- Democracy Just Doesn’t Work
- Beating Opponents
- Last minute wooing
- Napoleon pig… is in every era
- Fighting for seats
- The Bangkok bombs
- Spreading the Photo
- Principles distinguish a human from a cockroach
- Goodbye to Cartoonist Chai
- Weekly News Magazines: Chor Under Fire, June, 2019
- Weekly News Magazines: No Return for Joke, June-July, 2019
From Naewna, July 23, 2019
Thanathorn: I have already considered that based on the Article 49, the court does not have the power to dissolve the Future Forward Party. If it does, it means the court uses power beyond its limitations.
Caption: The court of “Fah’s daddy” has already made a judgment.
[Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn announced to his followers that if the courts dissolved their party, it meant that the court was acting beyond is purview.
In the context of Thai politics, such a pronouncements, while obviously being designed to stave off a party dissolution, would be viewed as an attempt to set up a pretext for Thai “dissatisfaction.”
This would prime the party followers to view an expected dissolution verdict as an unfair if not illegal act and thus set the stage for protest (protest being seen as a sad chaotic result of people being pushed too far).
This cartoonist, which detests Thanathorn and his party, accuse him of trying to make the verdict himself before the court does. The axe symbolizes the implied threat of dissatisfaction and chaotic protest that an “illegal” verdict would create as well as the pressure this outcome puts on the court.
“Fah’s daddy” is Thanathorn’s nickname. It is based on a soap opera where a young lady named Fah is the lover of an older man, but they are keeping the affair a secret so she calls him “dad” in public. Thus Thanathorn’s young supporters who idolize him call him “dad” as well.]
From Thairath, August 7, 2019
Title: Words stops the bombs [meaning Prayuth only keeps speaking instead of really dealing with all these issues]
On the bombs left to right: Succeeding the power [meaning the coup generals are still holding power]; dominate power; economic problems; recite the full oath of office [referring to curiously truncated oath of office the PM took where he omitted that he would follow the constitution]; government officer [Critics charge that, according to the constitution, Prayuth and other military men cannot have a government jobs (being in the military or serving as bureaucrats in the old junta government) and participate in politics.]; revise the constitution; bombs
Phi Nooring: Violate the constitution
Mouse: Pretend like not doing any wrong
[The title of the cartoon implies that PM Prayuth only speaks instead of really dealing with all the injustice of his government and its hold on power.
Having these problems and injustices represented as bombs also alludes to the recent spate of bombs in Bangkok.
Prayuth is facing several problems and pressures, both from within his coalition and from the opposition.
As a seeming crescendo to these problems, a wave of bombs was set off to embarrass the government. This is a nearly identical set of circumstances to the 2006 Bangkok bombings that was intended to discredit the then faltering post-coup government.
Despite initial coy pronouncements that the bombs were due to Thailand’s troubles in its restive Deep South provinces, it was clear from the beginning that the bombings–their timing and form–were likely political in nature.
This cartoon illustrates a very Thai attitude that PM Prayuth, by virtue of his seizure and continuing hold on power, has created a situation where his government’s legitimacy is being shaken by bombs and arson. Behind this is the idea that those who placed the bombs due to their “dissatisfaction” with the state of politics were justified or even forced to do so because of Prayuth’s ongoing actions.]
From Lokwannee, August 9-16, 2019
Main cover reads: Don’t want to take it… Don’t want it like this.
[Refers to the opposition’s demand that the current constitution be scrapped. The headline means people do not want the fake democracy. The image shows military dinosaurs (meaning they are old-fashioned) propping up a cutout of Democracy Monument to symbolize democracy the military offers.]
From Matichon Weekly, August 9-15, 2019
Main cover reads: Master MY
[Refers to recent bombings in Bangkok. This cover plays with the word “Mastermind.” It implies that normally when the bombs go off, authorities have to investigate who is a mastermind. Instead of doing this, the military, led by army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong, quickly insited that the same anti-government group was behind it and it was meant to embarrass the government which was hosting ASEAN Foreign Ministers. So, “MY” in the title means that the immediate explanation for the bombs was simply Apirat’s personal musing about who was the mastermind.]
Top: Recite the oath of office-Important thing; ‘Prayuth-cabinet’ want to end [the controversy] 7 opposite parties don’t [want this controversy to subside] Keep an eye on ‘Wissanu’ who will make it over?
