Remembering the Checks & Balances of the 1997 Charter


Do all Thai roads lead to Singapore?

Yingluck’s Strange Strategy


Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy


How many died in the Thai drug purges?


Changing the Diapers of Politics


The arrest of Kamronwit in Japan


Junta gives up on reform of the police


The Withering of Section 44


During Red Shirt rally, Thaksin kids withdraw 10 billion baht

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The military party deserves a head start

From Naewna, December 26, 2017
Left: New party [shows a man with a soldier’s helmet on indicating a military party]
Right: Old party [shows a man who looks like Democratic Party leader Abhisit]
PM Prayuth: Do not be alarmed, you are an expert. Give a head start to the new party.

[While the traditional political parties are still banned from organizing, critics charge that the nascent military party is being allowed to organize so it is ready to compete in upcoming elections.]

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New Year’s Cartoon: Goodbye year of the rooster

From Thairath, December 30, 2017
Title: Goodbye year of the rooster
[a poem] Goodbye the year of the rooster with the sadness of Thais
He returns to the heaven
70 years on the throne with the ten royal virtues
People are in sadness
More than four thousand projects to help people
His passing away brought sadness to the whole nation
Remember his kindness and he will be in people’s hearts forever
Prayom Zongthong, Composer

[Refers to the Royal Cremation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 26, 2017.]

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Abhisit supported the junta

From Arun, December 26, 2017
Title: Once he realizes it, it is already been too late.
On the box: Arun’s cartoon, Arun Watcharasawad [cartoon column and cartoonist]

[This shows Democrat Party leader former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva. The Democrat Party party gave tacit support to the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to overthrow the Pheu Thai-led government in 2014.
The PDRC is symbolized by the whistle which was blown to symbolize how the protest movement was trying to expose the real intention of the Pheu Thai-led government–to return Thaksin to power.
After the coup, the Democrat Party supported military junta in its efforts to reform the country thinking they would benefit from from the upheaval.
However, the junta created regulations to control political parties which would prevent a party like the Democrat Party from really holding power.
The cartoon illustrates the wrong decision made by the Democrat Party to support the overthrow of the previous government and then embrace the junta.
Instead of benefiting from the change, the Democrats are prevented from holding actual power in a future elected government.]

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They are going to get Prawit

From Manager, December 25, 2017
Reporters: This is his 9th watch… Rolex valued at almost 2 million [baht]… take the picture… Once he steps down from a tiger’s back, we will have evidence to charge him.
The tiger’s strip spell out the initials of the junta: NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order]
Caption: Today they may not be able to do anything to you…
[Refers to Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan who is in trouble after been photographed wearing luxury items which apparently were never declared as part of his wealth. This would suggest to Thais that is Prawit is the recipient of kickbacks and other incentives that are part of the life and fortunes of the powerful.
This cartoon illustrates the idea of those who “ride a tiger find it difficult to get off” meaning a person in a high position finds it hard to step aside because they will no longer have the power to shield themselves from scrutiny and the ramifications of their actions while in power.
This cartoon implies that once Prawit is out of his position he may find himself under fire for his undeclared assets.]

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Blowing up the political parties

From Thairath, December 21, 2017
Title: Thinking that they can’t win… so destroy it!
Inside thought bubble: Military party
On the bomb plunger the man is holding: Return the happiness [the junta’s slogan]
In the boxing ring: Old political parties [shows symbols of rural people (the Muay Thai boxer at left) as well as the Democrat Party symbolized by the hooded figure as the cartoonist blames them for the 2010 protest deaths in Bangkok]
Close to the bombs: Amend the laws to get rid of the members of old parties
On the round bomb: Destroy democracy
Phi Nooring: Being a loser, but likes to overthrow power anyway
Mouse: Dislike a dictator

[Refers to the rumor that the military is forming a party to contest the coming elections. Concerns are that the junta is paving their way for elections by issuing regulations that hurt all political parties including the Democrat Party that long capitalized from political turmoil to gain power themselves.]

