What do you call your love one? Darling? My love? In Malaysia, the word 'sayang' is use more frequently than the real name of their love ones. They will call it whenever they are together even when they are using an arguments. And it seems Malaysian is not shy about using it in public places. There can so many sayang in one place if that place is a restaurant where people bring their partner or spouse for dinner. Sayang is also a verb and a noun roll together into one. The translation for it will be 'my love' but it is also 'love' as in "Will you love me?". There is even a joke where the word sayang is repeated 7 times with the change in intonations and pause makes it a coherent sentence.
When I was still new in love and after being single for quite some time, changing the term I called my love one was quite a hassle as I am not that romantic type. I even told my now wife that I will never call her sayang in public. Then when we were married, it actually came naturally. There is no embarrassment anymore to call the name of your love one unless it is in a formal gatherings where it will be inappropriate for me to ask someone to call my wife my term of endearment for her.
The only line I draw is putting her name as Sayang in my handphone as if ever my handphone ever get lost, someone may use as a way to abuse it. There are cases in the world where people being conned when somebody calls and say their love one is in danger either due to an accident or being kidnap somewhere. So, I just let her name appear on my phone.
I think terms of endearment show a certain level of being comfort when you are together. If you are a young couple at least it shows the level of your relationship.It was in mine. From a name to just one word.
This is the place where familiarity rarely breeds contempt....