Thai Media Project – May 2008

Pid Mai Mid - Matichon; Column: ‘Pid Mai Mid’, May 31, 2008
[’Pid Mai Mid’ means something like ‘Can’t be swept under the carpet’.]
People have long been talking about there being ‘graven images’ and a highly-significant shrine on Phanom Rung Mountain in Buri Ram Province. It is also said that some other people recently tried to ‘desecrate’ some of the mountain’s venerated objects, in order to control the destiny of the province in such a way that the province might become instrumental in changing the destiny of the country.
It has been reported that a high-ranking Royal Thai Air force officer, of the rank of Air Chief Marshall (ACM), recently held a religious ceremony at Phanom Rung Mountain. It is also thought that the ceremony might have inadvertently motivated others to engage in the desecration of sacred objects that has since taken place at Prasert Phanom Rung [The originally-Hindu stone castle that sits atop Phanom Rung Mountain].

Bangkok Post, May 21, 2008 - An official and security troops inspect one of the damaged ancient statues at the Phanom Rung temple ruins in Buri Ram. The Shiva Linga stone, a symbol of the Hindu god Shiva, was also moved off its plinth.

(Photo: Bangkok Post)
Some say that the ACM in question is none other than ACM Chalit Pukphasuk (AKA ‘Big Toi’), the Royal Thai Air force Commander-in-Chief. ACM Chalit visited an air force radar installation, also based on Phanom Rung Mountain, on April 5.  
On the occasion of his birthday on April 5, ACM Chalit made merit at a number of different religious sites. After visiting the local radar installation on the same day, ‘Big Toi’ was accompanied by a number of military personal and local residents to Prasert Phanom Rung - where they held yet another merit-making ceremony. 
ACM Chalit was seen to pray in front of a number of sacred relics at Prasert Phanom Rung - and was even heard to declare that, “I hope the situation in this country will soon improve, and that His Majesty the King will remain in good health.”
On April 7, ACM Chalit proceeded to Chiang-Mai Province to attend a ceremony performed by the famed astrologer, Warin Buawiratlert. The ceremony was carried out with the explicit intention of prolonging the destiny of the country. The ceremony included a special religious rite to locate a new Buddha image. This new image is said to portray the Buddha in the classic posture of enlightenment after having nearly being defeated by the ‘forces of evil.’
ACM Chalit’s prayers, at Prasert Phanom Rung, were heard clearly by both the military people and the civilians present at the ceremony. All, who were present, heard the ACM’s words - and most would have probably understood their wider symbolism. 
It is important to note, however, that the influential people of Buri Ram regularly mix with the more ordinary folks of their province at such social gatherings. This would have meant that ACM Chalit’s message would also have been clearly heard by influential local politicians. Given the extreme sanctity of the new national Buddha image in Chiang-Mai; Buri Ram’s influential people would undoubtedly have felt great trepidation at the ACM’s actions and words. They might also have felt that both of these ceremonies were conducted to deliberately increase their sense of unease. 
["Influential" must refer to the political faction of Newin Chidchob, and his father Chai Chidchob (current Parliamentary Speaker), which is said to control this province.]
Regardless of the possible reasons for sacred relics recently being desecrated in Buri Ram Province, ‘Big Toi’ was so annoyed by the vandalism that he ordered air force personnel to stand guard over Prasert Phanom Rung. He has also since said that the air force will cooperate with provincial officials to ensure that such shocking events never happen again.



...at a higher level - Column: Ma the village chief and Toong Ma Mern; Author: Chai Ratchawat, May 28, 2008
Left - Jakrapob says: We had prepared a troop of people to fight against Gen Prem, but we had to give up because we found someone behind Gen Prem who was in the upper level! [Referring to the HM the King - This statement is based on Jakrapob's speech to the FCCT in August 2007. Also note how the artist portrays Jakrapob as a female to ridicule his alleged sexual orientation.]
Right - PM Samak says: We had prepared to dismiss Jakrapob, but we had to give up because we found someone behind Jakrapob who was in the higher level than PM. [Referring to former PM Thaksin who was thought to be protecting Jakrapob's position in the cabinet.]

