Sunday, 19 June 2005

Lat 41 years later!

Posted by Hello


If Lat is a blogger, I believe he'd be categorizedd as a Life Blogger but he'’d be documenting what we document in our blogs with those clever strokes of the pen bringing to life characters and events in every little detail that never escape his keen observation. And make it fun!! Oh, how I wish he'’d do that!

Meeting Dato Lat again, after all these years was indeed a wonderful experience. There'’s a lot of catching up to do. When he got married, the newly wed visited us in London. And that must have been in 1980. God, how time flies. Now, like us , they have four children. But he is instantly recognisable although he has lopped off those famous mop of hair, which brings the most maternal instincts out in you. You'’d want to rush over and pull out your brush and brush those curls with a neat middle parting. (He has since admitted that its quite impossible to run a comb through it!)

The first time I saw Lat was of course when I was doing my training at that big building in Jalan Riong. Part of the excitement of working there was to meet names that you read as bylines in the newspaper. Names like Adibah Amin and Lat were top of the list. And another one, a feature writer Wan A something. Loved reading his film reviews. (But this is another storylah , kan?). Being trainee reporters, we daren'’t approach him but would loiter outside his room and peep in to see what he was up to. And all we could see was this mop of hair over his papers.

And I always wondered why, on Saturdays, at the sight of two coach loads of schoolchildren, driving into the compound, Lat would make a beeline out of his room to somewhere no one could find him. I have always assumed Lat to be very shy. For indeed he was. But he has other reasons…!

Anyway, so, Lat and family are here in London after a trip to Paris - a once in a while family holiday together. I can almost see them, in comic strips of course, walking under the Eiffel Tower, camera hanging around their necks, walking in a line across the bridge to where the memorial in rememberance of Diana is, and lugging themselves up the six flight of stairs to the apartment they were renting. Lat, Mrs Lat and junior Lats – all in a row.

We met the whole Lat clan over dinner, with fellow blogger Atok and family.

Like all of you, I do find LatÂ's cartoon very funny, very nostalgic, but seriously, I had forgotten how funny Lat himself is. We spoke about old times in the newsroom and had visions of certain people there, like Pak Samad, who had the hired the then budding cartoonist after recognising his talents, the late Tan Sr Lee Siew Yee, our MD and the lovable Kak Adib. Its impossible not to instantly recognise the the hand on the hip, the one leg crossing the other, the expressions on the face that Lat expertly transfered on to paper. You just know who he was talking about!

We remembered dialogues from the Kampong Boy, from Scenes of Malaysian Life, Mat Som and many more. Posted by HelloBefore coming to London, apart from the images that you get from TV, you imagine London to be like the ones he caricatured during his stint with old Harry Miller in Fleet Street. Visiting Malaysia Hall for the first time, I really expected it to be as depicted in his cartoonÂ…and it was.

We talked about many things from his days as a crime reporter, his interest in books, his talent in music, his admiration of the late P Ramlee and then it was nearly 12 midnight.

Lat books are usually a must for anyone leaving the country for long periods of time. They are not only good for souveniers but also for those times when you get home sick. You laugh again and again and thought certain depictions of events couldn'’t have happened, but they did - and they would appear in Lat'’s cartoon - an unfailing source of delight, even to those people he cleverly caricatured. Lat's documentation of events in our everyday life is like no other we have seen in our life time.

I particularly love Mat Som. Lat has cleverly done it from a movie making perspective. Reading it is like watching it on screen. It is almost like Pak Samad Said'’s novel Salina, written in a similar way. But that is by the by.

ThereÂ’s a lot to be said of Lat and many have been said by those commenting in this blog. I believe, like others, he is tough act to follow.

Kak Adib wrote in a forward for one of his books, a postcard was simply sent to Lat, Malaysia. And he received it. He is that big.

Has it really been 41 years of Lat? How time flies when we are having fun. Forty one years of entertaining us with his unique sense of humour, yet, the title Dato notwithstanding, the fame and the adulation, he is still very much the lovable Kampong Boy!

61 comments:

narfnarf said...

LAT!!! Kak Teh, you do meet the most interesting ppl. Hehe, kirim salam for me next time...to anyone you meet. :o) Saje je. *sigh* I love lat comics.

bibliobibuli said...

