Sunday, 12 August 2007

Congratulations Dato Dr Lat!!!


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 Malaysia’s 50th independence brought a lot of people from nooks and corners of London. Someone, ehem, ehem, not a million miles from this blog, even took a day off and came all the way from Kent.

(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 Malaysia. He still kept it in pristine condition. It was all worth it – and the long queue to get to the cartoonist himself who patiently answered every question while sketching his famous signature in every book.

Or the lady who grabbed this opportunity to tell the cartoonist himself that he had actually drawn buildings in Ipoh, such as the Jubilee Park and the cinemas that were actually designed by her late father.

And many, many came with memories and reminiscence of how they could relate to Lat’s cartoons and depictions of life in Malaysia. Many talked about how they laughed and cried looking at how the cartoonist looked at life.

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.



Ah, here's one guy who really deserves the accolades. I missed the privilege of working with him when he was at NST; I joined the great organization a little too late. That was your time. (By the time I joined Business Times, you were also happily married and away in London with Mr Wan). I met Lat later in my career, years after I cried laughing over his Kampung Boy with friends in Singapore.

Congrats Lat.

Nazrah said...

disangka cempedak rupanya nangka
jatuh tersungkur di tebing banir
hati kawan bertambah suka
anak watan bakat terpamer

resminya ubi berakar umbi
seribu khasiat anugerah bumi
diam Dato Lat diam berisi
dalam lakaran falsafah berbunyi

ayuhlah angsa masuk ke kandang
ayuhlah masuk hari dah petang
budak kampung makin cemerlang
nama tersohor orang terbilang

Selamat Maju Jaya Tuan Doktor!!

wonda said...

Congratulations to Dato Dr. Lat! A fan of his and I wish that I could shake his hands and have him draw me a cartoon and autograph it. Still remember the cartoons of his visit to Japan in his book. Ah, the boiling hot water bath!

Judy said...

Lat Mania? Bila? :)

Kak Teh said...

rocky, he was in London recently and we had a great time. Those days in NST, we were too shy/scared to even approach him - maklumlah budak-budak cadet lagi. The kampong boy makes good, eh!

Budak kampong nama cemerlang,
sudah tentu jadi perangsang,
lukisan lakaran jadi rebutan,
Budak Kampong tak lupa daratan.

Aaah, you remember the episode ! hilarious!

Judy said...

Aiyoh, I got so excited about Lat Mania, I forgot to congratulate Dato Dr Lat!!


Kak Teh said...

Judy, when you were here laaa! Then we had Lat in Malaysia Hall and he was surrounded by his fans - young and old. I told you to come, what!

jaflam said...

Congrats to Dr Lat ... a man with little words but always captures the happenings around him in a Lat way.

We were in Kuching recently and he has done well for the Petronas Health, Safety & Environment
( HSE ) cartoon campaign. Hope he will compile a book on that for the masses safety culture campaign soon.

KT your coverage at Liverpool was good. All the Pak Cik Sailor looks happy doing the joget lambak. Make me miss my nostalgic moments in Liverpool back in the 70s.

Kak Teh said...

Jaflam, Indeed , he is a man with few words but a big heart and huge and massive talents.

hmmm so you watched it the news? I hope to write abt it soon. We had a wonderful time. Pak cik-pak cik took to the floor like they would to the sea!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Truly deserving! Congrats Dato' Dr Lat! - Shah Rir

R2K said...

: )

Kak Teh said...

Shah Rir, yes, indeed. Thanks for the visit.

r2k :)

Judy said...

Kak Teh, I thought Dato Dr Lat is visiting again lah.....whahaha. Don't mind me the big MCC.

Truly an amazing guy he is.

But then, there's also a truly amazing woman here in London, a real pleasure to know...Kak Teh! :)

Kak Teh said...

Judy, actually I know a truly amazing woman too not a million miles from here. She makes wonderful cakes, has a big heart and funny too. and errr MCC as well.

Manal said...

Dato'Lat: One of his unforgettable comic strips that i still remember till today (besides those mamat kampung boy comics), the one that i came across like 12 years ago was about a pau lady who puts her menu in front of her pau glass container quoting: "Inti Inside" in an "intel inside" logo way. How brilliant is that when intel pentium was a new tech back then!

