Apr 5th, 2017

Weekly News Magazines, March 23-April 7, 2017

From Matichon Weekly, March 24-30, 2017
Main cover reads: The miracle of Ko-Tee

[Refers to the recent flurry of news related to hardcore anti-monarchist Red Shirt Wuttipong Kotthammakhun, commonly known as Ko-Tee. The government touted the seize of war weapons at his estate in Thailand and claimed it was part of a plot to assassinate the prime minister.
The junta previously said they used “a miracle” of law to be able to assess a large tax penalty on Thaksin. Here the phrase similarly is used to joke that the seizure of weapons involving Ko-Tee might be another “miracle” manufactured to aid in the junta’s plans to eliminate the Red Shirts.
Indeed, the controversy around Ko-Tee has shown the limits of junta power with the Thai government unable to pressure the Lao authorities over many months to curtails the revolutionary, anti-monarchy radio station Ko-Tee was running from Laos.]

Left: Silent coup d’ etat. ‘Nang Loeng’ Race Course took the power of ‘Gen. Ai’

[Refers the attempt of the National Council for Peace and Order led by PM Prayuth and Deputy PM Prawit to overthrow the power bases of Gen. Boonlert Kaewprasit by sending their people to sit on the board of the Nang Loeng Race Course (formally known as the Royal Turf Club of Thailand under the Royal Patronage). Gen. Boonlert comes from military clique aligned with Deputy PM Prawit, but seems to be in the process of being sidelined from power by the junta.]

From Nation Weekend, March 24, 2017
Main cover reads: In Laos ‘Ko-Tee regime’

[Refers to hardcore Red Shirt Wuttipong Kotthammakhun (known as Ko-Tee) who uses a pirate radio station from Laos broadcast to Thailand in order to call on a revolution to overthrown the present Thai state.]

Left: Loudly shot in the forest. An extrajudicial kill of ‘Chaiyaphum.’ Disclose-investigate the truth.

[Refers to the teenage ethnic Lahu activist Chaiyaphum Pa-sae who was shot to death allegedly for drug possession. Witnesses have disputed this official account and critics have called for a transparent investigation to disclose the facts of the killing.]

From Manager Weekly, March 25-31, 2017
Main cover reads: Marine mask

[This cover plays on the popular TV show ‘The Mask Singer’ in which masked competitors sing. The cover graphic uses this to criticise the transparency of the purchase of Chinese-made submarines by the junta.]

Top left: The Mask Singer. When it reaches the peak, it needs to prepare for the decline of the singing competition.

In the picture is the winner “Durian Mask” and “Crow Mask” who came in second.

[The popular TV show “The Mask Singer” broke a ratings record. Due to the popularity of the program, many other similar programs have been rushed to air and will face the challenge of winning audiences amid intense competition.]

Top right: “The blue group” [the Bhumjaithai Party] gains momentum. The cabinet gives 300 million to fulfill the dream of “Sie Ne.” “Sie Noo” feels happy to become the PM

[Refers to the close relationship between the former Bhumjaithai Party and the junta. Recently, the junta approved the budget for hosting the MotoGP in Thailand which results in giving benefits to political veteran Newin Chidchob. Meanwhile, Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnviraku, who close to Newin, is believed to be the middleman for the deal between the junta and Thaksin for a reconciliation plan.
However, the junta has dismissed all rumors about any secret reconciliation deal. It is likely the reality behind these rumors is that the Bhumjaithai Party leader is trying to build his political base with the ultimate goal to become the next prime minister.]

Below left: Arrest ‘Ko-Tee’ a deal to exchange ‘Xaysana’

[Refers to the alleged deal between the Lao government and the junta. The junta has been asking the Lao government to help arrest hardcore Red Shirt Wuttipong Kotthammakhun (known as Ko-Tee) who has been calling for the overthrown of the Thai state from his pirate radio station in Laos
This is thought to possibly be connected to arrests and a widening probe into the celebrity and business links of an alleged Laos drug lord Xaysana Keopimpha. The rumor is that the Thais are shutting down the network of this influential Laos person in Thailand in exchange for the apprehension of Ko-Tee.]

Below right: Good ways to eat vitamins to get the most benefit for the health.

From Lokwannee, April 1-7, 2017
Main cover reads: Threat to (non) security

[This ridicules the junta’s order to close down Voice TV for a week due to its criticism of the junta. The “eyes” on the cover are the logos of Voice TV.]

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Please report sites that defame the Royal Family!

Example of a Thai ISP website that promotes the reporting of content that criticizes the Thai Royal Family: If you see online information on Facebook/Youtube/website defaming the Royal Family, please report to 02 505 8898 (24 hours) Email: [email protected]
The details for reporting
1. Capture the page
2. Send url

Posted in Censorship, The Monarchy | Leave a comment

Thanks from all the Pa

From Manager, March 16, 2017
The men say: We have been humiliated for long time from the waiter boys… the valet parking boys, the toilet massage boys… who have been forcing us to be “Pa” unwillingly… we all want to support you Mr. Anusorn that you have come out to protect our pride… all senior men who looks elegant.
Caption: This story of bravery… receives love from all the “Pa.”

