AFCC: Meeting Yusof Gajah

During a trip to KL, my friends Faren and Tareh brought me to Central Market, where we chuckled over hand-crafted keychains with Manglish messages, like ‘4ever best freind’. You know what strikes me now about Manglish, Chinglish, Japlish Engrish and all the rest? That all those things were said in earnest. ANYWAY! Central Market!

One shop caught my eye- Wow, I thought. This is really really beautiful. I bought postcards, and greeting cards with elephants on them (I love elephants). I paid for my purchases, and asked the young man who took my money if he was the artist. He chuckled and said in Malay, “Bukan, bukan saya.” Drats! He gave me the artist’s namecard- and when I read his name I thought Wah this guy must really love elephants!

And I met him, in the flesh, at the AFCC!

Here, Pak Yusof talks about his book ELEPHABET – An ABC of Life as seen by Yusof Gajah.

Pak Yusof says he can turn any doodle into an elephant!


I guess I was aww-struck, because I couldn’t introduce myself, or tell him how I came to know his art. But I did share delightful conversations with his wife, Mama Zakiah, who is so warm and kind! Through her, I discovered that Pak Yusof is not only a prolific artist, but also prolific storyteller. It is amazing, the work they are doing for their community, and I wish them happiness and good health.


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