Apr 3rd, 2021

Water monitor under the car

From Thairath, March 4, 2021
Title: The one under the chair is more difficult to expel.
Man under the chair: Negotiate for the Minister’s chair.
Phi Nooring: It belongs to the House of Cabinet for so long.
Mouse: The real owner of the house
On the license plate: Bangkok

[Refer to the news that a water monitor was found under Deputy PM Prawit’s car. In Thai the water monitor is called “hia.” Calling a person a “hia” is impolite.
The cartoonist insults MPs who try to lobby for ministerial posts saying they are everywhere and hard to get rid of like the odious water monitor. The cobra on the car refers to those MPs who betray their political cliques to support others.]

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The resurrection

From Manager, March 15, 2021
On the grave: Big Joke Died 9 April (B.E) 62
On the sign on the building: Royal Thai Police Headquarters
Caption: This story is very supernatural.

[Refers to former immigration chief Surachet Hakparn, known as “Big Joke,” once a media darling for his fearless crackdown on wrongdoing before mysteriously being removed from his post at the height of his fame. The recent political reshuffles have apparently rejuvenated Big Jok’s career with a new appointment in law enforcement. There was never any public explanation of either his ouster or his reinstatement.
All of this demonstrates to the public how official promotions and demotions have little to do with merit, but instead are part of political maneuvering and vendettas.

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Cruel buddies in ASEAN

From Thairath, March 3, 2021
Title: Cruel buddies in ASEAN.
Left on the military man: Thailand
Right on the military man: Myanmar
On the hat of man on the left: Overthrow uncle [meaning overthrown Thailand’s military dominated government]
On the shirt of the man at right: Anti-coup
Phi Nooring: Same slave of the dictator
Mouse: Are you still human.

[Refers to the similarity of police in Thailand and Myanmar using violence against anti-dictatorship protesters in their countries.]

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Asking for freedom like those kites

From Thairath, March 22, 2021
Title: Asking for freedom like those kites
Names on the kites from left to right: Mike, Pai, Penguin, Somyos, Anon, Rung, Amy

[Refers to the leaders of anti-government protests who have been jailed due to allegations that they violated Section 112 of the lèse-majesté law. Bail has been refused as the government claims they have shown they intend to repeatedly break the law. However, hundreds of lawyers and other advocates have spoken out that they should be granted bail as their continued detention is irregular and cruel.
The cartoon refers to the custom at Sanam Luang of kite flying. Student protesters apparently had a plan to fly many kites so that they hovered over the adjacent Grand Palace area, symbolically putting their demands over one of the symbols of royalty in Thailand.
The cartoon also shows the shipping containers lined up to block the protesters from approaching (and presumably occupying) the Grand Palace.]

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The Spraying

From Naewna, March 12, 2021
Left heading: Uncle Tu played with the reporters by spraying alcohol on them.
Caption: Very bad. Silly. Embarrass the whole world.
Right heading: Three-finger protester is aggressively peeing on the police.
Caption: Awesome… Very cool… Very supreme

[Refers to the reactions of the anti-government groups toward two different inappropriate behaviors. Much was made of PM Prayuth’s strange dousing of the media with alcohol when asked about cabinet appointments. Meanwhile the urination (or “pretend urination” as some sources contended) was praised by many on social media, with the contention that the government deserved it for restricting the rights of people to protest.]

From Thairath, March 12, 2021
Title: He deems to care… Everything he did is cute.
PM Prayuth: Killing the virus for the reporters.
Cameraman: Throw a banana peel to the head..!
Woman reporter: Splash the water to the reporter.
Reporters at the left corner: Being a place for him to vent his emotions.
Woman reporter next to the group of reporters: Who hit my head?
Phi Nooring: Acting like a bad kid.
Mouse: Doing things unwisely.

[PM Prayuth was criticized for his inappropriate behavior when he sprayed alcohol on reporters when asked about the appointment of new cabinet members.]

From Thairath, March 12, 2021
Left: On the street… to crack down on the protest
Right: At the Government House…to crackdown the reporters

[Refers to PM Prayuth who sprayed alcohol on reporters when he was asked about appointment of new ministers. The cartoonist draws a parallel to the crowd control measures of spraying water and irritants on anti-government protesters.]

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Blood downtown

From Manager, March 24, 2021
Police: I am so sorry my staff used more violence on you… I will scold them!