[This refers sarcastically to Mr. Anusorn (at right), member of the National Reform Steering Assembly, who slapped a waiter who referred to him as “Pa,” meaning a wealthy older man–often one wearing ostentatious designer clothes in an attempt to appear hip and young. While not necessarily an insult, some Thai men take offense at this term, considering it to mean they are elderly and showy.]

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Traffic cone Buddhism

From Matichon Weekly, March 17-23, 2017

[The cartoon generally mocks the current state of Buddhism in Thailand and in particular the Dhammakaya temple being blockaded by traffic cones as well as claims by critics that Dhammakaya monks defending the temple were “fake monks.” ]

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Thaksin and Dhamachayo

From Manager, March 13, 2017
Thaksin: Thank you Tu [PM Prayuth] that you have sent Dhamachayo to come help me throw a stone at our home country.
Caption: He [Thaksin] would be afraid the old friend [Dhamachayo] would be tired.

[This uses a Thai saying “to throw stones at one’s house” to mean to criticism or harm one’s own country. The cartoon illustrates fears that fugitive abbot Dhamachayo might have escaped abroad where he will join Thaksin in his incessant lobbying against government’s Thaksin does not control.]

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The weapons spell his name

From Arun, March 21, 2017
This shows Thai officials sitting before a table with war weapons arrayed to spell the name “Ko-Tee”–perhaps implying that the weapons are intended to send a message about the fugitive Red Shirt.

From Manager, March 21, 2017
Newspaper headline: Weng says Ko-Tee is not a Red Shirt.
Caption: Ko-Tee started to changed his target.
[This shows Ko-Tee shooting Red Shirt leader Weng because of Weng’s statement disavowing Ko-Tee as a Red Shirt.]

Ko-Tee is a Red Shirt leader who has been operating a pirate radio station from Laos calling for insurrection, resistance to the Thai monarchy, and the establishment of a republican regime in Thailand.
The continued broadcasts have appeared to strain Thai-Lao relations. Thai authorities recently raided Ko-Tee’s estate in Thailand and claimed to have found a large cache of weapons apparently intended to carry out Ko-Tee’s plans–including the assassination of Thailand’s military prime minister.
Mainstream Red Shirt leaders, like Weng (thought of as a more moderate and intellectual Red Shirt), quickly disavowed Ko-Tee and tried to distance the Red Shirt movement from him.
Those with anti-Thaksin views usually contend that radical Red Shirts and their anti-monarchy revolutionary rhetoric are still a part of the mainstream Red Shirt movement and are thus controlled and funded by Thaksin.
However, the mainstream belief is that really radical Red Shirts like Ko-Tee are opportunists and that Thaksin has no real reason to want to stir up trouble that would possibly delay elections. Thus, Thaksin would be incentivized to pay off the radicals to get them to settle down and this is what really fuels radicals to take a hard line.
Ko-Tee responded to the weapons seizure by authorities by claiming that it was a set-up by the military to frame him.
Whatever the truth of the source of the weapons, the find seems to have had the desired effect of dislodging Ko-Tee from his haven in Laos. Ko-Tee released a statement saying he had left Laos and had taken refuge in another unnamed state.

Posted in Editorial Cartoons – Arun | Leave a comment

RIP Respected Reporter

From Arun, March 13, 2017
Mrs. Yuwadee Tanyasiri
Former senior reporter at Government House.
1946-2017

[Well-known former reporter Yuwadee passed away on March 10th.]

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Bad fortune comes from what?

From Thairath, March 10, 2017
Title: Misery from bad deeds or temptation by the evil doer?
Sign near soldier at left: Article 44.
On monk’s robes: Monk of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
On man with glasses: Reform of religion
The man is picking to pocket of a monk’s bag. On the bag: Money from donations
On paint can: Fake Buddhist
Mouse man: [They] Commit a sin together.
Mouse: Monk’s grief.

[This cartoon defends Wat Dhammakaya by contending that evil authorities are attacking it. The title of the cartoon asks if the ill-fortune the sect has received the result of past bad deeds (according to Buddhist belief) or simply the result of evil outsiders harassing the innocent sect. We think the man in glasses is religious expert Surapot Taweesak.]

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Weekly News Magazines, March 17-31, 2017

From Nation Weekend, March 17, 2017
Main cover reads: Tax for three-four lives

[Refers to the junta’s attempt to collect the taxes from Thaksin’s family from selling Shin Corp in 2006. “Three-four lives” implies the long period of time it would take to pay off the tax. Many critics have expressed their concern that the junta may fail to collect the tax or let it expire in exchange for political reconciliation with Thaksin.]

Top-right: Dhammakaya must leave. ‘Wat Suvarnabhumi’ new center for ‘new millionaires’

[Refers to Suvarnahumi Buddha Jayanyi temple which has recently become well-known for its ambition to speak on behalf of world Buddhism and for its ability to attract rich and powerful supporters.
This was previously the profile of besieged Dhammakaya temple which is now facing restructuring as authorities continue to attempt to arrest its abbot.]

