Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy 2012!!!

2011 has been an incredible year for Sir Fong, Totto and everyone at Rabbit Institution!

Several achievements include:

1. 2 prints of Sir Fong sold out and reprinted!
2. Both our featured scientists, Prof Lui Pao Chuen and Prof Leo Tan,
became Singapore Science Fellows. This title recognizes them as top scientists
in Singapore!
3. Book 3's story of dog flu became a reality in Australia, where the first-ever documented
case of a virus jumping from a horse to a dog occurred. Sadly, the dog had to be put down
to prevent the virus from spreading.
4. We used the joke phrase "iSad" in Book 3, and it became popular when
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and the face of iPhone and iPod, passed away.
5. We made a new one-day sales record in a school this year!

2012 is the Year of the Dragon, and we have to say goodbye to the Year of
the Rabbit. But we're all looking forward to the new year, because
happiness from the Rabbit year will continue and get expanded
in the Year of the Giant Fire-breathing Lizard!

Yay! Happy New Year to all of you!

(The Rabbit Institution campus is designed by the incredible, always-awesome
Dengcoy Miel. He has won many international comics award, and also
does amazing editorial cartoons in The Straits Times and other
international newspapers!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sir Fong on the Main Events of Bookfest 2011!

Sir Fong makes it to the Main Event of BookFest 2011! After a few years of hard work, it is an incredible honor to share the same stage as some of the best-selling authors locally and overseas, including the very high-profile new book by Kumar, who is promoting his new biography "From Rags to Drag"! Here are my appearances on the Main Stage:

1. Friday 18th Nov (4 - 5pm)

2. Monday 21st Nov (6 - 7pm)

During my talk on Friday, the organisers had to interrupt the talk 6 times - 6 kids got separated from their moms or dads! Fortunately, all were reunited with their frantic parents. Guess what? A few of them were found listening to my talk! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Wisdom of Batman

When I was young, and first saw the Joker, I freaked. He was the scariest character of my childhood.

When I was young, I read the adventures of Batman, hoping that he will one day kill the Joker. He never did. The Joker shot Barbra Gordon through her spine, and killed one Robin. He also performed plastic surgery on another Robin so the boy could look more like Joker than Batman. Batman stuck to his "no kill" code and let Joker live on.

Now I see the mythology (it's probably a little early to call Batman a mythology, but I'm sure this character will last as long as Romeo and Juliet, or Hercules) as something else. Now, I know that Batman let Joker live not because he wouldn't kill the clown, but because he couldn't.

This is my interpretation of the mythology: Gotham, the city that housed Joker and Batman, represents our individual bodies. Inside our Gotham, two characters battle for our cities. Inside each of us, live a Batman and a Joker. In a way, it's like some religious Good vs Evil, except that heaven and hell exist while we're alive. If your Joker wins, then it's hell on Earth for you. If Batman fights, then your Gotham is heaven on Earth. 

Everyday, our Jokers will tell us to give up, to give in, because the only truth is Chaos, because all living things are inherently selfish, and we are born into a meaningless existence of which Death is the only certainty. Our Jokers constantly tells us that we're never going to measure up, that we're not good enough, and therefore we might as well go nuts. If one succumbs and gives in to his Joker, his Gotham becomes Joker's playground. You can see evidence on the streets sometimes: some madman walks by muttering to himself or herself. That's a Gotham that's completely, irreversibly overrun by its Joker. For most of us, it's not that extreme - for most of us, our Jokers only managed to stop us in achieving our goals and dreams. "I can't live a life I want, because ______________ (fill in blanks with a reason. Any reason will do!)." or "Things will never change, because _______________ (again, any excus . . . I mean, "reason", will do), so why bother?"

Or we can listen to our Batmans. We can believe that our Gotham is a good one. Our Gotham can succeed. Our Gotham is the city where our lives are good and our dreams come true. 

It's going to be a constant battle without end (well, it ends when we die). Our Jokers may never die. No matter how strong our Batmans are, our Joker will always be looking for opportunities. Everytime we feel defeated, we can hear a voice whisper, "See? you cannot win. Don't even try!" When someone else encourages or helps a man in ways that counters his Joker's intention, his Joker may even retaliate and do vicious harm to the person.

Few of us can really get rid of our Jokers - even great men and women wrestle with self-doubt and question the point of their struggles - but many of our Batmans managed relatively well. How much each of us can achieve our goals depend largely on our Batmans' ability to keep the Jokers at bay. If our Batmans are doing great jobs, we may actually shine so brightly, we touch the lives of those around us. 

I believe in our Dark Knights - civilisation did not come such a long way when Jokers are trumping overall. We'd trumped the Nazis, the racists, and sexists. But there is always room for improvement.

