Seven Years Ago: Thaksin – The New Pragmatist


Seven Years Ago: Thaksin – The New Pragmatist

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Airlines in Thailand face bans over “significant concerns about the country’s aviation safety”

Airlines in Thailand Face Bans Over Safety Concerns – NYT, March 27, 2015
Thailand’s airlines are facing bans on new international flights and more inspections after the International Civil Aviation Organization flagged significant concerns about the country’s aviation safety, officials said on Friday.
The designation of Thailand as a “significant safety concern” has not been announced publicly by the aviation group, a United Nations agency, but governments were informed last week.
Japan has blocked new flights from Thailand since the decision, and South Korea is considering similar measures, officials said. Existing flights are not affected…

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Two Years Ago: Controversy over TV show discussing the Thai monarchy

Matichon Weekly_22 Mar 2013

Two Years Ago: Controversy over TV show discussing the Thai monarchy

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Rev up those torrents, Thailand: “Fast and Furious 7” banned until further notice

“Fast and Furious 7” showing suspended until further notice – ThaiPBS, March 27, 2015
…Saha Mongkol said that Ja Phanom was still in contract with the company but had worked for Universal Pictures in the shooting of “Fast and Furious 7” amounting to breach of contract.
The company has demanded 1.6 billion baht in compensation from the three defendants.

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Thai deputy PM: Threat to execute journalists ‘not serious’

U.S. ‘troubled’ by Thai leader’s threat to execute journalists – Reuters, March 26, 2015
…He may have meant the comments in jest, but according to journalists present, he delivered them without a smile. Last month Prayuth said he had the power to shut down news outlets.
“We are of course troubled by reports that General Prayuth said that he would ‘execute’ journalists who do not report the ‘truth,'” a representative of the U.S. State Department said.
“We sincerely hope that this threat was not a serious one … Statements like this, even if not serious, contribute to an atmosphere where … freedoms are suppressed…”

Thai deputy PM: Journalists threat ‘not serious’ – NBC, March 25, 2015
…”He [is] military from the barracks. He is not used to provocative questions like me… sometimes he cannot control his emotions, but it’s nothing that serious,” Pridiyathorn Devakula told CNBC at the 18th annual Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong on Thursday…

Thai junta targets dissent with visits to student activist homes – Reuters, March 26, 2015
Plainclothes police and military officers have visited the homes of at least 20 student protesters across Thailand in the past week, activists said, in the toughest response to dissent since the days after last year’s coup that ushered in army rule.
Amid signs of simmering dissatisfaction with the leadership of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power in May, the military junta appears to be running out of patience…

The pen and the sword – The Economist, March 27, 2015
Ten months after seizing power in a coup, Thailand’s junta chafes at still having to defend its record…

Earlier: Thai PM Prayuth lashes out at media, implies govt has power to execute reporters

Earlier: PM Prayuth continues to mimic PM Thaksin

Posted in 2014 Coup | 1 Comment

The Coming Elections

150306 Arun

From Arun, March 6, 2015
Title: Professional politicians
On the ballot box: Election [former PM Abhisit is inside the box]
Sign close to the pipe: Dominated [or rigged] election.
Caption: Do they realize this?
[The junta has claimed they will reform the country and have elections soon. However, the reality is that the junta is attempted to get rid of Thaksin influence in Thailand. Their efforts to create a “constrained” constitution will also mean that other professional politicians, such as Abhisit, will also be doomed in a system where unelected bodies hold veto power over the elected.]

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Nine Years Ago: Election posters

The poster reads: Forward to reform Thai politics for a new round. Amend the constitution by using neutral persons from all sides to participate. Vote TRT. Vote Thaksin to be P.M. No. 2
[Even when he was prime minister, Thaksin wanted to amend the constitution.]

