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Maria-Syamsi

From My Heart

Month

November 2010

A Glimpse of Grandma and Grandpa

There was an elderly man

Wearing white jubah

With red checkered serban

Riding his bike to the mosque

 

My grandpa’s successor

 

There was a lady

Fair and pretty

Her eyes small

Beautiful, sharp nose

Freckled skin

 

My grandma’s daughter

 

It’s been more than ten years

More than five years

 

Their absence is still sorely felt

 

Frank Sinatra

Sunday, September 26th 2010. 2047hrs.

 

Call me old, but I love Frank Sinatra.

I don’t know when exactly did I fall in love with him, but my dad said I’ve loved the song “New York, New York” since I was able to dance and sing, which was..emm..very very young. Before I could even pronounce the word New York properly.

His voice is so strong, yet the songs are just soothing.

My favourite ballad to play during my organ classes was “My Way”. Our (beloved?) ex-prime minister Mahathir loved it so much. Well, tell me who wouldn’t shed at least a tear when he listens intently to this song?

“What is a man, what has he got, if not himself that he has not? To say the things he truly feels, and not the words of one who kneels….”

The song “The Way You Look Tonight” – I first heard it in the movie Father of the Bride. Really really amazing, really nice….
But it reminds me of that beautiful day, that bright cheerful smile that I’d never see again, the moment when all I wanted to do was to get up and dance with this wonderful man…he was just so happy when the song came up and I said I really really love it….
The memory hurts but the song is so good that I just can’t leave Sinatra and this song behind. You know, the whole last year I wouldn’t dare ‘touch’ Sinatra. I guess I’m ok now..

“Strangers in the Night” reminds me of those days in Dublin, when it was winter and I was alone in the early evenings, no SkyTV and all I had was BBC and national Irish channels. So I watched Eurostar everytime it’s on air, eating my dinner alone, and this young boy would sing this song.
Now I’m waiting for my stranger too…

Amazing how strong memories some songs could bring. And Sinatra has been with me during some important stages in my life.

I love Frank Sinatra. Sweet or hurtful memories, I guess I just can’t quit listening to his charm. At least not yet.

“Lovely, don’t you ever change, keep that breathless charm…

World Filled With Love (Part 1) – The Telephone Conversation

Friday, September 24th 2010. 0114hrs.

 

World Filled With Love – a series of inspiring stories, small or big, short or long, in my life.

* * *

“I’m going back to Selayang today. I’m not staying over in Klang anymore.”

“Sorry?”

“I’m going back to Selayang today. This evening. I really have to move on. I think I’ve done my part, and I’ve done my best. It’s time for them to care for their father themselves.”

He kept on listening.

“You know, I think I’ve done quite a lot, and I’m not going to give it up. This is the final week and I’m not going to just let it go and stay here forever. There’s just too much distractions. I can’t focus at all. I really really have to sit down and focus.”

“You’re right. Don’t give up. Don’t stop right here. Yeah, I guess you were very concerned that his family weren’t around yesterday. Now that they’re here, everything should be alright.”

“It’s not….I mean….not my full responsibility, right? They should be fine, don’t they? Don’t you think I need to go on and focus?”

“Yes…you should. When I was going to the UK to sit for my clinical exams, my dad was admitted to the hospital for some problems. I almost wanted to let everything go, or maybe just go and fail. I thought maybe it’s not time, my dad was more important. But he told me to just go. Don’t give it up. So I did. I went there for the exams and all. So, you know….” he trailed off.

 

A phone conversation on Cik Yam’s staircase.

13th September 2010.

I hope one day I’ll have a success story to tell too.

Immortal Imprint

Thursday, November 4th 2010. 2242hrs.

The probe was on.
She looked on the screen.
He stood on her side.

It was empty.
The probe can’t find it.

They looked again.
Some fuzzy shadows.
He held her right hand.
Tight.
She did not understand.

One balloon.
On the outside, upside down, a head.
A head, hanging on its tail.
To the balloon.

Fuzzy shadows.
Of a small being long gone.
Of a chewed lump of blood.
And bone.
Crumpled.

His heart cried.
And so did hers.

What Do You Mean, One Malaysia?

Thursday, November 4th 2010, 0009hrs.

 

I don’t read newspapers, or watch the 8pm news.

