Jul 25th, 2017

Sucking Ghost

From Daily News, June 30, 2017
Title: Wearing suit…. Absorb the temple’s money
On the monk’s bowl: Temple’s money

[This shows a hungry ghost dressed in a typical politician’s suit. Thai folk beliefs contend that, when a person who does bad things dies, they will become a “hungry ghost.” The hungry ghosts are thought to gather around temples waiting to suck up the merit made by people.
This cartoon comments on the perception that the Thai political class uses temples as a way manage the movement of financial graft.
This would bring to mind the longstanding accusations that Dhammakaya Temple is acting as a front to launder political graft.
This goes all the way back to the late 1990s when strong independent oversight agencies were strictly enforcing anti-graft laws by banning politicians. These bans felled some of the giants of Thai politics–many of who where the most connected and untouchable people in the nation.
These bans involved declaration discrepancies. As political parties in Thailand are designed to reap “benefits” (i.e kickbacks in many forms) from large projects, this banning struck at the very economic heart of the way politics worked.
Shortly after winning his first big election, Thaksin himself was able to reverse this trend when, despite having his holdings in the names of his household staff, he was not banned and continued as prime minister.
Subsequently, a plan to legalize casinos in Thailand was believed to be the first effort to create a laundering mechanism for the spoils of politics. At the root of the vigorous resistance to this plan was the fear that a political party in power–connected to the local casino industry–would possess a way to claim (and thus launder) the receipts of gambling. This would be a cover for ill-gotten gains of politics and could be funneled back to politicians through structured investments, offshore holdings, etc.
After Thaksin was deposed in 2006, accusation were made that temples were being used as conduits for shifting and legalizing funds related to political life.
This is the long story that leads us to the crusade against Dhammakaya as a suspected vessel of financial graft acting for the Thai political class.]

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Thai police are the best

From Thairath, July 7, 2017
Left, Thai man speaking to a foreigner: Your country has a company that makes income from renting rooms worldwide without having their own hotel… [referring to Airbnb]
Middle: [Your country] …has a taxi rental company worldwide without any taxis, but in that way you are still not better than Thai people.
Foreign man: How are Thai people that smart?
Right: Because if they only have a police uniform, they can go anywhere collecting bribes from Thai people and aliens [foreigners] without any technology. [or “without needing an app”]

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Weekly News Magazines: Police Reform is Too Hard, July, 2017

From Siamrath Weekly Review, July 6, 2017
Main cover reads: Dig a hole for [white] ‘Big Tu’ to fall

[Refers to the power competition between the junta and anti-junta groups to prepare for the next elections. Some might wish for PM Prayuth to spectacularly fail, but this might open the way for a new military PM to be installed and provide a more neutral choice to head a post-election government. Thus, politicians and, in particular, Thaksin’s cliques must be cautious.]

From Matichon Weekly, July 7-13, 2017
Main cover reads: Tier and Tears

[Refers to the enforcement of the Management of Foreign Workers Act which caused a number of Myanmar migrant workers to return to their country. The face on the cover is that of a Burmese worker, covered in powder in a traditional pattern. However, due to the pressure from Thai owners and the negotiations with the Myanmar and Cambodia governments, the junta decided to delay the enforcement of this law for four months. The junta took these harsh measures against foreign workers to appease the U.S.’s Trafficking in Persons Report which currently ranks Thailand in the Tier 2 watch list.
Observers view the junta’s tough law and order campaign as temporary–once there is a return to democracy, it is thought that political parties will again have little desire to enforce politically unpopular laws.]

Top: Participate–Don’t participate in the election. ‘It’s my own business’ Ending the news–but the news has not done yet. Investigate who will be the ‘outsider’
[Refers to PM Prayuth who recently denied the rumor that he would participate in the next election. However, there is concern that the military will try to maintain their power after elections.]

From Manager Weekly, July 8-14, 2017
Main cover reads: Touch on ‘police’
The men on cover from left to right: Gen. Boonsang Niampradit, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan

[Refers to the junta’s attempt to reform the police. This headline plays with the sound of two words in Thai; ปฎิรูป and ปฎิลูบ.
The first one means to ‘reform’ which is the goal of the junta, but the second one ‘ลูบ’ means to ‘touch on’ which shows concern. This means that the reform team which led by Gen. Boonsang Niampradit under the supervision of Deputy PM Prawit will only touch on this issue of reform, but will not make any change. Recently, there was the public raising of the issue about police buying their promotions. Deputy PM Prawit’s brother, former police chief Pol Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan, certainly knew of this, but the junta issued a blanket denial and threatened Thaksin-style libel suits against those who made the claims.
Due to this, and past failures to reform the force, the reform of the Thai police seems to be beyond the grasp of the ruling junta.]

