Lat’s Cartoon

Mohammad Nor Khalid, visit this site Dato’ or also known as LAT is a well known cartoonist in Malaysia. His first book ‘Kampung Boy’ an autobiography of his life was published in 1979 and sold thousands of copies within 3 months.

Lat highlighted Malaysian icons and symbols through his cartoons. Apart from his own experiences as a kid from rural areas in Malaysia, Lat also recorded issues and scenarios that arise in Malaysia throughout the years. Lat is one of Malaysian ambassador. He promotes Malaysia through his sketches and personal thoughts.

His styles mainly focus on life in multi-racial Malaysia, ranging from deeply personal memories (“Kampung Boy”), political satire (often lampooning the heated debates between the two major political parties, UMNO and PAS, as well as taking a satirical swipe at every major announced government policies), living life abroad from the Malaysian point of view and the ever-changing relationships between the different ethnic groups. He often mixes his social commentaries with humorous passages and slapstick. These features are found virtually everywhere in his work (see bibliography).

Striking about Lat are his accounts of his own village childhood, and his extended Malay family, collected in his acclaimed autobiographical books “Kampung Boy” and “Town Boy”. They are the only books to have been reprinted in Japanese. They recall Lat’s fond memories of the relaxed pace of traditional kampong life, and that in spite of being supportive of modern city life, Lat is proud and very fond of his deeply rural background. Although detailed insight of life on the Malayan peninsula is required to fully appreciate the work, Lat can be recommended as an invaluable primer for the visitor and new resident alike.

Bibliography:

  • Be Serious Lat
  • Better Lat than Never
  • Budak Kampung
  • Dr. Who?!
  • Entahlah Mak…
  • It’s a Lat Lat Lat Lat World
  • Kampung Boy:Yesterday and Today (ISBN 967-969-307-4)
  • Kampung Boy:Yesterday and Today (Japanese Version ISBN 4794940246)
  • Keluarga SiMamat
  • Lat 30 Years Later
  • Lat and Gang
  • Lat and His Lot Again…
  • Lat as Usual
  • Lat at Large
  • Lat gets Lost
  • Lat was Here
  • Lat with a Punch
  • Lat’s Lot
  • Lots More Lat
  • Lots of Lat
  • Mat Som (English Version) (ISBN 983-99617-1-3)
  • Mat Som (Malay Version)
  • The Kampung Boy
  • The Portable Lat
  • Town Boy
  • Town Boy(Japanese Version)
  • With a Little Bit of Lat

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My Research Project and Malaysian Flavours

I finally manage to put something in the blog after a long break, pestilence not writing my blog. All this while (trying to explain why I did’nt write my blog) I was writing and finalising my proposal. Next week on the 4 June, 2006, I will have my first proposal review. Well as for now, I guess I’m quite sure I know what i’m doing…although sometimes I get lost easily.

My project research is about how a communication designer, using branding and design practices, can help to facilitate traditional/heritage (specific culture) product to have a role in contemporary market place. In this research, Malaysia is the cultural context for this study; and areas of exploration will be undertaken with the intention of identifying the possibility for the development of globally viable Malaysian brands.

I personally think, Malaysia is rich with traditional and historical product to be develop. Product such as textiles, foods and games. (See Malaysian Heritage). I think Malaysian is losing it’s traditional product as it is hard to find the product in the market even in local market. I’ve been reading this book from Lee Su Kim about Malaysian Flavours – insights into things Malaysian (and still have’nt finish reading), and I find it very interesting to read. It reminds me of my childhood, although I did’nt experience the whole things that she wrote in her book, but my parents, uncle, relatives and my grandparent always talk about it. She wrote about her childhood experience and at that time there is no such thing as video games, playstation 2 or may be 3 now, and internet. All they have is a game that has been created by their own creativity, some are from nature and some proberly the combination of nature and human made.

Belows are some of the text that interest me about some of the games we use to play (browse through this site to see more Malaysian Traditional Games);

“The toys that children get nowadays make those that the children of the 1950s and early 1960s had a quite laughable. The toys we had then were things like a wad of cards, a marble or two, rubber bands, a simple plastic masak-masak set, a kite, a top, a skipping rope, which kept us happily occupied for hours.