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National Anti-Corruption Commission Watch Repair

From Manager, December 21, 2017
On the sign on the back wall: NACC [National Anti-Corruption Commission]
Man: Look at how many watches that you have sent to us, sir… and watches that have not arrived yet… I would have to spend 9 years cleaning all the watches, sir…
Caption: This might be the reason Kui stay for nine more years.

[Critics have ridiculed the fiction that the National Anti-Corruption Commission could possibly investigate the most powerful person in the junta–Deputy PM Prawit–over alleged hidden assets.
The cartoonist shows the NACC chief as a watch repairman, cleaning the ill-gotten assets of the Thai rich.
The cartoonist jokes that his compliant behavior is the only reason the terms of the NACC members were extended to nine years.]

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The government is listening to your complaints

From Naewna, December 23, 2017
On the Hitler mustache: NACC [National Anti-Corruption Commission]
On the ear: Intercept law
Caption: From now on, do not complain that the government ignores the people.

[The cartoon complains about broad new wire-tapping laws that will apparently allow the government to eavesdrop at will.
As the present military junta is under fire for its performance and future governments will be closely controlled by military appointees in legislature, critics believe the new law will be used to crack down on dissent.]

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The worst of politics comes to support PM Prayuth

From Manager, January 3, 2018
Gen. Prem at left: Tu, you used up almost all of your supporters… there are only a few left.
Deputy PM Prawit at right: Don’t listen to him… Tu still has me… Newin… Somsak… the Eel group… and Sasomsup group come to support you.
Caption: Being a younger brother one must listen to the elder.

[Refers to a new year’s message from the President of the Privy Council Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda to PM Prayuth Chan-ocha (whose nickname is “Tu”).
He advised PM Prayuth to commit to his promise to the people and warned him about the decline of his support.
This was after recent corruption scandals within the junta that appeared to be quickly discounted by investigators. This seemed to demonstrate that the junta was no better than the elected politicians they continually denigrate.
In the cartoon, another figure senior to Prayuth, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, tells Prayuth that all is fine as he has recruited the most venal of Pheu Thai and other former Thaksin supporters to support Pryauth’s military party.
These are politicians so duplicitous that even political mastermind Thaksin could not keep them in line.
They reportedly include Newin Chidchop (hounded from political life after betraying Thaksin and backing a Democrat Party-led government) and the grouping of late Banharn Silpa-archa, known as the “eel” for his ability to slip into any government under any circumstances.
The rumors that the junta, which touts its incorruptibility and good morals, would align itself with the most opportunistic elements of the Thai political world, emphasizes the military resolve to maintain control of government after the next elections.]

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Red buffaloes got smarter

From Naewna, December 21, 2017
Red buffalo on the left: Any one of us, red buffaloes, want to go for monitoring Muadjeab’s case?
Red buffalo in the middle: No… they will dupe us again.
Small chicken: Follow me… fighting… fighting…
Caption: Today red buffaloes in the whole country know it… only the white buffaloes can be duped.

[Refers to Sunisa “Jeab” Lertpakawat, former Pheu Thai Party deputy spokeswoman, who was charged for Facebook posts criticizing the government. Sunisa is called “Muadjeab” because of her former position as an army lieutenant.
To refer to a person as a “buffalo” is an insult meaning they are stupid. Here it is used to refer to the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts.
The white buffalo, some with Uncle Sam hats, represent similarly stupid white people (foreigners) who support Sunisa due to the human rights or freedom of speech issues.
The cartoonist implies that Red Shirt followers know now that they are simply used as pawns by billionaire politicians who wish to manipulate political events.]

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Weekly News Magazines: A New Year, January, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, January 5-11, 2018
[The cover shows H.M. King Maha Vajiralongkorn or King Rama X who wished Thais happiness and health in the year of 2018. This is his first time as monarch to deliver a new year’s message to the people.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, January 5-11, 2018
Main cover reads: Look back and forth regarding Thailand
[The article shares comments from various political experts about the future of Thailand.]