Top: Back to the legend of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s city pillar shrine. [black] It is very sacred. Everyone has to visit to pay respect.
[Refer to the holiness of the city pillar shrine in Nakhon Si Thammarat province where a lot of people make a visit to pay respect to it.]

Bottom left: “Justin’s” model. “Jay” sends “Jaonaay” to the teen’s market without any support from the big company.
Top picture: Justin Bieber
Below picture: Jinjett Jaonay Wattanasin

[Refers to former teen singer Jetrin Jay Wattanasin who supports his son Jinjett Jaonay Wattanasin to launch his first single without joining any big music company. This is similar to famous teen singer Justin Bieber who first became known from YouTube videos he posted.]

Bottom right: Very cute! [white] “Maki Shima’ [yellow] a reporter who is crazy in [white] ‘Messi J’
The woman in the picture: Half Thai-Japanese reporter Maki Shima
Man in the picture: Thai national football player Chanathip Songrasin

[Refers to an interview of half Thai-Japanese reporter Maki Shima who reporting the news about Thai national football player Chanathip Jay Songrasin (known as Massie J) now playing in the Japanese football league.]

From Lokwannee, July 8-14, 2017
Main cover reads: Elect or not… you still get us.
On the board: [green box] good people 4.0 party. [black] 3 years are not enough. We want 20 years more… don’t need to elect.

[Refers to the junta’s future plans. Many people have been curious about the junta’s future power as they are afraid that the junta is planning to maintain control after elections. The constitution is one of the tools to maintain their power.
The picture on the billboard refers to PM Prayuth as the man is wearing a North Korean-style coat. The longan and the golden jar head refers to sexy country singer Lamyai (or “longan”) Haitongkam (of “golden jar”). Due to her sexy looks and young age, PM Prayuth criticized on her as being a negative model to other youth.]

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The big traditional Thai dramatic performance of politicians

From Thairath, July 1, 2017
Title: The big traditional Thai dramatic performance of politicians
Below right on chair: The high society of politics
On the soldier’s shirt: Return happiness [the junta’s logo]
On the paper on the right: Road map [referring to the junta’s plan for elections]
On suit of man center bottom: NLA [National Legislative Assembly, the junta’s parliament]
On the sword he holds in his left hand: The law of destroying [meaning the NLA’s laws are meant to destroy politicians]
On the suit of the man the sword is pointing at: Politician
On the sword he holds in his right hand: endless NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order, the ruling junta; this means that the junta is not handing back power]
On suit of man at top right: NRSA [National Reform Steering Assembly]
On his sword: Continue [this refers to the long-term plan the junta is putting into place that elected politicians will be required to follow]
Man top center is constitution drafter Meechai. On his suit: CDC [Constitution Drafting Committee]
On the sword in his left hand: Empowering
On the sword in his right hand, stabbing the man: Set zero
On the man being stabbed: ECT [Election Commission of Thailand; this refers to the removal of the Election Commission members so they can be replaced with members more loyal to junta goals]
Mouse man: Deceive people these days.
Mouse: Serve with all their hearts. [mocking the junta’s pledges to work hard for the good of the country]

[The cartoonist attempts to show that the apparently sincere and very busy activity of various junta-appointed groupings is merely a show coordinated by the military according to their script.]

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You will follow the junta’s plan for 20 years!

From Thairath, June 30, 2017
Title: It’s very easy to cover
Frog: We are present.
People under the soldier’s hat: We are the future.
On the helmet: National strategy for 20 years.
On the sleeves and hands: Happy; Class; Elite [meaning the elite are attempting to force people to say they are happy]
Phi Nooring: Thai people are obedient and patient.
Mouse: No one resists.

[A frog under the coconut shell is a Thai proverb referring to a person who is in a narrow world, but believes they are in the wider world and know everything. This comparison is often made to describe junta supporters.]