Hey, how lovely! Looking forward to hearing about it.

Ely said...

i love lat! thanks for at least showing the card. berapa banyak celebriti card agaknya u simpan eh?

Ms.B said...

i echo Ely.

I LOVE Lat!! His depiction of Malaysia, its people and their indiosyncracies is too cute to be in-your-face when in fact they are!!

I don't think any Malaysian cartoonist reached can be benchmarked against him. :)

Ya lah KT, am sure your collection of souvenirs & memorabilia from famous Malaysians/Brits/people from around the world that chance your way, are a cause for envy kan? :)

Maybe you should start compiling, archiving and then displaying them!!

hartini said...

I'm so proud of Lat!!! Esp when they had the cartoon series on Nickelodeon, I was like WOWWWWWWWWW!!! A Malay cartoon on a non-Malay channel - how cool is that! :)

BTW, nice blog, Kak Teh! Will keep reading you :)

Kak Teh said...

ayu, insyaallah - tapi dia dah nak balik dah esok!!
Sharon, am working on it. watch this space.
ely:that's not a card but his book. haha - tak adalah banyak sangat. Queen Elizabeth punya belum dapat! haha!
blabs - yes, we all do love his work, kan?
hartini, welcome, welcome! yes, w are so proud of him!

atenah said...

oooo i remember the anticipation while driving to the BM train stn to pick up relatives as its the only chance then to buy a book, and most of the time, it's Dato' Lat's book.

d'arkampo said...

kak teh..

his sketches...so simple, black and white...

yet..so alive!

thinktankgal said...

Coool! I grow up with LAT's books - it portrays the Malaysian in us subtely....:)

anedra said...

KakTeh: I remember that book, "Lat 30 Years Later"..in your living room where I bunked in every time I nyibuk at your place. The thing is..I never got bored of it even tho I probably read it a hundered times over!

ps. how do I view my banner?

Anonymous said...

Love his cartoon!

-onde2

MakNenek said...

wow lat has been around for sooo long ah??? tabik habis kat local artist cam dia nih..

shidah said...

your bday kak teh?

Mutiara said...

I have one of his book... Ingat dak kartun dia bula posa? beli ketoi ais naik basikal?

MA said...

I have ALL his books ! I remembered when his Kampung Boy book came out.

Best wishes to him.

AuntyN said...

Lat ni his talent is out of this world, kan. Like P Ramlee with his movies and song, that's how Lat is with his cartoon.

All the best to him

MassyLassy said...

Kak Teh! Wah Bestnyer!!! Kirim salam dgn dia jelah! Will be waiting for your entry patiently! Very talented artist!

petalingstreet said...

i actually have one of Lat's first cartoon book called "Tak Ngape Mak". i think it's published in late 60's. turun temurun from my late uncle.

zaireen said...

Wahh..LAT? jeles..jeles..

Lollies said...

I bought all his collections in the pretext of giving my lover his birthday present. Guess who finish reading them first.

Best Malaysian's culture ambassador I must say

Sunflora said...

Jeles to the max Kak teh! Awww!!! Can't wait for your blog! I was so disappointed when I went back to Malaysia last year, in my search for Lat's latest book, the salesgirl didn't even know who Lat was! And I told her the cartoonist and she showed me the comics section. Disappointed tul!

nourclaire said...

Lucky you! btw kak teh did you receive my email?!

MA said...

Kak Teh : lupa nak habaq semalam - suruh Lat draw your caricarure dengan his infamous sentel (of the makcik kind) and the makcik dok sembang kat YM and blogging..hahaha

Now, I will BUY that book !

Anonymous said...

better LATe than never. penantian berakhir sudah. good piece as always. btw, bila nak blog about that certain feature writer?

KT, jangan lupa control sneezing tonight :)encore, encore .. ahh chooo, ahh chooo, clap, clap !!

Ewok said...

Great stuffs from Lat. Tak penah boring.

Atok said...

at last...the long awaited text from KT newsroom.

indeed he was so funny that nite, and we did have a great time (and great dinner too).

last year when we visited his house, dia serious je, hehehe. yelah, with my father-in-law around... tak boleh nak buat kelakor sangat and gelak2; sesama org tua2.

i think i've read somewhere before about that feature writer and his movie review tales. :)

atenah said...

i brought the Kampung Boy book here, loaned it to my friend. Both she and her secretary read it and they asked me, *So what happened to him next?* he he he, will have to get the Town Boy the next time i balik la :)

And another friend of mine kirim satu copy for her dad who has an art gallery in Santa Monica :O

iJun said...

