Apr 28th, 2016

Weekly News Magazines, April 15-22, 2016


From Matichon Weekly, April 15-21, 2016
The main cover reads: Question [red] ‘following’ ‘impeding’ [yellow] referendum [This means the article is about the controversial question added to the draft referendum that follows the yes or no question on the charter, but also the question would essentially approve military control of the elected government. This might cause political blocks to decide to create resistance to the junta as the referendum threatens to end their plans for unencumbered governance.]
In the red box: NLA [National Legislative Assembly] vote 152:0, agrees that the Senate has the power to vote for the PM

[This refers to the draft constitution which will face a referendum in August. Some articles have been criticized for not being democratic, such ones providing the power to the appointed people to control the elected government.]

Top right: 10 years of coup d’état ‘secrets trickery and camouflage’ ‘Brother Bang’ teaches his younger brother that the ‘constitution’ must listen to every group.

[The man in the picture is Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratgling. Gen Sonthi, known as Big Bang, is the former Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army and head of the Council for National Security, a military junta that ruled the country after overthrowing Thaksin’s government in 2006. In this article, he gives his advice the current junta, to whom he is a senior officer with experience in coducting a coup d’état. He asks them to listen to the people’s voices on the draft constitution in order to create mutual acceptance rather than forcing them to accept it.]


From Nation Weekend, April 15, 2016
Main cover reads: Referendum fight; Vote Yes or No

[The book at left is the draft constitution. The title refers to the referendum on the draft charter to be held in August. The green color in the background refers to the military and the red refers to the Red Shirts.]

Top right: Military challenges [yellow] the power of democracy [white] Where are they [the Red Shirts] to escape from the hot summer?

[The man in the picture is PM Prayuth. He has warned the Red Shirts not to rally against the junta or the draft charter. The Red Shirts have been keeping silent on politics and offering little resistance. The headline means that the military is being more bold in challenging and hounding the Red Shirts.]


From Manager Weekly, April 16-22, 2016
Main cover reads: Transfer this life. Reform next life

[The man on the cover is PM Prayuth. This cover mocks the junta’s plan for reforming the country. According to the magazine, instead on concentrating on reform, they are concentrating on returning power to the people. It jokes that the transfer of power will be completed in this lifetime, but reform will have to wait for some future date. We are not sure why Prayuth is holding the garlic.]

Top: Roadmap helps [red] ‘Patcharawat;’ This kind of work is what [red] ‘Brother Pom’ wants.

[The men in the picture from left to right: Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan (nicknamed “Pom”) and former police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan.
Refers to a plan of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to request the PM to use article 44 to allow the NACC to alone confirm a government employee’s wrongdoing and then pass the charges on to the superior of the person accused.
In the past, the NACC had to submit its cases to a prosecutor. This new plan is to help the NACC eliminate wrongdoing faster in conformity with the road map of the junta to get rid of corruption.
However, this plan might help Dep. PM Prawit’s younger brother Gen. Patcharawat who is now facing charges for using violence to disperse an anti-government rally in 2008.
If the NACC only conveys the results of the investigation to Gen. Patcharawat’s superior, there would be little transparency and virtually no chance that Gen. Patcharawat would be punished since he is the borther ti arugabley the most powerful person in the junta–Deputy PM Prawit.]

[There is no Lokwannee for this week due to long Songkran holidays.]

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Banharn’s passing in the Thai-language press

More: Remembering Banharn


Above: Daily News, April 25, 2016
Headline: Suphan people bid their farewell to Banharn. [left corner] Prem presided the funeral ceremony. PM believed Thais will remember him. Politicians mourn his death.
[small letters in the right corner] People mourn his death at Wat Palelai to send 21st Thai PM “Banharn Silpa-archa” to heaven. He passed away at the age of 83 years and 8 months at Siriraj Hospital due to asthma. End of the Suphan Dragon. The King provided a bathing rite.

[Refers to the death of former PM Banharn Silpa-archa, an influential and respected politician from Suphanburi province.  With his powerful and long experience in Thai politics, he was called the “Suphan dragon” as he came from Chinese family (and there was always some controversy about his actual Thai citizenship).]

Photo at top right: Privy Council Prem Tinsulanonda (in the middle) presiding over the bathing rite for Banharn, was talking with Banharn daughter Kanchana Silpa-archa.

