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
crawling?

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?

Remembering
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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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.]

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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.]

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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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Thaksin’s new political party

From Naewna, November 10, 2018
Bold words: Prison man
Caption: By only seeing the name of the party, we can tell who is the owner of the party.

[Refers to the new Thai Raksa Chart party. 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/Thai Rak Thai logos. Thus, the party clearly wants to send the message that it is Thaksin’s party despite what it says publicly.
The cartoonist alters the name of the party, keeping the abbreviation of the party in Thai (ทษช) and then using the word ‘นักโทษชาย’ meaning the “prison man” or “convict” which refers to Thaksin who now is exiled in UK to avoid corruption charge. Thus, the name of the party is something like “party of the convict.”]

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Different Thai men

From Manager, October 31, 2018
Man: This Thai man… who stayed in our country and did the good things… and built up a reputation for us. While the others corrupted their country… and escape to spend the money.
Caption: The feeling of British people… toward Jaosao Vichai

[Here Leicester City fans pay tribute to football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha whom lost his life in the helicopter crash.
The cartoonist compares Vicha to Thaksin and Yingluck, taking a swipe at them for living overseas in luxury.
“Jaosao” is a prefix to indicate a Chinese rich man.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Drawing the Lines for Elections, November, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, November 9-15, 2018
Main cover reads: ‘Red’ calendar
[Refers to pro-Thaksin groups sharing calendars featuring photos of deposed premieres Thaksin and Yingluck as well as sarcastic photos to criticize the junta such as the expensive watches of Deputy PM Prawit.]

Top: Dr. Ao, Assistant Prof. Kritika Kongsompong a big supporter of “Big Dang” Gen. Apirat in the period of “Smart Soldier Strong Army” [this the the military’s new developmental motto under Gen. Apirat]
[Refers to new army chief Gen. Apirat’s wife Dr. Kritika ‘Ao’ Kongsompong who is one of his supporters in the time of the “Smart Soldier Strong Army.” Recently, Gen. Apirat (whose nickname is Dang) insisted that there would be no need for military intervention as long as the political situation after the election is stable. This seemed to leave the door open to military intervention under certain conditions.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, November 9-15, 2018
Main cover reads: Small, but tasty
[Refers to small political parties which are being formed as offshoots of the big political parties to take advantage of the new constitution which penalizes big parties.
“Small, but tasty” means that the parties may be small, but they will be important to include in a future government because of the new rules penalizing large parties.]

From Lokwannee, November 2-9, 2018
Main cover reads: [on the coconut shell] Kalaland 4.0
Lyric on the left: Only will change by coming out from under the coconut shell
Lyric on the right: Who says we are crazy. Sillier sillier…
On the calendar: Happy New Year 2019
[Refers to a junta’s new rap song entitled “Thailand 4.0.” The song was written to response anti-junta rap song title “Prathet Ku Mee” (or “What my Country’s got” in English).
This cover references the Thai proverb “a frog under a coconut shell” to mean that junta supporters live in a limited world, like a frog in a coconut shell who thinks the entire universe is inside a coconut shell. This and the dinosaur are frequently used on the cover of this magazine. It implies that junta supporters do not know the facts about the world because, if they did, they would be supporting Thaksin and the Red Shirts.
This place in the shell where junta supporter are said to live is called “Kalaland” (“kala” being the Thai word meaning “coconut shell”).
The junta, represented by a dinosaur to reference their old-fashioned thinking, is holding one of the banned pro-Thaksin calendars that the military seized in the Northeast. The dinosaur is on a rope swing to mock how PM Prayuth similar swung on for a photo op.]

From Manager Weekly, November 10-16, 2018
Main cover reads: I’m ready (to escape?)
[Refers to Thaksin’s son Panthongtae Shinawatra (pictured) who recently announced he was ready to participate in politics amid rumors that he plans to become deputy leader of the new Thai Raksa Chat Party (later, news emerged that he would become part of Pheu Thai instead).
Officially, the party says it has no connection to the Pheu Thai Party or Thaksin. However, the party’s acronym pronounced phonetically reads “Thaksin Shinawatra” and its logo, like the logo of all parties Thaksin has controlled, is similar to The Pheu Thai/Thai Rak Thai logos. Thus, the party clearly wants to send the message that it is Thaksin’s party despite what it says officially.
The headline mocks Panthongtae suggesting that he is actually ready to flee the country like his other family members as he is facing various legal charges (most likely made to target him and hamper his ability to enter politics on his father’s behalf).]