[Refers to PM Prayuth and his cabinet. Opposition parties have questioned whether he and his government violated the constitution by reciting an incomplete oath of office during the cabinet swearing-in ceremony last month. Deputy PM Wissanu, law adviser for the government, initially denied there was any issue. Later, after being pressured by the opposition, PM Prayuth apologized to the parliament and said that his government is trying to fix this problem. He also denied rumors that he was resigning.]
From Manager Weekly, August 10-16, 2019
Main cover reads: Burning Future: Hong Kong Model
[Refers to the unrest in Hong Kong due to fears its political status is being eroded by the central government in Beijing. Most of the protesters are young people openly calling for the democracy. The protest has increasingly become intense and violent after protesters occupied the airport and called on the U.S. for assistance.
This cover plays with the sound of “Burning Future” in Thai and the name of the Future Forward Party which sounds similar.
This cover illustrates the concern that the party may use the Hong Kong model to fight the PM Prayuth government and call for democracy.]
Top: Introduce Myanmar’s hottest model Paing Takhon; Upcoming Asian superstar
[Refers to Myanmar’s rising star model Paing Takhon who has become a sensation on social media recently for his good looks.]
Bottom left: Overture of “UK’s Premier league” 5 things to keep an eye on in this new season.
Right: Climbing up seemsdifficult. But climbing down is more risky!!! Explore the tough route of Thailand’s first woman who reached “7 Summits”!!
[Refers to Dr. Napassaporn ‘Eem’ Chumnarnsit who has recently become the first Thai woman to complete the world’s seven highest summits including Mount Everest.]
From Manager, July 23, 2019
Politicians: Those junior must move… The senior will fight.
Blue flag: Government side
Red flag: Opposition side
Caption: Bloodier than the tech students’ fight
[Refers to the fiery parliamentary debate on the government’s policy manifesto. It was PM Prayuth’s first time attending such a debate in an elected government. He was relentlessly attacked by the opposition during the debate and seemed to be caught off guard by being questioned so intensely.
As this was the first sitting of the new government, the ferocity of the attacks from both sides seemed to indicate the lack of good faith all around and the unthinking animosity that exists in politics.
Violent fights between groups of students enrolled in technical colleges is a longstanding and peculiar cultural tradition of Thailand. Such fights often cause fatalities while not being about anything important.
The cartoonist contends that the vicious political debate in parliament was even worse than the unreasoning fighting of tech students.]
From Manager, July 22, 2019
Chalerm: Legal marijuana?… So crazy!!! Then, we will all get deadly high…
[Refers to politician Chalerm Yoobamrung who recently criticized the government’s plan to legalize marijuana as an crop for medical purposes. This cartoon mocks Chalerm’s negative image as a wine drinker prone to violent behavior and suggests he is being hypocritical to be concerned about marijuana.]
Chalerm is one of old-school tough guys of Thai politics. Here are just a few of his past antics:
Who is Chalerm Yoobamrung?
2001: Chalerm and “the brawling brats of the Thai Elite”
2011: Chalerm denies warning about bomb attacks
2012: Was Chalerm drunk?
2013: Chalerm vows Thaksin will be home this year – Behead me if he isn’t, deputy PM tells reds
From Manager, August 5, 2019
The politicians say: Your side is the one… who did it!!!
Caption: After the bomb, the conflict groups still say the same thing.
[Refers to the recent series of bombs in Bangkok during the ASEAN Security Summit. The cartoonist shows that every time bombings occur, both Prayuth’s side (on the left of the cartoon) and Thaksin’s side (on the right) accuse each other of being behind the bombs.
There is no doubt that the recent spate of bombs is in the tradition of Thai “political intimidation bombings” in Bangkok and its major cities–whether they are due to party politics or the murky insurgency in the Thai Deep South.
These displays of unrest are characterized by multiple tiny bombs set to go off late and night or early in the morning so as not to create mass causalities. They are timed for maximum political benefit (such as in 2006 when the new year’s eve bombings punctuated a long period of ineptitude by the then junta government) and are intended to express Thai-style dissatisfaction at the political situation. And there is never any statement that takes credit for the bombs.]
From Naewna, August 5, 2019
Above the bombs at left that PM Prayuth examines: Bombs to create the chaos in the city.