Many toys even came free such as fighting spiders, five stones, a hopscotch pattern scrawled on the sand. Today, all you’re got to do get an idea of the state-of-art situation in Toyland is to step into Toys ‘R’ Us. For the adult first-timer, it can be quite a culture shock. No friendly little toy shop here. Instead you find yourself in a cavernous store, filled to the brim with thousands of toys.”– Lee(1996), Malaysian Flavours

Crafts

Malaysian Heritage

Batik
Hindu traders first brought batik to Malaysia eons ago, mycoplasmosis and the art of dying fabric has been an established tradition for centuries. Designs are first sketched out on cloth, cure then blocked off with wax outlines. They are then painted and later sealed with TK.

batik-2.jpg batik-painting.jpg

Kite (Wau)
Kites, called waus, are painstakingly designed and crafted in vibrant colors and patterns. Intricate floral cutouts are pasted on, building up the design until the kite is ready for the bright paper tassels that complete its decoration. Kite construction is an ancient art passed down from the nobles of the Melakan court.

Pewter
Having the world’s largest reserves of tin, it seems appropriate enough that Malaysia also produces what is widely regarded as the world’s finest pewter. Most of it is produced at the Royal Selangor Pewter Factory, which lies just outside of Kuala Lumpur. The factory was founded in 1885 by Yoon Koon, a Chinese artisan who crafted objects only for the aristocracy. Today Royal Selangor is the largest single manufacturer of fine pewter in the world, and and it is still run by Koon’s third-generation descendants. The factory gives a full tour of the production floor, and visitors to the gift shop have the privilege of buying any of the items duty-free.

Weaving
The jungle provides an abundance of ideal materials for Malaysia’s many types of weaving. The thorny vines of the rattan tree, for example, are worked and woven into comfortable chairs and tables — unique furniture that was so popular with the English that it could be seen in the parlors of just about every British resident. The strong and versatile fronds of the sago palm are also superbly suited for crafting. In Borneo, the sago is dyed and woven into beautiful and distinctly patterned jewelry, baskets, hats, floor mats, and more.

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Wood Carving
On both the peninsula and in Borneo, wood carving reaches an astounding level of intricacy. What is truly special about this art form in Malaysia is that all of her cultures have perfected it. You see it everywhere: in the delightful porticos of Malay houses, in the roofs and altars Chinese and Hindu temples, on the prows of colorful fishing boats, and in the burial poles and masks of Sarawak.

The Art of Keris Making
A keris is can only be made by an empu, a revered artisan who is also endowed with magical powers. Once an empu selects a day to begin the task, he fasts and prays, warding off evil spirits and wining the favors of the demit, or good genies. To forge a kris blade, the empu alternates one layer of steel with two layers of special iron extracted from a meteorite. This is necessary for the pamor, or silvery marbling of the blade. The layers are forged together and flattened. To obtain a particular pamor, the empu twists the two halves of the steel bar separately. This is repeated as many times it takes to get the desired effect. The sequence of layering, bending, beating and forging forms a number of layers. Generally, a good kris has 64 layers of iron and pamor. It is said that some have thousands.

The blade is forged into its final shape, straight or curved, then given ribbing and tang. Using very fine files, grindstones, and chisels, the ribbing is heightened, relief created on the blade, and the ricikan (the characteristic teeth or projections on a kris) is chiseled. Finally, the emput makes the ganja, or base, and tempers the blade by bringing it to red hot and immersing it rapidly in coconut oil. The entire process can take months, partly because the empu will only work on days that he considers favorable. The blade is considered incomplete until it is merged with the handle and the sheath, and the owner has made offerings and contacted the spirit of the kris by dream.
keris.jpg
– Malaysia 2002

