COMMENT | If the self-styled First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM) Rosmah Mansor had known my friend, a German expatriate, who worked in Ipoh many moons ago, she would have begged him to stop calling her "Datin Seri".
Through the course of his work in the public sphere, the German had been introduced to the Datin Seri, the patron of many charities, as is the wont of many political wives.
Initially, Datin Seri greeted him warmly, but after the fourth occasion, and the sniggers increased, both in intensity and loudness, Datin Seri had to instruct her aide, to tell the German to refer to her, by her first name; not because she wanted to dispense with formalities.
The reason was simple. The German had a speech impediment called rhotacism. He mispronounces "r" and each time he said "Datin Seri", it came out as "Datin Silly". It did not help that the German had a deep booming voice which was audible across any hall.
For the first time, the formal events which she attended, were popular. They were no longer dull affairs, especially if the German was to introduce their special guest.
People flocked to hear the German introduce the "Datin Silly", to give her acceptance speech.
The German has now retired and returned home, whilst Datin Silly, and her husband, have faded into obscurity, as is common with many Malaysian politicians. Whilst they were at the top, they milked the system and received full patronage, because of the power they wielded. They were oblivious to what was said behind their backs.
Last week, the self-styled FLOM said that she was upset with Nurul Izzah Anwar, for failing to call her Datin Seri, Auntie or Mak Cik. She was horrified by the thought, that the nation's youth, might emulate Nurul Izzah.
She also claimed that she had set up the Permata programme to teach children "respect" and said, "...We need to go back to the basics, because this moral value has been lost".
Many of us disagree...