U.S. military cooperation more important than coup punishment: Cobra Gold 2015 set for February

Kenney: US did not downgrade ties after coup; Obama-Prayut handshake possible – The Nation, October 25, 2014
…Prime Minister and coup leader Prayut Chan-o-cha and President Barack Obama are scheduled to attend the Asean Summit in Myanmar’s new capital Nay Pyi Taw on November 12-13. The Thai and US leaders are expected to sit next to each other under the seating arrangement.
Despite US disapproval of the takeover, the US ambassador said the coup leader-turned-prime minister could expect the US president to treat him as per diplomatic protocol.
“The president is always gracious and will never be rude. He values protocol over political disagreement,” she said in reply to a question on whether the two leaders would shake hands with each other…

Cobra Gold 2015 set for February – Bangkok Post, October 21, 2014
…The future of Cobra Gold, first held in 1982, was threatened briefly by the May 22 military coup. US- and Thailand-based rumour mongers tried to spread false reports in June that the US military was considering moving the exercise to Australia, a move that never was contemplated…

Another U.S. take on Cobra Gold and the coup: US Scales Back ‘Cobra Gold’ War Games in Thailand – VOA, October 24, 2014
The United States has confirmed it is scaling back a major annual defense exercise in Thailand, where Washington has criticized a coup by the country’s military.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok told VOA on Friday the so-called Cobra Gold 2015 exercise set for February will be “refocused and scaled down…”

Also: Remembering U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney
Also: U.S. diplomatic drift and Thailand

Posted in 2014 Coup, Thai Military | Leave a comment

The heroic story of Thaksin continues: Feet on the ground, eyes to the stars


[This is part three of a new cartoon series on Thaksin. This shows the redefinition of Thaksin as is often seen in Red Shirt publications--Thaksin as a relatable person who suffers and strives just like the rural poor. In the series, Thaksin is essentially a humble provincial man who tried and failed many times in business before succeeding.]

Posted in Thai Politics | 1 Comment

10 Years Ago: The Tak Bai Incident

Above: Thaksin addressing the nation on October 30, 2004 following the Tak Bai Incident.

The Tak Bai VCDs – October 30, 2004

PM says Post report ‘awful’ – Bangkok Post, October 31, 2004
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday slammed the Bangkok Post for damaging international confidence in Thailand’s democratic system with its report that southern Muslim religious and community leaders will ask for a royally-appointed government from His Majesty the King to replace his administration…

Nationalism & Right-wing Politics – 2004 [There are several mentions of the Tak Bai incident on this page. While pro-Thaksin groups have been successful in associating Thaksin with liberal democracy, in his heyday, Thaksin embraced right-wing nationalism to temper the media, suppress criticism of the Tak Bai incident, and sanction hard-line action against separatism in the Thai deep south. Like most of his initiatives during the Thai Rak Thai years, it was generally popular with the public.]

A tale of two newspapers: Krue Se and Tak Bai reports ‘censored?’ – April 25, 2005

Editorial cartoon from the southern separatists – November 20, 2006

The outrage of Tak Bai – Bangkok Post, October 25, 2010
…The members of the Thaksin government and the army have strongly defended the actions against the demonstrators, and have rejected all claims of malfeasance or even errors during the violence or in transporting the prisoners. Under the military junta which ousted Thaksin, then-prime minister Surayud Chulanont travelled to Pattani and issued an apology. “What happened in the past was mostly the fault of the state,” he said. He announced several procedural changes in administration. Reparations were made to some families of the dead, and the government dropped the laughable charges of instigating the riot against 92 people who survived the violence…

Posted in The Thaksin Years, Today in History | 1 Comment

Reopen Akeyuth’s case


From a post on social media: Reinvestigate the past case which can impact Thaksin’s regime!
There is a new evidence! It is a hard disk stored with data from the CCTV cameras installed in Akeyuth’s house. It has the clear picture of the persons who killed him.
“Mr. Ball said that he kept the hard disk of the CCTV cameras installed in Akeyuth’s house. On the hard disk it will show the image of persons who killed him and how many of them. He also kept a white gold necklace, an amulet and Rolex platinum white gold watch.”

