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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It’s only about Thaksin

From Manager, January 3, 2019
Caption: Three parties are fighting hard for their party policy.
Left, holding a sign reading Pheu Chart Party: Choose my party in order to bring Thaksin home.
Center, holding a sign reading Pheu Thai Party: No… my party has a clear policy in bringing Thaksin home.
Right, holding a sign reading Thai Raksa Chart Party: Don’t believe them… only my party… that would bring Thaksin home in style.

[Since the new constitution essentially penalizes large parties in parliament, Thaksin supporters have been strategically divided among a number of smaller parties. This has several other advantages such as mitigating the threat of dissolution that the Pheu Thai faces for allowing itself to be “influenced” by people overseas (in this case Thaksin) and also to create more party list posts to protect Red Shirt leaders who have agitated on Thaksin’s behalf.

Here the cartoonist makes fun of recent statements made by politicians. He contends that these political parties and the elections are only marginally about party policy or democracy and instead are about the perennial quest to return Thaksin to power.

Yongyuth Tiyapairat, one of the founders of the Pheu Chart Party, has been openly sparring with the junta, demanding they negotiate with Thaksin directly and pledging that his party will find a way to bring Thaksin home. This is exactly what previous parties, like the People Power Party and the Pheu Thai, have pledged before elections in the past.

The party that led the last elected government, the Pheu Thai Party, has lost many influential members both to the new pro-Thaksin parties and to pro-military parties which oppose Thaksin’s return.
The de facto leader of the Pheu Thai, popular politician Sudarat Keyuraphan, has attempted to bolster her party in the face of rumors that Thaksin has abandoned it with so many politicians moving to other parties.
Sudarat is consistently one of the most popular politicians in the country, but has faced resistance in her attempts to gain control of the Pheu Thai.
As a non-Thaksin relative with her own political base, she is unlikely to follow Thaksin’s orders from abroad, thereby complicating his efforts to return to politics. She is also hated by the traditional rural political cliques that make up the party. She has her political base around Bangkok, making her far removed from the kingpins and voters in the Northeast that comprise the party base.
Thaksin’s son Panthongtae, once expected to join one of the new pro-Thaksin parties, instead joined the Pheu Thai. This was seen as a way for Thaksin to show he was not abandoning the party.

The Thai Raksa Chart is another new party, this one created as a home for the Red Shirt leadership. One benefit of this is to create more party list MPs posts for non-politician Red Shirt leaders.
Most Red Shirts leaders are not actual politicians who have home districts where they are elected. They were recruited in past years to agitate, sometimes violently, in support of Thaksin initiatives. After elections, these individuals received legal protection, as well as political positions, by being appointed party list MPs under the Pheu Thai.
However, the new charter limits the number of party list MPs meaning that Red Shirts leaders have no guaranteed path to be MPs and legal protection within the Pheu Thai. Thus, Thai Raksa Chart can provide MPs posts for important Red Shirts.
It will also likely ease the complaints of more mainstream politicians in the Pheu Thai who felt uneasy about sharing a party with Red Shirts and their sometimes extreme rhetoric.
Officially, the Thai Raksa Chart says it has no connection to the Pheu Thai Party or Thaksin. However, the party’s acronym pronounced phonetically reads “Thaksin Shinawatra.” The party logo, like the logo of all parties Thaksin has controlled, is similar to the Pheu Thai and Thai Rak Thai logos. Thus, the party clearly wants to send the message that it is Thaksin’s party despite what it says publicly.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Election Delay, January, 2019

From Manager Weekly, January 5-11, 2019
Main cover reads: King’s coronation. National sacred royal ceremony

[Refers to the official coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn or King Rama X who will officially crowned in a coronation ceremony on May 4-6, 2019.]

From Matichon Weekly, January 4-10, 2018
Main cover reads: [top] 26 Feb 2500 Election ‘dirty’! [bottom] 24 Feb 2552 Election ‘Clean’?

[Refers to the coming election which was originally set on February 24, 2019. There is continuing concern that the junta, led by PM Prayuth (pictured at bottom) may delay the election to stay in power longer.
The cover compares the transparency of the coming election under the junta comparing with what is considered one of the country’s worst elections during the rule of PM Plaek Phibunsongkhram (pictured top).]

