This year’s Songkran goddess


From Thairath, April 13, 2014
Cartoon title: This year’s Songkran goddess
Top left: Riding in a wheelchair pushed by the Eel on a skateboard
Bottom left: Left foot was in a cast in a splint, some days!
Bottom right: Left hand holds script when giving convincingly beautiful speeches
Right top: Wearing earphone to receive the voice from the foreign land [‘the voice’ is Thaksin Shinawatra, brother of Yingluck, who actually directs the government from overseas]
Right middle: Her dress is decorated with gemstones while wearing the world peace necklace [refers to peace symbols used by the Red Shirts, perhaps ironically as in the Thai world, protest is always accompanied by a threat that violence should be expected if the protesters are not placated]
Right bottom: Right hand playing Facebook to counter-attack the constitutional court [refers to Pheu Thai Party statements on Facebook warning the courts not to rule against it]

[This shows PM Yingluck, who recently was confined to a wheelchair after a minor injury, being pushed Banharn Silapa-acha, defacto head of a powerful political faction represented by the Chartthaipattana Party.
Banharn is know as “the eel” for his ability to quickly switch political sides, as when he publicly vowed before Bangkok’s Emerald Buddha never to again join with a Thaksin-controlled party–right before joining just such a coalition. He is also know as “Mr. ATM” for his use of money to create and maintain alliances.
Banharn is significant now because the ultimate goal of the last six months of protest is to create the impression Thaksin will never be allowed to return to political power and thus create political fractures that would cause the Yingluck-led government to disintegrate. Getting Banharn and his political block to defect is a key part of this plan. Banharn, of course, knows this and has used this knowledge to force the Pheu Thai Party to be particularly solicitous to him and his party.
The cartoon refers to Yingluck’s visit to Suphanburi Province, Banharn’s turf. Remaining in her wheelchair, Banharn pushed her around to tour his hometown and main political base.
“Songkran Goddess” refers to illustrated images used every year to portray a heavenly goddess who represents the spirit of Songkran.]

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