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Junta reforms on life support

From Naewna, June 30, 2017
On the corpse: Thailand 4.0
Corpse: Are you sure Doctor, that you can make me revive?
PM Prayuth holding heart defibrillator paddles: The hundred-thousand million project; developing the country

[The cartoon contends that the junta’s high aspirations are practically dead after its approval for Chinese interests to develop infrastructure in Thailand without adhering to Thai law.
Such a situation has elicited howls of protest from those who recall the junta’s promises of restoring and reforming the adherence to rules and regulations.
The secretive deal-making of the junta–quickly given the the ok by the junta’s own hand-picked bodies–instead smacks of business as usually for Thai politics.]

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Giving up on the Red Shirts

From Manager, June 29, 2017
Yingluck holds a sign that reads: 6 million already. [meaning she has 6 million likes of Facebook]
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: Oh!… Khun Poo has used the Facebook “like” mob instead of ours!!!
On the left: Water support tube [this symbolizes the flow of money to someone of some organization; here it specifically refers to the money Thaksin pays to the Red Shirt leaders for running the movement and following his orders]
Man with glasses: That is why… the water has stopped for years.
Caption: New mob of Poo

[This cartoon demonstrates a new reality that appears to be emerging. This is a shift by Thaksin away from relying on the Red Shirts in favor of the power of social media to mobilize support.
The Red Shirt movement has been diminished by the historical perspective of their activities as the years pass. Their threats and use of arson, the political opportunism of their activities, and anti-monarchy rhetoric means conventional politicians are hesitant to be too closely associated with them.
Pheu Thai politicians, dealing with the new political reality of military domination after the next elections, will likely be wary of aligning themselves with a movement seen as a political front for the Shinawatra family.
Foes of the junta have refused to fold their discontent into Thaksin’s Red Shirt movement, but instead have successfully mobilized support online–free of the political Red Shirt baggage.
Even the Shinawatra family seems to be following this lead, with former PM Yingluck amassing a huge following online. As she was popular across the political spectrum when PM and is likely being perceived as being treated unfairly–even by some Thaksin foes–creating a support base outside the Red Shirts allows for people to sympathize with her even if they reject the tactics and ideology of the Red Shirts.
The cartoonist contends that this means that the necessity for Thaksin to fund, and thus control, the movement has diminished.]

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All About Yingluck and Thaksin: Weekly News Magazines, July 2017

From Manager Weekly, July 1-7, 2017
Main cover reads: Don’t buy it.
[Refers to the rumor about former PM Thanksin Shinawatra would take over BEC World Plc., the operator of Channel 3 TV. However, BEC executives denied this. The rumor was started after former executives of the AIS, founded by Thaksin, began working with the BEC world.
Thaksin’s time as prime minister was noted for his attempts to buy up and thus control media that might be critical of his rule.]
Top: Big Pom’s younger brother, Big Dong’s relatives in the ‘alternative energy business’ use Article 44 proving their ways
The men from left to right: former Gen. Nipon Sitabutr, Mr. Sithawat Wongsuwan, former police chief Pol Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan
[Refers to men who have close ties with the junta who became executive board members of many alternative energy companies. Recently the junta has used Article 44 to allow the companies related to alternative energy development to use land in a land reform area. Former Gen. Nipon is a relative of Deputy Defense Minister Udomdej Sitabutr while Mr. Sithawat and former police chief Pol Gen. Patcharawat are younger brothers of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan.]
Bottom left: The governor race is too small. Maybe the dream of [orange] ‘Madam Pang’ is far more than that.
[Refers to former manager of national women soccer team Nualphan Lamsam’s future in politics after there is a rumor that she plans to contest the Bangkok governor election or join the same team with former ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan to compete in the race. However, due to her popularity, some people think she may dream to return to the politics and become a government minister in the future.]
Bottom right: “It will be getting better.” Stop drinking to help liver.
[Refers to a health column about the campaign from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation to encourage people to stop drinking during Buddhist Lent day]

From Matichon Weekly, June 2-8, 2017
Main cover reads: 21 June Crying
[Refers to former PM Yingluck Shinawatra who celebrated her birthday on 21 June. Surrounded by her supporters, Yingluck was crying while she was wishing on her birthday that the junta will treat her fairly. She is facing charges over her government’s rice-pledging scheme. Her on-camera crying was widely discussed in the Thai world with critics claiming she was simply playing to the public for sympathy.]