[This refers to the murder of Akeyuth (sometimes Ekkayuth) Anchanbutr, one of Thaksin’s most persistent critics. Police quickly wrapped up the case claiming he was killed by his chauffeur, Santiparb Pengduang, whose nickname is "Ball." Akeyuth's website of political gossip also vanished as well. Many questioned the real motive of the murder.
After the military seized power, many cases have been reopened and calls have been made to reopen Akeyuth’s as Santiparb has claimed that he has the new evidence to disclose.]

2013: Killing a Government Critic as a Warning
2013: The hasty open and shut liquidation of anti-Thaksin critic Akeyuth
2013: 2 murderers… 1 mastermind
2013: The Wheel Begins to Turn: Weekly Rallies and Disapproving Academics
2004: Akeyuth targeted by the government

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When I draw a sword… the Red Shirts will be afraid and faint

From Manager, October 8, 2014
PM Prayuth: When I draw a sword… the Red Shirts will be afraid and faint.
On the sword: Martial law
On the sign held by Thaksin in the background: Pretend to be afraid and faint
[The cartoon reflects the belief that the Red Shirts are being purposely restrained by Thaksin and not because they fear martial law or wish reconciliation. Reports indicate that Thaksin ordered his Red Shirt supporters to keep silent during the junta government period and wait until a future time when elections will return his political party to power.]

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Nine Years Ago: Aura of fear pervades Thai media

Nine Years Ago: Aura of fear pervades Thai media
If Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had hoped, as critics suggested, to scare Thailand’s journalists by filing libel lawsuits that seek more than $12 million in damages from a media group owner and his partner, he has at least partially succeeded.
Senior newspaper editors and publishers plan to gather in a Bangkok hotel Thursday for an emergency meeting called by Thailand’s Press Council to discuss the plight of the media under a government they fear is determined to crush their independence and, in the process, change the country’s political landscape…
…Thailand once boasted of having one of the liveliest and freest media in Asia. A Constitution introduced in 1997 set out to protect the public’s right to know from attempts to interfere with the press by power-hungry generals.
But the election of Thaksin, a billionaire tycoon, in 2001 has presented the Thai media with challenge. In addition to a mass electoral base and a dominance of Parliament that leaves opposition parties little leeway to shape legislation, Thaksin has powerful allies in business. Some say he appears all too willing to deploy his political, financial and legal weapons against the more independent-minded of the Thai press…

Posted in Today in History | Comments Off

Vintage images of King Chulalongkorn

Vintage images of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V)

Above: From a series of French caricatures of world leaders, 1905
Left: Ruling monarchs postcard (King Chulalongkorn is at the upper left.)

Left and above: Rama V and Bismarck

Above: Rama V at the inauguration of Petchaburi railway station

Above: Rama V in Paris

Above: Rama V in 1881

Posted in Chulalongkorn Day | Leave a comment

Brave Apiwan has died


From Thairath, October 9, 2014
Text at top right: The democratic heart is still alive.
Brave Apiwan has already died. He said goodbye to all his friends on 6 October. Even though he passed away, his democratic heart is still with us.
Written by MP Sunai Julpongsthon
Mouse: Rest in Peace
On wreath: People who love democracy
On Apiwan’s shirt: Democracy
Sign on his statue: Apiwan Wiriyachai
[Refers to former Pheu Thai MP Apiwan Wiriyachai who died while in exile while fleeing lese majeste charges after the coup. He was an outspoken supporter of Thaksin and the Red Shirt movement. He left the country after the military took the power in May 2014.]

