From the Selangor Times Issue 30, 24-26 June 2011. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!
This week, His Supreme Eminenceness discusses Malaysian honorific titles, and how to please your wife.
Why are elected reps addressed as Yang Berhormat? What’s the point of honorific titles anyway? @adriene, via Twitter
“Yang Berhormat” means “the honourable one”, or one who is respected for being Honourable. Essentially, a person who is to be respected. Persons with such a title are commonly addressed as “YB”.
Conveniently, the term “YB” is pronounced as “Why Be”. This is convenient because many Malaysians question the existence of some of these people all the time, particularly following the latest quote, rant, or inactivity of their elected representatives. Refusing to speak up against gross injustice – “why be?” indeed.
Now, dear reader, find a comfy reading chair or wall to lean against, for His Supreme Eminenceness is going to take you on a journey through the various titles in Malaysia (and they are legion). Be warned, if you feel a tightening around your forehead as you are reading the following paragraphs, that is a sign that your brain is expanding quicker than your skull from the sheer volume of knowledge. Take a five minute break, then proceed.
There are two kinds of honorific titles. One is hereditary in nature, the second is either earned, awarded or bought, with the right price. The point of honorific titles was tied closely with the feudal system of Kings, Nobility, Commoners and the rest.
For the first category where you inherit titles; you have the Royal Families; the Tengkus, Rajas, Putera-Puteris, etc (we have one for almost every state, after all and depending on whether they are member of the ruling families or not, referred to as Yang Teramat Mulia, Yang Amat Mulia, Yang Mulia respectively) and then you have the subsequent nobility for each depending on State, the Wans, Megats etc.
There is only a pair of Sultans & Permaisuris (Queen) per State with the exception of the States governed by Yang Di-Pertuan Besars (Great Lord). There is only one Yang Di-Pertuan Agong at any given time; (He Who is Made Lord, Supreme Ruler, Supreme Head of State), which rotates every 5 years so that none of the State Kings/Sultans feel offended.
The full title is meant to be read as Ke Bawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia (The Dust Under The Feet Of His Majesty) Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong (His Conqueror Majesty The Supreme Lord of the Federation). The consort of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is called the Raja Permaisuri Agong (Queen Lady Consort).
We must not forget the Syeds and Syarifahs/Sharifahs, entire bloodline is reported to be descended from the Prophet Muhammad himself through his grandsons Hassan and Hussein, tho they tend to marry within themselves only, which makes for a very interesting study in geneacology.
The second type of honorific titles, the ones awarded are usually – theoretically – in recognition of their personal achievements and great contribution to the society; the Tuns, Dato’ Seri Utama, Tan Sris, Dato’ Seri, Dato’s, Datuks, etc. Each has an award cap, for example there can be only be 35 Tuns living at any single time, and Dato’s are limited by 50 per State (though it seems like they’re everywhere).
From the cultural and societal history of bestowing the above titles, we therefore develop a need to issue other titles. Hence, elected officials have Yang Berhormat, Yang Amat Berhormat, etc. Because of this, formal occasions also require emcees or speakers to run through the list of titles of those in attendance. This can take several minutes, and even includes the names and titles of the parents of those attendees with a distinguished lineage.
For administrative positions, other honorifics used are Tuan Yang Terutama (T.Y.T.) (literally “The Most Eminent Master”), Yang Amat Berhormat (Y.A.B.) (literally “The Most Honourable”) Yang Amat Arif (Y.A.A.) (literally “The Most Learned”) is the style of the Chief Justice of Malaysia, the President of the Malaysian Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya and the Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, Yang Arif (Y.A.)(literally “The Learned”) is the style of a judge. Yang Berbahagia (Y.Bhg.) (literally “The Felicitous”) (and variants thereof) are the styles of persons with a chivalrous title.
Now, wasn’t that educational? For those who still doubt that titles are necessary, or part of Malaysian culture, take time to listen to the way people interact in casual situations. Why else would be call people-who-are-older-than-us-but-not-blood-related “uncle” or “aunty”? Why do people at a mamak call each other “boss” or “brother” when they are neither employer-employee nor sibling?
Dear Lord Bobo, the Obedient Wives Club is a good thing, no? ([email protected], via email)
This has been a very popular topic in the media (both online and offline), work lunches, and coffee breaks nationwide. Several minions wanted the honour of channeling Lord Bobo’s thoughts for this, and the privilege had to be decided by a purple banana eating contest.
Whilst His Supreme Eminenceness has been amused by the response to the OWC, Lord Bobo is amazed that no one has thought to demand that a similar club be set up for husbands. After all, it takes two to… er… tango, and Lord Bobo has always been one to look out for the ladies.
The OWC emphasises good skills in bed, and the same must apply to husbands. For the sake of the younger readers of this column, we will leave out the graphic details. Suffice to say, if both are not screaming at the end of the session, seeing fireworks, and going JyeaH! (but saying “JyeaH! It’s finally over!” doesn’t count), you’re doing it wrong.
A happy relationship is when both the husband and wife are happy not only in the master bedroom but outside of it as well (shower, guest bedroom, dining table, coffee table, car backseat, public places). Jokes aside, when you enter into a marriage, it is a promise. A promise to always communicate freely with each other, to cherish and stand hand in hand together through both the good and the bad times. It is a commitment to not only live together, but to share lifelong memories and precious moments. Wondering where Lord Bobo came up with all that cheesiness in this paragraph? Wondering where you can get the same stuff to say to please your wife? That’s why husbands need the club!
The club will educate men on what makes women tick. As the sum of men’s knowledge of the inner workings of the female mind is said to be a blank book, women shall instruct men of the inner workings of their mind. There shall be classes on being considerate, loving and helpful around the house. It includes diaper changing skills, parenting skills, pujuk bini ketika merajuk skills, and conflict management skills. Family dynamics, family psychology and role-playing scenarios shall be part of training and role playing sessions to encourage creative solutions to otherwise baffling day-to-day conundrums involving wives and children.
Obviously, 80% of the time in this new club will be spent on the most important skill in being a husband – how to read your wife’s mind. Master that skill, and it’s satisfaction guaranteed, for everyone.
Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing [email protected], stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. The first 100 questions published will receive monkey-riffic LoyarBurok merchandise courtesy of Selangor Times. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!