OUTSPOKEN: In Malaysia, we can purchase fake degrees and falsify records, especially in corruption scandals.
It is alleged that some people have been offered a datukship. While the initial payment may be OK, they know datukships are bought on hire purchase and there will be regular recurring payments.
We are willing to query the datukship from foreign countries, but we seem unwilling to question Malaysians who claim to be Tengkus from Acheh.
So, why do we loathe some datuks?
Not a recent phenomenon. The ‘Datuk-for-Sale’ scam has been around for decades. There is no smoke without fire, especially when the datuk involved is neither charitable nor a contributor to the state. So, when a baggage handler, in an airport, or a minor politician becomes a datuk, alarm bells should ring.
Quality. The awards and medals should be given to an individual, based on their record of service to the Ruler and the state government. One social cynic said, “I am a regular race-goer and gambler. In this trade, you know who the baddies are. So, when a gang leader is awarded a datukship, you wonder what is going on.”
Reward for incompetency. An award is bestowed on a person because of his character and worthiness. Many civil servants and members of the Cabinet are datuks. Many of them are also highly incompetent, and some are allegedly involved in high-level corruption. The rakyat will wonder if some datukships are given to reward bad behaviour.
Preferential treatment. The datuk treats his award, as most people treat their degrees. A degree can land you a better job and better pay. Arrogant datuks use the award to demand preferential treatment. They get upgraded, on flights, even though they are booked in economy. If their house is burgled, the police are at the scene of the crime within minutes. The worst abuses of state occurs, when a datuk is shown into the office of the director of a government department, but others must wait for several hours longer, despite having a firm appointment.
Petulance. Some datuks, who travel overseas, get visibly upset when service providers fail to give them preferential treatment. Their moans usually start with, “Do you know who I am…?” The best put down was when a customer representative said, “Your passport says that you are Nordin. That is your name isn’t it, Sir?”
Worse reputations. If you think datuks are bad, try meeting some of the datins.
Sycophants. Observe the behaviour of some of them, in the company of datuks. They grovel, and kiss the hand of the datuk, whilst running around to attend to his every need, like teenagers in love. They make others cringe with their shameless sycophancy. They have no self-respect.
Name dropping. Some datuks name drop, to get their own way. They will say that they have the approval of the sultan, or a minister, to do something highly controversial, like demolishing a heritage building for their own new development, or cutting down trees, in a protected forest area. Officials are afraid to question them; they do not want to jeopardise their own periok nasi (rice bowl).
Status. Some datuks are people who are insecure, and crave attention. They love it when people prostrate themselves before them. Datuks with a roving eye, imagine that attractive, young women, are spellbound by their charm and physical attributes. Gold-diggers see datuks as cash registers. When they look in a mirror, the datuks see Brad Pitt staring back at them.
Reverse-roles. Women who have been made datuks consign their husbands to a life of ridicule. Behind their backs, the men are called ‘datin’.
All Malaysians have their favourite ‘datuk’. These men are found in every household. Your granddad is the only ‘datuk’ who did not have to purchase his title.
Mariam Mokhtar is “a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth”.
-The Ant Daily
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