Above man at right: Those revenge groups.
Caption: Be careful… The next bombing is happening next!!!
[This cartoon warns the government led by PM Prayuth to be careful as the government opposition is on the lookout for methods to attack the government.]
From Manager, July 21, 2019
Title: Business in the U.S.
Left: Mom’s business [this shows the family business that Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn is heir to]
Right: Son’s business
[Refers to the Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn attempting to lobby other nations to put pressure on the current government led by PM Prayuth. The cartoonist ridicules this as Thanathorn selling the country and encouraging other nations to intervene in its affairs.]
From Manager, July 14, 2019
Left: The election has already been conducted… Then, what information do you have to indicate that Thailand is not democratic?
Right: I’m not the PM.
[Refers to the Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn and party spokesperson Pannika who visited EU countries to lobby for support for legal and political battles they are facing back in Thailand.
This cartoon reflects a traditional Thai view of democracy–that democracy is elections. This means that once elections take place democracy is achieved and there is no room for complaint anymore no matter what the behavior of the government afterwards.
The cartoonist thus jokes that Thailand, by completing an election, has achieved democracy so Thanathorn’s complaints to Western nations only reflects ego.
The cartoon also perhaps the betrays fears of the Thai establishment of the inevitability of a Thanathorn rise to power. He achieved a stunning victory, if only that many of his party’s winning MPs were political novices–not longstanding political bosses that normally hold posts while switching parties from time to time.
Westerners still laud Thaksin for displaying some sort of organic popularity due to his elections wins. However, his majority was gained by merely buying out existing parties and being supported by the same rural kingpins who would always be in power one way or another.
Thanathorn’s party seems to have displayed a new kind of truly organic success and represents a wildcard to the otherwise triumphant junta that has managed to live on in a new government.]
From Naewna, July 19, 2019
Left: The U.S. sent a message to congratulate the Thai government.
Right: Thanathorn on tour to criticize Thailand
Caption: Didn’t you boast that you would criticize the country so the world would pressure us, Thanathorn?
[Refers to the Future Forward Party’s leader Thanathorn who visited many democratic countries to lobby over the unfair political situation under PM Prayuth.
However, the U.S. still sent a statement assuring the Thai government that a strong relationship exists between the two countries and that the U.S> is looking forward to cooperating with the new government.]
From Manager Weekly, July 27-August 2, 2019
Main cover reads: Long Live the King
[Refers to H.M. the King Maha Vajiralongkorn birthday. This is the first birthday celebration of Thailand’s monarch since his Coronation in May.]
From Matichon Weekly, July 27-August 1, 2019
From Lokwannee, July 26-August 2, 2019
On the left screen: 2489 
At left a person yells: Pridi killed the King!
On the right screen: 2562 
At right side in back: Why don’t you stand up?
At right side in front: Why do you secretly take the picture?
[Refers to two situations occurring at different times, but supposedly sharing a similar aim.
The left side refers to an incident in 1946 when a person yelled in a cinema that former PM Pridi killed King Rama VIII. Later, it was found that the person was hired to discredit Pridi.
In the current year (symbolized by the Buddhist-era year on the screen) well-known actor Sarawut Aont Martthong took a photo in the cinema to call out people who did not stand up for the national anthem which is played before each film. He was praised by some for shaming those who did not stand, but he was also criticized for bringing a camera into a cinema which is illegal.
Obviously some political movements are worried that shaming over incidents like this will be blamed on them and used for the political benefit of others.]
From Manager, July 8, 2019
Thanathorn: Stop it… Hanging on for a long time, but it doesn’t work. Can’t create a mob!!!
Caption: Then those who are hanging… have started to get down.
[Refers to a case of political activist Sirawithy ‘Ja New” Seritiwat who was severely attacked in public, presumably for his lobbying against the government.
Anti-military and anti-government groups publicized the case to show how their activities were being curtailed. Those skeptical of anti-military and anti-government groups suspected that the waters were being tested for yet another mass demonstration (or “mob” as Thais call it) to attempt to bring down the new government. Ultiamtely it seems there was not enough public sentiment to justify open anti-government protests again.
The cartoon uses the Thai’s proverb “hanging with a trend” meaning trying to use a trend for one’s own benefit.]
From Manager, July 3, 2019
Ja New: I was deadly hit by the dictator.