Top: Question-answer all issues with [yellow] “Thanathorn” [black] Special only here!! Criticize [red] “Thaksin’s regime”
[Refers to Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit who claims he is dedicated to fighting against dictatorship and drafting a new constitution. His movement has attracted young people and academics, but many question whether the party–with a platform of charter rewrites similar to the the People Power Party and the Pheu Thai–will simply be another party that will side with Thaksin to achieve his goals.]

Bottom left: Big war between 2 actresses [yellow] “Aff-Matt” [white] and a man named “Songkran”
[Refers to a love scandal concerning two popular actresses–Taksaorn “Aff” Paksukcharoen (left) and Peranee “Matt” Kongthai (right). Recently, Aff’s ex-husband Songkran Tejanarong admitted that now he is dating Matt after much gossip about this.]

Right: Disclose [yellow] 4 [black] supporting tools for quitting smoking.

Middle: Golden boy gang is very impetuous. Disclose the cause of why big brother “Sie Tun-Nataphol” carried “bullets” to exchange for the position of “Bangkok Governor”
[Refers to the “golden gang of four” consisting of Nataphol Teepsuwan (top), Putthipong Punnakan (bottom left), Sakoltee Phattiyakul (bottom right) and Chumpol Julsai. This group was known to play an active role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in its efforts to destabilize the Pheu Thai-led government. All the members come from the Democrat Party.
Recently, three out of four members consisting of Nataphol, Putthipong and Sakoltee joined the Phalang Prachrat Party to support PM Prayut to remain as PM.
All such political moves are seen as resulting in obvious personal benefit for the politicians involved.
This article discloses the reason why Nataphol still does not seen any personal benefit from moving to this party. His two friends have already been promoted by the junta in many government posts. The reason Nataphol has yet to get a reward is that he may be waiting to run for Bangkok Governor.
“Carrying bullets” is not an idiom we know of. It may be a word used in newspapers to explain that someone has a valuable resource or power to negotiate with others. Nataphol is a well-known as a connected businessman who was believed to provide financial support to the PDRC.
“Sie” is Thai word to refer to a rich Chinese man.]

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He lied

From Manager, November 3, 2018
Title: Everyone wants to welcome
Man in sunglasses: [top] Don’t lie to the people. [bottom] Don’t support the dictator.
Phi Nooring: He walked to get votes or to quarrel?
Mouse: Back to the past
On Suthep’s shirt: ACT (former PDRC)
People from left to right: You said you would not be involved with politics again. I thought you would become a monk forever. Caused chaos and called for a coup. Liar.
Old man: We will not help you anymore.
On a man’s shirt: Former PDRC

[Refers to the current political situation of former leader of the defunct People’s Democrat Reform Committee (PDRC) Suthep Thaugsuban.
When undertaking protests to block elections and topple the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, he pledged he had forever given up politics. Such pledges are important as Thais view protest with suspicion, suspecting they are only undertaken to benefit vested interests.
Suthep broke his promise by setting up a political party–Action Coalition for Thailand–to support PM Prayut to become the PM again after elections.
His action have made his supporters disappointed with come chiding him as he campaigned for support.]

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It’s all dictatorship

From Manager, October 29, 2018
Left, rapper: My country has a military dictatorship which blocks freedom…!! Yo… yo…
Right, rapper: My country has an elective dictatorship… Yo… yo…
Caption: My country… has everything.

[Refers to a rap song titled “Prathet Ku Mee” (“What my Country’s got”) criticizing the junta led by PM Prayut. This song by the Rap Against Dictatorship was released on the YouTube and received million of views.
The cartoonist ridicules the message of the song which, like most pro-Thaksin, anti-junta opposition, paints the political situation of the country as only an issue of removing the military from power and returning to democracy. Here, the cartoonist claims that the elected governments under Thaksin tended to be as dictatorial as the military ones.]

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No need for revolutionaries

From Manager, November 19, 2018
Jatuporn: In this period, we can’t protest and burn the city like we did in past… We must make a coalition.
Weng: Ao… then what are we gonna do for a living?
Thida: That’s right… Our knowledge about medicine has already been forgotten.
Caption: The family business will fail.