From Manager Weekly, January 6-12, 2017
Main cover reads: Who said my supporters were gone
Men on the cover, left to right: Padermchai Sasomsub, PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, Deputy PM Chatchai Sarikulya, others are Padermchai’s siblings
[This photo of PM Prayuth playing golf with former Pheu Thai member Padermchai Sasomsub. Later, PM Prayuth and Padermchai denied the rumor that they were making a political deal to install a military party after the next elections.
This photo posted by former Pheu Thai Party Wattana Muangsuk. The posting raised the alarm among the Pheu Thai faithful that the junta was splitting the party so it could remain in power after the elections.
To those who oppose Thaksin and the Pheu Thai, it meant that the junta had had to align themselves with arch foe Pheu Thai political factions. This seems to demonstrate the hypocrisy the junta has come to symbolize as its cabinet is comprised of under-performing figures as well as those who are enduring corruption scandals.]
Top: Showing the big power in Nakhon Pathom [red] Bags ‘Phi Namphon’ [black] increase (collect) assets
[Refers to Luang Phi Namfon, who is an abbot at Wat Pailom in Nakhon Pathom. He launched a line of amulets shaped like luxurious Louis Vuitton bags called “increase and collect the assets” to improve people’s luck and fortune. Making such bold connections between Buddhism and the accumulation of wealth is increasingly a contentious issue in the wake of recent scandals over the wealth of temples and monks.]
Below left: Firing a pistol into the air showing respect to “King Taksin” [yellow] at “Khao Khun Phanom temple” [white] Not only “Sek Loso” but also “Somchai Wongsawat”
[Refers to an incident in which rock star Seksan “Sek Loso” Sukphimai fired a pistol into the air. He was allegedly found with methamphetamines when arrested.
The article reminds the reader that Sek Loso is not the first one who did such a thing. The author alleges that former PM Somchai Wongsuwan and his wife Yaowapa did this during a ceremony to show their respects to King Taksin.
The veiled reference here is to how the Red Shirt movement has used the similarity between the names of King Taksin (who established a new Siamese state after the fall of Ayutthaya) and Thaksin Shinawatra to allege a mystical connection between the two.]
Right: The day of ‘Suthichai Yoon’ [yellow] Lost [white] If it is not like this, it must be admitted
[Refers to former Nation Multimedia Group executive Suthichai Yoon who lost a court case to the News Network Corporation (NNC) over shareholder control of Nation Multimedia Group. The result of the case left NNC in control and Suthichai’s future at the Nation in question.
This headline mimics Suthichai’s famous quote about news reporting: “if it is not like this, then it is not the Nation.” But in the headline, it illustrates that that Suthichai may have to admit that he has lost control of the media empire he founded.]

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Building Prayuth’s military party

From Manager, December 20, 2017
PM Prayuth: Military party? Why do I have to do it and make myself tired?
Sign on the building: Military party
Caption: Since many people do it for his sake.

[Refers a rumor that the junta is quietly setting up a military-backed party to contest the coming elections. It appears that some figures in the junta as well as Suthep Thaugsuban, a leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), are now trying to gain the support from the public to pave the way for the military party in the next election. However, PM Prayuth has consistently denied such a party is being set up.]

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Let’s support Prayuth!

From Manager, December 19, 2017
Top left: Preed… d… d… d [sound of a whistle blowing]
Top right: We will support Prayuth to be the PM for the next term.
Bottom: Oh!!… we thought the whistle is against Prayuth.

[Refers to recent moves by the former head of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) Suthep Thaugsuban to move his supporters behind a premiership for present PM Prayuth after the next elections.
Suthep’s expressions of support were meant with derision and skepticism by many who helped bring down Yingluck’s administration.]

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EU shaking the bloody hand

From Thairath, December 19, 2017
Title: People who used to love each other enhance their old relationship.
On PM Prayuth’s shirt: We will do as we promise.
On the blood: Government from the coup
On EU’s handkerchief: Democracy
Phi Nooring: A lover who has changed.
Mouse: Don’t just talk the talk.