Kak Teh! Nak pinjam!

mummy_darling said...

the Kampung Boy was my favourite comic book when I was growing up. My dad had a collection of em all. Tapi sayangnya dah hilang sekarang... Lat looks the same since I can remember him!

anedra said...

no matter what he does with his hair, you'd recognise his face anywhere! loved his old hairdo though!

Jiwa Rasa said...

Kak Teh,

I remember growing up with Datuk Lat's cartoon. I still remember waiting anxiously for his cartoon in Berita Minggu. I cut and paste them in my workbook.

lion3ss said...

Kak Teh,

I simply love LAT! I have all his collections, and even now, I buy his calendar every year. My dad introduced me to him when I was 8 - and I was hooked for life.

And thank you for sharing your meeting with him with us!

Ely said...

wah the meeting sounds so good. i could just imagine the lat family berderet mcm the comic!

Kak Teh said...

dear all, I think i have not done justice to a man so talented. Its impossible to do so. But you've all added such wonderful tributes and comments that said it all.

Thank you and thank you!

Bukunota said...

satu hari nanti bila umur pada peringkat kak teh, mungkin saya pula buat entri pasal zoy pula.

banyak yg dengar pasal pak samad, terutamanya daripada mereka yg sempat merasa "dimaki-hamun" :P

JM said...

Oh yes! That hair!! Sungguh merimaskan. Macam nak sepitkan...

suriyati said...

I like to read Lat comics.. I don't have any but when I was young.. my neighbour always let me borrow his Lat comic magazine.. They are so funny!!Anyway, congrates for his 41 years anniversary...

Kak Teh said...

thank you to new visitors here...
mm, bukunota, sapa zoy tu?
dan yang lain-lain, janganlah jeles,ya. Lat has done a lot to make us look at life from a different perspective.

cn said...

if i'm not mistaken, one of the cartoon channel of sky tv ada tayangkan kampung boy ..

bangga seh..

Kak Teh said...

ya CN , kak teh pun dengar gitu tapi belum tengok lagi. mesti tengok ni!!

Bukunota said...

zoy atau Md Zohri Sukimi.. sekarang oc kat bilik grafik. juga kartunis. saya start kenal nama masa sekolah rendah bila dia lukis komik silat yg cantik.

eheehe.. my colleague had an interview with him last weekend... n guess what.. he not change but very old now

pembacha said...

Met him while i was on a transit in Taipeh from LAX ten years ago (september 1995). I asked, "Ini Datuk Lat ya?" (he just received his Datukship then), he smiled sheepishly and said, "Jangan bagitau orang ya". (bayangkanla all 200 passengers mintak autograph). He willingly signed an autograph on a MAS napkin. Yes, i guess he's a shy man.

Frankensteina said...

Lat is the best. I remember cutting out Lat's cartoon from the newspaper and buat scrapbook lagi :D

Kak Teh said...

bukunota; will look forward to that entry on zoy
pembacha, yes, I can imagine semua orang q dalam kapalterbang tunggu autograph lat - kapalterbang pun senget...imagine that in his cartoon!
frankensteina - yes, dia memang terbest - if there is such a word!

lilac said...

I love Lat's cartoons. I can still remember Lat berkhatan on the batang pisang scene and Mat Som is so hilarious. Uwaaa.. I should knock my head a thousand times for leaving behind my Lat's collection back home.

Kak Teh said...

lilac - but you always go back to singapore - and must remember to bring them back!

Anonymous said...

bila nak keluar scoop?
- atok -

kudo said...

i have all his books since 1977's lots of lat. then had to buy the re-issues as the original copies were torn and so dog-earred! i hear he has relocated to his (and mine!) hometown of ipoh. he has a website but no new cartoons for so long lah.