[Refers to Weng Tojirakarn and Thida Thawornseth, husband and wife Red Shirt leaders. This couple, both doctors, were once members of the Communist Party of Thailand, then were opposed to Thaksin for a time, but were later recruited to the Red Shirt leadership to give the group a revolutionary aura.
Jatuporn, a Red Shirt leader who is known for making threats to commit arson during the protests in 2009-2010, recently denied a rumor that he would join with former yellow-shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul to form the Pheu Chart Party which would be a coalition of both red and yellow shirt figures.
Jatuporn noted he has been banned from the politics due to past convictions. He did say he supported the Pheu Chart party, but this party is thought to be firmly under the control of the Pheu Thai and thus Thaksin.
All of recent conciliatory political talk, including grand coalitions after elections, means controversial figures like Weng and Thida may be left out in the cold.]

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Your behavior is worse than interference

From Thairath, October 26, 2018
Title: Your behavior is worse than interference
From the tablet with Thaksin on it, an announcer says: Gives an interview with Japanese media about the politics from a person who is far away
On men’s suits at left: Pheu Thai
Center Deputy PM Prawit: Dissolve the party [meaning the junta is calling on the Pheu Thai to be dissolved because of Thaksin’s involvment]
On PM Prayut’s hand: Tu Digital [referring to the PM’s social media accounts]
On the bag at right: National budget used for campaigning [meaning the government is allowing taxpayer money to be used to support the campaigning of pro-junta political parties]
On a sign held by a man with glasses on the right: Four ministers under the PPP [the Phalang Pracharat Party; meaning several current government ministers are also executives of pro-military political parties]
On a sign held by a man with glasses on the right: No resigning, no shame, and don’t care [meaning the government ministers who are are also part of pro-junta political parties should resign so there is not conflict of interest]
On a sign held by hooded man: Carry out a campaign through the election of the party’s leader [the cartoonist uses this figure to represent the Democrat Party to call attention to those who died during the 2010 protests in Bangkok, contending the protesters were peaceful and only wanted democracy and that the Democrat Party wanted them to die; here the figure is openly campaigning despite a political ban which refers to the Democrat Party leadership battle that critics contended violated the political ban]
Phi Nooring: Being furious since the case of “clung to the table.” [Thaksin recently mocked Deputy PM Prawit by saying he “clung to the table” meaning he begged for his post of army chief from Thaksin.]
Mouse: Too much bulling

[This cartoon refers to the Election Commission’s warning that the Pheu Thai Party could be dissolved if it were found to have let Thaksin interfere with its internal affairs.
The EC’s reaction came after Deputy Prime Minister Prawit called on the agency to look into Thaksin’s interview with the Japanese media about how the Pheu Thai Party would fare in the upcoming elections.
The cartoon contends that the military and the the junta are interfering more in party political far more than Thaksin ever has.]

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Can they dissolve the party?

From Naewna, October 26, 2018
Lion: Don’t worry that the EC [Election Commission] will indict on your dominance of the party, boss.
Tiger: Yes, sir… We don’t see how the EC will find the evidence to dissolve our party.
Caption: The party turns a blind eye to it. The evidence is clearly seen, but they pretend like it is a hair too small too see.
Thaksin is on the screen. This refers to the open secret that Thaksin addressed various governments via SKype of video conferencing after he fled into exile.

[This refers to the Election Commission’s recent warning that Pheu Thai Party could be dissolved if it were found to have let Thaksin interfere or control its internal affairs.
Thaksin clearly controls the party and thus new laws enacted after the coup have been specifically set up to allow a party to be dissolved if such an overseas figure interferes in its operation.
This cartoon shows the “dangerous animals” flattering Thaksin and turning a blind eye to the EC’s warning and the new rules than could cause the party to be disbanded.]

More about the attempt to “Target Thaksin”
More on the “Dangerous Animals”

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Weekly News Magazines: Rap Against Dictatorship, November, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, November 20-8, 2018
Main cover reads: Prathet Ku [red] Mee
[Refers to a controversial rap song titled “Prathet Ku Mee” or “What my country’s got” in English. This song criticizes the country under the junta.
After PM Prayuth urged the public to judge the song’s accuracy for themselves and said he would ignore it, the song’s views on Youtube skyrocketed and it became a source of debate in the country.
We are not sure why Prayuth is on a swing. “Mee” (in red) also has a “high voice” tone mark over it instead of the normal one. We are not exactly sure why this is, but something like this might signify to Thais that the person speaking is lying as it is said that those who lie speak as if they are using the “high voice” tone mark.]