I hope NST and many other local newspapers did make an effort to compile all the comic strips ingenuity into a book/volumes of books.

J.T. said...

Congratulations Dato Dr Lat!

Somehow I thought of the same thing Wonda wrote (in the first instance) - Lat's trip to Japan and he soaking in that very hot water bath.

The other memories are of Tun Dr Mahathir and happenings around the country over the years.

Also, favourite were his kampung boy stories e.g. sharing coffee with his father - he drank from the saucer.

Ah! memories. He kept me entertained for many years.

Has said...

Kak Teh,

Dato Lat kartoon macam kartoon dia juga ker?

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
I grew up reading Lat's, thinking the character Mamat was him.
I was told Mamat, the character in the series, was based on his brother, film director Mamat Khalid.
The Khalid brothers, somehow, entered our lives to give us the "feel good" feeling, Datuk Lat through his cartoons and Mamat through his films.

Anonymous said...

kak teh........i was in the hall when he received his honorary doctorate. i want to blog abt it, will blog abt it, will find time soon


LifeBloom said...

No subject is too sacred for Lat to tackle...Religion, race, cultural traditions etc etc - his observations borders on the study of the Malaysian sociology and psyche!! He hits the nail every time and the best part - we ALL recognise ourselves in his depictions of Malaysian life.

My personal favourite is where "Mamat" was given the the "tombong" kelapa by his mum ...That piece reminded me so much of my late grandma - I often got that as a treat too!!

Syabas Dato' Dr Lat! (and K Teh for the great post on one of our national treasures!)

Kak Teh said...

manal, he misses nothing. I think hi sbooks are based on compilations from those published in the newspapers, no?

jt, his caricatures of our leaders are hilarious - and the problem is that the images stay in your mind whenever you see the person..Tun M with those nostrils!!

has, in a way - yes, certain gestures, like the way he stands...and in a quiet way - he is funny.

Kak Teh said...

fauziah, do you remember mior of BH?
I worked with mior in RTM before he moved to BH = he is one of the mior brothers in lat's cartoons, i believe.

atenah, yes do blog abt it.

lifebloom, yes, i remember that scene as well, the tombong kelapa! i particularly like the comparison of kids learning to swim - those in kampong . he was just thrown in naked by his father into the river and had to swim for life, while in the pool in the town - the scene is completely different! yes, we all grew up with Lat's cartoon. and for that - thank you!

faze said...

Hi Kak Teh,
My signed copy of Kampung Boy is also one of my most treasured items. I love the man.


Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, sebenarnya saya selalu visit. Cuma, semenjak terakhir tinggalkan mesej yang agak memalukan, segan nak komen. But this, I couldn't resist at all - Dato' Dr Lat! Wow! - Shah Rir

Kak Teh said...

faze, I have one signed to Kak Teh - and yes, that is precious!

Shah Rir, now you got me thinking, which one and what was it all about?
yes, dato DR Lat - double Wow!

Theta said...

He's a Doctorate holder now!
Wow! Congratulations to the ever effervescent Dato Dr Lat!

In a sense, we all grew up with Lat. He epitomises the Malaysian way of life.

My Indonesian friend in the Netherlands is a big fan of Lat and her caricatures do follow Lat's style.

This is one Malaysian fellow with a large, global fan base. :)

Anonymous said...

Hehe, Kak Teh, it shall now and forever, be a secret :)

By the way, adding to theta's comment, Dato' Dr Lat was once featured in a Matvel's comic - also one of my favourites - Groo! The Wanderer. Can't remember the artist's name, but his reference to Lat was very obvious and was even featured in the NST, if I'm not mistaken. - Shah Rir

Kak Teh said...

theta, when he was here, people from other nationalities too came to see him with his comics!

anon shah rir, okay - biarlah rahsia! but thanks for the comments and the visits.

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Heyyy...isn't that lovely, being in the vicinity with one of the country's top geniuses!!

In the cartoon industry, LAT one of a kind. He is entertaining and intellectually stimulating. I always wonder how he could somehow get the essence of any situation so accurate and relay it to us in the most comical of ways. A genius!

Kak Teh said...