Top: ‘Rip out’ [meaning something like] the unclear line of a [white] ‘sexy’ [yellow] of 3 famous models [white] Cherry-Mookies-Argie
[The women from left to right are Mookies-Argie-Cherry–three sexy internet idols who are now very popular.
“Rip out” meaning something like to “bring out” to delineate or judge between the sexiness of the girls. “Unclear line” means it is not certain which is the sexiest.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, June 30-July 6, 2017
Main cover reads: Drama of [white] politics
Woman in cover: Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra
[Refers to former PM Yingluck Shinawatra who celebrated her birthday on June 21. She cried as she wished for fairness from the junta over her court cases related to the rice-pledging scheme.]

From Lokwannee, July 10-16, 2017
Main cover reads: Having good governance… then what you have to be afraid of?
[Refers to the controversial deal to buy high-speed trains from China. This deal has been criticized by several groups including experts, academics and other business groups questioning the benefits Thailand would get from the deal. The government used Article 44 to expedite this deal raising concerns about the transparency of the deal.]

Posted in Thai Newspapers and Magazines | 1 Comment

China ate Thailand

From Manager, June 28, 2017
Left: Sir, hurry please call the Thai PM, asking him to come visit the White house… before they bend more to China!
Trump: Ok!
At right the phone for Thailand is ringing inside the stomach of the Chinese dragon.

[Another cartoon that notes the drift of Thailand into China’s orbit. The junta has green-lighted several huge infrastructure projects to be constructed by Chinese firms. These firms will be exempted from Thai laws and regulations that would normally apply to such projects.]

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The junta is a fan of the Chinese

From Manager, June 27, 2017
Tattoo artist: It’s almost done. Wait a minute, sir.
Caption: Die-hard fan of Chinese products.

[This shows Deputy PM Prawit, the most powerful figure in the ruling junta, who seems to have steered Thailand into the orbit of China with several big money deals that allow Chinese engineering firms to operate in Thailand without adhering to Thai regulations.]

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Go back to the old constitution

From Thairath, June 29, 2017
Left: No matter how we write the new constitution the politicians still prefer the old one which they are familiar with.
Middle: So, we’d better write it like the old one.
Foreigner: Which old one?
Right: The one for temporary use and later the military tears it up.
[Refers to Thai constitution and coups. Frequently, after a coup, they will write a temporary charter with powers to create legitimacy for themselves and their actions.]

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Before Thaksin: Remembering the Checks and Balances of the 1997 Charter

Remembering Thai Dreams of Checks and Balances

…One year before the EC swept away many high-flying senator candidates, powerful Democrat secretary-general Sanan Kachornprasart was indicted and banished from politics for faking a Bt15 million debt while declaring his assets and liabilities as a political office holder. At that time, it didn’t matter who you were. Election candidates belonging to the government side were disqualified for fun. Among them were Sanan’s wife, Newin Chidchob’s sister, provincial governors, influential military figures and close relatives of Cabinet members…

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Police on skates

From Arun, June 23, 2017
Title: Shoes for this season

[This shows the famous statue and symbol of the Royal Thai police. Refers to a season of police appointment.
The present time is one of intense lobbying and payoffs at the police jokey fro promotions.
We are not sure of the joke here. Perhaps the skates imply that a “faster” person can have close ties the person who has the power to promote them. ]

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Thailand political icon Yingluck Shinawatra has Kentucky State University roots

Thailand political icon Yingluck Shinawatra has Kentucky State University roots – state-journal.com, July 12, 2017
…What’s more, Thaksin and his wife also earned master’s degrees from a Kentucky graduate program — Eastern Kentucky’s criminal justice program in 1975 — and current Thai Immigration Bureau chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn received an MPA at KSU like Yingluck. Neither Lake nor officials at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education could recall a formal deal across all Kentucky schools that led to the influx of Thai students.
Tulsathit Taptim, editor of The Nation, one of Thailand’s capital city newspapers, wasn’t aware of a specific deal either but was not surprised by the consistency of their attendance.
“It’s normal for Thais of Thaksin’s generation to stick to overseas institutions their families felt comfortable with,” Taptim said. “So it was common for people from the same clans would choose similar overseas institutions…”

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The Red Shirt’s symbolic pipe bomb

From Thairath, June 22, 2017
Left, probably meant to be Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: Wattana’s intention is that he only wants to oppose the junta by putting nails in the bomb; this is symbolic…
Middle: He only put the bomb in the wrong place because of his unawareness…
Another man: How did he put it in the wrong place?
Right: He put the nails in the bomb.