From Matichon Weekly, March 17-23, 2017
Main cover reads: Repeating decimal

[Refers to the mission to arrest Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo. The cover implies the battle between the authorities and Dhammakaya will be endless until Dhammachaya is arrested.]

Top right: Yuwadee Tunyasiri ‘Piaja’ of Surapol Donavanik

[Refers to veteran journalist Yuwadee Tunyasiri who passed away at age 71 due an abdominal bleeding. “Piaja” is the title of famous song composed by the well-respect musician Surapol Donavanik about Yuwadee when she was young. “Pia” in Thai means pigtails.
Yuwadee visited Surapol after he was arrested and he then wrote the song about “a beautiful lady with pigtails” who inspired him when he was in jail.]

From Manager Weekly, March 18-24, 2017
Main cover reads: Power of [red] ‘political counsel’ pull out ‘Oak-Aim’

[The people are Thaksin’s son Panthongtae ‘Oak’ Shinawatra and his daughter Pintongta ‘Aim’ Shinawatra Kunakornwong. This cover is about well-known political counsel Wissanu Krea-Ngam who has served as legal advisor for both Thaksin’s government and the current junta. Critics question whether he is brokering a deal to end the attempt to collect taxes from Thaksin’s family in exchange for a reconciliation deal with Thaksin.]

Top: End of the beautiful world. Can we accept that ‘Dhammachayo’ won.

[Refers to the mission to arrest Dhammakaya’s abbot Dhammachaya. The article heaps ridicule on authorities for failing to capture him.]

Bottom left: Summer hot and a drama of photo book

[Refers to Passarana Ussadamongkol, known as “Beer the Voice,” who will first issue a photo book of sexy photos for summer. However, before the book was launched, she posted a sad and disappointed message on her Facebook and caused people wonder about her state of mind.]

Right: Investigate the secret land ‘Thai PBS’ after ‘Doctor Krisada’ resigned due to the stocks

[Refers the article disclosing about the problem inside Thai PBS after its chief Krisda Rueangareerat, a former dentist, resigned after he came under criticism for investment in debentures from Charoen Pokphand Food (CPF).]

From Lokwannee, March 25-21, 2017
Main cover reads: Even though times have passed, the ‘magical’ has never changed.
On the newspaper: Find the secret tunnel in Thammasart to keep the powerful weapons.
In the parentheses: Do whatever you please

[Implies that the government is lying about Dhammakaya temple having secret tunnels and other fortifications. To make this point, the cover references claims the government made in 1976 about the siege at Thammasasat University. The government justified the massacre of protesting students at the time by claiming that the students has a secret tunnel where they stored powerful weapons to be used in a communist takeover of Thailand.]

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Lesson of patience


From Manager, March 9, 2017
Caption: Just think–this temple teaches about being ‘patient’ to the people

[This cartoon mocks the actions of Dhammakaya monks as they tried to prevent the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) from arresting their abbot. The sect (and Buddhism in general) teaches serene patience with the world as a virtue and this cartoonist contrasts this with the furious actions of the monks in resisting the police instead contending the police are the patient ones.]

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Don’t forget Thaksin

From Naewna, March 8, 2017
Left, deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan: Because of this person, the country has been chaotic.
On the paper: Arrest warrant of Dhammachayo
On the sleeve at right: Thai People
Voice at right of Thai people: Two persons, sir. Don’t forget him!!
On the paper: Arrest warrant of Thaksin.
Caption: To aid your memory, in case you forget…

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A LOT of leave!


From Thairath, March 7, 2017

Title: Good people… carry a basket.
Two men at top right (we think the man at top right is Pronpetch Wichitchochai, NLA president):
On basket: Receiving incomes from various posts
On ribbon worn by the man at right: NLA [National Legislative Assembly]
On ribbon worn by a man next to left of him: Civil officer
On his shirt: NLA
On basket on the floor: Application for leave. Don’t skip voting.
On the papers in the basket: Application for leave
On the shirts of men at left: NLA
On his basket: Application for leave. Don’t skip the meeting
On papers in the basket: Application for leave
On a basket held by man at far left: Correct application for leave as said by the President.
On papers in the basket: Application for leave
On his shirt: NLA
On his ribbon: Civil officer
On basket held by a man at top left: Application for leave. Don’t skip the meeting.
On papers in the basket: Application for leave
On a basket in the front right: Salary from people’s taxes
Phi Nooring: The world’s most awesome application of leave. In 1 year, you can take a leave for 5,836.
A mouse: The privilege group.

[Refers to the scandal of PM Prayuth’s brother Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha who was found to not be attending any National Legislative Assembly meetings despite drawing a salary for it. This was explained away by the government who said the proper applications for leave had been filed.
Critics have called on the NLA’s secretary-general to be brought up on dereliction of duty charges for approving as many as 5,836 applications for leave for the assembly–all for seven NLA members in one year.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

Informing the U.N. on the junta

From Thairath, March 2, 2017
Left: The UN will only come to interfere for problems between country to country…
Middle: …what position are you taking when you want to complain to the UN?
Right: Our position is that we are a new country called the People’s Democratic Republic of Dhammakaya and we were trespassed on by our neighboring country from “Article 44.”