Other headline: ‘Deny’ heavy drought. Goats don’t have glasses to eat.
[Refers to the drought situation in Thailand. The government insisted that they provided several measures in order to avoid facing a severe drought.]

Pink headline at left: Hail storm hits Sakorn Nakhon.


From Daily News, April 25, 2016
End of a legend of Suphan Dragon ‘Banharn Silpa-archa’
2nd photo from the left shows his daughters and son hold his photo for the funeral ceremony.
3rd photo from the left shows Banharn hugging with Maj. Gen. Sanan Kanchornprasart, a behind-the-scenes political kingmaker and former military officer who passed away in 2013.]


From Thairath, April 25, 2016
Title: Dragon Teng goes to heaven
A mouse: Please forgive me if we insulted you.

[The man riding the dragon is former PM Banharn Silpa-archa.
The words said by the mouse are a customary phrase people speak to the dead so that their spirit would be able to go to the next life without any worry or resentment.]


From Thairath, April 25, 2016
The caption reads: End of Suphan dragon: Privy Council Prem Tinsulanonda presided the bathing rite ceremony for former 21st PM Banharn Silpa-archa and laid wreaths given by the King-Queen and their royal families amid the sadness of Silapa-archa’s family and their close ones.

[In the photo, Privy Council Prem Tinsulanonda (in the middle) attended the bathing rite for former PM Banharn Silpa-archa. The woman in the black dress, 2nd from right, is Banharn’s wife Khunying Jamsai Silpa-archa and the woman to the left of her is one of their daughters, Kanchana Silpa-archa.]

More: Remembering Banharn

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The Wasted Revolution?


From Manager, April 4, 2016
Left, 2006 coup leader Sonthi Bunyaratkalin says: My revolution… having seized Thaksin’s assets in the amount of 70 thousand 6 thousand million [baht].

Right, 2014 coup leader Prayuth Chanocha says: My revolution… having seized Thaksin’s water bowls int he amount of 8 thousand 3 hundred 82 bowls.

Caption: Revolution two times… never been wasted.

[This compares the 2006 and 2014 coups. The 2006 coup resulted in Thaksin being stripped of 46 billion baht of his assets for under-declaring his wealth and using his position as prime minister to create government policy that was meant to enrich his family.
The cartoonist says that Prayuth’s great accomplishment to halt Thaksin was the seizure of red plastic water bowls with a Songrkan message from Thaksin on them.
The message is that Prayuth’s government has been too timid in not making sure Thaksin’s family is no longer able to finance a return to power or street protests by the Red Shirts.]

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He Climbed to the Top the Hard Way


From Arun, April 25, 2016
Title: Banharn Silpa-archa. 21st Prime Minister
Deserves his dignity more (than someone)
The man is recently deceased PM Banharn
On the top of the mountain: Prime Minister
On the arrow: Special route

[Refers to former PM Banharn who passed away due to asthma attack at the age of 83. This cartoon seems to say that, despite his many shortcomings as on old-style, corrupt politician (endlessly discussed on the wake of his death), Banharn still came to power via a democratic election. This contrasts with a military leader like Prautyh who simply seized power (coming to power via a “special route”).]

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Does Thaksin Employ Lobbyists?

Prayut: Thaksin behind anti-government activity – Bangkok Post, April 21, 2016
…Thaksin supporter and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama said on Thursday that the former prime minister had not hired any lobbyist in another country to help organise protest activity.
Thaksin was a person of little consequence overseas and could not influence any international organisation or any governments that normally receive reports on the situation in Thailand, he said.

Democrats: Thaksin can’t deny lobbying – Bangkok Post, April 23, 2016
…The Democrats joined the fray on Saturday, with former MP Watchara Petchthong saying data on the Lobbying Disclosure website of the US House of Representatives’ Office of the Clerk clearly indicated Thaksin Thaksin had regularly hired foreign companies from 2006-15 to lobby US officials to react unfavourably to Thailand throughout the years…

Thaksin was noted in past years for his extensive use of lobbyist firms–from the fake organization headed by Ken Adelman created to pressure the post-2006 coup junta to Robert Amsterdam’s advocay on behalf of the Red Shirts.

2007: The USA for Innovation story: Fake lobbying firm headed by Ken Adelman attacks the junta
2007: Baker Botts speaks up for Thaksin

2008: Thaksin’s Foundation

2009: From the Thai-language press: Thaksin hiring foreign press lobbyists
2009: Whatever happened to Thaksin’s “Building a Better Future Foundation”?

