Thaksin shifts puppets

The last time a coup
leader became PM
after a return to

Prem Tinsulanonda in Context


Who will come crawling?

Who will come

Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

Analysis: Thailand’s
half democracy

Do all Thai roads
lead to Singapore?

The Missing Marker & Thai Democracy

The missing marker &
Thai democracy

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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Virus spreading out

From Manager, March 24, 2020
Title: Kids are going back to hometown… Please wait to welcome them!
On a sign: Bus station
On the buses from left to right: Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Udonthani, Nongkhai

[Refers to the widespread concern that government actions in closing business places in Bangkok would lead to a proliferation of covid-19 cases in the provinces.
This is because young people throughout the country journey to Bangkok to work and then on holidays return to their parents’ homes in the provinces. With businesses in Bangkok being closed, an exodus of these workers would be expected to leave the city to stay in the provinces with their families until the jobs return.]

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PM Prayuth’s birthday

From Arun, March 23, 2020
Title: Blow the candles out.
This year, the cake is a special order.
Red Title: 66th year birthday
Under the cake: Covid

[Refers to PM Prayuth’s birthday on March 21 and the immense challenges the unexpected pandemic poses to the economy and the government.]

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Covid will knock him out

From Manager, March 18, 2020
Opposition party members at left: Covid kill him… Knock him down… Go kill him… Yeah!
Virus: We have been boxing in several countries. Only in this country are their people cheering us.

[PM Prayuth’s government has been criticized for its hesitant handling of the growing Covid19 crisis as well as for the mysterious lack of face masks despite government claims that there are plenty available.
Opposition groups have been quick to capitalize on this unexpected crisis for the government. Former members of the disbanded Future Forward Party launched a “Progressive Movement” that specifically targets issues such as overpriced masks as well as public lack of confidence in the present government to handle the crisis.
The campaign features a series of photos of former party leaders wearing masks with messages in English for the government, such as “If we burn, you will burn with us.”
These criticisms are intertwined with the perennial opposition desires over the last decade–such as rewriting the constitution and dissolving the Constitutional Court.
The opposition is furious over an appointed senate that allows the military-backed government the final upper hand in blocking opposition desires to rewrite the charter. It also seethes that yet another popular political party that threatens the establishment has been dissolved.
The cartoonist attacks the opposition parties for using the pandemic as a chance to whip up opposition to the government.]

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Stop paddling the boat for the thief

From Naewna, March 12, 2020
Reporter: MPs from the Democrat Party announced they want to withdraw from the government to “stop paddling the boat for the thief.”
PM Prayuth: Then, let them withdraw.
Caption: The day when Uncle Tu [PM Prayuth] wore a mask in the wrong position.

[Refers to some of MPs from the Democrat Party calling for their party to withdraw from the government after there was a clip indicating that cabinet members were linked to the export of face masks–allegedly making money while there was a dire shortage in the country.
“To stop paddling the boat for the thief” is a saying that here implies that the Democrat Party’s participation in the government coalition is enabling top government ministers who are corrupt.]

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Tamarind tree devil at Sanam Luang

From Thairath, March 12, 2020
Title: Tamarind tree devil at Sanam Luang
On sign held by the student: RIP to justice and calls for democracy
On a man with a chair’s shirt: IO operation
On people’s shirts: Destroy the country; Witch-hunt; Right-wing dictator; Instigative media; Pro-military; State-media
Phi Nooring: The old picture is still unforgettable.
Mouse: Don’t do it again.

[Refers the current political situation where students and university students are beginning to hold rallies against the government and military. The cartoon image is from a famous photo from the Thammasat University massacre on October 6, 1976.
At that time, a student was lynched under a tamarind tree at Sanam Luang and hit by pro-military mobs as they that received fake information that the students were insulting the royal family.
The cartoon contends that, during the present time, the government’s Information Operation (IO) is being used to imply that the anti-government student protesters are subtly insulting the royal family and this is being used to demonize them.]

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Little ghosts stay in the pot

From Manager, March 9, 2020
PM Prayuth: The little ghosts must be in the pot… Don’t go out to haunt people…Om!
Caption: Using a leaking pot.

