From Manager, October 12, 2020
Khana Ratsadon 2563: We will allow the royal cars to pass… but we will show three fingers to welcome them!!!
Man: Hum…So itchy!
[Refers to the anti-royalist group Khana Ratsadon 2563 announcing their plan to hold the rally on Oct 14, 2020 at Democracy Monument which was a route for the royal cars as well. The group assured authorities that they would not interrupt the royal cars, but they would show the three finger salute as their symbol to call for democracy.
Such actions are unprecedented and the cartoonist contends that such a salute towards royalty would upset supporters of the monarchy. Here a supporter of the monarchy has an itchy foot which symbolizes that he wants to kick or otherwise take violent action against the protesters.]
From Manager, October 12, 2020
From Manager, October 16, 2020
Anon: We stop the protest now!
Sparrow: What… I haven’t drank any water!!
Caption: Sparrow getting confused (again)
[Refers to Thai proverb “a sparrow hasn’t drunk any water yet” meaning a thing is quickly finished. Most often, this expression is used to humorous comment on a man’s premature ejaculation.
This cartoon thus is strongly sarcastic about the current anti-government protest led by human rights lawyer Anon and their short protests and flash mobs to pressure the government.
The joke here is indicative of typical Thai humor, perhaps not really funny to outsiders, that hinges on wordplay based on idioms or proverbs.
The cartoonist is mocking the protesters’ tactics as they diverge from how protest is thought to be best conducted.
Thai protest over the years has usually been characterized by long sieges designed to provoke the authorities into messy and violent actions after which protesters can demand the government step down for hurting the people.
However, the short protests of the students simply show their numbers and establish the right to protest before dispersing. Such protests break the mold of how it is thought protest should be conducted–with weeks or even months of well-financed sieges meant to paralyze movement in an area and ensure a showdown.
Even the students’ continual exhortations to be nonviolent are unusual. Typically, Thai protests are conducted under the “I was forced to do this shameful thing (protest) by you” concept. Then daily threats of arson and looting are made by leaders using the typical saying that protesters can do anything and “I will take responsibility.”
The use of water cannons on the students also did not result in a normal course of events. Afterwards, the students once again ended the protest while affirming their nonviolence. This caused surprise in the Thai media where pundits expected a more traditional response such as “we are now free to attack you because you attacked us” and “we will sit here for months and dare you to do more.”]
From Manager, October 12, 2020
Left, Thanathorn: That’s the way… Going up and staying there. It is more fun…
Caption: When goes up…
Right, Penguin: How do we go down?
Caption: When want to go down…
[Refers to the royalist reform group “Khana Ratsadon 2563” led by Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul and Jatupat Boonpattararaksa.
The cartoonist implies that Thanathorn’s group including Piyabutr and Somsak are behind the Khana Ratsadon 2563 (and its subsequent incarnations) and wish to promote the of having another revolution like the Siamese Revolution in 1932–or at least apply extreme political pressure to the military-dominated government while protesting themselves.
The cartoon criticizes Thanathorn’s group for using student protesters to achieve their goals without caring about the consequences to the students who are being encouraged to protest.]
From Manager, October 6, 2020
Piyabutr: Hit it!… Tyrant King… Abuse the people!!!
On the grave: Louis XVI 1793
Penguin: He does not dare to hit directly.
[Refers to former Future Forward Party leader Piyabutr who has promoted lectures on the crimes of the French monarchy and the history of the French Revolution. This is somewhat like how Red Shirts once promoted studies of similar historical events and assassinations. All are ways to skirt local laws that prevent one from directly threatening the monarchy.
The cartoonist shows how times have changed. Now student activists like Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak are leading protests that openly demand changing the legal status of the monarchy. They also draw parallels between their protests and the 1932 revolution that overthrew the monarchy.
Meanwhile politicians like Piyabutr, whatever their private opinions, have to carefully hide their true intentions as they are part of the system of political parties and tycoons. These groups use talk of the French Revolution to pressure and threaten the establishment, but their true goals are more likely political pressure and control of government.
The cartoonist ridicules Piyabutr’s pantomime of outrage as he dares not show his real intention or be as brave as the students activists.]
From Naewna, October 6, 2020
Title: Prayuth’s dictatorship gets out.