Top: Leicester City doesn’t have… Thailand doesn’t have Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha anymore.
[Refers to the passing away of Thai billionaire and owner of UK football club Leicester City Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. He was died in a helicopter crash after taking off from the King Power Stadium in the UK. Vichai brought Leicester City in 2010 and helped the football club to win a championship in 2016.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, November 2-8, 2018
Main cover reads: Get stuck in the mud
[Refers to the junta led by PM Prayut facing a challenge on dealing with the rap song title “Prathet Ku Mee” by the Rap Against Dictatorship. This song criticizes the junta and calls for free and fair elections soon.
First, the police threatened people who shared the song on social media. This helped rapidly increase the number of views online and the public strongly criticized the junta’s petty attack on freedom of speech. Later, the police back down and said that sharing the song does not violate the law.]

From Manager Weekly, November 3-9, 2018
Main cover reads: Life goes on

[Refers to owner of King power UK’s football club ‘Leister City’, Mr. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who died in a helicopter crash.
After his passing away, his son, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha (man with sunglasses) announced that he would now try carry on his father’s “big vision and dreams” for Leicester City and as well as the family’s business King Power.]

Top: “Dissect” [red] Prathet Ku Mee [black] the truth was set.
[Refers to controversial rap song titled “Prathet Ku Mee” that criticizes the junta. Music video of the song shows pass incidents of violence against protesters. The rap group and music video producer insisted their intention was to express their view on Thai politics and call for the election. However, critics questions their hidden intention since they used past sensitive political events in their music videos. Thai culture tends to desire to quickly smooth over such violent events and try to stress unity and harmony so those that bring up or refer to past events can be harshly criticized for somehow creating division.]

Bottom left: Broken jar. Drama on the conflict between “Arm-Haithongkhum”
[Refers to the contract conflict between teen singer and composer Arm-Haithongkhum (or Arm Chutima) and the manager of Haithongkhum Records, Prajak Naowaras. The headline mimics the Thai proverb “broken home” by swapping in the artist’s name “Haithongkhum” or “golden jar.”]

Right: Extraordinary becomes the negative. Misery from bad deeds of a person who betrays his ideology. A lesson from Uncle Thaug to Uncle Tu
[Refers to the current political situation of former leader of the defunct People’s Democrat Reform Committee (PDRC) Suthep Thaugsuban. Suthep promised when he led the protest against the Yingluck government and the elections that had been called that he would not be involved in politics again.
This was important to many of his supporters who wanted to block Thaksin from giving himself a pardon, but felt uncomfortable in following a political leader like Suthep who might just want to block elections and overthrow the Yingluck government to further his own political career (i.e. for “selfish reasons”).
Suthep broke his promise by setting up a political party, “Action Coalition for Thailand,” expressly to support the military junta’s PM to stay in power after elections. His actions caused disappointment to his supporters and recently his popularity has declined.
The headline notes that his life when from extraordinary (as the leader of the PDRC that was widely praised by those who hated Thaksin for his selfless actions in prevent amnesty) to the negative after he broke his promise and is now attempting to capitalize on the coup he provoked. This cover warns that PM Prayuth (Uncle Tu) may encounter the same fate as Suthep (Uncle Thaug).]

From Lokwannee, November 2-9, 2018
Main cover reads: Good people are wriggling.
Skeleton: Jak!! [a sound of suffering from the hot water]
On a kettle: # Prathet Ku Mee
[Refers to a rap song titled ‘Prathet Ku Mee [or “What my Country’s got” in English] criticizing the junta. This song by the Rap Against Dictatorship was released on the YouTube and received million views. It becomes controversial as some agree and disagree with it. At first, there was a warning of violating the law for who shares this song. Later, the police revoke their word. The cover is sarcastic to the junta, who claims that they are good people to come to help the country. It illustrates that the junta can’t bear with these facts written on the song.]

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Hard to get the Pheu Thai Party away from the Shinawatras

From Manager, October 25, 2018
Left, Sudarat: Boss should put me in the safe zone rather than promoting to be the new party’s leader.
Boss (meaning Thaksin): Why? Are you afraid of the NCPO? [the military junta]
Right: No… I’m afraid of boss’ younger sister!
Caption: Reasons why Noi [Sudarat] wants to stay in the safe zone.

