The billboard reads (a quote from the police chief): We will to create love, faith and peace for the people. – Pol. Gen. Somyot Phumphanmuang
Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police
Royal Thai Police
[Refers to the new policy of the Police Chief Pol. Gen. Somyot who urges the police to create love as well as to draw faith and trust from the people. The police have been involved in a number of scandals uncovered since the 2014 coup.]
[Red Shirt images like this were created in a deliberately provocative way in the lead up to the second siege of Bangkok in 2010. There were assurances that Thaksin would be returning soon and wishes of death to Privy Council members along with a fine tuning of the pro-Thaksin message that Thailand’s political troubles could be solved by overthrowing “aristocrats.”
The legacy of these pro-Thaksin messages that repeatedly allude to royal imagery and overthrowing world monarchies raised suspicions that the calls for change in the lese majeste law, particularly from groups supporting Thaksin, is intertwined with Thaksin’s bid to return to Thailand and reenter politics.
Even those in conservative circles who were amenable to overhauling lese majeste laws for their own reasons had little desire for reform when the Thaksin political machine was using anti-monarchy rhetoric as a card to play in his return to politics.]
From Post Today, January 1, 2015
Hello, year of the goat.
[2015 is the year of the goat. In the cartoon, it implies that the year will perilous. Thailand is expected to face various challenges including economic and political problems.]
From Matichon, January 1, 2015
Title: Happy New Year
The globe is saying: Fighting!
[The year of goat will be a challenging year. Here the world is riding on the goat and trying to jump through rings of fire.]
From Arun, January 14, 2015
Title: Mattayom 5th student [an 11th grade student] was asked to leave the famous TV program because she asked an unsatisfying question to the President of the NRC.
A sign on the left: A puppet who gives a voice for Mr. Tien’s team.
Girl puppet: How do you solve the corruption since… [blanked out] had a power by… [blanked out] which is like… [blanked out]
[Refers to an incident when outspoken anti-coup student Nattanan Warintarawet was asked to leave the TV program ‘Investigating Hot Issues’ on the Channel 5 before the program was tapped because she asked Mr. Tienchay Kirananda, the President of the National Reform Council (NRC), about corruption.
Her question was how could the NRC presume to solve the problem of corruption since the way it came to power was through stealing votes from the people (via a coup).]
US: Impeachment ‘politically driven’ – The Nation, January 27, 2015 …”I’ll be blunt here: When an elected leader is deposed, impeached by the authorities that implemented the coup, and then targeted with criminal charges while basic democratic processes and institutions are interrupted, the international community is left with the impression that these steps could be politically driven”…
Reform bars Pheu Thai, says Yingluck – Bangkok Post, January 27, 2015 …Ms Yingluck said she wanted to see Thai democracy return but told Mr Russel that Pheu Thai was being left out of the reform process.
Mr Russel was also told that Pheu Thai did not know how the new charter would look but it suspected it may not be as democratic as hoped.
Mr Russel was quoted as saying that the impartiality of judicial institutions is important for people to have confidence in them…
Prayuth Shrugs Off ‘Snub’ By US Diplomat – Khaosod, January 27, 2015 …”Why would they come to meet me? They aren’t meeting with me because they know how I came to power,” explained Gen. Prayuth, who assumed the premiership last year after toppling an elected government in a military coup on 22 May 2014.
“Politics is politics,” he said…
The problems facing Thai Airways (Thai Airways International won’t go bankrupt: PM) reminded us of the unfortunate fate of the Thai state airline under the Pheu Thai-led government.
The firing of successful CEO Piyasawat and his replacement with a Thaksin political lackey was noted with shock by the airline industry worldwide. Below are some mentions over the years that refer to the troubles the state carrier has encountered.
From Manager, June 12, 2014
On the airplane: Directors of Thai Ariways
Captain: I am Captain Prayuth. I’d like to inform you that from now on this flight will stop serving luxurious food… expensive wine… champagne… we’ll serve only plain water just enough for you to live on… those who cannot accept it… please walk to the exit at the rear. And our staff will help push you out with their feet to find something else out there to eat.
