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McDonalds in Thailand

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Somsak faces the
same accusation

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End of the Absolute Monarchy

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Nancy Chandler 1938-2015

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How many died in Thai drug purges?

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Changing the Diapers of Politics

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The arrest of Kamronwit in Japan

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Junta gives up on reform of the police

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5 Years Ago: Thaksin kids withdraw billions

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Dig happiness out of the poor

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Press Crackdown

Thai PBS being probed by NBTC panel – The Nation, July 2, 2015
…Referring to the NCPO’s letter, Peerapong added that the junta’s argument was the Thai PBS news report could create confusion and misunderstanding among the public about last week’s event when police officers had to deal with a group of anti-coup students…

Some things never change. From 2005: Thai press crackdown to be raised with UN panel; Media damages national unity with “unpatriotic reports”

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Police Arrest 21 People Over Long-Running Gem Scam

Police Arrest 21 People Over Long-Running BKK Gem Scam – Khaosod, July 4, 2015
…The long-running hoax involves tuk-tuk drivers telling foreign tourists that famous attractions, such the Grand Palace, are “closed,” and then offering the tourists discounted rides around the city.
Those who fall for the con are then ferried to jewelry stores where they are sold poor-quality gemstones at exorbitant prices…

From May: Thai Police Arrest 22 ‘Grand Palace Scammers’

1999-2011: Previous articles on the Thai Gem Scam
2004: Gem scam flourishing – Why the authorities won’t crack down
2008: Various notes on the scam

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11 Years Ago: Thailand’s New Strongman

Thailand’s New Strongman
…The Thaksin family now controls more than 10 per cent of stocks on the Thai exchange, and that does not include the vast amount of property and other assets held in unlisted companies. Last year, the value of the family holding company, Shin Corp, almost quadrupled.

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Unintentionally encroached?

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An image circulated on social media:
[Blue] Good people? Survives again because he didn’t have any intention–only just daydreaming.
[Yellow] Unintentionally encroached? Kirimaya-Moondance [names of property companies]
[White] Thanat Thanakitamnuay. The land of 1,600 rai unintentionally acquired
[Yellow] Although you’re cheating, a good man has [never] acted intentionally.
At left corner: Stop pretending, Thailand

[Refers to the investigation of the illegal acquisition of land by Kirimaya and Moondance properties in Khao Yai–companies controlled by Thanat Thanakitamnuay. After investigating, the accusation was dismissed. It is alleged that the investigation was dropped to help Thanat Thanakitamnuay (pictured), a known supporter of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee that fought against Yingluck’s government.]

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4 Years Ago: One of the wealthiest families in Thailand has convinced the poor that it understands their problems and will fight for their rights

One of the wealthiest families in Thailand has convinced the poor that it understands their problems and will fight for their rights

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Using the stairs is easier

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From Daily News June 15, 2015
An offscreen voice says to PM Prayuth: Sir?
Right: Using the stairs is easier.
On the stair: Roadmap
[The cartoon urges the junta government led by PM Prayuth to stick to the road map they previously set out on reforming the country rather than trying to seek another way to extend their power.]

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Forced Referendum

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From Arun, June 20, 2015
Under ballot box: Referendum

[Refers to a referendum on the draft constitution. The referendum appears to be set up to give people a false sense of engaging in the democratic process. A yes vote would result in approving an allegedly undemocratic charter while a no vote would lead to further years of military rule while changes are made to the draft constitution.]

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76 Years Ago: ‘Strategic Siam changes its name to Thai’

‘Strategic Siam changes its name to Thai’

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4 Years Ago: Police Prepare For Election Day Expat Sobriety Riots

Police Prepare For Election Day Expat Sobriety Riots

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The Nation Newspaper After 44 Years


(Source: The Nation front page, July 1, 1971)

Happy birthday to The Nation – July 1
On July 1, 1971 The first edition of The Nation was published. On the front page, 25-year-old Suthichai Yoon wrote the newspaper’s manifesto:


(Source: The Nation front page, July 1, 1971)
The How and Why of The Nation by Suthichai Yoon

There is one thing that every newspaper must have–a moral justification for its existence. That is what made us decide to launch The Nation.
After the only other two English-language dailies here merged under foreign ownership, it became obvious to us that the existence of such a paper as ours not only morally just, but also morally necessary…
The Nation will be a responsible newspaper that follows an independent and impartial editorial policy.
“The Nation will strive to be a medium for the mutual exchange of views between the government and the people, interpreting the actions of the government to the public while also reflecting popular sentiment. It will not shy away from voicing criticism if that criticism is of a thoughtful nature, and will voice it without prejudice or antagonism.
The Nation will identify with the Thai Press, and will on no account attempt to form part of a separate institution just because it is not printed in the Thai language…
We know a good percentage of our readers will belong to the foreign community and they will not only have adequate world news but they will also enjoy something they have not had before–a frank and accurate picture of the country in which they have chosen to live and work.
To us, a brickbat is as welcome as a bouquet. The Nation is your newspaper.