So here's to our Dark Knights and Gothams! Our Jokers may be eternal, but may they all rot in the asylums.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Dear Sir Fong readers,

One of our most innovative minds just passed away.

Many of you will not remember when computers were boring blocks of grey bricks taking up a huge space on our tables. That was because a company called Apple created the iMac. The iMac was a beautiful designer computer that revolutionized the way a computer can look. Then came the iPod, a tiny music player that everyone wanted (granted, Singapore's Creative Technology made that technology possible). Many of you are using the iPhone now, though many people Sir Fong's generation could not believe a handphone can have no buttons!

The man who made it all possible was Steve Jobs. He pushed, he shoved, he bullied but mostly he did what it took to make his visions come true. Sir Fong always saw him as a visionary: someone as inventive and creative as Leonardo Da Vinci. Someone who, in the process of realising his amazing visions, inspired all of us and made the world a better place.

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. Sir Fong just wants you to know that a great mind is no longer with us, but his spirit will live on in many hearts.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Benjamin Ang draws Totto!

Today, Sir Fong is happy. He meets Benjamin Ang, a Singaporean comic artist. Benjamin has the distinct honor of being the FIRST Singaporean selected by MARVEL COMICS as an artist. That means his name will be on the covers of some of the new Marvel comics coming our way! Perhaps a Spiderman title, or an Iron Man issue will feature a Singaporean name on the cover in the near future!

So Sir Fong asked Benjamin for a big favor: please interpret Totto the bunny in his own style. Benjamin immediately obliged. And here we have the first Totto the bunny, drawn by a rising Marvel star. May we all be proud of him! Sir Fong will certainly be cheering for him - and by his example, Benjamin shows that it is possible for a Singaporean artist to dream international dreams!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mid-Autumn Festival - My First Mandarin Workshop!

Mid-Autumn Festival is about mooncakes. It is also about a Chinese tradition wrapped around an old, old mythology: Chang E, wife of folk hero Hou Yi, swallowed an elixir and floated off to the moon, unable to reunite with her husband. The elixir has also made her immortal, so she was doomed to live out an eternity alone. She is accompanied only by a rabbit.

For this new workshop I devised, the students are taught to design and draw their own bunnies. As part of the Chinese Cultural Festival, the school also requested that I present the workshop in Mandarin. It was the first workshop I conducted in full in Mandarin!

The students did a smashing job of creating about 80 bunnies. I am in turn inspired that there are 80 different ways to draw a bunny! That will most certainly enrich Sir Fong Book 4!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

First day of sketching new book with my iPad!!!

The last few weeks, my new writers and myself were brainstorming. We are delighted with our new story for Book 4! Book 4 promises to be a leap - in both story-telling and illustration - for the readers. 

Now comes the hard part - breaking the story into panels for each of the 200 pages.

To help me reference online pictures and do research while I keep drawing, I have my new iPad with its protective cover which doubles as a convenient stand! 

Armed with the new story outline, tons of library books and my iPad, I am again going into the 'desert', where an artist must spend a lot of solitary time for the next few months. As you can also see, like the ancient Tang monk Tripitaka who traveled with his trusty white horse across the desert to India, I also have my little white Jack Russell companion keeping me company too!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July Update for BOOK 4!

Dear friends and fans, 

For Book 4, I sought help from two Singaporeans about the story. They agreed to be co-writers. This morning, we just had an incredible session brainstorming about Book 4. We fleshed out the characters of Sir Fong, Totto, Izak and Abby. We also worked on a storyline that excited all of us.

Above: a rehearsal scene from my Arts Festival 2011 play HERStory. Staged by Drama Box.

Earlier this year, I paused my comic work and devoted 6 months to write a play dedicated to my mother. The process of creating the play was thrilling, because I’d insisted on being as real as possible. My collaborators – Kok Heng Luen, Chong Tze Chien and Drama Box – and I met with some strong resistance in the creation of the play. This includes a forced change in the title of the play from “Black Peony” to “HERStory” (possibly due to concerns about my parents’ past political background), and a cold war between myself and my parents (who were upset that I would not remove the son’s personal background from the story). But I personally believe strongly about the purpose of writing the play, and the best approach to any piece of art is to be as honest as possible. Even after the play was staged, some people felt strongly that it was a good piece of art while others found reasons to hate it. Regardless, it was not a play one can ignore – in an Arts Festival where many shows struggled to fill up the venue, our play attracted near-full-house every performance.  The reviews from Straits Times were generally hostile and negative, while the reviews from Zaobao and the Flying Inkpot were highly favorable.

When I paused my comic works to do this play, I knew that it was worth the delay of my career as giving tribute to my mom is worth the sacrifice. I just didn’t know it would be so incredibly relevant to my comic works!

The experience taught me that a good piece of art will find its ardent supporters and face some strong dissent. Living that story was a roller coaster ride. Writing it was at times heart-stopping, and listening to the sobs amongst the audience, I believe we have presented something as real and as thrilling as we possibly could.

