Aug 24th, 2016

How foreigners views Thais


From August 12, 2016
Title: How farangs [foreigners] view Thais
Man with glasses, a foreigner: My god
On his headband: Thailand
On the machete: Referendum
On his right hand: Human rights
On his right leg: Freedom
On his left leg: Democracy
The man says: [Thia is] Happiness.
Mouse man: Wait until the new ones grow.
Mouse: Waiting for a miracle.

[This shows the view of those who oppose the both the new charter and the junta that drafted it. The new constitution rolls back many of the innovations first put into practice in the 1997 constitution that was meant to usher in an era of fully elected governments and independent oversight agencies.
Many restrictive parts of the new charter–not to mention the appointed senate–will mean that any future elected government will also have a very difficult time rewriting the charter to benefit themselves or pass an amnesty for Thaksin.]

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Best place for Pokemon to hide in Thailand


From Manager, August 10, 2016
Pokemon: Hey… we should hurry and hide at this temple!!… I am sure it is safe… nobody can come and catch us!
Caption: Sure thing… Everyone can come to hide here.

[The cartoonist jokes that Pokemon can avoid being captured in Thailand by hiding in Wat Dhammakaya where fugitive monk Phra Dhammajayo has been successfully hiding out with the help of his supporters.]

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Hard to Gamble: Abhisit and the Referendum


From Manager, August 9, 2016
Title: Gambler.
On the table: Not accept it / Accept it
Left: [He] Used to be waver between.
Center: Want to change the side…
Right: …[then] penniless!

[This shows Democrat Party leader Abhisit and his uncertain views on whether he supported the charter or not.
After a long period of ambiguous statements, Abhisit finally said he could not support it. However, Democrat Party supporters overwhelming voted for the charter. This seems to indicate Abhisit’s influence with the voters is not strong.
Others hypothesize Abhisit’s lack of support was a ruse to preserve his democratic credentials while his party will certainly benefit from the charter in future elections.]

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Weekly News Magazines, August 12-19, 2016


From Lokwannee, Aug 13-19, 2016
Main cover reads: It’s not lost, but it’s just not only won yet.

[Refers to the result of the referendum of the draft constitution. Many groups, including the Red Shirts, announced that they would accept the result.
However, these groups, and the politician believed to be directing them (Thaksin), remain bitterly opposed to the new charter and will certainly fight on against the junta and its roadblocks to Thaksin’s return to power.]


From Nation Weekend, August 12, 2016
Main cover reads: A hunter of PokeMeaw

[This shows PM Prayuth hunting a “PokeMaew” (“Maew” being the nickname of Thaksin). This shows the reality of the junta and its charter. Both are ultimately a response to Thaksin and an effort to block his return to power.]

On the left: [yellow] Pokemonism [white] dominating the world

[Refers to the worldwide phenomenon of the Pokemon Go app.
The headline is Thai is ‘ลัทธิ [yellow] โปเกม่อน.’ we think meaning something like “Pokemonism.”]

Bottom: Two power girls [white] writing new history

[The women from left to right: Weightlifters Sukany Srisurat and Sopita Tanasan who won the gold in the Rio Games.]


From Matichon Weekly, Aug 12-19, 2016
Main cover reads: Election [red] year of 2017

[Refers to the election next year. It is widely anticipated that PM Prayuth might be able to maneuver events after the elections so that he remains prime minister under the new charter.]

Top right: Hero Go! Rising weightlifters ‘Nan-Pai-Taew-Tuy’

[Pictures from left to right: Sopita Tanasan or Nan, Sukany Srisurat or Pai,  Pimsiri or Taew and Sinphet Kruaithong
Sopita and Sukany won gold medals while Pimsiri won silver and Sinphet received the bronze.]


From Manager Weekly, Aug 13-19, 2016
Main cover reads: Uncle Tu Go

[Refers to the result of the referendum on the draft constitution which turned out to be a victory for the junta led by PM Prayuth, whose nickname is Tu. This result, according to the political experts, reflects that people still trust the junta rather than politicians. This victory will pave the way for the junta to move forward on the road map for reforming without political forces interfvering.]

Top: 2 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
[Refers to winning Thai weightlifters at the Rio games.]

Bottom left: Getting in trouble. Ponzi scheme. Hiso Manfah

[Refers to Hiso (High-society) figure Manfah who is investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after posting her picture and calling on people to invest in her company. The SEC is questioning whether the investment is a ponzi scheme.]

Bottom right: Interior destroys it. Accept subtraction. Discredit People’s state.

[Refers to a village chief who begged a chief district officer for help due to deductions made from budgets for state projects. This news made PM Prayuth being angry since as it hurts the image of the Ministry of Interior who is in charge of the projects.
Over the last decade, Thai governments have used the distribution of money to rural areas to bolster their popularity.]

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Why they voted no


From Thairath, August 9, 2016
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: I noticed that some of us went to vote YES on referendum day.
Middle: I will report this to the Big Boss [Thaksin]. Why did they betrayed by not going to vote NO?
Right: After Big Tu [PM Prayuth] becomes the prime minister, they are going to jail one by one because they all carry criminal cases.
(Sender: Khun Nick Pongpoo – San Francisco) [this is crediting the person who gave the cartoonist the idea]

[We think this means that approving the new charter is the only way to get Prayuth out of the position of prime minister. The former Pheu Thai Party-led government attempted to dismiss charges against Red Shirts and instead brought cases against Democrat Party members.
When the military took over and Prayuth became prime minister, cases and investigations against Red Shirts, Pheu Thai Party members and government officials were revived.]

