Apr 5th, 2018

Weekly News Magazine: New-Old Politics, March, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, March 24-30, 2018
Main cover picture: Back to the Future
[Refers to the competition between the old establishment powers and a new generation of ambitious politicians in the coming election. While the junta, led by PM Prayuth (pictured left), is preparing to hold onto power after the next elections, a new party led by young billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (pictured right) was established with the aim to end military involvement in governing the country.
“Back to the Future” implies that this new political match up is simply the same as the political tussles that have been happening over the last 20 years, starting with Thaksin first began gaining political popularity.]

Top right: To catch up the trend of Bupphe which is very popular in ‘Ayutthaya period’ ‘Big Tu’ seize the opportunity to wear Thai national dress.
[Refers to the popular Thai period soap “Bupphesanniwat” or “Love Destiny.” The drama takes place during the Ayutthaya period. Thanks to the drama, mnay people have become more interested in the country’s history and culture, particularly in wearing Thai traditional dress. PM Prayuth has encouraged people to wear traditional Thai clothes when visiting temples or historical places.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, March 23-29, 2018
Main cover reads: Way to two intersections
[Refers to PM Prayuth (pictured) who is now facing a dilemma over his future–particularly how he might hold onto the premiership after the next elections. He can either try to be appointed PM as an unelected outsider or establish a military party and participate in politics directly. However, both ways are thought to cause a negative impact to both him and the junta.
An outsider PM is an anathema to many, recalling the bloodshed that followed such move in 1992. A military party offends those who demand an end of army involvement in politics in general.]

From Manager Weekly, March 24-30, 2018
Main cover reads: Corruption nationwide
In boxes at top from left to right: Corruption of the poor [fund], Corruption on the students
Bottom left to right: Corruption on the tribal people, Corruption on the dog [welfare units]
PM Prayuth at bottom right: 90% of corruption was solved!
[Refers to the massive corruption scandals related to the government agencies, such as the corruption in the funds to help the poor, students and tribal people as well as fund for controlling rabies.
These scandals seem to contradict the junta’s vows to fight against corruption in the country.]

Top: NACC changes!! [black] “New-old power” compromise benefits the “powerful person”
[Refers to the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) excusing some of its members from qualifications set down in the charter. The Constitutional Court allowed the charter to be contravened by allowing NACC members waivers for certain qualifications.
This led to an criticism that the court’s ruling set a bad precedent by allowing rulings that override the constitution. It is also said the ruling bode ill for the credibility of the anti-graft commissioners. Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit (picture at left) is known to have close ties with Deputy PM Prawit’s family, particularly Pol. General Phatcharavat Wongsuwan (pictured right), who is his former boss.]

Bottom left: Bupphe’s franchise very popular; helps expand many things everywhere
[Refers to the famous Thai period soap “Bupphesanniwat” or “Love Destiny.” The drama has helped promote Thai culture and history. Many businesses have gained a huge benefit from tourism, clothing and book sales, etc. due to the popularity of the drama.]

Bottom right: “Nida poll” was changed to be dominated by the “top boot”
[Refers to well-known polling group NIDA which is alleged to be biased toward the junta. “Top boot” refers to the military.]

From Lokwannee, March 24-30, 2018
Main cover reads: How to end people’s stupidity?
[Refers to an official letter that was leaked and refers to efforts to end the stupidity of provincial people. It seemed to validate the idea that Bangkok officialdom looks down on local people.
We are not sure what the orange refers to. The monkey is the “see no evil…” monkey. The joke may be that the way people can stop being stupid is to not see, hear or speak anything because their world is controlled by the junta now.]

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They don’t really like “We Walk”

From Thairath, March 9, 2018
Title: Just another tumor, not the end of gun barrel.
Woman holds a paper that reads: Complaint to governor.
Mouse man: Must be friends with the people.
Mouse: [He’s] Being angry.