[Refers to Wattana Pumret who conducted a series of bombing over the years in support of the Red Shirts, but has insisted he worked alone and on orders from no one.
After being arrested for attacking a military hospital with a nail bomb, he apologized to the victims and insisted that he did intend to hurt anyone, but only wanted to show his dislike for the junta.
We think the joke here is that the bomber actually meant to put his nails inside the junta and not the bomb (?)]

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Who controls the pipe bomber?

From Naewna, June 23, 2017
Wattana: Pipe bomb!! Thaksin isn’t involved. I did it alone.
On the sign: Wattana, the bomber

[Refers to Wattana Pumret who conducted a series of bombings over the years–the latest at a military hospital. This cartoon contends that, despite Wattana’s denials, Thaksin must ultimately be behind the bombings.]

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Some bombers don’t go to jail

From Manager, June 22, 2017
Left: Wattana-pipe bomb… was jailed already.
Right: Watana-mouthbomb… is still working.

[At left Wattana Pumret suspect allegedly planted a pipe bomb in a military hospital and was recently apprehended. At right is Pheu Thai politician Watana Muangsook who seems to have a leading role in attacking the junta, but has not be arrested or detained. Is there some other meaning here?]

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China doesn’t need to use Thai laws

From Thairath, June 20, 2017
Title: China doesn’t need to use Thai laws
Officer on the left: Must respect the law
On his knife: Article 44 [the junta’s absolute power]
Officer on the right: Can be skipped
On his knife: Article 44
Sign held by man at bottom right: Thai laws
Sign held by mouse: Can overlook Thai engineers

[Refers to the junta using the Article 44 to expedite the Sino-Thai high-speed railway project. The cartoon illustrates the junta using the article to stop people from expressing political views freely and to expedite the railway project without listening to the public’s concerns.]

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Abhisit for leader!

From Arun, June 17, 2017
Title: Abhisit Vejjajiva. Leader of the Democrat Party
On the logo: Democrat Party
On his boxing shorts: Leader of the party
Box on the top left: Arun’s cartoon [white] Arun Watcharasawat
[Democrat Party Abhisit Vejjajiva is facing a challenge as party leader as various factions inside and outside the party get ready for the reality of post-junta politics.]

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From 2011: Red Shirt pursuers at the mercy of new government

Red shirt pursuers at the mercy of new government
…Wichean Khaokham, a Pheu Thai Party candidate who was elected in Udon Thani province, said yesterday he would attend a meeting of his party today and propose the transfer of Mr Tharit from the DSI.
Mr Wichean was among the red shirt protest leaders whom the DSI prosecuted on lese majeste charges…

This article details all the events that were eventually used to disqualify Yingluck. Chief of these was the effort to remove the chief of police to make way for a Thaksin relative to take over the post (this was to enable a draconian bill to silence the media and freedom of expression).

There are also candid admissions that the police merely “followed the policies of (their) supervisors”–namely, government politicians, either Democrats or the Pheu Thai.

With the Pheu Thai coming to power in 2011, elected MPs who were facing legal action for their roles in the protests of 2010 and for lese majeste began demanding revenge against government officials responsible for bringing charges against them.

The article mentions infamous DSI chief Tharit Pengdit as the main target of Pheu Thai wrath. Tharit also had “followed the policies of his supervisors” by aggressively prosecuting Red Shirts involved in the siege of Bangkok in 2010 while ignoring the actions of the then Democrat government and the military.

The article speculates Tharit’s job was under threat, but what ended up happening was that Tharit switched sides after the Pheu Thai came to power. He then stopped prosecuting Red Shirts and became a tool used by the government in its efforts to create an amnesty bill.

During that time, the timing of DSI charges was used as a threat when Thaksin amnesty measures were being stalled. When the Democrats refused to accede to amnesty, charges was brought against the Democrat leadership in retaliation. Some of these charges included the surprise reopening of old cases, such as issues related to Abhisit’s time as a student in the UK, thought to have been settled long ago. There were also efforts made to pinpoint the military snipers who targeted the remnants of Red Shirt supporters who took refuge in a temple. All of this legal activity was done in a Thai context, announced by Deputy PM Chalerm (who is used to deliver threats because of his bold and threatening manner) under the pretext of “we will find out the truth.”

While the Westerner might interpret this as admirable (“just tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may”), such truth telling without regard for the loss of face it might cause the involved parties (no matter the right or wrong of the matter) is interpreted as a grave threat. Indeed, the threat to focus on army snipers challenged the military to either take action to overthrow the government or back down in its blocking of an amnesty that included Thaksin.

