I once joke to the husband that one day I want to become a ‘Dato‘ ( or Datuk.. what’s the difference again? ). Not the grandfather kinds, not the Tok Wan/Tok Mek/Tok Mak/Mak Tok or whatever they use here to refer to the grandmothers. The ‘knight’-hood kind of Dato ( or Datuk..what’s the difference again? ).
You cannot. He said. You are not a Malaysian. That title is for Malaysians. So he knowingly said. Fine.
So when Michelle Yeoh’s partner Todt, really a non Malaysian got his Dato-ship ( or Datukship.. what’s the difference again? ), I held the newspapers under the husband’s nose with total smugness that deserves a pinch, and said ” There! He is not Malaysian! How come he can become a dato?” ( or Datuk.. what’s the difference again? ).
Yesterday on The Star, it was reported that there is a ‘freeze on Datukship’ ( now it’s spelt as Datuk, but what’s the difference, again? ) to local politicians. But today in all his glory, Shah Rukh Han, another non Malaysian in all his Bollywoodyness was reported in The Star– ‘ Shah Rukh was awarded the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) which carries the title “Datuk” by Melaka.
Great. So a Frenchman can be a Dato ( I am not repeating the question ) and a Bollywood actor can be a Dato ( I am still not repeating the question ) and the local politicians have been stopped from becoming Dato’s. And I cannot be a Dato’.
Anyway, pardon my outsider’s ignorance. But I don’t quite understand the concept of Dato-ship=Knighthood here. Maybe that’s why I thought it cool for me to be one ( ho ho ho ). Because if it is knighthood, the amount of raging media on the scandals ( sex/money/politics and any other colourful things ) involving the Dato’s here, make outsiders like me think that the concept of knighthood here is a bit.. err funny? Not the knight in shining armour kind. But rather, like a clown in aluminium foil kind?
But of course, there are really respectable Dato’s around, some of whom are parents of my students who really, in their essence, are respectable people with respectable ‘knightly’ contributions to the country. Hence which brings me to another wonder of on what basis are Dato-ships given out.
I am ignorant like that. But, can I be Dato Blogger? Dato Percicilan does not sound a tad bad. And no, I am not Malaysian. But they gave it to Todt and Shah Rukh Khan, hokay ?
P.S Dato or Datuk, what’s the difference, again?