[“Captain Prayuth” refers to Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the junta. During the time when the Pheu Thai Party led the government, the highly successful head of Thai was sacked and was replaced with a Thaksin crony. Subsequent losses led to the junta cutting remuneration and perks of board members in an attempt to shake up the state carrier.]
January 25, 2010: Thai Airways launches cultural overhaul …Under the premiership of Thaksin Shinawatra from 2001 to 2006, interference in purchases by the board of directors, which is appointed by the government, reached new heights, Piyasvasti said.
“About five years ago, the board became so active that management simply stopped managing the company, and that started a rapid decline in Thai Airways,” Piyasvasti said…
Above: From Thairath, May 21, 2012
The caption reads: Fall from the heavens
On the chair: Piyasawat [Thai Airways CEO]
[This refers to the controversial sacking of the Thai Airways CEO who led the airline to a stunning financial turnaround. He was replaced by a Pheu Thai government loyalist.]
“I’m a puppet of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee.”
14 Jan 2014
[Suthep was a leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. He and his supporters hold a rally to overthrow Yingluck’s government.]
“I rather die in the democratic field.”
28 Feb 2014
[Amid the protest of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, Yingluck insisted to adhere to her position as she was a leader who came from an election and would step down.]
“Sorry, I have to stage a coup d’état.“
Gen. Prayuth Chan o-cha, Army Chief
22 May 2014
[After the failure to compromise between political groups, Gen. Prayuth staged a coup d’état. He later, becomes the PM himself.]
From Naewna, January 15, 2014
[Bangkok’s Democracy Monument sits on a toilet. His feces speak.]
Feces: Phee, Maew [Thaksin], help me!! Poo [former PM Yingluck] is now impeached and almost falling out.
Feces (representing Thaksin): I’m almost falling out as well.
On top of Democracy Mounment: Political reform
Caption: Crying out from Khikam
[This cartoon uses the word Khikam, from the northern Thai dialect language meaning something like “shit stuck inside the butt.” Thirayuth Boonmee, a well-known Thai political scholar, called Thaksin the Khikam of Thai politics meaning he was the real irritant and problem behind all the political turmoil of the last decade and has been difficult to overcome.
One of the main tasks of the present military junta is political reform, which, in real terms, means getting rid of the “Thaksin regime.” When Thaksin’s younger sister Yingluck was impeached for the rice pledging scheme it removed her from politics for five years and that means Thaksin’s Pheu Thai Party needs a new Shinawatra family member to lead it. This further complicates Thaksin’s ability to control the party agenda. The cartoonist implies democracy is slowly removing Thaksin and his family members who have been stubbornly clinging to power.]
From Komchadluek, January 1, 2015
On the sign: Rice-pledging scheme
Caption: Happy New Year 2558
Man with microphone: PM Prayuth
Man to the right of Prayuth: Dep. PM Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan
Man to the right of Prawit: Interior Minister Gen. Anupong Paochinda
[Top left in the background, Thaksin and Yingluck hang on to Democracy Monument. The cartoon illustrates the main problems waiting for the junta government to solve in this year 2015 (BE 2558), such as a launch of new constitution and the rice-pledging scheme.]
A few executive notes for understanding the context of the ruling on Yingluck’s impeachment today:
1. The context of what is going on in Thailand is not about the junta creating reconciliation. Instead, it is the junta continually showing resolve to the Thai political world. This is the resolve that says Thaksin is finished and we have the will to resist him for the foreseeable future. This message is being sent with every one of their actions and their “reforms” of the Thai system.
2. The statements from Red Shirt leaders warning of riots and bloodshed are typical empty threats. The Red Shirt movement has never acted on impulse, but always as a political lever at key moments to support Thaksin aspirations. Any Red Shirt unrest would indicate a change from Thaksin’s long-standing strategy to do nothing to hinder the junta and thus delay a return to elections.
3. Yingluck, despite being a political unknown before the 2011 elections, turned out to be widely popular as a presidential and non-partisan (for the most part) prime minister. Kept away from cabinet meetings and unable to participate in controversial debates, her constant trips to the provinces as contentious decisions were being made in Bangkok both isolated her from political scuffles and endeared her to the people. She became a potent party figurehead who would be a strong draw in future elections.