DSI chief Tharit served this plan by bringing charges at key times as well as quickly clearing Pheu Thai figures who became embroiled in legal disputes (Red shirt pursuers at the mercy of new government).

Tharit’s ability to switch sides finally came to an end as the junta put the former DSI chief under investigation in 2015.

More: The Downfall of Tharit the Chameleon

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Thaksin’s time

From Manager, June 20, 2017
Top left, Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: 9 o’clock in the morning… It’s time to set up a mob. [a protest group]
Top right, one of the Red Shirt “men in black”: It’s 7 pm… It’s time to shoot people.
Bottom left, Red Shirt protester: It’s 2 pm… It’s time to burn the city.
Bottom right, military hospital bomber: It’s 5 pm… It’s time to bomb.
Caption: Those people use the same watch brand.

[This cartoon attempts to connect the military hospital bomber to the wider activities of the Red Shirts and thus Thaksin.
The hospital bomber suspect, while being both a Red Shirt and Thaksin supporter, denied he was ordered to carry out his bombings and was acting on his own.]

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More on police buying their promtions

From Naewna, June 17, 2017
Police on the left: I’m telling you that there is no post buying. Whoever says this, we’ll sue them.
The sign on the left: Disclose about the promotion buying and transfering the police
The sign on the right: Anti-corruption agency
Police on the right: What kind is this agency? Is it legally established?
Caption: Police’s state?

[Refers to the powerful denial from both the police and junta that police have to buy their promotions. These denials have been universally ridiculed in the media. The denials seem to indicate that the junta has no intention of tackling corruption in the Thai police.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons, Thai Police | 1 Comment

The train doesn’t follow the rules of Thailand

From Thiarath, June 22, 2017
Title: The historic high speed train. The wonder of the world.
On the soldier’s shirt who is holding the railway: Return happiness [this is the junta’s motto]
On the railway: Section 44 [referring to the absolute power of the junta enable by this section of law]
On the train: China. Accepting Thai baht, but do not accept Thai law. Bangkok-Nakhonratchasima [this indicates the route of the train to the Northeast–clearly intending to please Thaksin supporters and perhaps draw support away from the former PM]
Below the railway, from left to right: Not use engineers; Law of architecture; Thailand budget [more references to aspects of local authority that will be overridden according to the new project]
Mouse man: Sacrificial offering to China
Mouse: Going back to the third world

[Refers to the many objections from Thai professional associations that all engineers on the project have to be duly licensed by the Thai system. The terms of the project seem to waive such local regulations that have appeared to stall such projects in the past. Other aspects of Thai law that might of slowed the project like public hearing and various assessments have also been waived to expedite the project.]

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The Thai police don’t buy their promotions!!!

From Manager, June 15, 2017
Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan: The police buy their positions? No… If yes, find the evidence to prove it!!
Caption: Just only turn left… you will get it, sir.
The man on the left of Deputy PM Prawit is former police chief and Prawit’s brother Pol. Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan.

[Refers to the common practice of police buying their promotions. This practice is universal and commonly known which made Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan’s denials appear ridiculous. Prawit’s brother Pol.Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan, as former police chief, would surely know of such practices. For Prawit to protect this sort of police corruption calls into question the junta’s high-flown rhetoric about reforming the nation.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager, Thai Police | 1 Comment

More questions from the PM

From Manager, June 22, 2017
The woman wears a shirt that reads: Thai people
Above left, PM Prayuth: Please let us buy a submarine.
Woman: Yes.
Above right: Please let us build a high speed train.
Woman: Yes.
Below left: Please let the [foreign] investors have the Sor.Por.Kor. [land]
Woman: Yes.
Below right: Please let us help the poor with a rice pledging scheme at 15,000 [baht per ton].
The woman is silent.
Caption: If one day they ask this… would the answer be the same?

[This references several projects the junta has pushed through–often under unclear terms. These include the purchase of a submarine, a high-speed train deal with China, and the leasing of Sor.Por.Kor. land (Agricultural Land Reform deeded land) to foreign investors.
All of these world normally be controversial for many reasons (scale, transparency, nationalism), and junta opponents have vigorously cried foul, but the public in general seems uninterested in objecting to the deals.
However, even under this seemingly public acquiescence to big spending, the cartoonist questions whether people would even again allow a treasury-busting rice pledging scheme like the one enacted by the previous Phea Thai government.]

