There has been much comment recently on the conferment of a datukship on Bollywood star Sharukh Khan by the Melaka state government. It is true that one cannot question the prerogative of any state to do so and it is not my intention to do this. However, the reasons highlighted for this particular recipient, focus solely on his so-called contributions to tourism and begs for comment.
Actually, many other stars from different countries including Hong Kong and the USA too have appeared in footage shot in Malaysia that prominently featured Malaysian scenery and iconic landmarks. Of late more Tamil rather than Hindi movies have been doing this. So do all these other Indian actors and actresses also qualify for a datukship as they are “promoting Malaysia” to the millions of overseas Tamil Indians worldwide? It is my view that most tourists visit Malaysia more to shop or see our diverse cultures and our fauna and flora - cultural tourists to be more exact.
Jackie Chan is an equally, if not a more, deserving recipient if we are to take the reasons given by the Melaka state government as a benchmark.. His films shot in Malaysia also mostly use rented local equipment and expertise unlike their Indian counterparts who use their own equipment and staff with no technique or technology spillover effect for our locals.
Many do not know that Pulau Tioman was the setting for Rodgers and Hammerstein 1958 production of "Bali Hai" in the Hollywood classic movie "South Pacific". Should the producer of this film too be honored even if it can only be done posthumously now as was the case with Tan Sri P. Ramli.