Two classes of Upper 6 (Arts Stream) students of SMK Anderson, Ipoh, received an hour-long prep talk from “old boy” Dato’ Mohamad Nor Khalid recently. Celebrating his 50th year as a published cartoonist, he is popularly known around the world as Lat, short for his childhood nickname of “Ulat”.
Lat, who received his secondary education at SMK Anderson from 1965 to 1969, had a wealth of experience to share, bringing with him the most important message of learning and socialising among one another while one is still young and has the free time to do so.
Reminiscing on his school days, not only at SMK Anderson but also at Sekolah Pasir Putih primary school, which he considered as the best moments of his life, Lat reminded the students to identify their own strengths, set goals and work diligently towards achieving them.
Relating anecdotes of his childhood and the progression of his career as a cartoonist since publishing his first comic book, ‘Tiga Sekawan Menangkap Pencuri’ (Three Friends Catch a Thief) at the age of 13 in 1964, Lat hoped that his struggles would inspire the young to strive harder in achieving their dreams.
Lat’s current project is the construction of “Lat House” in Batu Gajah, a gallery in a Lat-style village inspired by the “The Kampung Boy” comic series.
The Kampung Boy, first published in 1979, and inspired by Lat’s travels to the United States and discovering that many people had no knowledge of Malaysia at all, tells stories of rural life in a typical Malaysian “kampung”. It has since been translated into Thai, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian and Arabic among others.