to relocate to the new location at present day Chatuchak Market.

The new location is on land expropriated from farmers for a new, modern Bangkok train terminal (replacing Hualampong). However, the land somehow ended up in commercial hands as the site of commercial developments like Central Lat Prae and Chatuchak Market. The enduring uproar of expropriated land ending up benefiting wealthy families is reflected in the 1997 constitution when the use of expropriated land for commercial purposes was prohibited (this immediately generated more controversy when the subway authority attempted to develop their massive expropriations around Rama 9 Road into commercial buildings).

Governments or agencies that can wrest valuable property from its intended use can reward cronies with the development. Chatuchak Market has long been seen as a prime candidate for this sort of scheme. During the Chavolit Yongjiyut government, PM Chavolit pushed a “preservation” of the beloved market that would have seen it all redeveloped into condominiums.

In recent years, the tussle over the site between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA, Bangkok’s city hall) and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), along with the Central Lat Prae land, is part of this enduring dream to somehow find a way to close the market and redevelop it.

The unusual point of the article below–that the Chatuchak Market landlord (SRT) would rather that shops sit idle because rents are too high rather than have them rented out at market rates–indicates the overall goal of killing the market.

SRT has one goal with Chatuchak Market–manage it in a way that that kills its viability. Then they can justify the redevelopment of the area into a commercial/residential complex. Such redevelopment has already been eating at the edges of the market with multistory buildings replacing traditional shops.

Chatuchak vendors sold short in struggle for survival – Bangkok Post, February 22, 2015
…But, some 30 years after he first set foot inside the market, he’s scared members of the younger generation will not be afforded the same possibilities.
“Walk into the middle zone of Chatuchak and you’ll see plenty of shops closing down,” he told Spectrum. “In the next couple of years, we could see the end of Chatuchak as we know it. It is a shame…”

Posted in 2Bangkok News, Analysis | 1 Comment

The Statue of Liberty and Thailand

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From Komchadluek, February 2, 2015
Soldier: I would like to invite you to participate in attitude readjustment.
[This mocks with the junta government’s means of reconciliation where it requires dissidents including Red Shirt leaders and anti-junta government groups to report to the army for “attitude readjustment.” After the criticism the junta endured from the U.S. at the end of January, the military likely would wish it could summon U.S. officials for “attitude readjustment.”]

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From Komchadluek, January 28, 2015
Statue of Liberty: When will you end martial law?

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From Komchadluek, February 2, 2015
Thai giant: Frankly speaking, I don’t like what you have done to me.
[Refers to criticism from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Daniel Russel on former PM Yingluck’s impeachment and martial law.]

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From a graphic circulated on social media: “Martial law” is implemented in Thailand to protect Thai people from riots. It’s not implemented in the U.S., so stop interfering!!! Go back to your country to deal with racism and pay your debt to China, “asshole.”
[After the remarks of US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel about Thai political situation, the junta government expressed their disappointment and called on the US to stop intervening in other countries’ internal affairs.
This is an example of online speech criticizing the U.S. position in Thailand.]

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From Nop, January 30, 2015

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From Post Today, February 1, 2015
On the banner: Martial law

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71.2 percent do not think Thailand is ready for an election

Thailand not ready for election yet: survey – The Nation, February 22, 2015

[What’s behind this? Every week there are articles floating this trial balloon: Four years for Pryauth?]

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Seven Years Ago: Samak Denies the 1976 Massacre

Above, the turmoil of Samak as PM: from Komchadluek, September 5, 2008
The headlines read: Samak turns the game to avoid Army resistance – Seizing back power to prevent Anupong from staging coup – Orders forces to suppress the people – No resignation, no parliament dissolution – “Tej resignation is due to his wife” – Move on public referendum [for constitutional amendments]

It was seven years ago this month that the Thai political world was reeling over the appointment of Samak Sundaravej as prime minster of the Thaksin-directed People Power Party.

As one of the key villains of the right-wing backlash against left-wing students in the 1970s, it was a shock to find this person suddenly at the head of government. However, as a politician with no discernible political faction nor backing of any kind, he was the perfect candidate to serve as a PM placeholder who would only be loyal to Thaksin.

The People Power Party was no Pheu Thai Party–it had no promises other than a mantra that the country was in crisis and no governing could be done until the constitution was amended. Cabinet meetings presided over little governing except to approve government honors and promotions of officials.

