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Maria-Syamsi

From My Heart

Food and Greed – Because Every Single Tree Matters

More than a year ago, the East Coast experienced a disaster – a big flood which was bigger than it usually was. And recently our country went through a bad haze, a man-made disaster. Both events had people blaming one particular activity as the reason for all this, that is deforestation to make way for oil palm plantations.

It made me wonder, why would palm oil industry be the sole blame, since people cut down trees in so many other places, for a multitude of reasons? To plant vegetables, and plants like soya, a lot of areas need to be sacrificed. People don’t plant cabbage under tropical forrest, do they?
So do people need homes to stay. Do they think the areas they are staying in now have always been barren lands? Are they aware that their housing estates were once forests, or plantation lands?
It all brought me to three of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s hadiths:
(1) Aishah RA said: “From the time they went to Madinah, the family of the Prophet (peace be upon him) never had their fill of wheat-based food for three continuous nights until he died.” 

*This means that they did eat their fill on many occasions, just never three days in a row. 
(2) The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged his people to be moderate in taking food. He said: “A person does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. A few morsels to support him is enough for him. But if he is insisting on having more food, then he should allocate one third of his stomach for food, one third for drink, and one third for air.” [Musnad Ahmad and Sunan al-Tirmidhî] 
(3) Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked a person, who was performing Wudhu (cleaning up before prayers): “Why are you wasting water?” The person enquired: “Is there Israaf (waste) even in Wudhu?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Yes indeed, (do not waste) even if you are at the bank of a river.” (Ibn Majah)
Let’s look at how the three concept relates to life as a whole; we could see that they prevent from greed, obesity and laziness, and saves the environment too. We should reflect deeper about these hadiths, they should make us stop and think before spending on something.
Hadith number (3) does not only apply on wudhu’. It is to be applied on many other areas in life – food, money, or other natural resources.
Just think about it.
Imagine that human beings eat 60% less than what we eat right now.

Imagine if all of us only eat to fill up a third of our stomachs for each meal.

Imagine if we only take small amount of water, petroleum, gas, trees and land to live our lives.
Wouldn’t we cut down less trees?

Is it not that less demand cause less supply?
Would anyone dare to open up more lands if they think they will not be able to sell more palm oil or vegetables?

Wouldn’t there be more cows, chicken and fish ALIVE now compared with if human beings consume with greed?
If human beings follow only these three habits and advice of Prophet Muhammad SAW, don’t you think the world would be more green? And that there would be less man-made disasters?
If there is less greed among human beings, would there be need for bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger kitchens, more money? 
If we all live in less than moderation, there is no need to cut down that many trees or slaughter that many animals.
But no.
We wanted big houses and big cars and many options for food. We thought we need to fill up our stomachs six times per day, and for many Asian, being hungry is like a sin. As a consequence, we need to make more money to buy more food. Food industry thrives and they will need fresh produce. Where do fresh produce come from?
Think. Just think.
We need less.

We could settle for less. 

Especially in an age where 15-20% of people are overweight, with diabetes, hypertension, heart and renal disease are increasing rampantly, man-made disasters occurring more frequently, we NEED to settle for less.
I know they say we need this much food and that much water to survive. But we know many people who thrived with less.
That’s the reason Allah SWT chose a human being as a messenger to guid mankind. Not an angel, not a special being. He is a human being who has needs for food and shelter like all of us.
He settled for less.
Can we do it for the sake of the environment?

Selamat Hari Jururawat

Doktor dan jururawat bagai isi dengan kuku. Tak boleh dipisahkan.

* * *
“Doktor, cepat-cepatlah pass exam. Buat baik-baik. Nanti lagi ramai doktor pakar.”

“Takpelah, doktor, saya ni umur dah 37 baru kahwin, sekarang ni mengandung. Tengok macam akak yang tu, umur macam ni baru dapat anak satu. Jodoh, rezeki semuanya Allah dah tetapkan. Biarlah orang nak kata apa.”