Jakrapob and the Manager - Manager, column: Nominee Maew + Nominee Maew; author: Ngao, May 27, 2008
Left to right: Jakrapob says: I polished my flanks about the speech so much that they were gone a lot… / But…Oh! / This is nice…breast is breast…waist is waist…butt is butt / If I had known this before, I would have done it earlier.
["To polish the flanks" is a Thai idiom meaning to do things without using reason. The intent of this cartoon is to ridicule its subject as an effeminate homosexual. The Manager newspaper always refers to Jakrapob as "E Pen" or "Jeh Pen," adding a prefix to his name that indicates a non-polite title for a female.]

‘Even a buffalo swears...’ - Author: Palangkorn, Daily News, May 28, 2008
‘Even a buffalo swears...’
The farmer says: Foreigners, don’t expect to own our land! - We will never accept capitalism.
The buffalo says: “Are you teaching us to be slaves?”
Wording on the bag: To buy farmers’ land

It’s asking for a coup when Democrats employ similar strategies to Gen. Chavalit - translated and summarized from Matichon, Ngao Sa Thon: Duangta Wannasilp, May 2008
Jakrapob Penkair delivered a speech to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) last year, in which he seemed to suggest that the time was ripe to force an end to the alleged hegemony of the military, big-business interests and royal institutions over this country’s political system. The words of Jakrapob’s speech recently resurfaced to haunt him - and have since become a very hot political issue.
Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyud has recently commented, on this controversy, that such talk has long been the domain of the nation’s communist sympathizers - and that there are still a few people around who persist in holding such views.
Jakrapob's speech was actually made on August 29 last year, but the controversy - over the exact tenor of his speech - has only recently materialized. Indeed, this controversy has become the ‘talk of the town’, since certain Democrat Party members first decided that the time was right for the speech to come under the political looking-glass.
To really understand this controversy, we need to take a close look at the Democrat Party’s role in bringing the contents of Jakrapob’s speech to wider public attention.
Senior Democrat Party members complained recently that agit-prop leaflets had been distributed as part of a sustained campaign to discredit their party. They also complained that their party had come under attack on a number of websites - of which some were said to have connections with the ‘old power’. They further pointed out that these attacks also contained smears on Thailand’s monarchy and its Privy Council. The party thus felt itself compelled to publicize the contents of Jakrapob's speech, on the pretext that those words had set a dangerous precedent in Thai society.
This political tactic looks remarkably similar to the one with which the Democrat Party set out to discredit Pridi Phanomyong in November 1947. Indeed, it almost seems like yet another attempt by the Democrat Party to invoke the support of Thailand’s royal institutions - in its fight to regain political power.
It was Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyud who (long ago) first hinted that it might be strategic to reduce the grip of our military, our big-business interests and our royal institutions on our country’s political system. It should be noted that Chavalit suggested such ‘power’ adjustments as a means to counter the growth of communism in this country.
It now seems that it is the Democrat Party that is intent on dragging Thailand’s monarchy into the political fray. It should be noted that violent political crises have often arisen when this country’s politicians have attempted to conflate the controversial topics of our monarchy and our communist sympathizers in the same political debate.


New danger - By Arun, Krungtepturakit, May 15, 2008
It reads: New Danger

Badly injured - by Zeer, Thairath, May 15, 2008
It reads: Badly injured - on the right:: oil crisis - on the left: food crisis - on the leg: terrorism

Dangerous undercurrents stirring for this PPP-led government - translated and summarized from Khao Sod, May 18, 2008
Parliament has appointed Chai Chidchob as the new House Speaker, amid scenes of considerable agitation - due mainly to a mistake made by the Interim House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont. The Royal Proclamation of Chai Chidchob’s new position was not actually read out before the 80 year-old politician took his seat in the House Speaker’s Chair. The opposition party was prompted to voice its indignation over this premature action.
It was a chaotic start for Speaker Chai Chidchob, but the proposed amendments of the 2007 Constitution could spell even more trouble for him. These amendments could actually have an extremely negative effect on the Samak administration in the long-term. Apparently, there are no legal experts who are willing to explain the importance of the amendments to the general public. It also seems highly unlikely that Chai Chidchob would ever be capable of convincing the public of the importance of these amendments.
The appointment of the new House Speaker has delighted many Democrat Party MPs. This is because the House Speaker is a critical figure in times of constitutional amendment, and Chai Chidchob seems to be the kind of person who could generate a great deal of dissent in the House. Indeed, the proposed amendments could be likened to a ticking time bomb, as they are likely to cover highly controversial issues.
The Samak administration has a public image that would seem to forebode many future troubles. It is widely perceived to be mostly interested in making decisions for the personal benefit of its members and friends, and is believed to make little effort to listen to differing opinions.
These problems might all cause a great deal of opposition to the proposed amendments, and could also stimulate the expansion of the various public movements that are already ranged against this government. This ‘opposition’ would be well-advised to begin making plans to take over the reins of power - possibly at very short notice.