4. Removing Yingluck from the next elections creates a quandary for Thaksin as he must find another figurehead to lead the Pheu Thai Party who will not be able to deviate from his control. Choosing anyone with their own political faction risks a drift from his agenda.
5. As much as today’s announcement is a test for anyone, it is a test for Thaksin. It indicates his ability to control his Red Shirt supporters. His strategy since the coup has been to do nothing that would give the junta a pretext to further delay elections. Protesting Yingluck’s impeachment or any other type of protest or violence in the interim contains no useful end game for Thaksin and the Pheu Thai. (We would expect some symbolic pro-Red, anti-junta protest symbol to emerge at some point to give the world something to focus on–perhaps the mass wearing of Khmer-style scarves or white handkerchiefs in a front shirt pocket.) The simple end-game for the Pheu Thai Party now is to to deliver a massive electoral majority at the next election and then use that reality to trump any of the junta’s constitutional and legal strictures on elected party rule.
After all these years, we are still in middle of the struggle for the future of Thailand. The present strengths of each side have yet to be fully tested and there are still many battles to be waged.
From Daily News, December 31, 2014
Top left: On the flag: Goodbye year 2014
On the truck: Prayuth 1 [Refers to the first government of Gen. Prayuth. If he reshuffles the cabinet, it would be referred to as “Prayuth 2″.”]
On rock in front of the jeep: Martial law
Top middle is the angel of the new year. Traditionally, Thais believe that the god and angels will bless people for the New Year. In the carton, the angel is dancing to bless the people, but she is surprised with the various situations occurring on earth.
Under here is as boxer beating a woman. This is Thai Rock star Sek Loso. He was sued for hitting his wife.
Top right: A man falling from the plane: stocks
[Refers to Thai stock market facing the biggest fall since 2008 due to the decline of global oil prices.]
On the plane: Free Thai Organization for Human Rights and Democracy
[Refers to some of Red Shirt leaders and Thaksin’s supporter, such as Jarupong Ruangsuwan and Jakrapob Penkair who are exiled and established the Free Thai Organization for Human Rights and Democracy to fight the junta government.]
On the turtle: Koh Tao
[Refers to the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao.]
Bottom left: On the knife: NACC
[Refers to the rice pledging scheme. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has investigated in the case of rice pledging-scheme against former PM Yingluck.]
Bottom middle: On the prisoner: Big police [meaning high-ranking police.]
On the club: Chief of the Royal police
[Refers to an arrest of former Central Investigate Bureau chief Pongpat Chayapan. He and his group were accused on receiving bribes and citing the monarchy as a way to gain benefits. Such high-ranking arrests are extremely rare.]
On the football: Thailand national football team
[Refers to Thailand national football team which won the Suzuki cup in 2014. This victory brought the happiness to Thais amid difficult times of the country.]
From Bangkok Biz, January 1, 2015
2015 greeting card
Happy New Year
Wishing you perseverance, wisdom and good health.
Wish you all happiness and prosperity.
[This is the New Year’s greeting from the King. He wished everyone a happy new year and hopes that people will have perseverance, wisdom and good health like in the story of Mahajanaka.]
From Thairath, January 1, 2015
Title: Happy New Year
Don’t ask me what I want for a present. Is it a BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Daimler car? I don’t want any of them. Even if it is a famous brand like Louise Vuitton or gold, I still don’t want it. I only wish for our King to be healthy and stay for thousands of years. Long Live the King.
Composed by Jarusporn Kiratisewee
[This is a New Year poem wishing the King health and a long life.]
From Post Today, December 31, 2014
Left: PM Prayuth
Right: Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong
Man hold up a gift: Deputy PM MR Pridiyathorn Devakula
Top: Man holding spy glass: Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-Ngam
Top: Man holding a wrapped up Democracy Monument: Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) Chairman Borwornsak Uwanno
[In the cartoon, Prayuth’s government is on the boat trying to pass through huge waves. It implies that the political situations in 2015 has many challenges such as the launch of new constitution and economic problems.]