“Doktor, tadi patient ni tachy. Saya check gula dia 3, saya dah bagi D50% 30mL. Sekarang gula dah ok, tak tachy lagi,” kata jururawat itu pada tengah malam.

“Doktor, ni donut, tadi anak patient tu bagi kita,” kata nurse itu. “Eh, belum makan ke?” tanya kami. “Kami tunggu doktor..” jawab mereka.

“Doktor, jangan risau. Yang itu kami buat. Doktor yang baik memang kami akan tolong. Doktor tinggal je. Pergi buat kerja lain.”

* * *
Kata sepupu saya, “respect betul dengan nurse. Diorang boleh pegang, cuci orang yg diorang tak sayang pun. Hebat.”

Saya katakan padanya, “Mereka ada perasaan sayang pada pesakit, walaupun baru jumpa. Memang tak macam mak ayah sendiri, tapi perasaan sayang mereka tetap ada.”
* * *
Siapalah doktor tanpa jururawat?

“Nurses are very obedient,” kata Dt Mary Cardosa.

Hampir 10 tahun saya berkhidmat.
Jururawatlah yang melaksanakan arahan doktor. Membancuh dan memberi ubat-ubatan, IV drip, menghantat pesakit ke tempat prosedur. Kalau kawasan khas seperti ICU, unit rawatan jantung, mereka juga mempunyai ilmu yang tinggi, selalunya lebih tinggi daripada doktor yg menjejakkan kaki pada hari-hari pertama di ward tersebut.

Ditambah pula dengan perkara-perkara tambahan seperti menyuapkan makan, menukar lampin, memandikan pesakit. Walaupun itu semua adalah tanggungjawab anak-anak/ahli keluarga pesakit tersebut, mereka lakukan juga atas rasa kasih terhadap manusia lain, terutama yang tidak terjaga oleh anak-anak.

Malangnya di negara ini, jururawat dibebankan dengan banyak paperwork yg sepatutnya dilakukan oleh administrator atau kerani. Kalau di negara maju, tugas-tugas paperwork ini semuanya dilakukan oleh kerani/pegawai lain.

Tugas jururawat sepatutnya hanya berkaitan dengan pesakit. Kertas kerja yang patut ada hanyalah vital signs dan report. Hal2 barang dalam ward, harta hospital, katil, langsir, CSSD juga, saya harap ditangani oleh pegawai lain.

Bagi saya pula, jururawat bukan hanya di samping pesakit.

Merekalah peneman kami di kala waktu malam on call, yang kadangkala sunyi, selalunya sibuk.
Merekelah teman bercakap, senyum, bergurau, agar hari-hari yang dilalui tidak begitu menekan.
Merekalah tempat meminta nasihat. Pengalaman mereka luas, mereka telah bekerja dengan pelbagai doktor pakar, belajar juga dengan mereka. Walaupun pakar-pakar itu sudah tiada, nasihat mereka disimpan oleh jururawat ini.
Merekalah mata dan telinga doktor, mereka berada di hadapan pesakit hampir sepenuh masa, memerhatikan mereka, mendengar keluhan mereka.

Dan personally, bagi saya, mereka juga tempat meluahkan perasaan, berbincang hal kehidupan, sama-sama menaikkan semangat dalam menempuh dugaan hidup.

Saya berharap benar, masyarakat akan lebih melayan jururawat dengan hormat. Memang ada jururawat yang mulut kurang baik, tangan kurang pantas bekerja, tapi janganlah kerana seorang, yang lain dipandang hina.
Saya harap masyarakat tidak menghamburkan kata-kata kesat di hadapan mereka, mahupun di media sosial.
Orang yang sakit mungkin lebih cepat marah, tetapi kami nampak, orang yang memang berbudi bahasa orangnya tetap akan menjaga akhlaknya walaupun dalam keadaan sakit.
Saya harap suami/isteri jururawat dapat memahami beban kerja mereka. Bukan mudah berhadapan dengan kerenah manusia.

