Singaporean-Philippines Cartoonist

By: Azad Karimi

Expressing my thoughts on a certain issue visually is my motivation. The idea that I can provoke an audience or reader’s thoughts through cartooning and humour drives me.



Singaporean-Philippines Cartoonist

Manny Francisco

By Azad Karimi


I have written articles many times about the freedom of religions as well as the creation of a culture of tolerance of each other's beliefs in human societies. In the last part of the speech of my dear friend Manny, this issue has been raised again. He is a critical artist. He is not afraid to say he is a political artist. That is, it has its own political views and therefore criticizes the prevailing political practices of society.

He lives in Singapore, a country in Southeast Asia. The region, like the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, and Latin America has ideological systems that are politically unstable and economically underdeveloped except in Singapore and Malaysia. Look at the history of this region: it is full of suffering and mass migration, entanglement, dictatorship, and poverty.In Norway, I met people from Southeast Asian countries. They are hardworking people and people of contentment ...

The problem of this region is its neighborhood with China. With its Maoist agricultural revolution, China thinks only of food production and distribution, and in the light of this ideology, it thinks of macroeconomic interests at the international level. Democracy and freedom of expression is the only concept that is not important to the Chinese government in this direction, and China is completely enemy to it. Look at Hong Kong and Taiwan, how they are caught in the harsh hands of China.

 The Chinese government's recent support for the Burma coup and the repression of the Uyghurs are also examples of the Chinese government's systematic violence.

The Philippines, as far as I can remember, has always been plagued by dictatorships ... The emergence of the radical Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in recent years has further complicated the situation in the Philippines archipelago.

My impudence in writing these topics is a feeling of sympathy for the people of these countries. Because I come from a country (Iran) where systemic violence, ideological tyranny, discrimination, civil war, foreign war, repression, murder, and populism are institutionalized there.

At the end of this introduction, I wish success and happiness to my dear artist friend Manny from Philippines.





Thank you!






1- Please present yourself (Name, education, Civil status, and...)

. I’m Manny Francisco, 50 and married. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in visual communications from the University of The Philippines.


2- What is your artistic specialization?

. I'm a political cartoonist/editorial artist / graphic artist. I also do layout design and paint on the side and can do small gif animations.


3- When and how did you become interested in this field of art?

. Been drawing since a young age. It has always been my interest all throughout which led me to take Fine Arts in college.


4- Who was your motivator?

.Expressing my thoughts on a certain issue visually is my motivation. The idea that I can provoke an audience or reader’s thoughts through cartooning and humour drives me.


5- What was your parent’s reaction?

.They were Proud of course but unsure. It wasn't clear to them that one can make a living doing what I do and don't seem to have a full grasp of the details of what a political or editorial cartoonist’s job is. Their perception is that cartoonists only do caricatures.


6- When started you such as a professional artist-illustrator?

.I started in 1992 with a comic strip titled: Life is a... when I was working for the Manila Times. It was a commentary in nature. Then my former professor in college tapped me to do an editorial cartoon for a small, newly opened newspaper, ISYU newspaper in 1994. That was my big break into the world political cartooning.


7- Are you thankful and happy because of your activities as an illustrator at Singapore Press Holdings?

.Working as an illustrator for the Straits Times is a blessing. The editorial’s high standard pushed me to level up my skills and trained me to come up with out-of-the-box ideas.


8- How you see the view for art, and illustration in the future of culture?

.The future of illustrative art, political cartooning is in the content. It will remain relevant in both print and digital media as long as artists produce relevant and interesting content that is enriching for the readers.


9- Can you become one part of the artistic-cultural movement for motivation in youth or new generation in your country and so than?

.All artists can be a part of any movement for future youth’s development by engaging creatively with relevant and thought-provoking content and based on the feedback that I’ve been getting with regards to some of my cartoon, I think I’m hitting my target well of making some young people aware of an issue that affects most of us in the Philippines.


10- How can you help our world become a better place to live?

.Just being mindful of other people’s feelings, respect boundaries. Be environmentally conscious, too.


11- Have you more words to say or suggestions for our readers?

. We can become less judgemental by broadening our minds. Be more tolerant of other people’s culture and religion.