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Finding Pokemon All Over Thailand


From Manager, August 9, 2016
Above left on the railroad tracks: Yes!… I see another Pokemon. I’m catching you now.
Above right at the crocodile farm.
Sign: Danger zone.
Man: There you are… hiding here, I catch you Pokemon.
Below left at a funeral. The man is walking on the coffin: There!… You are here Pokemon, [catching] this one is difficult.
Below right at the separatist hideout.
On the flag: Southern separatist group.
Man: Oh!.. here you are Pokemon, this is a splendid one. I have been looking for you..
Caption: Soon enough, we will see these happen.

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Who will give us legitimacy after the next coup?


From Manager, August 11, 2016
Meechai: I draft this constitution as my last constitution… Then, I will stop.
2nd man from the right: Ao… Then, when it’s our turn to do a coup, who will draft the constitution for us?
1st military from the right: Um!
Caption: Bad news for the revolutionaries

[This shows Meechai Ruchupan, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, who helped the junta draft the new constitution. He vowed he would no longer participate in writing further charters.
The military has always looked to respected legal figures to draft post-coup charters. The refusal of figures like Meechai to participate in such a process again leaves the leaders of future putsches without respected legal figures to lend their charters legitimacy.]

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Burn my own house down!


From Manager, August 1, 2016
Left: Damn it. I broke the glass! If my wife see it, I’ll die… what should I do?
Right: Ha…ha… Now my wife doesn’t know that I broke the glass…
Caption: This is a way Dr Prem gets rid of his problems.

[This refers to the news that Dr. Premsak Piayura, Ban Phai district municipality mayor, had a reporter’s pants stripped off for reporting on a rumor that the mayor was engaged to a teenager.
The cartoonist jokes that the scandal was made much worse by the mayor’s assault on a journalist which now has caused investigations and calls for his dismissal.]

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Everyone is shackled by the new constitution


From Thairath, August 10, 2016
Title: We won’t be released in this life.
On the constitution/shackle: Constitution 59 [meaning the constitution approved this year–2016 or 2559 in Buddhist era years]
Phi Nooring: In the future which we can’t choose.
Mouse: Fetters the people.

[This shows both the “yes” and “no” voters in the referendum will now be shackled by the new restrictive charter.]

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The charter is not interesting


From Manager, July 31, 2016
Above the constitution pamphlet on the ground: Only 7 days left, most of people haven’t read it yet.
On the newspaper: Doctor Prem strips the journalist’s pants off.

[This cartoon jokes that people are not much interested in the charter referendum. Instead they are interested in the news that Dr. Premsak Piayura, Ban Phai district municipality mayor, had a reporter’s pants stripped off for reporting on a rumor that the mayor was engaged to a teenager.]

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Weekly News Magazines, August 5-12, 2016


From Lokwannee, Aug 6-12, 2016
Main cover reads: [top arrow] Don’t agree [bottom arrow] Agree [middle] Long-term stay

[This cover uses the Red Shirt line on the charter–that it is a referendum on continued military rule–to suggest that the charter be voted down. Ironically, it appears that the majority of voters saw the referendum in this light, but actually voted for military oversight of elected politics. More explanation here.]


From Matichon Weekly, Aug 5-11, 2016

Main cover reads: Killing Zone. Zone of the real bullet. Referendum.
On the sign at bottom right: Life Firing Zone [This is the translation of the incorrect English of the military’s notorious “Live Firing Zone” signs that were put up as the military pressured the armed camps of the Red Shirts in central Bangkok in 2010.]
A box in the bottom-right corner: 7 Aug. Don’t forget to go vote

[We think this cover implies that a no vote in the referendum is a “real bullet” in which to fight against continued junta rule.]

Top right: Nose Udom with Brother Tu [meaning PM Prayuth] – Pop culture and Thai politics

[The man in the picture is famous stand-up comic Nose Udom Taepanich. This refers to an advertisement promoting Nose’s new stand-up comedy act. There is a video clip showing Nose calling PM Prayuth (whose nickname is “Tu”) to invite him to come to his show. Those clips were edited by combining PM Prayuth’s actual voice with Nose’s funny questions.]


From Nation Weekend, August 5, 2016
Main cover reads: Poison of love of power

[This cover headline mimics the popular TV drama “Poison of Love” to refer to the National Council for Peace and Order (the ruling junta). The cover implies that the political conflict, particularly the referendum on the draft constitution, is the result of the military’s aim to extend its time in power.]

Top right: Heroine “Prof. May” smashing the rice pots for the champion

[The woman is Thai woman professional golfer Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn. This refers to the story of the first Thai professional golfer–Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn–to win a major title at the Woman’s British Open. The phrase “smashing the rice” is used for war strategy meaning that people will destroy all of their food supply to encourage themselves to win at war in order to get new food from the defeated enemy.]

Headlines on the left:

Closely watch the referendum to test the power of ‘Democrat people’

[Refers to the conflict among Democrat Party’s members on the referendum on the draft constitution and the unclear stand of the party toward voting yes or no. At the last minute, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced that the party does not support the draft constitution. The article posits that the result of the referendum would show the influence the party has over its supporters.]

Impact of the rice pledging scheme [white] charging elected people

[Refers to the impact of the rice pledging scheme which has resulted in many elected politicians being charged with crimes, such as former PM Yingluck. The inference is that, in Thailand, politicians often claim that, by virtue of them being elected, they are immune from oversight. This is the line from when Thaksin was prime minister that claimed that independent monitoring bodies were unfair in daring to check an elected government.]