Top: Happy [blue] fight the golden pig year [orange] about the [green] transparent election
[Refers to this year–the year of the pig–in which the most important event will be the election. Recently, many groups have called on the junta to not further delaying the election.]

From Lokwannee, January 4-11, 2019
Main cover reads: What my country’s got: everything (except the date of election)
[white letters] NACC
[black alphabet] EC

[Refers to controversial rap song entitled “What my country’s got” which criticized the junta and the independent agency National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). Recently, the NACC cleared Deputy PM Prawit of a luxury watch scandal. Meanwhile, the junta is noting that the election date might again be postponed.]

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China supports the junta?

From Thairath, December 20, 2018
Left, men (their silhouettes seem to indicate they are meant to be Red Shirt leaders or anti-junta activists): We must invite the America to observe the election because there are some parties…
Middle, men: …receiving funds from China to support Big Tu [PM Prayuth] to extend his power.
Head of the village: Do you have any evidence?
Right, men: Palang Pracharat and Ruam Palang Prachachart [pro-junta political parties] announced they would raise funds from Chinese dinners.

[Some anti-junta activists suspect that the junta has made a deal with China to support Prayuth’s return to power after the elections. We think the joke here is that the only evidence of Chinese support is a political dinner to raise funds for pro-junta parties which served Chinese food.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Chai | 1 Comment

Beijing treads carefully when scions of Thai political dynasty arrive in China in search of their roots

Beijing treads carefully when scions of Thai political dynasty arrive in China in search of their roots –, January 7, 2019
…Yingluck posted video of their arrival on her Instagram account on Sunday, complete with a caption that said: “Chinese people flocked to welcome Thaksin and Yingluck, who came to pay respect to their Chinese ancestors.”
In the video, the sister and brother get out of a black car accompanied by an entourage of men in black suits. Chinese residents were eager to press flesh with the pair, while Yingluck and Thaksin smiled and chatted…

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Dangerous animals will take you

From Arun, Matichon Weekly, December 14-20, 2018

Man: Want to continue going… then, please.
[We are not sure who the man is, but the cartoon references the “dangerous animals” of Thai politics and how they have lined up to help the military junta stay in power even after elections.]

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Who did France copy?

From Manager, December 9, 2018
Yellow Shirt man on the left: See, those protesters in France copy our yellow color.
Red Shirt man on the right: Haa, I don’t need to tell those burning the country who copied whom.
[Refers to the yellow vest protests in France. The cartoonist jokes that, while they wear yellow, their violence more closely matches the Red Shirt protests in Thailand in 2009 and 2010.]

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Thaksin can no longer sue

From Naewna, December 7, 2018
Above the pliers: Abolish the right of a person who is very corrupt and fleeing [the country] so they can’t file a court [case].
Caption: A canine tooth has already been pulled out. Then, whom I will?

[Refers to the The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) passing into law a bill that does not allow a convicted person who flees his or her sentence the right to file criminal suits.
For years PM Thaksin has been able to run governments and protests while living overseas to escape prisons sentences while also filing legal cases against his critics in the country.
This new law is meant to prevent both fugitive former PMs Thaksin and Yinguck from harassing people with libel suits and other legal cases.]

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Weekly News Magazines: All about politics, December, 2018

From Siamrath Weekly Review, December 21-27, 2018
Main cover reads: This hour for [red] devil class
[Refers to a intense competition among the parties to win the coming election. Parties such as the Democrat Party led by Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) and Pheu Thai Party headed by de-facto leader Sudarat (pictured) are expected to perhaps join forces to balance or even block the formidable pro-military block from gaining power. Also pictured to the right is Anuthin Charnvirakul from the Bhumjaithai Party–thought to be pro-junta, but such a party only exists to be in power so they will try to join in any coalition they can.
Also: an earlier editorial cartoon speculating on a junta-Democrat alliance
Also: Another Thai news weekly dies as this week is the last for Siamrath Weekly Review.]