[Refers to an intense competition to be the leader of the Pheu Thai Party.
Sudarat “Noi” Keyuraphan has long been a candidate, thought to favored by Thaksin who was toying with allowing a non-family member from leading the party.
Her candidacy was resisted from many quarters, particularly other Shinawatra family members such as Thaksin’s younger sister Yaowapa who was pushing her husband, former PM Somchai, to be party leader.
Finally, an 86-year-old minor political non-entity, Pol. Lt. Gen Viroj Pao-in, won the leadership post.
However, all the major candidates like Sudarat were afforded party status that would allow them to be selected as prime minister if the party controls the next government. This indicates that the party’s strategy on who might be its prime minister is still being hotly contested.]

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Whose army?

From Thairath, October 23, 2018
Title: People’s army?
On the bag carried by Gen. Apirat: If there is chaos, then a coup will take place.
Sign close to PM Prayuth: Extend the power line of the NCPC [the junta]
On the bag: Pracharat, Thai Niyom Yangyuen. Without an investigation and can operate freely [meaning pro-military political parties seem to be allowed to conduct political activities despite the ban]
Phi Nooring: Be neutral and not involved with politics
Mouse: A huge burden mission

[Refers to army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong who recently insisted that army remains neutral and will not intervene if politics is stable after the election. However, if there is political chaos the military would not rule out a coup.
This angered anti-junta and pro-Thaksin politicians eager to have free reign in politics after the next elections.
The cartoonist further shows that Gen. Apirat attitude is supporting the ascension of pro-military parties and politicians.
The people being carried by Gen. Apirat are (from left to right) Suthep, Deputy PM Somkid, Deputy PM Prawit and PM Prayuth.]

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Why can’t they praise me?

From Manager, October 23, 2018
Prayuth: Here’s that… here’s that… only having a curse [for me]… why they can’t they praise?!
Man at the door: Go to the computer to store up more [computers].
Caption: Tu uses Facebook?… computer sales must go up.

[Tu is nickname of PM Prayuth. After Prayuth opened his own official Facebook page he has been deluged with attacks by netizens. This is an amusing turn of events for a junta that has been loathe to tolerate dissent.]

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It’s the people’s fault for voting

From Thairath, October 20, 2018
Title: The people’s fault.
On the soldier’s shirt: Return happiness [the junta’s motto]
Soldier: Do not blame the soldier, if there is no riot, there would be no revolution [coup] [this statement paraphrases comments of the new army commander who refused to rule out another coup, saying that it would only be done to prevent political chaos]
On the board: The power of benefit [meaning that the military has special power because of its position in society and government]
Under the board from left to right on the suits: Alliance group; Freeze the country [groups that wished to “freeze politics” to stop Thaksin’s electoral power]; the political party that loses elections [meaning parties that lost to the Pheu Thai]; Shutdown Bangkok PDRC [protest that derailed the Yingluck government and triggered a coup]; Capitalists [business interests that have prospered under the political peace the junta has created]
Flag on the tank: Overthrow 13 times [referring to the frequent coups]
Left, on signs: Democracy government; from the people’s election [note the man holding the photo of Thaksin]
Mouse: The rifle is from the people’s taxes.
Mouse man: They always penalize the politicians.

[This is an overview of both anti-junta and pro-Thaksin perspectives. This view is that the military, supported by a coalition of groups who have self interest in opposing elections, are preventing free and fair elections that would return the people’s choice–Thaksin–to power.]

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No alliance for the Democrats!

From Manager, October 16, 2018
PM Prayuth: Phalang Pracharat… Thai Citizen… People’s Reform… Action Coalition for Thailand… [political groupings that are pro-junta]
Thaksin: Pheu Thai… Pheu Tham… Pheu Chat… Prachachat… Future Forward… [political groupings that are pro-Thaksin]
Abhisit, leader of the Democrat Party: Prachathipat… Prachathipiek… Prachthipod… Prachthipeuay… Prachathipood… [these are nonsense words describing various negative attributes of the Democrats]
Caption: Three groups checking their alliances

[Refers to the three major political leaders–PM Prayuth, Thaksin and Abhisit. All consequential political cliques and parties can be confidently grouped under these three leaders (except Chartthaipattana which is a political party designed to be able to be a part of any government coalition).
In the cartoon, the leaders are counting their alliances. With the new constitution essentially penalizing larger parties, both the junta and Thaksin have cleverly organized their supporting PMs into smaller political parties.
The cartoonist notes that Abhisit, leader of the Democrats, does not seem to have any such alliances. Apart from “Phachathipat” (which is the name of of the Democrat Party in Thai) the other parites do not exist.
The cartoon uses the word “prachathi” and adds words at the end to describe the Democrat Party’s assumed weaknesses. For example, “pod” means “lying,” “peuay” means “weakness,” and “pood” means “disclose a secret.” We are not sure about “piek.”]

