Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy 2011 from Sir Fong Bunnies!

Top 10 Sir Fong Moments of 2010:
10. Sir Fong comic books enter the National Library annual charts!

9. Sir Fong author mentioned in Parliament in March!

8. Record-breaking sales at Yew Tee Primary!

7. Listed by Straits Times as "Best Seller for Children" in May!

6. Sir Fong helping to fight Censorship in Artsengage

5. Sir Fong Art @ Project Singa at Funan IT Mall!

4. New Comic "Balances" for HELP Family Centre!

3. Blazing great loans at National Library!

2. Channel NewsAsia Interview - December

1. Sir Fong Book 3 Launch @ STGCC 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

PET Magazine review + online interview!

Sir Fong Book 3 is reviewed in the latest issue of PETS Magazine (picture below)!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mom and Dad, are you proud of me now?

A funny thing happened the day after the STGCC. I went home to see my mom and dad.

I was brimming with pride. They saw with their own eyes how kids from last year came rushing to my booth for the latest book. They saw those who bought one book earlier came back to buy the other two books. They saw I was doing quite well.

But this is what they said to me after we met on Monday: "we can see that the kids really love your stuff, but the market is probably still too small to sustain your livelihood."
At that moment, I felt like a small kid coming home with my latest test marks, shoving the test marks in my parents' hands, "are you proud of me now?" I remembered how they'd ask, "what mistakes did you make this time?" "Where did the 5 marks go?" "Who did better than you?"
Thankfully, I'm not a little kid. And here's what I realise: if I seek my parents' approval like I did decades ago, I will find only disappointment. My parents' doubting of me is an extension of their self-doubt. "Is this kid of mine good enough? Did I do right as a mom/dad?

For those of us who find this familiar, I can only say this to you as I've said to myself, "honor yourself as your parents' greatest achievement,  stand by your convictions even when they doubt you.

Thank you for reading. Love yourself, love your parents even when they have nothing good to say about anything you do.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Channel NewsAsia's Primetime Morning Interview!

Latest: Youtube version!
2. Click on the video "Science of Humour"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Open Letter From Sir Fong to Readers + Sample pages from Book 3!

Catch Sir Fong chatting on 
9:15am, 7th Dec, Tuesday morning!
SAMPLE PAGES: Click on each page to see the large image!

Sir Fong comics

A senior teacher in a leadership position of sorts commented that Sir Fong comics is entertaining and fun, but may not be suitable for the students in her secondary school.

Her view is perfectly valid, if you see education strictly in terms of learning subjects for passing exams.

But if you understand that education is holistic and diverse, then perhaps Sir Fong comics can have a space in your school bags and shelves.

“Sir Fong” comics are not intended to replace school textbooks. They do not duplicate what school textbooks can do.

One thing our textbooks cannot do - and this has been proven by the mass desertion of textbooks after exams year after year – is to inspire passion in the subject.

Why did Sir Fong leave RI?

When I quit my job as a Science teacher in RI, many saw that as a termination of what I stood for and believed in. They felt that I had given up on an opportunity to continue inspiring future science workers. They don’t understand what I learnt in RI.

RI asks its students not just to excel, but to be leaders. While the primary focus is on the students, I can say that some of that philosophy has rubbed off on me as a teacher there. Even after their stint in RI, RI teachers and school leaders move on to their new postings to become leaders in other schools or organizations. Our roles do not terminate with their contract – our roles expand.

After 3 years of forgoing a regular pay, 3 years of creating my comics regardless of the rain or shine in my heart, taking one step forward a day at a time, I have created my dream sci-fi comic series: the basic “Sir Fong” trilogy.

The trilogy took on the basic topics in the 3 sciences: Physics (Light), Chemistry (Atoms) and Biology (Cells). The goal is to engage readers not just intellectually (head), but emotionally (heart).

The strategy is simple: use characters that are incredibly cute and funny, some important science concepts in the syllabus, and throw them all in an adventure. That’s not far from real life: scientists are motivated when crisis descend on mankind – and the rush to find a solution is as thrilling and as dramatic and as unpredictable in my stories.

Sir Fong = Art + Science = Heart + Head

That strategy also works! The Japanese manga “Doraemon” and “Astroboy” inspired a generation of robotics scientists. As early as the 15th Century, Leonardo Da Vinci mixed art and science to inspire helicopters and tanks! It must also be working for my comic books too: “Sir Fong” was listed a National Library’s top ten most borrowed list in 2009, and The Straits Times called it a “Children’s Bestseller” in 2010. Based on the borrowing records, people are reading the latest Book 3 even after the school exam period is over.