[This references the anti-government protests led by REDEM. This is a hardcore group that arose in the absence of the main student protest leaders who were controversially jailed without bail for alleged lese majeste offenses.

REDEM has been much more confrontational, fighting and throwing objects at police. They also are also well-organized–at a recent protest they carried rigging that was used to pull down shipping containers being used to block protesters from approaching the Grand Palace.

Some media roundly condemned the police for the violence at the protests while other media blamed REDEM.

The larger story is that this sort of violence from dwindling numbers of protesters is exactly what the government wants to demonize the movement and dampen wider support in society.

Within a week of the bloody protests, another protest was held at Rajaprasong Intersection far from the Grand Palace area that has seemed to be a magnet for violence. A new spate of student protest leaders was presented at the protest, some reading out heartfelt demands for change in trembling voices and all were praised on social media afterwards. It was also promoted on social media that this new protest was entirely peaceful and it drew many thousands of people, thus showing the continuing potency of the movement.

All of this was a reset to the spiraling violence that was playing into the government hands and limiting wider sympathy towards the students and their causes.]

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Riot gear is wrong

From Manager, March 3, 2021
Thanathorn: Allowing the police to wear helmets is blocking the freedom of people to pee on their heads freely!

[As anti-government protests dwindled in 2021, the somewhat leaderless protesters, comprised of various groups, have become more chaotic in their activities.

At a recent protest, a protester was photographed urinating on a police officer (some sources later began saying he was “allegedly pretending” to urinate).

The cartoonist jokes that Thanathorn’s words about the freedom of the protesters being confronted with riot-gear equipped police or being blocked from occupying protest sites by shipping containers are ironic as some protesters seem bent on bad behavior and violence.]

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Military and mob crackdown

From Manager, March 4, 2021
Left: Military’s crackdown!!! [in Myanmar]
Right: Mob’s crackdown!!! [in Thailand]

[Refers to the different political situation in Myanmar and Thailand. The cartoonist contends that the military junta in Myanmar is using the violence to crackdown, while in Thailand, police have faced violence from anti-government protesters.]

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Thaksin no longer the hero

From Manager, February 24, 2021
Right, Thaksin thinking: Unexpectedly asked about Tak Bai.
Caption: (If) Lost the memory… do not enter [Meaning something like, “if you have amnesia, better not enter”]

[Thaksin’s periodic appearances in the media are designed to show he is the master of the opposition and the wronged party in Thai politics. However, since the September 2020 rally to commemorate his ouster from power was taken over by students criticizing the monarchy, both Thaksin’s clout and the power of his party have come into question.

Thaksin joined a Clubhouse chat recently, no doubt thinking he would be treated as the elder statesman of anti-government agitation.

However, he was soon taken aback by pointed questions about the Tak Bai incident and his iron-fisted policies in the Thai deep south that led to a great number of killings. He ended up saying he did not recall much of the details from that time and that the south was under the military’s control, but he regretted the situation.

Thaksin also refused to endorse the wide-ranging reforms of the monarchy demanded by student protesters.

At left the cartoonist shows Thaksin as he likes to be presented–a new era businessman who can enter the chaos and create prosperity–but notes that the Clubhouse chat led even his allies to question his mastery of politics in 2021.]

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Don’t want to know

From Manager, March 9, 2021
Right: Priang! Praing! [the sound of shooting]
Caption: Sir, they will kill all the family members!!!

[Refers to the Thai government’s inaction toward the situation in Myanmar. The cartoon shows a desire not to face the intense conflict.]

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Hitting the rice cooker

From Manager, February 17, 2021
Man: Smash it now
On the rice cooker: Manager Somchai

[Refers to the police who recently arrested Somchai Jutikitdet who is thought to be a major operator of illegal casinos in the east that were blamed for spreading Covid-19. Somchai is known as an untouchable, with strong ties to the police which allowed his casinos to operate openly. This cartoon refers to Thai proverb “hitting the rice cooker” similar to the English idiom “take the bread out of someone’s mouth.”
After being forced by public pressure, then government pressure, the police, led by National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Suwat Jangyodsuk, arrested Somchai.
The cartoonist contends that the police are sad to have to shuttered the lucrative casinos.]