Maafkan kami, para doktor yang kadangkala termarah, terbebel, dan macam-macam lagi.
Mari kita sama-sama tingkatkan kualiti kerja, tingkatkan kasih sayang sesama manusia.

Selamat hari jururawat.

Kanser Tahap 4

“Demi masa, sesungguhnya manusia kerugian.”

Saya telah bekerja selama hampir empat tahun di wad pesakit kanser tahap 4, yang mana hampir semuanya meninggal dunia dalam masa setahun. Saya telah berjumpa dengan sekurang-kurangnya 400 orang pesakit sepanjang bekerja di wad tersebut, dan kisah-kisah mereka di penghujung hayat telah banyak mengajar saya tentang erti kehidupan.

Memang kebanyakan doktor menyangka bahawa menguruskan pesakit-pesakit yang sudah hampir pasti akan meninggal dunia membuatkan doktor/jururawat sentiasa berasa sedih. Tetapi bagi kami, hidup kami lebih bermakna kerana kami memahami bahawa setiap saat di dunia ini amat berharga dan perlu disyukuri.

Kanser tahap 4 adalah waktu di mana seluruh keluarga harus bersatu. Inilah masanya untuk merapatkan kembali hubungan yang renggang atau terputus dalam keluarga.

Anak-anak perlu berusaha mengambil hati ibu bapa yang telah sakit. Walaupun mungkin ibu atau bapa telah melakukan sesuatu kesilapan pada masa lampau yg membuatkan anak tawar hati, harus diingat, hubungan itu kekal sehingga hari kemudian. Ibu tetap ibu, bapa tetap bapa. Walau apa pun caranya, anak-anak wajib berbaik dengan ibu bapa semasa hayat mereka.

Kanser tahap 4 adalah waktu yang tinggal untuk anak-anak meraih kasih sayang ibu bapa dan keredhaan Allah SWT. Inilah waktu yang tinggal untuk menyuapkan ibu bapa makan, memandikan mereka, mencuci najis dan menukarkan lampin, membantu mereka solat, bercakap yang baik-baik sambil memberi perangsang kepada mereka. Sekiranya ibu bapa yang sakit berada di hospital, belajarlah untuk menukar lampin mereka sendiri, memandikan mereka sendiri, bukan menunggu jururawat yang melakukan semuanya. Ya, mereka boleh membantu, tetapi tanggungjawab hakiki masih terletak di bahu anak-anak.

Kami telah menyaksikan terlalu ramai anak-anak merasakan penyesalan yang tidak mungkin berpenghujung. Mereka ini selalunya terdiri daripada golongan yang tidak pernah menjenguk ibu bapa semasa sihat, tidak pernah membantu ketika sakit, menyimpan dendam terhadap ibu bapa sendiri, tidak bercakap dengan baik kepada ibu bapa. Mereka akan datang pada saat-saat akhir, di mana ibu bapa tidak lagi mampu bercakap, mendengar atau membuka mata. Mereka akan memarahi adik-beradik lain, atau doktor/jururawat, menuduh yang bukan-bukan, sedangkan mereka tidak mengambil peluang untuk berbaik-baik dengan ibu bapa ketika sihat.

Kanser tahap 4 juga adalah masa untuk adik-beradik berbaik-baik. Semuanya perlu mengambil giliran untuk menjaga ibu bapa yang sakit, bukan hanya meninggalkan tugas itu kepada surirumah atau yg tidak bekerja sepenuh masa.

Kami dapati, orang yang redha dengan pemergian ibu bapa adalah anak-anak yang sering berada di sisi ibu bapa semasa hayat mereka. Hidup mereka lebih tenang tanpa penyesalan.