From Matichon Weekly, December 21-27, 2018
Main cover reads: Welfare… state
In the picture, pro-Prayuth politicians are on the left consisting of Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana from the Palang Pracharath party, Suthep Thaugsuban from the Action Coalition for Thailand Party, Kanchana Silpa-archa from the Chat Thai Party and Anuthin Charnvirakul from the Bhumjaithai Party.
On the right, the pro-Thaksin alliance consists of Sudarat Keyuraphan from the Pheu Thai Party, Chaturon Chaisang from Thai Raksa Chart Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit from the Future Forward Party, and others we do not know.
[The cover uses the pronunciation of the word “Ratsawatdikan” or “welfare state.” Ratsawatdi-ka-ka-kan is an echo sound. “Ka” also means to make a mark. So the words means that all the parties are trying to promote the welfare state for attracting voters.
Most political parties including the pro-Prayuth alliance and pro-Thaksin alliance promote various money giveaways to the public in order to win support, particularly from the poor.]
Top: ‘Good books’ coming to you. ‘Matichon’ joins hands with ‘BEM’ giving away 40 free titles of 3,000 books activity Book [email protected] MRT X’mas Festival
[Refers to a free book giveaway at subway stations.]

From Manager Weekly, December 22-28, 2018
Main cover reads: Steamed bun is an alarmist.
[Refers to Thaksin’s sister Yaowapa Wongsawat. Recently, there was a rumor that she is planning to flee Thailand as she is afraid she will soon be charged over the rice pledging scheme.
To be called “steamed bun” means she has a chubby face. As the most powerful behind-the-scenes politician during the Pheu Thai-Yingluck government era, Yaowapa was often characterized as a stereotypical fat Chinese woman becoming fat from corruption.]
Top: My Hero 2018 [black] “Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn” “Chief Vichien Shinawong”
[Refers to hero of the year selected by Manager consisting of former Governor of Chiang Rai Narongsak Osottanakorn [right] who played an important role in the cave rescue along with wildlife sanctuary chief Vichien Shinwong (left) who dared to apprehend tycoon Premchai Karnasuta on charges of allegedly poaching protected animals.]
Bottom left: Without [yellow] “Doctor Sert” Miss Universe 2018 could not occur
[Refers to Thai billionaire businessman and former surgeon Prasert Prasarthong. He was the main sponsor of the Miss Universe 2018 pageant in Thailand.]

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Pheu Thai’s heart

From Manager, December 5, 2018
Sudarat: Pheu Thai Party… Our heart is the people.

[The heart shows the face of Thaksin who is known as the “owner” of the Pheu Thai Party. Pictured along with Sudarat are other infamous party members such as Chalerm (giving the finger) and his notorious wild-eyed, mustachioed son.
The party has experienced an exodus of important political members in recent months, leading some to conclude the party as a force in politics is finished and Thaksin is no longer interested in it.
This has led to public statements from key members like Sudarat to affirm the party is still an important force. Thaksin’s son, instead of being a member of the new Red Shirt political party, joined the Pheu Thai which is thought to indicate Thaksin has not given up on the party.]

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Pro-Junta groups and the pro-democratic groups

From Thairath, December 1, 2018
Title: This time… is the easiest for voting
Poster on the left: Love democracy
Poster on the right: Support the dictatorship
Phi Nooring: Whichever party you like, then you can choose.
Mouse: Call for returning democracy
Lizard: Don’t change the color

[Refers the coming election in next year. The cartoon shows that there are two overall groups competing in this election. One is the pro-junta groups and the other is the pro-democratic groups.
The lizard refers to the Thai proverb “a lizard changes the color” that refers to a person, particularly a politician, who radically changes their own views or ideas for their own benefit or to join other groups, particularly to win an election.]

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Abandoning their ideology and betraying the people

From Thairath, November 29, 2018
Title: Over-qualified
On Sontirat Sontijirawong in the center: PPP [he holds up a photo of PM Prayuth]
On his scarf: Take advantage over other parties
On scarves from left to right: Manage to survive; Abandon their ideology; Betray the people; Support the dictatorship; Be pressured by [legal] charges; Want the [governmental] positions; Receive a bribe
Phi Nooring: Build an abnormal politics.
Mouse: Make it become disgusted…

[Refers to the new party Palang Pracharath, a group set up to be the core political party supporting Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to remain as prime minister. The party consists of existing government ministers Sontirat Sontijirawong, Uttama Savanayana, Suvit Maesincee and Kobsak Pootrakool.
The cartoonist points out the allegations that these people have abandoned their principles by supporting military control of politics, were pressured by legal cases against them and are ambitious to gain government posts.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Bike for Love and Warmth, December, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, December 14-20, 2018

[Pictured is HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn who presided over the opening of “Un Ai Rak: Bike for Love and Warmth.” Accompanied by his daughters he rode through the capital with thousands of participants and spectators. Similar events were held simultaneously in other parts of the country.]