Atok said...

yes my fren kudo, he and family settled at Tmn Golf, Ipoh (where my in-laws are) for many years now. next time when you're back home, go along Lorong Gopeng and you'll find a grand double storey detached* timber house with a black 4x4 Rexton parked under the porch, that's his.

his web: www.lathouse.com.my

* msian call this 'bungalow', but in the UK, the word means 'detached single storey house'; 99% belong to old age pensioners (OAPs).

kudo said...

atok: ya, i know of the site but its just that its been a while since the site has been updated. :D

-LAT's relative- said...

i stumbled across your blog by chance and i do agree with what you said about dato' LAT ... he is the best!!!

Anonymous said...

i love to read his cartoons since I was a kid .... I always send out his books to my foreign friends if they want to know about Malaysia....he is the best!

bluskyes said...

I love lat!! I have almost all his books, and i walk around with the titles of the 4 that I still dont have, hoping to pick them up by chance...
Lat is truly one of the most Malaysian of all Malaysians!! At a time when we have people questioning our unity and loyalty to this country - it is Lat's cartoons that remind us of our shared heritage and the fact that we were all born here, grew up here, live and work here!!
So to all those young "leaders" out there trying to create disunity - go get a Lat comic and learn what it means to be truly Malaysian!!

Kak Teh said...

kudo, yes, that is true - LAT and family have moved back.

Lat's relative, thank you for visiting ..waaah seronoknya ada Lat sebagai relative.

seal, yes, lat's books are the best presents to friends from other countries.

bluskyes, i agree with you - we shd once in a while look at Lat's depictions of Malaysian life and see how very lucky we are. What we have is something unique.

Shakir Badri said...

Hey Kak Teh,

I find it very interesting that you did a bit on Datuk Lat. Lat is one of my idols.I was wondering how do I get a hold on Datuk Lat. I want to interview him.

shakirbadri@gmail.com

Amirah Aysha said...

macamana nak tau bila dato' punye appearence next? dah berapa kali dia turun KL tapi tak sempat nak jumpa.. nak mintak autograf.

amirah_aysha@yahoo.com

Rotero said...

Hello Kak Teh. Im a fan of Dato` Lat and im studying in sem 5 at M.I.A(Malaysian Institue of Art) and im going to do my internship next sem. My lecturer said that i should observe how Dato` Lat get his idea and how he works. After my lecturer saw my comics for my college newsletter he insisted me to go contact Dato`Lat until now. And he also said that i should try to go internship with Dato` Lat, but as far as i know he is a freelance. So i guess i need his tips and experinced in the comic industry because i wanna be just like him and it the future that i choose. And how can i contact him, if can only his e-mail so that i can contact him. ive tried sent my artwork to his e-mail that ive got but i think i got the wrong one. I hope u can help me. Thanks. really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

i had never read your blog before, but tonight i did because i am going to carry out a dissertation on Lat's work.... and what i could say is that...wow kak teh if Lat is fantastic you are amazing being able to meet those personalias ppl want to have contact with..

Kak Teh said...

shakir badri,i hope you are able to get hold of Datuk Lat to interview him., all the best.

amita aysha, maaf kak teh tak tahu pulak bila dato Lat nak muncul. Kalau duduk jauh begini, bukannya nak tau sangat, sehingga dia sendiri muncul.

rotero and anonymous, I hope both of you can get in touch with dato Lat to interview him about his work. he is really interesting. I am sorry i am not able to help you with his contact number. I think you can still get him through his website. Do give that a try and all the best.

chapchai said...

I live in England but when I was a young woman living in Kuching I bought every single Lat publication. When I got married, became a mother and eventually moved to the UK with my husband I transported most of my Lat books to this country. When my son, who was born in Kuching so was familiar with the Malaysian way of life as he grew up speaking fluent Malay and Chinese in addition to English , was in secondary school he came upon my Lat books and immediately took to them, so much so that when he went home for his hols. he would come back armed with Lat books. Can my fellow bloggers please, please tell me where I can get his comics?

Sha said...

*salam*

I did a Google search for 'Lat cartoons' and came to your blog.. noticed your name looked familiar and saw one blogger and kawan in common - Nazli in Norway :)

I'm going through one of those days where I miss home terribly.. finding anything or something to soothen the feeling; thought of Lat (besides chocolates, percik, nasi kandar and air tebu).

Love the post and the picture with his autograph on it..

Salam Ramadhan.

~Shareen in Sweden~