Lottery numbers

From Thairath, April 8, 2014
Left: This time, the winning lottery number will be 66. Not only did PM Yingluck give us a clue, but former PM of Abhisit did also.
Middle: How did they do?
Man: PM Yingluck fell and broke her ankle.
Right: Former PM of Abhisit also fell and broke his collarbone. Due to this, it will be 66. (Sent by the reader) [meaning the idea for this cartoon was sent in by a reader]
[This refers to recent lottery drawings that picked numbers that happened to be the same as the prime minister's license plate. This led to suspicion that lottery numbers were rigged to impress Yingluck supporters as these sorts of signs are widely followed in the Thai world.
This cartoon plays with the pronunciation of the word "fell." In Thai, the word "fell" sounds like the word for the number 6. Since both PM Yingluck and opposition leader Abhisit suffered falls resulting in injury in a short period of time, thus resulting in "2 falls" or "66."]

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How many times has Thaksin quit politics?

Above: April 4, 2006

Yingluck says she is ready to quit politics if it’s the need of majority –, April 22, 2014
[These retirement statements are often couched in terms of elections and majorities. Note Yingluck’s “ready to quit politics if it’s the need of majority.” Since the ruling party has a clear majority in any terms, implicit in these statements is the idea that “since we won the election and have the majority, there is no need to step down,” not that anyone is actually offering to step down.]
Thaksin ‘ready to sacrifice family’ but… – The Nation, April 22, 2014

Torch has passed on, says Thaksin – Bangkok Post, October 17, 2011
…”Yingluck [Shinawatra], the youngest sister of our family, is now the prime minister.
“It has passed my generation already, so my generation should not return to politics,” said Thaksin in a recent exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post in this Middle Eastern state.
He noted he was “misquoted” by some international news outlets that he would return to lead the country again…

[The international press largely ignores the retirement angle in this article and instead focuses on a more combative angle: Thaksin warns military to stay out of politics]

From Red Power, October, 2011
Cover: You don’t want to [be prime minister], but history will force being a leader upon you. Why Thaksin must return to be PM again?
Jakrapob Penkair opens his heart in writing to Lt-Colonel Thaksin Shinawatra: “The heart lies far from home.”
5 years – September 19 – Open your eyes – The problem is not Thaksin – It’s ..?
[This is meant to allude to someone who cannot be criticized openly. All of this is part of the build up to pressure the establishment to exonerate Thaksin.
The pro-Thaksin movement has been successful in the public mind in equating democracy with Thaksin and the return of Thaksin with the return of democracy. The message being conveyed over the past few years to his supporters is that Thaksin will be drafted back to the premiership by the people.]

An Interview with Ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra – Time, March 6, 2009
…Last time you spoke with TIME in January 2007, you said you were finished with politics and that you would retire. What changed?
[My political opponents] have been bullying me politically nonstop since then. I already declared that I wanted to retire. I wanted to spend my life with my family. But they were bullying me. The rule of law is not there [in Thailand]. The democratic process is not there. That is too much. All of my supporters urged me: ‘you have to come and fight back politically.’ They want [Thailand] to come back to a mature democracy…

Ousted Thai leader confirms his return on Feb 28 but forgo politics – TNA, February 27, 2008
Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed on Wednesday his return to Thailand on Thursday morning from self-imposed exile overseas to fight his corruption charges, but that he would stay out of politics…

Transcript: Thaksin Shinawatra – FT, June 21, 2007
…FT: Am I right in saying that you said after September that you had retired from Thai politics?
TS: Yes, yes.
FT: And is that still the case?
TS: Yes, yes. I retire already, completely. Even they are not sure I am retired, they ban me from politics for five years. So don’t worry, I am retired already. Now I find myself a job as a chairman. [Laughter].
FT: So you obviously have a desire to return, but you want to return as a private citizen?
TS: As a private citizen under a democracy…