[Refers to the EU resumption of political contacts with Thailand. These were severed after the coup.
While elections are promised for late in 2018, and this is ostensibly the reason for the EU reversal of position, it is clear from the Thai political world that promises of elections next year are still being met with skepticism.
Other theories are that the EU has to resume ties due to China’s diplomatic inroads into the region.
The cartoonist seems to be lamenting this resumption of relations between the EU and Thailand. Much anti-junta agitation has centered around informing Thai people that Thailand is a failed state with no international friends.]

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Stop taking bribes!

From Thairath, December 19, 2017
The order of Commissioner General to stop the impolite behavior from the police.
Do not lean your arm on people’s cars.
Do not hide behind trees.
Do not stand by crossing your arms.
Do not pickpocket people.

[Like many developing nations, Thailand tolerates a culture of police corruption despite periodic attempts to stamp it out.
This cartoon parodies a recent attempt to modify police behavior. All of the prohibitions listed in the cartoon relate to police efforts to receive bribes without being seen or catch people making infractions so they can solicit bribes (“Do not hide behind trees”).]

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Thailand’s Long Winter

From Arun, December 23, 2017
Title: A long winter
On the box at left: Arun’s cartoon, Arun Watcharasawad [cartoon column and cartoonist]
[Snow falls on Thailand’s Democracy Monument to emphasize the very long wait for a return of democracy to Thailand.]

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Come take responsibility inside the jail

From Naewna, December 16, 2017
Left, Red Shirt leader Nattawut: Burn them all. I’ll take responsibility.
Right: Come take responsibility inside the jail our friend Ten [Nattawut’s nickname]. It is much better than talking about responsibility outside.
[This cartoon references arson threats and suggests that Red Shirts cease agitating for politicians and instead take care of those who acted on the Red Shirt’s behalf and have ended up with long prison terms.]

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Oversight in the time of the junta

From Arun in Matichon, December 15-21, 2017
Inside brown box on the top: Arun Watchasawat [the cartoonist]
Bottom left: Adapted from the picture drawn by GA Harker
Bottom right: Arun 15-22-60
On the windmill: Corruption
On knight’s hat: NACC
[Refers to Don Quixote “tilting at windmills.”
While this usually means to fight imaginary enemies, the cartoon seems to point out the fantasy state of Thai politics, where an all-powerful military junta rules that preaches transparency and accountability.
After a scandal involving allegations of unreported wealth hit key junta member Deputy PM Prawit, the task of investigating this man with unlimited power falls to the National Anti-Corruption Commission [NACC] led by Pol Gen. Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit.
That such a commission could ever touch such a top military man is laughable. This makes the entire exercise, including the expected absolution of Prawit, rather pathetic.]

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Weekly News Magazines: The Year of Toon, December, 2017

From Matichon Weekly, December 29, 2017-January 4, 2018
Main cover picture: Sweet wedding ‘a linkage bridge’
Men on the cover from left to right: Interior Minister Anupong Paochina, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, [couple] Ravi Itiravivong and Voramas Srivadhanaphrabha
Pictures on top left: Suthep Thaugsuban and his family
Mid left: Newin Chidchob (we are not sure if the woman is his wife)
Bottom left, left to right: Pol.Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda, Gen. Paiboon Khumchaya, Interior Minister Anupong Paochina, and another person we cannot identify
Middle bottom: Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak
Bottom right: Vichai Srivadhanaphrabha and his family
[Refers to a very high-profile wedding of Voramas Srivadhanaphrabha and Ravi Itiravivong. The bride is the daughter of King Power tycoon Vichai. There were many junta members and well-known politicians who attended the wedding reception amid rumors of the establishment of a military party.
King Power gained its monopoly during Thaksin’s time as PM and since then the empire has somehow managed to always play both sides of the political fence. Last year there were rumors it was trying to patch up the political rupture between Thaksin and Newin, this year it appears to be in the middle of the military party formation.]