Samak, Jakrapob, Thaksin and ‘invisible’ politics - translated and summarized from Daily News, May 18, 2008
It seems that the allegations of lèse majesté against Prime Minster’s Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair are becoming increasingly serious. Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has shown some signs of attempting to protect his minister from these allegations, but appears to have done nothing to reduce the friction that these allegations are causing between his government and the military. It is important to remember that it is the duty of the military to protect the dignity of our royalty.  
It is rather surprising that PM Samak has gone out of his way to defend Jakrapob, since it is normal political practice for a minister who stands accused of disrespecting our royalty to resign. The underlying reason behind Samak’s defense of Jakrapob might just be that the PM thus hopes to gain the greater trust of his Cabinet and his People Power Party members. Conversely, he might also have found compelling evidence that Jakrapob is in the clear over these allegations. Many people appear to believe that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been involved in deciding how both Jakrapob and Samak should react in this crisis. Indeed, the more that Jakrapob is protected from the consequences of his own actions, the more Thaksin will fall under suspicion of manipulating Thai politics from behind the scenes.  

Grief Olympics - by Zeer, Thairath, May, 2008
It reads: Grief Olympics - Beijing 2008


Current situation is not about too much or too little democracy, but about the faults of our political parties - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit Online, Column: News Maker: Koh Satanagarn, May 17, 2008
The National Economic & Social Advisory Council President Dr. Gothom Areeya recently commented that the current political conflict in Thailand is somewhat different from the one that occurred at the time of the ‘Bloody May’ event sixteen years ago (1992). He said that Thailand was experiencing an unprecedented degree of political and public unity in 1992 - and that there was then a very common sentiment that it was time to rid the country of military dictatorship. 
Dr. Gothom believes that the current major political issue is not about having too much or too little democracy, but about having a flawed party political system. He also believes that certain politicians, when faced with the possibility of their party’s dissolution, are only intent on amending the Constitution to ensure their own political survival - and that this is in contravention of current public opinion.  
Dr. Gothom suggests that the rules for any upcoming general election should comply with those laid down by the 1997 Constitution. He warns that Thailand’s present political problems could lead to a violent upheaval between political factions, a greater degree of social conflict and an upswing in the violence in the deep south. He further warns that it is dangerous for Thais to rely only on their emotions when attempting to solve political problems - and that these problems would be better solved by people relying more on their intelligence and powers of reasoning.

Best - By Son, Matichon, May 15, 2008

Top: Best father [On the shirt it reads "Mr. Toilet." Interior Minister holds his sons Duang (left) and Wan (right) who he has reinstated into positions of authority after earlier disgraces.]

Bottom: Best son [Newin holds his father Chai who was made speaker of the house. Newin, despite being banned from politics from fives years as one of the TRT execs, is known to have considerable power behind the scenes in politics.]

Earlier "carrying" cartoons


Flags - by Chai Ratchwat, Thairath, May, 2008
Left: This flag is said to be made by farang football fans of Mancity.
Right: This flag is said to be made by Ericson and Mancity football players.

Do you agree? - by Arun, Krungtepturakit, May 12, 2008
The general says: Those who agree, raise your hand.
The armband reads: Burma government
The paper he holds reads: New constitution
Behind the general it says: Very good, very good.

Carrying, Part 1 - by Zeer, Thairath, May, 2008
On the chair it reads: Reserved for Chai
Under the chair it reads: Chairperson of parliament
Center top: Son's duty, Father's task
The small rat says "For uncle first, I am old already" [Meaning the elder (uncle) should get the chairperson position first as he is older. This refers to political kingpin Newin who was able to place his elderly father in the position of speaker of the house.]