2010: Thaksin’s bid to drive a wedge between Bangkok, Washington
2010: More on the International Crisis Group

2011: Thaksin’s Building a Better Future Foundation gone
2011: Amsterdam ‘only in it for the money’

2013: From the ousted Thai PM to fracking company Cuadrilla & Asma al-Assad, PR firm Bell Pottinger represents some of the world’s most notorious clients

2015: Lobbyist Amsterdam breaks with Thaksin, will pursue justice against the junta on his own

Above: From Red Power, February, 2012
Thaksin lobbyist Robert Amsterdam commemorating the dispersal of Red Shirt protesters at the Ratchaprasong intersection

Pages of links on Thaksin’s highest profile lobbyist Robert Amsterdam hired to publicize and advocate the Red Shirt cause

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Uncle Sam Recommends Democracy


From Komchadluek, April 3, 2016
Uncle Sam: Hey you!!! This is democratic take it…

[This reflects the feelings of some Thais who bristle at U.S. calls for democracy. These people feel that Western-style democracy is not compatible with the Thai world as evidenced by Thaksin’s overreach of power during his time as prime minister. Others feel that U.S. calls for a return to elections completely miss the underlying reasons for the coup–the need to stop Thaksin from returning and the overarching belief that politicians are bound to their own self-interest and cannot help being corrupt.]

More from the same cartoonist:
The U.S. puppetmaster
Beware the U.S.A.
Thailand on a leash

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Remembering Banharn

Above: From the abortive, 2014 elections: From top: The Chat Thai Pattana Party; Banharn Silpa-acha, the 21st prime minister; Move past the conflict, joining forces in reforming Thailand; Vote for Banharn, the person who works with his heart; reform Thailand, [it] can really be done

Those entering Banharn Silpa-archa’s home province of Suphanburi find a place with a level of development, cleanliness, and attention to detail unusual for Thailand. This is due to the renowned political skills of Banharn who made sure that he always brought the spoils of government back to his home province. (In contrast, the Shinawatra family is often unfavorably compared to Banharn as being new-style politicians who bring little in terms of improvements or developments to their home districts in the north.)

When Banharn died last week at the age of 83, it was passing of one of the old guard who wheeled and dealed their way into Thailand’s coalition governments over the last few decades.

As prime minister, Banharn presided over one of the fragile and inept coalition governments at the very height of Thailand’s Asian Tiger era in the 1990s. In a little more than six months after he resigned, Thailand was plunged into the Asian economic crisis of 1997. Much blame was placed on Thailand’s opaque and corrupt political system and the doling out of key decision-making posts to politicians with little economic experience.

Banharn was typical of politicians like Chavolit Yongjiyut, Chatichai Choonhavan, and Newin Chidbhob whose opportunistic factions dominated Thai political life for the last 30 years.

These men were leaders of regional power blocks. These blocks most often were centered around a single province where a local boss could dictate his own policies independently of the central government. In areas like this the big boss’ relatives and cronies hold all local political offices and win government contracts. Serious political contenders find their homes bombed or they simply disappear.

MPs blocks that grow from these roots usually follow a pattern–a businessman from a small region grows in wealth and ambition to the point where it became advantageous to make sure his own family can influence government. This means control of contracts that can be doled out to one’s own business interests and those of one’s allies.

Thais have had little expectation that politics is about ideology. The ideal for a politician has traditionally has been being a good administrator and a good conductor of the activities of government. This is the proverbial “righteous man” who manages selflessly for the good of the people. There is little, if any, ideology expected in terms of Western ideas of left and right in Thai politics.

Like Chavolit Yongjiyut’s New Aspiration Party, Banharn’s parties were seen as a corruption of the ideal of the good administrator. In the Thai viewpoint, being elected means being compromised by self-interest, and thus these parties, headed by regional tycoons, are viewed as the expressions of the rich who desire to control big money projects to reward themselves and their cronies.

From 2003: Thaksin buys up existing parties to create his political majority

Thaksin played a large part in dismantling the regional party system. Thaksin aspired to create a truly national political party with enough teeth to break up the regional fiefdoms. When Thaksin rose to power, he quickly defanged most of the regional power blocks by absorbing their factions into his Thai Rak Thai Party. These political groups were given the option to fold themselves into Thaksin’s parties and begin living by the rules of the central government or face the full pressure of the state.