I think he should have received this honor a long time ago and kudos to UKM for doing this. The country and the people should celebrate this genius.

IBU said...

Congrats to Dato'Lat! I can still vividly visualise the ones on racing on upih kelapa & 'kueh goyang'. hehe!

His cartoon strips helped open a lot of eyes (especially amongst parents then) that "melukis kartun" is not bad at all after all.... (talking from experience lah ni...dulu suka sgt menyonteng kertas!)

Kak Teh said...

Ibu, yes, i do remember that upih kelapa ride...indeed had experienced it before too!

When Dato Lat gave his talk on his life as a cartoonist, he told how at a very young age he could already afford to give his parents money. He was already earning when he was abt 14 or 15! It goes to show that if you do something well, it really pays. and look where it has taken this kampong boy.

Mior Azhar said...

Salam Kak Teh,
I too, like Rocky, missed working with Datuk Lat (came into NST slightly earlier than your sister in law Nisa and Azwan's batch actually). But my mom came from the same kampung as Datuk in Perak. In fact mak sempat mengajar Lat's younger brother, now equally famous Mamat Khalid, the film maker. When I was in secondary school my sejarah teacher was Datuk Lat's elder half brother. Six degrees ker apa.
Kak Teh, your blog's the best lar.

Mior Azhar said...

Kak Teh,

Saja nak menyibuk lagi sekali lagi. Mior of BH (if that's the one ler)is now with UMNO newsletter. His son is my colleague now. Mior is Neng Yatimah's son in law, right?

Kak Teh said...

mior azhar, thanks for all the info. Yes, I have heard that the other Mior now works for UMNO newsletter. I worked with him in RTM newsroom - at that time i was just doing some work experience.
Thanks for the visit.

kimster said...

I love this guy!!!
My late dad was a big fan, so I grew up with Lat's stuff.

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc,

Indeed Datuk Lat deserves top honours hands down. His works transcends perception boundaries.

All of us can connect with his cartoons cos we see ourselves through his eyes.

So powerful are his caricatures of personalities which form a strong imprint in our minds.

He helps us to laugh at ourselves.

Kak Teh said...

kimster, you should see the kids surrounding him when he was here. They couldnt believe that they were meeting a real cartoonist.
He is such an inspiration.

Hi&Lo, welcome back. It is so important to be able to laugh at oneself. and it has indeed taken us a long while to get there.
Lat's cartoon has provided this and after all it is not so bad when we can laugh at ourself. and we can laugh with others too. Its a kind of maturity that we have reached and achieved.

Lat's study of the malaysian society has made him deserving of this honorary doctorate - it is unique and about time too.

Raden Galoh said...

In many ways..his illustrations managed to crack a many ways his scribbles managed to cheer me up...That's what I read when I was hospitalised Kak...I read Calvin and Hobbes but nothing compared to Dato Lat's creation...

He brought smiles on my face...he cheers people...he's classy with his jokes...

May Allah bless him Kak...He's definitely a Malaysian icon!

Kak Teh said...

radin, thanks for the visit. Yes, your observations about Lat and his cartoons are so so correct. I am glad I brought many of his comics when I came here - to keep me company and also to allow our children a glimpse of Malaysian life through his eyes.

Roti Kacang Merah said...

i heard so much about him through my husband. it was them both who first established PEKATUN, or so i heard. i wished i could tell Dato' Dr. Lat himself that it was his earliest collection (alah, tak ingat la pula nama buku tu... was it "Tak Ngapa Mak" or somethin, but i still have it!) that i first learnt how to read from when I was 5!!! Sampai hafal, gitu!

I really wanted his autograph on the book, but he's no more living in KL does he?

Kak Teh said...

roti kacang merah, he is now in Ipoh, i think but I am sure he visit KL too. Thanks for the link - I saw the info about your husband's book. Will look out for it when I am home next.

Pi Bani said...

Amboi, yang jauh datang berkeretapi, siap bawa 2 biji kek? Aiseh, tak ryhme lah Kak Teh... kalau yang jauh datang bergolek barulah ryhme dengan kek! :)

Anyway, yes, Dato Lat now stays in Ipoh. Been to his house but never met him personally. Pergi tu for an "all ladies" function organised by Datin so he disappeared before all the ladies turned up laa...

