Veteran political cartoonist Morgan Chua dies at 68

Mr Morgan Chua had been in the ICU of a hospital in Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, since Tuesday.
Mr Morgan Chua had been in the ICU of a hospital in Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, since Tuesday.

Veteran political cartoonist Morgan Chua died on Thursday. He was 68.

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

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

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

The cause of his death is not known. 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 paper, before it was closed down by the Government a year later.

He then went on to become an editorial artist for the Far Eastern Economic Review, and was promoted to art director two years later.

In 1992, after 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 S R Nathan's 50 Stories From My Life.

In an interview with The New Paper in 2008 on his book, My Singapore, Mr Chua 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, Epigram published his sketches of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in LKY: Political Cartoons. Explaining his reasons for compiling his sketches over the years into a book, he said in a video, posted by Epigram on Thursday: "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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Veteran political cartoonist Morgan Chua dies at 68'. Print Edition | Subscribe