Areas like Chonburi, that refused to corporate, found their leaders prosecuted. Samut Prakan also periodically felt state wrath for not cooperating. The Democrats in the south were also the target of concerted efforts to unseat long-standing MPs–sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Chavolit Yongjiyut ended up turning his once consequential New Aspiration Party over to Thaksin and entering a fitful retirement.

Thus, it is interesting that Banharn and his home province, nicknamed “Banharnburi” by the locals, remained unscathed. Banharn was even able to flirt with a Democrat alliance for a time without earning a death sentence from Thaksin via the Red Shirts (contrast this with Newin Chidchob who was hounded from politics by the Red Shirts after daring to join a Democrat-led coalition).

Banharn’s constant changing of political sides and ability to buy off potential opponents earned him the nicknames “Mr. ATM” and the “Slippery Eel.” In politics at least, this was not necessarily a negative attribute, but a signal that Banharn was the ideal person for MPs to align themselves with because he could ensure they would always land in a sitting government. A sitting government is an opportunity to pass bills to spend money. There is no profit in being in the opposition.


Above: Banharn was often mocked for his small stature, stereotypical of the old-time provincial man, especially in comparison to other world leaders. In this AP photo, taken during the APEC summit in the Philippines in 1996, Banharn is second from right, next to then-President Bill Clinton

Banharn was perhaps most notorious for the ruse that tricked the establishment into believing he would not support a Thaksin return to power.

In the first elections after the 2006 coup, Thaksin’s opponents attempted to make sure that he and his domination of politics could not return. This included a plan to make the Democrats form the core of the next government even if they were a minority party. This would be with the cooperation of other smaller regional party blocks banding together in a coalition government.

Just as today when the junta’s heavy-handed suppression of dissent is meant to send a signal to the political world that Thaksin cannot return, in 2007 a similar signal was being sent as the Democratic Party publicly met to show that that its minority partners would stick with the proposed coalition after elections to doom a triumphant Thaksin resurgence.

Banharn had several public meetings with Democratic Party leader Aphisit in which he stressed his loyalty to the proposed coalition that would block Thaksin. However, Banharn’s reputation as an opportunist caused concern as to whether he could be depended on to keep this pledge to never join a Thaksin coalition.

To allay fears, Banharn offered to kneel before the Emerald Buddha at Wat Prea Keaw and vow that he would not go back on his word as he was renowned for doing so many times before.

However, once elections were held and Thaksin’s People Power Party scored a stunning victory that doomed any Democrat Party plan to hold on to power, Banharn immediately switched sides and joined with Thaksin in forming a new government.

While Banharn’s opportunism was a strong selling point for his political alliance, it was one of the factors that reinforced in the Thai public’s mind that elected politicians cannot be trusted since those who are elected have vested self-interests. Thus, Thais tend to value the respected academic, the village leader, and the appointed permanent official over the politician who is seen as being compromised by dint of being democratically elected.

In recent years, Banharn’s political factions enthusiastically supported the Yingluck-led Pheu Thai government. Banharn even attempted to reach out to opposition politicians to join the Pheu Thai reconciliation effort, but without success. Banharn, like Newin or Chavalit or even Chalerm, was no doubt holding out hope that he could eventually serve as a compromise prime minister acceptable to both Thaksin and the establishment in the event of a future political impasse.

As in most of the political parties dominated by a single figure who has run the party as part of his family business, Banharn’s Chartthaipattana Party will now likely fade away, as already feuding factions position themselves to be part of whatever future government is elected.

Banharn in Thai news and editorial cartoons:

Screen Shot 04-24-16 at 01.13 PM

2014: Riding in a wheelchair pushed by the Eel on a skateboard

2014: The junta tries to encourage old, retired politicians to join it

Screen Shot 04-24-16 at 01.15 PM

2013: Don’t be afraid, my leader…

Screen Shot 04-24-16 at 01.03 PM

2013: Banharn, the Peacemaker?