Left caption: A victim needing to be sympathized with
Suriya: I was kicked from the position of the Energy Ministry by the dictatorship.
Right caption: A victim needing to be kicked again
[Refers to a comparison of political activist Sirawithy “Ja New” Seritiwat and Palang Pracharat party member Suriya Jungrungreangkit. Although both are from different political camps, both they were attacked by PM Prayut’s administration.
Ja New was publicly beaten more than once and has accused the government of being behind this attack.
Tycoon Suriya Jungrungreangkit, once a stalwart Thaksin supporter, was drawn into the new pro-military party, no doubt with promises of controlling a “gold” ministry. This is a ministry with budgets of several hundred million baht thought ripe for embezzlement and bribery. Political parties fight for such ministries as the proceeds enrich the party and its top members.
Once the fractious creation of the cabinet was completed Suriya found himself appointed as Industry Minister instead of the expected Energy Minister. The loss of heading this key ministry resulted in a storm of public complaint from Suriya and his allies.
The cartoonist contends that no one should feel sympathy for these tycoons fighting over public money.]
From Thairath, July 5, 2019
Title: Afraid or Funny
On his shirt: Continue the power
Above the Phitakhon mask: Threaten politicians
On the chairs: Asking for seats [meaning “asking for ministry posts”]
[In the midst of forming his government, PM Prayuth warned politicians to stop intensively competing for ministerial positions.
This happened during the time of the “Phi Ta Khon” ghost mask festival and the cartoonist uses this to illustrate his point.]
From Naewna, July 1, 2019
Jatuporn: Hitting Ja New’s head is similar to hitting Thai people
Caption: Making a rift is our work.
[Refers to the case of political activist Sirawithy “Ja New” Seritiwat who was beaten multiple times apparently for his anti-government lobbying. Many anti-Prayuth groups are pointing to this case and blaming the government or military for the attacks.
The cartoonist, who opposes Thaksin and the Red Shirts, takes issue with anti-government figures using the case to attack the government. He shows former Red Shirt leader Jatuporn using the case to split the country.]
From Thairath, June 27, 2019
Title: Having power means one can order the ghosts to grind flour.
On the ghosts on the back: Independent agencies
On the ghost in the front: Injustice
On the left basket: Political opposition
On the right basket: Democratic group
Phi Nooring: Grinding until having blood
Mouse: Become a slave
[The cartoonist laments that independent agencies as well as other agencies which support Prayuth’s government are being used to harass government opponents. This is yet another parallel to Thaksin’s years in power–the legacy of which the military has vowed to eradicate.
The cartoon references the Thai proverb “a ghost is grinding flour” meaning a person does thing without considering if it is right to do or not. They do it only for their own benefit.]
From Manager Weekly, July 13-19, 2019 Main cover reads: Surely longer
On the boat: Cabinet [yellow] Prayuth 2
[Refers to PM Prayuth and the struggle it took to form his cabinet. Critics are hoping for a quick collapse of the government and new elections. However, many analysts are confident that the new government will be able to serve out its term.]
Top: Very active in the local–intense in Bangkok [red] “Narongsak” vs “Chatchat” [black] Prove who will stronger in the land
[Refers to the coming local elections, particularly the election of the new Bangkok Governor. This year will highlight competition between the Pheu Thai Party and Palang Pracharat.
Younger generation politician Chatchat is thought to be the candidate of the Pheu Thai Party. It is rumored that Palang Pracharat is wanting to send Nan Province Governor Narongsak to run for governor in Bangkok. Narongsak became a national celebrity for his professional and effective management during rescue of the football team trapped in a cave when he was Chiang Rai governor.]
From Matichon Weekly, July 12-18, 2019
Main cover reads: No one [yellow] wants to see [orange] “us” look better
[Refers to the Future Forward Party’s key figures, Thanathorn and Pannika, who recently have been criticized, especially by pro-royal and pro-Prayuth groups, due to their past political stances. Thanathorn and Pannika have become very popular among young people who are sick of old-style politics and dictatorship.
The headline means that they are surprisingly popular and everyone is jealous of this popularity.]
Top: Lock ‘Uttama’ as the first queue for a motion of no-confidence in a case of Krungthai lending. Be careful, it may affect “Prayuth.”