Kanser tahap 4 juga adalah waktu yang paling penting untuk urusan surat-surat dan dokumen tentang harta. Semua harta seperti tanah dan rumah perlu dinamakan dengan tepat, dijelaskan nama pemiliknya, dikira hutangnya. Sesudah seseorang itu meninggal dunia, tidak ada lagi peluang untuk menjelaskan pemilikan tanah, nama siapa, siapa yang bayar. Memang ini hal duniawi tetapi terlalu banyak kes yang tidak selesai kerana ketiadaan rekod. Akhirnya ramai yang tidak mendapat hak, ramai juga yang makan hak orang lain. Semuanya akan ditanya di akhirat kelak.

Berbincang tentang harta peninggalan mungkin nampak seperti taboo, nampak tidak patut, tetapi kita perlu berpijak di bumi yang nyata. Kematian itu sesuatu yang pasti, meskipun bukan kerana kanser. Pengurusan harta adalah sesuatu yang serius di sisi Allah, maka perlu diselesaikan dengan sebaiknya.

Kanser tahap 4 bukan masa untuk duduk di sisi ibu sambil mata menghadap smartphone. Bukan juga masa menonton TV. Masa untuk bekerja keras membahagiakan ibu dan bapa. Menunjukkan kasih sayang selagi mereka ada. Tatap wajah mereka. Simpan dalam ingatan. Bukan waktu selfie berderet-deret. Berapa ratus gambar pun tak akan sama dengan perasaan menatap mata ibu bapa yang penuh kasih sayang semasa mereka hidup.

Kanser tahap 4 adalah masa untuk keluarga, peluang untuk membuang yang keruh. Air dicincang tak akan putus. Allah telah memerintahkan manusia untuk berbakti kepada ibu bapa, Allah juga telah menjanjikan kebahagiaan kepada mereka yang menurut perintah-Nya dengan penuh kesabaran. Setelah menyaksikan beratus-ratus pesakit meninggalkan kami, beratus-ratus keluarga yang ditinggalkan, kami dapat melihat dengan mata sendiri bahawa janji Allah adalah sentiasa benar.

Ada juga persitiwa, yang mana ibu yang sakit tidak memaafkan anak, anak juga masih marahkan ibu. Ibu meninggal dunia bukan dalam keadaan tenang, anak yang ditinggalkan juga terus hidup dalam kemarahan.

Kanser tahap 4. Terlalu banyak pengajaran.

Dekatilah ibu bapa. Berbaiklah dengan mereka. Mungkin suatu masa dahulu mereka tersilap, mungkin tindakan mereka tidak rasional. Berbaiklah sebelum sesalan melanda. Meskipun mereka kelihatan masih marah, dekatilah mereka walau apa pun caranya. Dalan hati mereka pasti masih ada kasih sayang.

Hidup kita tidak panjang. Tidak perlu dendam, tidak perlu sesalan.

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Don’t Force Your Kids to be Doctors

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m a doctor. I love my job.
But I have worked for almost ten years and have seen too many people who were forced to study medicine, or forced to become doctors. I have also seen people who thought they wanted to become doctors (after being convinced by their parents or teachers), but they could have done better with other things.

It is sad. Very sad indeed.

Dear parents,

Medicine is not for everyone. Being a doctor is not the only way to succeed, and I can tell you, if you think that being rich equals to success, you are totally misguided and will be deeply frustrated. Of course, it is a professioon where you try to help others to your maximum ability, but it does not mean that you could not help others by being in other fields. Personally, the job satisfaction as a doctor comes when we help the poor and needy, when we listen to their worries, when we attend to their needs. I can tell you that those will not come with million dollar paychecks, but the contentment is beyond measure.

Medicine is not for the fainthearted. It is not for those who can’t answer to others. It is not for those who are calculative and unfair. It is not for those who only think of money and nothing else. It is not for those who are not ready to study and read books all their lives.
It is not for people who are NOT INTERESTED.

