“The sky is not the limit, go beyond it,” said Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid or Lat when asked about his definition of limitless. The man behind the world renowned comic novel, ‘The Kampung Boy’ began sketching and drawing at the age of 13 and was an accomplished cartoonist by 17. Lat was among the three invited to speak at Incitement Ipoh’s talk on the subject ‘Limitless’ held at Sepaloh Art Centre on Friday, June 12.
Lat wanted to be a musician largely due to the influence of pervasive British popular culture of the mid-1960s. But he had a huge responsibility to shoulder, so he started working soon after leaving school, initially as a cub reporter and then as a cartoonist with The Straits Times (forerunner of NST). It did not, however, stop him from pursuing his love for music.
“I enrolled in a piano class for kids. I wanted to learn how to play John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. Soon after mastering the song, I quit. Not because I didn’t want to learn more but I had a family to support,” said Nor Khalid to the 100-odd audience.
Although he enjoyed writing, he felt that God had better things for him to do. Lat continued with his sketches and cartoons which eventually led to the production of his debut comic novel, ‘Kampung Boy’. The book soon became an international success.
Dato’ Nor Khalid considers himself a retired cartoonist but his insatiable thirst for knowledge and perfection will prod him further. As for now, Lat takes life as it comes while enjoying his love for music with much gusto.
The second speaker was the founder of Ipoh Bug, William Chang whose objective was to create space for sport lovers to interact. What started as a place for Ipoh’s sport enthusiasts to meet has now expanded to other towns and suburbs such as Kampar, Alor Setar, Bukit Beruntung, Penang and Malacca.
For William, limitless was about focusing on achieving one’s dreams and that was how he started Ipoh Bug. He used his childhood experiences as lessons to teach and groom youngsters to become better.
“We were in Myanmar a few years ago and were saddened by the conditions of the playing fields and sporting facilities. We met Aung San Suu Kyi. She welcomed us and hoped we would come again to help her people,” said William.
The final speaker was Chan Oga, a dyslexic who found her true calling. Chan believed she was an evil person in her previous life. Karma, she pointed, was the reason behind her many hardships. She had to struggle and worked extra hard in school. It was difficult but her determination to succeed edged her on. At 19 she was diagnosed with dyslexia. Instead of wallowing in sorrow, Chan accepted her fate and decided to go beyond limits.
“I am a hard-core Kiasu (eager to win regardless). Although it’s bad, my kiasuness makes me passionate in my work,” said Chan. During her practicum teaching in Banting, Selangor she inspired her students to raise RM33,000 for the school and won a trip to Sydney, Australia.
“I was lucky to live in Subang Jaya where opportunities for dyslexic people are aplenty. But I pity the less fortunate who don’t have the same. Hence I aim to build a school for gifted and special children,” she exclaimed.
Incitement Ipoh will host another talk entitled, ‘Authentic Self’ on Saturday, July 11 at the same venue. Interested readers can visit Sepaloh Art Centre’s Facebook page for details.