The military’s current worthlessness - translated and summarized from Phujatkan; Author: Panthep Puapongphan, May 21, 2008
The actions of our military must come under close scrutiny, as rumors of an impending coup d’état are spreading by the day. We really should have learned some vital lessons from the apparent worthlessness of previous coups, since they have usually done nothing to prevent the return of bad politicians soon after. We should have already learned that coups can inflict great damage on our economy. We should now know that military dictatorships are unacceptable to those other nations with whom we do business. Military dictatorships frequently violate the constitution, as they attempt to thwart the abuse of power by parliamentary dictatorships. At the same time, parliamentary dictatorships abuse the constitution to absolve themselves of any responsibility for criminal acts carried out by their members during their tenure. Both forms of dictatorship show absolutely no regard for public opinion.  
We are currently under the thumb of an extremely powerful parliamentary dictatorship. This government has placed power in the hands of a number of dirty politicians. These politicians have shown that they are willing to abuse their power to protect bad people. These politicians are also willing to support their ministerial colleagues who pose a grave threat to the reputation of our royalty. Crisis now seems to be around every corner. The stability and sovereignty of our nation is clearly affected by these political developments. Our three southernmost provinces face violence on an almost daily basis, but the government seems to be largely ignoring that problem. Additionally, Cambodia seems intent on invading our territory and stealing our heritage. Religion is also being used as a political football by this government, as part of its current attempt to convince people that constitutional amendments are necessary. The reputation of our royalty is being defamed on a regular basis. Ordinary people are suffering from galloping inflation, with higher prices for many goods. In the face of so many crises, we might well ask ourselves what exactly the military is doing about all these things. Have they not always promised to protect the nation, its people and the monarchy? That said, we must also remember that it is vital that we do not once again make the big mistake of thinking that a coup is the only solution to all our problems.


Trying to make me quit - Manager, Column: Chim Pai Da Pai, Author: Bancha/Kamin, May 27, 2008
Left: There are 2 tigers trying to make me quit being PM – yesterday
Middle: There are 18 Buddhist saints trying to make me quit being PM – today
Right: There are 67 million humans trying to make me quit being PM – tomorrow
[Anyone know what the "2 tigers" and "18 monks" refers to? Update: A reader notes: 2 tigers refers to 2 senators and 18 monks refer to 18 columnists...]


Government must act before things get worse - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit; Column: Criticism, May 21, 2008
There is an urgent need to stop the severe damage that is currently being inflicted on the reputation of our royalty. We must avoid this situation getting even worse, if we are to avoid the defamation of our royalty becoming even more widespread. Our royalty must not be dragged into political conflicts, and must also not be used as an excuse to mount a coup d’état. The Ministry of Interior recently reported that 29 websites are suspected of spreading information that could negatively impact the monarchy - and so cause violent conflict between different groups in our society. One government minister has come under heavy public criticism for expressing opinions that seem to pose a grave threat to our royalty, but the current government shows no haste to ensure that this does not reoccur. The government must act quickly to resolve this crisis. Any action it takes, however, must be conducted in an even-handed and transparent manner. 


‘Big Boss’ might even miss his chance to seek political asylum - translated and summarized from Krungthep Turakit; Kae Roi Karn Muang; Author: Reporter No. 10, May 26, 2008
The present-day image of a group of former Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party politicians, who are currently engaged in a number of social welfare projects, could be viewed in two ways. From one viewpoint, they could be perceived as engaged in projects of considerable worth to the nation. From the other viewpoint, their social welfare projects could be construed as little more than a publicity stunt to keep their faces continually in the public domain - thus acting as a constant reminder of their previous political endeavors.
People Power Party (PPP) Members of Parliament, under the close eye of the new House Speaker 'Chai Moche' (AKA Chai Chidchob), are presently talking about their desire to amend the 2007 Constitution. This move appears to be a ploy to get 111 former TRT Party members ‘out of jail’.
The person who has the most to gain from these political moves is, undoubtedly, the 'Big Boss' - who once again has a very prominent presence on the local political scene. Indeed, he shows no intention of giving up on his relentless push to once again monopolize many aspects of Thai society.
It now seems apparent that the ‘Big Boss’ is not yet ready to abandon his quest to regain the absolute power that he once enjoyed. He even shows signs of wanting to speed up the political game in which he is currently engaged.
One source says that the current 'nominee' Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej, might soon find that his tenure in that position is at an end - as the ‘Big Boss’ and his Cambodian soothsayer are both of the opinion that Samak is incapable of obeying the orders that emanate from Chan Song La Palace - the official residence of the ‘Big Boss’.
It seems that just about all the possible ‘next’ moves, that the ‘Big Boss’ can make, are likely to backfire on him in one way or another. One bad move could end all of his chances to regain his former dominance over Thai society. He could even forfeit the opportunity to seek political asylum, if he places a foot wrong.