[This pro-government cartoon criticizes disbarred Future Forward Party MP Thanatorn for being a thug–likening him to a Nazi.
Typically enemies of Thanatorn and his movement claim that he wishes an overthrow of the monarchy and the installation of a socialist or communist regime.
Here, the use of a swastika is in keeping with the tradition of smearing someone one does not like or who does agree with as a Nazi regardless of their actual ideology.]
From Thairath, October 3, 2020
Title: A tool of cruel power
On the constitution held by PM Prayuth and Election Commission chief Ittiporn: My rules.. from the constitution’ 60. Whatever we do, there is nothing wrong. [meaning the former junta wrote the charter and seems to never fall afoul of Election Commission rulings]
On the Election Commission chief’s suit: EC; Orange card; Yellow card; Red card; Black card
On the party members’ back and on signs close to them: MPs; Against the government; Opposition Party; Dissolve the party; Deprive of MP’s rights
Phi Nooring: Destroy the democratic-side political parties
Mouse: Draft a new constitution
[Refers to the current constitution written during the military-dominated government. This constitution has been criticized as the tool for extending the junta’s power to become the current elected government. In the cartoon, the government together with the Election Commission (EC) uses the constitution as the tool to destroy the opposition.]
From Naewna, October 1, 2020
Title: Old whiskey in the old bottle.
On the bottles: PT
[Refers to Thaksin’s ex-wife Potjaman’s recent action in reorganizing the Pheu Thai (PT) Party to distance the party from protests which increasingly target the monarchy.
This cartoon refers to the Thai proverb “old wine in new bottle” or “old whiskey in new bottle” (literally “old alcohol/liquor in new bottle”). This phrase is usually used to ridicule political party reorganizations which merely shuffle around the same old power families, tycoons and mafia groups that have controlled politics for decades.
However, in this cartoon, the cartoonist uses the phrase “old whiskey in the old bottle” implying that the Pheu Thai Party barely being shuffled and nothing is changing.]
From Thairath, October 1, 2020
Title: Invoke a ghost… causing the kids to be confused or seek assistance
On the wall: Operation of the IO from people’s taxes
Paper held by PM Prayuth: Extend the power [referring to the constitution which has allowed the military to remain in power after elections]
His officer on the left yelling: To discredit the university and high school students people
His officer on the right yelling: Threaten; Spreading the news; Make people divided
Papers held by the students: 1 Dream; 2 Standpoints; 3 Demands
Phi Nooring: People know about it and won’t believe.
Mouse: Good at using the wrong means’
[Refers to how PM Prayuth uses to handle with the September 19 protest led by ‘Free People’ student group.
This cartoon ridicules the government contention that Thaksin was behind the protest. Therefore, the cartoon uses Thai idom “provoke the ghost” meaning trying to bring up an old story to scare people.
The cards held by the students refer to their demands. Initially the protesters announce three “demands” (stop threatening people, draft a new constitution and dissolve the parliament), two “standpoints” (no coup and no national government) and one “dream” (The King is under the constitution.)
Unfortunately for the opposition, the protest was overshadowed by a focus on frank talk about the monarchy and demands for its reform. Overseas protests held at the same time were even more confrontational.
Thus opposition hopes for a laser focus on a charter rewrite were dashed and the government blamed Thaksin and the Pheu Thai for the controversial content of the protest.
More on the September 19 protests and reorganization of the Pheu Thai leadership]
October 14 is the anniversary of the 1973 democracy movement that overthrew the “Three Tyrants:” Thanom, Praphas, and Narong
First stirrings of a passive population: …The salary of the Prime Minister at that time was Bt120,000 and the population was 39 million. Local newspapers still referred to Thais of Chinese ancestry as Khon Chine, while Thailand was trying to resume diplomatic relations with Red China after US President Nixon decided to befriend the Maoist state…
The news from 30 years ago: …A Daily News columnist pen-named Nui Bangkokthian suggested that Thais might conclude after the regime had taken this action that: “Students are still young and it’s better that they not meddle in politics. They should let adults handle it while they concentrate on their studies so they will have secure jobs afterward. And that should be it…”
Daily News, October 14, 1974
Absolute power in 1973: …If you broke the law back in 1973, you risked having the prime minister on your case – personally judging and sentencing you, as four military conscription officers discovered to their cost…
2010: “There were dead on 14 October 1973” and “There were dead on 10 April 2010” The 1973 memorial is at Kokwua intersection where a gun and grenade battle broke out between Red Shirts and soldiers in 2010
Kris Srivara: …Narong personally shot into the crowds from a helicopter. Thanom and Praphas resigned from their political roles, but continued to lead the military. They ordered more troops to confront the remaining demonstrators, but were blocked by Krit…
An editorial cartoon from 2013: Thai people 40 years ago would not understand Thai people nowadays
Earlier this month: October 6, 1976: A Nightmare of Lynching and Burning
Earlier this month: October 6, 1976 Student Massacre Remembered in ‘Politics-free’ Commemoration
From Manager, September 30, 2020
Potjaman: This is my building… I can paint with any color… If you don’t like, then get out!!