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Spittoon mouth

From Thairath, February 25, 2021
Title: Foreigners use ‘spittoon’ to keep wine bottles. Thais use ‘spittoon’ as a mouth.
People around PM Prayuth: Admire Uncle Tu. Violate morals. Aggressive MPs. PM Prayuth: Love to hear a person talking who violated the laws. [this was PM Prayuth’s sarcastic comment on Thaksin’s Clubhouse chat meaning people seem to like to listen to Thaksin who fled the country to escape legal charges]
Phi Nooring: Tools for speaking beautifully
Mouse: Speaking with smell

[Refers to a humorous online post about an item on Amazon that was claimed to be a traditional Chinese fruit basket and decoration with a very high price. However, it was a spittoon with a trumpet-shape mouth like those used in Asia.
The cartoon uses the saying “spittoon mouth” meaning a person who loves to talk to benefit themselves. People saying abusive things are also personified as spit coming out of one’s mouth. All of this is combined to claim that the government has many negative comments to make.]

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Good at attacking people

From Thairath, February 16, 2021
Title: Monument of ‘Boss Orders’
On the man’s shirt: Volunteer medic
On the monument: Killing people
People on the right: Count 1 to million for returning the power to the people
Phi Nooring: Good at attacking people
Mouse: Slave of the dictator

[Refers to the video of police beating a volunteer medic during the anti-government protest. The police insisted all was done according to the law and they were following orders. The cartoonist shows this event as a version of the police statue. Anti-government protest have vowed to turn out one million people to fight against the government.]

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Get out there and lead!

From Manager, March 2, 2021
Thanathorn: Why don’t you go out to lead the protest?!
Sai, Pakorn, Mike, Rung (left to right): We… want to play behind the scenes as well.
Caption: Second row of people who play behind the scenes.

[This cartoon is shows Thanathorn, Somsak and Pannika (at left), who always deny involvement in the anti-government protests despite seeming to cheer them on (along with several prominent Thai exiles). The cartoonist contends that it is clear that these people are directing the pace of the protests behind the scenes for their own benefit.
After the top anti-government protest leaders were arrested, accused of many things including violating the Article 112, the remaining anti-government protest leaders, Sai, Pakorn, Mike, and have not shown up as much to lead anti-government protests.
The cartoonist jokes they would like to stay behind the scenes where it is safe.]

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Not ready yet to win

From Manager, February 16, 2021
On Somsak’s Facebook post outside the jail: Now, whenever we evaluate the situation, we must say that we are not ready. There are still a lot of people who don’t agree with us. Besides, at the moment, our friends are arrested and denied bail. We must realize that if there is now a clash, it won’t make the situation better.
Penguin, Anon, Somyot and Patiwat: What!!!!
Caption: The master said too late.

[Refers to Somsak, anti-government protest cheerleader, and some say mastermind, who recently admitted via Facebook that the protesters are not ready to win against the government as a majority of people do not support their goals such as the reform of the monarchy.
Meanwhile, the four protest leaders, who repeatedly spoke out frankly on the subject, are in jail facing Article 112 charges.
Somsak’s admission seems to indicate that the protests leaders’ provocative statements were for naught and they have been used as pawns to test out the political climate for the ideas of dissident leaders like Somsak who live safely outside of the country.
The mention of a “clash” refers to the Thai style of protest that relies on provocation to get a response from the authorities and then use their response to discredit them and demand their ouster. For Somsak to wave off clashes is like saying protests will not work.
All of this is thought to provoke fear in those who spoke up for the cause and ended up in jail.]

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Slow on COVID, quick on dictators

From Thairath, February 27, 2021
Title: Vaccine…. slowly supports. Dictator… quickly supports.
On bottle: Covid vaccine
On gun: Myanmar
Phi Nooring: Good partnership
Mouse: Buddy of dictator

[Refers to PM Prayuth who anti-government protesters accused of acting slowly on procuring COVID-19 vaccines and failing to properly address the COVID pandemic in Thailand.
They also note that that Thailand quickly accepted the Myanmar junta as Thailand was the first country that allowed the Myanmar Foreign Minister visit it.
PM Prayuth denied he was supporting the junta and that Thailand adhered to the long-standing ASEAN traditional of intervening in the internal affairs of member countries.]

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Don’t kill the tiger to get off it

From Arun, February 16, 2021
Title: Myanmar military has started to arrest protest leaders and launch measures to control people. “Don’t kill the tiger to get off it”
On the tiger: People

[Refers to the Myanmar junta beginning to use force to deal with their opposition and the people who are protesting. This cartoon illustrates the proverb “riding on the tiger” meaning how it is difficult to get out of a dangerous situation–especially for leaders to step away from a situation where they rule with an iron fist.]