Kak Teh said...

pi bani, ish dato malu kut nak bertemnu ramai sangat ladies!! Datin was here too with the children. Am so happy to see the family - all grown up. Dulu first time jumnpa kat london we all semua belum ada anak...sekarang semua dah besar-besar.

abang malaya said...

Abang Malaya dengan Tok Lat ni dah kenal lama
Masa kami berdua muda remaja
Waktu jadi crime reporter
Pagi petang ke balai bomba
Lapas itu ke rumah mayat pula
Paling penting Press Conference Polis Diraja
Di High Street itulah tempatnya.

Tok Lat dia diam saja
Kalau tak tanya dia tak cerita
Bukan dia sombong atau apa-apa
Tapi itu dia punya character.

Yang kita tak sedar dia ni cukup berbakat
Dakwat dia likat minda dia hebat
Bila dia lukis, Tan Sri Lee terperanjat
Nak ambil Tok Lat bekerja dia sangat berhajat.

Dia tak sedar Tok Lat dah pun di bilik berita
Jadi wartawan jadi pemberita
Buat crime dan macam-macam cerita
Tapi cartooning adalah forte dia.

Jadi sama-samalah kita berdoa
Tok Lat panjang usia
Buat kita gelak ketawa
Dengan editorial cartoon dia.

Masa tu Adik Teh di NST belum ada
Sebab dengan kami Adik Teh lebih muda
Kami ni dah masuk golongan warga tua
Cuma tak masuk Old Folk's Home lagi saja.

Muda tua apa bezanya
Asal kita masih berkarya
Mengisi ruang, mengisi masa
Untuk manfaat yang tua dan muda.

Salam sejahtera buat semua
Harap hidupmu selalu bahagia
Dibuai kasih dialun cinta
Dalam pelukan Ibunda tercinta.

david santos said...

I come to congratulate you with your work and to desire a good Month to you of August in vacation. In Portugal already we walk for beaches and to live the heat of the Summer.

Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
Datuk Lat's work transcends all cultural, racial, religious and political boundaries. There is a bit of everyone of us in it. His caricatures alone can convey the message without the need for words. When words were written it was in impeccable English.
When I was on a trip to Japan I brought along three titles of Lat's book as gift to my homestay family. Though they dont understand much English, they nevertheless understood the cartoons and enjoyed it. On hindsight I should have brought them the Japanese version.
Kak teh, thanks for visiting my humble site. Visits from bloggers like you is always inspirational to small time blogger like me.

Kenny Mah said...

Well deserved indeed! His cartoons are a national treasure... and despite all the accolades, he'll remain simply as Lat in our hearts. Congrats!! :D

Kak Teh said...

sorrz folks, am in paris and will replz all comments when i am back in london. z, reads y and y reads z, if zou know what i mean- kezboard ni kezboard perancis+

nyonyapenang said...

Congrats to Dato Dr Lat!

I remember looking forward to his cartoons in the NST...I'd cut them up and paste them in an old exercise book. Unfortunately, I misplaced the book when shifting and moving house.

Laughed so much then and still laugh so loud when I flip through his books now.

msiagirl said...

Kak Teh, I hope you are having a really fun girlie weekend in Paris, after the mad work schedule you seem to be having.

I, too, brought Lat cartoons with me overseas to remind me of Malaysian life - I used to test my boyfriends with them - if they can tahan the ones about Mat Sallehs, then they can maybe tahan a bit more. :)

Take care of yourself Kak!

D said...

Congrats Dato Dr Lat!!

I too have a signed copy of Lat's Kampung Boy, queued at Asia Jaya in those days... Now, my kids love Keluarga Si Mamat and we've got it here with us. When the days are cold, they'd cuddle together at laugh at Epit's antics. What other way to teach the new generation of the days of yesteryears? Kudos!

pd: Dato Lat dah balik Malaysia ke?

Kak Teh said...

Abang Malaya,

Abang malaya dan Tok Lat kawan lama,
begitulah dengar ceritanya,
masing-masing mengukir nama,
sejak bekerja di balai berita.

Dengar juga cerita Tan Sri Lee,
tak sedar ada bakat di taman sendiri,
yang mula berhasil menjadi-jadi,
selepas itu tak jadi pemberita lagi.