I am very sure those students who excel in their studies have other ambitions than becoming doctors. Some might want to be chefs, architects, fashion designers, teachers, interior designers, farmers. Some are interested in agriculture, history, fine arts or literature. Many wanted to become religious teachers or imams.

So be it.
We need people who could excel in their studies to excel in these fields. Some students may not excel in their SPM because none of the subjects above were taught in schools! In fact, so many things are NOT introduced in schools that the interests and potentials of all of these students were not discovered. Society labelled them as slow, so they were left behind or even drop out of school, when they were simply not interested with what was taught in school.
Do you know what kind of students or doctors they will be if they are not interested?

They become lazy, unmotivated, sad, stressed up for even small things, unfriendly, calculative, angry doctors. When they study they fail often (which would waste parents’ or even people’s money). If they went on to become specialists, they are the bitter ones who throw files around at juniors and call others names. Are these the kind of doctors you want your kids to be? Are these the kind of doctors you want treating you?

I’m not saying that all “forced” doctors are bad doctors. I have friends who were told to study medicine and they excel in it. They became great doctors because they have accepted the fact that God has given them this path for a good reason. They are nice to patients because they know it is the right thing to do. They know they made their parents happy so they are happy too.

All I’m saying is, there are so many options for your children. Watch them and listen to them. Let them choose what they are interested in (with halal means, of course, as Muslims) and support them towards their dreams. You will later find out how much it means for them.

Have Faith, I Will

I hoped.

And then not.

And hoped again.

And then decided not to.

But as the train moved into London, my heart was filled with hopes and dreams.

My dear,

We’ve been through this for so many years, it is unbelievable. Well, at least I have. We’ve been close, and then we fell apart, but never too far. I thought I was fine, I was ok without hoping anymore. I thought I did not care. But I do. I do so much. I jumped with every moment of pain that you went through. I cared not only about you, and you know that very well.

My dear,

That big smile of yours meant so much to me, and it still does. It is amazing how you could still make me smile after all this while, for that I am forever grateful.

My dear,

You know very well that I have you in my prayers. You and I know that God will answer me in His own special way, His own timely schedule. You and I understand that His answers will only be good. I know, even if I don’t have hope on you, I have hopes on Him, to bring me everywhere I should be, and to give you and me the eternal happiness. 

I don’t know why we are where we are, I don’t know why we are doing what we’re doing, I don’t know why there is too much struggle to go through, at least on my side. All I could do is to look into myself; maybe He wanted more from me, He expected better, much much better from me, for perhaps I have not lived up to my potential. 

Until then.

Hold on, I would.

Keep on trying, I should.

Have faith, I will. 

Always.
  

Picture Perfect

Some moments are just picture perfect.
But a lot of times, I’d rather live in those moments.

* * *
I love photography. I really do. I inherited this love from my uncles (and even perhaps my dad). My favourite subjects are flowers and events. By events, I mean taking candid shots of people working hard to make the function go smoothly, people behind the scenes, people enjoying each other’s company, kids running around. By events, I mean laughter and colours.

When we first got the camera, we wanted to photograph everything. However as time goes by, I realize that it is worth putting the camera down. Instead of clicking away capturing those moments, it is as nice to just stand there, watch, listen, and feel the moments. Just immerse myself with the sights, sounds and emotions of it all.

Like just now, in the afternoon. My younger brother with our young male cousins, putting sand into holes in the parking space, to make the ground level. Under the durian trees they were working, some pitching the sand into the wheelbarrow, while the little kids tried to chip in. Some leveled the sand and make sure the holes are properly closed. Some watched while talking and laughing.

I watched, smiled, even teared up a bit with pride.

Then there was a time during a recent wedding. A car was stuck in the mud in the parking space. My uncles and some of the boys helped pull the car until it came out. All with laughter.

Or that day when I was driving to work. The sun rose slowly, amongst the hills, while the fog lifted. Flocks of birds flew across the road, out for the day’s sustenance.
Made me think of paradise.