[Refers to the inadequate response of the government to quarantine returning illegal Thai workers from Korea to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Thai illegal workers are called “phi noi” meaning “little ghosts.”
The cartoonist shows PM Prayuth performing old-fashioned shamanistic and religious rites to make sure the ghosts remain confined. This is intended to mean that the government was doing nothing concrete or serious to solve the problem.
The return of these “little ghosts” scared the public, as the government seemed oddly hesitant to directly take action to confront the situation.]

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Face mask shortage

From Thairath, March 5, 2020
Title: Humanitarian masks
Doctors shouting at left: Very expensive; Crisis due to a shortage in hospitals; Out of stock
On devil’s cloud: Sellers hoarding and selling over normal price
On mask: Expensive price
On book: Speculating on face masks
Phi Nooring: A nurturer of the sellers is wicked.
Mouse: Aggravates the country

[Refers to the face-mask shortage in Thailand amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Many sellers were thought to have been hoarding in order to resell online or to other countries. However, the Ministry of Commerce has continuously confirmed there were plenty of face masks.
After the local media started to note the “mysterious” mask shortage and top officials were accused of hoarding, several officials resigned from their posts.]

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RIP Kanakorn Pianchana

From Thairath, March 6, 2020
Title: Condolences
On black ribbon: Return judgements to the ่judge. Return justice to the people. Kanakorn Pianchana
On the bullet: Injustice
Phi Nooring: Sacrifice himself to call for justice.
Mouse: RIP

[Refers to Judge Kanakorn Pianchana who in October 2019 attempted suicide after posting a statement that seemed to indicate that his legal judgments were being interfered with. This was widely thought to be mean that the government was trying to influence his rulings.
In March 2020, he finally succeeded in killing himself. In both cases local authorities dismissed the incidents as being due to personal problems.]

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Trap for protesters

From Thairath, March 3, 2020
Title: Trap [created] from people’s taxes
On the signs: Student and university students; Rally to call for the future; Call for a justice; Don’t want dictatorship; Overthrow the uncle [PM Prayuth]
Phi Nooring: Think if they were your son or nephew
Mouse: Don’t be so cruel.

[Refers to concern that the government is using the Information Operation (IO)–laws governing proper conduct on the net–to attack students rallying against the government.]

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Another dead party

From Thairath, February 24, 2020
Title: Keep shooting [enfilading] again and again [meaning the law is being used like gunfire to mow down political parties]
On the smoke from the gun representing military power: Dissolve the party
On the book: Law of NCPO [the former junta, the National Council for Peace and Order which handpicked the people who created the laws now being used to dissolve the anti-military political party]
On the broken sign int he background: Future Forward Party
On people’s shirt: MPs, committee, executives
Phi Nooring: Destroy democracy
Mouse: Don’t have justice.

[Refers to the dissolution of the Future Forward Party by the Constitutional Court due to the charges of receiving funds from an illegitimate source. The party was dissolved and its executives were banned from politics for 10 years. This cartoon shows Thai “disappointment” as it is believed that disbandment was a political game by the government to destroy its political enemies, especially the Future Forward Party which set itself strongly against the military and showed unprecedented strength in the last elections.]

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Buses will purify the air

From Thairath, February 19, 2020
Title: Which one is more deceptive?
On the bus: Having an air purifier
Phi Nooring: Thai people must help to investigate.
Mouse: People aren’t fools.

[The cartoon urges Thai people to help investigate alleged corruption involved in the new air purifiers installed on public buses to solve the pollution problem. Experts contend that the systems will have no effect or are even pseudoscience like the GT200 bomb detectors.
The assumption behind the cartoon is that government officials make money form deals they oversee so that is why even ineffective or overpriced deals are defended no matter what the evidence against them.]

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Very scared… but wants the money

From Manager, February 3, 2020
On the Chinese bank note: Revenue from tourism.
Caption: Very scared… but wants the money

[Refers to Prayuth’s government handling the spread of coronavirus from China. While the government tried to prevent the spread of the virus, they resisited banning Chinese tourists as other countries have. In recent years, Thailand has become a top destination for Chinese tourists.]

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No enough masks

From Manager, February 10, 2020
Left caption: They do not want it… but you go and give it out.
Health Minister Anutin: I give out, but you do not want it!… I will force you out of the country.
Right caption: Want it… but all sold out.
Sign: The masks are all sold out!