On the building: PT party
Caption: The servants will not dare to fight.
[The message of the September 19 protest, commemorating the 15-year anniversary of Thaksin’s ouster, was somehow overshadowed by a small student group intent on pushing the boundaries of free speech and reforming the monarchy. This has led to a reform of the major opposition party leadership to ensure that important protests in the future are not diverted from their goals.
The cartoonist refers to the recent actions of Thaksin’s ex-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra leading the reorganization of the Pheu Thai party’s executive positions. She has become the Pheu Thai’s de facto leader in charge of the party’s decision-making.
Recently, Potjaman and her family donated a hospital vehicle to the King. Her action is believed to be a signal showing that the party respects the royal family after some party members openly attended the September 19 protests which focused on criticizing the monarchy.
The cartoonist shows her repainting the party headquarters the color yellow which has been used to symbolize support for the monarchy. She is painting over the color red, which is the color of communism and revolution. In the years after his ouster from power, Thaksin organized retired former communists to be core of his opposition muscle, the Red Shirts. This was to imply that he was willing to unleash even revolution in his search for justice and return to politics. However, this was always just leverage to force the hand of those who would keep him from power.
More on the September 19 protests and reorganization of the Pheu Thai leadership]
From Thairath, September 25, 2020
Title: So happy because we are the owner of the world’s luxury hotel
On the island: Sri Panwa Phuket
Paper held by Labor Minister Suchart: The Social Security Office holds 22.6% of the shares.
On his suit: Labor
On signs held by people: Where does my social security fund go?; Lost job; Help; Ask for “remittance” not a “beggar;” Invest the fund immediately; Delay causes the members to be in trouble
Phi Nooring: Did you do it secretly?
Mouse: The investment fund must be transparent.
[Refers to the disclosure that the Social Security Office (SSO) invested the social security fund in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust (SRIPANWA) including the Sri Panwa hotel in Phuket.
Recently, there is a call made by the anti-government groups to boycott Sri Panwa Hotel after its owner strongly criticized one of the student activists who criticized the monarchy.
Then, news was revealed that the SSO has a stake in the hotel. Labor Minister Suchart later confirmed that the social security fund has various investments in line with the SSO regulation and that some some were risky, but it is like a government bond. We are not sure the exact meaning of this, but we think it is like the concept of the government is saying do not worry as the government never loses in their investments as they print the money.
The cartoon implies this is the wrong usage of the money and shows struggling workers demanding they be provided for.]
From Manager, September 25, 2020
Hun Sen: You said that you want to reform the Royal Institution… I did succeed at that a long time ago!
On the bottle: Institution.
Caption: Hun Sen’s model
[The cartoonist notes the how Hun Sen has neutered the Cambodia monarchy, reducing it to a remote and powerless body under his firm control. This mirrors his mastery of all the other parts of the Cambodian state, leaving he (and his family) as unchallenged dictators.
The idea behind this cartoon is the Thai concept of the monarchy as a last arbiter, respected by all, of intractable disputes. Underlying this are Thai notions of the peace of the metaphorical village and the desire of all to achieve this, along with a distaste for open protest. Of course, there is a lot more to it than just these points, and this sort of system can be unjust, but this is the broadest explanation of it.
The U.N. followed this outline when reconstructing the Cambodian state in the early 1990s, reinstalling the Cambodian monarchy as just such a unifying symbol that might assure the peace of the nation during political deadlocks.
Hen Sen, however, proved too ruthless for any of the framework envisioned by the U.N. to stand.