After his appointment as prime minister, Samak was hammered by the press over the details of his involvement in the 1976 right-wing campaign that resulted in a raid of Thammasat University and a massacre of protesting students. Samak tried to downplay the events to the international press and bully local reporters who attempted to confront him (much in the same way Chalerm does).

Halfway through the People Power Party government era in 2008, Samak did attempt to double-cross Thaksin. He built a coalition of political figures who wanted the government to govern rather than wait until after the constitution was amended when a new government, presumably headed by a rehabilitated Thaksin, would mean everyone would be that much further down the political ladder.

Samak failed in this attempt and was later disqualified by the courts for a conflict of interest over his hosting of a cooking show and falsifying documents related to his employment on the show. He died a little more than a year later of liver cancer.

From 2007: Samak spits venom as Thaksin’s nominee
From 2007: 30,000 people walk out on Samak speech
From 2008: Will Sutham call Samak over Oct 6 truth?
From 2008: Samak’s atonement
From 2008: The upcoming Samak government
From 2008: Samak becomes pale when shown his picture taken with Prapass
From 2008: Don’t twist the history of the 1976 October 6 Massacre!
From 2008: STUDENT MASSACRE: Historians reject PM’s ‘distortions’
From 2008: The Prime Minister’s problems
From 2008: Samak, don’t be such a @&&%# coward
From 2008: Angry Reaction to Samak’s ‘Suu Kyi is a Tool’ Remark
More: Thammasat University Massacre
And from 2003: Samak: Just shoot bothersome jumbos

MORE: All about Samak: photos, cartoons and news items

Posted in Analysis, October, 1976, Today in History | Leave a comment

How Line is turning Instagram into an ecommerce app in Thailand

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[This is a must read article… This business model is incredibly common at present.]

How Line is turning Instagram into an ecommerce app in Thailand – techinasia, February 20, 2015
…It works like this: a merchant creates an Instagram account and posts photos of their wares. Merchants selling women’s fashion seem to be the most common, but I did notice other product categories among Thai shoppers. A merchant on Instagram usually mentions what he or she sells in the bio and includes a Line ID.
Consumers that stumble across the Instagram page and like what they see use Line to contact the merchant and ultimately make an online transaction. By using Line, merchants are able to engage directly with each prospective customer and build trust. By way of this interaction over Line, the merchant and the customer complete the transaction, agreeing on the product, any potential discounts, and even payment terms. Consumers in Thailand prefer this method because it gives them a direct contact with a live person, not an anonymous online shopping cart…

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment

World newspapers insist on return to democracy now

This was another one of those weeks when several newspapers, almost in unison, published editorials claiming the junta is losing its grasp on power and then demanding that democracy immediately be restored.

Thailand’s ineffective rule by force – Washington Post, February 19, 2015
[Washington Post warns that Prayuth may start killing soon… However, it is the rarest of newspapers–one that tells its readers what the junta’s actual intent is–stopping Thaksin–rather than glibly insisting that Prayuth is paranoid and only interested in stopping democracy.]
…Junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha lamely protests that, unlike the military-backed regime of Egypt, his has not killed anyone. But given his reactionary plan to permanently hobble democracy, even that dubious distinction may not endure much longer.
The army is attempting to accomplish something it has failed at twice before: a political system that eliminates the influence of the Shinawatra family, which has won every election in Thailand since 2001…
…Mr. Prayuth should get the message that in the absence of meaningful steps, starting with the lifting of martial law, the Thai military will lose its relationship with the United States, including future exercises. If the Obama administration is unwilling to act, Congress should step in.

Liberty Dies As Thailand’s Military Monopolizes Power: Junta Dispenses Repression Instead Of Happiness – Forbes, February 18, 2015
[Another strangely flip editorial from Forbes. It is generally identical to an earlier one published in December that we commented on here.]
…“We are building democracy everyday” proclaimed dictator Chan-ocha. No, he isn’t. Instead, “Mr. Happy” and his cronies are bringing smiles to self-interested elites, not the people.

The Guardian view on military rule in Thailand – The Guardian, February 19, 2015
…The attempt to fix the country’s political future should be abandoned. A return to democratic rule is overdue.

Democracy, Thai-Style – bostonreview.net, February 19, 2015

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Democracy or Corruption?