[Recently, Health Minister Anutin attempted to conduct a photo-op by handing out face masks to people at a Skytrain station. After some foreigners waved off his offer of masks, Anutin lost this temper in front of the press, blasting the “fucking farangs” along with other comments saying they should be “kicked out of Thailand.”
The cartoonist jokes that, while government ministers are trying to make a big show of handing out masks, many stores are completely sold out. This situation has been pointed out as showing the government is not doing enough to ensure the supply of masks during this crisis.]

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We will pass away together

From Thairath, February 10, 2020
Title: The greatest hope of Thai people today.
On a sign: The foolish leader will bring us all to die.
Phi Nooring: Leader… ? We all will die. We will pass away together.
Mouse: Should we be patient?
On the bottom right: Idea of the picture from: Traditional football between Chulalongkorn-Thammasart

[Refers to the political statements parade during the traditional football match between Thailand’s top universities Chulalongkorn and Thammasart. This parade is a sort of living political cartoon with floats and banners satirizing politics.
The banner shown was displayed during the parade. It featured an unintentionally humorous phrase in English created by students who wanted to send a message of hope and solidarity to those in Wuhan. We think the intended meaning was to be something like, “we will get through this together.” However, the phrase instead came out in English as “we are all going to die.”
The cartoonist uses the banner’s message to refer to PM Prayuth and his alleged lack of responsiveness to the crisis and the country’s other problems.]

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Random accusations

From Manager, February 26, 2020
Left, Pannika Chor Wanich says: Get sick of being a shepherd for so long.
Right: Let’s try to grab a goat to bump against the lamp, it would be fun.

[The left panel references Aesop’s fable “The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf” as it contends that Pannika is a person who lies.
The right panel refers to the Thai idiom, “grabbing a goat to bump against the lamp” meaning “neither here nor there.”
All of this is to ridicule Future Forward Party member Pannika Chor Wanich’s recent action during the no-confidence motion. She accused figures from PM Prayuth’s government of being involved in Malaysia’s 1MDP scandal. It was seen as a peculiar and random accusation, especially in light of the odd collapse of the entire no-confidence effort which saw the supposedly opposition Phea Thai block Future Forward from even mentioning two of the government figures they had promised to grill.]

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They can’t dissolve the party

From Manager, February 20, 2020
Piyabutr: The Constitutional Court can’t dissolve the Future Forward Party!!! The constitution doesn’t give the power to them!
On the book: Constitution version French revolution B.C. 1789

[Refers to the Future Forward Party’s legal expert Piyabutr who questioned the Constitutional Court’s ability to dissolve his party over allegations of violating the election law by receiving funds an illegitimate source.
The cartoonist insinuates that the Future Forward Party is hostile to the present Thai political system and would not be unhappy with a violent overthrow of the system like the French Revolution.]

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The story of hand signals

From Thairath, February 13, 2020
Left: The story of hand signals.
Middle: People impressed
Right: People astonished [meaning people were amazed or taken aback in a negative way]

[Refers to a mass shooting in Nakhon Ratchasima province during which a gunman shot many people before being killed the police led by police chief Gen. Chakthip. In the middle picture, it shows Gen. Chakthip’s hand signal instructing the police during the situation, the photo of which has become symbolic of the enter incident.
The right picture shows PM Prayuth giving a mini-heart sign to the people during his visit in Nakhon Ratchasima after the event. His signal and facial expression was criticized as inappropriate and frivolous during the sad time. Another version of this idea is in the cartoon below.]

From Manager, February 12, 2020
Left, PM Prayuth: Mini-heart.
Right, Pol. Gen. Chakthip: Big heart.