“I’m Calling It Quits” – Time, February 1, 2007
…Will you return to politics?
Right after I was ousted by the coup, I had mixed feelings. The negative feeling was that this was unfortunate for Thailand and its democracy, that the confidence I tried very hard to restore after the 1997 financial crisis would be lost. The positive part was, oh, I can retire now, I can have time for myself, for my family, I can meet friends and relax. Life is not that long, so if you can bring some happiness to yourself and your family, that’s good … I’m quite confident that if I ran [for election] today, I would win, [but] I have no political ambitions. I am calling it quits…

Deposed Thai PM Thaksin quits politics – lawyer – Reuters, January 10, 2007
…The announcement by lawyer Noppadon Patama came just hours after coup leaders summoned radio and television broadcasters, all of whom have to rent air time from the government, not to carry any statements from Thaksin…

I will not accept post of premier in the next government : Thaksin – The Nation, April 4, 2006

Thai premier to take “political break” – Reuters, April 4, 2006
[This incident in 2006 is more a case of the local press printing wildly inaccurate headlines. In this instance, Thaksin has not resigned, but simply pledged not to be PM in the next government. On the Bangkok Post website on April 4, 2006: The headline was "Thaksin: Why should I resign?" and directly to the right was the breaking news article entitled "THAKSIN RESIGNS."]

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War of rubbish

From Manager, April 8, 2014
Jatuporn: Suthep, do dare to fight with me? Whoever’s rally leaves the most massive amount of rubbish… will win and take the power!!
Caption: If Tu fights like this, then, he can beat the Kanman!!
["Tu" is the nickname of Red Shirt leader Jatuporn and "Kanman" refers to anti-government protest leader Suthep, who stated his political career as a village chief or "kanman."
The cartoon makes a joke about the Red Shirt rally on April 5, 2014. Photos from after the event that circulated on social media showed a massive amount of garbage left by the protesters. In contrast, the anti-government rally has emphasized its public cleaning campaigns to clean protest areas (as was done after the Red Shirt protests in Bangkok in 2010).
These public cleanliness campaigns, when residents are encouraged to ban together to clean public areas, extends beyond the goal of mere cleanliness to symbolically clean (or forgive) the conflicts that led to protest in the first place. This is in keeping with idea that protest is thought to be a shameful sign of disunity in the Thai world.
To emphasize that the Red Shirts left a rubbish-strewn protest area is meant to convey that Red Shirt supporters are uncouth and oblivious to the preeminent Thai value of unity and forgiveness.]

From Komchadluek, April 9, 2014
Woman: They shall love cleanness same as they love democracy.

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Remembering the Thaksin Years: A coffin for drug dealers

From Thairath, February 3, 2003
Title: 3-month campaign
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra stands over a coffin that reads: Free for drug-dealers
Sign held by kids: Join hands to eliminate drugs from Thailand
[In January 2003, Thaksin announced a campaign to rid "every square inch of the country" of drugs in three months. In these three months over 2000 people were killed in extra-judicial killings, many on the way to police stations after receiving summons. This campaign was widely popular and this cartoon lauds Thaksin's vow to rid the country of drugs.]

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Old school, new school

From Manager, April 7, 2014
At left, Democrat leaders Abhisit Vejjajiva, Chuan Leekpai and Banyat Bantadtan wish: Next election, please help us to win and form the government.
Caption: Democrats, old school.
Right: Next rally… we will win and take sovereignty.
Caption: New school
[Refers to the "sovereignty power" statements made by at the anti-government rally led by Suthep. He announced that after the Constitutional Court topples Yingluck’s government, he will bring the sovereign power back by nominating someone who is believed to be proper and seek a royal endorsement of a new PM to replace Yingluck. This bold declaration of a plan to install a new PM was widely criticized from all sides and Suthep quickly retreated from his statement.
However, the plan is thought to reflect the thinking in the Democrat Party that the demographics of the Northeast mean that there is little hope that the Democrats can win over the populist policies and personal popularity of Thaksin Shinawatra.]

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Power of democracy

From Khaosod, April 7, 2014
On the man: Power of conservatism
On the hand: Power of democracy
[The cartoon expresses the belief that the power of democracy will win over the conservative elite.]