From Manager Weekly, December 15-21, 2018
Main cover reads: Un Ai Rak

[HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn presided over the opening of “Un Ai Rak: Bike for Love and Warmth.” The royal family wore Thai traditional dress. People are encouraged to wear Thai traditional dress to embrace the country’s heritage and nostalgia.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, December 14-20, 2018
Main cover reads: Release the ghosts!
On the cover, back row, left to right: Somsak Thepsuthin, Suriya Jungroongruangkit–former ministers during Thaksin and Yingluck administrations who have joined the pro-junta party Palang Pracharat Party to support PM Prayuth (top right)
Front, left from right: Sudarat Keyuraphan from the Pheu Thai Party, Abhisit Vejjajiva from the Democrat Party and Suthep Thaugsuban from the pro-junta party Ruamphalang Prachachartthai Party

[The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO, the junta) recently lifted restrictions on political activities.
This cover jokingly (or cynically) compares politicians to the hungry ghosts of Chinese folklore who haunt the land and steal karma from people.]

From Lokwannee, December 15-21, 2018
Main cover reads: Honest, Transparency, Fairness and Neutrality
On the ballot: Ballot [small] No mention about the names of the party and no symbol

[Initially it was announced that it would be unnecessary to include a candidate’s party or party symbol on the ballots for the upcoming election and that omitting that information would simplify printing.
Such an obvious attempt to confuse the voters was met with howls of protests from political parties.
The Election Commission (EC) finally agreed to include both the party name and party symbol on the ballot.]

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Forget the Old Past Party

From Manager, November 27, 2018
Left, sign in the background: The Old Past Party
Left, Thanathorn: What!… Pretending like you don’t know your old party!!
At far left Piyabutr holds a sign that says: Don’t allow the king to talk with people [refers to a proposal to prohibit the monarchy from arbitrating or intervening in intractable political disputes]
On Piyabutr’s shirt: Nitirat
Sign on the right: Future Forward Party
Caption: The party which the Future Forward Party is scared of the most

[This shows founders of the Future Forward Party Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul being scared of earlier versions of themselves.
Although the party has insisted that it is not allied with the Red Shirts or Thaksin’s political groups, recently photos circulated showing Thanathorn participating in a Red Shirt protest.
Party co-founder Piyabutr is a former members of the Nitirat, a group of Thammasat law professors who campaigned for the elimination of Thailand’s lese majeste laws.
While such reforms are viewed as desirable by most people, the fact that this push for changes was coming at the end of a royal reign and that anti-royal agitation had sometimes been part of Red Shirt political agitation has led to suspicions that the calls for reform were calculated and related to politics.
The cartoonist seeks to show how the Future Forward Party might just be part of the pro-Red Shirt/Thaksin political machine despite the denials of its founders.]

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Both hand out money for votes

From Manager, November 26, 2018
Left, Thaksin: Democracy is eatable!
On the bag: Populism
Prayut: Dictatorship…is also eatable!
On the bag: People’s state

[Refers to the junta’s “People’s State” policy which has been criticized as being similar to Thaksin’s populist policies.
Thaksin was derided during his time in office and also during the Pheu Thai-led government years for finding ways to dole out money directly to his supporters to ensure government popularity.
The junta, while criticizing these policies, has copied them directly, also handing out free money in the run-up to an election.]