Instead of inspiring a hundred-plus students a year, my books now reach thousands. So you see, this ex-RI teacher has also expanded his role. My ultimate goal is to inspire the next Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking. Also, who says Sir Fong need only have adventures in Science? Why not Maths, or History?

That is, of course, just a beginning. Afterall, I’d only visited a small portion of Singapore’s schools, and many more have yet to discover Sir Fong comics.

Please come visit at STGCC Booth J14, Suntec, Dec 10-12th

To celebrate, I will be selling the Sir Fong Trilogy at the Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention 2010 from 10th – 12th Dec. My booth is J14, and special giveaways are prepared for all of you who come to Suntec and celebrate with me. Your presence, and support, will help me move on towards greater inspiration! Thank you!

Yours sincerely,

Otto Fong

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sir Fong 3 a hit across Singapore!

Before I share my new post, TWO important reminders:

1. Singapore Toy Games & Comic Convention - my booth is J14. FREE Sir Fong designer bag for each book bought, AND FREE Sir Fong 2: Furocious limited print comic book with every 2 books bought!
2. WHY I HATE SCIENCE essay competition - Deadline: 15th Dec 2010. Send entry to (see previous post below)!

Here's a screen capture of the National Library stock of "Book 3 - Cells". 

As you can see, most of Book 3 are off the shelves! 

This is a clear indication that readers across the island - from Yishun to Bukit Panjang to Bishan to Jurong - is learning about Sir Fong. 

Also, as this is the post-exam period for Singaporean students, it clearly shows that students are willing to read a Science-based, curriculum-based comic book even AFTER their exams.

I'm very grateful for National Library, and its excellent use of technology in tracking books reliably and easily. Just one of those things we take for granted living in Singapore!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I actually have TWO babies this year - here's the 2nd one! :D

I was approached by HELP Family Service Centre last year. They wanted a comic book that can help people understand some of the difficulties faced by single-parent families. I've turned down comic projects because the projects were basically commercial, and I didn't quit my full-time job so I can draw forgettable commercial comics. But this one is different. I feel this one can really make a difference and challenge me creatively.
Suffering the loss of one parent is traumatic for anyone. It doesn't matter if the loss is due to death, divorce or any other reasons. The remaining parent and child/children learn to cope - what they need is respect and understanding, not scorn or pity.
Sometimes, people look down on divorcees - "It must be your fault that the marriage did not work out!" - and their children - "You don't have a dad or mom, you have no future!". These views are not helpful, ignoring that these families can still strive to do their best in life. In fact, the loss of a parent may cause the remaining family members to value and love each other more.
 I interviewed 3 families. They were generous in sharing their stories, and I'm sure they hope that their sharing would help other people in similar situations. It took me several months to work their stories into storyboards, and finally comic frames. The drawing took a few more months - that's on top of my own Sir Fong comic schedules! But finally the book is printed! Hopefully, the pictures will speak volumes and reach out to a larger readership than books of written words can!
HELP is a non-profit organisation. So the comic books will not be for sale in the bookstores. If you're lucky, your school or organisation may invite them over to give talks, and that's when the 48-page comic book will be available for free! I'll be looking forward to feedback from HELP when they start sharing the comic books in 2011!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Totto meets Singa the Courtesy Lion at Funan IT Mall

Singa the Courtesy Lion was born in 1982. That means Singapore's little courtesy campaign icon is in his late 20s! 

One reason I became a teacher was that I didn't like some bad habits some Singaporeans displayed. Not giving up seats for old folks. Not saying thank you when someone held a door for you, or cleaned your table at the hawker centre.  Using handphones during a movie screening. I used to tell my students: "if you can't give up your seat to old folks or pregnant ladies, don't tell people I am your teacher."

Many teachers must've said the same to their students over the years. And I'm happy to see seats being given up regularly on public transports. There's of course much work to do, so Singa is still very relevant today. That was why I said YES when I was invited to draw at the Funan IT Mall launch of the new Project Singa Friday. Singa is an old friend, and that's my way of contributing to better grace in Singapore.

 A bunch of spectators made my afternoon memorable. I happily drew some Tottos for students. And this group of primary school kids from Ngee Ann joined me in my drawing! They gave suggestions ("Can you draw a bunny with Manga eyes?", "Can we draw too?"), and as you can see, I listened!

Another cool aspect of the show was that each participating comic artist was given a complete set of the new Singa Action Figures! ALL 50 DESIGNS!!! Singaporean toys are few, so that made these extremely collectible and triply awesome!
Each Singa comes movable heads, arms and legs!!! AND each design has its unique accessory! For example, Cyber Bullying Singa comes with a notebook! These figures are sure to become collectors' items in the future!

