Apr 17th, 2017

2005: PM Thaksin, family praised as ‘Family Day’ role models

2005: PM Thaksin, family praised as ‘Family Day’ role models
[This was an good example of the fawning official press extolling Thaksin and his family. It also raised suspicion that local pollsters were being compromised by politics.]

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Paying Rolls-Royce for a tribute

From Thairath, March 28, 2017
Left: In the past, a mafia watched over gambling houses and brothels. Then, they watched over groups of motorcycle taxi and vans…
Middle: Now, those mafias have moved to control the airlines.
Man with hat: The airlines have to pay money to the mafia?
Right: The airline doesn’t have to pay, but whoever is on the airline’s board [of directors] will have to pay Rolls-Royce for a tribute.

[Refers to a case of Rolls-Royce bribery involving Thai Airways, PTT and many politicians. The cartoonist jokes that Rolls-Royce is like the mafia, holding great sway of Thai politicians and business people.]

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Should the junta tackle seat belts or taxes?

From Manager, March 27, 2017
Left, Prayuth: Stop… Where are you going?
Thaksin: Hurrying to escape from paying taxes, sir.
On a sign: Stop for checking [This portrays a typical Thai police checkpoint, here with the prime minister stopping Thaksin.]

Right: Oh.. Everyone is fastening a seat belt. Then, you can go.

[Inside the car is Thaksin and his family–Potjamarn, Panthongtae, and Peathongtarn. The cartoon ridicules the junta for not taking a harder line in collecting Shin Corp taxes from Thaksin and his family.
Recently the junta used its absolute power to create an enforce a new rule requiring all car passengers to wear seat belts. Critics have mocked the move, contending that the government should focus on getting Thaksin to pay taxes on the Shin Corp sale.]

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Under the coconut shell

From Naewna, March 24, 2017
Left, Netiwit: I am against military conscription and apply for postponement.
Middle: I will fight for the rights of the future of the country where I don’t want [to stay in]
Right: I want to serve the country where I don’t want [to stay in as is evidenced] by my actions..!!
Caption: Don’t need to fight or serve anything. Just exile yourself from this country which is too narrow for you.
Caption: Mr Netiwit, meanwhile, said yesterday he would not report for military conscription. “If I entered the army as a soldier, I would be trampled to death,” he said, adding he disagrees with military conscription…
On his shirt: Netiwit

[Refers to student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphatisal, who has persistently criticized the junta and the educational system.
He recently announced that he would not enter the army because he’s afraid of death (actually being killed). So, he would apply for the postponement. However, the army insisted that he could not hide from serving in the military and ensured his safety to relieve his concerns.
The coconut shell (“kala”) refers to what anti-military groups calls people who support the military as “Kala Land” meaning people who live in a small world. The idea is that they think they know everything but, in fact, they have a limited perspective.]

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Stepping on the Eastern Tiger’s tail

From Manager, March 19, 2017
Thaksin’s son Oak: You want to stop the harmonizing [reconciliation] plan… do you want to get into a fight with me?
Caption: This kid may be on drugs… seeing a dog as a tiger.

[This cartoon references longstanding allegations and rumors that Thaksin’s son, by virtue of his powerful father, was able to take drugs as he pleased. Critics pointed to Oak’s habit of wearing dark sunglasses all the time as evidence of this claim.
Whatever the truth of these rumors, Oak has more and more emerged, via his Facebook page, as a political voice that dares to speak up against the military–primarily when his family is involved. He spoke out very firmly against the new tax claim against his family over the Shin Crop sale (both Oak and his sister appeared to be share nominees for the controversial sale).
In the cartoon, the tiger represents the Eastern Tigers military clique that now controls the government.]

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Who controls the laws?

From Thairath, March 23, 2017
Title: Where is majority law?
PM Prayuth: Use Article 44 because there is a group using majority laws.
Suthep: If the reform isn’t finished, cannot have an election.
On the man’s shirt at right: Blockade the government house and the airport
Phi Nooring: My law. Tu’s law. Whose law?
Mouse: The same group

[This cartoon takes a sarcastic looks at the junta and anti-Thaksin groups led by Suthep Thaugsuban and the Yellow Shirts. In the cartoon, the “majority law” means something like “most of the people agree on a point”–in this case those who oppose the junta’s actions.
So it means the PM is going against majority opinion with the support of anti-Thaksin groups. This is perceived as being to serve their own needs and unfairly attack their opposition and penalize Thaksin. This is another potent claim of unfairness and lack of justice in the Thai system.]