 

I don’t know what actually One Malaysia means. Really I don’t. And I really don’t like the way some people say “Salam Satu Malaysia” on the start of an event, or to end a letter.

 

Oh, and I thought we’re supposed to be One Malaysia anyway, since the word go?

 

Well, despite saying all these, I would say that I actually have my own definition of One Malaysia.

 

Like when my Chinese male friends could comment about my headscarf, “Maria, I think this tudung looks good on you.”

 

Or like when a Roman Catholic senior colleague could buy me a nice scarf when he went for a holiday in London. And it really covers what I need to cover, as a Muslim woman.

 

When my best friend comes back to celebrate Deepavali with her family, and she wanted to have a celebration with me, too.

 

When we could sell kuih raya to our Punjabi colleague during raya time, and she’s like one of the biggest customer.

 

When our Punjabi colleague gets leave on Deepavali when she actually celebrates Vasakhi.

 

During Chinese New Year ALL of my family members have big plans.

 

Like during Christmas, my brother could celebrate it with a Christian friend.

 

When it doesn’t matter if I celebrate any of the festivities with my dear friends. It’s not like it’s going to shake my faith in any way.

 

I have my faith and you have yours. It’s just that we’re good friends and we have faith in each other too.

 

When a group of people from different cultural and religious backgrounds could create a play about faith, and could relate to everyone in the hall.

 

Like when you and me could talk about death and will want the same thing in the end.

 

When I could laugh at my boss’ bad Cantonese while I can’t really speak the language. After laughing at it, I could actually catch the bad Cantonese. And the bad Hokkien too.

 

When we could ALL be best friends to each other. Enjoy roti canai and nasi lemak together. Wantan mee too.

 

We’re not really supposed to identify someone according to their race or to their faith. If you really want One Malaysia.

But I think we do need to accept the fact that there are things that are different between us. It doesn’t mean we must be indifferent.

 

I think accepting our differences is essential. Not just tolerating them. Just like husband and wife.

Accept, embrace. Embrace, love. Love, unity. Unity, peace.

 

Let’s pray together that we’ll ALL live happily ever after.  🙂

 

* * *

Kau datang saat aku kehilangan arah

Ketika kau genggam jemari tanganku

Lalu lenyaplah hari-hari duka

Yang selama ini membelenggu

 

Ku hamparkan semua resah

Dibelai kasihmu

Dan kau terima dengan hati yang tulus

Lalu pagi pun berambah cerah

Diiringi nyanyian seribu cinta…..

 

(Lagu tak ada kena mengena)

 

Errr….Emmm….

Tuesday, November 2nd 2010, 2025hrs.

 

Last week I went to watch part of the Short and Sweet short play festival. Twice. Yes, twice. My brother said me and my cousin get obsessed easily, but that’s another story.

 

Anyway.

 

After the plays, we managed to meet up with one of the directors, and an actor from two different plays. I said hi, nice play, great performance.

 

The conversation that followed, although with two different people at two different time, sounded a little bit like this:

 

“So how did you find it?”

“Good!” With my big smile, of course.

 

“Which one do you like? What do you like most about the play?”

Looking right into my eyes, expecting a smart answer, constructive comments.

 

I looked back into their eyes and said, “Errrrrr…..”

 

* * *

Ok. I can’t talk to strangers. Basically I don’t actually know how to socialise.

 

Is it just me? Or is it….emm….doctors in general?

 

Do you realise that when we, doctors, meet up, we’d talk about our jobs most of the time?

We could get into heated conversations, extremely funny jokes, but only about things that happened at work.

 

My friend said that someone said to her, that, “you doctors may be extroverts within your own people, but you really are introverts elsewhere.”

 

Somehow I found that it’s true, at least for me.

 

Back to the story above.

I found that I did not know how to give a comment on a play. I don’t know what they would expect us to say. What to say so that they would understand what I think.

 

Or maybe I just watched for the sake of watching. I wouldn’t be able to say whether the acting and the script and all was good or not (and really, this guy’s piercing eyes really asked me, like seriously, how I found his play). I enjoyed the show, yes, but that’s about it.

 

So now I’m concerned about my lack of deep knowledge of everything else outside medicine. It’s not like I have the desired depth of knowledge in medicine, anyway.

 

I know about many things but I only know bits of this and bits of that.