Top right headline: “Historic running” 2,215 km, over a billion [baht] Hero “Toon” Bodyaslam “the real return of happiness”
[Refers to Artiwara “Toon” Khongmalai’s run across Thailand to raise money for 11 hospitals. The donations nationwide reached over a billion baht. He is praised as the country’s hero of the year and leading role for many people to start doing good things for others.
Thai opinion articles have pointed out how Toon’s example contrasts with the evils of elected politicians who only do things for their own vested interests.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, December 29, 2017-January 4, 2018
On the flag: Goodbye year 60 [2017]
Sign held by dog: Hello, year of the dog
On the shirt of the man at left: Toon
Men on the military vehicle, front row: PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan
Back row: Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak
People on the airplane: Yingluck and Thaksin Shinawatra
Man at left: Artiwara “Toon” Khongmalai
[Refers to the news events of 2017. The junta led by PM Prayuth faced several challenges such as the scan dal of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan flashy luxury watch and diamond ring. This seemed to show up the hypocrisy of the junta which pledged transparency and good governance. Former PM Yingluck fled the country before a court verdict on her actions in the rice pledging scheme. Artiwara “Toon” Khongmalai ran from the southernmost to the northernmost points of the country to raise funds for 11 hospitals.]

From Manager Weekly, December 30, 2017-January 5, 2017
Main cover reads: Broken fortune [white] This year using power… next year will be more angry?
Men on the cover: [on the bike] PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, [left] Interior Minister Anupong Paochina [right], Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan
[Refers to the junta led by three influential military men from the Eastern Tiger clique–PM Prayuth, Deputy PM Prawit and Interior Minister Anupong.
This cover jokingly refers to PM Prayuth fortunes in 2018–noting he has pledged to stop displaying a short temper to the media and common people who meet him.]
Top headline: Only being beautify isn’t enough… must be smart, too!!! [red] “Earn-Pattarawadee” [black] Hot girl who became known from the “CUP E”
[Refers to internet idol Pattarawadee “Earn” Boonmeesup who become popular from her bikini pictures in the magazine “CUP E.” Apart from being a model, she also focuses on her studies at a university.]

From Lokwannee, December 30, 2017-January 5, 2018
Main cover reads: Hello the year of dog (Don’t be afraid… I’m not fierce.)
[Refers to PM Prayuth’s saying used during some cabinet meetings. He joked with the people should not be afraid of the junta because the junta is not fierce.
The cover combines several symbols. First is the coming year which is the year of the dog.
The gentle puppy on the cover has tiger stripes to refer to the proverb “when riding on a tiger it is difficult to get off.” It means that a person who is in a high position like Prayuth and afraid to step down because the bad things he did will be disclosed and his immunity to the law might be overturned by a future government. Thus, it is expected that the military is planning to continue to hold power after the next elections.
The reference to a tiger also likely refers to the Easter Tiger military clique that dominates the government and that is opposed to a return to power for Thaksin.]

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Prawit is the lightning rod

From Thairath, December 15, 2017
Left, PM Prayath: If next year the economy doesn’t revive, there is no bureaucratic reform and we can’t get rid of corruption, I commit to be killed by lightning.
Middle, people: Why do you dare to say like that?
PM Prayuth: Because I believe in Phi Pom… [meaning elder brother Prawit, the deputy PM]
Right: Because Phi Pom is a lightning rod.

[Refers to Thai idiom “being a lightning rod” meaning something that becomes the center of the criticism and thus distracts from something else.
Deputy PM Prawit seems to always be in the news for controversial schemes such as military weapon purchases and his apparent wealth.
Critics have long contended that Deputy PM Prawit, whose nickname is “Pom,” draws criticism away from PM Prayuth.]