‘Doctor Prem’ doesn’t end yet – Showing an unstable condition

[Refers to Premsak Piayura, the Ban Phai district municipality mayor. He was attacked by the media after ordering his staff to strip off a journalist’s pants after it was reported that the mayor was allegedly engagemed to a teenager. The mayor is still being investigated over this incidents.]

‘Dog delivery’ a big problem of ‘humans’

[Refers to the protest of a dog owner whose dog died during its transport with Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air. Due to this, the airline decided to cancelled its pet delivery service to avoid such problems happening again.]


From Manager Weekly, Aug 6-12, 2016
Main cover reads: Monkey show 7 August. The event to deceive the people
On the monkey god Hanuman’s shirt: ECT
On the paper: Ballot paper

[Refers to the referendum on the draft constitution conducted on 7 August 2016. The cover questions the transparency of the referendum conducted by the ECT (Election Commission of Thailand). There is concern that cheating might occurs in order to help the draft get approved.  The monkey god Hanuman is the mascot the ECT used to encourage people to vote. Hanuman is known for his honesty.]

Top: Secret of reviving of Hiso Fah ‘doing a difficult act’

[The woman is a celebrity and businesswoman Jilamiga ‘Fah’ Chalermsuk. This is an interview about her life and how she overcame the leaked clip showing her and her boyfriend having an affair. Fah is known for loving to doing difficult exercises rotuines, such as “aerial silk” and pole dancing fitness.]

Bottom: Have to lose before winning ‘Prof. May’

[The woman is professional golfer ‘Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn who is the first Thai woman golfer ‘Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn’ to win a major title at the Woman’s British Open. She was behind other golfers at the beginning of the game, but later won the tournament.]

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3 Years Ago: Pheu Thai Tries Its Own Reform Council

Pheu Thai Tries Its Own reform Council

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Analysis: Mother’s Day Bombings

See also: BBC: The surreal investigations into Thailand’s unresolved bombings
See also: Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

Without knowing the composition of the bombs, the initial single pair of bombings in Hua Hin originally appeared to be a typical deep south-related bombing. These occasionally occur in parts of the country other than the deep south. Even Bangkok has not been immune.

However, the coordinated spate of bombings at this time (the Queen’s Birthday) recalls the 2006 new year’s eve bombings Continue reading

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Editorial cartoons on the Turkish coup…


From Thairath, July 23, 2016
Title: It isn’t the same!
Left: Coup [showing the situation in Turkey where the military was defeated]
Right: Anti-coup [showing the situation in Thailand where the military was successful]
On man’s shirt: PDRC [referring to the anti-Pheu Thai protest group that agitated against the government]
On the shirts of the people in the cage:: People, Student

[On the left, the Turkey’s coup failed as people went out to support the elected government. In contrast, in Thailand, many people led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supported the military overthrown the Pheu Thai government.
The men at the bottom right represent governmental officers as well as the justice system that supported the junta to fight against anti-junta groups who called for democracy.]


From Manager, July 19, 2016
A man on the left: Brother Tu… Brother Ten… let’s go out to fight against the military coup!
Jatuporn and Nattawut: No!… The funds to support us haven’t come yet!
Title: If Turkish people were like these two… the military coup would have succeeded.

[“Tu” is a nickname of Red Shirt leader Jatuporn while “Ten” is nickname of Red Shirt leader Nattawut.
The cartoon contrasts the recent events in Turkey with those in Thailand. As the coup in Turkey got underway, the people went out on the streets to fight the military and defeated the coup plotters.
In Thailand, the Red Shirts threatened bloodshed and separatism while the Pheu Thai Party boasted their followers had stockpiled millions of guns to fend off a coup. However, when the coup came, the promised resistance never occurred.
It is believed that the Red Shirts operate under direct command from Thaksin and are on his payroll, thus they cannot simply take a stand on their own, but must wait for orders from their boss.
The overall contention is that the Red Shirts are not interested in democracy, which already existed when their party, the Pheu Thai, held power. Instead, they are political muscle to effect a longer-term goal–the return of Thaksin himself to political power. Thus their actions after the coup are very strategic and conservative and are focused on the future goal of somehow pardoning Thaksin.]


From Thairath, July 23, 2016
Left: Thailand is now being isolated. Democratic groups hate military dictatorships…
Middle: Foreigner: Meanwhile, the military dictator groups also hate it because it’s shameful for dictatorships.
A man: How is it shameful?
Right: There is no dictatorship that drafts a constitution and asks people to vote on whether to accept or reject it. If reject it, they will draft the new one.
At the bottom: Sent by Nick Pongpoo SF [The cartoonist is giving credit to the person who gave him the idea for this cartoon.]

[This cartoon suggests that the junta is not so bad since they are allowing people to vote on a new charter.]

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Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

Foreign analyses of the charter have often lamented the return to Thailand’s “managed democracy” or “semi-democracy” of the 1980s. Implicit in this is the assumption that an appointed and military dominated senate would naturally be loathed. However, within the Thai world, this period is often recalled as a golden age that Continue reading

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Thai-language editorial cartoons on the referendum


From Thairath, July 26, 2016
Title: 7 Aug 2559 referendum for the future
On the ballot box: Referendum. Accept/don’t accept. Constitution version of the NCPO
Papers held by black men from left to right: Long stay [of the military in power], appointed senator, PM from the outside [non-elected prime minister], successfully keep power, control people’s freedom, reform
On the flag: Referendum
Phi Nooring: Please come to vote [implying that people should vote “no”]
Mouse: Depends on what you like


From Manager, July 27, 2016
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: Hey… Don’t kill Abhisit!!! In the future, he will help us overthrow the military’s constitution
Caption: 7 years ago.