If you're near Funan IT Mall this weekend, go check out the cool exhibition of the artists' works, and also look for the designs that you want to collect!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sir Fong Book 3 in Kino - AND cool new Sir Fong bag!!!

(Hey, don't forget to join the "WHY I HATE SCIENCE" essay competition! See the previous blog post below.)

Thank you for asking where Book 3 can be found! I went to Kinokuniya (both Ngee Ann City and Bugis branch) and they both carry my books! Show you a picture below!

BUT first! Here's cool free gift  No. 1 for every 2 Sir Fong books you purchase when you come for the Singapore Toy Comics and Games Convention at Suntec on Dec 10th - 12th!

This unique, eye-catching Totto the Bunny bag comes absolutely free - and carries your Sir Fong comics and STGCC free gifts in swingin' style! 

AND . . . the two Kinokuniya stores carry my books under different sections! Kino at Ngee Ann puts it at the children's comics section, while Kino at Bugis carries the title under "Young Adults" as shown below. Special thanks to Albert Chan for modelling and pointing to the books! :D

Sunday, November 7, 2010


our leading primary school newspaper, is holding a simple competition in conjunction with the launch of Sir Fong's Adventures Book 3!

If you have some free time during the holidays and would like to win the complete Sir Fong Science trilogy, all you have to do is write 100 - 200-word essay on this topic:

Deadline: 15th Dec 2010. Send entry to

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lianhe Zaobao - Sir Fong completes Science Trilogy!

Reporter: Wang Yimin. Photography: Li Baijuan. (click on image to read details)

As reported in today's Zaobao, ZbNOW comic section, Book 3 completes the Basic Sir Fong's Adventures Trilogy. The next book, Book 4, will be the start of another trilogy. There will be adventurous new formats, stories and even characters! 2011 will be another exciting chapter in the Sir Fong saga!

Friday, October 29, 2010

NTUC Lifestyle magazine book review

Book 3 met students from 3 schools in 3 days! The last week I was in school promoting Totto's new adventures. Once I download the pictures from my iPhone, I will blog it here in my next post.

Here's one of the first reviews of Book 3. It's by NTUC's Lifestyle magazine, also the largest circulating magazine in Singapore.

And here's a few readers from schools who'd read Book 3:

"Yo Sir, book 3 was great! Just like the Original Sir Fong, wish i had also bought the other two books." 

"A really cool book. Good luck for its official launch in December!" 

  "Hey sir, loved the books, all 3 of em =)"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sonny Liew, comic artist, wins Young Artist Award!

Gone are the days when comic books are associated with the 70s Kungfu hit "Dragon Tiger Gate". Some parents still think comics promote bad lifestyles! Gone (hopefully) are the days when comic artists are viewed with suspicion by politicians.

Singapore is ready to move on. Sonny Liew, creator of "Malinky Robot", wins the Young Artist Award. He is the first comic artist to win such a recognition in Singapore! What's also interesting is that, since comic art was never recognised before, he won it under "literary arts" rather than "visual arts".

"Many still question the idea of comic books as a valid form of art, but it now has an institutional boost in Singapore. Comic book artist and author Sonny Liew was announced as one of the five Young Artist Award (YAA) recipients at last night's 2010 Arts Awards ceremonies held at the Istana。” -Mayo Martin

Friday, October 8, 2010


Bunnies are irresistible. They can sit in a cup, do nothing but tweak their nose at you, and still garner 1 million views on Youtube. 

My bunnies aren't idling! They're waiting for you in the bookstores after your exams!
 A mother informed me that she saw and bought Book 3 in Kinokuniya! (I'll go chase my distributor for details!).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Mooncake Festival!

Enjoy delicious mooncakes and a beautiful full moon, my dear friends!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book 3 Cover Revealed!

Sir Fong wishes all you readers smooth exam preparation, and the best grades you'll achieve in the upcoming End Of Year exams. This is especially so for those of you getting ready for PSLE, Sec 2 Streaming and 'O' Levels!

Book 3 will be in the bookstores and Dec's STGCC (See previous posting) in October. Once you finish your exams, do prepare to reward yourself with another entertaining adventure with Sir Fong, Izak, Abby and Totto!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sir Fong Book 3 Launches at STGCC Dec 2010

Book 3 Launches Officially in STGCC
It's official!
Sir Fong Book 3 will launch at Singapore Toy Games & Comics Convention! (STGCC, Dec 10th, 11th and 12th).