[Refers to Palang Pracharath Party leader Uttama who will face a motion of no-confidence during the coming parliament meeting due to the 2003 Krungthai Bank lending scandal.]
From Manager, June 27, 2019
Top: Current ASEAN
Bottom: This is what Thanathorn wants it to be
[Refers to the Future Forward Party’s leader Thanathorn expressing his opinion on the eve of the ASEAN Summit hosted in Thailand by calling on ASEAN to end its norm of non-intervention in the affairs of member nations.
This is clearly a message from Thanathorn going out to many powerful Western nations who have long chaffed by not being able to unite ASEAN in sanctioning governments that fall short of international standards on human rights and democracy. It has frustrated the West when countries like Myanmar and Cambodia were not sanctioned by ASEAN for their human rights abuses.]
From Manager, June 26, 2019
Left: A coup that overthrow the Thaksin’s regime
Right: A coup that overthrow the regime… [meaning the monarchy]
On the grave: Siamese group 2475
[The cartoonist points to the ironic action of the Future Forward Party led by Thanathron that strongly fights against the military and its coups and extols democracy.
On the other hand, he and his movement laud the coup against the absolute monarchy in 1932 as somehow being a symbol of democracy and people power. Instead, like many small nations around the world that precipitously overthrew historic monarchies, the 1932 coup led to decades of rule by repressive military dictatorships.]
From Thairath, June 25, 2019
Title: Help to disarm
On the hand: NCPO [the junta]
On the gun: Orders which violate people’s rights
Signs from the left: End the orders on violating people’s rights
Signs on the middle: End the orders on violating democracy
On man’s back: People
Sign on the right: End orders limiting media rights
Phi Nooring: Help to be free from the dictator
Mouse: This should be firstly pinned.
On the people’s backs from front-back: Political parties, people, iLAW
[Refers to a call for people to help end the orders issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which are considered to violate people’s rights. These continue on into the new “democratic” era after elections.
Recently, human rights groups led by Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) has taken the first step on carrying out the activity called “Disarming NCPO” by repealing 35 announcements and orders of the NCPO which violate human rights and democracy.]
From Manager, June 24, 2019
On the cake: Debts from the rice-pledging scheme
Lyric: Competing with the dog to be born… completing with the dog to be born… completing with the dog to be born
Caption: Sing loudly to reach London. [where Yingluck lives in exile]
[Refers to former PM Yingluck’s birthday on June 21. The song uses lyrics from a Thai birthday song. This changing of the lyrics is meant as an insult to mean one is equal to a dog in the value of their life.
It is meant to mock the Pheu Thai’s populist rice-pledging scheme, steeped in corruption and economically not viable, created only to cement government popularity to enable a pardon for Thaksin.]
From Newna, June 20, 2019
Title: Trail running is not as fun as the relay race of Article 44.
On club: Article 44
On the left: ISOC
On the right: NCPO
[Refers to the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) that will take over the functions on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO, the junta) which ends with the formation of the cabinet. This has raised concern that the ISOC seems to be a proxy of the NCPO which controls of security on the country and will continue its absolute power symbolized by Article 44.]
The desire for Article 44
Everyone loves Article 44
From Manager, June 20, 2019
Left: Lenin: If you will teach your daughter to be the real communist… you must warn her a little bit…
Pannika’s dad: About insulting the royal family?
Right: Lenin: No!… About her costumes… Communists won’t wear a designed dress… with a price more than ten thousand!!!
[Refers to Future Forward Party’s spokesperson Pannika and her family. The party is derived from the Nitirat group, academics willing to question the role of the monarchy in Thai society and openly oppose lese majeste laws. While many in society might agree that open discussion of these topics is warranted, the movement seemed to exist in tandem with the Red Shirts, perhaps being a component of the pressure Thaksin wished to place on those who tried to sideline him. In any event, pressing these points at the twilight of the reign of Rama IX was a clearly provocative act.
Recently photos circulated of Pannika’s father allegedly wearing a communist-style hat with a red star. On top of other recent controversies surrounding her, critics have taken to demonizing her as a revolutionary.
In the cartoon Lenin jokes that she is not a real communist, because the inappropriate dress that she wore to parliament was a designer dress a real communist would never wear.]
From Naewna, June 19, 2019
Jatuporn: Rust comes from the inside. Only after one month, you can see a crack from Prayuth’s administration.