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Destroy democracy to destroy corruption

From Arun, Matichon Weekly, October 12-18, 2018

“Corruption is a big problem but an anti-corruption is a bigger problem for the democracy when the anti-corruption program destroys the democratic system.” Prof. Yoshifumi Tamada, expert on Thai study, Kyoto University
On the apple: Corruption

[The cartoon refers notes that the junta that always gives the reason for conducting the coup because they wanted to reform the country and end corruption.
Here it shows the military destroying democracy to stamp out corruption.]

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The Shinawatras lie about fleeing

From Manager, October 11, 2018
Left, Thaksin: I will fight the charge and never flee!
Middle, Yingluck: I will fight the charge and never flee!
Right, Thaksin’s son Panthongtae: I will fight the charge and never flee!
Caption: Look at his dad… and aunt… then we know whether what he is saying the true.

[Refers to Thaksin’s son Panthongtae “Oak” Shinawatra, who has been charged with money laundering. Entangling him in a legal case in the run up to the elections effectively prevents Thaksin from appointing him to head the Pheu Thai party and narrows his options to find a family member he can rely on.
The cartoonist makes the case that Thaksin and his family members always claim they will face the courts and never go into exile–but they always do.
Such claims were especially damaging in Yingluck’s case as she fled the morning of the reading of her verdict leaving other co-defendants who had believed her pledge not to flee to face long prison sentences alone.]

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As long as the accused is not a billionaire

From Manager, October 10, 2018
Left, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan: I believe Gen. Srivara will investigate the case of binturong transparently…
Right: Because the alleged offender is only a deputy district chief, not a billionaire…

[A group led by deputy district chief Watcharachai Sameerak was arrested for allegedly hunting binturong in Sai Yok National Park, Kanchanaburi province. Deputy National Police commissioner Gen. Srivara Ransibrahmanaku has been assigned to lead this case.
This case raised concern among the public as it might turn out like the earlier case of well-known construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta who was alleged of killing endangered animals including a black panther in a wildlife sanctuary. His case seems to be taking forever with most assuming that such a rich and connected person cannot be prosecuted.
However, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan ensured the public that Gen. Srivara will not disappoint the public. The cartoonist ridicules the apparent difference in justice for those who are lowly officials vs a tycoon.]

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Weekly News Magazine: Prayuth on Facebook, October, 2018

From Manager Weekly, October 20-26, 2018
Main cover reads: [left] Online [right] Offline
On the left: Prayut Chan-o-cha [list top to bottom] About, Videos, Posts, Photo, Community, Info and Ads [green] Create a Page
Above PM Prayth’s picture (from left to right): Like, Follow, Share

[Refers to different political actions between PM Prayut (left) and army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong (right). Recently, PM Prayut, who used to refuse to join social media, has actively participated to gain support from the public in the coming election.
On the other hand, Gen. Apirat, who is staying away from all social media, seems to cut a more dignified figure (at least on this cover).
It shows that Prayuth is not reduced to a common politician while Gen. Apirat is in the realm of officialdom.]

Top: When the war ends, kill the knights. [red] A future of “Red Shirt leaders” have no future. “Big boss” [black] disconnect-ignore.

[This uses the Thai proverb “Kill the buffalo after finishing farming and kill the knights after ending the war” with a meaning like the English proverb “butcher the donkey after it finished his job at the mill.”
This refers to the uncertain future of Red Shirt leaders.
Some have been exiled and suffered from serious illness, such as Wisa Khanthab (left), Jaran Ditapichai (2nd from left with black hair), Somsak Jeamteerasakul (middle front) and Apiwan Wiriyachi (who died in 2014 the Philippines, third from the left in the back). Jatuporn Promphan (right) already served a jail term and have been released.
Most of these men started out as low-level politicians or desirous of political office, leaping to Thaksin’s defense and staging protests for him in the past.
However, their often revolutionary rhetoric along with the extreme outcomes of the protests (including sieges of Bangkok in 2009 and 2010) means that mainstream politicians have distanced themselves from these men who are seen as paid political agitators.
While some Red Shirt leaders had temporary protection from legal consequences by being made MPs under Phea Thai’s party list MPs in the past, this was when the party was fully in the hands of the Shinawatras.
Now it seems that political groupings are accepting the new reality of politics under the thumb of a military untied in preventing Thaksin bids for amnesty to paralyze the country again.
Some in Thaksin’s own party are probably relishing a chance to finally govern and reap the spoils of holding the reigns of power without being required to risk another showdown with the military over Thaksin’s desire to return.
Political grumbling from the Red Shirt leaders has been rumored as well with anger over being cut lose from the “big boss” (Thaksin) who no longer wishes to fund their activities in this new political reality.
As their political protection and finances dwindle, these men may face, not only legal problems, but violent reprisals over the many contentious acts and speeches they were involved in during past times of protest.]