A coup seems to be on the way - translated and summarized from Phujatkan; Author: Sirianya; May 23, 2008
The proposal - by some members of the current government - to radically amend the 2007 Constitution, might well act as the spark for the beginnings of another coup d’etat.
The amendment proposals seem to indicate that this government is intent on the wholesale demolition the 2007 Constitution. They could also be perceived as a direct challenge to the upper echelons of power in Thai society.
I am not convinced that this government will find it that easy to fool the electorate, since many of our citizens already seem rather aware that the proposed constitutional amendments are a form of political trickery.
A recent opinion poll has indicated that over 60% of respondents believe that another coup might soon be mounted by the Thai military. This high figure suggests that the Thai general public is already very aware of the possible outcome of the current political conflict.
Most Thais would probably prefer to live in a country ruled by the military, rather than live in one controlled by a bunch of crooks.
One could argue that the amendments are being proposed by the majority party in the present coalition government. It does not necessarily follow, however, that all those who voted for that party - in the last election - are automatically in favor of the proposed amendments. This may be especially true when more people come to realize that the proposed amendments are being engineered to benefit a very small and select group of political individuals.
It is highly likely that the 2007 Constitution will be torn asunder by this government. It is perhaps worth noting that it was only necessary to amend a few articles of the 1997 Constitution, during the writing of the 2007 Constitution. Members of this government continue to talk of their great reverence for the 1997 Constitution, but their proposals for ‘major’ amendments to the 2007 constitution are bound to result in a charter that bears absolutely no resemblance to the object of their supposed reverence.

Carrying, Part 2 - Poojadkuan, May 12, 2008
It reads: Lerm [nickname of Chalerm] is jealous that Uncle Chai has a good son [Newin] who is holding [advancing] his father to be the speaker of the house.

But... - ThaiRath, May 11, 2008
Top left to right:
Drivers are not allowed to hold their mobile phones while driving, but people crossing the road are allowed to do so.
Consumers buy expensive rice, but rice farmers must sell their rice at a low rate
We have a skillful Ministry of Social and Human Security Development, but it launches a lottery to seduce people.
Bottom left to right:
Results of a poll says he will pass with high rank, but he didn’t even get 50 percent. [On the shirt it says "poll." In a recent poll on cabinet members Commerce Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan was ranked highest at 4.96 out of 10.]
It’s your right not to believe, but don’t show disrespect or try to challenge. [A reference to the person you refused to stand for the Royal Anthem.]
Previously, he [Samak] criticized the 1997 constitution, but now he says that it is the best ever constitution. [on the shirt it says "constitution 97"]