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Only 1 baht for the kids

From Thairath, February 15, 2021
Title: Very kind adult…!
Above the coin: Increase 1 baht each per day
On the coin bag: Fund for school lunch
On the coin bags held by those MPs at right: Increase the civil officer’s salary; Budget for purchasing weapons; Budget for projects; Per diem for meetings; Changes
Phi Nooring: The adults receive unlimited funds.
Mouse: Will the kids be full?

[Refers to the Cabinet’s approval to increase the budget for school lunch by one baht from 20 to 21 baht a day. This cartoon notes that very little is allotted for children compared to the military-dominated government big spending projects.]

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Myanmar and Thailand are special

From Thairath, February 13, 2021
Title: We both love democracy.
On a paper held by PM Prayuth: Letter from Min Aung Hlaing to Uncle Tu.
Phi Nooring: Heart of dictator
Mouse: Don’t lie to the world.

[Refers to Myanmar’s new junta leader Min Aung Hlaing who sent a letter to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha asking for help to support democracy in Myanmar. Min Aung Hlaing has close ties with Thai military. Myanmar and Thailand both insist that they have unique democracies and not dictatorships. The cartoonist shows Myanmar people on the left banging p[ans in protest and on the right are the Thais.]

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Cowboy Joe and the dinosaurs

From Arun February 12, 2021
Title: “Cowboy Joe” (Biden)

[Refers to President Joe Biden who vowing to bring the U.S. back to the international world, especially Asia. This cartoon implies that Biden will help the world to deal with old-style non-democratic ones. The dinosaur refers to the out-of-date politics, usually meaning dictators or military-ruled nations. This cartoon reflects the hope that Biden will put more pressure on nations such as Myanmar or Thailand to become more democratic.]

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Mom doesn’t say the whole sentence

From Manager, February 12, 2021
Left: I guarantee my sons aren’t involved with corruption…
Right: …alone …our whole family will help.
Caption: Mom doesn’t say the whole sentence.

[Refers to Thanathorn’s family whose family members are facing the corruption charges. The family runs a massive empire of business and has also been prominent in politics. Now that they have staked their claim against the military as well as allegedly coordinating the student protests, charges have been filed against them. Mom Somporn is facing land charges while his younger brother Sakulthorn is facing a corruption charge involving a Crown Property Bureau official who was reportedly found guilty of accepting 20 million baht in bribes.]

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Missing Thaksin again

From Thairath, February 11, 2021
Title: Good speaking and linking, but don’t understand the world
PM Prayuth: Go check. You became richer in B.E.2530 from the telecommunication project.
On a paper held by PM Prayuth: A person who has a lot of visions in his head.
Man: Go check. Who made people kill themselves because they didn’t get the assistance?
Woman: Go check who has made the country go down since B.E.57 to the present.
Phi Nooring: Missing Thaksin again.
Mouse: Good at speaking

[Refers to PM Prayuth’s saying people got richer in B.E. 2557 (2014) due to the improvement of the telecommunications in the country. Later, PM Prayuth denied that he meant refer to programs former PM Thaksin started.
Some might forget that, not too long ago, it was nearly impossible to get a new land line and international calls were expensive and filled with static. Successive governments, graft-ridden and with conflicting goals, were long unable to initiate telecommunications modernization. Subsequent improvements brought Thailand into line with international standards of communications.
PM Prayuth became annoyed when it was implied he was complementing Thaksin for the improvements and asked reporters to stop mentioning Thaksin’s name.
This cartoon is mocks PM Prayuth’s government who frequently compares or mentions Thaksin to contrast their performance with his.]

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Renovating to prevent protests

From Arun, February 10, 2021
Inside the box: Bangkok renovates the Democracy Monument by changing stairs to a slope.
On the slope: History

[Refers to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration “renovating” of Democracy Monument by replacing steps around the monument to a slope for flowers to be displayed. This is clearly an effort to make protests at the site more difficult. The cartoonist notes that the changes are really covering over the bloody past history of the nation.
Such “renovations” of protest sites have been common ever since Thaksin’s government was overthrown, resulting in surprise closures of key sites during key protest times for surprise construction that authorities always claimed was long planned.]