[This refers to the “We Walk” march from Bangkok into the provinces. It is reportedly a movement to highlight the inability or unwillingness of the government to address many problems of everyday people.
Initially, the junta tried to stop the march as they suspected it to be a covert attempt to rouse people to be dissatisfied with military rule. A court ruling then cleared the way for the march and supposedly prohibited the government from stopping it.
However, as the march progressed, those participating repeatedly complained that the military and local officials were violating the court order allowing them to march and hindered the marchers at every turn.
Venues where the marchers were to gather or rest–such as universities–also suddenly became unavailable.
The march progressed despite this and officials seemed to be fuming that a court decision order was being used to thwart junta wishes that the march be stopped.
At one stop, an army colonel was photographed giving the finger to the marchers. This seemed to validate the claims of the organizers that officials were trying to hinder the marchers despite the court ruling and had become frustrated that they could not do so.
The image of the cut finger in the cartoon comes from the idiom “bad tissue” referring to a bad part of the body which may cause the trouble to the whole and thus must be removed.
The cartoonist jokes that the middle finger is a bad part of the junta as the incident exposed the real feelings of the government to the marchers. Thus, this bad finger should be cut off before it brings more trouble to the junta.]

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Can you hear the voice of black panther?

From Manager, March 5, 2018
The dead black panther speaks from the belly of the Italian-Thai company head: He killed me and ate me, look at his belly, it is so clear that you do not need to find anymore evidence, why you still look for more?
Caption: At the time you pay respects… can you hear the voice of black panther?

[This refers to the overly deep and respectful “waii” that the police investigator gave accused the Italian-Thai president who was apprehended in a forest reserve, allegedly hunting endangered animals.
Such obsequious behavior toward the rich and powerful is thought to be typical for the police. Photos of the deep “waii” led to a feeling from the public that, once again, the powerful will not have to face consequences for their actions.]

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Anti-rabies GT 200

From Stephff, The Nation, March, 2018

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His nose will grow to Mars

From Thairath, March 2, 2018
Title: Please stop growing more.
PM Prayuth holding Deputy PM Prawit whose arm is covered with watches to refers to the scandal involving his apparently unexplained wealth.
On his nose: Set the election date.
On the leaves on the ground from left to right: Need some more time. We promise. Wear 2016.
On the other leaves from left to right: year 2017; year 2018; February 2019.
Mouse man: Will it go on to Mars.
mouse: Do what you promise.

[This refers to the ever-lengthening delays to elections with the ruling junta claiming it is due to procedural and legal issues. At the same time the government has been asking the public for more time in power to reform the system.]

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Better Than Losing His Job

From Daily News, March 1, 2018
Inside the box at the top: Regular cartoon by Khod [names of column and the cartoonist]
Left: Better than losing his job
Right, Abhisit thinks: Wait for the result after the election and be ready to support Big Tu [PM Prayuth] to become the PM.

[Refers to the Democrat Party led by Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The cartoon ridicules Abhisit by combining a quote of his about waiting for results after the election with the suspicion that the Democrats will join with military-aligned parties to block Thaksin and his Pheu Thai from power and thus return junta head Prayuth to the prime minister post.
This is expressed by Abhisit shining a military boot.]

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Thai innovation

From Thairath, March 3, 2018
Left: On Tomb Sweeping Day, we will see Chinese people burn silver and gold papers for their ancestors.
Middle, god on the left: But Thai people are more modernized.
God on the right: How modernized?
Right: They can withdraw cash in the name of dead people from the poor center.

[Thais of Chinese descent burn ceremonial paper items to send to their dead ancestors. The joke here is that Thais do something like this by fraudulently stealing funds intended for the poor.
This refers to a recent scandal that found, among other things, money being given to and withdrawn by poor people who were long dead.]

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Fight for the leadership

From Daily News, March 16, 2018
Caption: Final bend… before election. [something like “the final bend on the road” meaning the final big event or thing to happen]
Thaksin’s son Oak: Break it up now…
On the chair: Party leader
On the tag: Pheu Thai

[Refers to the ongoing tussles to decide who will head the Phea Thai Party. The party is likely to be a major winner in the next election, but is implacably opposed by the military for its continual role in attempting to return Thaksin to power.
Thaksin’s son Oak has functioned more and more as his father’s representative within the country (his Facebook page servers as a semi-official mouthpiece for opinions and PR on Thaksin) and it is thought that he is firmly in the center of the leadership tussle for party head.]

