From Sooklek: Putting on airs


From the artist Sooklek, Thairath, circa 1986 during Prem Tinsulanonda’s time as prime minister
Title: Out Doom Dooma Doom
Word close to a jewel Prem holds: Coalition government
Sentences close to the man: Finally, the new government is launched in a form of a coalition government… [Other lines are too small to read.]

[This uses the the Thai idiom ‘wearing Khon-mask.’ Khon is the classic Thai masked drama. It means that a person who is promoted to higher level likes to show off his power.
This also draws on the “Tiger-Lion-Bull-Rhinoceros” metaphor which represents powerful people (usually “big men”–politicians, police military, businessmen, mafia figures) who are likely to take advantage of a situation to reap rewards for themselves and thus are dangerous to be around. More: These are dangerous animals
The cartoon refers to the time when Prem was prime minister in the 1980s. The cartoonist ridicules his semi-elected, semi-military government that united many old-school political opportunists.
This sort of ridicule continues towards Prem today. Prem, by virtue of his close connection with the palace and present position as president of the Privy Council, is accused by Thaksin and the Red Shirts of taking on royal airs.
Prem’s time as prime minister was successful in terms of stabilizing Thailand after the turbulent 1970s and, during his premiership, the country began to leap ahead in development and trade to become one of the “Asian Tigers” of the 1990s.
The government at that time aroused the envy of political and military figures left on the outside, such as Major General Manoonkrit Roopkachorn who was involved in staging two failed coups (one bloody) against the government during this time.
This cartoon is by celebrated cartoonist Sooklek (Prayoon Chanyawongse) who is being remembered on the 100th anniversary of his birth with an exhibit at the BACC.
His website is here and a Facebook page is here. ]

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