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What it takes to get the money

From Arun, February 18, 2021
Title: Before we (will) win [meaning before you get the government money you have to grovel in long lines]
On a bag: Tax fund
At the bottom left: Some pictures from “Thai News Pix”

[Refers to the government’s subsidy program “Rao Chana” (“We Win”) to support people who have financial hardship during the COVID-19 slowdown.
This cartoon refers to the news photos showing how difficult it was for the poor who did not have smartphones to register for the program. The media highlighted photos of frail, elderly grandmas waiting in long lines.]

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Don’t let Myanmar become Thailand

From Manager, February 9, 2021
On the sign at the fence: Thai-Myanmar border
Pannika (beside her is Penguin, another leader of the anti-government group): Fight! Fight! Otherwise you will be like Thailand.
Caption: If you say this, they may stop fighting.

[Refers to former Future Forward Party’s member Pannika Chor Wanich who posted on her Twitter calling for Myanmar people to fight against the Myanmar military lest their nation become like Thailand. This cartoon ridicules this overly dramatic pronouncement, noting how Myanmar people flee to Thailand for jobs as well as the out-of-control development and prosperity of the nation when compared to Myanmar.]

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Money for weapons is like toilet tissue

From Thairath, February 8, 2021
Tissue in the trashcan: Budget for purchasing weapons
Phi Nooring: Don’t fight everyday like poop.
Caption: It is tissue so it can be wasted. [this means that money is like toilet tissue to the military and they do not care if they waste it on big weapons expenditures]

[Refers to the huge budget the military-dominated government is insisting on for purchasing weapons. This cartoon ridicules the necessity for this spending comparing to country’s other development needs like education, health care and issues related to people’s livelihoods.]

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Crackdown on the elderly

From Manager, January 28, 2021
Left, PM Prayuth: This shows that the government doesn’t ignore the problem of corruption.
Right, PM Prayuth: Today, we were able to arrest about 30 persons who corrupted the elderly fund… This is the huge number of arrests.

[Refers to the strange and sudden spate of cases launched by the government demanding compensation from elderly people who inadvertently received money handouts from the government while also receiving existing compensation from the government such as a pension for the wrongful death of a child.
This led to many stories of bewildered elderly people in the press, confused by the aggressive demands that they pay back money to the government.
The cartoonist ridicules the government’s tough action against the elderly which contrasts with their unwillingness to tackle corruption involving their political allies and the rich.]

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Bang on pots like in Myanmar

From Thairath, February 6, 2021
Title: Help bang to kick out the devils; Myanmar model
On people’s suits: Opposition parties
Words aropund pots: No-confidence debate… Government failed… Don’t have ability… Corruption
On paper held by PM Prayuth’s guard: Threaten with charges to stop talking [referring to threats to charge MPs with lese majeste if their complaints are related to the monarchy]
Phi Nooring: Make them deaf
Mouse: Let’s see how long they can put up with it.

[Refers to the no-confidence debate on PM Prayuth’s government. This cartoon supports the opposition in their efforts to disclose how the government has failed to tackle COVID-19, the economy, and other issues. The cartoon compares the opposition’s no-censure debate with the post-coup protests in neighboring Myanmar when people banged on pots and pans to protest the military seizure of power.
Does anyone know the meaning of the rope Prayuth is holding?]

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Playing both sides

From Manager, January 27, 2021
Title: Kao Klai Party

[Refers to MPs from the Kao Klai Party [the Move Forward Party]. The cartoonist makes fun of politicians from this party who have championed efforts to confront the monarchy, but who have received royal decorations.]

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Thanathorn is joining the trip with us

From Manager, January 26, 2021
Rung: Look!… Thanathorn is joining the trip with us.
On the bus: No. 112 Mob-Prison
Thanathorn: I didn’t intend to… but I was clamped by the door.

[Refers to Thanathorn who is accused of violating Article 112 after he questioned the transparency of the COVID-19 vaccine deal between Siam Bioscience, a company connected to the Crown Property Bureau, and the British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
In the bus are anti-government student leaders Panupong “Mike Rayong” Chadnok, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul and Arnon Nampa. All are charged with lese majeste.
The joke is that it is traditionally thought that rich political leaders use expendable people to act for them and be the ones subject to legal proceedings. Here, Thanatorn, suspected to be behind the coordination of the student protests, is himself caught up in contentions 112 charges which would normally be heaped on the foot soldiers of political protests, like the student protesters or Red Shirts.]

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