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Red Shirt and Black Panther

From Thairath, February 28, 2018
Title: Red Shirt and the black panther
On the flag: Call for democracy
On the papers from right to left: Victim of the killing; Apr+May 2553 [2010]
Phi Nooring: The killers are still free.
Mouse: Don’t let them die without any consequences.

[The cartoonist draws a parallel between the case of a black panther which was allegedly killed by construction tycoon Thai Premchai Karnasuta and those killed during before and after a crackdown on a Red Shirt protest in Bangkok in 2010.
Amid the public outcry over making sure the tycoon is held accountable for his hunting, the cartoonist asks people not to forget those who were killed in political protests.]

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Thai Police are Trophies of the Rich

From Manager, February 27, 2018
Caption: There are carpets made from other things than tigers in Premchai’s room.

[Refers to Italian-Thai Development Plc president Premchai Karnasuta who was arrested and later released for allegedly hunting protected animals in Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary.
This case has been received the attention as the public is skeptical that the rich and powerful are really be subject to the law as the police seem eager to collude with them. This is expressed in the Thai saying, “prison is only for the poor.”]

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A politician can get rich

From Manager, March 13, 2018
Thaksin: You made the right choice to step into the political arena… See… Before I joined politics, I was just a ten-billionaire phai like you.
On Thaksin’s shirt: Hundred billionaire phai
On Thanathorn’s shirt: Ten billionaire phai

[Refers to billionaire businessman Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit who recently established a new party called “Future Forward Party” to compete in the upcoming elections.
He calls himself “billionaire Phai.” “Phai” is an old Thai word meaning an ordinary person or peasant. The word “phai” came into vogue as it was used by the Red Shirts to separate their movement from the Democrat Party and the Bangkok elite who they ridiculed as “aristocrats.”
Some critics (like the Manager Group here) have been skeptical of Thanathorn’s new party, saying it clearly promises more Red Shirt revolutionary agitation while only being run by mega-rich Thaksin allies.
The cartoonist jokes that Thaksin’s time as a politician multiplied his wealth greatly and that Thanathorn’s time as a politician might do the same.]

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Weekly News Magazines: New Generation Party, March, 2018

From Siamrath Weekly Review, March 16-22, 2018
Main cover reads: Chaotically
Men in the picture, left to right: PM Prayuth, Abhisit, Thaksin
[Refers to the current political situation. Many groups are intensively jockeying for political dominance in the run up to future elections.]

From Matichon Weekly, March 16-22, 2018
Main cover headline: OK Aojao
[Refers to the famous phase from the hit Thai period drama “Bupphesanniwat” (“Love destiny”) “Aojao.” “Aojao” is a pronoun for someone younger than the speaker. This cover illustrates the possibility of PM Prayuth (pictured) who once denied joining the election competition. The article explains that PM Prayuth may use his friend’s new party “People’s State Power Party” to compete in the election. Becoming PM again through being a member of a political party would presumably be preferable to being nominated by a block of MPs from “outside” politics. Such a circumstance led to mass anti-government protests in 1992.]
Right: Seven years of waiting. ‘Bella Ranee’ with a professional performance makes ‘Karaket’ remarkable
[Refers to rising actress Ranee ‘Bella’ Campen (pictured) who has become very famous due to the Thai period drama “Bupphesanniwat” (“Love Destiny”). “Karaket” is the name of her role in the drama.]