[The two English-language dailies that merged under foreign ownership were the Bangkok Post and Bangkok World.]

From 2012: Little boy has matured into a media pioneer – The Nation, July 1, 2012
…The Nation’s editor, Tulsathit Taptim, said the founding principles of the newspaper remain unchanged and are guiding how every NMG reporter does his or her job. “Today’s reporters of NMG are being guided by the very same principles and ethics held dear by the founding generation,” he said…

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Arbitrary freedom in Thailand

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From Thairath, June 14, 2015
Title: Arbitrary freedom

Top-left: Arbitrary occupying of a road for racing
[Refers to teenagers who violate the law by using roads to race at night.]

Top-middle: Arbitrary belief and paying of respects
[Refers to people who believe in supernatural thing residing in a tree or animal.]

Top-right: Arbitrary illegal business operations
Signs: School, university, bath, sauna and massage
[Refers to the illegal businesses are operating in the educational areas. In the Thai world, these can both exist, but must not be in the same areas.]

Bottom-left: Arbitrarily throwing out the trash
[Some people freely throw trashes out which causes flooding and other problems to society.]

Bottom-middle: Arbitrarily judging problem by themselves
[Refers to people illegally solving the problem by themselves without police help–often resorting to gun battles or small bombings.]

Bottom-right: Full freedom, either being good or bad as they want.
[Refers to freedom of expression through the media–particularly Facebook. This is a Thai idea that says that people must not speak freely without considering the harm to society.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Chai | Leave a comment

2011: Last Ditch Election Posters

The Democrats: We will not whitewash a certain person Pheu Thai Instructions on How to Avoid a Spoiled Ballot

Also: A review of the 2011 election posters: Changing the Diapers of Politics

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13 Years Ago: Remembering the grounds of the Siam Intercontinental Hotel

Remembering the grounds of the Siam Intercontinental Hotel

Also: Last Day at the Intercontinental Hotel

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Finding a cloth to patch the butt

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Title: Finding a cloth to patch the butt
On Prayuth’s butt: Economic problems
Cloth on the left: Borrow from the social welfare fund
Cloth on the right: Collect more taxes
Phi Nooring: Don’t be disgraced before the world.
A mouse: A heart of the executive

[Thailand faces a very slow economic situation under the junta. The government has been trying to increase economic growth through many means. This economic difficulty is a weakness and embarrassment for the junta that wants to engineer a future government that cuts out Thaksin who has a reputation for taking bold economic measures.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

Afraid of a popular uprising?

150612 Ai Moh Weng threatening Big Too with 14 October movement

From Naewna, June 12, 2015
Title: Are you afraid… are you afraid…
Red Shirt leader Weng shows a skeleton to the prime minister.
Above the skeleton: Weng uses the Oct 14, 1973 to threaten Prayuth.

[Refers to Red Shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn who brought up the case of a people’s uprising on October 14, 1973 to warn the junta government that they risk a popular uprising over the drafting of the new constitution.]

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6 Years Ago: Michael Jackson’s death in the Thai-language press

Michael Jackson’s death in the Thai-language press

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Limits of Prayuth’s Power

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From Manger, June 18, 2015
PM Prayuth: Here you are!! [on the fist is Chief of Police Gen. Somyos Pumpanmuang]
Thaksin: Oop! Cute
Caption: Want to knock down Thaksin, but uses the wrong fist.

[This cartoon demonstrates that PM Prayuth, who can exercise absolute power, faces limits to what he can really do. Recent attempts by the junta to revoke Thaksin’s police rank have been turned aside by the chief of police and the junta seems powerless to force a decision.]

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Legalizing casinos

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From Komchaluek, June 24, 2015
On the wall: Casino
[Police Chief Pol Gen Somyot Pumpunmuang (pictured) proposed the idea of legalizing casinos. However, his idea has been criticized and opposed by the public as well as the government.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Komchadluek | Leave a comment

The US has photos of the secret CIA prison in Thailand

CIA photos of ‘black sites’ could complicate Gitmo trials – NYT, June 27, 2015
…The bulk of the photographs depict black sites in Thailand, Afghanistan and Poland. There are fewer shots of prisons in Romania and Lithuania, which were among the last to be used before they were closed in 2006.
A former intelligence official who reviewed some of the photographs of the prison in Thailand described them as nondescript.
“It looked like a prison,” the former official said. “It all looked acceptable.”
A U.S. official said there are also photographs of confinement boxes where detainees such as Abu Zubaydah, who is now at Guantanamo, were forced into for hours…

More on the secret CIA prison in Thailand

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Bangkok in 1985, 1987 & 1996

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Above: Rajaprasong Intersection, 1987: Site being cleared for the World Trade Center, later renamed Central World (at 8:11).