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Junta killing the media

Title: Lawful homicide (again)
Left, on man’s shirt: Chaiyaphum Pasae.
Next to him: Amphetamine; Bomb
Right, on sleeve: NBTC [Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission]
On the paper: Freedom–mass media [meaning freedom of the press is being ripped up]
Mouse man: Continue committing a sin.
Mouse: Never do a good deed.

[Contrasts the killing of activist Chaiyaphum by soldiers under murky circumstances with the junta closure of Voice TV for criticizing the government. Both cases are seen to be cases of the media being muzzled.]

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From Naewna, March 23, 2017
A man on the left: Let’s burn it, bros. I’ll be responsible for it.
Jatuporn: Don’t be afraid of the law. If you don’t die, you will become rich. If you’re not unlucky enough, you won’t be in jail.
Caption: Tuttu… who knows his fate…!!

[In 2010, Red Shirt leaders called on their supporters to be ready to burn Bangkok if their demands were not met–along with the very Thai-style assurance that the Red Shirt leaders would take responsibly for the actions of the protesters.
However, later they refuted these statements, caught on video day after day, as being taken out of context or meant for another situation.
More: Burning Bangkok, and some past cartoons: Let’s Burn It, Let’s burn it. I will take a responsibility for your actions, Pheu Thai Promises a Bright Future for Bangkok
When the Pheu Thai were in power, charges against Red Shirt leaders who led protests were dropped. Since the military has seized power, Red Shirt leaders are now facing the charges again.
This cartoon ridicules the Red Shirt leaders (symbolized by the headless figures) who seem to have gone quiet despite the seizure of political power by the military, the attacks on the Dhammakaya Movement, and demands for Thaksin to pay massive back taxes.
Jatuporn’s nickname is Tu. However, this cartoonist makes fun with his name by calling as ‘Tuttu’ which sounds like a lady’s name to reflect (from the cartoonist’s opinion) his supposedly chicken-hearted personality.]

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Triggering the Red Shirts

From Naewna, March 29, 2017
Buffalo: Reconciliation.
Rat: Shin corp taxes.
Prayuth: Do not take this wrong. We only want to get this rat, it does not mean it effects the reconciliation issue.

[This cartoon comments that by going after Thaksin for back taxes the junta risks the ire of the Red Shirt movement (here represented derisively by a buffalo). This is because the Red Shirt movement acts on Thaksin’s behalf as when protest was threatened and then carried out in response to the confiscation of Thaksin’s assets in 2010. To attack Thaksin over the back taxes issue means real reconciliation with the Red Shirts and the Pheu Thai Party (both controlled by Thaksin) is impossible.]

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Weekly News Magazines, March 31-April 14, 2017

From Manager Weekly, April 1-7, 2017
Main cover reads: National oil corporation = victim
On the woman’s shirt: National oil corporation

[Former Deputy PM Pridiyathorn Devakula, the man with glasses on the left, tried to block the plan of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to establish a National Oil Corporation. He disclosed that a group of military men tried to push this plan in the draft constitution. His actions to expose this plan were met with accusations that he was protecting energy private groups who oppose government control of the energy sector.
This cover portrays the corporation idea as a pretty girl that is going to be ravaged by one side or another. This sort of imagery suggesting rape is common in the Thai media.]

Top: The NCPO is shaking. ‘Veera’ invades Cambodian’s casino. [small] Do you dare to announce it is ‘not’ on Thailand’s soil? There is a rumor an ‘influential person of the south Isan’ wants to kill him.

[Refers to anti-corruption activist Veera Somkwamkid. Recently, he was blocked by local people from his plan to go to the Buri Ram border checkpoint to check whether a new casino sits on Thai or Cambodian soil (casinos are illegeal in Thailand). His actions are believed to have upset influential groups in the areas who have coordinated the plan to place a casino on the border to cater to Thai gamblers.
Meanwhile, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, one of key persons in the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), confirmed that the casino is not in Thailand.
Veera was once arrested for illegal entry to Cambodia. This was due to his rabble rousing attempt to provoke Cambodia over the Preah Vihear temple ownership controversy.]

Bottom left: Don’t be scared. ‘Jack Ma’ left ‘Thailand’ to go to ‘Malay’

[Refers to Alibaba executive Jack Ma who plans to set up Alibaba’s regional distribution hub in Malaysia after he first committed to launch a project in Thailand. His travel to Malaysia caused concern among Thai businessmen as Jack Ma may scrap his investment plans in Thailand.]

