From Manager, May 8, 2018
On sign above doorway: Buriram Brothel
Man at right (considering the content of the cartoon, it must be Thaksin): Did he know… you are very dangerous… whoever sleeps with you, they will die?
Newin (as a prostitute): Yes… But maybe he’s unconscious…
Caption: After finishing their affairs
[Refers to the political alliance between PM Prayuth and rural kingpin Newin. Recently, PM Prayuth visited Newin’s hometown in Buriram province and vowed to give the area a lot of support and infrastructure projects.
PM Prayuth’s alliance with one of the most notorious of politicians raised eyebrows since the junta has constantly touted that their motives are better than that of politicians. This public show of support from Newin occurred when other political parties were banned from organizing so cries of unfairness were also raised. Predictably, the government denied any political deal was made.
This reemergence of Newin into the political equation ended a long period of isolation for him after he was hounded from political life after betraying Thaksin’s alliance to allow a Democrat-led coalition to form in 2008. This fateful move prevented new elections and stalled Thaksin’s political return to power for years. This meant the political party Thaksin directed was locked out of the spoils of government. It also meant that military commanders would be appointed who would bitterly oppose his return to power for years to come.
The dire nature of being blocked from power in 2008 led to the necessity of forming the Red Shirt movement and then both the 2009 and 2010 occupations of Bangkok in a desperate attempt to cause the government to fail. This was both to trigger new elections and forestall the appointment of anti-Thaksin military leaders.
Newin himself, like several other rural kingpins, has been responsible for joining and leaving governments over apparently selfish and greedy reasons. The cartoon notes that Thaksin “died” because Newin betrayed him and anyone who allies with Newin can expect the same.
Newin’s reemergence into politics–particularly in supporting an arch-foe of Thaksin–demonstrates an apparent weakness in Thaksin. The Red Shirts were able to ensure, for nearly 10 years, that Newin remained officially retired from politics. His overt political alliance with Prayuth must certainly reflect expectations that Thaksin will not be allowed to control another government in the future and that his influence in the country is on the wane. (More about Newin Chidchob)
In the cartoon, Newin says “But maybe he’s unconscious…” This refers to PM Prayuth’s action to ally with any group that opposes or blocks Thaksin without concern about their often incredibly venal political backgrounds. Again, this is a huge contrast to the junta’s boasts that they have purer motives than the elected.
It is also interesting to note that Thai cartoonists are not squeamish about referencing prostitution, HIV, sex, and even rape in their works.]