Bottom left: Disclose the benefits of “Wild Boars The Movie” The copyright fee shall be divided transparently.

[Refers to the movie title “Wild Boars The Movie” which is about the Wild Boars soccer team that became trapped in a cave. The article expresses concern over the money made from this movie and that it should be divided fairly.]

From Matichon Weekly, October 19-25, 2018
Main cover reads: Welcome to Cyberism
The saying behind: I open my personal Facebook account to be another channel to communicate about the policy and work as well as to interface with the public easier. [red] If you have any suggestion, want to exchange views or want me to deal with the problem, you can share with me. Prayut Chan-ocha

[PM Prayut recently joined social media with the aim to promote his activities and gain support from the public. This can be dilemma for him as he cannot then avoid comments from critics of anti-junta groups.
The red text illustrates this concern and raise the question whether people can make comments different from the junta’s policy.
“Cyberism” expresses sarcasm about PM Prayut’s recent activity on social media where there is still doubt about freedom of expression by the public.]

Top: Set a flag for the future. Set the flag for world’s challenges. Biographical book Thanathorn Juanroongruangkit
On the book: Set a flag for [yellow] the future

[Refers to the release of the biography Future Forward Party founder Thanathorn Juanroongruangkit. He announced that he would fight against the dictatorship and bring the country back to democracy.
Such biographies, always lauding their subject, are common as political figures seek to build their reputations.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, October 19-25, 2018
Main cover reads: Variable

[Refers to Thaksin’s son Panthongtae Shinanwatra who has been formally charged with money-laundering. The title means that the case of Panthongtae will impact the future of the Pheu Thai Party and Thaksin’s political direction.
It was recently suspected that Panthongtae would be maneuvered into being the next head of the Pheu Thai as it is critical for a Thaksin family member head it.
Another line of thought was that a non-family member might give the party more credibility and mute the junta’s plan to paint it as a vehicle for Thaksin amnesty.
However, if someone outside of Thaksin’s family headed it, it might lead to forego controversial goals such as a rewrite of the constitution to provide a Thaksin amnesty or other path for his return to power. Complicating this, the leading figure for party boss outside of Thaksin’s family, Sudarat, is hated by the rural party bosses that represent the major political cliques of the party.
Thus, the legal cases hounding Panthongtae are a complicating factor for Pheu Thai Party leadership.]

From Lokwannee, October 19-26, 2018
Main cover reads: Ocha… isn’t it? [small] Welcome to ‘Tu’ digital
[Refers to PM Prayuth, who once insisted he would stay away from social media.
Now, with elections coming, PM Prayuth joined social media with the aim to promote his activities and gain support from the public.
The headline uses the word “Ocha,” part of PM Prayut’s surname meaning “tasty.” The headline means that people are relishing the drama of the PM on social media as he will face not only good comments but negative comments as well.]

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Poo can deal with them

From Manager, October 8, 2018
Yingluck: See… Poo can deal with them.
Caption: This time she can ‘deal’

[Refers to three Democrat Party politicians consisting Theptai Seanapong (left), Sirichok Sopha (middle), and Chavanond Intarakomalyasut (right) who apologized to former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra (nicknamed “Poo”) in writing for making sexually offensive comments against her on TV while she was serving as prime minister in 2012.
This was related to the great lengths the Pheu Thai went to to make sure Yingluck was not present at important parliamentary meetings. This was to ensure that any controversial decisions made at the meetings could not lead to legal rulings that would remove her as PM and thus imperil the government.
During one meeting it was said Yingluck could not be there because she was meeting with business leaders at a hotel. This was ridiculed by the Democrat MPs to imply something sexual.
In the cartoon it shows that the former political novice, often clumsy in political affairs, has shown she is fully capable of responding to slander against her and even forced the MPs to apologize.]