2013: Banharn with Miss Teen Thailand

2011: Flooding in Thailand causes Thaksin, Chalerm, Banharn and Sanan to disappear

2011: “Mr Banharn went to see Thaksin out of a personal acquaintance and their meeting had nothing to do with the formation of the cabinet”

Screen Shot 04-24-16 at 01.04 PM

2003: Banharn resists Thaksin attempts to take over his party

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From Naewna, April 10, 2016
To the left of the time bomb: Referendum on the draft constitution
To the right of the time bomb: Questions with the referendum
Caption: Constitution filling [meaning something has been stuck inside the constitution draft like jelly filling is put inside a pastry]

[This shows Democracy Monument and the two parts of the referendum–the yes/no vote on the charter and the additional question, written in such a way that it will entice people into a yes vote for an appointed senate with power to approve or depose and elected PM.
This is a critical point and has been termed a “time bomb” since such a future eventuality would both doom Thaksin’s dreams of a return and leave the military with complete power of elected politician.
Such a possible reality might provoke politicians to decide to openly stage a fight against the junta sooner rather than later. For instance, in both parts of the vote pass, it might advantageous for the Red Shirts to boycott a future vote and stage protests since the charter would doom their hopes at a Thaksin return and reforms.]

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The Democrats take BOTH paths


From Manager, April 12, 2016
Left sign: Accept the constitution.
Right sign: Reject the constitution.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit is deciding whether to accept or reject the draft charter.
Caption: No idea how Pee Mark walks like this. [“Mark” is the nickname of Abhisit]

[This ridicules the Democrat Party’s recent harsh criticism of the draft charter which mimicked the Pheu Thai Party’s criticism, but oddly stopped short of calling on the party faithful to reject it.
This was seem as political theater with the Democrats making a public show of disapproval, while then actually wishing for the charter to pass as it would permanently disable Thaksin’s political parties and their plans.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | 1 Comment

Thaksin: No matter what, “we’re going to win the most seats” after next elections

Interview: Thaksin Shinawatra on Thailand – worldpolicy.org, April 21, 2016
…WPJ: By whom, who’s appointing the senators?
TS: The junta is doing that. They can appoint any [prime minister] if the parliament includes 200 appointed senators. And also they will have one so-called politburo, which will supervise the government. It means that if the prime minister is going out of the country negotiating trades, they need to get approval from the politburo. It’s exactly like the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council, the official name of military junta that ruled Myanmar from 1988 to 2011]. So this is very backward in terms of democracy and human rights.
WPJ: In a scenario where this proposed constitution does pass or is imposed, what do you think happens in the elections if they go forward in mid-2017?
TS: Well regardless we’re going to win the most seats. But you cannot deliver what you promise to the people, you cannot solve the problem of the country if you’re being controlled by the politburo and appointed senators…

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Hatred of the constitution


From Manager, April 6, 2016
The paper on the ground is the draft constitution.
Left: Emotion of hatred towards the constitution [the dog is angry]
Right: Emotion of wanting elections [the dog’s tail is waging happily]
On the dog: PT [symbolizing the Pheu Thai Party]
Caption: This dog is bipolar!

[Refers to the Pheu Thai Party’s reactions toward the draft constitution and toward the election. While they are aggressively complaining about the charter, they also have been insisting on quick elections. Thaksin and his Pheu Thai Party strongly believe that they will win an election once it is held. However, they do not want a charter that limits their ability to exercise majority rule to change and rewrite laws.]

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1969: Bangkok-Thonburi Telephone Directory

1969: Bangkok-Thonburi Telephone Directory

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He only wants one thing and not the other


From Naewna, April 2, 2016
Title: Only wants the good thing [for themselves], but do not want to give up anything?
On Thaksin’s tongues stretching out to PM Prayuth: [right] I don’t accept the draft constitution [right] I only want an election

[We are not sure about this one, but I think it might be related to the proverb ‘forked tongue’ meaning a liar.
The cartoonist contends that Thaksin would reject any new charter and merely wants a quick election to return his party to power.]

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The junta’s populist plans

From Manager, March 27, 2016
On the bag: Project to give 1000 baht to civil servants to boost the economy.

[This cartoon criticizes the junta’s populist plan that hands out 1000 baht to mid-level civil servants to boost the economy. It jokes that CP, owner of the popular convenience store 7-11 in Thailand, would be the one who receives the most benefit from this policy. 7-11’s extensive growth has put many traditional street-side shops out of business.
The Ministry of Finance has proposed ending the 1000 baht giveaway project and replacing it with an economic stimulus plan to focus on communities and villages.]

