Number of VIPs per capita

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Someone should carry out a global survey to rank countries by the number of ‘VIPs’ per capita. This is one survey we might rank right up there along with the most status-conscious countries.

In Malaysia, apart from all those with official honorifics (and there are quite a few of them), there are those wannabe VIPs who are actually willing to pay good money to acquire instant ‘titles’.

Why is it that many Malaysians crave for titles? Perhaps they think an honorific would draw fawning attention at various public events, denote status, and offer privileges (like at airports, whether local or foreign). 

Some years ago, a Malaysian tycoon with an inflated ego to match his size kicked up a fuss over a US airport procedure before he was unceremoniously put in his place. Another ‘big-shot’, an Umno leader, thought he could get away with a bag full of hot cash at an Australian airport. (Well, he did get away with it in the end, didn’t he?) A female Malaysian Cabinet minister blew her top when Australian airport security tried to use sniffer dogs to check her luggage.

This is not something confined to Malaysian VIPs. In India, a controversy broke out when an ex-Indian president was frisked at a Delhi airport by staff of a US airlines. In the event, Continental Airlines was forced to apologise to A P J Abdul Kalam. (Kalam never complained, but many in the Indian VVIP establishment were outraged: what if Bill Clinton had been frisked by Indian airline officials at a US airport, some wondered.)

Now you might think that everyone should be treated equally when boarding airlines. Back in 2003, a Cabinet Minister in India threw a fit when he found out that he was not allowed to use the VIP lounge at the New Delhi airport. (The thing about such official VIP lounges is that immigration and customs officers come to you rather than you having to go to them and frisking, if at all, is done discreetly.)

Others would like VIP protocol or ‘priority check-in’ to be extended to even ordinary members of official entourages.

Where will all this end? Australia has some very strict rules for ‘airport facilitation’ for ‘very senior foreign dignitaries’ and ‘non-exempt foreign dignitaries’, which it says is consistent with international practice. Perhaps it is time to review our own procedures to make sure they are in line with international practice and to make sure that everyone gets the message.

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Jarjis

Title is craved in Bolehland.

There is demand for it, thus there are (perhaps) ‘middlemen’ to connect the buyers with the sellers with the correct price.

SunnyOoi

Dudes, every article you comment on LGE. Tiresome la. Give it a rest.

Datuk Loh Yeow Boo - Penang

Malaysians and Asians in general, are very backwards when it comes to social heirachy. They just think (wrongly) that title is very important…call up any complains hotline, police, bomba, etc….and say you are a Datuk Lim, Datuk Lee, etc…you get idfferent treatment.

sam sung

I remember readung a decades-old quote from Tungku. He jokingly commented on the fast-rising number of people with Tengku and Raja as titles….

FenceSitter

They do not they are just ordinary visitors in a foreign country. Some of these special species think that they have to be treated like they do in Msia. They are not called Very Ignorant P**s for nothing..hahaha

wandererAUS

If I recalled, the good old days, VIPs were fond of doing their shopping in Singapore and on their return, they were given “VIP treatment” at the Malaysian custom on the fast lane without inspections!
Today, Bolehland is like a neglected orchard where you will find more worms (VIPs) than good fruits…

Ong Eu Soon

With title is good, you can sit with LGe, and tell others to forget about cari makan in Penang if you are not happy.

johanssmKhunPana

I have the chance to shake the hands of the CM of Penang Mr.Lim Guan Eng as he always uses the LCCT . And 20 years ago with Mr.Lim Kit Siang at the old Subang Airport. I can simply address both of them as Mr.Lim . Who cares about those snobbish vips and those royals titles anyway. Obama is simply known as Mr.Obama or Mr.President. You dont call him as Tun Tan Datuk Sri … Barack Obama..right? Having a title in front of their name does not mean people will respect the person. Mahatma Gandhi dont even have a boy… Read more »

Iron

Anil,

Instead of asking questions like how many “VIP”s in Malaysia or wondering if the school in Johore still has no principal, please read this –

http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/another-orang-asli-church-building-in-kelantan-under-threat-of-demolition/#comment-56379

For crying out loud – if a Muslim like Bang Haris can be decent enough to carry the plight of the Orang Asli Christians, what are you guys calling yourself *Christians* doing?

Iron

Long time no meet, Anil.

You do not want the honorific titles does not mean others also share your ideal. Even those from DAP also wants to be “Datuk” without having any grandchildren ! See how the Lim Guan Eng administration has bestowed “Datukship” to their “loyal supporters” recently, Anil?