 

I’m also concerned about finding the way I could engage a conversation, and make others enjoy conversing with me too.

 

How now……emmmmm…..

 

 

Doa Yang Sering Kita Lupa

Monday, November 1st 2010. 2037hrs.

 

Mungkin orang lain tak lupa. Tapi kadang-kadang saya lupa.

 

Hmmm…selalu jugak lupa sebenarnya.

 

Tiap-tiap hari kita doa lepas solat. Sebelum makan. Selepas makan. Keluar rumah. Macam-macam lagi.

Ada bahasa Arab. Ada bahasa Melayu. Cara masing-masing.

 

Banyak buku-buku doa diterbitkan.

 

Kita pula zaman sekarang ni macam-macam dugaan. Macam-macam kehendak. Ada kehendak yang berpatutan dan ada juga yang tak masuk akal.

 

Tapi selalu juga kita lupa, bahawa doa adalah antara perkara yang paling penting dalam mencapai perkara yang dihajati.

 

Lupa untuk mendoakan untuk kesihatan diri sendiri.

 

Lupa nak doa supaya badan lebih langsing dengan cara yang betul, boleh disiplinkan diri untuk makan makanan yang seimbang dan bersenam selalu. Bukannya kurus dengan jalan sakit atau tekanan perasaan.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya harta kita dijaga – di rumah, di tempat kerja; kereta, TV, laptop, handphone.

 

Lupa juga untuk berdoa supaya harta yang kita cari itu diberkati.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya kita dikuatkan tenaga untuk bekerja bersungguh-sungguh, supaya, dengan izin-Nya, pendapatan kita itu adalah pendapatan yang halal sepenuhnya.

 

Lupa untuk mendoakan kejayaan dalam peperiksaan, diri sendiri dan rakan-rakan.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya pesakit-pesakit kita cepat sembuh.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya Allah tunjukkan jalan macam mana nak rawat pesakit. Atau macam mana nak bina bangunan. Dapatkan kontrak.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya kita dikuatkan iman, ditabahkan hati, menjadi orang yang lebih sabar dan bersyukur.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya jadi kaya-raya. Tak salah kalau nak jadi kaya-raya. Boleh tolong lebih ramai orang.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya anak-anak kita dijaga dengan baik oleh pengasuh.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya anak-anak tak keras kepala. Kalau mengeluh saja sampai bila pun tak ke mana.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya orang yang berlaku zalim kepada kita akan diberi petunjuk.

Lupa untuk halalkan makanan yang dicuri – kalau kita haramkan, lagi jahatlah orang tu. Baik kita doakan supaya orang tu mendapat cahaya.

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya pemimpin-pemimpin kita tak makan rasuah. Kalau asyik mengata saja, kita pun berdosa, mereka pun tak ke mana. Cubalah berdoa, mana tahu mereka jadi baik nanti.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa untuk jodoh yang baik. Handsome dan kaya. Cool dan sporting giler. Personaliti yang tak bosan. Mak mertua yang best. Selalu lupa yang tu.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya kita dimatikan dalam keadaan yang beriman. Asyik ingat dunia je.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya rumahtangga mak ayah kita bahagia.

 

Lupa untuk berdoa supaya adik-beradik kita takkan bergaduh-gaduh. Supaya sepupu kita, anak cucu semua bersatu dalam susah dan senang.

 

Macam-macam lupa. Ni pun ada je lagi yang lupa.

 

Oh, ye…..dan lupa berdoa untuk orang lain di sekeliling kita.

 

Maka marilah kita berdoa.

Lepas solat, lepas makan, sebelum makan, sebelum tidur.

Banyak betul benda kita nak doakan ni. Sempat tak? Takpe, dalam kereta on the way pergi kerja pun boleh. Sambil2 set branula patient pun boleh doa (Ya Allah, tolonglah pesakit ini. Tolonglah aku cucuk sekaliiiii saja. Kasihanilah kami, Ya Allah. Ampunkan dosa kami). Kalau tengah2 CME yang bosan pun boleh berdoa. Tak boleh tidur malam pun terkebil2 lah doa.

Tak payah angkat tangan pun, Allah tetap dekat dengan kita. Di mana-mana.

