Different tactics

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 Thai 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.”]

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