Above and below are some screenshots from this amazing video. The one thing we note from the 1985 and 1987 segments is the sound of Bangkok. Back then the dominant sound on the streets was the light bassy buzz from legions of tuk-tuks.

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Above: Rajaprasong Intersection, 1987: Looking south. The Erawan shrine is at the far left corner. Today, at the near left corner, is Gaysorn Plaza.

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Above: Rajaprasong Intersection, 1987: Looking north. Today, Central World is on the left side.

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Above: Asoke intersection, 1987: Looking west down Sukhumvit at the intersection (The “Seafood” building is on the southwest corner of the intersection).

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More money for victims

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From Thairath, June 11, 2015
Title: Less pay, but safer
On the chair: PM’s office permanent secretary
A bag held by ML Panadda Diskul: 400,000 assistance
On the coffin: Victim of the political violence in 2556-2557 [the 2013-2014 anti-Yingluck government protests]
On another coffin: Victim of political violence in 2547-2553 [the 2004-2010 protests against Thaksin and Thaksin-controlled governments]
A bag on the coffin: Yingluck’s government pays 7.9 million per each [victim]
Tag on the bag: NACC files a charge [against these payments]
Phi Nooring: Justice shall come first.
A mouse: The price on people’s lives is not equal.

[The junta government approved a plan to pay 400,000 baht per each to the victims of the political violence in 2556-2557 (the 2013-2014 anti-Yingluck government protests).
However, for the case of fund assistance to the victims in 2547-2553 (the 2004-2010 protests against Thaksin and Thaksin-controlled governments) most of whom were Red Shirts, it has been held up to wait for the result of charges by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) as to whether Yingluck’s government violated the law by providing the funds.]

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11 Years Ago: List of activists killed during the Thaksin era

List of activists killed during the Thaksin era

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Why McDonald’s in Thailand is the best McDonald’s in the world

Above: McRice Burger

Man who has eaten McDonald’s in more than 30 countries reveals who does it best
Of all the McDonald’s he’s tried, Williams says Thailand does it best.
Here are a few reasons he thinks Thailand has the best McDonald’s…


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Also:
2010: Waiing Ronald McDonald
2011: Arrow and McDonalds
2008: Thai McDonalds
2006: McRice Burger
2002: McSomtam

And in recent years McDonalds in Thailand has become associated with the internal struggles of the Red Shirts. The branch at Rajaprasong became a protest venue for Red Shirts who oppose their movement being used as a tool to obtain amnesty for Thaksin: Dotted buffaloes against the blanket amnesty

And Durian McFlurry at McDonald’s Singapore

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Prayuth: Soon this country will just collapse. And then, you won’t have salaries any more

Coup leader’s lament tells of Thai troubles – FT, June 25, 2015
…Close observers of the general’s speeches noted how he wove his familiar polemical blasts with something more melancholy. “No one writes about what I have done,” he said, “or when they do, they write so little.”
“In the end, we cannot fix anything,” continued the man whose ultra-paternalistic style has led some opponents to call him “Uncle”.
“You have disrupted and brought down the whole system. It doesn’t matter how many reforms or coups there are. There’s no point. Things will be the same…”

TJA denies reporters ‘ordered’ to attack govt – The Nation, June 26, 2015
…Manop said Prayut mentioned news reporting when making the allegation, which suggested he was referring to members of the print media. As a representative of print-media organisations, Manop could not accept the accusation and take no action against it.
Manop said the print media were normally run by private companies and could be audited at any time, while journalists take salaries from companies. So to say that they took “an order” to write news was a “painful” accusation…

PM accuses some politicians of supporting student protests – Thai PBS, June 26, 2015

Also: Some things never change: Is the Thai media unprofessional or under pressure?