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Just copying Thaksin

From Thairath, June 14, 2017
Title: Difference… at the center of the regime
On the back of the military man at center: Return happiness [the junta’s slogan]
On a paper held by him: Wake up Thaksin’s ghost (again)
Signs held people at left: Cut spending; increase incomes; enhance opportunity [these represent pro-Thaksin, anti-junta demands]
Signs held by people at right: Reduce the power and rights of people; increase the spending of taxes; expand their alliance’s power
Phi Nooring: Don’t forget Thaksin’s regime
Mouse: Want to forget [Thaksin], but still remember [because of what the junta is doing]

[Refers to the junta’s policies which are often ridiculed for copying Thaksin’s populist policies. So, the cartoonist says the junta tries to “wake up Thaksin’s ghost” by copying his policies. Therefore, the difference of these current policies is that they are now conducted by a military junta instead of Thaksin.]

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The outrageous denial

From Naewna, July 14, 2017
Ostrich: Police buying their promotions is very shameful. I’m so embarrassed about this.
Deputy PM Prawit: I don’t know. It doesn’t happen. If it has, you need to find to the documents to prove it…

[Refers to Deputy PM Prawit who supervises the police force. After former Democrat MP and a key member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee Wittaya Kaewparadai raised the issue of police having to pay bribes for their promotions, Prawit replied in a very Thai way. He completely denied this happens and challenged the whistle blowers to prove it. As the practice of police buying promotions is a longstanding and well-known tradition, Prawit’s denial was met with derision even from pro-junta media like Naewna. Underpinning this is the fear that the junta is squandering their chance to reform the police force.]

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It’s a charade

From Thairath, June 21, 2017
Title: Same genes, need to love each other.
On suit on man (representing a politician) at left: NLA [National Legislative Assembly]
Paper at the end of his suit: Sitting along with many positions; receive salary from many [meaning appointed assembly members will be able to serve in many other political and business ventures, creating a conflict of interest]
On shirt of man (representing a soldier) at right: NLA [National Legislative Assembly]
On sleeve holding the chain: Return happiness [the junta’s motto]
On paper being held by man: Not attending the meetings; taking leave; not coming to vote; not guilty [referring to assembly members who were found to be drawing a salary, but never attending meetings]
On kneeling man: Politician
On signs behind kneeling man: Making laws to destroy politicians; cutting the power of the people
Mouse man: Feel no shame
Mouse: Dictate the election

[This criticizes the junta’s appointed assembly, contending they have many conflicts of interests and some never even attend meetings. It shows that both the military members and civilian members of the assembly are controlled by the military. Ultimately it is all a charade, the cartoonist asserts, designed to hamper the power of the people.]

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Which is the bigger issue?

From Manager, June 14, 2017
PM Prayuth points at Lumyai: Open the jar to make a living like this… it is so ugly… don’t you know?!
Police officer at right holding a jar: Money buying police positions.
Caption: Hai Thong Kum… ugly, but it’s very small?

[“Hai Thong Kum” means golden jar, but also has a sexual allusion, here referring to singer Lumyai “Hai Thong Kum” who has been criticized by the prime minister for her sexy dancing.
The cartoonist accepts that the dancing is inappropriate, but contends that it is a minor issue when compared to the widespread practice of police officers buying their promotions. The underlying message is that the military with its absolute power could tackle police corruption, but instead they focus on a minor issue to divert the public.]

From Thairath, June 15, 2017
Title: Have something to sell…!!
Soldier on left holds a box on which is written: Box lid; quality guarantee; best price
At right is a police officer holding a chair to symbolize the police practice of having to buy their promotions.
Mouse man: Working diligently.
Mouse: The old career.

[This is another cartoon pointing out the continuing corrupt practice that the military junta seems unwilling or unable to stamp out.
The soldier refers to a murky scandal that revealed a military gang that smuggled weapons into nearby countries.]

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Junta Staying Longer?: Weekly News Magazines, June, 2017

From Manager Weekly, June 17-23, 2017
Main cover reads:  A compass goes wrong direction
Woman on the cover: Thitinart “Aoy” Na Pattalung
Top left: Maneerat Kham-uan
Bottom: Natee Ekwijit
Hashtag: #Be awake team
Top right: Puttachat Pongsuchat
Far right: Patcharasri Benjamas
Hashtag: Kru Aoy team [“Kru” means “teacher”]
On the book: Life compass
[Refers to a self-help guru and author Thitinart “Aoy” Na Pattalung. Recently, many entertainers alleged her company used their images to promote her Life Compass course. This led to the media investigating her assets and her claims as a self-help guru. After her husband died, she had to take care of her son and pay a million dollar debt left by her husband. She paid off the debt within two years and started to write a book series called ‘Life Compass’ to guide people on how to living peacefully.]