From Manager Weekly, March 17-23, 2018
Main cover reads: People-ism [meaning something like “in favor of the people”]
[Refers to businessman Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (pictured) who recently joined politics. He, together with young progressive people, established a new party named “Future Forward Party.”
Thanathorn calls himself “billionaire Phai” who will fight with the elite. “Phai” is an old-style Thai word meaning an ordinary person or a peasant. The word “phai” is frequently used by the Red Shirts to evoke the class warfare of old socialist and communist movements in Thailand and contrast themselves with the Democrat Party and the elite of Bangkok.
Thanathorn announced that he is an ordinary person who wants to fight dictatorship and bring back the democracy in the country.
A media outlet like Manager, opposed to Thaksin, is skeptical and points out Thanathorn is the son of one of Thaksin’s biggest and richest supporters–all part of the most influential elite of Thailand. Thanathorn has also supported repeal of lese majeste laws. Critics would contend that protest against lese majeste laws is connected with opposition groups who use the threat of open opposition and criticism of the monarch as a lever at certain times to pressure the establishment over issues such as amnesty that includes Thaksin.
They claim the new party is yet another that espouses socialist-type politics to appeal to a younger generation, but which will ultimately be directed by Thaksin for his own goals.]
Top left: The world welcomes ‘Old Tiger’ The return of Tiger Woods sends a signal that he is ready to compete in a major game.
[Refers to professional golfer Tiger Woods who seems to be playing like her used to in the first part of his career.]
Right: “Sie Toy-Jae Pong” [red] dominate Nation [black] Keep an eye on a new base for “Lung Kamnan fanclub.”
[Refers to the future of the Nation media group under the management of Sonthiyan Chuenruetai-naitham (nicknamed “Sie Toy”) from TNews after Suthichai Yoon, a founder of the company, was forced out of his role as founder and influential board member of the media company. Anchalee Praireerat (nicknames “Jae Pong” or “elder sister Pong”) will join the Nation team as well. She is known as one of the team leaders of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee secretary (PDRC), an anti-Yingluck group led by Suthep Thaugsuban, known as Lung Kaman (“Lung” is “uncle” and “Kamnan” is head of a village).
Thus, headline means that the Nation is expected to strongly shift to be both anti-Thaksin and pro-military rule as both Sonthiyan and Anchalee are Suthep’s supporters.]
Bottom: Left: #Aojao the whole country! [white] playing a bad role, people hate, playing a good role, people love. [yellow] “Bella-Ranee”
[Refers to rising actress Ranee “Bella” Campen (pictured) who became very famous due to the Thai period drama “Bupphesanniwat” (Love destiny). People praise her acting skill and say she can play in any role–hero or villain. “Aojao” is an old-style pronoun to refer to young people.]
Right: To be continued. Keep watching the direction of digital TV after the case of “Jae Tim-NBTC”
[Refers to TV owner Pantipa Sakulchai (pictured), known as Jae Tim, won the case with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) over digital TV licenses.
The media group that obtained the license was not able to start a network as they agreed and wanted their money back for the unused license. The NBTC not only wanted to keep the deposit, but also wanted to fine the media group for not starting the network.
Such a scenario has happened several times with licensees claiming market conditions changed since the license bidding which makes the digital licenses a bad deal. The NBTC has taken a hard line, attempting to impose hefty fines on licensees who were unable to start the network they paid for.
This case will be a precedent for other TV groups who are unable to start a network as it prevents NBTC from taking punitive measures if media groups do not set up a network and make profits as expected.
“Jae” is a Chinese word meaning elder sister.]

From Lokwannee, March 16-23, 2018
Main cover reads: Young generation party
[Refers to a competition between the old powers and a new generation in the coming election. While the junta is expected to establish a the military party, young billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit formed a new party called “Anakot Mai” or “Future Forward Party.” His party aims to bring the democracy back to the country and get rid of old politics, particularly the military dictatorship.
On the cover, it shows that the junta as a dinosaur on a tank, running over the young generation party. We do not know why the dinosaur’s tail is shortened.]

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Student Hero

From Arun, February 27, 2018
Inside a box on the top: left: Arun’s cartoon [white] Arun Watcharasawad [names of the cartoon column and the cartoonist]
Right: Miss Panida Yotpanya “Student from Mahasarakam University” who discloses the network of corruption of money for the poor
On the sheep: Money for the poor
Caption: Kid helps the sheep (a fable which Aesop hasn’t written yet.)

[Refers to Panida Yotpanya, a student from Mahasarakam University who exposed alleged corruption in projects helping destitute people at a Khon Kaen-based center where she was briefly a trainee.
This led to an investigation in several provincial protection centers for destitute people.
Aesop’s Fables are very well known in Thai education.
In the cartoon, it shows that in this case, the officials are wolves who prey on sheep representing money for the poor much in the manner of an Aesop’s fable.
Panida is considered a very unusual hero as she dared to speak up against the endemic corruption that most Thais simply have to accept.]