[The cartoon references the Red Shirt attacks on cars in a government compound that were thought to be an attempt to assassinate then Prime Minister Abhisit in 2009 (here and here).
In the run-up to the present referendum on the new charter, Abhisit has said he rejects the draft. As the coup and the charter were specifically intended to keep Thaksin out of power, it is ironic that this figure that the Red Shirts longed to unseat or even kill with their protest activity may now tip the balance in the vote and cause the anti-Thaksin charter to be rejected.]


From Naewna, July 28, 2016
On the torch: Anti-fraud version of the draft constitution
Caption: Final lap..!!

[The draft written by the Constitution Drafting Committee chaired by Meechai Ruchupan (pictured running with the torch) is opposed by many groups including the Red Shirts led by Jatuporn (who is at the left of the image). They contend it is written to serve the military and keep them in power.
Recently, Democrat Party leader Abhisit (at right) announced he would not support the draft. The cartoon implies that Abhisit is helping to ignite a dangerous situation by opposing the draft.]

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Weekly News Magazines, July 30-August 5, 2016


From Manager Weekly, July 30-Aug 5, 2016
Main cover reads: The secret of Doctor Prem, who loves kids [white] He should check up his health often.

[The photo is of Dr. Premsak Piayura, the married Ban Phai district municipality mayor. In the photo he is sitting near a young girl with money in front of them at the girl’s house. This looks like a typical Thai marriage ceremony.
The circulation of this embarrassing photo led to a series of scandals for the mayor including the widely publicized incident where he made a reporter disrobe in retaliation for publicizing the photo.
Premsak contends he was in the girl’s house because he was helping the girl’s family (apparently during some ceremony).
The headline refers to a country music song which about an old man who has a young girl friend. The lyrics of the song suggest that the old man frequently check his health in order to “stay firm” with his young girlfriend.]

Top: 3 monk protectors [yellow] ‘Fon-San-My’ don’t leave Somdet Chaung alone [meaning that powerful monks pictured continue to support Somdet Chaung as Supreme Patriarch]
Monks top left to right: Somdet Chuang, Phra Methithammamajarn,
Below left to right: Dhammachayo, Phra Kru Palad Sitthiwat

[Refers to the controversial appointment of a new Supreme Patriarch. PM Prayuth has insisted that the Supreme Patriarch not be appointed until all the disputes surrounding the appointment are settled.
Somdet Chaung was nominated by the Sangha Supreme Council, but is opposed by many groups due to a tax evasion case and his close ties with Dhammachaya, the abbot of Dhammakaya Temple.]

Bottom-left: Mark ‘Gano’ cockroach’s nest is explored.
Suthep: Ga-yes [“Ga-yes” is a word mixed between Thai and English to mirror Abhisit’s call to reject the charter or “gano.” It means Suthep said “vote yes” while Abhisit said “vote no.”]

[Refers to the conflict among Democrat Party’s members on the referendum on the draft constitution. Suthep Thaugsuban, former Democrat member, announced his stand to support the draft constitution while party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (whose nickname is Mark), announced he would reject the draft.
This headline also refers to an incident when authorities banned the advertising flags of a coffee brand named “Gano.” The name of this brand sounds like “vote no” in Thai. Red Shirts had been posting images of the coffee container with these words online as a way to express their opinion on the charter vote without violating the military ban on campaigning against it.
Democrat Party is often derisively referred to as “cockroaches” for their ability to survive any political landscape. Thus the article title jokes that it will explore the Democrat’s inner-workings as different parts of the party oppose and accept the new charter.]

Bottom-right: GMM25 in crisis and One Channel also losses

[The woman is Saithip Montrikul na Ayudhaya, chief executive officer at GMM Channel Digital TV and man is GMM One chief executive Thakonkiat Viravan.
Refers to the struggles of companies involved in starting new digital TV stations. Many companies have shut down their operations and even big entertainment companies like GMM are facing losses.]


From Nation Weekend, July 22, 2016
Main cover reads: Democrat partially

[The man is Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Refers to the conflict among Democrat Party members on the referendum of the draft constitution and the unclear stance of the party itself towards voting yes or no.]

1st headline on the left: Subdue [red] ‘Jae Dang’ – The NCPO handles with ‘family [yellow] ‘Buranupakorn’

[The woman is Thaksin’s sister Yaowapa Wongsuwat, nicknamed “Dang.” “Jae” is Chinese word meaning “elder sister.” This word also used to refer to a respected elder woman.
Refers to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The NCPO recently seized documents said to contain misinformation about the draft constitution and investigated the link to Thaksin supporter Boonlert Buranupakorn, the chief executive of Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organisation and a former Chiang Mai Mayor. The Buranupakorn enjoys the patronage of Thaksin’s sister Yaowapa Wongsawat. If Boonlert is involved, it shows a very close connection to Thaksin himself.]

2nd headline: Unexpected [yellow] ‘Doctor Prem’ [white] unstable condition

[Refers to Premsak Piayura. Ban Phai district municipality mayor. He was attacked by the media after ordering his staff to strip off a journalist’s pants off after publicizing a photo that allegedly showed him in a marriage ceremony with a teenager. He denied he had married again and explained that he was in the picture with the girl because he was helping her family.]

3rd headline: A fight on an appointment of a new Supreme Patriarch. Deep conflict of monks.

