Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lat's Window to the World at MPO on Sunday Afternoon

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 theeditorial pages of the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times.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 inIpoh. His publisher paid him 25 Ringgit for his service. By 1968, Lat was earning 100 Ringgit a month from his work.

He later moved to Kuala Lumpur to become a cartoonist. Lat was offered to joined the New Straits Times as a crime reporter but later on became a cartoonist. He started with a editorial comic strip called 'Scenes of Malaysia' then was known for the comic strip published weekly called 'Keluarga SiMamat".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, is scheduled for release in October 2007. His cartoons reflect his view about Malaysian life and the world. Others famous Lat comic book is 'Mat Som', a story of a young teenager's discovery of new world of capitalism. It 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. .

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. (

Malaysia’s foremost cartoonist Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, fondly known as Lat, will be joining forces with renowned conductor and composer Carl Davis and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) to present the world premier of Lat’s Window To The World.

The show consists of three specially commissioned animated films by Lat, with Davis and the MPO providing the symphonic accompaniment. The first film features a typical kampung scene, with a snapshot of life as seen through the eyes of a toddler looking out of his window for the first time. The second film has Lat as a school-going child in his little hometown, and is based on Lat’s Town Boy series of cartoons published in 1980. The final film will see the title character as an adult, travelling the world with his talent for drawing and yet always returning home. (

The concert was very interesting, looking at the choices of his cartoons that got selected to be developed as moving images and animation work. Congratulations to the creative animation group, Solution Team. It is really a good effort and Carl Davis's music for Lat's work is certainly more interesting than Charlie Chaplin reconstruction work from 1918. I supposed the music sounded a bit dated for television sound. It it was a ground breaking for the rest. I could see that that many work of art after that had copied or inspired by Charlie Chaplin's work, such as Mr.Bean as well as the work of P.Ramlee with his actors like Mat Sentul, Sudin, Tompel and Sudin. Perhaps Lat too was influenced by Charlie Chaplin. But frankly, it would be great to see how Lat's work be developed into a full length orchestra work as what has been presented is rather short, left us craving for more.

Carl Davis is a native of New York, Carl Davis is in equal demand as conductor and composer for the stage, screen and concert hall. In the UK, Carl regularly conducts the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Halle, the Northern Sinfonia and the CBSO. Carl is Principal Guest Conductor of the Navarra Symphony Orchestra in Pamplona, and is a regular guest conductor with the Malaysian Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Carl believes that all music has an important place in the world. This is reflected in the diversification of his concert programming. Whether conducting or composing music for feature films, television, silent films, ballets and musicals as well as an Oratorio - his versatility is extraordinary.


artisticklytouch said...

Doc, it's Carl Davis, bukan Carl Lewis..

agreed with the influence of Mr. Chaplin in some of today's work.

zubin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zubin said...

Thank you AT. I did enjoyed it but wish it was longer and be the program by itself!