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Junta pushing ahead


From Thairath, March 30, 2016
Title: The power of the electric train
On the train: Election to expand good people
Under the railroad track: Destroy democracy, political parties; Ignore liberty and the rights of people; Politicians; Pressure who have different opinions
Mouse man: Go with no destination.
Mouse: Fast and forceful.

[This shows the junta pushing ahead with their military-dominated charter to the detriment of democracy and human rights. It also refers to the junta fast-tracking multiple massive infrastructure projects. This is very alarming to political parties that use mega projects as ways to reward business allies and earn kickbacks. The junta is purposely pushing these projects to deny these benefits to politicians.]

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

Thaksin thinks… Prayuth takes action…


From Manager, March 30, 2016
On the campaign poster: High speed train. Thaksin thinks… Prayuth takes action… PT Pheu Thai Party

[This points out that the junta’s policy on the high speed train projects appears to be the same as proposed by Thaksin and other the governments he controls.
The poster spoofs the Pheu Thai’s notorious campaign poster from 2011 that boasted that Thaksin controlled the party’s agenda.]

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Who caused the new constitution?


From Manager, March 29, 2016
Left: Red Shirt and Pheu Thai leaders Jatuporn, Chaturon, and Wattanapoint at PM Prayuth: A bad constitution… It’s not democratic… It serves a dictator.
Caption: If you will complain to this man…
Right, kicking Thaksin: Despite the many good constitutions we had, you destroyed them and caused the military to tear up all of them.
Caption: …you must kick this man, too.

[This cartoon suggested that while the Red Shirt leaders and former Pheu Thai Party have been criticizing the new draft constitution, they must realize that the cause of having the new constitution comes from Thaksin’s successful destruction of the checks and balances in previous charters–particularly the 1997 People’s Constitution.]

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Weekly News Magazines, April 8-22,2016


From Lokwannee, April 9-22, 2016
Main cover reads: [bold] Khan [normal size] no matter the color it is… it isn’t bigger than (rod) [bold] Thang
[smaller text] Meechai’s draft contribution ‘prevent-corruption version.’ It is used to suppress only ‘politicians’ who are elected? Or does it suppress also the ‘politicians’ from the coup d’état?

[Refers to draft constitution created by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) headed by Meechai Ruchuphan. Meechai said this draft has the aim of preventing corruption by politicians. However, others contend that it is written to serve the military rather than to promote a democracy. This cover plays with sound of Thai words. It compares “Khan” and “Thang.” “Khan” or “bowl” in English is smaller than “Thang” or a “bucket.” The word “Rod Thang” means a tank. SO the joke is that the powerful military (“tank”) should not be afraid of the red bowls Thaksin tried to distribute to his supporters.]


From Manager Weekly, April 2-8, 2016
Main cover reads: Panama [red] causes an unlucky.

People on the cover: 1st row left to right: Bannawit Kengrien, a former advisor to the Ministry of Defense; Chanachai Srichaphan, father of a Thai famous tennis player; Aimon Raksriaksorn, King Power owner Vichai’s wife; Potjaman Na Pombejra, Thaksin’s ex-wife; not sure of the last one

2nd row left to right: Nalinee Taveesin, former cabinet member in Yingluck’s government; Bannapoj Damapong, brother of Thaksin’s ex-wife Potjaman; Yuenyong Opakul, singer and businessman; Supavud Saicheua, MD of Phatra Securities PCL; Banyong Pongpanich, CEO of Kiatnakin Bank

3rd row left to right: Jackie Chan, famous actor; Xi Jingping, Chinese President; Vladimir Putin, Russian President; not sure this one; Lionel Messi, famous football player

[This refers to International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)’s Panama Papers concerning well-known people including politicians and business people using Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca’s service to hide their assets overseas. Thailand’s Anti Money Laundering Officer (AMLO) stated that there were 16 Thai nationals on this list and now the government is investigating. Some of those people on the list have already denied wrongdoing.]

Top: #Teampuri [white] Join hands to call for a return of forests before ‘Naka Noi Island’ is destroyed.

[The man in the picture is Thai actor Puri Hiranpruk. He filed a complaint about alleged encroachment on Naka Noi Island. His family owns land on the island and the rest is supposed to be protected. The business that was attempting to develop the island filed defamation charges against the actor for his complaint against them.]

