This Hari Raya Season, it seems that Malaysians are not fond of using Malaysia’s foremost cartoonist Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, or more
popularly known just as Lat’s work.
If I memory serves me correctly, last year (2011), Suria KLCC featured black & white cut-out of Lat’s cartoons on its concourse area.
This year (2012), I do not see any shopping mall, hotels or advertisements making use of Malaysia’s iconic cartoonist Lat’s cartoons.
But, I notice quite a handful of companies are using Les’ Copaque’s cartoon characters, Upin & Ipin, and also Animonsta Studios’ BoboiBoy for ads and promo.
Betul, betul, betul… (corect, correct, correct…), I am talking about the two lovable botak (bald) kids who has been entertaining Malaysians since 2007.
To date, it’s first feature film “Geng: The Adventure Begins, Upin & Ipin” is still the top-grossing Malaysian animated movie. RM6.3 million. No, it’s not the highly-publicized Silver Ant’s “SeeFood”; which some Malaysians have mistaken it as Walt Disney’s “Finding Nemo”.
It was reported in the press recently, Les’ Copaque is planning to build a RM700 million theme park in Sepang.
And recently I also read that Khazanah Nasional unit is in the midst of opening a restaurant based on Lat’s cartoons called Lat’s Place at the Puteri Harbour Theme Park in Nusajaya, Johor.
Interestingly, they are even talking about opening Lat’s Place overseas, which include Oxford Street (London), Fifth Avenue (New York) or mid-town Tokyo. This is Malaysia betul-betul Boleh!
Personally I not too sure, whether Lat’s cartoons can still appeal to present days young Malaysians. Especially the Generation Y aka Net Generation, who are more into Japanese Manga and Upin & Ipin.
Remember back in those day, Berita Publishing had tried promoting Lat’s merchandise (coloring books & a range of stationery) and figurines by Royal Selangor Pewter. They were not that well received.
One thing is Lat doesn’t have any prominent cartoon characters per se. What Lat has is merely a collection of cartoon drawings; signifying multi-racial Malaysians, drawn in his own inimitable style. Well, except for his “Keluarga Si-Mamat” series.
When I talk about cartoon characters, I am referring to works like Mickey Mouse, The Simpsons, Crayon Shin Chan, etc. I know Lat’s animated TV series “Kampung Boy” have a few characters (Mat, Ana, Bo, Tak, Yap, Yah and Opah), but they are not well known.
Lat’s cartoons are more for the so-called Late Boomers. Those who were born somewhere between 1956 to 1964).
These are the Malaysian folks who love reminiscing over their so-called good old days of traditional kopitiam, Lat’s cartoons, ancient derelict buildings, jukeboxes, tarik upih pinang (pulling betel nut leaf), P Ramlee’s movies, stripper Rose Chan, Lao Fu Zi comics (Old Master Q), etc.
Today, if these people who are still around, they are fond of using words or phrases like: heritage, good old days, nostalgia, back in my days, traditional and historical whatever, etc.
But we have to accept the fact that the present younger Malaysians are only interested in the latest gizmos, Facebook, computer games, K-Pop, Manga, and other modern stuff. Life moves on….
All those old past things are of no interest to them and have nothing to do with them, in fact.
Give another two decades or so, I think probably there won’t be such thing as “balik kampung” rush in Malaysia anymore.
Remember the old saying, “Young men speak of the future because they have no past, and old men speak of the past because they have no future.”