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Dig happiness out of the poor

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From Thairath, June 10, 2015
Title: Dig happiness out of the poor [satirizing the junta’s “bring back happiness to the people” slogan]
On a shirt of a man lying down: Labor
Words above him: Cancel the 300-baht minimum wage
Two men on the left: Farmer, Rubber farmer
On a man sitting in the chair: Civil officer
On a food he is holding: Salary increases
On plate held by Prayuth: Welfare
Man at top right eating a boot (symbolizing the military): Delicious
Phi Nooring: Return the happiness to whom?
A mouse: They don’t sympathize with the labors.
[Criticizes the junta for scrapping the minimum wage increases enacted by the previous government. On the other hand, they are planning to increase the salaries and welfare benefits of civil servants.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

Some things never change: Is the Thai media unprofessional or under pressure?

Today: Thailand to teach journalists how to ask inoffensive questions
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday he was not afraid of the press, days before the government is to hold a meeting to teach journalists how to ask questions that won’t offend him.
Gaffe-prone Prayuth has had a love-hate relationship with the media during the year since he seized power, at one point saying he would probably “just execute” journalists that “did not report the truth”.
His office later said the comment was made in jest…

10 Years Ago: Is the Thai media unprofessional or under pressure from the government?

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The big fat pig blocks the drainpipe

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From Komchadluek, June 10, 2015
On the poster: Announcement. Missing governor.
[Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra was been criticized for his handling of the recent flooding in Bangkok. At the time of heavy rains he was attending a conference in Europe.]

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From Manager, June 10, 2015
Man: Here [it is]… Trash blocks the pipe.
On the sign: Bangkok drainage tunnel
Caption: An old cartoon… which still illustrates the current situation

[Refers to the flooding situation in Bangkok. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, whose nickname is “Moo” (meaning “Pig” in English), has been criticized due to the flooding in Bangkok.
As the management of water moving thorough drains and canals in Bangkok is a labor intensive operation, it is assumed that only close control of flood prevention officials and other workers will prevent flooding.
Here is the earlier cartoon from March that is being referred to: This big fat pig blocks the drainage pipe]

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One Year Ago: Arun’s “Grand Cycle”

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Arun’s “Grand Cycle”

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Weekly News Magazines, June 19-26, 2015

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From Nation Weekend, June 19, 2015
Main cover reads: Triumphal war elephant

[This cover celebrates a victory of the Thai football team known–as an war elephant–in the SEA Games. It beat the Myanmar team and received the gold medal.]

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From Manager Weekly, June 20-16, 2015
Main cover reads: Forget stripping the rank, let’s open the casino
A police in the cover: Police Chief Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung
Prayuth in the green circle: Don’t oppose the NCPO.

[Ridicules police chief Somyot who has delayed stripping Thaksin’s rank and then suddenly appeared to shift attention away from the issue by lobbying publicly for the legalization of casinos.]

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From Matichon Weekly, June 19-25, 2015
Main cover reads: Love will last long if you forgive people’s mistake, if not, it will be shortened.
A man on the left: Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha
A man on the right: Gen. Teerachai Nakwanich

[This cover uses the Thai proverb meaning that “if you want to maintain love you need to forgive and forget people’s mistakes. If not, it will ruin your relationship.”
This refers to the dilemma competition among Gen. Preecha, PM Prayuth’s brother and Gen. Teerachai, who has a closer tie with Gen. Prawit. Both vie to be the next army chief.]

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Legendary Nancy Chandler 1938-2015

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Before everyone was tweeting and Facebooking every aspect of their environment, there was a time when every expat in Thailand knew of Nancy Chandler. This was before the internet when the only resource for information on Thailand was a Lonely Planet guidebook or possibly Moon’s Southeast Asia Handbook. Few farang women were a part of Bangkok life and even fewer embraced the disorganized and dense street life.

Against this backdrop, Chandler’s take on the Thai environment was a revelation. Her delightful maps cataloged every notable foot stall and picturesque alley. She reveled in the disorganization of the urban environment. Her maps became a required purchase for the expat and allowed to one to appreciate all the city had to offer.

They were the equivalent of tweeting or blogging today–pointing out the little unique details of the Thai world that would never appear on a “proper” map. Her boldly colored maps were works of art on a human scale that stood in contrast to typical maps bent on rigidly documenting streets and borders.

As the years passed, Chandler’s groundbreaking style of map-making—maps that enable a walking human to discover other human-scale things in an environment—was copied in many tourist maps around the world and may not seem particularly novel anymore.

But once, it was thrilling to be in Thailand, a completely alien world practically devoid of intelligible information, and crack open the latest Chandler map to find that another person loved the chaos and peculiarities of the Thai landscape as much as you did.

Celebrating a Life Lived to the Fullest: Nancy Chandler 1938-2015
Nancy Chandler´s unique printed Bangkok Maps

Posted in 2Bangkok News, Analysis, Communities, Maps | Leave a comment