The cartoonist seems to suggest that if Thailand followed the desires of the student protesters, the monarchy would end up as the powerless property of venal politicians or dictators.]
From Manager September 24, 2020
PM Prayuth: The mob did not create any damage to me at all.
[The cartoonist notes that the government came out of the September 19 protests unscathed. However, the monarchy, personified as the sky, was relentlessly pilloried by protests both in Thailand and overseas. It suggests that the government is glad the monarchy issue seemed to almost entirely divert attention from their own shortcomings.
This round of protests was no doubt calculated to happen during the depths of economic despair and when public faith in the sincerity of the government in tackling corruption is at an all-time low.
Much to the PM Prayuth’s relief, the original three-point demands of the opposition were overtaken–perhaps hijacked–by student groups trying to focus on reform of the monarchy instead.
The protest turnout was estimated by the AP at 20,000 (which cleverly hedged this by adding “while people were still arriving”). Contrast this with the nonsensical reporting at other foreign media outlets such as Foreign Policy that informs international readers that “hundreds of thousands of protestors” have taken to the streets and that the protests are spreading. It is probably no wonder that conspiratorially minded Thais see subterfuge in the breathless and inaccurate reporting of these publications.
The protest ended up being well below any numbers that politicians would feel they would need to react to. The nature of the controversial frank talk on the monarchy also distracted from getting out any wider message of dictatorship and intimidation that would focus on the sitting government.
A week later, the promised move to amend the charter was delayed. While normally in the Thai world all such things are put down to procedural issues, officials spoke frankly that the protesters did not show enough firepower to really pressure the government–implying they did not have to accede to any pressure for reform.
While it continues to be argued that such a dismissive response could backfire and lead to larger demonstrations, the September 19 protests remain a missed opportunity for the opposition.
All of this is part of the recent implosion of the Pheu Thai Party leadership. The party shakeup is due to several factors, but there is little doubt that Thaksin, from afar, considers the opposition as his to manage. The September 19 protest was scheduled to commemorate the date of Thaksin’s ouster and was to focus on the injustice of the charter and the dictatorship of the military-dominated government.
The government initially acceded to the demands for charter change and set up a panel. Of course, they would have tried to stall it, but such a public acknowledgement that the charter should be changed demonstrated their weakness.
Thus, it must have been infuriating that the opposition’s initially perfect plan–their three-point demands focusing on charter change–could have been scuttled by an obscure student group with a focus on the monarchy. It is no wonder that a purge of the top brass of the Pheu Thai Party was in order to make sure its leadership will be able to direct protest “outrage” towards concrete political goals and ensure any new student movement directs its efforts towards supporting opposition efforts to gain control of government again.]
From Thairath, September 22, 2020
Phi Nooring: Stop dictators
Mouse: 3 P’s must get out.
On hands from left to right: University students, students, People, Free People
On the plaque: Khana Ratsadon memorial plaque
On the bag: Spend the budget freely [No doubt referring to military mega purchases, such as submarines.]
Caption: Bury those 3 P’s deeply
[On September 20, 2020, a protesters in Sanam Luang installed a 2020 memorial plaque at the rally site to replace the missing Khana Ratsadon memorial plaque placed by those who conducted a coup in 1932 that overthrew the absolute monarchy.
The 3 P’s are PM Prayuth, Deputy PM Prawit (whose nickname is Pom) and Deputy PM Anupong (whose nickname is Pok). This is meant to mirror the “three tyrants” that student protesters managed to unseat during protests in 1973.
Like other editorial cartoons supporting the protests, this downplays the focus on the monarchy at the protests which overshadowed other issues.]
From Manager, September 15, 2020
On the trashcan: Report of the case of Boss by Vicha Mahakun
On the table: Prime Minister
Caption: Must it end up here?
[Refers to the controversial hit-and run case of Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya. After an outcry from the public, PM Prayuth appointed a special committee led by Vicha Mahakun to investigate the dropping of the charges against Boss.
The investigation found injustice and corruption in this case. However, many people are afraid that there will be no further action to deal with “Boss” and the death of the police officer he allegedly caused. It is feared the committee was only established to reduce the public’s criticism.