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

Myanmar goats

From Manager, October 7, 2014
Left: Now it is difficult to find Thai laborers… so I have to hire Myanmar laborers instead. [This is the claim of many Thai factory owners who need labor for strenuous or dirty jobs.]
Right: Now it is difficult to find Thai goats… so I have to catch Myanmar goats instead.
[Refers to the case of the Koh Tao murders. Although the police charged two migrant workers from Myanmar with the murder of the two British tourists, the case quickly fell apart under media scrutiny and charges that the migrants were scapegoats.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is it a populist program?

From Manager, October 6, 2014
Farmers: We insist that to Ui’s policy to give money to us is not a populist policy because it only gives us a thousand baht per rai! We don’t like it! [A rai is a Thai unit of area, equal to 1,600 square metres.]
Caption: A confirmation from those farmers… may help Ui.

[Refers to the government policy to provide a supporting fund of 1,000 baht per rai to rice farmers in order to help the farmers survive as the price of rice decreases. Deputy Prime Minister M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula, whose nickname is Ui, insists that this policy is not a populist like the previous government's rice pledging scheme. Instead, it is part of the government’s economic stimulus plan with the aim to help rice farmers who have lower incomes.
Of course, observers scoff at this fine distinction of claiming the free money is not the same as a populist program. The cartoonist notes the howls of protest from rice farmers, used to getting much more free cash from governments, as humorously supporting the present government's claim that a paltry 1000 baht per rai does not quality as a populist program.]

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If elected politicians are dismissed, the Red Shirts won’t help them

From Manager, October 5, 2014
Former Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema: NCPO, if you dismiss us… I will call for a protest to fight your martial law!
Signs held by other Red-Shirt leaders behind (L-R): I’m not involved with him for so long.; We’re not the same group. He’s crazy!; I don’t know and I’m not involved with him.; I don’t know about this.; I’m not involved. I’m not involved with him.; I don’t know and I’m not involved.

[Worachai Hema, a Red Shirt leader and a former MP from the Pheu Thai Party, threatened that if the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) is given the power to dismiss elected MPs, he will call out the Red Shirts to protest the junta despite the continuing martial law. The Red Shirts quickly distanced themselves from the threat, leaving Worachai embarrassed and isolated.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | 1 Comment

5 Years Ago: Red Publications – October 2009
5 ปีที่แล้ว : สิ่งตีพิมพ์ของกลุ่มเสื้อแดง – ตุลาคม 2552

5 Years Ago: Red Publications – October 2009

[Interesting month for Red Shirt publications as all the propaganda themes of the movement are fully formed: telling Privy Councillor Prem to go to hell, praising Cambodia's Hun Sen, pressuring the monarchy for a "peaceful revolution," equating Thaksin's return to a return of democracy, cursing opponents with blood, portraying Abhisit as a Nazi, and having the right to fight when disenfranchised.]

Posted in Red Shirt Publications, Today in History | Leave a comment

The person who destroys the sand castle


From Thairath, October 2, 2014
Title: The person who destroys the sand castle
Girl: You lie to me!
Phi Nooring: Who said he would harmonize?
On the hand representing the military: Reform Thailand
On the man’s suit: NRC, 40 senators
On the man’s trousers: PDRC [People's Democratic Reform Committee]
On the sand castle: Harmony
Mouse: Return the happiness to 40 senators and the PDRC [This ridicules PM Prayuth's slogan that he will "return happiness to the people."]

[The cartoon refers to the selection of members of the National Reform Council (NRC). The members of the NRC are expected to be people who have a good relationship with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO, the military junta) and not be really representative of the various groups in the country.
The cartoonist means that the reform council will only create laws to make things better for those who tried to overthrow the previous government (like the People's Democratic Reform Committee).]

