Government snubbed artist becomes first Singaporean to win comics’ Oscars


Sonny Liew has become the first Singaporean to win the Eisner Awards – the comic industry’s equivalent of the Oscars for film or movies. The artist received the most number of nominations for the 2017 Will Eisner Industry Awards (Eisner Awards) held in San Diego on Saturday morning (Jul 22) during the Comic-Con International.

He won for Best Writer/Artist and Best US Edition of International Material – Asia for his graphic novel The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye at the prestigious event. The event is ongoing and Sonny is in the running for 2 more awards.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was first published in Singapore by Epigram Books in 2015 and partly due to the controversy over the fund withdrawal by the National Arts Council (NAC) quickly sold out and several reprints had to be made.

Now published in the US by Pantheon Books, the book chronicles the life of a fictional Singaporean who lived in the 1950s to present day Singapore, against a back drop of real political events and political figures in Singapore’s history.

The NAC had, in 2015 when the book was first released, explained that the book “potentially undermines the authority or legitimacy” of the Singapore Government and withdrew funding for the work.

A spokesman for the NAC said at the time: “We had to withdraw the grant when the book The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye came out because its sensitive content, depicted in visuals and text, did not meet our funding conditions.”

Since then, the work has gone on to win the Singapore Literature Prize and the Singapore Book Award’s Book of the Year 2015; and was also named in various international publications’ must-read list, such as The Economist, The Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly.

The first 2 pages of Lowe’s book.

In 2015, Mr Liew, a Malaysian-born-Singaporean, told the TODAY newspaper why he did the book:

“I was trying to meet the challenge put forth by the PAP (People’s Action Party) that someone without a stake in the country, who could run off at any time, shouldn’t be offering critiques of Singapore, which I knew this book would be doing at some levels.”


Sonny Liew wins 3 Eisners:

1. Best Writer/Artist
2. Best Publication Design
3. Best US Adaption of International Material (Asia)

So this happened….

Posted by Sonny Liew on Saturday, 22 July 2017


  1. the govt must learn to accept diverse views and ultimately if they are sincere in what they promote, the people will support. it should not be a young boy mentality and throws tantrums when people disagree. Inclusive mean accepting all diverse views and influence them to your right path.

    • Excuse me ? Wat talking you ? Pardon me if I have misread your comments………….”Influence them by to your right path…” ?
      Yeah, influence they did , influenced their oppositions and critics by invoking ISA incarcerating pple in Changi Holiday Camp! and instilling fear in the pple !!!
      Wonder if the influencing results of fear has passed on from generation to generation to influence the 70% ?

  2. Another BIG slap in the face for the PAP and NAC. Goes to show that they MUST never mix politics with art! Big shame on them and on Singapore! LHL better wake up and learn that he cannot control everything. Within Singapore he is numero UNO but outside? Nothing!

  3. W,hat I think people cannot stand is that claiming and broadcasting credit (sometimes shamelessly as in Joseph Schooling) is extremely quick and does not escape their grasp….but never ever admits to any boo boos. Little do they know that by being humble buys credibility and political mileage.

    • Hahahaha…humility is never in the vocabulary of Pinky and gang members ……clown prince’s late emperor old man said “to govern this country must have the iron in him” ….therefore it cannot be rule with humility but to rule with an iron hand !!! Elitists’ arrogance is one of the anchoring traits of Pinky and gang ……..

  4. It’s ok.. we proud of you!! Don’t bother too much on the Current government …. do what is right not what is perceived to be right!

  5. It’s always liddat. Our local talents either kena kosong respect here or discredited, and then when they make it big overseas, then suddenly our gahmen scrambles to roll red carpet to entice them home. Pathetic.

    • Not in this case… Gahment & NAC too stupid, embarrassed & arrogant to recognize the wrong they did by withdrawing the Grant they gave Sonny earlier..

      NAC in particular should just close shop …they’re just Cronies of PAP & ballless

  6. ” ..did not meet our funding conditions.”..!!! What sort of trashy absurd reason is that..???
    What are these conditions.. who defines unilaterally and arbitrarily–and on what basis..??

  7. if they cant support you, dont even bother… you have done well on your own, it shows that there are folks elsewhere who appreciate your talents.

    however it also shows the narrow-mindedness of this govt and the institutions that lick their own arses…

    continue to grow and be proud for yourself, there is no need to credit the land and the dogs who guard this rock, for they were those who have abandoned you in the first place.

    The World is yours to share your great works. (y)

  8. Pap is a born loser. It consists of army generals and cronies who have proved to be failures in their assigned tasks. No wonder they can’t recognise success in others.

    • Your question seems to be a reflection of the engagement of the gov. with CL’s political commentaries during the 70s ……..
      In my opinion, the Singaporean artist has all the right to exhibit his thoughts through his work regardless he is a politician or not .
      All Singapore citizen is very much a part of politic in the land , without the people involvement is there a need for politic and politician ?? The people make up the very fabric of politic in the land!
      What is so wrong when people express their thoughts be it pro or otherwise of the establishment?

  9. Oh government go eff yourself. Mighty Guru Michael Porter is absolute spot on in his assessment of the muppets in the civil service and government: you stifle creativity and innovation to uphold your purported moral compass but you let the shit slide into your frying pan. Most recent is 38 & Malayness. There’s the years of breakdowns, fixing the opposition, royal f56k ups in Temasek’s losses, Town Council exposures, Brompton, and endless mishaps. You blind arseholes!

  10. If Sonny Liew had succumbed to NAC pressure he would have had to dumb down his talent to produce only government-approved stuff.
    This proves that if you have something worthwhile to offer the world you will have to DIY.

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