[Refers to a controversial appointment of the new Supreme Patriarch. Somdet Chaung nominated by the Sangha Supreme Council has been opposed by many groups including monks due to a tax evasion scandal and his close tie with Dhammachaya.]

4th headline: Old karma [yellow] ‘Nang Kai’ [white] doesn’t need to wait for the next life

[Refers to Buddhist principles about karma. Whatever wrong things one does, the result of it will reappear in the future. Similarly, Monta Yokrattanakan, know as Ying Kai, lodged a false complaint against her former employee. But later, she herself was charged after it was discovered she was involved in many crime cases.
“Nang” is a Thai tile for a woman.]


From Lokwannee, July 30-August 5, 2016
Main cover reads: Concern shows

[This cover refers to the junta’s concerns on the upcoming referendum of the draft constitution. This concern is shown through their actions, such as banning all advertising flags from the coffee brand “Gano.” This word in Thai sounds like “vote no.”
On the cover, the cup of coffee mimics the junta’s actions with the “Gano” brand by writing the word “Americayes” instead of “Americano.” This refers to the many entrepreneurs in the region who naturally think that copying a famous logo like Starbucks for their own shop would be a good idea.
On the cover, the word is humorously changed to avoid a brand-name misunderstanding just as happened with the coffee brand “Gano.”]


From Matichon Weekly, July 29-August 4, 2016
Main cover reads: A volunteer of Hanuman
On a paper: Ballot paper

[Refers to the referendum on the draft constitution. The cover shows “Hanuman,” a Hindu god and an ardent devotee of the God Rama. This image is on the posters encouraging people to go referendum and vote. Recently, there is an incident in which monkeys tore up voters’ list. This cover shows the irony of monkeys doing this as the mascot for the vote is a monkey himself.]

Top right: Adding more than 16 pages to Matichon Weekly – Xclusive ‘Prompt Pay’ new economic landscape

[Refers to an advertisement for the new Matichon Weekly online. This latest issue will be about the new e-payment “Prompt Pay.” This is a money transfer service via internet or mobile banking which attempts to create a system to record all transactions that were formerly cash.]

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The Democrats are not sure


From Arun, July 23, 2016
Title: The real Democrat
Waiter: Accept or reject, sir.
Abhisit: Hold on a second
On the menu held by Suthep: Constitution 2559 [year of 2016]
On the table: Democrat

[Refers to Democrat Party’s political strategy concerning the charter referendum. The Democrat Party leader Abhisit finally decided he could not accept the charter, saying so in words that made it unclear as to whether the party was urging a “no” vote like the Red Shirts are. When pressed, Abhisit seemed to avoid the question, saying there were disagreements in the party and that it could not meet to decide because of the junta’s ban on political activities.
The international media seemed to take Abhisit’s declarations on the charter at face value, blandly reporting that both the Pheu Thai and Democrats now oppose the junta’s plan.
However, in the Thai world, the Democrats’ tortured position on the referendum is though to be a tactic to be able to later claim they stand for democracy once the charter passes and they are called upon to form the core of a new government. It is often characterized a cynical calculation, perhaps in cooperation with the junta, as part of the overall plan to diminish the future electoral victory of the Pheu Thai and thus stall another round of gambits for amnesty by Thaksin.]

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Prayuth and his elders


From Manager, July 17, 2016
PM Prayuth: It’s ok if you will ride on my back, bro, but don’t show my egg to another? I’m embarrassed.
On the sword: Article 44
Caption: Then, the Eastern Tiger realizes his younger brother has limitations.

[We are not completely sure of the meaning on this one. It seems to illustrate that PM Prayuth, a member of the influential military group the Eastern Tigers, agreed to take the lead in seizing power from the Pheu Thai government and became the PM. However, as time goes by, he has chaffed at being involved in power struggles by other senior Eastern Tiger members, particularly Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan who is now thought to be the most powerful figure in the government eclipsing PM Prayuth.]

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Weekly News Magazines, July 22-29, 2016


From Matichon Weekly, July 22-28, 2016
Main cover reads: Turkey’s Referendum

[Refers to the defeat of Turkey’s military that tried to conduct a coup against the Turkish government. However, a number of people joined the government to fight against the coup. This cover is meant to relate to the situation in Thailand where a referendum on the draft constitution is to be held.
The cover illustrates that the people’s decision shall be respected. Many anti-junta groups are afraid that the junta will reject the results if it turns out that the draft constitution is voted down by the people.]

Top right: A lesson to the dreams of ‘Olympics’ – ‘Nong May’ Ratchanok cleared of doping allegations by a hair’s breadth

[Refers to the badminton player and Olympic-hopeful Ratchanok ‘May’ Intanon who was cleared of doping allegations. In Thai, “Nong” literally means “younger sister” and is used to refer to a younger woman.]


From Nation Weekend, July 22, 2016
Main cover reads: #because of what Turkey doesn’t have

[Refers to a popular hashtag on twitter where Thai people shared their views on the causes leading to a defeat of Turkey’s coup. It implies something like, “the Turkish coup failed because of what Turkey doesn’t have” which leads to a discussion of how Thailand’s situation differs from Turkey.
Some said it failed because Turkey did not have someone like Thaksin who many Thais see as an impatient risk-taker who created his own problems. Others said the Thai coup would have failed if more people would have come out to support the government. Others said the Turkish military does not have canny generals like Prayuth who were able to decisively overthrow the Pheu Thai government.]