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

Bangkok may have one of the tallest buildings in the world by 2019


Tallest skyscraper in Asean planned for Bangkok – Bangkok Post, October 15, 2014
…The 18-billion-baht 615-metre “Rama IX Super Tower” is set for completion by 2019 on 73 rai of land in the Grand Rama 9 mixed-use development site near the intersection of Ratchadapisek Road, the company, known as G Land, said at a press conference…

Posted in Buildings | Leave a comment

Who is stronger? Prem or Prawit?

From Manager, October 2, 2014
Gen. Prawit: The size of our feet may be the same.
Caption: On that day, there is a person who is keen on knowing the size of Pa Prem’s feet.

[Refers to Thai proverb "to measure the feet" meaning to compete with people who have more power. Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, a senior officer to PM Prayuth, was appointed to be the Deputy PM and Defence Minister--both formidable positions. Gen. Prawit is believed to be one of the most powerful people in both politics and the army. In the cartoon, he is comparing his power with Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, known as Pa Prem.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | Leave a comment

Return happiness to the Dragon


From Thairath, October 1, 2014
Caption: Return happiness to the Dragon.
Phi Nooring: We don’t want the chief executive to be nominated by China.
A mouse: Return democracy

[Refers to the protests in Hong Kong. People have been protesting and calling for free elections in 2017 that do not require candidates to be vetted by the ruling party in Beijing.
"Return happiness to the people" is a frequent refrain from PM Prayuth. The cartoonist often uses the phrase to call on the military to "Return democracy or justice to the people" of Thailand.
It is notable for a pro-Red Shirt cartoonist to be siding with anti-Beijing demonstrators as it is widely rumored that Thaksin ordered the Red Shirts not to openly side with the Hong Kong protestors for fear of offending Beijing.]

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

October 14, 1973

Today is the anniversary of the 1973 democracy movement that overthrew the “Three Tyrants:” Thanom, Praphas, and Narong

First stirrings of a passive population: …The salary of the Prime Minister at that time was Bt120,000 and the population was 39 million. Local newspapers still referred to Thais of Chinese ancestry as Khon Chine, while Thailand was trying to resume diplomatic relations with Red China after US President Nixon decided to befriend the Maoist state…

The news from 30 years ago: …A Daily News columnist pen-named Nui Bangkokthian suggested that Thais might conclude after the regime had taken this action that: “Students are still young and it’s better that they not meddle in politics. They should let adults handle it while they concentrate on their studies so they will have secure jobs afterward. And that should be it…”

More links:
Daily News, October 14, 1974

The 14 October 1973 Memorial – Lest we forget

Time: A One-Day Revolution Topples a Dictator

October 1973 Videos on YouTube

The “Three Tyrants” finally tell their side of the story

Absolute power in 1973: …If you broke the law back in 1973, you risked having the prime minister on your case – personally judging and sentencing you, as four military conscription officers discovered to their cost…

2003: Crystal torch damage seen as bad omen

2003: Government to officially recognize democracy uprising of Oct 14

2010: At the October 14 Monument

2010: “There were dead on 14 October 1973″ and “There were dead on 10 April 2010″ The 1973 memorial is at Kokwua intersection where a gun and grenade battle broke out between Red Shirts and soldiers in 2010

Kris Srivara: …Narong personally shot into the crowds from a helicopter. Thanom and Praphas resigned from their political roles, but continued to lead the military. They ordered more troops to confront the remaining demonstrators, but were blocked by Krit…

An editorial cartoon from 2013: Thai people 40 years ago would not understand Thai people nowadays

Earlier this month: October 6, 1976: A Nightmare of Lynching and Burning
Earlier this month: October 6, 1976 Student Massacre Remembered in ‘Politics-free’ Commemoration

Posted in October, 1973, Today in History | 2 Comments

Remembering U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney

Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Editorial Cartoons - Komchadluek | 1 Comment

First KFC coming to Myanmar

Yum! Brands & Yoma Strategic to Bring First KFC to Myanmar – straitstimes.com, October 13, 2014
…”Bringing KFC to Myanmar is an important step to achieving Yoma Strategic’s goal in being a key player in the country’s food and beverage sector,” Mr. Serge Pun, executive chairman of Yoma Strategic, said in the comany’s statement to the Singapore Exchange…