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What the US could learn from Thailand about health care coverage

What the US could learn from Thailand about health care coverage –, December 14, 2018
…Done sensibly, developing nations like Thailand are proving that they do not have to join the ranks of the world’s wealthiest nations for their citizens to enjoy access to health care and medicine. Using evidence-based decision-making, even expensive benefits, like dialysis, heart surgery and chemotherapy, need not remain out of reach. Policymakers in all countries can institute reforms using tools that promote cost savings at the same time they improve access and equity…

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Enjoy the mutual benefit

From Naewna, November 29, 2018
Left: We support Big Tu [PM Prayuth] to become prime minister.
Right: Hidden, deceptive, disguise in a political way
Caption: Enjoy the mutual benefit… when it becomes a conflict of interest, it is ruined.

[This notes the nefarious web of politicians who have come together to support PM Prayuth to remain prime minister after elections and warns the military government that these politicians cannot be trusted.]

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Medusa-headed Thaksin

From Daily News, November 22, 2018
Title: Danger.. everybody..!!
Left to right: Prachachart; Phea Thai; TSC [Thai Raksa Chart]; Pleu Chart; Pleu Tham; Saeri Ruam Thai

[This Medusa-headed Thaksin represents the strategy the former PM has used to ensure a good showing in the upcoming elections. Since the new constitution essentially penalizes large parties in parliament, Thaksin supporters have been strategically divided among a number of smaller parties.]

More on the new parties: From Red Shirts to Green Shirts

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Sudarat adrift

From Naewna, November 22, 2018
Thaksin: Go take your own risk, Jae Noi [“Noi” is the nickname of Pheu Thai political heavyweight Sudarat Keyuraphan. “Jae” or “che” is a prefix attached to a name meaning “older sister.” It is from Chinese and here since Sudarat has Chinese ancestors.]
By the Krathong with Sudarat: Burn Thai Party [The cartoonist calls the Pheu Thai Party the “Burn Thai Party” in a play on Thai words. This transforms the party name to reference Red Shirt leaders who called on their supporters to burn the country in 2010.]
Caption: The first banana leaf vessel of Thaksin that must float away…

[Here Thaksin places a krathong in the river for the annual Loy Krathong festival. The krathong symbolically represents the cares of the year which should float away in the night.
The leadership of the Pheu Thai has long been in question. It has long been controlled by Thaksin family members and loyalists going back to the People Power Party in 2008. In all these cases the party gained power and then was wielded to push through contentious “reforms” clearly designed to pardon Thaksin and allow him to return to power.
This year it was thought that perhaps a more independent politician like Sudarat Keyuraphan might end up at the head of the party, putting an end to its headlong obsession with creating an amnesty for Thaksin.
In October, a political non-entity was instead elected head of the Pheu Thai and in subsequent weeks many politicians defected from the Pheu Thai to join pro-military parties or were transferred into other new parties set up to support Thaksin.
The Pheu Thai also seemed vulnerable to dissolution under new rules that prevent outsiders (such as Thaksin) from interfering in party affairs.
Thus the cartoonist suggests that powerful Sudarat, who has long hounded Thaksin to gain the leadership of the Pheu Thai, has been left to languish in an increasingly diminished party.
However, Sudarat is still widely popular and the Pheu Thai won big in the last elections despite predictions of a split electorate. News also has emerged that Thaksin’s son would join the Pheu Thai to show that Thaksin is not abandoning it.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Naewna, Loy Krathong | 1 Comment

From 2003: PM mixes business and politics

From 2003: PM mixes business and politics

…Thailand’s historically vocal print media has been notably restrained in reporting allegations of government corruption or conflicts of interest. One reason, some media executives contend, is that Thaksin’s family’s companies have withheld advertising from publications perceived to be critical of the government. Similarly, some of Thailand’s biggest state-owned enterprises–often key advertisers–seem to steer clear of publications critical of Thaksin…

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To resist dictatorship

From Naewna, November 21, 2018
Left: The reason that we move from the Pao Thai to the TRC party [Thai Raksa Chart] is that we want to oppose the dictatorship…
Journalists: Dictatorship of the NCPO? [the National Council for Peace and Order, the junta]
Right: No… the dictatorship in the Pao Thai party.