[In recent years, opposing factions in Thai political squabbles have asked the U.N. to intervene on their behalf.
The joke here is that, when a Dhammakaya monk is confronted with the fact that the U.N. will not likely intervene unless they are a country, the monk claims their sect’s temple is a country being invaded by the Thai junta.
This also references ridicule the junta has received for being unable to access the compound easily despite their absolute power under Article 44.]

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Weekly News Magazines, March 10-24, 2017

From Nation Weekend, March 10, 2017
Main cover reads: Thung Rangsit battlefield. Ending the game before raining

[Refers to an attempt by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to arrest Dhammakaya abbot’s Dhammachayo at the sect’s temple in Rangsit in the north of Bangkok. This cover warns officers to accomplish their mission before the seasonal rainy season arrives.]

Top: ‘Phra Paisal Visalo’ [white], the future of Dhammakaya

[Refers to a rumor about well-respected monk Phra Paisal Visalo who will become the new Dhammakaya abbot after Dhammachayo was stripped of the title. However, Phra Paisal has denied the rumor.]

From Matichon Weekly, March 10-16, 2017
Cover reads: The party…. almost ends.

[Refers to the mission to arrest Dhammakaya temple abbot Dhammachayo. National police chief Jakthip Chaijinda believes that this mission needs to be ended soon or the long, drawn-out mission would damage the government side. Increasingly, critics have questioned the junta’s heavy handed response to the sect’s followers and the use of its absolute power to effect the capture under Article 44.]

Top: Amazing masks [red] The Mask Singer brings Workpoint’s rating up [black] overtaking [channels] 3 and 7 to become number 1

[Refers to the popular TV show ‘The Masked Singer’ produced by Workpoint. Recently, the ratings of the show beat the mainstream media on channels 3 and 7. This show invites famous celebrities and singers to join a singing competition under the condition that their identities are hidden. The loser of each competition has to remove their mask. This is a Thai version of a popular Korean show.]

From Manager Weekly, March 11-17, 2017
Main cover reads: Born Live Die

[The photos (left to right) are photos of Dhammachayo and Phra Dattajivo as young men and adults. The article refers to lives of both famous monks of Dhammakaya temple– Dhammayacho, the former abbot the temple, and Phra Dattajivo, a key monk of the sect. Both were were stripped their titles recently as authorities attempted to locate and arrest Dhammachayo.]

Top: Evidence shown on the secret of the reconciliation [black] ‘Anutin’ a middleman who wish to be the PM [red]; Let the ‘Shincorp’ tax to be expired.

[Photos are of Thaksin Shinawatra, Anutin Charnviraku, and Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin.
Refers to a long series about the supposedly secret reconciliation deal the junta is trying to negotiate with Thaksin.
This article alleges that a plan to let the tax collection on the sale of Shin Corp expire at the end of this month was agreed to by the junta and Thaksin.
Bhumjaithai Party’s leader Anutin Charnviraku is believed to be the middleman for the deal. He has a close relations with Thaksin as well as the military clique that led by former army chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin who led the coup in 2006. However, the junta has dismissed these rumors of a secret reconciliation deal.
It is indeed highly unlikely that the junta would give away its political advantage under the new charter by allowing Thaksin to return to the country after his incessant attempts to return to power over the years (not to mention the persistent anti-monarchy rhetoric of his Red Shirts during this time of transition). Even more unlikely would be anyone believing a promise from Thaksin that he would refrain from engaging in politics after returning to Thailand.
Recently these preposterous rumors from the Manager Group have found their way into the international press as information from “envoys” (Thai Prime Minister Prayuth’s grip starting to slip).
Perhaps non-Thai news media do not understand the context in which these claims are being made. This Manager Group article is one of many over the years that seeks to rabble rouse anti-Thaksin groups and warn the junta that there are powerful forces in society that will not accept the military making a Thai-style “forgive and forget” deal with Thaksin. These hyped-up rumors are meant to keep politics hot and warn the military off any temptation to sell out to Thaksin.]

Bottom: Signal of danger for the mainstream media [orange] “Workpoint” beats 3-7 [white] “E-Jeab” gets advertisement fees [orange] 1 hundred thousand per post.

[Refers to the TV ratings of the mainstream media, particularly the Channel 3 and 7 which lost to Workpoint’s channel broadcast on digital TV. Also, famous Facebook page ‘E-Jeab Leabduan’ gains big money from advertising. This leads to a question about paying taxes by the bloggers who receive income from their Facebook or other social media pages.]

From Lokwannee, March 18-24, 2017
Main cover reads: Pa [small] why we have him for?
Veera Somkwamkid at bottom says: Fake poll
On his shirt: Veera Somkwamkid
Baby: Don’t call me ‘Pa’ I’ll get angry.
Dog: Real poll

[We are not sure about this cover and its connection to Prem. It heaps sarcasm on the junta and Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda. It refers to a recent poll that showed that the junta’s popularity was still high. However, Veera Somkwamkid, one of the yellow shirt leaders, disagreed with the poll. The word “lick” in Thai is also an idiom meaning “to flatter.” The dog implies that the group who conducted the poll is trying to flatter the junta with the good results.]

