Today we are celebrating Malaysia’s national day, known as Hari Merdeka (Independence day), commemorating the independence of the country from British colonial rule on 31 August 1957. So, I would like to share with you a unique artist, who has created through his work a true Malaysian identity and who is, for foreigners like myself, one of the best ways to discover and understand the Malaysian life and multi-racial society: cartoonist Lat.
Lat (real name Mohamed Nor Khalid) began his cartoonist career at 13 years old. His most famous comic book is ‘Kampung Boy’ (Village boy), where he describes his childhood in a typical Malaysian village. I love his style, black and white and the many little details you can notice in his drawings: The attitude of the villagers, the teeth and noses in their faces (typical of his style), the way they dress and the simple yet touching, nostalgic and funny stories. To be simple is the most difficult thing to achieve and Lat, in my opinion, achieves this perfectly. (My favourite mantra in life is KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid!)
Lat, in many ways, reminds me of French cartoonist Sempe, who with his many books is also the best way to discover the French life, our way of thinking and attitude, caught brilliantly in perfect drawings. Both Lat and Sempe use universal themes and manage with their unique talent to connect readers from all over the world.
For this special day in Malaysia, what better way to celebrate the unity of races, than to be transported to a Malaysian village of the 1950’s and follow the heartfelt stories of Lat. Trust me you won’t regret the journey.
Lat’s book on Amazon.com: Click here.
Sempe’s book on Amazon.com: Click here.