On the right: A night when a dog is not howling. Referendum is ‘completely silent’ which makes it more scary

[The poster is one promoting the upcoming referendum of the draft constitution.
This article examines the likely results of the referendum on the draft constitution in the Northeast provinces which are the heart of Thaksin’s Red Shirt supporters. It predicts that the results will depend on how people like or dislike the junta and Thaksin–and not the contents of the draft constitution.
In Thai, the night before the election is “the night when a dog is howling” because politicians will visit people secretly (thus alerting neighborhood dogs) to buy votes.]

Headlines on the left: Behind the painting. Khunying of “May”

[Refers to the story of Badminton Association of Thailand president Khunying Pattama Leeswadtrakul who helped behind-the-scenes to clear the doping allegations of Thai badminton player Ratchnok “May” Intanon. This headline uses the name a drama, “Behind the painting” in which a main character is a “Khunying,” a title given by the King meaning Madame.]

The Buddhist Lent Day with “women entering the monkhood”

[Refers to the article about the project conducted during the Buddhist Lent Day which invited women to be ordained to study about Buddhist principles.]

Mushroom village to hide the hardcore “Red”

[This refers Red Shirt groups that are pretending to be silent during the junta time in power, but are continuing their political activities secretly. Some hardcore Red Shirt members have hidden in the countryside or outside the country to be ready to renew their political activities against the junta.]

The trend of coup is scaring “Hun Sen”

[Refers to the trends of coups around the world that is causing fear in Cambodian strongman Hun Sen regime amid an unsettled political situation.]

23-29 July

From Manager Weekly, July 23-29, 2016
Main cover reads: Saranghae [meaning “love”] Sayonara? [meaning “goodbye”] Sanit, a fellow of the uncle Tu. Net idol whom no one loves.

[The men are Metropolitan Police Area 2 chief Pol. Maj. Gen. Charoen Srisalak and Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahathavorn
The headline refers to Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahathavorn, who was recently been appointed to become the new metropolitan police commissioner. Pol Lt. Gen. Sanit has been criticized by the media due to his performance on the job. Although a lot of people including many high-level police officers do not like him, he has close ties with PM Prayuth.
This photo was taken during a press conference. He made the pose when he was asked how he would solve the problem of students fighting.
This heart pose was popularized by K-pop idols and is called “saranghae” in Korean. The headline implies that Sanit is not a proper choice for his post.]

Top: Order from [pink] tootsie [black] Drama of [pink] Tos [black] and [blue] Fa Barbie

[The woman is Fah Barbie. Refers to a well-known director named Poj Arnon refusing to work with an actor Tos after she had a quarrel with the popular internet idol Fah Barbie.]

Below: Turkey coup reflects the fear of [blue] ‘Hillary’

[Articles theorizes that the Turkish coup reflects fears of increased U.S. intervention in Turkey and the region if Hillary Clinton becomes president.]


From Lokwannee, July 23-29, 2016
Main cover reads: Counting down. Going down… drive carefully

[Refer to idiom “riding on a tiger’s back” meaning that someone is in a situation from which they cannot turn back or extract themselves from. The cover and article warns the military needs to seriously consider immediately giving up their power if the draft constitution is not accepted by the public.]

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Which charter do the people really want?


From Thairath, July 14, 2016
Title: Closely take a look… which on is real or fake
On the constitution plinth on the left: People want it. [front] Written by people
On the constitution plinth on the right: The NCPO want to give it. [front] written by Meechai and his team
On Meechai’s tie: CDC [Constitution Drafting Committee]
Phi Nooring: Let’s go and vote on the referendum
Mouse: To accept-reject are the rights [we have]

[Refers to the coming referendum of the draft constitution. The draft is written by the Constitution Drafting Committee led by Meechai Ruchupan has been criticized as being written to serve the military and prolong their time in power.]

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Burn and burn


From Naewna, July 23, 2016
Left: If you seize the power, we will burn the country.
On the fire: Burn houses, burn the city [refers to Red Shirt leaders’ threats to commit arson]
Right: If you return the power, we will also burn nationwide.
On the fire: Burn the referendum voter’s lists
Thaksin: Good boy…
Caption: Seizing the power then burning; Returning the power then the son of burning

[This cartoon implies that Thaksin together with his Red Shirt supporters are behind the recent incidents where voter lists for the referendum were destroyed and burned.]

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Hi-so’s fall


From Arun, July 12, 2016
Top left: Arun’s cartoon [white] Arun Watcharasawad
Title: Set a sign to seize a thousand rai of Hi-so’s lands
On the floor: ALRO

[This cartoon uses Marylin Monroe to illustrate how the junta using its absolute power under Article 44 to seize land illegally allocated by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) to rich families for commercial development. “Hi-so” is short for “high society.”
Such actions by the junta are meant to highlight how civilian elected governments have been completely unable and unwilling to prevent such corruption in land allocation.]

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Looks better when naked


From Manager, July 13, 2016
Left: Caption: Mr. Methee… even if he’s nakedly walking… it doesn’t look bad.
The man is Phra Methee Dhammacharn, secretary-general of the Buddhism Protection Centre of Thailand. He
Right: Caption: But once he wears a monk’s robes…
Woman: Oh! My God.
Man on the left: Hey… it’s shameful.
Man on the right: So dirty!

[Refers to the appointment of a new Supreme Patriarch. Phra Methee Dhammacharn, secretary-general of the Buddhism Protection Center of Thailand, supports Somdet Chang as Supreme Patriarch and has agitated against the government in an attempt to force his quick appointment.
However, Somdet Chang’s closeness to the Thaksin-supporting Dhammakaya sect, his associations with Red Shirts, and the controversy over the legality of his vintage Mercedes Benz collection has caused the appointment to be put on hold.
Traditionally in Thai Buddhism, monks should not be involved in the activities of the world, including politics. The cartoonist tries to show that Phra Methee Dhammacharn’s protests to force the appointment of Somdet Chuang as new Supreme Patriarch are reprehensible.
So, the cartoonist illustrates that even as a naked man in public he is less objectionable that when he is in monk’s robes threatening the government.]

