Yang Berhormat Tuan Guru Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang. Now that is a mouthful just to address someone isn’t it?
Looking up Hadi Awang on the internet, I stumbled upon his name with all those honorific titles that preceded the name. I am sure that Hadi Awang’s schedule would involve him being around a lot of people daily. What I am not sure is if all those people would address him by those titles every time, they needed to interact with him.
I am imagining if there are personal assistants of high-ranking officials that need to talk to those officials every few minutes and using those titles each time. I would not be surprised if those personal assistants might end up having their tongues paralysed by the time the day ends.
Honorific titles are a funny thing. They are just words added before someone’s name and somehow people uphold it so grandly. Those titles are so magical they can turn crooks into saints by merely addressing them in a different way.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been scolded for not addressing high-ranking officials by their titles. And most of the time, I was not even aware that I was in the presence of a saint that needs to be addressed properly, I thought they were just other crooks asking for some alms from me, or for the lack of better terms, politicians.
Forgetting to address people by honorific titles they receive is the greatest abomination there is. If there is a law to punish people that do not address others properly, I would probably be sentenced multiple times. But you see, the one to uphold these titles are not just those lucky individuals that got it, but the people without it as well.
I think that is a very serious manifestation of the culture of idolatry or at least a way we are heading towards that. This behaviour of being offended at the simplest mistake of the lack of proper addressing is taking the focus away from how we could perceive public figures in the way they should really be perceived, as another individual prone to misbehaviour, and deserving of a criticism.
Honorific title is not really a new thing. To address people properly by their position in society goes way back. And so, this problem of people upholding something as abstract as names is not new as well. But what it has been leading to is a mindset shared by a collective favouring a certain people to not see beyond the titles of the people they favoured.
I do not enjoy calling people simple, but they are. With a glimpse of appreciation and acknowledgement, some showcased respectability, and probably a lot of handouts, you too can have people not think too much about you beyond your titles. And to be associated or connected with titled individuals is even more stimulating. Hence, it is much more common to be scolded by people without titles than the people of titles themselves.
Image and followings from it are a matter more than just about the title. But it sure does help to have a title to validate those. But I just think that it is getting a bit too much to put your values over a title and to hide your sins behind it.
Why can’t we go back to calling those individuals by simpler terms? Kak Rosmah, Bang Mahiaddin, Pak Cik Mahathir. They sounded humbler and more approachable, and god knows they needed a little more humbleness and relatability in their image.
Until we can see people beyond the honorific titles they have, please address me by Yang Berhormat The Cutest Tuan Ahmad Yasin. I deserve to have people not see me beyond my title as well you know.
Ahmad Yasin is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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