In the olden days, news that a certain dignitary or hero was passing through a village would bring people from all walks of life, in all shapes and sizes to line the streets and greet him. And this would prompt the local penglipur lara to weave lyricals like this:
yang buta datang berpimpin,
yang capek datang bertongkat
yang bulat datang bergolek,
yang tua datang berteman.
This is not unlike the scene that greeted our Kampong Boy celebrity Dato Lat, recently.
News that the famous cartoonist was coming to participate in an event to celebrate
(Yang jauh datang berkereta api (membawa dua biji kek!))
And need I say, most came with their precious Kampong Boy comic books and editions from yesteryears, well thumbed and all yellowing at the edges but lovingly kept for occasions such as this – moments when they will meet their idol in person.
Like the gentleman who brought the first edition of Lat’s comic when he came here 30 years ago to remind him of life in
Or the lady who grabbed this opportunity to tell the cartoonist himself that he had actually drawn buildings in
And many, many came with memories and reminiscence of how they could relate to Lat’s cartoons and depictions of life in
Dato Lat gave a talk about his life as a cartoonist at Asia House to a very appreciative audience, growing up bathing in the river, playing on tree tops right up to the move to a bigger town, which made him briefly a Town Boy.
We felt that one day, in fact two hours, with him was certainly not enough and hastily arranged another gathering at Malaysia Hall two days later. Word spread fast and wide and on that Saturday afternoon, the hall was filled with about 60 people, young and old. Considering the Selfridges' sales and the Gay Parade, we were not doing too badly. And I was given the honour to introduce him. What an honour.
And Kampong Boy, Lots of Lat and Town Boy were snapped up like hot pisang goreng.
So, Dato Dr Lat – congratulations once again – a truly deserved honour by UKM and thank you for making our life all the more richer and funnier seeing it through your eyes.
And thank you too for THE FAVOUR.
More on LAT here.