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Air Asia Boeing 737 with livery of Lat's cartoons.

Mohammad Nor Khalid or Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid (born 5 March 1951) is a well known cartoonist in Malaysia. Also known as Lat, many of his cartoons appear in the editorial pages of the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times.

Contents

Early life

Lat was born in Kota Baru, Perak, not to be confused with Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan. He had a wonderful talent for drawing as a child and drew excellent comics. At the age of 9, his gifted talent began to yield his family income. His first real book was Tiga Sekawan, a story about three friends who banded together to catch robbers. The book was published in his sixth year at Jalan Pasir Puteh Primary School in Ipoh. The publisher, Sinaran Brothers of Penang paid him M$25 for his service.[1] By 1968, Lat was earning M$100 a month from his work.

In 1970, he moved to Kuala Lumpur. Lat was offered a position to join the New Straits Times as a crime reporter but later on became a cartoonist. He started with an editorial comic strip called Scenes of Malaysian Life, then was known in 1968 for the comic strip published weekly on Berita Harian which is Keluarga Si Mamat. His first book Kampung Boy, an autobiography of his life was published in 1979 and sold thousands of copies within three months. Kampung Boy was published in France by a French publisher. An American edition of Kampung Boy was published by First Second Books in August 2006. This was the first of his books to be published in the United States. His second American release, Town Boy, was released in October 2007. His cartoons reflect his view about Malaysian life and the world. Another famous Lat comic book is 'Mat Som' which was published in 1989. It is a story about a young teenager's discovery of the new world of capitalism. It also shows illustrations of insight view in Kuala Lumpur city.

His cartoons have been published in several cartoon books in Malaysia and he is famous throughout the country. Lat's latest book is Dr Who?!, dedicated to Mahathir bin Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah.

Despite misconceptions, most of his books were originally released in both Malay and English versions by Berita Publishing Sdn. Bhd.

Style

The main theme of Lat's oeuvre is life in multi-racial Malaysia, ranging from deeply personal memories ("Kampung Boy"), political satire (often lampooning the heated debates between the two major political parties, UMNO and PAS, as well as taking a satirical swipe at every major government policy as they are announced, living life abroad from the Malaysian point of view and the ever-changing relationships between the different ethnic groups. He often mixes his social commentaries with humorous passages and slapstick. These features are found throughout his work (see bibliography).

What is striking are Lat's accounts of his own village childhood and his extended Malay family, collected in his acclaimed autobiographical books "Kampung Boy" and "Town Boy". They are the only books to have been reprinted in Japanese. They represent Lat's fond memories of the relaxed pace of traditional kampong life, and that in spite of being supportive of modern city life, Lat is proud and very fond of his deeply rural background.

Although detailed insight of life on the Malayan peninsula is required to fully appreciate the work, Lat can be recommended as an invaluable primer for the visitor and new resident alike.

Lat's unique way of drawing noses for his characters was copied as a tribute to him in an issue of Groo by Spanish cartoonist Sergio Aragones.

Awards

Family

Lat's younger brother is the filmmaker Mamat Khalid.[2]

Bibliography

  • Be Serious Lat
  • Better Lat than Never
  • Budak Kampung
  • Dr. Who?! (Tribute to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad featuring compilation of Lat's past comics depicting Mahathir)
  • Entahlah Mak...
  • It's a Lat Lat Lat Lat World
  • Kampung Boy: Yesterday and Today (ISBN 967-969-307-4)
  • Kampung Boy: Yesterday and Today (Japanese Version ISBN 4794940246)
  • Keluarga Si Mamat
  • Lat 30 Years Later
  • Lat and Gang
  • Lat and His Lot Again...
  • Lat as Usual
  • Lat at Large
  • Lat gets Lost
  • Lat was Here
  • Lat with a Punch
  • Lat's Lot
  • Lots More Lat
  • Lots of Lat
  • Mat Som (English Version) (ISBN 983-99617-1-3)
  • Mat Som (Malay Version)
  • Scenes of Malaysian Life[3]
  • Kampung Boy
  • Kampung Boy - Ein Frechdachs aus Malaysia (German Version)
  • The Portable Lat
  • Town Boy
  • Town Boy (Japanese Version)
  • With a Little Bit of Lat (A one-page shorties comic book)

Notes and references

  1. ^ Lat 30 Years Later. Petaling Jaya: Kampung Boy Sdn. Bhd. 1994. ISBN 9839961748.  
  2. ^ Kamin, A. (2005-07-22). "A local movie about rock culture". star-ecentral.com. http://star-ecentral.com/services/sprinterfriendly.asp?file=/2005/7/22/movies/11352728&sec=movies. Retrieved 2007-04-24.  
  3. ^ Pilcher, Tim and Brad Brooks. The Essential Guide to World Comics. Collins & Brown. 2005. 125.

External links

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