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Activist feared ‘disappeared’ while on way to meet with villagers who had filed lawsuit against government

Thailand: Prominent Activist Feared ‘Disappeared’ – HRW, April 20, 2014
The Thai authorities should urgently provide information about a prominent ethnic Karen activist who is believed to have been forcibly disappeared, Human Rights Watch said today. Por Cha Lee Rakcharoen, known as “Billy,” was reportedly arrested on April 17, 2014, in Kaengkrachan National Park in Petchaburi province and released, but his current whereabouts are unknown.
Local authorities have not disclosed either Billy’s detention or any evidence of his release, raising grave concerns of his safety, Human Rights Watch said. Billy was involved in a lawsuit against park officials…

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Dwindling red buffalo

From Manager, April 1, 2014
A red shirt man: Tu… Let’s go catch some in Udon. Hundred of thousands are still there. [Tu is nickname of Red Shirt leader Jatuporn.]
On the newspaper: Khunchai’s wife won two hundred thousand votes.
Caption: Now the red buffaloes are becoming rare.
[Refers to Arporn Sarakham, a wife of Udon Red Shirt leader Khunchai. She won a Senate election in Udon Thani. This was a happy development for the core Red Shirt leadership that is still loyal to Thaksin. The movement has recently had to contend with leadership squabbles and criticism of the government that has cut into Red Shirt support at the grassroots.
To refer to a person as a "buffalo" is an insult meaning they are stupid. Here it is used to refer to the Red Shirts.]

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Boat and anchor

From Post Today, April 4, 2014
On the boat: Economy
On the anchor: Politics
[The cartoon illustrates that the political conflict brings Thai economy down.]

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Move faster… Don’t be lazy

From Komchadluek, April 1, 2014
Thaksin: Move faster… Don’t be lazy.
On the cart: Democracy
Above the men: MPs, Senators
[The cartoonist shows Thaksin is sitting on top of Democracy Monument, pushing his supporters, both Pheu Thai MP and senators, to further his goals in under the guise of supporting democracy.]

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CAPO warns Constitutional Court and NACC not to rule against the prime minister

Capo has overstepped its authority, shunned its real job – Bangkok Post, April 18, 2014
…In the statement, Capo warned the Constitutional Court not to cross the line by making a judgement on the status of the caretaker cabinet if it faults caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for the removal of National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Thawil Pliensri two years ago and rules that she must give up the premiership…

CAPO under fire for statement ‘pressuring’ top court and anti-corruption agency – The Nation, April 19, 2014
…”Also, we work without any bias although we have been threatened and intimidated by some groups of people. NACC commissioners have not been discouraged and we will never abandon the rule of law,” the NACC spokesman said.
Red-shirt supporters of the government have denounced the NACC for legal moves against Yingluck, and its office has come under several grenade attacks.
The NACC is investigating an allegation of neglect against the PM over the government’s loss-making and allegedly corruption-plagued rice price-pledging scheme. Meanwhile the Constitutional Court is hearing a case in which she is accused of malfeasance for removing National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri.
CAPO, in its “statement No 1″ on Thursday, expressed concern there could be bias and “double standards” by the court and the NACC against the prime minister. It warned that such practices could lead to violence…

CAPO’s warnings to Constitutional Court are a Pheu Thai move aimed at a coalition govt, sources say -The Nation, April 19, 2014
…government sources said the move was aimed at forcing the formation of a coalition government, with the Pheu Thai Party nominating the next prime minister and ensuring that no sides achieve a decisive victory. The sources claimed that if the move “failed”, violence might be inevitable.

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Domino’s Pizza coming to Thailand

Domino’s Pizza Hits Thailand –, April 17, 2014
…For Fico, their entrance into the fast food market in Thailand is part of the implementation of a $6-8 million company expansion plan…

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Thais are the world’s fourth biggest liquor drinkers

South Koreans drink twice as much liquor as Russians and more than four times as much as Americans –, February 2, 2014

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Sign from a protest

Sign at Silom and Rama 4 Road

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How did foreign cuisine become Thailand’s national dish?