[Refers to a conflict inside the Pheu Thai party due to a contest of many influential groups trying to dominate the party.
Many Pheu Thai members have moved to allied parties, including the Thai Raksa Chart (a party controlled by Thaksin’s children) and even some pro-junta parties.
In the cartoon, major factional leaders in the Pheu Thai are being beaten by Sudarat Keyuraphan, who has long tried to gain control of the party. Her leadership is reportedly resisted by the major faction leaders as her political base is around Bangkok, far from the main voter base of the Pheu Thai which is in the Northeast.
The cartoonist calls the Pheu Thai Party the “Burn Thai Party” (“Pao Thai party”) in a play on Thai words. This transforms the party name to reference Red Shirt leaders who called on their supporters to burn the country in 2010.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Getting Ready for Elections, December, 2018

From Manager Weekly, December 8-14, 2018
Main cover reads: Santa Tu [blue] gives as much as an avalanche
[Refers to PM Prayut launching a massive populist cash giveaway with the obvious aim of wining votes in the coming election. Due to this, the headline mimics him as the Santa who gives a present to people during the Christmas.]

Top: ‘War elephant’ is shaking. [black] Every team fails and causes an impact to a chair of [red] ‘Somyot’
[Refers to disappointing performances of all Thai national football teams recently. Due to these failures, it may have an impact on Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung who is the President of the Football Association of Thailand. Thailand’s football team is known as the “war elephant” by their fans.]

Bottom left: Power of absorbing is now showing. PPTV [black] HD [white] It now announces their power [orange] by reaching Top 10
[Refers to media company PPTV HD which attracted many famous TV program and shows from various main TV channels to broadcast on their channel. Thanks to this, its ratings are higher and they have reached the top 10.]

Right: The football players are like brave soldiers. Thoughts of “Doctor Lili”–a doctor and an angel of Thailand’s football.
[Refers to cute female doctor Sirin “Lili” Triwutpipatkul who worked as a medical officer for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018.]

From Matichon Weekly, December 3-13, 2018
Main cover reads: Heavily hurt the voice of the nation
[Refers to former leader of the People’s Democrat Reform Committee Suthep Thaugsuban who recently broke his promise to not be involved in politics after leading the protests that caused a coup and tolled the Pheu Thai government.
Instead, he established the Ruamphalang Prachachartthai Party, or the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) to support PM Prayut to remain as PM after the next elections.
The “voice of the nation” refers to those who lent their support to Suthep to protest against and topple the Pheu Thai-led government.]

Top: Chatchart Sithipan on the day when ‘his life is completed in every aspect’ and is ready to prove ‘the strongest in the world’
[Refers to former transportation minister Chatchart Sithipan who has recently been active on social media after keeping silent on politics for almost a year. He has been called “the strongest minister in the world” due to his muscular appearance.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, December 7-13, 2018
Main cover reads: Long Live the King
[Refers to HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn opening the “Un Ai Rak: Bike for Love and Warmth.” Accompanying by his daughters he led a bike ride through the capital with thousands of participants and spectators. Similar events were held simultaneously in other parts of the country.]

From Lokwannee, December 7-14, 2018
Main cover reads: So terrible!!!
On a sign: Good people don’t need to submit declarations of assets and liabilities
[This is supposed to point out junta hypocrisy.
“So terrible!!!” is PM Prayut’s rebuke to reporters who dared to ask him about the newly drawn voting constituencies that seem to benefit the present government.
“Good people don’t need to submit declarations of assets and liabilities” refers to the controversy around new rules that stretch to university academics having to declare assets and liabilities to prevent graft in the public sector.
The coconut shell refers what anti-junta groups call those who support the junta, mocking them as people living in “kala land”, or the land of coconut shell.
This references the Thai proverb kob nai kala (frog in the coconut shell) meaning an ignorant person who mistakes the shell for the entire world and thus thinks he knows it all.]

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Controversial junta scandals

From Manager, November 29, 2018
Left to right: 2 submarines with a commission of 4 billion?; 240 luxury watches?; Absorb 200 MPs and pay 4 billion?; Tu [nickname of PM Prayuth] will be the PM for a 2nd term for another 4 years
Caption: Pom [nickname of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwanit] gives a hint by his fingers which can be interpreted in many ways

[The cartoonist depicts Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwanit making his characteristic gestures to give a hint about the date of the election on February 24 next year. The cartoon shows a number of Prawit’s controversial scandals involving him such as purchasing submarines from China, owning luxury watches, and absorbing the members of other parties with bribes just like Thaksin once did.]