Posted in Myanmar/Burma | Leave a comment

Chalerm denies he has died

I’m still alive, says Chalerm – Bangkok Post, October 13, 2014
Former deputy prime minister Chalerm Yubamrung Sunday dismissed social media rumours claiming he had died from cancer of the larynx.
Mr Chalerm told reporters he is “in perfect health” because he has started a daily regime of physical exercise.
Rumours about the alleged death of the controversial politician have been doing the rounds on the social media for several months…

More about colorful Chalerm
Who is Chalerm Yoobamrung?
What is Chalerm’s Goal?
Chalerm says he will disguise himself to arrest Suthep
Chalerm’s Rolls Royce
Another Chalerm Bluff on Terrorism?
Kicking Chalerm
Furious Chalerm
Chalerm and Peace
Making Chalerm Go to the Deep South
Chalerm Does Care
Chalerm Does Care, Part 2
Chalerm vows Thaksin will be home this year – Behead me if he isn’t, deputy PM tells reds
Yet Another Attempt to Rehab Charlerm’s Disgraced Son
Chalerm Points Out the Bombs
Chalerm: I’m Thaksin’s servant
Coffee Made Chalerm Drunk
Now a fire is burning Chalerm
Chalerm to Rescue the South!
The Chalerm Boys
Chalerm Snakebitten
Chalerm Adopts Yingluck
Chalerm’s Angels
Chalerm denies warning about bomb attacks
Chalerm and Prasong Soonsiri
More on Chalerm and Prasong
Chalerm’s attack on NACC unwarranted

Posted in Thai Politics | 1 Comment

10 years ago: Lengthy prison sentences for those who criticize Thaksin’s company

10 years ago: Trying to create a legal precedent–lengthy prison sentences for those who criticize Thaksin’s company

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

Plans for trans-Asian highway from India to Thailand

Roadmap to Bangkok to be ready in ’17 – Guwahati (The Asian Age), October 10 2014
The idea of driving down to Bangkok in a car or bus from any North Eastern State may become reality by 2017, with India signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Myanmar on opening four-lane motorways to promote trade and tourism from the North Eastern States into that country, and on to Thailand, and eventually Cambodia and Vietnam as well…

Posted in Highways and Roads | Leave a comment

This sounds like Bangkok in the early 1990s: Urban decay cools hot Philippine economy

Urban decay cools hot Philippine economy – AFP, October 12, 2014
…Galang spends three hours commuting to work every day, half of which is spent in queues.
For other commuters on buses or in cars, daily gridlock worsens to a complete standstill that can trap people for hours when even small rain storms trigger flash floods…

Posted in The Philippines | Leave a comment

Thailand is the champion of alcohol consumption in ASEAN


Posted in Food and Drink | Leave a comment

Old politicians joining the NRC

From Manager, September 30, 2014
Newin: Dad, good news. Khun Pom will invite you to be the head of the NRC.
A sign on the grave: Chai Chidchob
A sign on the grave behind: Teng
A sign on the gate: A grave of the old politicians
Caption: Do we need to dig them from the grave?

[Refers to Gen. Prawit’s connections in Prime Minister Prayuth’s government. Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, whose nickname is "Pom," is regarded by PM Prayuth as a respected senior figure and was appointed to be Deputy PM and Defence Minister. He has close relations with many "old" politicians of the 1980s and 1990s--particularly Chai Chidchob and his son Newin and also Banharn Silpa-archa, the former PM whose nickname is "Teng." These politicians or their proxies are expected to be in the National Reform Council (NRC).
The cartoonist laments that these old-school politicians, who had been sidelined by Thaksin dominance, are being resurrected for a supposedly reform government.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | 2 Comments