As the fragile coalition government is under intense economic pressure as well as experiencing protests by monarchy reforms activists, they have to tread carefully and cannot afford to anger the nation’s tycoons. These tycoons are too big to serve time in prison anyway, but also create a fantastic issue to rile the public over the military government’s unfulfilled promises to reform the nation’s police and justice systems.]
From Thairath, September 18, 2020
Title: Agitate yourself and go crazy.
Kaewsan: Those kids are agitated. Violent… I’m very afraid.
On hands from from top to bottom: Stop intimidating people. Draft a new constitution. Dissolve parliament and have a new election. [These are the original three demands from the demonstrators before other protest groups moved the focus to the monarchy.]
Phi Nooring: Those kids comes to show their three fingers and you are afraid of it.
Mouse: Narrow-minded adult
[Refers to former vice dean of Thammasat university Kaewsan Atibodhi calling on the university not to allow the student protests organized by the United Front of Thammasat and Democracy to use the university for their protest on September 19, 2020.
Kaewsan is part of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, a group that has agitated against the influence of Thaksin and his family in Thai politics and was instrumental in staging large protests that helped topple the government in 2014.
The cartoon downplays the actual reason for the university’s desire to now want the protest on university grounds. The university was opposed to the protest because the protester’s original 3-point political demands had been overshadowed by those calling for a reform of the monarchy.
This cartoon is sarcastic with Kaewsan’s reaction towards the student protest as Thammasat has long been the center of anti-dictatorship and anti-government protests.]
From Manager, September 23, 2020
Left, at the top of the photo: Military group who initially changed the political regime
Left caption: Khana Ratsadon
Right: Khana Rieyrad
[Refers to the September 19, 2020 protest organized by the United Front of Thammasat and Democracy. It was dominated by unprecedented talk challenging the prerogatives of the monarchy.
This cartoon ridicules the group for trying to mimic the actions and style of the military when it overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932.
In particular, at the end of their protest, they installed a memorial plaque commemorating their own symbolic coup at the rally site. It was already removed by the next morning. Pro-government figures thought this to be ironic as the students claimed they were a new generation who would change the future of the country. However, they harked back to the coups of the past conducted by military men who ushered in decades of dictatorship.
Opponents jokingly labeled them “Khana Rieyrad” as they are not like Khana Ratsadon–the clique of ambitious military men who conducted the 1932 coup. “Khana Rieyrad” means something like “messy group” perhaps not only alluding to their old-fashioned tactics, but also their sometimes slovenly appearance in contrast to the military men of the past that their tactics were meant to emulate.]
From Thairath, September 9, 2020
Title: Fight with many groups
On paper held by navy man: Sue. Pending purchase. Really a G-to-G [purchase]
On a man’s suit at left: Finance [Ministry]
On train coming out of the man’s stomach: Extend concession for 40 years
On a man in center: Yuthapong
Phi Nooring: The real corruption buster
Mouse: Pull out an intestine.
[Refers to Pheu Thai MP Yuthapong Charasathien who disclosed controversial issues about the navy’s submarine procurement from China and the extension of Green Line of the Skytrain by the Ministry of Finance. In both cases it is alleged the deals are not exactly as stated to the public as the military is apparently desperate to find any way to complete the deals while it is in power.
This cartoon refers to Thai proverb “pulling out an intestine” meaning disclosing all the hidden information.]
Not stop Thai economy
Build the nation
[This is the government campaign calling on Thais to help fight COVID-19 without stopping economic activity that can impact the economy.]
From Manager, September 8, 2020
On the board: Seeking the truth of Boss’ case.
Left: Finally… there is one big guy… who makes the justice system worsen.
Right: …He is this man… who has been in power for 6 years, but does not reform the police and the justice system.
Caption: Khun Vicha… forgets one person [meaning he forgot to put one person on his chart–PM Prayuth]
[Refers to the hit-and-run murder case involving Red Bull scion Vorayuth Yoovidhya. As this involves a wealthy tycoon, it seems the suspect has been able to dodge any consequences in the case, even getting the military-dominated government to completely drop the charges.
After a public outcry, Vichan Mahakun was appointed by the PM to investigate the controversy of the dropping of the charges.
The cartoonist shows the Vichan employing the typical tact of using charts to show criminal conspiracies between various figures. PM Prayuth is then blamed for not reforming the police and justice system as was once promised.
