Weekly News Magazines: Choose me or back to the same, February, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, February 2-8, 2018
Main cover picture: Will you choose ‘me’ or back to the same?
[Refers to junta’s announcement that the election will not take place this year as earlier promised. After being strongly criticized for this, PM Prayuth (pictured) asked the public whether they will choose him to reform the country or go back to the same place where the politicians destroy the country.]
Left side: EU ambassador insists that the election in Nov 61 [2018] is the commitment to the public.
[Refers to Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, who insisted that Thailand must have elections within this year as this was the junta’s promise. He also called on the junta to permit freedom of expression in politics.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, February 2-8, 2018
Main cover reads: Be careful [in] 2561 [2018] to repeat 2516 [1973]
On the phone: Time ends.
[Refers to pro-election groups who call on the junta to keep their promise to have elections this year. This cover shows concern that if the junta delays election, it may cause a protest like what happened in 1973. This bloody uprising by people and students deposed the military dictatorship of Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn.]

From Manager Weekly, February 3-9, 2018
Main cover reads: This is Thai values.
[Refers to the famous Thai girl group BNK48 which is a franchise from Japanese girl group AKB48. This cover jokes with the junta’s policy of “Thai values.” This policy has been criticized as a junta populist policy to gain support for a military party in the next elections. Here the cover seems to joke that real Thai values are about pretty girls. Another interpretation is that the junta should focus on real Thai values like pretty girls instead of concentrating on extending their power into the future.]
Top: “Risking to death cookies” [black] Explore the options for Pa Pom to step down peacefully. Wasting time may make the whole group die.
[This also refers to the Thai girl group BNK48. Their hit song at present is “Koisuru Fortune Cookie.” There are several parody version that change the lyric to joke about the political situation.
The article discusses several options for Deputy PM Prawit (pictured, nicknamed “Pa Pom”) to step down after facing scandal over his apparent possession of luxury watches. His scandals caused intense negative impact for the junta. The article notes that if the Prawit issue is not addressed, it could bring down the whole junta.]
Bottom left: Case of the PAD slaps the face of NACC. The police defeated and had to pay compensation, but why ‘Pod’ survives.
[Refers to the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s (PAD) case which won in the courts over police using violence to disperse PAD protesters blockading parliament in 2008. This article raises the question that if the police were ruled against, former police chief Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan (pictured, nicknames “Pod”) who was in charge at that time should be charged as well.
However, Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan is the elder brother of Deputy PM Prawit, so it is unlikely that the law can touch him.
This case shows the close relationship between National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) president Pol. General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit (pictured) and Deputy PM Prawit.
The junta controversially changed the law to enable the term of Pol. General Watcharapol (and others) to be extended in contravention of all normal standards for retirement for committee members. This led to allegations that the military was making sure a crony was in charge of the several investigations that might impact junta figures or their family members.]
Bottom right: Indian series explore Thai market. “JKN” has a plan for Bollywood
[Refers to JKN Global Media planning to bring Bollywood movies to Thai audiences after the success of an Indian series in the Thai market.]

From Lokwannee, February 3-9, 2018
Main cover reads: This one… doesn’t need to borrow from a friend.
[Refers to pro-election group MBK39. Recently, the group held a pro-election rally in front of the famous shopping mall MBK. Although some of the members were accused of violating the junta’s ban against political gatherings of five or more people, as well as the public assembly bill, the group still continued the rally to demand the junta to keep their promise to have elections this year.
“Doesn’t need to borrow from a friend” mimics the famous saying of Deputy PM Prawit. Prawit insisted that the expensive luxury watches he wore were not his and were only borrowed from friends. We think the saying on the cover means something like, “the arrested protesters did not have to borrow their “jewelry (the handcuffs) from a friend.”]

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