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We will protect our religion!

From Manager, March 1, 2017
Caption: We will protect our religion… we will not let anyone destroy it!

[The monks who are preventing authorities from apprehending the Dhammakaya sect’s abbot for money laundering charges have said they are simply protecting the sanctity of Thai Buddhism from an overzealous military.
The cartoonist jokes that they are really protecting their fugitive abbot here represented by a black foot. This is because spokespersons for the sect have claimed that that the abbot is too ill to be arrested and his foot has turned black because of his illnesses.]

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It’s not about Dhammakaya, it’s about Article 44

From Thairath, February 25, 2017
Title: Only one power of the people.
On the sword the PM Prayuth holds: Article 44
Mouse man: There still a place for freedom.
Mouse: Stop violating rights.

[This is another cartoon seeking to cast the Dhammakaya siege as being about the overuse of junta power instead of enforcing legal charges for money laundering.
The military, seeking to remove an unpredictable Thaksin/Red Shirt ally, has pushed forward money laundering charges against the Dhammakaya Movement’s abbot, known for his innovative or heretical (depending on your perspective) teachings on Buddhism.
More on Article 44
More on Dhammakaya]

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Hanged for Article 44

From Thairath, February 28, 2017
Title: Buddhist country? Article 44
On the paper held by the hanged man: I am asking for your consideration in revoking Article 44. If you don’t do it by 21:00 today, collect my body.
Mouse man: Mourning.
Mouse: Protect the religion.

[This refers top the recent incident where a Dhammakaya supporter hung himself in protest of the government attempting to apprehend the sect’s abbot using the absolute powers of Article 44.
Most of the media have continually ridiculed the Dhammakaya Movement in recent months.
Since late last month, pro-Red Shirt voice, like the artists of this cartoon, have begun to defend Dhammakaya against the moves of the military junta to dismantle the sect, here contending that military absolute power is being used to attack Thai Buddhism.
More on Article 44
More on Dhammakaya]

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Inspiration for the foot soldiers

From Manager, March 2, 2017
At left, Red Shirt Jatuporn and another man: Money… money
On the wall: Maew’s [Thaksin’s] feeding pipe
At right, Dhammakaya sect followers: Heaven… heaven
On the wall: Thammy’s [Dhammachayo’s] feeding pipe [the temples on clouds represent heaven]
Caption: The differences of two pipes

[This compares how Thaksin and Dhammakaya temple abbot Dhammachayo motivate and control their followers. Thaksin is believed to provide financial support to Red Shirt activities while Dhammachayo gets his followers to donate money to support him so that they will go to heaven.]

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Dhammakaya requires money to get into heaven

From Manager, February 28, 2017
Man: What? You even killed yourself to protect the priest. Why can’t you get through heaven’s gate?
Man: I’m poor… I don’t have money to buy a hammer.
On the entrance gate: Heaven naja. [mocks fugitive abbot Dhammachayo’s eccentric way of speaking–he adds a feminine suffix to the end of his sentences instead of a male suffix]

[This cartoon ridicules the Dhammakaya sect asking people to buy merit by donating to the temple, rather than doing good things or following traditional Buddhist precepts.
Recently, an old man hung himself at the temple to protest the junta’s use of its absolute power under Article 44 to arrest fugitive abbot Dhammachayo.
The cartoon implies that even thought his man killed himself for the sect, he would not be able to get into heaven under Dhammakaya’s precepts as he did not have the money to buy one of the ceremonial hammers produced by the temple.]

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Weekly News Magazines, March 3-17, 2017

From Nation Weekend, Mar 3, 2017
Main cover reads: Ko Tee catches up with the Dhammakaya issue

[The man on the cover is Wutthipong Kodthammakun, known as Ko Tee, a hardcore Red Shirt. He has been broadcasting revolutionary messages to the Thai northeast from his underground radio station, believed to be operating from Laos. Recently he began calling on Red shirts to join Dhammakaya followers at the sect’s main temple to fight officers attempted to arrest the temples abbot.
All of this might explain the shifting Thaksin/Red Shirt attitude toward the Dhammakaya issue. Initially, they were silent, wanting to avoid any conflict that would give the militay a pretext to further delay elections. However, in recent weeks, Red Shirts have been more vocal on this issue–focusing in on the supposed unfair used of Article 44 to enter the temple to arrest the abbot. This shift, along with the new radical messages from Ko Tee calling on Red Shirts to join the fight, indicates the Dhammakaya will likely be used to bolster to popularity of a future pro-Thaksin party that points out the perceived unfairness of the Bangkok elite towards Thailand’s poor and towards Dhammakaya.]

Top right: Who are they? [yellow] ‘Pongporn-Rungroj’ [white] 2 police, 2 Buddhist principles

[Refers to the appointment of Pongporn Parmsneh, Director of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI)’s Bureau of Taxation Crimes, as the new head of the National Office of Buddhism to accelerate the DSI mission to deal with Dhammakaya.
Another officer, Rungroj, a retired police general, was detained after police searched his car and found bulletproof vests and knives. He was suspected of being a Dhammakaya supporter who was trying to impede the officer’s work to search the temple.]