Below: Maepranom fight. It’s like to be ended but it’s not. Why?
Pictures left to right:  Pranom’s  middle child, Siriwan Daengsupan; Pranom Daengsupha, Co-owner of Maepranom chili paste; Siriporn Daengsupha, Pranom’s elder daughter

[Refers to a conflict in the Pramon family. Pranom filed a complaint to the PM that her elder daughter stole her company. After a discussion with her daughter held by PM’s Office Minister Panadda Diskul, the conflict seemed to end with her daughter agreeing to return all asset to her mother. However, the conflict has not ended yet because Siriwan said that her elder sister has only returned assets of her mother, but not all family members.]


From Matichon Weekly, April 8-14, 2016
Main cover reads: [yellow] 21 Thai nationals were affected by Panama. Getting wet before Songkran.

[Refers to a disclosure of the ‘Panama Papers’ by the International Consortium of Investigative journalists (ICIJ). Initially, there were 21 Thai nationals claimed to use the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca’s service to hide their assets overseas. However, later, Thailand’s Anti Money Laundering Officer (AMLO) stated that there were only 16 Thai nationals on the list and the government is investigating. Since the Panama Papers became public in early April, the same month with Thailand’s water festival Songkran, this cover ridicules those Thai people involved as if they were doused with water.]


From Nation Weekend, April 8, 2016
Main cover reads: This bowl is [green] green.

[Refers to red bowls given by former Pheu Thai Members of Parliament in Nan province for Songkran day. The police seized those bowls bearing Thaksin’s Songkran message to his supporters. This cover illustrates that although Thaksin and his Red Shirt have attempted to reach out to their supporters through many political means, the military (symbolized by green) adamantly refuses to allow activities lauding Thaksin.]

Top right: Repeatedly defeated [yellow] Ghost Maew [white] is difficult to wake up. Trying to impede are the old Reds.

[The man in the photo is Thaksin. Refers to Thaksin’s attempts to energize his supporters through many activities, such as giving New Year calendars or red bowls on Songkran. However, his attempts have been failed due to the strict control of the military on political movements. Many Red Shirt leaders have kept silent on political matters since the junta took power and seem reticent to risk their freedom to speak up for Thaksin while the military is still wielding power unopposed.
The article title shows how Thaksin, whose nickname is “Maew,” and his Pheu Thai members are using very old-style methods of gaining political support as in the complementary red bowls bearing a message from Thaksin. Thaksin is referred to as a “ghost” because he has been overthrown and could not return to his former position easily, but “haunts” people with his contact political activities.]

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Which is wasteful?


From Thairath, March 29, 2016
Title: The same result from government policy
Left: The rice pledging scheme is wrong because it lost a huge amount of money you know…
Mouse: Government policy.
Mouse man: The rice pledging scheme was to help farmers.
Right: Mouse man: What about this, how it make profit?
Under the military vehicles: Special adviser cost.
Mouse: Government policy.

[The cartoonist posits out the irony the rice pledging scheme being singled out as wasteful while similarly wasteful military spending goes unnoticed.]

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15 Years Ago: Thaksin’s Quest for Gold

One of the weirdest stories from Thaksin’s early days in power: Thailand’s Gold Fever

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Everyone has rights


From Thairath, March 23, 2016
Title: Epidemic
Left, police officer: The offender who drove a Mercedes and was involved in a car accident with two death on the scene has the right to reject the alcohol or additive substance test!
Right, lawyer: The offender who possesses an illegal Mercedes and is a patriarch nominee has the right to reject interrogation from the DSI.

[This compares the apparent special treatment a wealthy Mercedes driver received after a fatal accident with the demands from the Supreme Patriarch nominee. Despite the legal cases facing him, supporters demand that Somdet Chuang assume the post of Supreme Patriarch and refuse police questioning over a vintage Mercedes he owns.]

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Songkran 2009: Red Shirts overrun ASEAN venue, take govt hostages in Bangkok

Songkran 2009: Red Shirts overrun ASEAN venue, take govt hostages in Bangkok

(Photo: ThaiRath)

ThaiRath‘s amazing photo of the moment the Red Shirts broke into the press room at the Asean Summit.

Songkran 2009: Red Shirt Protests – Night falls on the city

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Corruption should get out


From Komchadluek, April 3, 2016
Man: When will you get off? You make the car get heavier.
On a big man’s shirt: Corruption

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Happy Songkran

(Source: Photo, circa 1920’s)

Above: Traditional image of Songkran – Pouring fragrant water over the hands of the elderly in the rod nam dam hua ceremony.