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The Junta Parked For Too Long Also

From Thairath, February 27, 2018
Title: Parking for too long
Over the door: Love democracy’s house [something like “Home Sweet Home”]
On the tank from above to below: Thailand Sustainable Project. Social enterprises. Return happiness. [all programs and promises from the military to the people]
On Prayuth’s shirt: Heart of diamond [Prayuth’s nose is like Pinocchio’s for his lie that elections would be held this year]
He is singing the song: Give us some more time… We promise to do as promise. [part of a song written by Prayuth]
On the shirts of people from left to right: People. Want. Elect. tion. [“People want election.”)
Mouse man: Help each other to remove them.
Mouse: [He’s] blocking freedom.

[Yet another cartoon referencing the two angry ladies who were filmed vandalizing an illegally parked vehicle with an ax. The ladies’ action caused a scandal that exposed the city government’s collusion in allowing illegal markets to operate and resulted in a crackdown on the markets.
Here, the incident is drawn to show the military blocking the entrance to the house of democracy and the people asking in unison to attack the military and drive them from power.
Other resent “Mad Auntie” mentions with similar messages:
The Power of the Ax
On the covers of recent news magazines
No One Can Dislodge Prawit!
Another Mad Auntie]

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Thai-style Animal Protection Unit

From Manager, February 25, 2018
Left: Animal protection unit. [showing the much-lauded wildlife protection officers]
Right: Human-like-animal protection unit. [showing Thai police]

[Refers to the case where a tycoon was accused of illegally hunting wildlife. Few believe that he will be held to account for his actions as Thai police have a poor record in bringing the rich to answer for their crimes.]

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I burned the city? When?

From Manager, March 1, 2018
Natthawut says: What… I burned the city? When?
The other speech bubbles read: “I Ten” burned the city. [“I” being an abusive prefix for a male name and “Ten” being the nickname of Natthawut]
Caption: In this whole world… there is only one person who did not know.

[This refers to Red Shirt leader Natthawut and his role in the protests of 2010. We are not sure why the subject matter of the cartoon is being brought up now as most Red Shirt leaders have been silent during this period of military rule.]

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No One Can Dislodge Prawit!

From Manager, February 26, 2018
Man (who represents a Manager cartoonist): These aunties so lucky… they smash a car for a few minute then there are people come to manage the situation. We have been smashing for a month… we don’t even see one dog.
Caption: This smashing group’s action is useless.

[The left of the cartoon shows the incident of two older ladies who were filmed vandalizing an illegally parked vehicle with an ax. The ladies’ action caused a scandal that exposed the city government’s collusion in allowing illegal markets to operate and resulted in a crackdown on the markets.
At right, members of the media have been hacking away at the issue of Deputy PM Prawit’s alleged wealth. Such an issue would have resulted in a cabinet member in an elected government immediately stepping down. However, as a key member of the military junta, Prawit is immune to political pressure to resign even for the good of the government.
Other recent “Mad Auntie” mentions with similar messages:
The Power of the Ax
On the covers of recent news magazines
Another Mad Auntie]

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Not Qualified Enough

From Naewna, February 24, 2018
PM Prayuth: Sorry, all of you have the knowledge and capacity, but not well enough
On the sign: RIP 7 new ECT
Caption: Bury on the stage with a prayer for their funerals.

[Refers to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) which rejected the seven new Election Commissioners of Thailand as they said they were not qualified enough to oversee the election.
Most observers saw this as a clear attempt to stall the mechanisms to have elections.]

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Massaging the Country People

From Thairath, February 22, 2018
Title: Not only massage… but also swing… Everyone likes it.
On a coin bag held by woman: Elder
On a coin bag over the baby: Children
On a man’s shirt: Chatchai
Phi Nooring: Becomes a national issue
Mouse: Return the happiness to the society

[Refers to the junta’s latest development project “Than Niyom Yangyuen” or “Sustainable Thainess.”
This shows Chatchai giving money to the young and old and rocking the baby’s cradle while massaging an elderly woman (massage being a common practice thought to be good for health).
Deputy PM General Chatchai Sarikulya insisted that this project has been welcomed from people as it aims to restore reconciliation, reduce disparity and to make people respect the law with emphasis on equality and fairness. He denied that it is only intended to woo the public support towards the junta.]

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Can you guess the “P”?

