Monday 28 October 2013

SURE or not? Mr Kiasu is back

By Kenneth Cheng, TODAY, 24 Oct 2013

The iconic comic character Mr Kiasu is set to come out of retirement after a 13-year hiatus.

Its creator Johnny Lau is reviving the popular series with a new book to be unveiled on Dec 15, as part of a nationwide information-literacy campaign launched yesterday by the National Library Board (NLB).

Titled Everything Also Want To Be Sure, the comic book was among several initiatives announced at the launch of the S.U.R.E. campaign, which revolves around four simple steps: Source, Understand, Research and Evaluate. “Source”, for example, involves checking whether a piece of information comes from a reliable source.

Beginning its run in secondary schools in May as an enrichment programme called the S.U.R.E. Club, the campaign will now be extended to the general public through online platforms ( and the campaign’s Facebook page,, workshops and a public symposium on information literacy with speakers like neuroscientist Carl Schoonover and Channel NewsAsia presenter Steven Chia.

S.U.R.E. will also be incorporated into the history and geography curriculum in secondary schools next year and the NLB has joined forces with publishing firm Epigram Books to weave the S.U.R.E. technique into popular book series Sherlock Sam and Triple Nine Sleuths.

Jordan Goh, 13, a Secondary 1 student at St Patrick’s School, one of 24 schools that have started S.U.R.E. Clubs, said of the programme: “It has helped me understand the sources (such as) books, and even newspaper reports I read, (and it) helps me to figure out if what the newspapers said (is) true.”

Mr T Sundraraj, NLB Director of Communications and Development, said: “At the end of the day, we just want people to instinctively adopt S.U.R.E. as part of their daily life.”

Asked about the difficulty of embedding a message like S.U.R.E. into a story, Mr Lau said: “I think the key is every time we tell a story, it must foremost be entertaining and compelling to draw people into the story, and then you let these sort of so-called messages be left at the subconscious level.”

The campaign, which began last year as the National Information Literacy Programme and was rebranded as S.U.R.E. this year, will run until 2016.

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