Analyzing Samak’s ‘Crazy Coup’ obsessions - Lt. Gen. Prayuth may have a future in counter-insurgency down south - Gen. Anupong’s anti-coup plans - translated and summarized from Matichon Weekly; Author: Paruehas Asadong; May 9-15, 2008
In spite of the widely-perceived failure of the last military coup d’etat (September 19, 2006) Thailand’s obsession with coups appears to be completely undiminished. This national obsession has once again been highlighted by the fact that even the Prime Minister now appears to be suffering from ‘Coup Obsession Syndrome’ (COS).
Prime Minister (& Minister of Defense) Samak Sundaravej’s COS sufferings appear to have left him in a political coma. He appears to have become completely obsessed with the recent rumors that a coup attempt might occur on April 21. He has also recently commented that those who favor a coup would almost certainly be prepared to kidnap and detain all the ministers in his cabinet.
PM Samak has also recently said that several groups are trying hard to provoke military officers into staging a coup. He has even posed a rhetorical question as to whether the military will allow themselves to be again provoked into mounting a coup. It seems as if PM Samak truly believes that the 2006 military takeover was nothing more than a ‘Crazy Coup’. He appears to be incapable of perceiving that the supporters of the 2006 coup were in complete earnest in their efforts to topple former PM Thaksin Shinawatra from power.
The currently circulating coup rumors are not at convincing. The same could also be said about recent statements about the possibility of another coup by both leading members of the current government and groups of pro-Thaksin supporters. Indeed, these statements appear to have been made as part of a deliberate attempt to create a groundswell of public opinion against the government’s detractors.
Around mid-April, a confidential source warned PM Samak and other prominent members of the current People Power Party-led government that they would have to act with extreme caution as enemies of the government were said to be keeping the houses of its ministers under surveillance.
Lt. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha (AKA ‘Big Tu’), the Royal Thai Army’s First Region Commander, recently told his officers - during a training session - that he was preparing himself for a possible transfer to conduct RTA counter-insurgency operations in the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
One more issue, that is arousing a great deal of conjecture, is the likely role of RTA Commander-in-Chief Gen. Anupong Paojinda in any fresh coup attempt. Many observers are wondering which side Gen Anupong might opt to be on, as his apparent closeness to PM Samak would seem to preclude him from making any serious comment on the possibilities of another coup. Indeed, Gen Anupong no longer even seems to be capable of defending the honor of his C-in-C position.
It is doubtful whether Gen. Anupong is pursuing quite the same hidden agenda as the 2006 Coup Leader Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin. Many observers seem to think, however, that Anupong might actually be intent on fooling both former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and the current PM Samak Sundaravej.

PPP plan, to amend the Constitution, could unleash violent mob - Military might have to stage coup - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit; Column: News Maker; May 7, 2008
Dr. Chaiyan, a Lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science, has recently commented on the possible effects of the constitutional amendments currently being mooted by the People Power Party (PPP). He says that PPP moves, to urge the constituent parties of the current coalition government to back the amendments, could have a significant impact on Thai society - with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra possibly benefiting most from that impact.
If the proposed amendments of Section 237 and Section 309 of the 2008 Constitution go ahead as planned, Thaksin Shinawatra might not have to face the ignominy of being proved guilty of corruption. If these amendments do not proceed as planned, it is likely that PPP will instigate a protest mob - and that violent incidents could then arise, in which people might actually get killed. As a result of such incidents, the military would almost certainly feel compelled to stage yet another coup. This action would again put party politics on hold, and the country might again descend into chaos.
Dr. Chaiyan further warns that a future coup would probably take a very different form from the one that took place on September 19, 2006. He says that thousands of people could be killed in any coup in the near future.

CPD warns government about possible coup - Senator raises idea of new CDC being established - translated and summarized from Komchadluek, May 4, 2008
People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) Coordinator & Campaign for Popular Democracy (CPD) Secretary-General Suriyasai Katasila says that a coup could possibly result from the political conflicts that might follow the current government’s attempts to rewrite the 2008 Constitution. He has also suggested that the Prime Minister should reconsider his likely role in any such future conflict, by avoiding any form of confrontation that could lead to a divisive political schism.
Meanwhile, a group of former members of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) - from the 14 southern provinces - have voiced their collective disagreement with the government’s haste in bringing about constitutional revisions. The group say that they will campaign against the revisions, and that they will also be encouraging the general public to debate the pros and cons of constitutional revision. Furthermore, a Nakorn Sri Thammarat Province Senator - Siriwat Kraisin - has recently proposed that a new CDC be set up with the responsibility to promote public participation in the constitutional amendment process. Senator Siriwat believes that the establishment of a new CDC could help to prevent the tense political standoffs that could arise from moves to amend the 2008 Constitution. 

"This is the one" - ThaiRath, May 4, 2008
Top, left to right: This is the one whom the Minister of the Defense proudly presents [Minister of the Interior Chalerm shows off his son Duang who is reinstated into the military. It seems that the cartoonist had made a mistake by identifying Chalerm as the Minister of Defense instead of the Minister of the Interior.]
This is the one who has no common sense to show off and, instead, decides to show his penis at Sanam Luang. [A reference to the recent anti-PAD rally.]
This is the one who allows his students to suck his penis for a better school record [Reference to a teacher who was caught on tape coercing a student into performing oral sex for a good grade.]
Bottom, left to right: This is the one who does not pay respect to His Majesty the King at cinema [Reference to the recent controversy over a person refusing to stand for the Royal Anthem before a movie.]
This is the one whom people want to be rated when he speaks on TV programs [It has been suggested that comments from PM Samak be rated for adults because of the foul speech he habitually employs.]
This is the one for whom subordinates are trying to amend the Constitution to help him defeat all charges. [A reference to the People Power Party that is widely believed to be acting on behalf of Thaksin and banned Thai Rak Thai executives to reverse the legal charges against them.]