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The junta’s coal-fired future

From Manager, December 14, 2017
Left: Society 4.0
Right: Energy 0.4
On the plant: Coal

[This cartoon ridicules the policies of the junta. PM Prayuth promises a national strategy called “Thailand 4.0” to convert the country to a modern digital economy.
However, its energy policy rewards old cronies and dirty energy in the coal-fired power plants it is forcing on unwilling parts of the country.]

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Yet still more cartoons on Prawit’s expensive watch

From Naewna, December 8, 2017
Deputy PM Prawit: I’ve never corruptly stolen even one baht. I’m normally rich. [as opposed to be “abnormally rich”]
Caption: Unlocking politics may be carried out later… let’s first unlock the richness?

[Refers to the case of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon’s luxury watch and diamond ring that suggested he had undeclared wealth.
This junta has pledged to reform (“unlock”) politics and return the country to the democracy, but the cartoonist asks them to figure out how Prawit is so rich first.]

From Manager, December 8, 2017
PM Prayuth: Only your body I can hardly carry… then you’re adding the watch to make it heavier.
Caption: He doesn’t have sympathy for the person who carrying him.

[The issue of Deputy PM Prawit’s luxury items has negatively impacted PM Prayuth’s administration. As Deputy PM Prawith is senior to Prayuth in the military clique they belong to and the most influential person in the government, he cannot be easily dismissed from his post.]

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Can’t reach Big Pom

From Daily News, December 8, 2017
On his suit: NACC
On the jar: Accessories of Big Pom [Deputy PM Prawit]

[This cartoon questions whether the National Anti-Corruption Commission can really investigate the case of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon’s luxury watch and diamond ring.
Deputy PM Prawit, whose nickname is Pom, was seen wearing these valuable items that suggested to some that he has vast undeclared wealth.
Later the NACC sent the letter to him to provide an explanation about his assets. Deputy PM Prawit insisted that those items did not belong to him.
The cartoonist questions whether the National Anti-Corruption Commission can really investigate an all-powerful junta figure.]

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Weekly News Magazine: Rusty Jedi, December, 2017

From Manager Weekly, December 16-22, 2017
Main cover reads: The Last Jedi [black] Can it survive?
Men on the cover, top to bottom: PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, Interior Minister Anupong Paochina, Deputy PM Somkid jatusripitak and Pol Gen. Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit
[Refers to an attempt of the junta to extend its power by establishing a military party to contest the coming elections. The cover headline jokes that the junta may be the last of its kind as it is struggling with challenges such as economic problems and the issue of Deputy PM Prawit’s undeclared luxury items.]

Top left: Looking at [red] ‘Messi Jay’ [black] sponsor [red] 20 million [black] isn’t too small
[Refers to Thai famous football player Chanathip “Jay” Songkrasin, known as Thailand’s “Messi Jay” who is now a football player in Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo in Japan’s J1 League. This article asks the question whether his salary of 20 million baht is enough considering his excellent performance.]
Top right: Becoming famous overnight [pink] “Porpeer” [black] Work Point’s reporter [pink] So sexy? [black] was asked to be a mistress
[Refers to Kanwaela “Porpeer” Soa-ruen, a reporter for Work Point TV. Recently, she reported to the police that someone requested that she be their mistress.]
Bottom left: “Can’t accept herself [big] Want to die….” Disclose the crisis of [pink] ‘Yinglee’
[Refers to famous country singer Yinglee who is facing a difficult life due to her health condition.]
Bottom right: It’s a big thing. [orange] “Everyone suffers from the losses” [white] The impact is more than expectation.
[Refers to Thai Health’s campaign on be careful driving on the long holiday “New Year.”

From Siamrath Weekly Review, December 15-21, 2017
Main cover picture: Rust [white] happened inside our body.
People on the cover left to right: Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and PM Prayuth Chan-ocha
[Refers to the political situation of the junta. “Rust happened inside our body” is a Thai proverb meaning that a bad thing that comes from the inside. It implies that the junta’s problems come from their own members. Specifically, the case of the luxury watches Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan has been seen wearing and the question of his wealth. In a normal government, such a person would have to leave his post, but the present government is a military junta and as Prawit is arguably the most influential member, meaning he is immune to normal political or regulatory pressure.
This situation makes the junta’s continual pledges that they are more clean and more accountable that elected governments seem hypocritical.]