From Thairath, April 6, 2012
The cartoon title reads: If you cannot get over Thaksin… then some people will be sorrowful and some will be joyful.
On the hooded figure: Objection to Thaksin’s amnesty – Gave an order to suppress people.
On the Thaksin figures: Wanna go home & Love Thaksin
Small Thaksin at bottom left: Give back justice.
Other small Thaksin: Bring the one who kill people to be punished.

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Songkran on Khao Sarn Road

(Photo: Rapee for 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Spectacular images from along Ratchadamneorn Road from Songkran 2005 when the Thai Rak Thai government was promoting Thai holidays for a world audience. After they were ousted, this sort of promotion ceased.

2014: This year’s Songkran goddess
2014: Thaksin’s Songkran message: Let’s forgive and forget
2013: They dared her to take off her clothes
2013: Songkran Cartoons 2013 from Matichon
2011: Topless Dancers at Songkran
All the other Songkran-related articles and cartoons on 2Bangkok

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Afraid of Thaksin’s red bowls


From Thairath, April 1, 2016
Title: Laughing at water bowl… but water bowl ain’t laughing back. [meaning in an ironic way that Songkran is a festival to have fun but soldiers are not having fun at all because they are afraid of the red water bowls from Thaksin]
On big water jar at right: Songkarn 2016
Mouse man: Water bowl… is a national security danger.
Mouse: Feel scared right before Songkarn.

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I heard that Uncle Jiew has set up a third force


From Naewna, March 20, 2016
Left: I heard that Uncle Jiew has set up a “Third Force.”
Middle: A man in the picture: ..eh.. Let him go!
Another man: Why?
Left: He used to say he would jump on the ‘Mekong’ river but until now… he still hasn’t.

[Refers to former PM Chavalit Yongchaiyudh who claimed that he set up a “Third Force” consisting of people from various groups aiming to end the conflict in the country. However, his claim was quickly dismissed by the junta.
The cartoonist ridicules Chavalit’s former campaign promise that he would jump into the Mekong River if he could not solve poverty in the Northeastern region.]

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New sword to suppress corruption!


From Nawwna, March 22, 2016
On the sword stuck in the ground: Section 44
Prayuth holds a big sword that reads: 250 Senate selection
Caption: New sword to suppress corruption..!!

[For those who oppose Thaksin, ensuring that the senate is appointed is a way to make sure that Thaksin’s party cannot dominate both houses of parliament and thus change any law it wants.
See Couples’ Parliament for more on the Thai perspective on the senate.]

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Cambodia revives passenger trains after 14 years

Cambodia revives passenger trains – Bangkok Post, April 10, 2016
…Royal Railways is offering the service between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville for nine days to coincide with the Cambodian New Year holidays, with a train leaving the capital at 7am every day until April 16 and another leaving Sihanoukville at the same time from Sunday to April 17.
The trains will make two stops at passenger-ready stations in Takeo and Kampot provinces. A one-way ticket costs $6.
…A six-kilometre section linking Cambodia with Thailand has not been maintained for years. Successive Thai governments have vowed to restore the “missing link” as part of an Asean plan for greater rail connectivity.

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Trump at arm’s length


From Komchadluek, March 28, 2016
[First cartoon of Trump we have seen in the Thai media. It seems to imply Lady Liberty, representing the US, is embarrassed by Trump’s antics.]

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The stubborn buffalo won’t eat!


From Thairath, March 26, 2016
Title: Stubborn buffalo.
On the grass Prayuth hands to the buffalo: Inherit power constitution [meaning the charter is designed to give power to the military]
Prayuth says: Be a good buffalo so that in your next life you will be born human.
Buffalo: [You were] Born a human and made this country to be in trouble… I am better to be born as buffalo than like you!
Mouse man: Do not force the buffalo by giving him grass he doesn’t want to eat.
Mouse: Buffalo has a heart too.

[Refers to an idiom meaning someone refusing something is like a buffalo that refuses food. Here it refers to Thaksin’s Red Shirts who refuse to accept the junta’s military-dominated constitution.
It is interesting to note that in past years “buffaloes” was used derisively to insult Thaksin supporters–implying they are dull and stupid. However, Red Shirts eventually embraced the term themselves and often now depict themselves as buffaloes (as in this cartoon).]

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