U.S. diplomatic drift and Thailand

US, Thai officials planning Cobra Gold exercise despite May coup – Stars and Stripes, October 10, 2014
The United States and Thailand will scale down next year’s Cobra Gold military exercise because of the rift in relations that followed Thailand’s military coup earlier this year.
“In light of the current political situation, the U.S. government has reduced the scale of the exercise and increased its focus on non-lethal activities, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok said in a statement Friday…

[Those who support the junta's move to create permanent military oversight over civilian politics can feel lucky the coup occurred during a U.S. administration that is not much interested in foreign policy. Other than this statement from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, the U.S. has seemed little interested in exerting any real pressure on Thailand.

U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney has perhaps been sending messages of her own with highly publicized visits to Red Shirt groups and media outlets like Prachathai. These visits have been roundly ridiculed in Thai social media by those who support the coup.

With Kenney now returning to the U.S., Thailand will be without a U.S. ambassador for the foreseeable future and this will further underscore to the generals that the U.S. is disinterested in Thai politics. It means disappointment for dissidents who dreamed that other nations would be interested in putting pressure on the junta.

Meanwhile, China is moving fast to improve relations with Thailand. The U.S.'s status as a superpower that can project its power is based on good relations with nations that allow military bases or ports of call. Thus it is critical for China to cultivate good relations with other nations--not just engage in nationalistic bullying over disputed territory.

As Thailand is one of the few nations in the region that has no land claims or boundary disputes with China, it makes the nation an inviting possible partner for China. This may be a quixotic notion given Thailand's long history as a U.S. ally, but China is certainly going to try to capitalize on the U.S.'s foreign policy drift in the region.]

2Bangkok.com Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.

Posted in 2014 Coup, Analysis | 1 Comment

Throw the podium again


From Thairath, September 29, 2014
Left, PM Prayuth says: I’m not gonna throw all the money for populist policies which will cause the Ministry of Finance to run out of money as in the past.
Middle: But I can throw something else that will not cause the Ministry of Finance to be in trouble.
Reporter: What are you going to throw, sir?
Right: Throw the podium.
[Refers to Prayuth’s interview saying he might throw the podium at the reporter when he was asked whether he was happy to be a PM installed by means of a coup d’état. In the cartoon, it plays with the Thai word "toom" meaning "throwing."]

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

Ordered to wear hats


From Thairath, September 29, 2014
Title: Ordered to wear hats
On two men’s coats: NLA
On the paper held on the left: Constitution
On the paper held on the right: Reform the country?
On a paper hold by the smaller man at right: Freedom
Phi Nooring: It’s trendy [to wear these box hats].
A mouse: Return a democracy

[This cartoon illustrates that the role of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) is not independent, but donimated by the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO, the junta) led by PM Prayuth. The hands holding the cages refers to the NCPO.
The man at far right is Sugree Charoensuk, a dean of the College of Music of Mahidol University. He wore the box on to protest Dr. Rajata Rajatanavin for holding both the university’s rector position and a government minister's post at the same time. His protest comes from Thai proverb "covering the head with a box." It means that you should cover your head with the box if you have done something very shameful.]

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

Six Years Ago: Bloody October
วันนี้เมื่อ 6 ปีที่แล้ว : โศกนาฏกรรมเดือนตุลาคม

Six Years Ago: Bloody October

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

Throw the podium at the reporter

From Manager, September 24, 2014
A reporter on the left: Oh!… You’re so funny.
A reporter close to a podium: Yes! You’ve a sense of humor.
A reporter on the right: Oh… You said you’d throw a podium and then you did it. So awesome.
Caption: At present, if he throws it… no one will complain.
[Refers to Prayuth saying he would "throw the podium at the reporter" when he was asked whether he was happy to be the PM installed by means of a coup d’état. This attitude reflects both the paternalistic and dominant attitude Thai "big men" have towards women as well as the still fawning attitude of the press towards the strong-man PM.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | Leave a comment