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Who is left to run with Sudarat?

From Manager, November 20, 2018
Sign on the wall: PT Pheu Thai party For Thailand and for the future of Thailand
Sign on the table: Chairwoman of strategy
Left, man: Jae… those key members have now quit the party… We don’t have anyone left for the election!!
Sudarat: Don’t worry, Aun…
Right, Sudarat: Jinnie can do it alone.

[Refers to Sudarat Keyuraphan, chairwoman of the Pheu Thai Party’s election strategy committee.
Sudarat’s daughter Yossuda “Jinnie” Keyuraphan received much attention in the media recently after a photo of her was published showing her helping her mother in her duties at the party.
Beautiful or cute women receive out-sized attention in the Thai world and the photo of Jinnie became the talk of the town, appearing on the cover of several magazines.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | 1 Comment

Snake with two heads

From Arun, November 17, 2018
Title: Some parties

[This probably references both the pro-Thaksin and pro-military parties that publicly claim to be independent of each other, but are clearly connected.
For example, the Pheu Thai Party and the Thai Raksa Chart party. The Pheu Thai has been split into a number of parties to enable it to benefit from the new rules that penalize large parties that might win a majority of MPs.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons – Arun | 1 Comment

Maze to elections

From Thairath, November 17, 2018
Title: The maze of election 62 [2019]
Flag held by PM Prayut: Chairman of ASEAN
On the entrance: Election 24 Feb 62 [2019]
On the signs: not postpone [ไม่เลื่อน], postpone [เลื่อน], election [เลือกตั้ง]
On the wall close to the man with sunglasses: Promise to have an election
Phi Nooring: Making people confused
Mouse: So scheming

[This cartoon laments the delays and uncertainty about the date of the next elections after years of military rule.
The latest date in February caused criticism as Thailand is set to succeed Singapore to be chairman of the ASEAN despite Thailand not returning to democracy yet.]

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News from the 1890s

2Bangkok readers will enjoy Steve Van Beek’s new book News from the 90s. It is a collection of Thai newspaper articles from The Bangkok Times from 1890-1899.

From the book jacket: “Of the many items comprising Bangkok Then and Now, the news stories from the “Bangkok Times” newspaper have proven to be the most popular. Here, we’ve gleaned the best stories from the 1890-1899 editions.
They reveal Siam’s dramatic transformation from a quiet backwater into a player on the world stage. Led by King Chulalongkorn, Thailand’s far-reaching reforms widened streets, tore down ancient walls, introduced rudimentary sanitation, and provided the city with fresh water. It lit the city with electric lamps and built Asia’s first electrified tram. Tall buildings sprang up along the waterways and silver rails began snaking into the provinces, stitching together a nation. In short, the capital shucked off an antique past as it prepared to enter the 20th century.”

Available at Asia Books.

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Silly uncle is moving the mountain

From Manager, November 13, 2018
Title: Silly uncle is moving the mountain.
Yellow sign: Elected PM

[This shows Suthep’s attempt to support PM Prayut to be prime minister again. This is a daunting task as it is unclear if the mix of parties necessary to do this will really come together.
Suthep is known as “Lung Kaman.” In Thai, “Lung” is “uncle” and “kamnan” is head of a village–a post he once held.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Govt minister and the pro-junta party, November, 2018

From Siamrath Weekly Review, November 23-29, 2018
Main cover reads: If [red] 24 Feb [white] no election?

[Refers to a concern of the public whether the election will really take place February 24 next year. Recently PM Prayuth announced the election will take place on that date, but many expect further delays. ]

From Matichon Weekly, November 23-29, 2018
Main cover reads: By design [blue] 350 [red] seat
[Refers to pro-Prayut party Palang Pracharath led by ministers under the junta such as Commerce minister Sontirat Sontijirawong (second left) and Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana (third left), and former political Somsak Thepsuthin (left) and Suriya Juengrungruangkit (right). The party announced that it would win 350 seats in the coming election. This will effectively enable the military junta to maintain power.]