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Weekly News Magazines, July 16-22, 2016


From Matichon Weekly, July 15-21, 2016
Main cover reads: Constitution is not fake [yellow] because I draft it by myself.

[PM Prayuth looks into a virtual reality mask. He has called people to stop spreading purposely fake information about the new draft charter. The headline seems to refer the Prayuth’s comment that if the present draft was not passed he would draft a new charter himself by focusing on people’s needs as the objective. Knowing that, he said, let’s see if the draft is voted down or not.
As Prayuth making the charter himself would be a fearful eventuality, this joke caused consternation from many groups that call for the rejection of the charter.
They interpret Prayuth’s jest as a threat to those who oppose him. They fear that Prayuth is saying an even worse charter could be offered if this one is rejected.]

Top right: Be ready for Pokemon Go fever from the virtual to the real world.

[Refers to the latest Pokemon Go which have been released in several countries. Due to the safety and security concerns, many countries have banned on playing the game in certain places.]


From Nation Weekend, July 15, 2016
Main cover reads: Sovereignty with a smile

[The man is PM Prayuth. The article is about the current situation right now as the junta attempts to put a good face on the coming referendum vote.]

On the left: A new [yellow] Supreme Patriarch [white] must be accepted.

[Refers to the appointment of the new Supreme Patriarch. PM Prayuth said there would be no Supreme Patriarch nomination until the dispute between people those support Somdet Phra Maha Ratchmngalacharn and who oppose him, clear up their differences. The anti-group opposed him due to one of reasons as he has a close ties with Dhamakaya’s abbot Dhamachayo.]

Other headlines:

1. Case of [yellow] ‘Ying Kai’ very deep, very complicated

[Refers to the complicated case of Monta Yokrattanakan, known as Ying Kai, who lodged false complaints against her former employees. The police investigated Monta and found out that she was related to many crime cases.]

2. Humiliation of [yellow] ‘Surachai’ [yellow] done by exiled Red Shirts

[Refers to the internal conflicts between Red Shirt Surachai Saedan and other radical Red Shirt members who are thought to be in exile in Laos. Depending on the interpretation, the continuing turmoil and infighting within Red Shirt circles is either due to expectation of an imminent return to government of a Pheu Thai government or the waning influence of Thaksin over the movement.]

3. Follow [yellow] ‘Leicester tycoon’ to pay respect to ‘the City Pillar Shrine’

[Refers to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of Premier League’s championship Leicester City. He and his team visited Nakhon Si Thammarat to celebrate their victory. During the trip, they visited to the City Pillar Shrine. The faces of Jatukam Ramathep–the main deity of the city–are engraved at the top. Jatukam Ramathep was once a popular type of amulet.]

4. Killing of a grass roots NGO linked with the family of [yellow] ‘Hun’

[Refers to the case of the killing Kem Ley, the leader of an advocacy group. Kem Ley was known as an activist as well as a critic of Cambodia’s PM Hun Sen. His death has created concern that it might related to political matters.]

5. Drama, NBTC and [yellow] “drama with sex scenes”

[Refers to the broadcasting regulator National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Committee (NBTC) fining the digital TV channel GMM25 for violent and sex scenes in the drama Pheun Rak Pheun Rai aired during its popular Club Friday TV program.]


From Lokwannee, July 16-22, 2016
Main cover reads: If it’s good enough, then what do you have to be afraid of?
On the milk bottle: Different views [red] The explanation of main ideas of [blue] draft constitution

[Refer to the referendum of draft constitution. This cover illustrates the concerns about the junta’s actions towards those who oppose the draft charter. It contends that, if the charter is good and democratic, there is no need for the junta to react harshly against those who oppose it.]


From Manager Weekly, July 16-22, 2016
Main cover reads: I’m faded. The Badminton association must take the responsibility for it.

[The woman on the cover is Thai badminton player Ratchnok Intanon. The background of the cover is from a picture posted in Ratchnok’s Instragram.
She was accused and then cleared of doping allegations. The resulting controversy seemed to shake Ratchnok’s enthusiasm for the game and dent Thailand’s hopes for Olympic victory.]

Top: Pretending to charge the Pig [black] is the a task of a silent tiger who takes everything.

[This Refers to the relationship between Gen Anupong and M.R. Sukhumbhan, known as Chai Moo or “Pig” in Thai. This article questions the transparency of the corruption investigation impacting M.R. Sukhumbhan. Due to their close relationship, many are afraid that Gen. Anupong in some way meddle in the case and end up reaping a benefit from the circumstances. Due to his silent and calm personalities, Gen. Anupong is called the “silent tiger.”]

Bottom left: The answer? Why everyone doesn’t like [pink] ‘Mai.’ [yellow] There is an answer here.

[The woman in the cover is popular actress Davika Hoorne or Mai. She has been on the news for having a conflict with many actresses and actors as well as people working with her.]

Bottom right: Thai people die of cirrhosis disease 2 (twenty) thousand each year because of [red] alcohol.

[Refers to the epidemic of alcohol-induced ailments in Thailand and the growing move to implement anti-drinking campaigns.]