From Manager Weekly, March 4-10, 2017
Main cover reads: Not involved… Not involved
1st row left to right: Pojaman Na Pombejra, Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra, not sure who the last person is
2nd: Sudarat Keyuraphan, Dr. Weng Tojirakarn
3rd: Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Leelavadee Vajropala, Ko Tee
4th: Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech, Nattawut Saikua, the last two are Red Shirt security guards
Inside the white box: The attack on Dhammakaya temple with strong accusation [that it is a] fake Buddhist sect is like throwing a spear to destroy the Buddhist group that is the centerpiece of the Red Shirts, the anti-junta group, and former PM Thaksin’s supporters. Dr. Weng Tojirakarn

[Dr. Weng is a Red Shirt leader and intellectual thinker for the movement and has often been quite candid when acknowledging the Red Shirt movement’s role as political muscle for Thaksin Shinawatra.
Here, is quote is used to show the long association between the movement and Thaksin and his Red Shirts. Normally Thaksin and his political clique (as shown on the cover), deny any connection to Dhammakaya temple.
The words ‘ไม่เกี๊ยว…ไม่เกี่ยว’ (“Not involved… Not involved”) are the same meaning, but the first one is written with a high tone to indicate the person saying it is lying.]

Top right: Fired-arrested ‘Jumpol Manmai’ taking a benefit and having a political interest. Threatens national security

[Refers to Police Gen. Jumpol Manmai who was fired from being a senior figure in King Rama X’s household.]

From Lokwannee, March 11-17, 2017
Main cover reads: Shitangma… Pong… Kruay Roptupjub [yellow]seuk

[Refers to the attempt of officers to arrest Dhammakaya’s abbot Dhammachayo. The phase ‘Shitangma…Pong…Kruay’ mimics Dhammachayo’s famous phase for wishing to be rich ‘Shitangma…Pong…Ruay.’ “Ruay” means rich in Thai. Such sentiments coming from A monk, are quite unusual, but this is also what ahs caused the Dhammakaya sect’s teachings to be attractive to many newly rich in Thailand.
The cover changes the meanin use use the word ‘Kruay’ meaning a traffic cone. The traffic cone in the cover refers to the traffic cones used by the officers to block people from entering to Dhammakaya temple while they are carrying the mission to arrest Dhammachayo. The cover also plays with the sound of the word ‘seuk’ Thai. The original phase ‘รบทัพจับศึก (Roptupjubseuk) means ‘fighting on the war. ศึก (Seuk) means war. However, in the title, สึก (Seuk) means to disrobe (disqualify) a monk. So, a whole phase in the cover means to fight (with Dhammakaya temple) to be able disrobe its abbot.
All of this is part of the recent push by pro-Thaksin/Red Shirt media to begin to openly support the sect again by focusing on the issue of the unfairness of the actions of the government. This is an important issue in the Thai world and sympathy is easily directed to those who have been treated, if not unfairly, then in an unequal way to others.]

From Matichon Weekly, March 3-9, 2017
Main cover reads: 1st death from the Article 44
On the white poster: Please end Article 44 before 21.00 or I will die.

[Refers to the suicide of a man to protest the use of Article 44 to capture Dhammakaya’s abbot.]

Top right: The result is in the ‘wrong envelope’ but the movie is not ‘wrong performance.’ Moonlight beats La La Land to win the ‘best picture’
[Refers to announcement of the wrong best picture Oscar at the Academy Awards.]

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Stars in Thailand


From Thairath, February 26, 2017
Title: NASA found 7 dao [stars] orbiting Thailand [this uses wordplay to comment on recent events that involve a variation of the Thai word for star.]

Top left: Daoreuang [Marigold]
[Refers to Dhammakaya’s past pilgrimage though downtown Bangkok. It disrupted traffic and was seen as a demonstration of the chaos the sect could cuase if it was pressured. Along the way of their pilgrimage, their followers spread marigolds on the road as the carpet for Dhammakaya’s monks to walk on as they believe the marigold refers to the riches and wealth.]

Top middle: Daotok [Shooting star]
On the shooting star: Rolls-Royce bribery
[Refers to the Rolls-Royce bribery which is thought to involve many former politicians, particularly during Thaksin and Yingluck’s administrations, as well as executives of Thai Airways and PTT companies.]

Top middle right: Daoyour [Temptress]
[Not sure about this one. Perhaps refers to recent foreign reports about Pattaya being a city of prostitution. It also perhaps shows junta attempts to tempt opposing political groups to sign a binding reconciliation pact.]

Top right: Daokhro [planet]
[Refers to the police who are always criticized for trying to catch a scapegoat instead of the real perpetrator of a crime. This caption plays with Thai word “khro” meaning “getting into trouble.” However, when it combines with the word “dao” it means means “planet.”]

Bottom left: Daohang [comet]
[We are not sure of the connection here, it implies that bad politicians are in parliament and that they are water monitors. To refer to someone as this kind of lizard is an insult. The word “hang” in Thai means “tail.” More about the tiger-lion-bull-rhinoceros reference.]