Caption: Please wait a little bit. Don’t be blown up [upset], bosses.
[Refers to Red Shirt leader Jatuporn who seemed to show his support for the junta after being released from jail. Later Jatuporn criticized PM Prayuth and his coalition parties for their allocation of the ministerial positions. The cartoonist seems to be saying the Red Shirt movement that supports Thaksin and Yingluck are as fractured as the government coalition.]
From Manager, June 18, 2019
Left: Shepherd’s kids
Right: Uncle tends…
Caption: I get sick of… whom I should support? [meaning the cartoonist himself is sick of both sides]
[This cartoon is the perfect evocation of the image of democracy in Thailand.
It references the political situation between the Future Forward Party led Thanathorn and the party’s spokesperson Pannika and the government led by PM Prayuth and his coalition parties.
The Future Forward Party has been criticized for trying to get attention from their supporters and the media with dire proclamations about justice and rolling back military rule. Their simple message of getting the military out of politics is a willful misreading of the junta’s motivations. The military’s actions are motivated by the desire to freeze Thaksin out of power. The cartoonist compares this to the Aesop’s fable “The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf.”
Thanathorn and Pannika have also been attacked for bad behavior and rule breaking, but their public comportment is always civil.
On the other hand, PM Prayuth and the military, in their self-described mission of being good people who can administer the country better than venal politicians, have put together a support base including the most old-fashioned and rapacious politicians. In the cartoon they are insultingly described as water monitors.
No Thai thinks that the bickering over governmental posts is an attempt to do a good job for the people, but instead knows it is a fight for political spoils which will give the parties that hold the posts an opportunity to pay themselves back for their campaign expenses and to wield influence.
Even those who support the military’s move to block Thaksin’s return must feel that the Prayuth hardly deserves to rule based on his performance.
Thus it is no surprise the cartoonist does not know who to support.]
From Lokwannee, June 28-July 5, 2019 Main cover reads: [No headline news]
[This cover expresses hopeless on a double-standard of the government and its alliance on attacking their opponents. The government can express anything and attack opponents though various legal cases. the opposition receives unfair treatment compared to government allies who face the same cases.
The government here is insultingly represented as a water monitor and shown to be the heaviest and most powerful force in the country.]
From Manager Weekly, June 28-July 5, 2019
Main cover reads: —like a porridge.
[Refers to Former Immigration Bureau chief Police Lt. General Surachate. Hakparn, known as “Big Joke,” was once a prominent rising star in the police force, but was suddenly transferred to the Royal Thai Police Operations Center.
Recently, there is a rumor that Joke would return to his high-ranking position again. The government dismissed this news.
In Thai, “porridge” can be called “joke.” This cover uses Surachate’s nickname “Joke” with the Thai proverb “being mushy like a porridge” meaning “extremely pained.” Thus Col. Joke is extremely pained by his mysterious political transfer with no public comment even on why it was done.
This sort of transfer emphasizes to all Thais how government positions–positions of real power–are not gained and held on merit, but through back-door deals and bribes.
The positions themselves do not function to carry out the tasks they are designed to do, but exist as bargaining chips to placate connected individuals or as power plays to accomplish an unrelated end (such as the imperative for a Thaksin relative head the police department when one of his parties is in power).]
Top: Clearing all queries [black] “double standard of holding media shares” The difference between “Thanathorn” vs 32 MPs
[Refers to a comparison between the case of Thanthorn (right) and 32 MPs including Nataphol (left) and Korn (middle), all accused of owning media companies while running for office. The article explains the differences between the cases. The Future Forward Party is trying to put pressure on the courts with the disclosure of the “double-standard treatment” when dealing with accused government MPs.]
Bottom left: “Aoffy Maxim” [white] from a beer girl to no. 1 model and drama queen!!!
[Refers to Orapan Dansiriwttanakun known as Aoffy Maxim. Recently, she was accused of having an affair as well as cheating on donations raised for helping a sick girl. This has raised the profile of a once obscure “pretty” to that of a top gossip star.]
Right: “Wrists,” dead spots of golfer “Michelle Wie” “How long until she will be strong enough to return?”
[Refers to professional golfer Michelle Wie who is facing health problems, particularly her wrists.]