More about Malaysian Crafts

Games and Pastimes


Kite or Wau
is a intricate floral cutouts are pasted on, malady building up the design until the kite is ready for the bright paper tassels that complete its decoration. Kite construction is an ancient art passed down from the nobles of the Melakan court. Over the dried padi fields, a wau bulan, or moon kite, catches an upcurrent of air. Its wing span is larger than that of an albatross. What used to be a post-harvest diversion among padi farmers has become an international event. Wau festivals are organized each year and draw participants from as far away as the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Belgium, and Singapore.The pre-harvest counterpart to the post-harvest wau-flying is top-spinning, a game requiring great strength, excellent timing, and dexterity. These are not childrens’ toys.
wau.jpg
Gasing, or spinning top, can weigh up to ten pounds and can sometimes be as large as a dinner plate. Gasing competitions are judged by the length of time each top spins. The tops are set spinning by unfurling a rope that has been wound about the top. A gasing expert can set one spinning for over an hour. It calls for strength, coordination, and skill. The gasing, if expertly hurled, can spin for as long as 2 hours. Top spinning competitions are an annual feature in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia especially Kelantan and Terengganu.
gasing1.jpg

Silat is at once a fascinating, weaponless Malay art of self defense and also a dance form that has existed in the Malay Archipelago for hundreds of years. Like the best martial arts, silat is often more about the spirit than the body. The silat practitioner also develops spiritual strength, according to the tenets of Islam. In an age when many of the martial arts are dying out, young people are especially drawn to this art–there are countless silat groups in Malaysia, each with their own style. Silat demonstrations are held during weddings, national celebrations, and of course during silat competitions.

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Sepak Takraw is one of Malaysia’s most popular sports. In a game reminiscent of hackey-sack (or perhaps the source for it), players use heels, soles, in-steps, thighs, shoulders and heads everything but hands–to keep the small rattan ball aloft. Once a game of village youths, ‘sepak raga bulat’ has become a popular sport among the young urban males. Players standing in a circle keep a rattan ball aloft with any part of their body except their hands. The ball is kept in constant motion without hands touching it.
Malaysia 2002
(http://www.best-of-langkawi.com/CULTURE-games-and-past-times.php)More games to come soon!

Malaysian Heritage and Traditional Games

Childhood

Childhood and space

When I was a kid, search when the school holidays started, website my parent will take me to my grandparent’s place which situated in Kedah, abortion the northern state in Malaysia. Mainly in Kedah it is kind of rural compare to Penang which is very much city like. The best things being in rural areas ‘kampung’ is the space, and its not only empty space but with trees and some ‘kampung’ insects (e.g.butterflies, dragonflies etc.) and animal like rural chicken ‘ayam kampung’ etc.

At that time there are no internet or broadband. As a kid, having the big space to explore means a lot of work do. Further more, having cousins around makes it much more adventurous. Many ideas is much better than one. We start with discussion about what we wanted to do. Having a space triggers several creative thoughts. Using object around us and perhaps some from the house (borrowed from my grandmother) will help to make something. What should we do with this space? Should we make hut out of the tree and leaves (mainly we use coconut leaves because it’s big) ? Or make some color from organic product? Or make some chairs for us to sit under the trees? We end up making so much things, and this process always make us wanted to go back to the space we have in the ‘kampung’.

Why when we as a kid, when we can’t consume much, we allowed ourselves to think creatively using space and object we have around us just to have some excitement? What allow us?

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‘Tarik upih’ is one of the game that I played with my parent and my uncle. ‘Upih’ is from coconut leave, old and dry, then I sit on the leave, my uncle pull it and run with me on it. We make a race with my parent and we had so much fun. It use our energy too.

Branding without branding

I was talking to Areli today discussing about my research proposal and there is some issues that interest me from this interesting discussion. Well, dysentery in my Phd research I want to explore the role of communication designer in market world such as branding, and marketing. I know the role of communication designer is more that doing design and try to create an identity or making things look better in selling or product creation. So I really hope in this research I will be able to identify what is actually the main role of communication designer. I know it is the question that every designer ask, and it’s still i guess, is good to ask.

What is branding without branding?
Natural things, animal do it, fruit do it…can we actully do it with product?
What if, in my research, using my skill and knowledge as a communication designer to improve the making of the traditional/local product by consulting the design of the strategy, packaging, layout, promotions, identity, image and things that relate to improve the product. And using a branding strategy and method to develope and to improve the product, without branding the product or in other words, changing the ‘brand’ of the product.
Is this process still recognise as ‘re-branding’ or part of branding process?

I think I’m lost again…just as soon as I think I’m back on the track!

No News Mean Good News?

