Saturday, April 23, 2011

Excuse me, are you Dato'?

I was at the Penang airport lounge waiting for my flight when the quiet atmosphere was broken by the booming voices of two men:
Dato' 1: "Do you know that I'm a Dato' now?" (bold to show emphasis)
Dato' 2: "I'm a Dato' too".
Dato' 1: "But I'm a Dato' second time around".
Dato' 2: "I'm a two-time Dato' too - my daughter just give me a grandchild".
Dato' 1: "My second Dato' is given by another Sultan"
So there you go a conversation between 2 Datos that ensure everyone in the lounge understood who they are.

The other day I attended a meeting for construction industry players together with the government agencies  and I was unusually seated way down the end of the long table and I was informed that the seating arrangement would now be based on datukship!  Whatever my prefix, Past President of ISM, Assoc Prof, Dr and the fact that I had been contributing to the meeting is of no consideration.

I was having lunch at a cafe and the lady at the next table kept on calling the waiter for one thing or another and everytime she addressed herself  "Datin nak ......" or "Datin rasa..........." or "Datin tak suka.............." until the clueless waiter at last called her Datin instead of aunty. At Bangsar shopping complex the nepalese security guards called me Datin. Vainly I thought because I dressed well until I realised that they called every lady, Datin.

I do admit at times I am guiltily vain. Once upon a long time ago I was addressed as "dik", then as the years passed it converted into "kak" then it gradually turned into "aunty" when all of a sudden last month it became "makcik". Oh such sweet sorrow that I nearly tripped in my 4-inch heel !!!. And I guess later, courtesy of the children, my husband become a dignified "Datok" I will be old "Nenek".


  1. Nice to hear from you Professor Maimun. About this dato or datin what can I say, I was called dato by caddies at the golf club when I told them I am not a dato, they said never mind every golfer here is dato. Ya tak yalah juga saya ada 10 cucu jadi dato to the power of ten. eh eh eh. Bila nak sosek di Aqiq marwa. Pak cik Pepper

  2. Mun, that is life, as long as you can dissociate yourself from this prefix of kak, mak cik, nenek or datin for that matter, your life will be happier. You are what you are until the end of our life. Feel young friend, as you always are.

  3. As salamualaikum,
    Itu lah hal dunia. Kalau nak ikutkan memang kita akan terbawa bawa dengan gelaran ini semua. Yang anih nya ada orang yang macam datin tu. Sehabis boleh nak org tahu dia tu Datin atau Pn Sri ke? Terserah!!! Tapi yang pasti nya alangkah elok jika gelaran kita nanti sebagai seorang islam yang sejati diakhirat dan ditempatkan di shurga. My god... how I wish I know where I stand.Banayk nya ujian yang harus kita lalui. By the way, kalau ada org dah panggil u datin tu, dah tak lama la tu. Org kata masin mulut uuuuu.............

  4. Dear friends
    Thank you for the comments. It really light up my day. There were down and off days but seeing komen kawan-kawan put a smile on my face - and yes, it make me feel young. As for the mulut masin tu .... its just asam masim or asam boi so not so masin.
    Wan Maimun

  5. "Whatever my prefix, Past President of ISM, Assoc Prof, Dr and the fact that I had been contributing to the meeting is of no consideration. " .... isnt this another way of saying "im a dato, show some respect"... i am not criticizing or maybe i am, depends how we look at it... isnt it satisfying enough that we did our job as appointed or the satisfaction becomes null because someone else who contributed less gets a "thank you" for his least contribution.. is it necessary for a "thank you for doing your job"?? maybe or maybe not... its like the guys that drives around on the 'lori sampah' that picks up our rubbish that we are gladly throw away, do we have to say 'thank you' to them or it is unnecessary because they are just doing their jobs as per their companies employment... but again, have we smelled the 'lori sampah'..?? -'our world' is not the world and the 'world' is not our world-

  6. Dear SexEy
    Did not realised your comment until tonite. Anyway thank you for your comments - ayoo so bernas!!. Yes you are right I humbly withdraw that sentence - I am no better.

    As for the lori sampahman, penyapu jalanman, rotiman, or whoever for that matter who do their job - it is only right for us to say "thank you". But, did we?? If we did not then we should.

    Wan Maimun