Nine Years Ago: Election posters

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Nine Years Ago: March on Govt House, Thaksin files lawsuits against press and politicians

Nine Years Ago in March: March on Government House, Thaksin files lawsuits against press and politicians, reporters fired for interviewing the opposition, and, of course, CNN ponders Thailand’s “presidential crisis”

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Thai junta chief threatens to hold onto power

Thai junta chief threatens to hold onto power – AFP, March 25, 2015
…“If the situation remains like this I can tell you that I will hold on to power for a long time,” he said after denouncing those who criticise the country’s lack of democratic progress.
“Why is there all this fuss about elections?” he asked. “[If there’s no election] will anyone die?”…

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The Decline of Muay Thai: gambling and pressure to throw matches killing the sport

The Decline of Muay Thai –, March 24, 2015
…Interviewer: bad decisions, poor attendance, fighters throwing fights… these things are all a result of gambling if this is the case, then it’s going to be hard to fix it.?
it’s up to the judges if the judges affect the bosses, the stadium suffers.. gamblers wont come, the stadium loses. stadium loses tickets sales stadiums go out of business… it’s all in the hands of the gambling bosses that’s it…

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PM Prayuth continues to mimic PM Thaksin

Prayut slams reporter for damaging news – Bangkok Post, March 25, 2015
…”But you reporters should not elaborate on this. You need to consider the damage to the country, including security issues.
…”This is an ongoing effort. What will happen if we report this in a big way, telling the world about our trafficking and illegal fishing problems? What if they stop buying fish worth 200 billion baht from us? Will you take the responsibility?…”

From 2014: Avoid reporting on Thaksin, PM Pryauth tells media

Remembering Thaksin as PM: Thaksin Clamps Down on the Media

Thaksin’s most famous claim: If You Don’t Like Thaksin, You Don’t Love the Country
At the very height of his powers and hubris, Thaksin made his famous declaration that reporters who criticize him do not love the nation.

Remembering Thaksin as PM: Thaksin surprises reporters with X sign

And from 2013: PM Yingluck gives Thaksin-like speech calling on media to balance free speech with news that creates mutual understanding

From Manager, June 8, 2014
Thaksin Shinawatra: I’ve tried to shut down this TV channel, but never succeeded… Thanks Prayuth! [Gen. Prayuth, head of the junta]
[ASTV is a TV station that began aggressively attacking Thaskin when he was prime minister. This was during a time when reporters who reported negatively about the prime minster found themselves on lists to be investigated for money laundering. Media outlets critical of the PM found advertising revenue drying up and others were the subjects of takeover attempts by Thaksin business cronies. Despite attempts to muzzle ASTV, it was never forced off the air. The coup, ironically, knocked the station off the air since it was designated by the military as a channel that broadcast biased political views. The joke in the cartoon is that Thaksin appreciated this result as ASTV hounded him during and after his time as prime minister.]

Posted in 2014 Coup, The Thaksin Years | 1 Comment

Shameless parliament


From Thairath, March 5, 2015
Title: Shameless parliament
[Front row]
On left chair: Dominated NLA
On the Prayuth’s chair: Power received by special means.
[Back row]
On left chair: NLA’s son
On 2nd left chair: NLA’s wife
On 3rd left chair: NLA’s wife [this refers how the junta-appointed members have eagerly given jobs to their relatives]
On right chair: Dominated NRC
A paper held by the man: We are good people.
Phi Nooring: Special person society
A mouse: A dominant group
[The cartoon ridicules the rubber-stamp junta parliament. Under this government, many bodies, such as the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) have been appointed by only a few people who hold the real power.]