Bottom middle: Daolukkai [Pleiades]
On the sleeve: Fuel price
[Refers to Thai idiom “a chicken in one’s hand” meaning as “in the palm of one’s hand.” This refers to the fuel price–which is thought to be manipulated by powerful groups for their benefit. The word “lukkai” means “chicken.”]

Bottom right: Daorung [Rising star]
[Refers to recent foreign reports about Pattaya being a city of prostitution.]

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Two similar cartoons: We need “Black Foot!”

From Manager, February 28, 2017
Caption: Needs of each side

[Refers to the attempt to arrest Dhammakaya’s abbot Dhammachayo. Dhammakaya’s monks have called for food as officers have blockaded the temple and claimed that Dhammachayo is ill and his foot has turned black. The authorities have responded for Dhammachayo to be surrendered. Thus, the authorities are demanded that “Black Foot” be handed over.]

From Manager, March 3, 2017
Title: Each side… each request
On the monk’s banner: We need food [in English]
On the officer’s flag: We need Dhammachayo.
On the fences: Hunger strike. Stop Article 44 [the junta’s absolute power]
Phi Nooring: Arrest the monks or take control the temple
Mouse: Make the monks have trouble

[Refers to the attempt to arrest Dhammakaya’s abbot Dhammachayo. This expresses sympathy for the monks and blames the military for using absolute power to attack the sect.]

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When Dhammakaya saved Thailand from the A-bomb


From Manager, March 5, 2017
Caption: It proves that Article 44 is scarier that an atomic bomb.

[This references a Dhammakaya story about the power of their movement. The story that a nun named Chan, who was the teacher of Dhammakaya abbot Dhammachayo had the power to stop an atomic bomb which the allies tried to drop on Thailand during WWII.
These claims were once touted by the sect in English years ago, but these seem to have been removed as the sect tried to position itself as the mainstream voice of Thai Buddhism. Indeed, many foreigners today see Dhammakaya as a laudable Buddhist movement and know nothing of the cult of personality, weird beliefs, use of Nazi imagery, and involvement in Thai politics that the sect is known for in Thailand.
The cartoon implies that even though Dhammakaya claimed that they had the power to stop an atomic bomb from destroying Thailand, they still can halt the power of the junta’s Article 44 which allowed the officers to search for Dhammachayo in the sect’s headquarters.]

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High speed trains… and coal???

From Manager, February 22, 2017
Left: Vision 2000…
Right: …run by the engine of the year of 1800

[Ridicules the junta’s promotions of high-tech train while also demanding coal-fired power plants be built.]

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Just think that you are sacrificing for the country

From Thairath, February 21, 2017
Title: Just think that you are sacrificing for the country
On the bag held by the soldier: Budget for free education, health care card [he is pouring this into the military’s submarine program]
At top right on the bag: Fees for the consultants; Salaries for many positions
On his back: Allied groups [meaning that groups allied to the military are reaping benefits from the big money deals]
Left on a man with glasses: Disabled peoples’ fund
On woman’s shirt: 30 baht universal coverage health care program
On a man next to her: Impose taxes
Phi Nooring: Want the neighbors to be afraid.
A mouse: For the security. [meaning they hope people will be afraid so they can justify spending for more weapons for security]

[The cartoon criticizes the junta for increasing spending on security with contracts that benefit their allies while cutting budgets for the public warfare.]

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The temple’s assets

From Daily News, February 24, 2017
Title: Sitting on… hot stuff
On the broom: Revise the Monk’s Act… manage the temple’s assets…

[Refers to the case of Dhammakaya temple. As Dhammakaya’s activities supposedly violate traditional Buddhist precepts, there is a call for the junta to reform the laws that comprise the Buddhist Acts in order to restore credibility and the trust in Thai Buddhism.]

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Weekly News Magazines, February 28-March 10, 2017

From Lokwannee, March 4-10, 2017
Main cover reads: Real Buddhism [grey] Fake Buddhism [white] Real media [grey] Fake media [white] Real law [grey] Fake law [white] Real good people [grey] Fake good people

[Refers to the current situation in Thailand where many people on social media are branding those with opposite political views as “fake” rather than to considering the facts of that matter. This viewpoint defends against junta claims that some masked monks seen guarding Wat Dhammakaya are not monks at all, but Red Shirt-style provocateurs. It says that the junta and those attacking Wat Dhammakaya are the real fake people.]

From Matichon Weekly, February 24-March 2, 2017
Main cover reads: Battlefront of [underlined] ‘Khlong Luang’ The event [underlined] unchanged.

[Refers to the fight between Dhammakaya’s monks and officers who tried to search for Dhammakaya’s fugitice abbot Dhammachayo who is facing a charges for money laundering. Khlong Luang is a name of district where Dhammakaya is located.]

Top right: 7 superheroes of the NLA. Parachuting Unlimited [meaning not showing up for an obligation] hits ‘Nong Tik’ [nickname of Prayuth’s younger brother Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha] impacts ‘Pee Tu’ [nickname of PM Prayuth]

[Refers to the absence of Prayuth’s younger brother Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha from the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). According to assembly regulations, a member who fails to appear for over one-third of votes in 90 days will be removed. However the assembly’s acting secretariat stated that Gen. Preecha together with other 6 NLA members had permission not to attend the meeting due to other assignments. All of this strikes the general public as a typical example of funneling a salary to a family member for doing nothing.]