 

Sekadar peringatan untuk diri sendiri, dan rakan-rakan serta keluarga tersayang.  🙂

 

* * *

 

Everytime you feel like you cannot go on

You feel so lost

That you’re so alone

All you see is night

And darkness all around

You feel so helpless

You can`t see which way to go

 

Don`t despair and never loose hope

Cause Allah is always by your side

 

Insya Allah, insya Allah

Insya Allah you`ll find your way

 

Everytime you can make one more mistake

You feel you can`t repent

And that its way too late

Your`re so confused,wrong decisions you have made

Haunt your mind and your heart is full of shame

 

Turn to Allah

He’s never far away

Put your trust in Him

Raise your hands and pray

Ya Allah, guide my steps, don’t let me go astray

You’re the only one that showed me the way

 

One Step Further and Flashes of My Life

Tuesday, October 21st 2010. 0019hrs.

* * *

0530hrs. Tuesday 19th October 2010.

 

Flashes of my life one month ago.

 

Mom on her prayer rug. Me on the table. With my laptop and a box of tissues. My nose was running it almost flew.

 

The grey rainy day. Muddy and slippery graveyard. Two sons lovingly put in the last earth over their father’s grave. Big umbrellas, small umbrellas, all grey, protecting the owners from the rain, but not from sadness.

 

The quiet tears flowing down my cheeks.

 

Driving back from Selayang, little sister sleeping on my side, rain gently tapping on the car. Yassin on the background, following every word.

 

The early Friday morning text message, bearing grave news.

 

Dinner during Eid visit in Wak Mohlis’. After 2 days of not seeing or talking to a single person.

 

The phone call on the steps in front of Cik Yam’s house.

 

Cik Razak’s presence.

Talking to Cik Bakhtiar, and Wak Milah.

The phone call in the front yard of Embah Man’s house.

 

Embah lying in his brother’s bed, in his brother’s home.

Embah sitting on the chair in 8D, waiting to go home. 10pm in a lonely second day of Eid.

Cik Yam sitting patiently on his side, since 12 noon.

Embah crying on the first day of Syawal.

Embah lying in hospital bed, jaundiced, and a little confused.

 

Embah Lanang smiling at me, when he knew I was going to study medicine.

Embah Wedhok’s love and concern.

 

* * *

 

Dear Allah,

Thank You for granting my wish. Thank You for answering my prayers.

Please give me strength so I won’t stray.

Please permit me to stay humble. Or become more humble.

Please help me so that I can be more patient and wise.

Please guide me to be a better person.

 

Thank you, mama, for your prayers and your love. I wouldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you, papa, for your hope and pride. You’ve kept me going.

 

Thank you, Tau, for your support and your help. Thank you for “entertaining” even my smallest and “stupidest” quirks.

Thank you, Adam, for your wishes from afar. The only person who would answer my messages at 3am, because he could.

Thank you, Nadia, for understanding that I needed to be away from you a lot. You are my little miss sunshine (who’s not so little now).

 

Thank you, my dear aunts and uncles and cousins, for your shoulders to cry on, your encouragement, your support, and your company.

 

Thank you, Dr Richard, for the guidance, the support, the 14-day leave. For covering Jaspal’s call too.

Thank you, Dr Nick, for your brotherly encouragements, and jokes to keep us alive. For covering Jaspal’s call too.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jaspal, for covering the whole 2 weeks, even when the days were very bad.

 

Thank you, Farah, for being an amazing “housie”, accompanying me at home, when my life is all about my questions.

Thank you, Rathi, for being a wonderful host, tour guide, friend.

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear dear friends, for the support and nice words, for your wishes and prayers.

Thank you for answering my messages when I was freaking out.

Thank you for laughing together at our P Ramlee jokes.

Thank you for your comments on my facebook page – lame as some people may think, it doesn’t matter; your words meant a lot to me.

Near or far, wherever you are. In my heart you’re always close.

 

It’s just the first part, yes.

It’s only one step.

But still it’s one step further. One step deeper.


Weddings

Monday, October 11th 2010. 1815hrs.

 

“Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

 

A wedding day is a happy day, a day to celebrate the love of two people. A day to wish and to pray that the couple would live happily ever after. To hope that both of them will have a good fulfilling life together.

