From Thairath, September 12, 2015
Caption: How to invite people to dinner
Thai editorial cartoonist Sia taken by military for “attitude adjustment” – Manager, October 4, 2015
[Sia (also written as “Zia”) is one of our favorites and we have translated and attempted to explain dozens of his cartoons.
At one point he was not an openly partisan cartoonist. He was usually supportive of Thaksin during his time as PM. However, by the time the Red Shirts were at their peak of street activity in 2009-2010, he had became adamantly pro-Thaksin, often producing a nearly identical cartoon daily.
He added a caricature of Red Shirt activist Sombat Boongamanong at the edge of his cartoons, often to call for human rights and reform.
He often cheered on the Red Shirts to actively fight against those who attempted to overthrow the Yingluck-led Pheu Thai government. His cartoon messages often coincided with major Red Shirt street activities, such as in 2013 when the Red Shirts surrounded and threatened to overrun the courts to replace the justices with their own appointees.
These cartoons extolled the Red Shirt cause and alleged that the “aristocrats” of the country enjoy harming the peasants. This one-tone message elicited accusations that he was under the pay of Thaksin.
Later, Sia occasionally chided the Pheu Thai government for putting the Thaksin cause above justice for the Red Shirts, but he remained, for the most part, solidly pro-Thaksin and strongly supportive of the former Yingluck-led government.
Since the coup, Sia has often targeted Gen. Prayuth with allegations that he seeks to end populist programs and wants to raise the salaries of bureaucrats at the expense of poor farmers. He also promoted the Red Shirt line that the military was intent on cutting or eliminating health coverage for the poor in order to buy submarines.
From Thairath, October 3, 2015
It has been reported that the cartoon above triggered the military to force Sia into its mandatory “attitude adjustment” (translation coming soon).
The military sees this exercise of attitude adjustment as simply pressuring those it believes are in the pay of Thaksin. The public spectacle of these military summons are meant to prove to the Thai political world that the military has the fortitude to face down Thaksin–and that public or international opinion will not sway them. It is meant to show politicians it is safe to break from Shinawatra family control.
Of course, the military has had setback after setback in this plan and has not seemed at all firm or even in control as it tried to strip Thaksin of his rank. It also backed down on a number of hard-line initiatives like the single internet gateway plan.
This is why Thaksin and his allies feel confident now to simply wait out the military, return their party to power after the next elections, and then begin again on the identical plan they embarked upon after the People Power Party and the Pheu Thai came to power–rewrite the constitution and create an amnesty for Thaksin. In response, the military is using any pretext to stall their handover of power.]
Notable Sia Cartoons
How to make Thai people agree with the constitution
It should be about what can be given to the poor
Rubber bullets? But why did people die?
Changing the cabinet… observe the shoes
Bad luck for Thai people, just like the Uighurs
Red and Yellow cartoonists agree on the submarine issue (and here)
Dig happiness out of the poor
Prayuth won’t be able to stop the people from loving Thaksin
The courts destroy the country
To protect democracy, we must have an election
Only the election can beat the devils
Sending a fighter to heaven
Blowing whistles to mobilize those whose blood spills into their eyes
Thaksin Convicted Because He Refused to Give a Bribe?
Freeing the Political Prisoners: “Amnesty… amnesty… amnesty… amnesty… amnesty…”
Red Shirts and Yingluck release the prisoners!
Amend the constitution immediately!
Amend the constitutional fast while we can!
2Bangkok.com Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.