Teacher who inspired Mrs Hew character dies at 80
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.