Mr Kiasu got Singaporeans to see their funny side with his comic book Everything Also I Want. Now, after disappearing from the scene for 13 years, Must Grab again.
The cartoon character is part of a National Library Board (NLB) campaign launched on Wednesday on information literacy.
The message is serious - how Singaporeans can navigate their way through the deluge of information online. The NLB hopes Mr Kiasu will engage people so they will not lose out on being Web-savvy. It will display fun messages such as "How do you tell the gurus from the gundus?" at bus stops, news-stands and hawker centres. Gundu is Singlish for idiot.
Mr Wan Wee Pin, deputy director of NLB's engagement division, said: "When people think information literacy, they think dry, boring or complicated searches. We wanted to use entertaining methods to make it more accessible."
The framework for the message is a method called S.U.R.E, which stands for Source, Understand, Research and Evaluate.
The NLB is partnering Mr Kiasu creator Johnny Lau to create a comic book titled Everything Also Want To Be S.U.R.E for online literacy workshops. The comics, coming out in December, will feature the method "but in a subtle way", said Mr Lau. "The focus is on telling a good story."
The NLB has launched a website, sure.nl.sg, for the campaign and has been working with the Ministry of Education to incorporate information literacy into the teaching of history and geography in secondary schools next year.
About 700 teachers have been trained to use special kits to impart information literacy skills.
The S.U.R.E method has also been used in enrichment clubs in 24 schools since May. Students learn through hands-on activities, such as identifying hoax websites and researching the sources behind viral YouTube videos.
Said St Patrick's School S.U.R.E club member Ryan Ho, 14: "I cross-check against other websites when I read online articles these days. If it is opinion, I take it with a pinch of salt."
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