Monday, October 13, 2008

Up next: Datuk Homer Simpson?

India's top Bollywood star has been given a datukship, Malaysia's equivalent of the British knighthood, in a move criticised by opposition lawmakers and the public. [Malaysiakini, 12/10/08]

Bollywood heart-throb, Shah Rukh Khan (image) was among 77 people who were conferred the title Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM), which carries the title Datuk in conjuction with the 70th birthday of Yang di-Pertua Negri of Malacca, Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob on October 11. The honorary title was given to individuals who have contributed immensely over the years to the development of the state.

In all, a total of 758 awards were bestowed this year compared to 1,183 in 2007.

Shahrukh Khan was awarded the Datukship for his apparent contribution for promoting tourism in the state. Six of his movies, including the box office smasher ,"One 2 Ka 4" included scenes of various locations within Malacca.

According to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, the conferment of the DMSM to the actor was suggested to the Yang di-Pertua Negri by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.

“It would have cost millions to promote Malacca through advertisements, but instead Shah Rukh has brought Malacca to the attention of the world through his movies. This resulted in many people visiting Malacca. The award was given in recognition of this,” the Chief Minister of Malacca explained during the ceremony. [The Star, 12/10/08]
With all the hype surrounding the possibility of the actor receiving the honour in person, Shahrukh Khan himself did not attend the ceremony after all - much to the disappointment of a multitude of fans who turned up in hope to catch a glimpse of the superstar. It seemed the title was not much of an excitement for the 42 year-old actor.

It was understood that Datin Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Prime Minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was also a big fan of the Bollywood star.

Nonetheless, the decision to award the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka to Shahrukh Khan did not go down to well with the public. DAP veteran and party advisor Lim Kit Siang noted that he was not against the conferment of titles to deserving people but priority should be given to Malaysians. He also said that if Shah Rukh Khan deserved the award, so should Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in their movie, Entrapment which was filmed at the Petronas Twin Towers in 1999.

“I am happy for him but does he even know he is getting the award?” Lawyer Nizam Bashir from Ujong Pasir questioned the decision to award Shahrukh Khan as he had not seen the actor promoting Malacca in his songs or movies. [The Star, 12/10/08]
Similarly on July 2006, former Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team Principal and fiancé to local actress Michelle Yeoh, Jean Todt was awarded the title Datuk by the Sultan of Terengganu. The only thing Todt ever did in contributing to the development of Terengganu was his "mini-investment" into the construction of his new home at the Terengganu Heritage Bay in Pulau Duyong.

The Malaysian Datukship may be an equivalent to the British knighthood but with 700 plus individuals receiving such honours and a growing list of recipients every year, it would not take long for honour titles to lose its value and ultimately, its prestige. Mind you, Malacca is only one state and every state in Malaysia is just as capable of a Datukship spree every now and then.

Next: Datuk Homer Simpson?


  1. Anonymous said...

    So if you are an actor who happen to show up in Malaysia, you will pretty much bestowed the title 'datuk' (except if you are white). Alternatively if you can woo Najis's wife, kudos for you.

  2. Anak Perelih said...

    yes for Datukship to Homer Simpsons!!!

  3. Anonymous said...

    i guess it wouldn't be surprising if homer simpsons has scenes of "planning a trip to malaysia" or protraying the simpsons family is a fan of najib's wife...OMG! what has happened to our country!!!????

  4. harris jalil said...

    well datukship are very cheap now compared to 20 years ago... now you can buy datukship

    if melaka is in the Simpson.. hahaha i bet holmer will get TUN.... haha

  5. Madey Kutty said...

    Many tamil films are showcasing Putrajaya, KLCC, Langkawi and many more places. So will the south indian artiste will be given Datukship?

    No way..they will give. I will be happy if they prove me wrong.

  6. Whats in a name said...

    jokes aside. I have come across a few episodes of simpsons where malaysia was mentioned albeit negatively. but then again its promoting malaysia subtly. So theoretically its all go for Datuk Homer Simpson I would say.

  7. Anonymous said...

    Honestly, I would prefer Homer Simpson to Sha Ru Kankong or whatever. Honestly also, I do not wish to get datukship title at all. Don't want to be on the same par as the other wannabe actors. Who came out with the idea 'datuk' anyway? First thing that came out of my mind is 'old man'. That was last time and now is 'old biggot'

  8. siewkwan said...

    For one second, I thought he was from Malaysia...-_- Sorry I dun watch many bollyhood movies