I’m applying this new-found insight into Sir Fong Book 4. My writers and I are digging into the universe created in Books 1 to 3, and also digging deeper into our intentions of creating the story. We aim not so much to please anyone, but rather to be as brutally honest to ourselves as possible. And rest assured, we never forget for a moment that Sir Fong is for you.

Yours always,


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Meet the new Guest Stars for Sir Fong's Adventures Book 4!

These two lovable characters are mascots for Gardenasia, a collective of Singapore modern farmers.

The green guy with a water droplet on his head is Titoy, and the pink girl is Morchoo. When they first appeared yesterday, the kindergarten kids went wild and couldn't stop pawing their faces!

In the first Sir Fong trilogy, real-life scientists are featured. In the new book, Sir Fong will be featuring Titoy and Morchoo in a new adventure, and Totto, Abby and Izak will definitely be on the greatest ride of their lives so far with these two guest stars!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Cover for New Print of Book 1!

Another new print for Sir Fong Book 1!

For Book 2, I completely redesigned the cover. Instead of the dark, moody but cool original cover, I changed it to a bright, cheerful one. Afterall, the topic is on "Light", so I lit up the cover!

For Book 1, I consulted a few close friends. Their feedback was unanimous: keep the original cover! That was the first time most readers set their eyes on a Sir Fong comic. I made some changes to the back cover - I felt readers need see some of the drawings inside, as many bookstores shrink-wrapped their books. 

Hopefully, I kept the integrity of the original cover that gave Sir Fong's Adventures a great start, but improved on it such that it will have an evergreen longevity in your hearts!

Yours Bunnily,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sir Fong@Google Singapore!

Invited by Google Singapore to speak about my life and work! So honored!

A very diverse and international group of employees!

Raising awareness of Sir Fong in Google! Yay!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book 2 reprint - All New Cover!

Book 2's new print is rolling out of the printers and into the bookstores in the next few weeks. To celebrate the occasion, a whole new cover is designed! While I love the original cover, which pays homage to The Matrix movie, I've decided that the topic of "Light" deserves a brighter, more illuminating cover design! 

22 other inventors tried creating the perfect light bulb before Thomas Edison. Like a work of art, this work of modern science finally came together when Edison created an integrated system of electric lighting. With each new print, I continue to find the right combination that will make Sir Fong comics shine brightly!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day from Totto!

How do you make a cake for someone who is having a birthday on Valentine's Day? You must admit that a V-Day B-Day Boy or Girl has got to have a special cake!

1. Design the cake!
2. Show your design to your favorite baker!

3. Make sure there's lots of hearts on the cake!

4. Get ready for a very Special Totto B-V-Day treat!

This very special B-V-Day cake is brought to you by Cake Avenue. If you click on the picture above, you can call them up for your own awesome, unique cake too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sir Fong writes a theatre play!

Before I was drawing and publishing comics, I began my creative adventures as a playwright. 

My first dramatic script, written for theatre, was titled "Another Tribe". It was the first Singapore Mandarin play to be given an R(A) rating [Restricted (Artistic)]. My second play, in English, was "Cetacea". After it was published, it won a Book Award. A third play, also in English, was called "We Are Family". It was restaged years later by a bunch of students in the school I taught. Finally, my fourth play "Mr Beng" played to full-house audiences in Victoria Theatre in Arts Fest 1999. It was restaged in year 2000. 

By then, it was clear that my calling is Comics drawing. So I stopped writing plays, and started drawing and publishing.

6 comic books later (5 of them are Sir Fong titles), I am writing a new play. It's original title was "Black Peony". I am writing it as a tribute to my mother. Later, the director Kok Heng Luen, a prominent veteran who also co-directed my first play "Another Tribe", and the cast reworked the story. We all wanted a story that speaks of a generation of women, not just my mom. Many of our mothers and sisters contributed to our country, but their stories were often overshadowed by the men's stories. Perhaps that's why "History" is unfairly "His-Story". So, the play's title is changed to "HerStory".

I am writing a play as a way of getting back to my creative roots. This process will also allow me time to think about Sir Fong's Adventures Book 4. I will begin the creation of Book 4 in June - hopefully it will thrill you readers in a whole new level!

In the meantime, "HerStory" will be part of Arts Fest 2011. It will play two days (28th and 29th May 2011), at the School Of The Arts Drama Theatre. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My first Rabbit was dissected . . .

The first rabbit to come to my house was dissected. That was the inspiration behind Totto the Killer Bunny's horror dissection in Book 3.

Here's an article about Sir Fong to kick off the Year of the Bunny! 

(You have click on the images to read the fine prints!)

Cover of Sir Fong 2

Cover of Sir Fong 2