From Lokwannee, December 16-22, 2017
Main cover reads: Good people… don’t deteriorate
Cat: Have a little bit of time left.
On the cat: Decline
[Refers to the junta and junta-supporting groups, particularly Suthep Thaugsuban’s group that led the protests that paralyzed the Pheu Thai Party-led government in 2014. After taking power from Yingluck’s elected government, the junta promised to get rid of the corruption and reform the country. They promoted anti-corruption and said that military men were good people who came to help reform the country that had been harmed by bad politicians.
However, as time passed, the junta has been faced with several damaging scandals that seem to contradict their high-flown claims.]

From Matichon Weekly, December 15-21, 2017
Main cover picture: We have already “untied.” What about “you?”
[Refers to the EU which has “untied” all the bans on Thailand which were instituted after the coup and has resumed political contact.
The cover questions PM Prayuth Chan-ocha (pictured) saying that the EU has already untied its strict political measures, so when will the junta untie its power and return a real democracy to the people?]

Top right: Challenge “NACC-people” – Can “Prawit” answer about diamond from mother/watch from friend
[Refers to Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan who remains under public scrutiny after he wore a luxury watch and diamond ring during a group photo of PM Prayuth’s cabinet. The public is closely watching the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) which is investigating this issue as the junta always promotes the transparency and anti-corruption aspects of its rule.
Deputy PM Prawit claims is received the diamond ring from his mom while the watch is from his friend–a claim few believe as hidden wealth and kickbacks are a part of Thai life–particularly among an unaccountable military elite.]

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If not involved in politics, then no need for weapons

From Naewna, December 6, 2017
Thaksin’s son Panthongtae: My family doesn’t want to be involved with politics anymore… Otherwise, we wouldn’t leave all the weapons for you, Uncle Pom, to find. [“Uncle Pom” is Deputy PM Prawit who is in charge of security affairs]
Caption: Don’t need to find out the origin of those weapons… They belong to them.

[This cartoon references Thaksin’s son Pantongtae’s birthday wish for a united family and that his family would not be involved with the politics anymore.
In the past, both the Red Shirts and the Pheu Thai Party have boasted that their members were armed and would resist efforts to unseat them from power.
Periodically arms caches have been found that have been blamed on Thaksin supporters such as a recent discovery that resulted in charges against exile Jakrapob Penkair.
The cartoonist jokes that these caches are being found now because Thaksin has discarded them since he claims he no longer desires to return to political power.]

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Time is money for the military!

From Manager, December 6, 2017
On the watch clockwise: Purchasing submarines 36,000 million, purchasing tanks 2,000 million, purchasing planes 19,000 million and transfer the police 1,000 million
Caption: Time is money… So, it is not weird to wear a 10-million baht-watch.

[Refers to Deputy PM Prawit who in charge of security affairs. Prawit was seen wear a luxury watch and diamond ring. The public questioned how he could afford these based on his asset declarations.
After seizing power, the junta has embarked on a series of big-ticket purchases. The cartoonist suggests that graft, that surrounds all big money projects in Thailand, as the source of the money that supports the lifestyles of top Thai officials.]

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Weighed down by Prawit’s watch

From Arun, December 8, 2017
Inside the box on the top: Arun’s cartoon. Arun Watcharasawat [name of the cartoonist]
Title: Suddenly… it becomes heavier.
On weightlifter: Government
On blue barbell: Politics
On red barbell: Economy

[While the junta is trying to handle economic challenges, now they have to deal with the political problem of Deputy PM Prawit luxury watch and diamond ring which seems to suggest sources of undeclared wealth.
As Deputy PM Prawit is probably the most powerful figure in the junta and the junta holds power by sheer force, he cannot be removed from the cabinet unless he wants to go.
This situations clashes with the government’s pledges that is above reproach and is setting an example of good governance.]