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager, Editorial Cartoons - Various | Leave a comment

“Kam” and death

From Thairath, February 12, 2020
Title: The sadness ‘Kam’ in Korat
Left: Sokkanattakam [tragedy]
Phi Nooring: Express deepest condolences to the loss.
Mouse: Must be hurry to help recovery.
Middle: Visamankattakam [extrajudicial killing]
Right: Attavibatkam [suicide]
Above: 84,000 cells

[Refers to the mass shooting in Thailand’s northeast province of Nakhon Ratchasima known as ‘Korat.’ This cartoon plays with Thai words ending with “kam” to express the incident.
The first “kam” refers to the sadness and tragedy which the gunman caused to innocent people.
The second “kam” refers to the Korat gunman who was eventually killed by authorities to send the siege. It is expected that people that transgress laws or might embarrass the military or police will end up essentially being executed.
The last “kam” refers to PM Prayuth who was criticized by showing the sign of a mini heart when he visited the tragedy area. Although later PM Prayuth said he made this sign to cheer up the people, the public considered it was a frivolous and inappropriate action during a time of incredible sadness.
“84,000 cells” refers a strange and incorrect statement made by the PM that people have 84,000 brain cells. On social media people immediately made fun of him suggesting he should increase his own brain cells to help him to govern the country better.]

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Graveyard of the charters

From Arun, Matichon Weekly 24-30, 2020
On the gravestones: Constitution

[This points out the last century of Thai history where the military repeatedly overthrew constitutional governments.]

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Distracted from overthrowing the government

From Naewna, January 31, 2020
Thanathorn, at far right, as vulture: Prayuth get out!
Thaksin, second from right, as vulture: Big Tu [Prayuth] get out!
On Thailand’s map: Wuhan fighting… fighting [meaning people in Thailand are focused on combating the spread of the coronovirus]
Caption: Nowadays, Thai people don’t about the sound of bird and crow.

[Refers to the Thai idiom “the sound of bird and crow” meaning the “opinions of unimportant persons.” This cartoon implies that Thai people are now focusing on the spread of the coronovirus from China rather than being interested in toppling the government of PM Prayuth as the Future Forward Party and its allies are always working for.]

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Virus politics

From Manager, January 30, 2020
Doctor: Khun Noi is infected with liar virus!
Caption: This is more dangerous than Corona.

[Refers to Pheu Thai Party’s Sudarat who criticized the government for its handling of the spread of coronovirus. She also claimed that Thaksin’s government did a better job of handling the spread of the SARS and MERS outbreaks. Khun is common Thai honorific title meaning Ms, Mrs, Mr. or Madam. “Noi” is Sudarat’s nickname.]

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Police turmoil

From Thairath, January 28, 2020
[This references apparent turmoil in the police department exposed by the sudden transfer of high ranking police officers and a drive-by shooting of the former immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn in Bangkok.
This was thought to reveal the tussling over big procurement contracts by various factions in the department.
The statue in the cartoon is at police headquarters in Bangkok and is a symbol used to promote the image of the police as benevolent protectors.]

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Sick of you!

From Thairath, January 23, 2020
Title: Put all power to attack
People shouting (the huge letters in the circle): Sick of!
Prayuth: Blame people; Beautiful people have no brain; Wearing the mask to prevent an air pollution [these are all PM Prayuth’s supposedly weak responses to difficult conditions in the country]; Protect his own group [from investigation]
On paper: Don’t know how to govern the country.
Phi Nooring: Upgrade the hatred.
Mouse: Being sick of and hating

[Refers to an increase in people’s dissatisfaction with the government led by PM Prayuth in handling current situations and how the government is trying to protect its own allies from oversight.]

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Illuminati Idea

From Neawna, January 22, 2020
Thanathorn: Ha… ha… I told you that undermining the governing system is just an idea. They couldn’t sue me.
Inside his brain: Illuminati idea
Caption: Don’t only think… but you need to carry it out to complete it, Thanathorn.

[Refers to the Future Forward Party led by Thanathorn which was recently acquitted by the Constitutional Court on the change of seeking to overthrow the country’s constitutional monarchy.
This cartoon is from an anti-Thaksin, rabidly nationalistic newspaper that is very skeptical of the Future Forward Party and its supposed motives and backers.
The caption reflects the sarcastic idea that the party was lucky to escape disbandment this time, but they need to carry out their actual goals as they may not get another lucky break in the future.]

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The Right Meaning

From Manager, January 16, 2020
Man: On your shirt, it says if someone likes Prayuth, you will fuck him?….I like Prayuth!!!
Caption: Be careful about Thai people’s English understanding

[Refers to a shirt worn by some anti-Prayuth activists. It was copied from a similar shirt meant to insult Trump supporters.
The cartoonist makes a rape joke, contending that a typical Thai man, with his limited understanding of English, may not understand that the word “fuck” does not mean “copulate” in this context, but instead is meant to indicate derision and disgust.
This cartoon reflects a more establishment view that looks down on the provocative protests and actions of the Future Forward Party.]