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Thai PM Prayuth lashes out at media, implies govt has power to execute reporters

Thai PM Prayuth warns media, says has power to execute reporters – Reuters, March 25, 2015
…Last month Prayuth said he had the power to shut down news outlets. On Wednesday, he took an even harsher line.
“We’ll probably just execute them,” said Prayuth, without a trace of a smile, when asked by reporters how the government would deal with those that do not adhere to the official line.
“You don’t have to support the government, but you should report the truth,” the former army chief said, telling reporters to write in a way that bolsters national reconciliation in the kingdom…

Khaosod: Thai Junta Leader Unleashes Fury on Reporters [Transcript]

Earlier: Thai Junta Warns Media Against Reporting on Human Trafficking

Earlier: The surreal rise of his despotic regime

Posted in 2014 Coup | 1 Comment

The Lee Kuan Yew-Thaksin Connection

In 2006, the multi-billion dollar sale of Thaksin’s businesses to a Singaporean holding company finally sparked mass protests against him. Before this, Thaksin has long looked to the Singaporean success story as a model for his own reshaping of Thai politics.

During his time in power, Thaksin was viewed as an emerging regional leader when both Lee Kuan Yew and Mahatir were Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Singapore, Thai Politics, The Thaksin Years | 1 Comment

Lee Kuan Yew: leader eulogized by Obama as a ‘giant of history’ is being used to re-legitimize tyranny

The Curse of Lee Kuan Yew –, March, 2015
…since the early 2000s the cult of Lee Kuan Yew has been an unmitigated disaster in Eastern Europe, where the example set by Singapore’s unapologetic autocrat has helped to rehabilitate and legitimize authoritarianism.
Vladimir Putin is a greater admirer of Lee, whom he awarded Russia’s prestigious “Order of Honor.” In Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili has been under Lee’s charismatic spell, passing his books around like bibles. The Ukrainian government, when ruled by Putin puppet Viktor Yanukovych, would disguise its kleptocracy by likening its governance to Singapore. Today, the cult is so widespread that even the Russian minister directing Crimea points to Lee Kuan Yew as a mentor…

NYT: Singapore, the Nation That Lee Kuan Yew Built, Questions Its Direction

Channel News Asia: Books by Lee Kuan Yew flying off the shelves in Malaysia

Earlier: Lee Kuan Yew: Death of a Giant

One year ago: Singapore: lowest crime, healthiest people, easiest place to do business

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Coup or Assassination?


From Thairath, March 3, 2015
Left: Thailand may not be a democracy, because we overthrow an undesirable leader with a coup…
Middle: Man: But we’re proud of our way of democracy.
Uncle Sam: What’s the thing that made you so proud?
Right: We never get rid of our undesirable leaders by assassination.
[This cartoon criticizes on the U.S. call for quick elections and the Thai perception that this is interference in Thai internal affairs. The cartoonist contends that, in U.S. history, some of their leaders were assassinated for political reasons and this was not as desirable as having a bloodless coup.]

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Falling Sales Threaten Thailand’s Car-Making Supremacy in Southeast Asia

Falling Sales Threaten Thailand’s Car-Making Supremacy in Southeast Asia – Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2015
Falling car sales and political uncertainty in Thailand are raising concerns that Southeast Asia’s leading car-manufacturing nation could lose out to competitors in the region, especially Indonesia…

Could Thailand Become the Transport Hub of Indochina? – The Diplomat, March 24, 2015
Thailand has signed bilateral agreements with China and Japan to build two railway trunk lines across the country. One line, to be built with Chinese loans and technology, will link Bangkok and Map Ta Phut in the south through Laos to Kunming, Yunnan, in the north. The second line, to be built with Japanese capital and technology, will cross several countries on the west to east axis, from Dawei in Myanmar through Bangkok to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and possibly Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau in Vietnam…

Thailand’s Industrial Sentiment Still Under Pressure –, March 24, 2015
Confidence among Thailand’s industrial operators dropped for the second consecutive month in February as a sluggish domestic economy squeezed spending in the country…

Posted in Economy | 2 Comments

9 years ago: Anti-Thaksin protest at Rajaprasong


Above: The multi-billion dollar sale of Thaksin assets to a Singapore holding company finally sparked mass protests against Thaksin rule.