From Ban Muang, January 1, 2015
Girl: Wow… so muscular.
Above Prayuth’s muscles: 2015 (BE 2558) Budget of 2.57 trillion
[Refers to the massive 2015 budget bill under the junta government. This budget aimed to stimulate the economy, help farmers, reform institutions, and initiate infrastructure projects so they are not sources of graft for future governments.]
From Manager, December 29, 2014
Left: Where is the word ‘Happy’?
Right: Prayuth says he will bring it back for us… but I’ve not seen it yet.
Caption: Thank you all my fans… See you again on 5 January 2015.
[Refers to PM Prayuth’s promise to Thai people that he would return the happiness to Thais.]
Matichon 31 Dec 2014
Above Saturn: New Year’s Eve
[2014 (BE 2557) was the year of the horse. In the cartoon, the world is riding on the horse and jumping over barbed wire. It implies that although there are many world crisis occurring in 2014, the world can still pass through the situation.]
There is another appearance of the article on the Thai situation from the Red Shirt view (the elites’ only objective is to seize power, civil war is a possibility, Thaksin was a victim of those who hate democracy, etc.).
From Thairath, December 31, 2014
Title: Goodbye to the past
Last year was like we walk in the deep and dark cave. We prayed to God who protects our country to guide us in the bright direction. He followed our request by leading our way and subduing all the devils. He, later, blesses us with a happy New Year.
[This is the New Year’s poem written by Chai Ratchawat. Last year, Thailand faced many crises particularly, political turmoil. The cartoonist says that the gods protected the country and enabled Thailand to get through the situation and gradually return to normal.]
From Daily News, January 2, 2015
Moon: Recently, he frequently has nightmares.
[Refers to a number of plane accidents occurring in 2014. Before the end of December 2014, Air Asia flight QZ8501 clashed in Java Sea.]
From Arun, December 21, 2014
Version: Stork’s party
*Refers to Aesop’s story named ‘the Fox and the Stork.’
[The cartoon compares the drafting of Thailand’s new constitution carried out by the junta government to the story of the Fox and the Stork. The junta is like the stork who invites many groups, as the fox, to participate in the drafting of the new constitution. Here the fox attempts to reach the fruits of the process by putting its head into a vase shaped like Democracy Monument. However, only the stork, representing the junta, can benefit from the process.]
Australian journalist Alan Morison facing jail in Thailand, calls for help from Abbott Government – news.com.au, January 11, 2015 …Mr Morrison claims his sister, Jenny Laddy, was told by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in a meeting in Mt Gambier on December 22, that her brother “should apologise” to the Royal Thai Navy, who were the subject of searing criticism including complicity in human slavery, in the story.
Ms Bishop has denied the charge via a department spokesman.
“In any case the time for apologies is over and I take the word of my sister. I have lost trust in the Australian embassy due to the actions of Foreign Minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs officials in Canberra,” Mr Morrison said…
From a press release we received: I am writing to you about a commercial our team submitted for the annual Crash the Super Bowl contest that Doritos puts together every year. I was born in Thailand and moved to the United States at a young age. Despite growing up here in Los Angeles for most of my life, I have never forgotten where I came from and proudly hold close to my heart the strong family values that I was raised on. I am proud of my family roots and regularly visit Thailand, which I still consider my second home. So I am writing to you to share with you some very exciting news:
Amongst 5000 entries that were submitted globally. my commercial is one of the 10 finalists for the Crash the Super Bowl contest! They not only announced that we were one of the finalists but they also showed only our commercial in its entirety out of the 10 finalists.
So now that the judges have spoken and chosen the 10. It’s up to the viewers to decide which commercial airs on the SuperBowl and wins the million dollars! Therefore, it becomes a popularity contest, so I am reaching out to see if you would be interested in interviewing me and help us spread the word and garner support within the Thai community. It would be great to rally the Thai community to get behind the project since I am the only Thai representing their respective projects.
Thanks so much for your time and consideration! You can see more update, content and information about the other creative producers at the website provided below. In addition, I have attached a press release for your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you to help air my commercial during the Super Bowl!