Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cik / Puan / Cik Puan

As I work as a lawyer, sometimes, I have to deal with people which includes bankers and clients. Isn't it a wonder that when it comes to men, whether they are married or not, you can call them Encik or Mr. without it becoming much of a problem.

That's not the case with women, you have to be careful what you call them in the first instance that you met them. Especially if you want to get jobs from them (as in legal works). If you call them Cik or Miss, it may sound as if you are trying to flatter them. If you call them Puan or Madam, you may give the impression that they are old. How about the one who is a divorcee? What is the correct or politically correct address?

Actually, my solution is quite easy, always use the one less damaging by calling them Cik, unless they look totally like a Puan. The best is to ask but if they think you are asking the wrong question, then its your own fault for not doing any research.

What I do when I have an appointment with an important client, I would call ahead and ask whoever answering the phone (usually the receptionist) of the status of the intended person I will be meeting. If it is a letter that I am writing, as lawyers we are always writing official letters, the 'Dear Sir/Madam' is a safe bet.

My wife and I are friends to a few VIPs and we are so close to them that we are sometimes invited for their functions which involve their children. Some of the children are so used to us that we have activities with them without the parents presence. Although we are so close and can be considered are just like a brother and a sister to them, due to our relationship with their parents, we are called Cik as in short for Encik and Puan.

Try as we might (especially my wife) to ask them to change it to Bang or Kakak, it was to no avail. We are still considered too old for them although some of them only differ from us in age by 2,3 years. The price is much heavier on my wife than I.

Wait till I get a title, then everyone can call me the same...

No comments:

Post a Comment