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Thaksin no longer involved in politics?

From Matichon Weekly, December 8-14, 2017
Inside box at top: Konong [name of cartoonist]
Thaksin: Our family isn’t involved with the politics anymore.
Caption: A word from ‘Pinocchio’

[Refers to Thaksin’s son Panthongtae’s Facebook post saying that his family is not participating in politics anymore. Depending on the interpretation, it is either an assertion or a wish what his family has given up politics.
Panthongtae’s Facebook posts have functioned as an official outlet for Thaksin to commenting on political incidents or send general messages to the public on Thaksin’s behalf. Thus, this recent Facebook post was carefully scrutinized.
Statements from Thaksin that he is giving up politics have been made many times–most often right before a major political push from Thaksin himself.
Thus, this new pronouncement about the Shinawatra family and politics was met with derision and the belief that it means Thaksin is indeed preparing himself for another political battle for power.]

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Hot tempered people

From Thairath, December 6, 2017
Title: Everyone… is hot-tempered.

Top left: My hands automatically do it.
[Refers to a case of man groping women on the bus. He was arrested after people took video of him and sent them to the police. He told the police that he did not intent to do it, but once he saw the victim, his hands automatically went to touch the woman’s breasts.]

Top right: Man: Because you honked a horn.
[Refers to a case of elderly man hitting another person who honked a horn at him. Once he was arrested, he told the police that he could not control himself when he did that.]

Bottom: PM Prayuth: Don’t speak loudly to me.
Police: Let’s go for a talk.
On a board held by a man: Thepa mob
Man behind PM Prayuth: Don’t unlock. Don’t unlock.
Phi Nooring: Losing their minds.
Mouse: Should handle with their emotion first.

[Refers to PM Prayuth’s cabinet meetings held in several provinces. There were protests from the local people at one of these events to call on the government to solve their problems, such as stopping the coal-fired power plant in Thepa district.
An elected government expects such protest, but the military controlled government has not tolerated dissent, ostensibly to prevent agitation for those who wish a Thaksin return to power.
However, the protests from those in the South were from those who are traditionally opposed to Thaksin and his policies. But even these people found themselves hauled away by the police before they could confront he prime minister. Also during one of these trips, PM Prayuth berated a fisherman who was asking him to revise fishing laws.
This cartoon likens PM Prayuth to hot-headed old men and perverts who have admitted they have no control of themselves.]

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Pay respects to holy things

From Thairath, December 2, 2017
Left: Prayuth’s 5th cabinet starts its first day of working and we can see that they aren’t better than…
Soldier: …other cabinets we even had.
Man on the right: How did you know?
Right: They don’t have their self-confidence. So, they have to pay respects to holy things to help with with their work.

[Refers to PM Prayuth’s latest cabinet reshuffle creating the fifth iteration of his cabinet.
We think the joke is that the new cabinet does not have the capability to do well in their posts so they have to pray to help them achieve their work.]

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The warmest family in Thailand

From Manager, December 4, 2017
Potjaman: Stop the drama, Oat… even with no father we still have a warm family.
Caption: It should be the warmest family in Thailand

[Thaksin’s family from left to right: Potjaman, Panthongtae, Peathongtarn, Pintongtha.
This refers to Panthongtae “Oat” Shinawatra’s birthday post on his Instragram wishing that his family would be reunited with no one involved in politics.
As Oat’s social media posts have served as an unofficial platform for Thaksin (verifying or denying assertions or alleged conversations, making declarations), the post could be read as yet another signal that Thaksin wishes to return to Thailand. Statements that Thaksin is finished with politics always proceed a new political push from him so this would be read that Thaksin is still engaged in politics and wishes to return.
Anti-Thaksin critics responded to Oat’s post suggesting that the best way for the family to be reunited would be to call for Thaksin to return and face corruption charges.]

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