9 years ago: Anti-Thaksin protest at Rajaprasong

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From Manager, March 2, 2015
Left: Thaksin: Khun Poo… is a clone of mine. [Thaksin famously said this when introducing Yingluck as the candidate for Pheu Thai]
Caption: Incorrect…
Right: Dhammachayo: Thaksin… is a clone of mine naja! [Naja is a particle used at the end of clause often used by Phra Dhammachayo.]
Caption: Correct
[This refers to the connection between Thaksin and Wat Dhammakaya. The wat has supported Thaksin in the past and has recently been embroiled in financial scandals. Its quick vindication by the nation’s Buddhist authority brings to mind Thaksin and how he was able to co-opt all manner of regulatory authority to prevent them from ruling against him.]

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10 Years Ago: The Luang Sathorn Mansion/Russian Embassy

Above: The stairs to nowhere

10 Years Ago: The Luang Sathorn Mansion/Russian Embassy

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Tug-of-war between China, Turkey over suspected Uighurs in Thailand

Tug-of-war between China, Turkey over suspected Uighurs in Thailand – Reuters, March 24, 2015
…The family, who use the name Teklimakan, have spent most of the past year in the main police immigration detention centre in Bangkok.
The group claimed to be Turkish and, while still indetention, were issued with passports by the Turkish Embassy andgranted permission to travel to Turkey.
China insists the 17 detainees are Chinese Uighurs who should be returned to the northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang, according to court documents seen by Reuters…

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Bangkok’s Central Park


2015: Gallery: Can Makkasan become Bangkok’s version of Central Park?

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2013: Concert to save Bangkok’s last green space from the developers

2013: Makkasan ‘landmark’ concept stalls under fierce opposition
…”I want to ask what countries or cities use a luxurious condominium and a shopping mall as their landmarks,” he said, pointing to well-known icons such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York which have nothing to do with elegant residences or department stores featuring high-end products…

2Bangkok came up with this idea way back in 2003: Idea for a Bangkok Central Park

Also: Makkasan Depot

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9 years ago: The Destruction of the Phra Prom Statue by a Deranged Man


9 years ago: The Destruction of the Phra Prom Statue by a Deranged Man

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Roundup of editorial cartoons on Dhammakaya

150222Manager Continue reading

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Lee Kuan Yew: Death of a Giant


NYT: Lee Kuan Yew, Founding Father and First Premier of Singapore, Dies at 91

BBC: Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew dies at 91

The Guardian: Lee Kuan Yew obituary
As first prime minister of Singapore, serving for three decades until 1990, and a continuing cabinet presence for the two that followed, Lee Kuan Yew, who has died aged 91, was a man whose story reflected his times. A relentless nation-builder like Tito, an instantly identifiable symbol like Haile Selassie, Lee also had a third dimension, especially in western eyes – statesman, philosopher king, embodiment of the wisdom of the east…


The Economist: Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore: An astonishing record

The Atlantic: Lee Kuan Yew’s Giant Legacy
…Singapore’s success, however, has come at significant cost to human rights. Lee tolerated no dissent and jailed regime critics without trial, and despite their wealth, Singaporeans do not enjoy a free press, freedom of speech, or freedom of assembly. Critics have also accused Lee of nepotism. In addition to his son Lee Hsieng Loong, Singapore’s current prime minister, other children and close family members occupy powerful positions within the country. Members of Singapore’s Malay and Indian populations have accused Lee, who was of Chinese descent, of failing to share political and economic spoils with other ethnic groups…

13 Controversies Of Lee Kuan Yew –, March 10, 2015

Bangkok Post: Lee Kuan Yew’s views on Thailand

Posted in Singapore | 2 Comments

The Guardian: The surreal rise of his despotic regime

Bangkok’s Big Brother is watching you –, March 22, 2015
…But still, the doublethink pronouncements are relentless. “If people want to do [opinion] polls, they are free to do so,” said Prayuth at Government House last month. “But if the polls oppose the NCPO, that is not allowed,” he added. A few days later an “independent” poll was published giving the regime a public approval rating of more than 80%. Earlier the junta had outlined its position on media censorship in a similar fashion. After summoning editors from Thailand’s mainstream media to a meeting, the appointee in charge of media monitoring, Lt Gen Suchai Pongput, explained: “We do not limit media freedom, but freedom must be within limits…”