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Road to legitimacy


From Post Today, July 12, 2016
PM Prayuth holds a paper that reads: Referendum
On the flag at the end of the rope: Legitimacy

[This illustrates a growing feeling, first pushed forward by anti-junta Red shirts, that the referendum is really a vote for or against the junta.
As this idea spreads more widely, demands are growing that PM Prayuth must agree to step down in the charter is not approved.
However, the junta is counting on a yes vote for their charter. No matter how close a yes vote might be, the junta will seize upon it as approval of their actions and push forward with elections on the terms of the highly restricive charter.]

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Article 44 got dull


From Manager, July 11, 2016
On the sword: Article 44
From the top to bottom (“killing” here relates to the action of a sword to stamp out or end the activity): Killing bad boys [referring to brawling technical college students], transfer civil officers, killing alcohol restaurants around schools, killing students fighting, transfer civil officers, don’t allow fireworks and lanterns, transfer civil government officials
Caption: Doesn’t have any shape left to kill Dhammachayo.

[Refers to the use of the Article 44 by which the junta wields absolute power to directly tackle intractable problems.
However, the junta has appeared to take a gentler line with Dhammachayo who has arrayed his followers as a human shield to avoid arrest. The junta has constantly deferred to proper legal procedures in dealing with the standoff.
This seems odd as the controversial temple has often acted in concert with Thaksin’s political machine. This is the same political machine that is the junta main target.]

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Naughty kids who love to throw stones


From Naewna, July 11, 2016
Title: The story of naughty kids who love to throw stones.
On the tank: NCPO
On the tank is the constitution plinth with the words: Draft constitution

[As the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is trying to push forward the draft constitution to be approved, there are many groups, such as the Red Shirts, calling on people to reject it. The cartoonist paints them as petulant children trying to cause trouble.]

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Winning on the fake

From Thairath, July 10, 2016
Title: Winning on the fake

Top left: Fake title deeds to build resorts in a half of the country
[Refers to the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) illegally allocating deeds to lands which are then occupied by the rich. This has long been a problem, but governments dominated by regional tycoons always prevented reforms. The junta however, used the absolute power of Article 44 to retake many resorts that had been found to be situated on ALRO-allocated land.]

Top middle: Travel companies with fake-Thai nationality spreads out

[Refers to how Chinese companies set up travel companies in Thailand to cater to the massive influx of Chinese tourists, but, as the tourism business is reserved for Thai citizens, fake the nationality of the company so it appears to be owned by Thais.]

Top right: Fake saint promoting human rights ideology
[Refers to the US’s actions in chastising Thailand’s and other countries for human rights violations. As the US is beset by many of its own human rights scandals, many Thais see US statements on the Thai situation as a cynical attempt to intervene in Thailand for their own benefit. For instance, US call for “quick elections” after the coup would have obviously brought a Thaksin-directed party back to power. This is cited by both Thaksin foes as well as Red Shirt leaders as a sign that the US sides with Thaksin and wants him back in power.]

Bottom left: Fake exit deceiving the people who want the election as the right answer for the country

[The woman is Red Shirt leader Thida Thavornseth who has been urging for elections and the return of democracy. The cartoonist contends that, if the election takes place, the same bad politicians will return to harm the country.
About the animal-headed figures]

Bottom middle: Fake hi-so facing jail

[Refers to Monta Yokrattanakan, known as Khunying Kai, who lodged complaints against her former employees. After the police investigated, it was found she was involved with many cases of deception involving powerful persons. She was jailed after it was learned she used the royally bestowed title “Khunying” despite never having been given the title.
“Hi-so” is a Thai term meaning “high society society” often used to refer to those with pretensions of being in a high social class.]

Bottom right: Why don’t you invite the UN to see the fake draft constitution?

[This mocks the anti-junta Red Shirts who have asked the UN to monitor Thailand’s political situation. The cartoonists suggests that the Red Shirts allow the UN to monitor the many fake versions of the charter that have been circulated to try to get people to vote against it.]

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Raise the flag!


From Thairath, July 6, 2016
Title: The goal is to plant the flag
On the flag: Want to stay longer
On the military’s shirt: Return happiness
On the balloon: Promote the referendum
On the paper held by people in the jail: People who think differently
On the bowl: Red bowl [referring to the red bowls distributed by Thaksin for Songkran that were confiscated by the military]
Phi Nooring: Happy about staying longer or unhappy?
Mouse: Searching for freedom

[Refers to the coming referendum on the draft constitution. The junta has pledged to “return happiness to the people” and has urged people to accept the draft. The junta has been criticized for violating people’s rights and restricting the freedom to express opposition to the draft.
This cartoon shows the anti-junta assertions about the charter–that is is simply an attempt for the military to cling to power. This perhaps undervalues the actual political dynamic that saw the military stepping in to specifically block Thaksin from politics.
However, the idea of resisting the military’s intrusion into politics has deep roots going back to the 1973 anti-government protests as well as the events of the early 1990s which saw coup leaders maneuvering their way into politics after promising not to.
On the other hand, the “semi-democracy” of the 1980s that the new charter will bring again (and which some foreign media have deeply lamented) is often viewed as a golden age in Thai politics.
This is when widely respected Prime Minister Prem oversaw the modern development of Thailand and shepherded the nation into one of the “Asian Tigers.” At the same time, he faced down opportunistic coup attempts and pacified the communist movements in the country. Prem was precisely the sort of academic, aloof, non-political personality that appeals to a Thai public that is often skeptical about democracy.
The charter vote will likely show which of these viewpoints will prevail–either a disgust with military oversight of politics or a nostalgia for the semi-democracy of the 1980s and the political peace it promises.]

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