From Manager, March 4, 2018
Caption: Can you guess which letter “Po pla” refers to who? [Refers to the names of people starting with the letter “Po pla” or “P” in English.]
1st row left on the paper: New song
[This refers to PM Prayuth who always issues a new song to the public that extols the good intentions of the junta.]
The top middle letter refers to Deputy PM Prawit who is still a top government minister despite suspicious about the sources of his wealth including many luxury watches.
Right: Refers to Anupong Paojinda whose nickname is Pok. He is involved in a scandal over purchasing blimps for use by the military in the deep south.
Bottom left refers to Italian-Thai Development Plc CEO Premchai Karnasuta who is facing charges for illegal hunting in a wildlife sanctuary.
Bottom right refers to school teacher Preecha Kraikruan who was allegedly filing false complaints to the police claiming a lottery win.

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Another Mad Auntie

From Naewna, February 22, 2018
Sudarat: Screaming… Boss makes Pheng park to block the position of the first woman leader of party… not enough, also block the position of the second woman prime minister of Thailand. I will not accept this.
On car: Burn Thai party [this anti-Thaksin party uses this phrase to refer to the Pheu Thai Party and alludes to the fires set in Thailand in 2009 and 2010]
Caption: Be careful..!! the next ill-tempered auntie.

[This cartoon combines two recent news events. First are the “furious aunties” who took a hatchet to an illegally parked vehicle.
In this cartoon, politician Sudarat attacks Thaksin’s car for apparently removing her from contention to lead his party.]

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Promote justice

From Thairath, February 21, 2018
Title: We want to apply.
On the paper held by the judge: Establishment of the Court Marshal
In front of the table: Court of Justice
On the men’s costume from front-back: Zhan Zhao, Wang Chao, Ma Han, Zhao Hu, Zhang Long
Paper held by Bao Zhen: Guarantee by Bao Zheng
Phi Nooring: Promote justice
Mouse: Court police
[Under the junta, the Court Marshal is used for cases related to groups that criticize the junta.
The cartoon shows famous legendary Chinese figures of justice applying to sit on the military’s court. This would supposedly embarrass the court which is thought to function as a rubber stamp of the junta.
Dubbed soap operas showing the life and times of these famous figures of Chinese justice are often shown on Thai TV. It is thought they reflect the desire of Thais to have an ethical, non-corrupt legal system.]

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Choices for Pressuring the Junta

From Naewna, February 19, 2018
Left: A bottle of oil for each. Million people, million bottles to pressure them. [referring to past Red Shirt threats to use Molotov cocktails in their protests]
On the smoke at left: Want to have an election
Right: Don’t over-react. If you dare… burn it. Then, you will have an election as you wish, kids. [this is sarcasm, telling the young protesters that they will be in trouble if they challenge the junta]
Close to the baby: Ja New’s mob
Caption: Want to have an election VS Want to stay longer

[Refers to a pro-election group led by Sirawich “Ja New” Serithiwat, a co-leader of the New Democracy Group which threatened to rally to pressure the junta to have elections this year as promised.
The cartoon claims that Ja New and his supporters are like babies–still innocent.]

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The Power of the Ax

From Manager, February 25, 2018
Above: We have so many of these [tanks]. After three years we still cannot make any reforms.
Below: We only have these [axes]. In only 10 minutes we can reform all the illegal fresh markets in Bangkok.

[This contrasts the might of the military, which seized the government, but still cannot dent the popularity of the parties it overthrew, with two older ladies armed with an ax.
After being filmed vandalizing an illegally parked vehicle, the ladies’ action caused a scandal that exposed the city government’s collusion in allowing illegal markets to operate.
This seems to be a lesson that violent or precipitous action caught on camera can lead to results.
Other examples of this contrast were on the covers of recent news magazines.]

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Once they open their months, then we can see their uvulas

From Manager, February 19, 2018
Man: Want to have an election
Caption: Once they open their months, then we can see their uvulas.

[Refers to Thai idiom “Once someone opens his mouth, then we can see his uvula” meaning that once they speak even a little bit, but we know what their hidden intentions.
This cartoonist illustrates the belief that when protesters or politicians say they want to have an election, it is because they are speaking on behalf of Thaksin.
This also illuminates the motives of those who tolerate the junta despite their corruption and ineptitude. They might feel that a return of Thaksin to power ultimately represents a greater threat of dictatorship and freedom of the press than military rules does.]