From Matichon Weekly, June 27-July 4, 2019
Main cover reads: Magicalism
[We are not sure if this is the best translation. This is a new word frequently used by Matichon to explain the “magic laws” which the government uses to help its allies escape charges. On the cover is Deputy PM Wisanu, a key legal expert in the government.]
Left: New blood “Thailand” “Big Dang” builds “new generation of ROTCS” in parallel with followers of “Fah loves dad”
[Refers to the military led by army chief Apirat Kongsompong known as “Big Dang.” A new training program has been started called the Reserve Officer Training Cops student (ROTCS). Under this program, students do not have to cut their hair in a military-style haircut. The new program is believed to be intended to attract a new generation to support the military in competing with those who support the Future Forward Party and its fight against the junta.
The party’s incredible success in the polls, its roots in the Nitirat group, and its hostility to the junta’s attempts to block Thaksin and his Pheu Thai from returning to power have the military scrambling to make sure the Future Forward Party does not become even more of a societal phenomenon.
Future Forward Party supporters use the phrase “Fah loves Dad” to express their love of the party head Thanathorn. This phrase comes from a popular TV drama where a starry eyed young girl named Fah begins a romance with a much older man. To hide their affair she calls him “dad” and expresses her love with “Fah loves Dad.”]
From Manager Weekly, June 15-21, 2019
Main cover reads: E ‘Chor’ orange guard
[Refers to the Future Forward Party’s spokeswoman Pannika ‘Chor’ Wanich who has been under fire due to her Facebook photos showing her allegedly making gestures at a portrait of Rama IX. Her actions and attitude toward the royal family caused concern from conservative groups that she and her party may be like China’s Red Guard. Thus, this cover shows her as part of the “Orange Guard”–orange being the color of the Future Forward Party. Placing ‘E’ before her name is an insult.]
Top: Disclose the mystery of “Pneumothorax” through a case of [pink] “Numtarn” The Star
[Refers to the unknown cause of an illness that led to the death of actress and singer from the TV program “The Star,” Butsaran ‘Numtarn’ Thongchio.]
Bottom left: “Mike Tyson” proudly presents [yellow] a premium “marijuana” business serving luxury resorts.
[Refers to former boxer Mike Tyson’s new marijuana business.]
Right: Beauty-smart “Best” Somrak’s daughter. Struggling YouTuber with an income more than hundred thousand.
[Refers to Rakwanee “Best” Khamsing, daughter of famous boxer Somrak. She become a YouTuber and thanks to her channel’s popularity she helped support her family come back from bankruptcy.]
From Lokwannee, June 14-21, 2019
Main cover reads: This Chor… is very stinky.
[This covers shows the junta-dominated new government portrayed as a dinosaur to represent its old-fashioned thinking and actions.
In Thai, “Chor” means “bouquet” as well as being the nickname of MP Pannika who has been accused of disrespect for her mourning outfit in parliament as well as for photos she posted on Facebook. On the bouquet is the symbol of the Future Forward Party.
This cover appears ridicules the government for its criticism of Future Forward Party leaders such as Pannika and treating the party as something undesirable. The cartoonist contends that the government itself is undesirable and a big mess–represented here by the droppings the dinosaur leaves.]
From Matichon Weekly, June 14-20, 2019
Main cover reads: Future is now.
[This refers to Future Forward Party MP Pannika’s recent controversial incidents such as her two-tone outfit during Prem’s mourning period and photos she had posted on her Facebook account.
One can see these things as accidental or minor incidents whipped up to create bad publicity, but another view is that it is a purposeful challenge being made over issues related to the future of society, such as the modern role of the royal family or the military’s influence in politics.
So the cover is saying that we do not need to wait for the future to address these issues because they are being brought to the forefront of society in the controversy facing Pannika as well as in the Future Forward Party itself.]
Top: “Promise” 2 terms. PM “Tu” 29th leader. Change his character to be more soft and less aggressive.
[Refers to PM Prayuth “Tu” Chan-ocha who extended his second term as the 29th Prime Minister. For his second term, PM Prayuth promises to change his very aggressive and combative style.]
From Manager, June 11, 2019
Left: The IO of the NCPO spread this picture to attack me!
Caption: Nang Chor [Calling a woman “Nang” is very impolite. It is the opposite of “Khun” meaning “sir/madam.”]
