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 ..........an old "Nenek".