Since STGCC has been bought over by American Events giant Reeds Exhibitions, this means that our STGCC is now affiliated to international events like New York Comic Con and  Chicago Comic & Entertainment. It's a great opportunity for Singaporean and regional artists to network. Business Times did a full-page coverage on August 20th.

Book 3 also available in Bookstores After School Exams
 For those who can't wait for Book 3, you can also find the book in most bookstores by October. But the promo price of $10 is only for STGCC and direct sales to schools. Also,  at STGCC, there will be a special gift for the first 200 people who buy 2 Sir Fong comic books! So do book your tickets to STGCC soon:

More details coming soon at this bloggie!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

August update

A portion of the book's back cover
FINALLY! Book 3 is ready for the printers!
These two weeks, Book 3 went for 5 rounds of grammar, spelling and fact checks.
Professor Leo Tan looking through the plot
The story was approved by two scientists and a veterinarian clinic.

Mr Benjamin Chang, an excellent Bio teacher, checks the Science bits!
While the Biology facts and English went through separate vetting.

A vet character will also be featured in Book 3!
When I was drawing Book 3, I spent about 9 hours a day in front of the computer. Walking my dog daily helped me stay fit and also rested my eyes. It also made me think about pet ownership. So I wrote a dog into the story. 

There will be more work to do before the book is well and truly printed. Every step of the book production is serious work and each step is important. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sir Fong Book 3 updates

Dear friends and readers of Sir Fong comics:

I have just completed the bulk of drawing for Book 3: Cells!

During the creation process, I am mostly silent and holed up at home. By focusing my energy and time, I endured a period of great loneliness and isolation, but was rewarded by a period of exhilarating creative growth! I made a short video that hopefully updates you on what's been happening. Once the book is shipping to the bookstores in August, I will keep you informed. Please give Totto the bunny your support - he and I won't let you down!

Yours faithfully,


Saturday, June 26, 2010

My interview in comic newsletter 14:59

14:59 is a monthly newsletter published by Monsters Under The Bed, partnered by the Singapore Association of Comic Artists. In the June Holiday Issue, 14:59 carries an interview of myself, conducted by Jerry Hinds (President of ACAS) and edited by Ryan Ong.

You can click on the images to read the interview clearly:

 Click on image below to read second page of interview!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Regulate, not Censor! PART 2 (So you know this is very important)

 Here is another comic I did in support of Arts Engage, the group making a stand about Regulate Not Censorship in Singapore.

We need all kinds of artists. Some artists produce works that are good for young people and families. Other artists are like a scout inside an army unit: they sniff out the latest trend, and by their example, the rest of us can either choose to follow or take a different path.

In a way, these artists are like hunting dogs. They lead us to our targets. By censoring them, we will lose our chances to compete. We will always be following (poorly) in other country's footsteps.

Local artists are like our own hunting dogs. They take the lead in sniffing out what a society wants and feels. When censorship is used to stop artists, we lose the chance to become like a culturally-vibrant first-world country.

I have seen local artworks in books and theater that inspired me like no foreign art can. I am committed to creating comic books for my young readers, but I look to some of my friends in theater, comics and literature to show me different perspectives. Artists like playwright Alfian S'aat, Haresh Sharma, musician Stefanie Sun, Theater practitioners Alvin Tan, Kok Heng Luen, Ivan Heng, Tan Kheng Hua, writers like Ng Yi-Sheng, Johann S Lee, performers Kumar and Hossan Leong, filmmakers Boo Junfeng, Royston Tan, Loo Zihan etc etc etc. My own comic works are made richer by me learning from comic artists like Miel, Heng Kim Song, Morgan Chua, Troy Chin, Sonny Liew etc etc etc. 

At one point or the other, each of these artists have made something that I don't totally agree with, but if they were censored, I would never have the opportunity to make my own choice.

Some of our civil servants may still be operating as if this is the 20th Century. They see local artists as irresponsible kids who will say anything. But local artists have grown up, and we continue to be relevant and we continue to contribute to Singapore positively.

This is the 21st Century, and with the Internet, censorship does not work. Local art plays an important role in shaping competitive, intelligent citizens by giving us a voice of our own. So that the world knows what we stand for and respect us.

The Singapore government has a choice to either damage cutting-edge local art by censorship, or nurture it by properly regulating the arts (eg. ratings such as PG, R, NC16). 

And you have a voice in how our government chooses. 

Please sign the Position Paper by Arts Engage, and thank you for making a difference in our Singapore!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Say NO to Censorship. YES to Regulation in Singapore!

Please signing the petition on this link:

Growing older is like moving into a higher condominium with a better view.