Right: It is not the IO of the NCPO [that spread the photo]?!! I myself spread this picture on Facebook.
Caption: Khun Chor
[Refers the Future Forward Party’s spokeswoman Pannika “Chor” Wanich.
She recently came to public notice for wearing a two-tone outfit to parliament instead of the customary black required for the death of Privy Council President Prem. Critics felt this was a sly Red Shirt-like show of disrespect for Prem.
Then an allegedly rude photo from her Facebook account was widely distributed and criticized. It showed her gesturing towards a photo of King Rama IX.
Pannika initially explained the photo in a frank and open manner saying that it was taken in 2010 in an atmosphere where politically motivated lese majeste allegations were common and her actions in the photo reflected the “tragedy of Thai politics.”
After Thaksin’s ouster in 2006 and in the subsequent ramping up of the Red Shirt movement, instances of politically motivated lese majeste were committed as part of the pushback against military rule. As the years passed, many other false or border-line accusations were also whipped up against critics of the military.
However, Pannika’s photo, brought to light so many year after the fact, was seen by some as a minor instance of youthful rebellion and another example of the junta trying to destroy the Future Forward Party.
Pannika alleged that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Information Operation (IO) was behind the controversy, setting her up by spreading the photo. Others pointed out that Pannika herself posted the photo on her Facebook account and that after she appeared in the controversial two-tone in parliament it was only a matter of time before critics would dig up other controversial examples of her behavior.]
From Manager, June 11, 2019
Vulture: Hurry up, we have to finish eating very quickly… before people will stop focusing on E-Chor… and turn to us!
On the buffalo: Positions [in government]
[Refers to the intense and continuing competition among coalition parties for the positions in the government.
The cartoonist ridicules the politician’s actions with Thai proverb “vultures fiercely eating a dead body.”
While the ongoing bickering has certainly impacted the government’s popularity (and the already poor reputation of democracy in Thailand), the cartoonist contends that the public is focusing on the witch hunt surrounding Future Forward Party’s spokeswoman Pannika Wanich who has been under fire for inappropriate attire in parliament and for allegedly disrespectful photos from her Facebook account.]
From Thairath, June 3, 2019
Chai: Life is a journey. To get off at some stations does not mean to end the journey.
It is just a separation to find another way in the big world. It may be lonely but challenging.
Phuyai Ma and his friends in Thung Ma Meon village would like to say goodbye and will not forget all the gratitude received from all of you.
Good for now, but not forever.
At right Phuyai Ma: …Goodbye. If you have a chance, we will meet each other again… [lyrics from a famous song]
On the sign: Bangkok
[Refers to famous political cartoonist Chai Ratchwat who recently decided to stop his long-time political cartoon titled “Phuyai Ma Kap Thung Ma Moen” which was published in Thairath.
“Phuayi” is a position equivalent to the head of the village.]
From Manager, June 6, 2019
Caption: Principles… distinguish a human from a cockroach.
[Refers to former Democrat Party leader Abhisit who resigned as an MP rather than have to break his party’s pledge and support junta chief Prayuth to remain as prime minister.
The Democrat Party has been derided as a party of cockroaches as the party has been able to survive in every political climate often taking advantage of the misfortunes of other political groupings.
The cartoonist lauds Abhisit for sticking to his pledge while the rest of the party members rush to support the junta.]
From Thairath, June 5, 2019
Title: Cruel power helps support the illegal power [meaning beatings of anti-military activists is used to keep the military in power]
On the man’s shirt who is being beaten: Ja New [an anti-junta activist]
Officer at left: He [Ja New] is not afraid of being charged [for his political activity], so go ahead and hit him on the head… [the officer’s face is hidden to indicate that the authorities are conspiring to levy false charges at anti-military activists; the officer says that since they cannot intimidate Ja New with charges they will have to physically attack him]
On the paper held by him: Giving charges to be jailed
Papers on the floor: [left] Political activist. Democracy [right] Call the senators to stop voting for the PM. Justice.
Phi Nooring: It’s considered as the world’s brutal city.
Mouse: Followers of the dictator.
[Refers to political activist Sirawith Seritiwat (known as Ja New) who was attacked by unknown persons in a probable case of political intimidation.
He and other campaigners called on appointed senators not to vote for Prayuth as the next prime minister. Anti-junta groups believe that the military is behind attacks on political activists.]