Sebut Tan Sri Lee, teringat pula,
semasa Tok Lat di London juga,
bertemu anak Tan Sri Lee yang masih teruna,
kami semua seronok tak kira,
teringat segala kisah lama,
semasa di balai berita.

Memang dulu Tok Lat tak banyak bercerita,
lebih selesa melukis saja,
minat muzik dan jazz sentiasa,
memerhati hidup melalui kacamatanya.

Bangga kita dengan kejayaannya,
anak Malaya yang banyak bakatnya,
mengharumkan nama negara di mana-mana,
dari kampong ke serata dunia.

Kak Teh said...

david santos, thanks for the visit. London is not hot anymore. The rain came yesterday.

zawi, thanks for the return visit. Lat's books will always be precious gifts to anyone in the world.

kenny, how right you are! are u still busy busy??

Kak Teh said...

nyonya, you lost the scrapbook?? oh no!! This reminds me of the boy who came to see Dato Lat witha photo copy of his cartoon but left it in the bus!! kesian!

masiagirl - am back in Londra! It was raining in Paris the last day and the rain continued in London! hmmmmph! But enjoyed every minute if it.

D, dato Lat dah balik!!! Nanti di anak datang lagi, kak teh bagi tau.

FireHorse said...

Kak Teh wa kam bek liao, how have you been? Lat deserves his Datoship, congrats to him. When I was home I bought more of his books for my son, who reli enjoys reading Lat's books. My son in spite of being a Canadian loves P. Ramlee as well so on road trips we have all the Bujang Lapuk series, hehe.

Kak Teh said...

Firehorse, I have been so busy and will continue to be busy for quite some time. Glad you are back and wish you were here when dato lat was here. But Judy came on your behalf.

demonsinme said...

Madam KT:
Forgive me to have dared to ask of this -

would you grace me with a visit to my humble place, and honor me with your thoughts.

Share with all if there are wisdom to gain.

Blame me if its a nonsense trouble to start, and treat me as if I am a sour tart.

Again, forgive me for the leisure that I asked you to part.

Because I am a man who is certainly not smart.

Thank You.

Kak Teh said...

demonsinme, thank you for your poem. Believe me, i have tried many times to get into your blog. I am not that technically challenged and its really difficult for me to get to your posts. Perhaps you can make it easier and more accessible for someone like me?

kaklong said...

kak teh,

i had heard about your blog, but only stumbled on it when looking for entries about lat as i was trying to get references about him and his cartoons for my masters project paper. he's really, really BIG - else he wouldn't have made it as a wikipedia entry! i enjoyed reading your writings, not just on lat but also on the malay sailors. the sha'ir and pantun that i've read on your blog (yours and others) are so enjoyable. makes one think - is it only malays above a certain age (don't ask me to put a figure - else my age would show!) that still can write and enjoy them? kok pantun, sha'ir dan gurindam dah lenyap dari amalan kita, bolehkah kita masih panggil diri kita melayu? sedangkan orang melayu dikenali sejak zaman berzaman amat tinggi seni dan bahasanya? bila seorang gunakan pantun di tanah air kita, kenapa dipandang serong, seolah-olah orang itu dah 'antik'? anihkan - orang di rantauan kekalkan ciri ini, sedangkan di tanah air (meskipun ada pertandingan dan sebagainya) ianya kurang dihargai dan digunakan. yang saya rasa lebih memalukan, kini terpaksa ada buku yang dikarang khusus untuk menunjukkan pantun yang sesuai untuk upacara merisik, bertunang dan nikah kahwin dan seterusnya - dah tak reti lagi ke orang nak karang pantun sendiri atau dah tak hiraukan warisan bangsa? now i've seen your blog, i'll visit again to read your writing, both prose and pantun. keep the good stuff rolling!

Kak Teh said...

kaklong, you really made my day. Not many people are into pantun and seloka and syair - Perhaps being away has made me look back and want to recapture the past. The dear old pak cik sailors? They are very close to my heart - the ones that have gone and the ones that remain - they have enriched my life.
I hope my jottings on lat has helped. I have also had another person who has written to me to ask about him. Suddenly there's a lot of interest in him.
keep in touch.