Today, I met up with a few old acquaintances and friends from the theater circle. They included T Sasitharan (Theatre Training and Research Programme), Tan Tarn How (who wrote "The Lady of Soul and the Ultimate S Machine"), Alvin Tan (The Necessary Stage) and Ivan Heng (W!ld Rice Productions). 
Sasitharan and friends are part of Arts Engage, an independent group formed by artists from different fields. The purpose is to get Singapore governing bodies and Singaporeans to understand that Blanket Censorship is bad for us.
Blanket Censorship means that, as long as a piece of Art is disagreeable to anyone, that piece of Art will be cut from all Singaporeans! 

I grew up in an era of Blanket Censorship. I know the effects of it. Since a lot of important ideas and concepts are shielded from local citizens, many of us do not know how to express ourselves properly. From simple things like saying 'Thank you' to the bus drivers, to more complicated stuff like talking about racial and religious issues respectfully but openly. 
Even at home, many of us do not know how to carry out a meaningful conversation with our family members. Many of us cannot relate to our colleagues other than about basic "you do this" stuff. And most of us are tongue-tied in front of strangers. 
That is the Big Issue I have with Blanket Censorship. We created a nation of Hello Kitties!

We are fortunate to have the Internet. The Internet made censorship impossible. But local artists continue to be censored. That means that you and me, even when we become adults, do not have access to the cutting edge ideas of our local artists. If Singaporeans cannot express ourselves adequately, we lose out when we have to engage internationally with foreign talents, businesses and politicians. We simply do not know how express ourselves, to speak our minds and state our case!
I know, what's this got to do with Sir Fong comics? Afterall, I made sure the comics are safe for younger readers and will not likely have to face censorship. BUT as a fellow artist, a fellow Singaporean, I understand the value of having proper regulation rather than blanket censorship. Having grown up and matured as a person and artist, I saw a larger perspective. I got a pretty good view of the ills of censorship. So I support Arts Engage!

Please support them by signing the petition on this link:

Thank you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sold Out: "Fur-o-cious"

Amidst the flurry of promotions and school visits, my distributor called me: "are you reprinting Sir Fong 2: Fur-ocious?"

"Fur-o-cious" is one of two original Sir Fong comics.  Following the success of Sir Fong (first book), another publisher approached me to print a second book. Fur-o-cious was published in 2006.

 I have a lot of fond memories of "Fur" being published: a week after my students read it, the teachers were instructed to remind students that the classroom game called "Tau-pok" was banned. Apparently, my comic had something to do with the fresh outbreak of the game.

"Tau-pok" is a game where students push a victim onto the ground and proceed to pile up on top of him. Adults are concerned that the victim may sustain injuries by having too much body weight on top. I drew it because the game was real, and happened often.
"Fur" was also the book which birthed the idea of using the bunnies to teach Science. I first thought of the idea in 2005, and spent a whole December drawing a short story on the topic of Electricity. After I printed the comic for my classes, students from other classes started to request for them. And a few told me they studied it before the exams because they had trouble understanding the concepts from the textbooks.

At first, I wasn't sure I should include the Electricity portion into "Fur", but I took a risk and it paid off!

Finally, after my nephew first read "Fur-o-cious", his comment was just two words: "it sucks!"

I was very hurt by his comment, and stopped drawing for a year. Also, neither my publisher nor myself had done much to publicise the comic book. For a couple of years, the title did not move many copies. A lot of stock was returned in 2007. Only after I quit my job to focus on my comics fulltime did the title start to gain popularity.

Years later, after I took a Landmark Education course, I decided to ask his mother about his comment.

It turned out that he was upset. In "Fur", I created a character for his sister, but did not create one for him! This little episode taught me to be more confident of what I draw, and reminded me to remain fresh by taking the occasional new approach with each book.
"Fur-o-cious" taught me a lot about creating and publishing comic books. After that, I started the "Adventures In Science" series. "Fur" started gaining popularity by word-of-mouth. By 2009, it became a top ten Most Borrowed book in our national libraries. That showed me that my hard work of promoting the Sir Fong name is starting bear fruits.

So, as some bookstores called my distributor asking for more of "Fur", I made a decision: "retire it for the time being. I need to focus on the Adventures In Science series."

The good news is that it will always be available in the libraries. The good news is that I have another Sir Fong title sold out its print! The good news is that after 2010, I can reprint the two original titles in my own format properly.

For now, you can borrow "Sir Fong 2: Fur-o-cious" at most National Library branches - if they're not borrowed already! Thank you again for reading the book! I look forward to reprinting it after I work on "Adventures In Science Book 3".

Cover of Sir Fong 2

Cover of Sir Fong 2