Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cartoonist Lat n Frankie Rock In Ipoh Kopi Tiam

Malaysians say jokingly that if you want to know the truth about the country don't read the newspapers; read LAT. 

For those who have not been initiated, LAT is not an acronym but the name of Malaysia's most famous cartoonist, Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid.

I searched my little library at home and found Lat's collection of cartoons. They included,  Kampung Boy, Lat's Lot and Town Boy. It's not the whole collection but it is in the last book that I found what I wanted. 

 Lat's love for 60's music shows in his depiction of the rock and roll hey-day after he left his kampung life and went to Ipoh town.

The cartoons above enact his meeting with a Chinese boy called Frankie who told Lat, "I like pop music also. Do you want to exchange records with me? I have ALL the records! You just say it - I GOT IT! What record you want? Elvis... Cliff Richard... I got all! Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Paul Anka, Pat Boone, Neil Sedaka, the Patters, Connie Francis, Bobby Vee. You have heard a new group called the Beatles? (from: Town Boy - Sixth reprint 1992)"
When Lat told Frankie he had no records for exchange, Frankie took Lat to his home.  They went into a 60s kopi tiam (coffee shop) called Kedai Kopi Ah Hong.  
But as we are taken illustratively beyond the won-ton mee stall and the kopi drinkers, through dark, winding staircases and long wooden corridors, the reader finally finds himself in a large family room where his friend shows Lat his father's collection of a treasured radiogram with the latest 60s vinyl records of Bill Haley, Ricky Nelson and other pop hits (images 1 and 2). 

To Lat it was the thrill of a lifetime as the final double-page image 3 shows them screaming and yelling  to the roof tops to the surprise of Frankie's grandmother and sister.

Have you read Lat's cartoons. You're missing plenty if you haven't.

Quotation and Images from: Town Boy By Mohd. Nor Khalid, Berita Publishing Sdn. Bhd. A Member of The New Straits Times Group, 22, Jalan Liku, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sixth reprint 1992. Printed by Percetakan Cergas Sdn. Bhd. 58100 Kuala Lumpur.

Original article/images: Andy Lim Collection.


Robert Suriya: said...

Hi Andy,

it was great meeting with you-and Jerry in Singapore- and not forgetting the great food- We will do it again some tome.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, we will definitely meet again. Thanks for the Facebook comment.

Waye: said...


Hi everyone,
This is a lovely blog, and I have to say I like both variations of the song, quite different moods I have to say.

Do any of you have the English translation to it. My Mandarin is not very good, and would really appreciate it if you could help understand better the meaning of the words.
Thanks lots

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Waye,
Thanks very much for visiting. Your request will entail a process which might take time.

I will try to do what I can as many of my friends do not have a turntable to play the vinyl record after which the Chinese lyrics will have to be translated into English.

Allan Thompson: said...

Fairport Convention is a long-running British band which started life in London in the mid-1960s and developed into the major electric-folk band by the late 1960s.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank Allan,

Readers will hear more about this famous band soon with Allan Thompson's interesting connection to ace British guitarist and electric folk musician Richard Thompson.


LAT (Mohamed Nor Khalid) is one of the most-read cartoonists in Southeast Asia, and with the continued, widespread reprinting and translating of his cartoons, he is gaining worldwide fame.

His annual compilations of his strips into books have been extremely successful with one, Kampung Boy, selling more than 100,000 copies. The first print of 60,000 over copies sold out within four months and it had to be reprinted. For a country like Malaysia, that response is a big amount. His comics have a very wide range for an audience including children, intellectuals, and politicians who are fans

Erwin Bovian said...

Nice pair of glassess Andy Young!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Erwin Bovian. Are you also Erwin Maisch?

I am a little confused here because Erwin Maisch has so many names. And since 'Erwin' is such a beautiful and unique name, I have to make sure.

Thank you for the reference to my glasses. Yes I am wearing the same pair.

Anonymous said...

I used to have a 45RPM record [acetate] called "Dig That Crazy Beatnik Chick" that I never found a copy of ever again. The songwriters were London & Clarke. Who knows?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Wow this is an interesting request. Anyone heard of this song?

Please write in if you have or own a copy.

Dr Tan Wee Kiat said...

Hi! Andy,

Enjoyed your blog posting.

Also, browsed the posting about Lat's introduction to music on records.


wee kiat

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

LAT was in town yesterday on 10th December 2016 signing away his latest book at one big bookshop in town in Singapore.

Apparently 70 fans were there to get his autograph. Now that's neat. Congratulations LAT. You deserve the recognition.

I'm just wondering when we will be allowed to laugh at ourselves. I don't see the funnies funny in our daily newspaper (there's only one).

And world recognition? Well, LAT got his. His cartoon books are translated into many languages.