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From a graphic circulated on social media: Left: “We don’t take sides, but we would like to see Thailand return to democracy.” W. Patrick Murphy, the US charge d’ affaires of the US Embassy in Thailand
Right: Democracy?
Caption: Only when the US stops calling corruption “democracy”, then the problem will end.
[At right is an image showing a warehouse with a fake interior intended to overstate quantities of rice. Critics contend that the rice pledging scheme was an attempt to use taxpayer money to reward Pheu Thai supporters and enrich its MPs to ensure government stability until a Thaksin amnesty could be granted.]

Posted in 2014 Coup, Anti-Americanism | 1 Comment

10 Years Ago: Thaksin victory puts Thai media in jeopardy

10 Years Ago: Thaksin victory puts Thai media in jeopardy

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11 Years Ago Today: Bangkok Post editor fired under political pressure

11 Years Ago Today: Bangkok Post editor fired under political pressure

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Hung out to dry

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From Komchadluek, January 25, 2015
Words read: Rice-pledging scheme.

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Which is the fake democracy?

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From Thairath, January 31, 2015
Title: Which is the fake democracy?
Paper held by U.S. envoy Russel at left: Call for the democracy for Thai people
[Chukiart Rattanachaichan, the NLA spokesman, wears a Superman costume. The hand clapper and whistle are a symbol of anti-Thaksin groups.]
On the coat: Democracy
On the logo on his chest: NLA
On the shirt: Appointed
Phi Nooring: He thinks he’s a superman.
A mouse: This is his happiness.
[The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) invited representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Thailand to a discussion after Assistant Secretary of State, Daniel Russel made a comment on the Thailand’s political situation. The U.S. representative, however, declined the invitation.]

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

Letter to the U.S. from Thailand

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From an image circulated on social media:
You have aircraft carriers… while we have our country to protect.
You have a power to occupy… while we have a morality to adhere to.
You support a bad person… while we fight with them without being afraid of them.
You focus on your interests… while we focus on righteousness.
You say a lie to help your friend… while we dare to fight it.
You use democracy as your excuse… while we will blow a whistle loudly.
Stop supporting people who are corrupt… stop insulting.
“Stop supporting Thaksin’s regime or our friendship will end.”
Love you, Thailand
28 Jan 2558 (2015)
[Refers to a U.S. envoy’s comments on Yingluck’s impeachment that lead some Thais to believe that the U.S. was taking sides with Thaksin.]

Posted in Anti-Americanism | 1 Comment

The US warns

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From Naewna, January 30, 2015
Uncle Sam says: The US warns Thailand to stop impeachment or lawsuits against the most corrupt family who comes from the election because it is not democratic.
Caption: Who says that there is no place for corrupt people in society?
[Refers to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Daniel Russel’s remarks on former PM Yingluck’s impeachment.
“No place for corrupt people in society?” ironically references the famous “good people can’t live in this country” quote used by Red Shirt leaders to eulogize anti-monarchist Col. Apiwan Wiriyachai. Apiwan was nicknamed “Col. Romanov” for his fiery history lessons explain how a people’s movement massacred the Russian royal family.
More here: Good people can’t live in this country]

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Thaksin brother-in-law and former PM Somchai: No reconciliation without amnesty

Former PM Somchai says reconciliation must involve amnesty – ThaiPBS, February 18, 2015
…He noted that amnesty should be an integral part of reconciliation as there were people who were imprisoned or punished for political offences. “If reconciliation is to be realized, this (amnesty) has to be accepted,” he said.
Former Palang Prachachon party MP Suthin Klangsang, meanwhile, said that the powers-that-be now had no intention whatsoever to restore reconciliation, citing the criminal litigation being employed against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Mr Somchai…

Thaksin ‘ready’ for talk, but not Prayut – The Nation, February 17, 2015
…Thaksin, however, has said he is ready for such talks, a Pheu Thai Party source said yesterday. The ex-PM’s only condition was that he wanted to talk to someone with the power to make decisions, so that any agreement reached can be put into practice, the source said. “Thaksin has been fooled many times already. Such talks often failed in the past, so he wants people with actual power to talk with him,” the source said.
Thaksin wants the country to be peaceful and to move forward, the source said…

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The Eagle’s Message

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From Post Today, January 29, 2015
On the tank: Martial law

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Eight Years Ago: Thai Society Horrified Over Sexy Dress

Eight Years Ago: Thai Society Horrified Over Sexy Dress

The sexy dress – The story that will not die

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