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Different kinds of animals

From Manager, October 9, 2018
Left: Black panther; Protected animal
Right: Binturong; Protected animal
Middle: Premchai, Deputy District Chief; Unprotected animals
Caption: Those two can be hunted. It does not violate the law.

[Recently, a group led by deputy district chief Watcharachai Sameerak was arrested due to the alleged hunting of binturong in Sai Yok National Park, Kanchanaburi Province.
This is similar to the case of construction magnate Premchai Karnasuta who was arrested and accused of killing endangered animals including a black panther in a wildlife sanctuary.
This cartoon implies that the authorities should hunt down these men who like to hunt endangered animals.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Two Political Systems, October, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, October 12-18, 2018
Main cover reads: ‘Franchise’ of politics
[Refers to two political systems; dictatorship under the National Council for Peace and Order led by PM Prayuth (left) or elected parties represented by Thaksin (right).
As the election is coming, the junta has launched several initiatives to win the public’s support. Some are similar to the populist policies of Thaksin.]

Top: Double S.E.A. Write woman ‘Veeraporn Nitiprapha’ and ‘magic realism of manga’, a symbol in novel of ‘hiding’ of history.
[Refers to novelist Veeraporn Nitiprapha, who won the S.E.A. Write Award this year for her novel collection “Descendant of the century and the memory of the memory of the back-rose-cat.” This is her second award after her first winning in 2015. This headline describes her novel. In the story, she illustrates a human’s story through a cat’s view of various incidents in history.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, October 12-18, 2018
Main cover reads: Missing you and looking up at the sky. Still seeing you there. Your theories and teachings. Your ideas are like blessings. People who follow your path will be prosperous.

[Refers to the 1st anniversary of the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX). His Majesty is known as Thai beloved king and the father of the nation as he did so many things to help his people have better lives. Even though he has passed away, his teachings, particularly on the sustainable economy, are still being used to help people live their lives in peace and happiness.]

From Lokwannee, October 12-19, 2018
Main cover reads: Everyone loves me.
Words beside dinosaur: Ho… Ho… Ho… [the sound of booing or jeering in Thai]

[Refers to Deputy PM Prawit who denied he was being jeered when he attended a motorcycle race in Burirum province. He said that he was welcomed by the people.
The cover uses a dinosaur to represent the junta adn indicate it is old-fashioned.]

From Manager Weekly, October 13-19, 2018
Main cover reads: [Left] Escape [mid] Escape [right] don’t escape?
[Refers to Thaksin’s son Panthongtae Shinawatra (right), who has been charged with money laundering. There is a concern that finally he will be exiled like his father Thaksin (left) and his aunt Yingluck (middle) whom fled to escape corruption charges.]

Top: Disclose a ten billion deal [orange] GPSC-GLOW [black] failed. This is just the first round of [orange] “a war of energy business group”
[Refers to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) which did not approve the deal to purchase of GLOW stocks by PTT’s company GPSC.
PTT exists almost as a law unto itself. Such a ruling against them indicates the titanic divisions behind the scenes that wish to block the deal.]
Bottom left: Watch boxing program “ONE” in 2019; raising the fund 166 million USD to expand in Japan and enhance the alliances
[Refers to the ONE Championship program which is about a mixed martial arts, Thai boxing kickboxing, boxing, etc.
After huge popularity, the company is planning to raise USD 166 million through joining hands with investors to expand to other markets, such as Japan.]

Right: Collecting a tax [yellow] ‘Dog-cat’s slave’ [white] is in chaos. ‘Uncle Tu’ loses face and orders to review it again.
[Refers to a proposal to tax pet owners per pet they own.
After a huge outcry from the public, the junta, led by PM Prayuth (whose nickname is “Tu”), backed down and said they would review the proposal.
Thais call people who love dogs and cats “slave of those animals” as they are willing to do everything to please their pets.]

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Not only a dog howls at the bell

From Manager, October 7, 2018
Dog: Browwwwww [sound of howling]
Woman: Browwwwwww [sound of howling]
Caption: Currently not only a dog howls at the bell.

[Refers to the controversial issue in which a temple was ordered to lower the noise level of its pre-dawn bell tolling after people from a condo close to the temple filed a complaint saying that they were disturbed by the noise.
The cartoonist makes the point that Thai people are used to the pre-dawn bell tolling as this has long been a custom. Normally, when the monks do it, dogs will howl as it disturbs them. The cartoonist jokes that modern people have become like these dogs who are disturbed by the bell tolling.]

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