Bottom right: “Thammy” announces his victory. Arrest-Disrobe-Appoint the new abbot… will take a long long time.

[Refers to Dhammakaya’s abbot Dhammachaya who is facing arrest and an order to disrobe once he can be located. This article is similar to that in most Thai media that mocks the military junta and is supposed absolute power that cannot seem to arrest the monk.
“Thammy” combines the name of Dhamma with the word “Tammy” to mock the monk for his effeminate nature.]

From Lokwannee, April 8-14, 2017
Main cover reads: New season of happiness in which Thai people are waiting [for the] democratic mask

[Refers to popular TV show ‘The Mask Singer’ where the competitors are masked.
The figure on the left has a mask that combines a constitution plinth with a coconut shell. It refers to those who oppose the junta. The the junta and its supporters refer to these people as living in a coconut shell. This is an idiom meaning they live in a small world, but they think they know everything in the entire world.
The figure wears a convicts suit and has “No. 44” on its chest meaning that those who oppose the junta are faced with imprisonment under Article 44. The images seem to mean that the common people who are oppressed and imprisoned by the junta are waiting for the mask to be taken off of democracy and for real democracy to begin.]

From Nation Weekend, March 31, 2017
Main cover reads: Confuse!! Three soldiers {The word “confuse” comes from a popular catchphrase from the popular TV show “The Mask Singer.”]
On the logo: The national Oil Corporation

[Refers to the plan to establish a National Oil Corporation like in the past which was known by the brand “Three Soldiers.” This emphasized how the military held sway of a lucrative and important part of the country’s economy. The junta insisted that this plan is impossible and will not take place.]

Top: ‘Laos’ keeps silent? Don’t know ‘Ko-Tee’? ‘Tu-Pom’ are in disgrace.

[Refers to an attempt of the junta led by PM Prayuth, whose nickname is “Tu,” and Deputy PM Prawit, whose nickname is “Pom,” to arrest Ko-Tee, a Red Shirt in exile in Laos.
Ko-Tee runs an anti-monarchy radio station that calls for revolution in Thailand and for people to rise up to oppose the junta. The junta has been pressuring the Lao government to stop the broadcasts and turn over Ko-Tee to them.
However, despite Thailand’s massive advantages in economy and military might, Laos has simply denied any knowledge of Ko-Tee. This has left the junta embarrassed as its lack of influence over its small neighbor.]

From Matichon Weekly, March 31-April 6, 2017
Main cover reads: Khun chai is coming

[Refers to the alleged plan to establish a National Oil Corporation. Former Deputy PM Pridiyathorn Devakula disclosed that a group of military men tried to push this plan in the draft constitution. Others claimed Pridiyathorn was trying to smear the military with a false claim.
The image shows a rip in the document Pridiyathorn is holding that reveals a military uniform in the background.]

Right side: Exchange a hit in a period of ‘magical’ imagination from Ko-Tee to Charupong and ends up with ‘Thaksin Shinawatra’

[Refers to the arrest of a man who was alleged to possess war weapons on behalf of Red Shirt Ko-Tee. This arrest was decried by anti-junta groups as an attempt to frame, not only Ko-Tee, but former interior minister Charupong Ruangsuwan. Charupong is exiled and close to Thaksin. The article criticizes the arrest as trying to link Thaksin closely to armed movements in the country. Thaksin both denies connections to the Red Shirts and as well as being involved in Thai politics.]

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Statistics show we are doing a good job

From Thairath, March 19, 2017
Title: Join the wrong statistics

[This cartoon ridicules the use of statistics that are used to support claims of efficiency or effectiveness by various groups.]

Top left: 99.99% of the police are good. [a ridiculous claim considering the endemic corruption in the police force]

Top middle: 99.99% of taxi provide service to the people satisfyingly.
[In response to the rise of unofficial share taxi services, the Department of Land Transportation claimed that only 0.01% of people ever had taxi drivers refuse customers because of where they wanted to go. The public scoffed at this claim.]

Top right: 99.99% of people donating the money to the temple will get a huge merit.
[Refers to the Dhamakaya sect’s principle which encourages people to buy the merit by donating to its temple rather than doing good things.]

Bottom left: 99.99% of Dhammakaya monks don’t lie!
[Refers to Dhamakaya’s monks who made many claims during the recent standoff with police. It probably also refers to the Buddhist principles which the Dhamakaya sect teaches in a very different way from traditional Buddhism.]