The Non-Thai Origins of Pad Thai – How did foreign cuisine become Thailand’s national dish? – The Atlantic, April 17, 2014
…The popularization of the noodle dish, as it turns out, was but one of several measures taken by Thai authorities in the 1930s and 1940s to both Westernize and modernize the country. The others, as The New York Times noted over the weekend, included changing the country’s name from Siam to Thailand, banning local languages and dialects from the nation’s schools, and promoting the word sawasdee as a means of greeting…

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Tragedy on this land

From Thairath, April 3, 2014
Cartoon title: Tragedy on this land
Words on the ground: Justice
Top left: Resisting the traitors ["traitors" here refers to anti-government protesters]
Top right: Believe in democracy
Bottom left: UDD [United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, the Red Shirts]
Bottom right: Sau [Meaning "Saudi Arabia." Reference is to the Blue Diamond Affair.]

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Sign from a protest

Sign at Silom and Rama 4 Road

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Life of Thai

From Arun, April 7, 2014
On the tigers: Politicians
[This cartoon uses the imagery from the movie "Life of Pi" implying that conflicts among politicians will bring Thailand down.]

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Bagan denied “world heritage” designation over the army building faux-historic pagodas to earn merit

What’s the future for Myanmar’s architectural past? – PBS, April 15, 2014

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Thai Diners Emerge as Asia’s Top Tippers

Thai Diners Emerge as Asia’s Top Tippers – WSJ, April 16, 2014
…Based on a survey by MasterCard of nearly 8,000 respondents in the Asia-Pacific region between October and November, 84% of Thai diners said they left a tip after a good meal. Bangladesh (80%) and India (78%) ranked second and third, followed by the Philippines (73%). Japan (4%) was reported as the least generous, with Indonesia (33%), Malaysia (31%) and Singapore (20%) falling somewhere in the middle…

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Guardian: Australian journalist accused of defaming Thai navy set to face court

Australian journalist accused of defaming Thai navy set to face court – The Guardian, April 17, 2014
…The charges, brought by the Royal Thai Navy, follow Phuketwan’s republishing of a Reuters news agency report last year that alleged Thai security forces, including navy and police personnel, were linked in the smuggling of Muslim Rohingya from Burma.
The Reuters reporters, Jason Szep and Andrew Marshall, were this week awarded the Pulitzer prize for international reporting over their coverage of the Rohingya trafficking…

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Thai anti-govt groups have bullet-proof vests, but journalists & medics forced to break the law if they want them

Thai anti-govt groups have bullet-proof vests, but journalists & medics forced to break the law if they want them –, April 17, 2014
Something is lost in translation in Thailand where armed anti-government protesters are able to readily access bullet-proof vests and other ballistic and protective wear in addition to guns, yet journalists and volunteer medical personnel are forced to break the law if they want to work with increased safety…

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Who can fire the government?

From Manager, April 3, 2014
Thaksin Shinawatra to his sister, Yingluck: See… I really trust in Ai Tou.
The guard: I’m an employee of his company. How can I fire the company’s owner? I have to protect my own status.
On the guard’s left arm: Security
Sign on the building: the Shinawatra Co., Ltd.
Caption: You heard the company’s guard… Is it clear now?
[The words spoken by Thaksin here refer to an audio clip of a conversation between Thaksin and Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapha, former defense minister in Yingluck cabinet. In the clip they talked about ways the government could enable a Thaksin return to Thailand and Thaksin expressed confidence in Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army. This led to rumors that the clip meant that Thaksin had reached an agreement with the army chief not to block his return to Thailand and to political power.
The guard is Gen. Prayuth. The words he says refer to an interview when he stated that he cannot deny the government's authority which is the same as an employee who cannot fire the owner of the company he/she works for. This led to disappointment from many who wished the army would exercise its traditional self-proclaimed role as a power that can remove a government that becomes too corrupt, greedy, or otherwise upsets the balance of power in the Thai system.
Since the present government has attempted a broad rewriting of the constitution, used state funds in populism schemes narrowly designed to benefit its party supporters, denied court oversight of its actions, forced Shinawatra family relatives into key roles again (like the chief of police), and attempted to give Thaksin a pardon, anti-government groups think it is acceptable for the army to step in. The carton expresses disappointment that the army chief is not willing to take action against Thaksin and the government.]