Top: Trading the police’s position. Being deceptive with the whole nation. [black box] ‘Kamnun’s fellows’ accused ‘Chakthip’ [outside a black box] pretending that they don’t know where they traded at “Farm Chokchai”
At left is Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and in the middle is Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda
[This refers to former Democrat MP and a key member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee Wittaya Kaewparadai who disclosed information about the practice of the police buying promotions. However, Deputy PM Prawit who supervises the police denied Wittaya’s allegation as did Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda. These are outrageous denials as it is widely known that the buying of promotions is a traditional practice in the police force.
Wittaya’s public allegations are thought to reveal a conflict between the police and the PDRC factions of the Democrat Party. The PDRC was led by Suthep Thaugsuban (nicknamed “kamnun” for his former post as district chief; referred to as “kamnun’s fellows” in the headline meaning “Suthep’s faction”). “Farm Chokchai” refers to the group that has real power over police reform and promotions. It refers to the Chockchai 4 area in Bangkok where members in the junta’s houses are located.
All of this is part of the growing frustration and alarm that the military junta is not going to tackle a real reform of the Royal Thai Police. Outside of the rampant corruption and institutional rot, the force remains a real power, particularly in terms of local intelligence, that is believed to be loyal to Thaksin.]

Bottom left: Sport Hero [pink] “Pro May” [white] Dedicated alone by herself. Be careful for some people who will take advantage.
[Refers to Ariya ‘May’ Juntanugarn, known as “Pro May,” who became the first Thai ever to be No. 1 in woman’s world golf after winning the US professional golf LPGA tournament.
Before becoming the world’s no 1, she and her family had to work by themselves with a little support from sponsors. This article expresses concern that there will be many groups trying to take advantage of her success.]

Bottom right: Closely watch [blue] “Nation” softly failed and move to next station [orange] “ThaiPBS”
[Refers to media group, The Nation Group, which recently faced difficulty in its business operations (the Nation Weekend just stopped publication this month). The article specualtes whether the business group will change direction to work with public TV station ThaiPBS instead.]

From Matichon Weekly, June 23-29, 2017
Main cover reads: Aim to attack the center
[Refers to Seksan Prasertkul’s latest speech on Thailand’s political situation. He gave a speech predicting that the junta led by PM Prayuth was planning to stay longer in power. PM Prayuth denied Seksan’s accusations.]

Top right: Cause of revenge ‘an uncle bomber’ is a military hater because of the six deaths in Wat Phratum temple. Just a personal political ideology
[Refers to 62-year old Red Shirt suspect who was arrested for a bomb attack at the army hospital Phramongkutklao which caused 20 injuries. He insisted that he did it alone due to his hatred of the military due to the death of six people at the end of the Red Shirt protests in Bangkok in 2010. Some have speculated that he did not work alone as claimed, but was working on orders from other Red Shirts.]

From Siamrath Weekly, June 23-29, 2017
Main cover reads: Compromising system
[Refers to Seksan Prasertkul’s latest speech on Thailand’s political situation. He criticized the junta as planning to stay longer in power. According to him, this means that the future of Thai politics will be like a compromising system or the “kia sia” system coined by political expert Nidhi Eoseewong. “Kia sia” is a Chinese word meaning “compromise.” Seksan says Thailand’s political situation in the future will be like a compromise system between the elites and politicians.]

From Lokwannee, June 24-30, 2017
Main cover reads: (More than) one drop of the honey
Left: Using Article 44 to get the Sino-Thai high-speed train with medium speed, but more expensive
Right: Oppose the revision of the 30-baht universal health care program?
[Refers to the Thai saying “one drop of honey.” The story goes that, on the way to the market, a trader unintentionally drops honey on the road. A lizard eats it. While it enjoys eating the honey, a cat sees it and attacks the lizard. Then, a dog nearby comes to fight with the cat. The owners of the dog and cat see the situation and they get into a fight. Thus, the moral is that one small cause can have a big impact.
Here it means that the junta’s push the Sino-Thai high speech train using its absolute power will bring up other perceived “failures” of the junta such as an allegedly revising the 30-baht universal health care program. All of this is meant to be critical of the junta and show that the popularity of the junta will suffer.]

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