Or the market, the fish stall to be exact. The old fishmonger, leaning on his wooden cash box, with cigarette in one hand, counting his change. His son was busy packing the seafood for their customers. The cat looked around with high hopes, tail moving left and right.

Or when my brother sat in front of his fiance’s father, about to be married. The father asked something about the dowry, my brother answered with a few words, barely audible to all of us. The father then pat my brother’s cheek in such an affectionate manner. My brother was so surprised he started laughing.

Or when the boy peeked, smiling, into the hospital room, where the mother is resting. The girl who came together beamed from behind him, having not seen them for more than a year.

* * *
It is too easy to take out that smartphone and snap a photo.
It is too easy to capture those moments on our DSLRs.
But often we fail to notice, while being busy with our cameras, the setting and quality, we could not truly immerse ourselves in those moments. We could not fully appreciate the beauty of the sounds and the sights around us.

Most of those moments, are better captured in our hearts.
Those moments etched in our souls would last so long that no one could take them away from us.
  

Dragging Your Legs

And this.Recently a lot of dark thoughts went into my head. Perhaps it’s the exams, perhaps it’s for seeing ‘ghosts’ too often. But it has become a habit, to turn those dark thoughts into something better. I have to admit though, at times we just want to stay there and go with those negative feelings. 

So those enlightening thoughts would almost grudgingly appear, dragging its legs. It’s like saying, “hey, you negative thoughts, go away,” in a lazy tone.

It’s like saying, “please smile,” without smiling.

But it is worth doing. Grudgingly, dragging our legs, without smiling, whatever it is. Just force those positive thoughts in, and soon enough the negative ones will have to go away!
  

Fragile. Or Not.

  
Too tired to think.

Too numb to feel.

Optimism of the Believers

“Does God really love me?” “If He loves me, why am I facing so much difficulties?” “Has God abandoned me?”
People ask these questions all the time. Some ask these questions to the extent of doubting His existence. In the early days of his prophethood, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had these questions, therefore Allah SWT sent down two surahs, they are Al-Insyirah and Ad-Dhuha. Since then, our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW has never became depressed and has never felt hopeless anymore.
(1) Allah asked rhetorical questions in the beginning of the surah, allowing us to reflect and count on our blessings.

(2) Therefore, indeed, definitely, truly, surely, that with every difficulty, comes multiple ease. 

Allah did not tell us that life will be fine, that life should not have any problems. He never told us that His love is seen on how easy our lives would be. But Allah reassured us that with every single difficulty, there is at least two eases/relief/blessings that would come with it. At least two, but most of the time it is multiple.

(3) Allah advised us to keep on trying to overcome our problems, keep on planning to do one good deed after another, to keep on praying to Him for help in facing the trials in life, that this world is not a place to rest. 

(4) As long as we have Allah’s pleasure as our aim, this world will be secondary in our concerns. We would live a life free of anxiety, full of hope and positivity. 
Human beings need something constant in life, and knowing the nature of the world, NOTHING is constant. Not our parents, not our siblings, not our partners, not our children, not our health or money. The only place to find constance is with God, for He is the everlasting. His words in the Quran are constant; they have not been changed and will never be changed. His promises are constant. The hope He gave is constant. He has told us to be positive in our lives, in many many words in the Quran, and that is what we’re going to do. It is only when we could hold on to a constant figure that we could live life without the chains of anxiety and hopelessness.
I have witnessed, and I have surely experienced, that indeed, with hardship comes multiple ease. I experienced something difficult for a few weeks of my life, something that no women would want to go through, yet those few weeks of difficulties have given me almost SEVEN years of ease, and I know many many more years of ease will come by. I bear witness that the promises of Allah is true, and I hope He will never let me forget this.
May Allah bless Dr Yasir Qadhi and his family forever and ever.
The lecture he gave is as follows:

With Hardship Comes Multiple Ease – Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi
  

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