Veteran political cartoonist Morgan Chua dies at 68

Known for his biting political cartoons, Mr Morgan Chua began drawing for the Singapore Herald in 1970.
Known for his biting political cartoons, Mr Morgan Chua began drawing for the Singapore Herald in 1970.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singaporean political cartoonist Morgan Chua died on Thursday (March 22). He was 68.

According to sources close to him, Mr Chua was hospitalised and in a coma, said his publisher Epigram Books in a Facebook post on Thursday night.

Mr Chua had been warded in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, since Tuesday.

Said Epigram Books publisher Edmund Wee: "His passing is a great loss to the artistic community. Our condolences go out to his family."

It is not clear what was his cause of death, although The Straits Times understands that a family member is currently in Bintan making arrangements to bring his body back to Singapore.

Known for his biting political cartoons, he began drawing for the Singapore Herald in 1970.

He was the chief editorial artist of the local newspaper, before it was closed down by the Government a year later.

He then went on to become an editorial artist at Hong Kong's Far Eastern Economic Review, where he was promoted to the position of art director two years later.

In 1992, after taking a year-long sabbatical tour of China's Silk Road, he returned to Hong Kong and became the news magazine's creative director, taking charge of its layout and design. He left in 1997.

Mr Chua's publications include Tiananmen, My Singapore, Divercity Singapore: A Cartoon History of Immigration and In Memory of Madam Kwa Geok Choo 1920-2010. He also illustrated former president SR Nathan's 50 Stories From My Life.

In an interview with The New Paper in 2008 on his book, My Singapore, Mr Chua had said: "History is not just text and old photographs. Cartoons lighten up the pages and one cartoon is enough to tell a thousand words."

In 2014, he illustrated a book about Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, titled LKY: Political Cartoons.

Mr Chua explained what compelled him to create the book in a video interview, which was posted by Epigram Books in the Facebook post.

He said: "I grew up in his era. I think Lee Kuan Yew must have had a lighter side (to) his life. That's why I produced this book for him and the people of Singapore, to know the human side of Lee Kuan Yew."