Those who have long hated Thaksin will now have to endure his nominee, Samak, as PM - Who will be the next PM after Samak? - translated and summarized from Matichon, Column: A Discursive Column, May 2, 2008
Anti-Thaksin factions have been with us since the year 1993, when the government of that time - as led by the Palang Tham Party - changed its Foreign Minister from Squadron Leader Prasong Soonsiri to Thaksin Shinawatra. That event led to the founding of a 23-MP faction, within Palang Tham, that was opposed to Thaksin’s political ascendancy.
This anti-Thaksin faction became a great deal more active in 1998, following the coming-to-power of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party in that year’s General Election. However, serious opposition to Thaksin’s rule only really began in earnest about 3 years after the TRT-led government had swept into power. The September 19 Coup of 2006 marked a high-point for the various anti-Thaksin factions. Prasong Soonsiri was to become the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) during the tenure of the interim government installed by the Council for National Security (CNS).
The December 23 General Election of 2007 brought Thaksin’s nominee, Samak Sundaravej, to power at the helm of the People Power Party (PPP) - the main constituent party of the current coalition government. There appear to have been a number of attempts to unseat Samak from the Prime Ministership in recent months, but it is still far from clear who might succeed him in the post if he is eventually ousted.


Highly regrettable actions on the Prachatai website - translated and summarized from Phujatkan, Author: Surawit Weerawan, May 1, 2008
I am a keen observer of the online news reports to be found on the Prachatai website. Since its inception, this site has usually espoused the political philosophy of its founder Jon Ungpakorn. The website’s mission statement suggests it is just another media news outlet - albeit one that places a high priority on keeping the Thai public well-informed. I have recently noticed, however, that the website’s reporting style has undergone a considerable change. This change seems to indicate that the site has fallen under the influence of a pro-Thaksin faction. The change has been especially highlighted by the website’s recent publication of the articles of two columnists with an opposing political standpoint. ‘The Fist’ column is penned by Nattakorn Thewakul, whilst its opposing column is the work of Rossana Tositrakul. The two columnists use their opposing articles to showcase the current political conflict that is gripping this country. I would say that Rossana’s column is the one that has most in common with the political philosophy of Jon Ungpakorn - the website’s founder. That said, readership comments on the two columns indicate substantial support for Nattakorn’s column - with many being highly-critical of Rossana’s column.
In the mean time, the same two columns are now also being published on our very own Phujatkan website - which is widely renowned for its anti-Thaksin political stance. On our site, readership comments are highly critical of the political stance taken in Nattakorn’s column - while being relatively supportive of the political stance taken by Rossana’s column.
Overall, I am rather critical of the editorial teams of the various Thai Language online news websites. Indeed, I am now prepared to be especially critical of the Editor of the Prachatai website. The site prides itself on being an independent media outlet that aims to keep the Thai public well-informed on developments in our nation’s system of democracy - under a constitutional monarchy. Prachatai receives financial support from both ordinary members of the public and several large organizations - including the Rockefeller Foundation and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. Nevertheless, it is still the case that the majority of its funding comes from the public.
A recent Prachatai article - that greatly vexed me - was one that encouraged the site’s readership to express their support for a young man called Chotisak Onsoong. Chotisak recently became the subject of a lèse majesté prosecution, after having refused to stand to attention during a public performance of HM the King’s Royal Anthem. I wish to criticize the editorial team of the Prachatai site for a distinct lack of thoughtfulness over this issue. Their controversial position shows that they lack any real awareness of just how sensitive an issue this is for the vast majority of Thai citizens - who mostly hold a supreme respect for their monarchy. I believe that the site’s Editor-in-Chief should begin to toe the line with the sound political philosophies espoused by the site’s own founder, and by large numbers of other like-minded Thai citizens - regardless of his own personal political bias. I would also like to add that I believe that the Editor’s usual high degree of thoughtfulness seems to have completely deserted him over this particular issue.

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