 

Sadly I found that there is this ugly habit of people who love to give distasteful comments about other people’s weddings. There’s this group of people who go around and find faults at every weddings and every person attending the weddings. I’m sure you know that I’m not making this up, everyone has met with these kind of people.

 

I don’t understand.

 

It just irks me to listen to all these comments, ranging from the unsightly make-ups, bride not pretty enough, groom not tall/manly enough, poor food preparation, food not delicious, bride’s parents too snobbish, groom’s parents being rude, location too hot/unsuitable, and worst of all, to question the choice of life partner that a bride or a groom has made.

 

I mean, how can you say things like that?

 

Number one, they have made their choice of make-up artist (or mak andam), photographers, wedding dresses and suits, food and location. Whatever you say can’t change any of it.

 

Number two, that married person has made his/her choice of a life partner. Who are we to question that?

 

Number three, there’s just so much to think of before one’s wedding day that some of these things are just overlooked.

 

I mean, if you really really are concerned about these people, you should have adviced them on what they should do, what kind of dress they should wear, food they should choose….and the most difficult of all, to be able to tell them that “I don’t think this man is good for you.”

 

Ever happened to any of you?

People telling you AFTER you’re married, “know what, they’ve been saying that you deserve a better man. A man like him doesn’t deserve a nice lady like you,” ?

People telling you AFTER your marriage that “he’s such a snobbish man and you’re just lovely. Lucky I didn’t marry him last time.”

 

I guess that’s how they came up with “Speak now or FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE.”

 

It’s too late once the person is married.

* * *

 

Let me tell you how ugly it could get. I mean, a lot worse than “I think your dress is a little too big for you.”

 

There’s this groom’s dad who found fault with EVERYTHING in the arrangements of the bride’s family.

First he was insulted when the bride called up her groom, asking where he was because he’s one hour late.

The dad’s groom was also angry because he did not get to sit beside his son during the solemnisation ceremony.

Then the groom and his dad were both insulted when the bride’s uncle made a joke that he probably could not accept or forgive.

Then they were upset that there’s no special seat for the family in an open sitting kind of wedding.

Then the groom’s dad was angry because he didn’t get to merenjis BEFORE the bride’s dad!!

What did the groom’s father do?

Well, he taunted the daughter-in-law about all the above for almost TWO years.

 

I mean, doesn’t he know that most likely those are just some overlooked issues?

Shouldn’t people just forgive each other for such small matters?

 

There’s another story of how ugly things can be.

Two brothers got married on the SAME day. However brother A is more creative than brother B. So brother A decorated his room more beautifully than brother B.

Then came the wives. Wife B was so jealous with wife A because wife A’s room is better decorated. And she’s been finding faults with the other since. When the children grew up, the cousins don’t even talk to each other.

 

* * *

 

You may think that it’s over-dramatisation but guess what, these things really happened.

 

I won’t say that I’m an angel or anything, I’m not the nicest human being on earth, but it’s just that some things should be left unsaid. There ARE weddings that are overdone, too much money spent unnecessarily. Of course there are things I don’t agree with some weddings and I wouldn’t do it for my own wedding, but is there any point of talking behind these people’s back? It’s not nice to hear all these bad words when all we should do is pray for the happiness of the couple.

 

Again, a wedding day is a happy day. I remember going to my best friends’ wedding and all we had in our minds were that we were very happy for the couple, and we wish that they will be happy forever. It doesn’t matter what they wear, it doesn’t matter what food they serve, it doesn’t matter if the bride didn’t smile, it doesn’t matter if the mother didn’t dress up. What matters most is all of us are happy and that the blissful marriage will last forever.

 

* * *

 

Really, if I ever get married, I will only invite close family members and very close friends, who wouldn’t mind coming from far away just to celebrate the day with me. And a good photographer. NOT a make-up artist because my aunts and sister could do it for me.

 

I don’t need all these people who will say bad things about me, my (choice of) husband and my family, and not praying for me or wishing us well. Seriously.

* * *

Selamat pengantin baru

Selamat berbahagia

Selamat ke anak cucu

Selamat sejahtera

 

Semoga berpanjangan

Semoga berkekalan

Semoga satu tujuan

Semoga aman

 

Hidup mestilah kukuh

Sabar paling perlu

Cinta setiap hari

Senyum mesti selalu

 

“Selamat Pengantin Baru” by Saloma


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