The Arts

Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid

Beloved award-winning Malaysian cartoonist Mohammad Nor Khalid or Lat has elevated the country’s reputation in the cartoon industry


Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, famously known as Lat, is one of the few names that's internationally recognised in the cartoon and comic world. The cartoonist first gained prominence with his comedic, light-hearted and relatable cartoon illustrations depicting Malaysia’s social and political scenes, drawings that became a staple in national newspapers.

Lat started drawing cartoons as a child and is mostly self-taught, but credits his father who doodled and found humour in his talent. From the age of nine, he began to sell his comics, first to friends and then to a magazine. His first comic book Tiga Sekawan Menangkap Pencuri was published at age 13, which was so proficient that the publishers paid him RM25 after mistaking him for an adult.

While his editorial comic strips, Scenes of Malaysian Life, in the New Straits Times, brought Lat national attention and endeared him to the masses, he achieved commercial success and international recognition with his autobiographical comic The Kampung Boy, which illustrated Malaysian rural life. The book has been re-printed at least 16 times and published in 14 languages including Japanese, French and Portuguese. Besides the sequel, Town Boy, Lat has published more than 25 volumes of his work.

Lat also ventured into animation, merchandising and theme parks with his creations. His long-awaited 'Rumah Lat dan Galeri', a traditional house similar to the one he grew up in, is complemented by an art gallery which opened in mid-2021. He is also working on his second Mat Som book after a hiatus of more than 30 years.

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Did you know?

Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, is a Lat fan and declared The Kampung Boy “one of the all-time great cartoon books”. 

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