M’sian Cartoon Icon Datuk Lat Honoured with Prestigious Comic Award in China for Lifetime Achievement

The renowned Malaysian cartoonist, Datuk Lat, added another feather to his illustrious cap by clinching the prestigious Cai Zhizhong Comic Prize during a ceremony in Guangzhou, China, on December 22nd. 

The 72-year-old, whose real name is Mohd Nor Khalid, was honoured at the 3rd Cai Zhizhong Comic Prize award ceremony, named after the acclaimed Chinese artist known for his graphical works on Chinese philosophy and history, as reported by Bernama.

m’sian cartoon icon datuk lat honoured with prestigious comic award in china for lifetime achievementPhoto via Utusan Malaysia

Datuk Lat expressed his pride in being recognised by the awards committee, which comprised several distinguished artists from various branches of art in China. "I was proud to represent our country," he shared with Bernama. 

This recognition adds to the accolades for Datuk Lat, who was earlier bestowed with the title of Royal Artist by the Perak Sultan in July.

Acknowledging the wide international reach of his comic books and cartoons since the 1970s, Datuk Lat revealed that his works have found a substantial audience overseas, including in China.

As the sole foreign participant at the award ceremony, Datuk Lat was not only presented with the prize but was also invited to join the next selection committee. Regrettably, due to his advanced age, he had to decline the invitation.

During the award ceremony, Datuk Lat was elated to be seated next to Cai Zhizhong himself, who expressed admiration by saying, "You're my hero." Cai reminisced about reading Datuk Lat's comics in the 1970s and 1980s, appreciating the depiction of life in a multiracial society. Datuk Lat's works such as "Kampung Boy,” highlighted Malay life, and "Town Boy," incorporated characters from various ethnicities.

Lat shared that he exchanged his collection of "Kampung Boy," "Town Boy," and other cartoons with Cai's works. He praised Cai for creating comic books based on ancient tales, folklore, and legendary stories infused with Chinese philosophical messages, describing them as simple yet impactful.

"Hats off to Cai for his ability to convey messages through simplicity. His books are famous for that," exclaimed Datuk Lat, highlighting the profound impact and inspiration drawn from the legendary Chinese artist's work.

Congratulations, Datuk Lat! You make Malaysia proud!