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Omen of the Broken Lotus Vase

From Manager, February 18, 2018
Caption: This one is the strongest… even if it is hit by a car a thousand times, it isn’t broken.

[Refers to a lotus vase in the Government House house which was found broken. Such an incident is regarded as bad luck for the future of the junta as the lotus vases were installed on the grounds to enhance the junta’s fortunes based on the Chinese beliefs.
More on Thai belief in omens
The cartoon shows a vase with the face of embattled Deputy PM Prawit. Despite multiple damaging scandals he has been involved in, there is no way to remove him from his government post.]

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Trump’s nominee to lead CIA previously ran a secret prison

Trump’s nominee to lead CIA previously ran a secret prison that tortured terror suspects – nydailynews.com, March 13, 2018
…By 2005, she was working at CIA headquarters in Langley and ordered the Thailand black site torture videos destroyed, the New York Times reported last year.
But the agency, which didn’t immediately return a request for comment, maintains her boss, Jose Rodriguez, ordered the tapes destroyed – not Haspel.
The FBI investigated the tapes’ destruction, and no one was ever charged. President Obama closed the black sites in 2009 after he took office…

Or not: Media backtracking on Haspel’s involvement in secret Thailand base
…The New York Times, for example, appended corrections both to a news story about Haspel and an editorial printed on Thursday, “Having a Torturer Lead the CIA.” The Times said it had relied on its own reporting, and said in its correction that a “former senior CIA official” had confirmed that Haspel had arrived after the interrogation was complete.
The AP on Friday issued a correction to its own stories from Tuesday and Wednesday about Haspel. The AP said that it “suggested” she oversaw the Thailand prison at the time Zubaydah was waterboarded, but that the CIA now would not confirm any details about Haspel’s role in his treatment. The AP also wrongly reported that Hansel oversaw the prison between the years 2003 and 2005…

Past posts on the Thai secret prison

2003: Cat’s Eye: News on the Secret Thai Prison
2003: Bangkok denies report of al-Qaeda interrogations at base
2004: Washington Post: Thaksin is an undemocratic leader tolerated only because he follows U.S. orders
2005: The accusation about a secret prison and criticism of Matichon
2006: “We have no secret cell to hold terrorists” FM

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Breathe no smog

From Daily News, February 20, 2018
Title: Nowadays
From left to right: Close the ears. Close the eyes. Close the mouth. Close the nose. (smog is more than standard)

[Refers to “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” which adds something like “breathe no smog.”]

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Prayuth starting to smell

From Manager, February 21, 2018
Suthep: Khun Paiboon, what should we do… he is starting to smell…!!
Paiboon: Exactly…when we first started to carry him, he was very fresh.
On the sign behind Prayuth: We support PM Prayuth to be PM one more time.
Caption: The porters are feeling uncertain.

[Paiboon Nititawan is a junta insider who has founded a political party-supposedly to support military candidates.
Suthep likewise is forming a political entity to support PM Prayuth.
Such moves did not seem unwise after several years of relative popularity by a junta that continually painted elected politicians as compromised and not as good as the patriotic military.
However, a series of scandals–and the government’s inability to deal with them–has led to a stunning collapse of public faith in the junta and military rule in general.]

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Dissenters are being hunted

From Thairath, February 17, 2018
Title: Hunters in the concrete jungle
On shirt of running man at top: People
On his sign: Want the election
On sign held by running woman: Want elections
On sign held by running man at bottom: Want elections
PM Prayuth on the right holds a sign that reads: Human rights. Thailand first.
On sign held by man behind Prayuth: Do not want the election
Mouse man: Human rights for people who think differently.
Mouse: People, not black tiger.

[This cartoon shows the apparent attitude of the military junta that seems to want to delay elections as long as possible and, in the meantime, stamping out dissent to its rule.
The cartoon references the recent apprehension of the executive of a major company allegedly hunting protected animals, including a black panther. The cartoonist likens this to the police hunting down dissenter to continued military rule.]

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