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Sign from a protest

Sign at Silom and Rama 4 Road

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Tourists from the Lanna Republic

From Thairath, April 2, 2014
Left, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovijakchaikul: I have to ask military officers to move bunkers back to the camps because these bunkers frighten foreign tourists!
Middle, Soldier: Tourists from which country, sir? Why are they so panicky?
Right, Surapong: They are from PRC Lanna who’re going to visit on the 5th.
[This refers to Red Shirt protest outside of Bangkok on April 5. Over the past months calls from Red Shirt supporters have grown for a new state to be formed in the north to protect the Yingluck government.
The joke is that the army checkpoints in Bangkok really scare the separatist Red Shirts who wish to occupy Bangkok like they did in 2009 and 2010.]

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Thailand second deadliest nation in Asia for environmental activists

More Than 900 Environmental Advocates Slain In A Decade As Concern For The Planet Grows – AP, April 14, 2014
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…As head of his village, Prajob Naowa-opas battled to save his community in central Thailand from the illegal dumping of toxic waste by filing petitions and leading villagers to block trucks carrying the stuff — until a gunman in broad daylight fired four shots into him.
A year later, his three alleged killers, including a senior government official, are on trial for murder. The dumping has been halted and villagers are erecting a statue to their slain hero…

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Hezbollah members arrested in Thailand

Hezbollah members arrested in Thailand: report – The Daily Star, April 14, 2014
…The Thai website dedicated to gathering intelligence reports identified the three arrested suspects as a Thai citizen, Y. Ayyad, who was described as a member of a foreign operations unit of Hezbollah working out of East Asia…

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Thai tourism ministry ordered to help cheated tourists

Thai tourism ministry ordered to help cheated tourists –, April 13, 2014
…Yukhon, who looks after the ministry, has ordered its permanent secretary Suwat Sidthilaw to make a list of the deceived victims. The names will be sorted into groups to lodge complaints against wrongdoers, making clear the problems from case to case…

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Dream a sweet dream together

From Thairath, April 1, 2014
Cartoon title: Dream a sweet dream together
Suthep Thuagsuban’s thought balloon: Declaring a sovereign state; Cases on ordering to kill the Red Shirt dismissed; Case on occupying land at Khao Phaeng dismissed; the Insurrection case dismissed [Suthep is secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). These thoughts indicate the legal cases and charges that have been leveled against him over the years.]
Masked man’s thought balloon: (Forcefully) appointed Premier
On masked man’s shirt: A decent person [meaning the person who might be appointed as the next PM]
On money bag in masked man’s hand: Autocratic dictatorship
Phi Nooring: Will be Thai people’s nightmare
Mouse: Who’s the masked man?
[Holding the leash of the masked future PM is an arm with a quilted sleeve indicating it is Privy Councillor Prem and, by extension, the monarchy which the Privy Council represents. These coded references have often been used in pro-Thaksin cartoons and publications to indicate who they they think their real opponents are.]

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A loan from Tan

From Komchadluek, March 26, 2014
Yingluck Shinawatra: Uh!! The thing is the government is broke. So I’d like to ask Khun Tan for 3,800 million to organize another election.
[Tan is Tan Passakornnatee, best known as the founder of the Oishi Group of Japanese restaurants. This cartoon refers to a recent incident when a student marching band essentially extorted 3.1 million baht from him to sponsor their overseas trip.
In the carton, PM Yingluck asks Tan for money to organize another election. The attempts of the government to call another election have been ridiculed by opponents who claim that the current government is saddled with legal cases they cannot be rid of by calling another election.]

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