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It’s all good

From Thairath, January 7, 2020
Title: Is it mass hysteria?
PM Prayuth: In the next 20 years, you won’t be poor.
On men’s backs at left: Supporters. Businessmen. Government coalition parties.
Men at left: Economy is still good. Economy is still good. Cheer the uncle. [the “uncle” being PM Prayuth]
Signs above the suicides: Poor; Rubber farmers; Bankrupt; Farmers
On the paper at right: Killing the whole family. 4 deaths. Husband savagely hit his wife and kids on the heads before committing suicide by hanging to escape from the debts.

[Refers to the slowdown economic problems. Recently, there has been news about people killing themselves due to economic problem. This cartoon is critical of the government painting a rosy scenario despite the problems.
The cartoonist sarcastically asks PM Prayuth, “Is this hysteria?” He means to ask if the spate of dissatisfaction and suicides is actually hysteria (since things are good as the government claims) or if they are motivated by real issues.
Suicide is a common opposition theme. More on Economic suicides]

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Siamese Fighting Fish Unite

From Manager, January 13, 2020
On the left: Lumpini Park
On the right: State Railway Public Park
Caption: Today, they are still in different bowls.

[Refers to anti- and pro-government groups. A pro-government group organized an event to show their support at the Lumpini Park while an anti-government group held another event at the State Railway Public Park. As protest is thought of as sort of a shame in the Thai world, this cartoon laments that people are protesting instead of uniting even after so many years of political conflict.]

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Thais infected with fake news

From Manager, January 29, 2020
Sign on the booth at left: Quarantine place for people infected with coronavirus
Doctor: They are infected with the fake news viruses that are worse than what you guys have.
Panicked people at from top left to bottom right: Evacuate immediately; Doomsday; Death! death!; A million people infected with coronavirus may have died already!?… They said 20 million.

[This references the current spate of alarmist and fake news circulating on Thai-language social media about the virus outbreak.]

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New Year’s Cartoons: Run, Govt, Run

From Daily News, January 1, 2020
Title: Happy New Year B.E.2563

[Refers to the political situation in the Year of the Rat. Starting from the first month of the year, there will be a running event named “Wing Lai Lung” (Run to oust the Uncle) organized by the anti-government groups.
This is shown in the background with Future Forward Party leader Thanatorn holding the Democracy Monument plinth. Those groups are going to call for the public to support the revision of the constitution which they accuse only being written to benefit the military and the establishment.
In the foreground is the present government.
At far right in the foreground is government MP Parina who is facing allegations that her chicken farm encroached on protected areas.
The cobras refer to the MPs who betrayed their parties or change to other sides–particularly the government. This comes from the Aesop fable titled “the Farmer and the Viper.”
The bananas refer to the quote from a government MPs who referred to other coalition members as monkeys hungering for bananas.
All of this mocks the government and its many apparent hypocrisies.]

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New Year’s Cartoons: All Celebrate

From Matichon, January 1, 2020
On the flag: Happy New Year B.E. 2563
On Anupong’s shirt: Moto 1
On Jurin’s shirt: Democrat party

[Refers to the new year 2020, which is a year of rat in the Chinese zodiac. This cartoon shows many politicians, both the government and opposition, cerebrating the new year and wearing traditional dress.
From the front row, there are (left) Deputy PM Prawit, (middle) PM Prayuth and (right) Deputy PM and Interior Minister Anupong. “Moto 1” on his shirt refers to the Ministry of Interior.
In the middle row, starting from the left, is Deputy PM Somkid, Deputy PM and Minister of Commerce and the Democrat Party’s leader Jurin, Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr. Chuan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Mr. Thammarat and Palang Pracharath MP Mrs. Parina.
In the plane is Future Forward Party’s leader Thanathorn indicating the belief he will flee the country like Thaksin rather than face charges. This year, the Thai political situation is expected to be tough due to many controversial issues, such as dissolving the Future Forward Party and the economic slowdown.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons, New Year's Cartoons | Leave a comment