I haven’t been writing much lately…i guess since two weeks ago, dermatologist that I actually stop writing my blog, or putting some input in the blog. For some reason, I’m scared to write…writing is a responsibility, for me personally…so I stop and I spend my time thinking which I think still doesn’t help at all. For the last two weeks I’m struggling trying to prepare my proposal, which I finally manage to do it. In my proposal, I started to see some of the ideas that i think relevant to my research.

In my Phd research, I’m interested in the process of design and branding and culture evolve. How can a communication designer, help to improve the local traditional product to become global/or in the market wave? What is the role of communication designer in this process that related to branding, design and culture?

GRC(Graduate Research Conference) is coming soon, and this will be my first time presenting my idea to other people. What are my key questions that can guide me in this research? What is the image I have in my mind, when I think about this research? Why is this research is so important for me? Why did I want to do this research?

Sometimes I just don’t know why I want to do this research, and sometimes, I really want to make a different..and sometimes I just lost..in my questions..But somehow I know by doing this research practice, I will find my self and why I’m doing this..Till then..

Cultural Identity

Brand and Branding
by Robert L.Peters, ampoule published on November 14, approved 2005.

Branding, doctor as in the marking of livestock by means of a burning iron, has been practiced for at least 5,000 years. “Brands” and “branding” are all the buzz today, particularly in North America and the corporate world run by MBA graduates. Brands have been variously defined as “an indelible impression,” “a gut feeling or understanding about a product, service, or company,” and “a user promise,” to list but a few – they typically involve symbolic attributes, and as such, they are also vulnerable to fashion.

Many consultants swear by brands and brand management – others swear at the word, seeing it as the latest term de jour of the marketing world and a “shallow hyper-moniker” that overstates its promise (perhaps to compensate for the surface traits the word brings to mind). The foundation of a brand is a trust relationship, reinforced when positive experience consistently meets or exceeds expectations. Brands can also act as ‘noms de guerre’ or ‘pseudonyms’ for less recognizable corporate origins, though in most cases brands imply a product-based relationship.

In an increasingly virtual world, “brand equity” can grow to become one of an organization’s greatest assets, often providing the best return on investment – Coca-Cola’s brand value alone has been pegged at USD $70 billion, representing more than 60 percent of the giant corporation’s market capitalization.

Questions:

Brand..is it a myth or a living ‘monster’?
How do we as a designer, story
fill the needs of the social contexts? What are our contribution?
Culture is by nature complex as some parts are subject to fashions and trends; the rest,
the core part, is less flexible. Culture encompasses language, traditions, beliefs, morals, laws, social behaviors and the arts of community. Identity lies at the very core of culture and it is the key to our understanding of self. Understanding the culture is imperative in avoiding identity crisis and rootless, and it’s a perquisite for the effective shaping the identities and communication.

Aesthetically, culture operates globally as a signifier of differences and similarities in taste and status within groups. Anthropologically, culture refers to how we live our lives, often between social groups or populations.

Designing in a Social Contexts

Brand and Branding
by Robert L.Peters, ampoule published on November 14, approved 2005.

Branding, doctor as in the marking of livestock by means of a burning iron, has been practiced for at least 5,000 years. “Brands” and “branding” are all the buzz today, particularly in North America and the corporate world run by MBA graduates. Brands have been variously defined as “an indelible impression,” “a gut feeling or understanding about a product, service, or company,” and “a user promise,” to list but a few – they typically involve symbolic attributes, and as such, they are also vulnerable to fashion.

Many consultants swear by brands and brand management – others swear at the word, seeing it as the latest term de jour of the marketing world and a “shallow hyper-moniker” that overstates its promise (perhaps to compensate for the surface traits the word brings to mind). The foundation of a brand is a trust relationship, reinforced when positive experience consistently meets or exceeds expectations. Brands can also act as ‘noms de guerre’ or ‘pseudonyms’ for less recognizable corporate origins, though in most cases brands imply a product-based relationship.

In an increasingly virtual world, “brand equity” can grow to become one of an organization’s greatest assets, often providing the best return on investment – Coca-Cola’s brand value alone has been pegged at USD $70 billion, representing more than 60 percent of the giant corporation’s market capitalization.

Questions:

Brand..is it a myth or a living ‘monster’?
How do we as a designer, story
fill the needs of the social contexts? What are our contribution?