Lat is a Malaysian cartoonist of international acclaim. His works mostly illustrate Malaysia's social and political scenes, portraying them in a comedic light without bias. His work is published in several countries across the world.
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I love the memories....
When I was a little boy I had a collection of Lat's comics in my collection of books. Mind you, they were not cheap. Back in the 90s, they cost at least about $15 but the cost did not deter me.
I had his comics in both Malay and English editions.
The many hours of pleasure that I derived from reading them was definitely a good ROI in my books.
What I loved about Lat was how he told the story of his life through his distinctive style of drawing. Many were honest recollections of his childhood, like in Kampong Boy. They gave me a little insight into how life was like back then.
I also enjoyed his caricatures of political and social figures. Using the innocent medium of comic, he was able to critic using a combination of art and satire. He is a social commentator par excellence.
When I see Lat, I am instantly reminded of Kampung Boy, the cartoon as well as the comic. It is pretty funny to see it as they portray the lives of simpletons in a village area. The artwork is quite nice, especially for a Malaysian work of art. I personally didn't know of any of the works that involved political elements but I do recall it being quite entertaining.
I was a kid, of course I wouldn't be aware of political parodies. When my lecturers showed me pictures of it last year, it was only then that I realized the true meaning of certain comics. But, it is still part of my childhood and a program I enjoyed watching on television, over and again.
Childhood embodied in art
Lat's books has always brought back memories of childhood. Not mine, but my dad's. He would sit me on his lap and we would read through Lat's comics together and he would burst out laughing as he reminisced about the games he used to play in the kampung all those years back. He would happily tell me he played all the games featured in the book and Lat's drawings were very clear and simple so it was easy for anyone to understand and appreciate what was being drawn.
I grew up to become a fan of Lat's own animated cartoon called "Kampung Boy' which basically were Lat's comics put into movement and voice. His books portray how life in Malaysia was nearly 50 or 60 years ago and I made sure to collect as many books as I can for safe keeping.I know future generations will have as much enjoyment as I had on my dad's lap all those years ago.
Funny cartoons with a hint of realism.
I vividly remember borrowing my first Lat comic book at the libraries and becoming hooked on them. Every Lat book I read was guaranteed to bring out laughs from me. His lovable characters were always tinted with bits and pieces of realism.
I guess he was one of the Malaysian pioneers who were comfortable with laughing at themselves and their international neighbours. Personally I feel that Lat helped to promote social harmony and understanding through his cartoons.
I like his signature way of drawing with bold strokes in pen and ink as well as his characters all having three-loop noses. I will definitely collect all his books and pass them down to my children to amuse themselves too.