Top: Article 44 and the election. Somchai Srisutthiyakorn points out “Montesquieu” to teach his junior at “EC” [Election Commissioner]
[Refers to former Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn giving a lesson from philosopher Montesquieu to warn his colleagues at the EC about working under the junta’s absolute power under Article 44.
In August, Thaksin quoted Montesquieu in his first tweet since his sister, former Pm Yingluck, fled the country noting the dangers of tyranny in the service of justice.]

From Lokwannee, November 23-30, 2018
Main cover reads: They designed it for us.
[Refers to a current constitution which is criticized as the tool to pave the way for the junta to return to the power again.
The cover shows a dog costume which is in vogue in pet-crazy Thailand now. It is being worn by a monitor lizard to symbolize the military. Depicting someone as a monitor lizard is an insult.]

From Manager Weekly, November 24-30, 2018
Main cover reads: [top] 4 [red] super sons. [bottom] 4 supper sons [black] 2018
[Refers to junta’s four ministers (left to right Commerce minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, Science and Technology Minister Suvit Maesincee and Prime Minister’s Office Minister Kobsak Pootralkool) who established the pro-Prayuth Party Palang Pracharath. This has led to loud calls for them to give up their government posts to ensure the neutrality of the positions.
They are compared here to characters from the famous drama “4 Super Sons” about four fighting boys. This implies the four government ministers will fight to protect their master which is military-led government.]

Top: Disclose a mission of “heart with wings” [red] “Caption Moo-Anutin Charnvirakul” [black] with his mission as [red] “Organ-deliver pilot”
[Refers to a story of Bhumjaithai party leader Anutin ‘Moo’ Charnvirakul who is a pilot helping to deliver organs to patients.]
Bottom left: Arrest of Carlos Ghosn Chairman of Nissan impacts Renault-Mitsubishi and France.
[Refers to an arrest of Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Chairman, due to allegations of violating financial laws. The arrest causes a huge impact on the alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. Recently, Mitsubishi fired him from a position of chairman of the company. The French government owned 20% of company’s stocks in the Renault and insisted that Ghosn will remain the CEO of Renault.]

Middle: Tracking “Thaug” – An abettor attacks the Democrat party to be weakened to order to pave the way to dominate the party again.
[Refers to former Democrat party member Suthep Thaugsuban who quit the Democrat Party to lead the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in its successful attempt to destabilize the Yingluck-led Pheu Thai government. Although he resigned from the Democrat Party and now has his own party, he still has deep influence within the Democrat party and represents a danger to Abhisit’s leadership of the party and his attempt to distance it from the junta.]

Right: Introduce 4 helpers to totally quit smoking
Inside orange circle: Special

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Now he faces the heavyweight

From Manager, November 12, 2018
Referee: Mark, a fellow of Chuan, still holds his lightweight championship… and will complete with the heavyweight champion Maew from Dubai.
Thaksin: The same pig… ha… ha…

[“Maew from Dubai” refers to Thaksin who resides in Dubai. “Maew” is Thaksin’s nickname.
“Pig” refers to easy person to beat. Abhisit’s nickname is “Mark” and he is an ally of former Democrat leader and PM Chuan Leekpai.
This cartoon refers to Abhisit Vejjajiva retaining leadership of the Democrat Party.
The Democrats seem ill-prepared to go up against Thaksin as well as the range of pro-junta parties that the Democrats have vowed not to ally with.]

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From Red Shirts to Green Shirts

From Manager, November 18, 2018
Left caption: The past color
Jatuporn says: Thailand must go red all the land!
Center caption: The present color
Jatuporn says: Thailand must go red and green all the land!
Right caption: The future color
Jatuporn says: Thailand must go green all the land! [supposedly meaning he is becoming pro-military]

[This notes the apparently more conciliatory tone from Red Shirt firebrand leader Jatuporn since his release from prison.
Upon his release he asked all sides to join hands in finding a way out of the cycle of coups and disputed elections (“Let’s fix it before there is bloodshed. Don’t let there be bloodshed before fixing it”). He even admitted to meeting and discussing the situation with Yellow Shirt leader Sondhi.
Jatuporn’s conciliatory tone raised eyebrows as he was always the most vocal and defiant of the Red Shirts and his statements were among the most extreme in calling for people to rise up in anger.]

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