Teacher who in­spired Mrs Hew char­ac­ter dies at 80

New Straits Times - - News / Nation -

IPOH: Fans of Malaysia’s beloved car­toon­ist Lat will no doubt be fa­mil­iar with one of his iconic char­ac­ters, the Chi­nese woman sport­ing 1960s cats-eye spec­ta­cles, com­plete with a bee­hive hairdo.

The char­ac­ter, usu­ally seen in his Kam­pung Boy se­ries, was in­spired by one of Lat’s own school teach­ers, Lee Siew San, bet­ter known as Mrs Hew.

Lee passed away at her home in Jalan Bunga Telor, Ta­man Can­ning, here, yes­ter­day. She was 80.

Lat, whose real name is Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, said he was in­formed of her pass­ing by Lee’s hus­band, Hew Chai Kee, 87.

Lat ex­pressed his sor­row and of­fered his con­do­lences to Lee’s fam­ily.

He said Mrs Hew taught him and his friends how to read, write and speak English when they were in Year Four and Five at SRJK (English) Jalan Pasir Pu­tih, in 1962 and 1963.

He said he be­gan draw­ing Mrs Hew in the 1970s.

“In re­al­ity, she did not look any­thing like that.

“I drew as such be­cause I wanted to show­case her char­ac­ter as some­one who is strict but beau­ti­ful and kind.

“When I re­turned here 20 years ago, I drew how she looked like in real life.

“When she was alive, peo­ple used to tell her that Mrs Hew was a de­pic­tion of her and that it was drawn by her for­mer pupil,” he said.

Mean­while, Lee’s son, Alvin Hew, 53, said his mother died in her sleep about 1.30am.

“We are proud to have one of the char­ac­ters in Datuk Lat’s comic strips drawn af­ter our mother, and to en­joy cor­dial ties with him.

“Our late mother was happy to know that she was part of the

Kam­pung Boy tale,” he said.

Lee left be­hind two other chil­dren Cyril, 49, and Belinda, 52.


Hew Chai Kee show­ing the char­ac­ter ‘Mrs Hew’ drawn by Lat.

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