“On my first day in school, I noticed that I was the darkest kid in school. Some kids called me ‘Mamak’. What did that mean? I had no idea.”
In his second comical outing, up and coming Penang cartoonist and caricaturist Mohd Azmi (‘Me’) goes in search of his ancestry in the best way he knows how, through cartoons and a witty sense of humour. The author demonstrates that the best way to find your origins – and the land of your forefathers – is to go directly to the source. Like all good humourists, Me is pretty capable of laughing at himself but never at the expense of denigrating, lampooning or exploiting his roots. He achieves this with the skill and finesse of a seasoned tightrope walker – definitely not an easy task since the word ‘mamak’ can also double up as an epithet when used in a confrontational situation.
The comic starts off with the cartoonist’s return to his childhood growing up as the only Mamak in the village. Delivered from a first person perspective, Me enlists his grandmother’s help in answering questions. Me introduces the reader to the world of Penang Mamaks – when they first arrived; the trades that Mamaks were and still are synonymous with; a wedding; religion; cultural activities, and why the number ‘786’ appears by default on Mamak business signboards.
“The Little Mamak” is a boy’s adventure as he explores what makes him ‘him’ in a gentle tale of childhood and belonging.
The Little Mamak was given a soft launch in July at the Dewan Makam Noordin in Penang. About the Artist
Mohd Azmi Mohd Hussin, popularly known as ME, is a true-blue Penangite born and raised in Butterworth. From his early schooldays he was always fascinated with drawing and admitted that he “won almost all the art competitions in school!” ME would spend half of his daily pocket money on art paper to draw his favourite cartoons – the Thundercats, Rambo and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. By the time he was in Standard Six he was already creating his own DIY comics to sell (just like his idol Dato’ Lat).
After leaving school, ME worked part-time at a coffee stall before taking up a graphic design course. After college he worked in a factory for a few years before deciding to follow his passion to become a full-time artist.
This is his second comic.