From Thairath, November 23, 2016
Title: Nang Kwak… beckoning harder [the Nang Kwak spirit is a household divinity believed to beckon good fortune and attract customers to a business]
On Nang Kwak’s dress: Tourism
Flag on the left: Tourists
On a tourist’s shirt: China
Sign on the barbed wire fence: No zero-dollar tour
Signs on the right: Thai tourist industry, restaurant and service businesses, souvenir shops, entertainment
On the businessman’s suit: Hotel industry
Phi Nooring: She [Nang Kwak] needs to use her power to help.
Mouse: Quickly beckon for the country
[Refers the junta’s crackdown on zero-dollar tour packages. These tours brought masses of Chinese tourists to Thailand for little or no money for the tourist (“zero dollar”). The tour companies recoup their investment by then pressuring the tourists into buying over-priced souvenirs and goods at special shops. The zero-dollar tour represents Thailand’s complete capitulation to the Gem Scam.
After the last coup, the junta has been cracking down on law-breaking that elected governments refused to tackle–such as the zero-dollar tours. The crackdown has resulted in a noticeable downturn in Thailand’s tourism sector.
This cartoon suggests that the junta led by PM Prayuth needs to use the Nang Kwak deity to bring in more tourists to stimulate the country’s economy. In the cartoon, Nang Kwan was drawn as Tourist and Sport Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
The underlying feeling in the cartoon is that democratic forces that oppose the junta also oppose the strict law and order campaign as being dictatorial and bad for the economy. This idea is common in nascent democracies or where military rule is being opposed. The enforcing of rules and regulations is associated with monolithic rule while democracy is interpreted as being free to do things how one wants.
It is likely that a future Pheu Thai election campaign will feature promises to cease the law and order drive started by the junta as many of its actions have harmed the livelihood of workers from the Northeast.]