After the 2014 coup, the military promised bold reforms that would have never been implemented by the major political parties. For example from 2014: The era of the independent (and politicized) Thai police is over, Dissolution of the Royal Thai Police and Junta reverses course: No reform of the Royal Thai Police
However, as time passed, there seemed to be a switch in the military perception. It became clear they were becoming confident that a system could be devised where they could maintain power after elections. The formerly bold reforms were abandoned as the focus shifted to maintaining good relations and acquiescence from bodies that were earlier pegged for reform–such as the Thai police.]
Sanam Luang has long been the site of nearly every major protest. Thus, those with longer memories might have been perplexed by the claims of local authorities that Sanam Luang was off limits to protesters as it was a “royal ground.”
Attempts to fence off the park or diminish its role in protest in the past have been hotly contested. The 1991-era junta had a plan to fence it off and, during Thaksin’s time as PM, a plan to relocate the Thammasat campus was criticized as an attempt to remove students from the area and thus limit protest in the adjacent park.
More from 2011: Fencing Off Sanam Luang
From Naewna, September 16, 2020
On the cloud: Tropical storm ‘Noul’ is expected to hit Thailand during 18-20 September
On the sign: 19 September Occupied!! Sanam Luang [meaning students have vowed to occupy Sanam Luang for their protest]
Caption: Be careful… the punishment from nature!!!
[Refers to the youth protest on September 19 at Sanam Luang. At the same, weather reports are warning people of the tropical storm Noul.
The cartoonist portrays the students as buffaloes, an insult to imply they are stupid followers. The pig is meant to represent monarchy reform leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak.
The “joke” here is that the tropical storm is a punishment for the students daring to confront the monarchy over issues of reform and by protesting on the royal grounds of Sanam Luang (although many key protests have been conducted there over the years and only in recent times has it been fenced off).]
From Manager, September 16, 2020
Left: Today the global number of Covid cases… increases more than a hundred thousand…
Caption: The world problem
Right: Today the number of democratically-addicted people increases by more than a hundred thousand…
Caption: …in Thailand
[Refers to the surge in public support for democratic reforms in Thailand. This cartoon ridicules this, contending that the issue is not important at this time when the world is struggling with the pandemic.
For the opposition to the government, it is likely seen as the perfect time for protest, at the depths of economic distress, when the military-dominated government might be more receptive to pressure.]
From Naewna, From September 14, 2020
Penguin: I will turn the world over and overthrow the country.
Capton: Big Guin is really bigger than the country.
[Refers to the leader of student protests Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak who is accused of being hugely overconfident in leading his group to reform the monarchy.]
From Manager September 14, 2020
Left: What do you feed him? Why, it grows up bigger than the country.
[Refers the leader of student protests, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak.
Parit and his reform group met at the U.S. embassy in the past and were photographed with the U.S. ambassador being served cheesecake.
Some in the media have claimed that these meetings prove that Penguin’s monarchy reform group is supported by the U.S. government and that the U.S. government wishes to replace Thailand’s present system of government with a republic.
The U.S. embassy has denied they are specifically supporting Parit and contend they just periodically meet with various groups from Thai society.
Photos of Parit at the embassy meetings have been mocked in the Thai media for the cheesecake aspect, poking fun at Parit’s girth. This is compared in the cartoon to his alleged overconfidence in taking on a subject like reforming the monarchy.]
From Arun, September, 2020
This shows students on the constitution plinth erasing parts they want to get rid of–such as the part of the charter that allows appointed senators to cast their vote in the election of the prime minister.
The cartoon refers to the famous “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” photo to express the dedication and struggle of the students.
From Thairath, August 19, 2020
Title: Kids are the result of the 12 Thai values [meaning that the 12 values that the government promoted, but did not follow itself, are being followed by children who are pointing out the rot in the government]
Prayuth on TV: We will follow our promise… give us time and it won’t take too long.
Nataphol: Preed [the sound of a whistle blowing]… Be careful. Don’t be divisive.
On his shirt: Education Minister
On teacher’s skirt: Threaten the students
Mouse: Don’t want a dictator
[This shows the government and schools threatening young people due to their different political perspectives. Education Minister Nataphol talked with the students to hear their voices on the current conflict, but he is known as pro-military and supported the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDR) to overthrow Yingluck’s government during the last coup.
