THE Merdeka Award bestowed on Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, better known as Lat, is a fitting tribute to Malaysia’s favourite cartoonist, who has regaled us since the 1970s (Lat marks 50 years with award — NST, Dec 8).
Lat’s caricatures are of very high standard, both in form and substance, yet simple and clear to the layman.
His cartoons depict the Malaysian way of life. The personalities are representative of the major races with their diverse cultures and traditions.
He loves to reminisce about the good old days.
The proposed Rumah Lat in Simpang Pulai near Ipoh to be developed by the Tourism and Culture Ministry will be his major contribution to tourism.
Besides showcasing his works,it will also provide a section for other cartoonists to exhibit their works.
Among the many cartoons by Lat that have appeared
in the ‘New Straits Times’ over the years.(Inset) Datuk Lat.
He has received various awards, including the US Eisenhower Fellowship (1998), Japan Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize (2002) and the Petronas Journalism Awards (2007).
They speak volumes of his contribution to promoting Malaysia’s plural society with unique cultural identities and beliefs.
Lat has made his alma mater Anderson School, Ipoh, and the nation proud.
Lat shows us the way to live in harmony
PROMOTING our cultural identity and unity through simple, yet meaningful cartoons for five decades has earned patriotic cartoonist Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, fondly known as Lat, the 2014 Merdeka Award, making his effort worth it.
Lat has immersed us in his art of unity through cartoons promoting cultural pluralism. His achievement teaches us that with continuous effort, we can achieve our goals. He has made cartoons an effective way to foster unity, respect and understanding among the ethnic groups in the country.
Within a single image, it is enough to portray the beauty of being Malaysians while the priceless messages and inspiring humour in the picture invite every Malaysian to stay united and be happy as one big family.
As a caring and thoughtful citizen, Lat is proud and honoured to carry out his duty in promoting unity. What about us? Have we put any effort in strengthening racial integration? Or have we been individualistic citizens who show little care to other people?
Truth be told, sharing has the power to bring one race closer to another but Malaysians, unfortunately, do not share much between races.
People from different races do not engage in social interaction and this practice will only widen racial gaps and encourage racial singularity.
When we have the chance to share, we do not make use of the chance wisely. Now, let us think and reflect.
We share the same country but are we aware of racial conflicts happening in a different state? We share the same workplace but how comfortable and sincere are we when working with other colleagues of different races? We share the same neighbourhood, but do we treat our neighbours, regardless of races and religions, the same? Our children share the same school with other races, but do they mix when they form a study group or a football team? Or do they compete against each other?
Chances are the only racial interactions happen when we order food in restaurants, pay bills at counters, seek loans from bank officers, get medical treatment in a hospital or repair cars in workshops, in which the persons in charge are of different races and we have no choice.
If that is the situation, we lose the privilege of living in a multicultural and multiracial society.
We need to preserve our unity and harmony by developing mutual respect.
It is time for us to communicate with each other.
Muhamad Solahudin Ramli, Marang, Terengganu NST Letters 15 December 2014