From Manager Weekly, February 23-March 3, 2017
Main cover reads: Next Step Dhammakaya [black] new denomination, new doctrine, new religion
Man on the cover is Anan Asawapokin, Chairman and the President of Land and House company
The monk on the cover is Dhammachayo
The woman on the cover is Sasina Wimuttanon, TV anchor

[Refers to Dhammakaya temple case and fugitive abbot Dhammachaya. The junta has used its absolute powers under Article 44 to arrest Dhammachayo. However, Dhammakaya temple followers, including famous people and businessmen (such as those pictured), have pressured authorities to dismiss the use of Article 44 in this case. The famous followers as pictured on the cover are being ridiculed for following the often unusual ceremonies of the sect which include non-standard costumes and mass spectacles meant to emulate Nazi rallies.]

Bottom left: The coal-fired power plant: if you will blame ‘Big Pom,’ if you will criticise ‘Big Tu,’ you must not forget the ‘Big of the EGAT’

[The boy in the picture is a protester against the plan to build coal-fired power plants. This refers to the junta’s controversial plan to force the building of coal-fired power plants to ensure the energy security of the country. This plan raises concern about environmental problems and the impact on local communities.
“Pom” is the nickname of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan while “Tu” is PM Prayuth. “EGAT” is the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand that will run the project.
The headline implies that it is not really the junta that is behind the building, but powerful tycoons and business interests that will benefit from the megaprojects. It all implies that the junta is pushing these projects as part of back-room dealing to support the regime and pay political debts.]

Bottom right: So what. No one cares!! Rumor that Channel 8 is linked with ‘Film’ to do PayAll.
The men in the picture from leftto right: Ong-Art Singlumpong and Rattapoom ‘Film’ Tokongsup

[Refers to actor Rattapoom ‘Film’ Tokongsup’s company PayAll Group Company. The Bank of Thailand has complained that the company is illegally providing an mobile-based e-money service. In this case, there is a rumor that Ong-Art Singlumpong, Channel 8’s executive, may be connected with the business.]

From Nation Weekend, February 24, 2017
Main cover reads: The Masked Monks

[Refers to an attempt of authorities to capture Dhammakaya abbot Dhammachayo. To prevent officers from searching for their abbot, Dhammakaya monks have been used as human shields and have fought with police. Some of the front line monks and other monk “guards” have worn masks. Authorities and media have questioned whether these are real monks or fake ones who have infiltrated to temple to assist its defense as the temple is a long-time Thaksin/Red Shirt ally.]

Top right: ‘Phra Paisal’ Question-Answer ‘State and Dhammakaya’

[Refers to the articles by the respected monk Phra Paisal on how the government should deal with the Dhammakaya temple problem.]

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Dhammayoyo consecrated a lot of Buddha amulets

From Thairath, February 20, 2017
Title: Yesterday, Dhammayoyo consecrated a lot of Buddha amulets.
Left to right: 1st Buddha posture locking on the woman; 2nd Buddha posture to hit the camera; 3rd Buddha posture to hit people’s chest; 4th Buddha posture on pretending; The monk says: “don’t attack the monk”

[Refers to the government’s attempt to arrest Dhammakaya abbot Dhammachayo on charges of money laundering. Dhammachayo was being protected by human shields who fought with authorities who tried to enter the temple to arrest the abbot.
This cartoon references the practice of an abbot blessing amulets symbolizing various postures of the Buddha or his followers. Here, the cartoonist jokes that the amulets portray the very unBuddhist-like actions the temple’s monks took to fend off police trying to arrest the abbot.
Some of the monks attacked a woman officer which violated the Buddhist principle of not touching a woman. Monks were also filmed fighting with the media and police officers.
The media sometimes makes fun with Dhammachayo’s name by calling him “DhamaYOYO” as is done in this cartoon.]

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A mouth keeps speaking

From Thairath, February 19, 2017
Title: The mouth keeps speaking [meaning something like the rhetoric says reconciliation, but the reality is different]
Soldier on the left: Reconciliation
Soldier on the right: Reform
On sign held by man with glasses: Being slandered
On sign held by man at far left: False charges
Phi Nooring: Will be able to have reconciliation in this lifetime?
A mouse: [They] Love to use power

[Refers to the junta saying they want reconciliation. However, they then aggressively confront the Dhammakaya sect by trying to arrest its abbot.]

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Once the tallest building in Thailand, the Dusit Thani Hotel will be demolished

Bangkok’s Dusit Thani Hotel Gets Date With Wrecking Ball – khaosodenglish.com, March 7, 2016
…Once the tallest building in Thailand, the Dusit Thani Hotel will be demolished and replaced with a complex consisting of a hotel, residences, an office space, a shopping mall and green space, according to the announcement. The 36-billion baht project is a partnership between the hotel group and Central Pattana, which owns 30 shopping malls nationwide under the Central brand…

More: Bangkok’s tallest buildings over the years
Also: The Phra Ya Sombat Phaisan Building

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