The junta has promoted 12 core Thai values for a stronger nation. This cartoonist is sarcastic about government sincerity. For example, according to the cartoon, PM Prayuth did not keep his promises after taking power, asking people to be patient and the junta would clear up all problems before returning power to the people. However, he still remains in power and his rule has been beset by many obvious instances of corruption.]
From Manager, August 8, 2020
Sudarat, pointing to PM Prayuth: Hey!… Wrong target!! Auntie supports you guys to overthrow him!!
Caption: Being close friends with the kids for building a house.
[The cartoon shows the student groups, which initially focused on a three-point plan which included demands for the PM to step down and a new charter to be written, being influenced by another group, which has a 10-point plan that includes a reform of the monarchy and open discussion about its place in society.
Even former Red Shirt leaders chided the students to stay on track with the original 3-point plan. A charter rewrite was all the opposition has fought for for almost 15 years and it seemed the opposition was finally gaining momentum.
The fear was that a shift to wide-ranging reforms of the monarchy might be a deliberate attempt to ruin the momentum for a charter rewrite. The cartoonist shows the protesters veering away from the prime minister and heading to sky to take on the monarchy, much to the chagrin of mainstream opposition politicians who simply want to set the stage for their return to control of government.
The caption uses the Thai proverb “to be close friends with the kids for building a house” meaning being close with young, impressionable people to do your bidding. The cartoon uses this proverb to joke that the Pheu Thai party, here represented by Sudarat, was happy to support the student protests in its “three points” form to go after Prayuth, but has no desire for a more controversial “ten points” focus on the monarchy which might muddy their simple goal of gaining control of the government again.
Of course the Pheu Thai and Thaksin would insist they have nothing to do with the original three-point charter rewrite protests. If that is true, they would have to be amazed and thankful that the issue they have unsuccessfully championed for almost 15 years has spontaneously been taken up by student groups, and even more amazing, that the government has claimed they would work on revising the charter (although their “support” of a charter rewrite is lukewarm at best).
The wild card here is the disbanded Future Forward Party which has been looking for payback since the party was disbanded earlier this year. They have always taken a more confrontational stance in their politicking and some members have been openly extolling the French Revolution. It is much more likely that the split in the student protests between the three-pointers and the ten-pointers reflects the various political revenge aspirations within the former Future Forward Party.
Others in the Thai media think the pivot to demand reform of the monarchy has disadvantaged Thanatorn, since the more liberal of the Thai youth do not have to follow him as talk of reform is now out in the open. Under this thinking, Thanatorn is just as distressed as the Pheu Thai by the focus on the monarchy, as he simply wishes to be part of a government, not to confront the whole system directly and perhaps provoke an uncertain outcome.]
From Thairath, August 17, 2020
Title: August 16th, Thai freedom day
The students are saying: Stop threatening. People.
Mouse man: Thailand’s peaceful killer.
Mouse: Dictatorial heart.
[This cartoon contends that the government is intimidating peaceful expression of opinion by student protests concerning the government and the monarchy.]
From Manager, From August 5, 2020
Pannika as “Liberty Leading the People”: Hey!… The French Revolution is not Harry Potter.
Caption: [left] Fantasy of the Mung Ming mob… [right] …of the persons who call for a mob
[This cartoon jokes about how the current youth protests conduct themselves differently from the anti-government groups led by three leaders from the former Future Forward Party.
“Liberty Leading the People” is Pannika, at left is Thanathorn and on the right is Piyabutr.
Piyabutr has referenced the French Revolution in articles in past months, including three days a row in July to commemorate the events. Other opposition media outlets covered online classes teaching about the French Revolution and its importance.
As the revolution overthrew and beheaded the then monarch in France, the timing of all this revolution talk would seem similar to the Red Shirt years of protests when revolutionary events and assassinations were brought up–all the while with assurances that it had nothing to do with local events. However, they clearly raise the political temperature.
In contrast, the student protests in recent months have used more “cute” rather than threatening symbolism, such as a Japanese cartoon character and Harry Potter.
“Mung Ming mob” (or “cute mob”) refers to the condescending characterization of the student protests by former deputy army spokeswoman who called them a “cute mob.” This caused the protesters to protest at army headquarters.]