Education & Community


The Kampung Boy Who Made It Big
Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, more commonly known as Lat is a Malaysian cartoonist, social commentator and cultural icon who was raised in a close-knit kampung.

His works have been published in newspapers, magazines, graphic novels and anything Malaysian from postage stamps to buses.

Lat’s best-known work, The Kampung Boy, was translated into 14 languages and recognised internationally as "one of the all-time great cartoon books." Lat’s cartoons have become a vital part of Malaysian life and are admired by old and young alike.


How it all began
Always keen on drawing, Lat’s interest in cartoons began early on during his school days and his talent was encouraged by his teachers and father.

His primary school experience took a significant turn during Standard Four when he successfully passed the Special Malay Class examination, leading him to enrol in an English school in Pasir Putih, Ipoh. It was during his time here that he received encouragement from his teachers to explore his talent for drawing.

Lat’s big break
Lat’s first cartoon was printed in Singapore’s Majallah Filem, a Shaw Brothers publication in 1964. However, his comic strip called Tiga Sekawan which he sent to Sinaran Brothers in Penang would prove to be his big break.

Between 1964 to 1968, Lat continued contributing to various publications, this includes Majallah Filem (Tua Keladi), Utusan Malaysia and Berita Minggu (Keluarga Si Mamat).
Upon completing his Senior Cambridge in 1970, Lat began work in Kuala Lumpur as a crime reporter, although his primary interested remained with illustrations and drawings.

He eventually became a full-time cartoonist at the New Straits Times, beginning with a series called Scenes of Malaysian Life. The daily would even send him for a course at the St Martin’s School of Art in London, upon which he was made their full-time cartoonist. Lat eventually left New Straits Times in 1984 and began his journey as a freelance cartoonist.



Capturing the essence of Malaysian through cartoons
Lat has published more than 20 volumes of cartoons that illustrate Malaysia’s social and political scenes. His illustrations have been featured many times, including on Two Air Asia aircraft 737 and an Airbus. His cartoon characters were used to promote Malaysia to the world.

Lat’s cartoons tend not to confront or to challenge but to reinforce and build on a set of beliefs and values.  His messages tend to encourage Malaysians to focus on their similarities rather than their differences.
His due international recognition came when he was awarded the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes in 2002. Although retired he continues to draw and still produces a weekly cartoon for the New Straits Times and is also working on “Rumah Lat,” a replica of the Kampung home he grew up in which he is currently developing on a plot of land in Perak.



The information in this award recipient's profile is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the time the award was presented. Any subsequent changes, updates, or developments in the individual's life or achievements may not be reflected in this profile.
We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience and for analytical purposes. By continuing to browse, you are deemed to accept our use of cookies. Learn more about disabling cookies and our Privacy Statement here.