Bottom middle: 99.99% of corrupted politicians claim they’re slandered.
[Refers to the syndrome of Thai politicians bringing lawsuits against its critics.]

Bottom right: 99.99% of government officers going on a field trip abroad gain knowledge in return.
[Refers to the the travel junkets that groups of government officers are constantly going on. News of lavish spending on these trips enrage taxpayers and get government officials in trouble. Officials counter that they must take these frequent foreign trips to gain knowledge to bring back to Thailand.]

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They keep biting

From Naewna, March 17, 2017
Dog: The dictator’s laws are not democracy. Can you remove them? I have trouble biting you.
Above the dogs’ jails: Article 44 [the junta’s legal justification for weilding absolute power], Article 112 [the lese majeste law]
Caption: Even theough it is difficult to bite, they still bite sharply every day…

[Refers to the junta’s attempt to stop anti-junta groups from criticizing them by using the Article 44 and the Article 112. The cartoonist makes the point that the junta’s application of law is unable to really silence its critics.]

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Going after Thaksin to cover up the crisis

From Thairath, March 17, 2017
Title: With the power of law to order… arrest… squeeze… seize as they wish!
On paper held by PM Prayuth: Squeezing taxes, but not breaking or defaming anyone
On the book held by government financial advisor Wissanu: Laws determined on whatever I want [meaning the government is making laws only to harass Thaksin]
On the bag held by a man with glasses: Squeezing Shin Corp’s taxes
Signs below Thaksin’s picture at right (top to bottom):
Sign for a wife to buy the land legally… wrongdoing and jail 2 years? [refers to the main legal case that caused Thaksin to flee the country–a land transfer case involving his wife]
Seize the assets of 46,000 million [refers to the seizure of at least half of Thaksin’s assets by a court ruling in 2010; the Red Shirt siege of Bangkok followed this seizure]
Withdraw passports [refers to the seizures of Thaksin’s Thai passports when governments opposed to him held power; when governments directed by him were in power, his passports were restored]
Strip police titles [refers to the junta stripping Thaksin of his police rank after the police hierarchy (known to be supportive of Thaksin) refused]
Phi Nooring: Wake up Thaksin’s ghost to cover up the crisis.
Mouse: Please stop the revenge!

[This cartoon contends that the junta is cruelly and unjustly making laws to get additional taxes from Thaksin in order to cover up the economic and political crisis which the junta is supposedly facing.
The underlying idea here is a potent one in the Thai world–fairness. Here expressed as Thaksin being treated unfairly by those now in power.]

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Our Song… And Beer

The billboard reads: Enjoy the utmost friendship

[Unusual billboard for alcohol that includes a driving theme.]

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Monks tell you how to be rich

From Manager, March 17, 2017
Left, Dhammachayo: Close the normal account… then open the Buddhist account and you will rich naja… [referring to the Dhammakaya teaching that donations to the sect can allow on to achieve a personal, internal enlightenment]
Right, Phra Datajivo: Close the Buddhist account… then open the stock account and you will richer naja… [referring to the scandla where this Dhammakaya monks allegedly was using donated funds to play the stock market]

[Refers two well-known Dhammakaya’s monks–Dhammayacho, the abbot of Dhammakaya temple, and Phra Dattajivo. Both have been stripped of their titles over schemes involving financial dealings.
Dhammachayo is facing money laundering charges while Phra Dattajivo is accused of using temple fund to play the stock market which violates Buddhist principles. Dhammakaya teaches their followers that they can achieve a sort of internal enlightenment while still living in the world and they can make merit through donations rather than practicing traditional Buddhist behavior.]

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Weekly News Magazines, March 23-April 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Please report sites that defame the Royal Family!

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

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Thanks from all the Pa

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

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

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Traffic cone Buddhism

From Matichon Weekly, March 17-23, 2017

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

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Thaksin and Dhamachayo

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

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

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The weapons spell his name

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

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

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

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RIP Respected Reporter

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

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

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Bad fortune comes from what?

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

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

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Weekly News Magazines, March 17-31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top right: Yuwadee Tunyasiri ‘Piaja’ of Surapol Donavanik

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

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

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

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

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

Bottom left: Summer hot and a drama of photo book

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

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

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

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

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

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Lesson of patience

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

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

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Don’t forget Thaksin

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

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A LOT of leave!

From Thairath, March 7, 2017

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

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

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Informing the U.N. on the junta

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

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

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Weekly News Magazines, March 10-24, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We will protect our religion!

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

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

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