Nothing will silence anti-coup Thais in Japan –, March 23, 2015
…Some informed me that the real turning point for them came in the aftermath of the military’s suppression of the red shirts in 2010. The rise of political violence and the military’s relentless interference in politics have compelled Thais in Japan to become politically enthusiastic. This has proven to be a common motive among anti-junta Thais in other parts of the world.
…But with Prayuth visiting Japan twice in less than two months, anti-coup Thais are wondering if anyone in Japan has heard their pleas.

Junta Leader Blames Thai Crisis on ‘Too Much Democracy’ –, March 23, 2015
…”Our country has seen so much trouble because we have had too much democracy, unlike other countries where the government has more power to restrict freedoms,” Gen. Prayuth, who is now chairman of the ruling junta and Prime Minister, told investors and businessmen at a conference in Bangkok today. “Even the media can’t criticize [those leaders], like they do here. I insist that today, we are 99 percent democratic, because I didn’t overthrow democracy at all…”

Stop intimidating the members of Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand –, March 22, 2015
…Reportedly, on 12 March 2015, the Sub-Committee on Land Rights and Forestry of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand initiated an inquiry into the actions of authorities of Surat Thani Province, following the complaint submitted by members of SPFT regarding acts of intimidation, forced evictions and killing of four land rights activists in late February 2015, including Mr Chai Bunthonglek. Previously, Pianrat Boonrit was detained for two days after presenting himself to the military on 3 February 2015. He had received a letter summoning him to appear at the Vibhavadi Rangsit Military Camp in order to attend an “attitude adjustment camp” for three days…

Posted in 2014 Coup | 1 Comment

Real or Fake Buddhists?


From Thairath, February 25, 2015
Left: There is good and bad news. The good news is no more conflict among people in different religions.
Middle: Man: They live peacefully in the society.
Arab man: Then, what is the bad news?
Right: There is a conflict among Buddhists as to whether they are real or fake Buddhists.
[Refers to the conflict between mainstream Buddhism and Dhammakaya. The sect’s activities have been attacked as not following Buddhist ways and not being in accordance with the monk’s code. The sect has also been deeply involved in supporting Thaksin over the years so they also represent a threat to the establishment.]

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Five Years Ago: Red Shirt Protests

(Source: CNN International screen grab)

Above: As usual, CNN had nothing constructive to add – March 19, 2010

Five Years Ago: Red Shirt Protests – March 1-31, 2010

It was five years ago this month that the second Red Shirt siege of Bangkok was revving up. The first indication, as always, was that Shinawatra family members were fleeing the country to wait out the protests while shopping in London.
Meanwhile, Red Shirt leaders claimed a people’s force was rebelling against the military and dared the state to act against them. However, instead of the pure revolution for Thaksin’s sake that the 2009 protests called for, in 2010 they called for democracy and new elections.

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From Thairath, March 6, 2015
Left: I think you don’t need to investigate the donation. I confirm that…
Middle: Dhammachayo: Every baht of donation is clean money.
A police: What can make us believe that?
Right: This money has already been laundered. Therefore, it can be clean naja.
[Refers to the rumours that Wat Dhammakaya is a place for massive money-laundering.]

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Eight Years Ago: CNS not internet savvy

Above: September 24 – Header from the original junta website

Above: September 28 – Next header from a new website

Above: October 8 – Last header from their website

The military was caught off guard by foreign interpretations of what “Constitutional Monarchy” implied in the junta’s title and ended up changing their name several times.

Eight Years Ago: CNS not internet savvy

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