“Do you have a sister?” they would ask.
I’d wonder, they can’t be talking about my own sister, because she doesn’t resemble me that much, and she’s much younger than me or anyone who asked that question.
So I’d say, “I do, but I’m sure you’re not asking about her. Why did you ask?”
“You remind me of Maria Elena, the blogger. Is she a relative of yours? You have similar features.”
Not once, not twice.
A few times.
Nurses, junior doctors, patients.
* * *
We happened to share the same name.
I’m Maria Syamsi, not Maria Elena. Well, Syamsi is actually my grandfather’s nick name when he was studying in a religious school in Perak decades ago. My name is Maria. Just Maria.
Which is confusing because in this country, just knowing the name is not enough. If people have not met you, they’d want to know whether you’re Malay, Chinese, or Indian. Speaking on the phone to me apparently would not make it clearer as to what I am. My friend’s parents told me once that their staff were all wondering what I look like, and more importantly (for them), what I am.
So I was rambling there.
I blog, obviously, but of course, my blog is not as popular as hers. I guess it’s good for me, because when this blog came to people’s attention in September 2013 because of one blog article, I freaked out. I wrote the piece before I was on call, left it for the whole 48 hours, and came back to find out that it has reached more than the unbelievable 50,000 hits. So I freaked out.
It’s alright for me to have a smaller crowd, although I do want to share with more people when I write about lessons on life and death that I learnt along the way, throughout my job as a doctor, and the rest of the day as a Muslim woman.
Yes, I’m a doctor, not an engineer.
I (wish I) sell muffins, not jubah.
I’m not that concerned about my clothes either.
I did study overseas, though.
* * *
She does look like my mother’s youngest sister, a little bit, who actually looks like my mother. But I don’t look like my mother. Neither do look like my father. I don’t know. I did resemble him when I was younger, especially when I was in school, but not anymore.
Looking at my most recent photos, I look different compared to even two years ago. Or that’s what I think.
Maybe it’s just age.
I guess people do change as they age. Like he-who-must-not-be-named, he looks more and more like his Pakistani grandfather these days compared to eight years ago when I first met him, or even five years ago when he left.
Anyway, I watched her video and I think Maria Elena does look like my father’s cousin, who is the daughter of his youngest uncle. She’s really pretty and cheerful and sweet, and no, I don’t look like her either.
But then I saw her photo in her huge glasses. That’s when I saw the resemblance.
* * *
Our blogs couldn’t be more different. Mine has a (very) serious tone that probably does not appeal to many. Having said that, I’m not really that serious a person. I can’t stand being too serious at work, it would be nice to crack some jokes or at least have a light-hearted environment. Personally it helps push my work efficiency. Being too serious is just boring.
And I have very poor attention span.
Well, unless you can tell me a very nice story.
That’s why I rarely go to the movies. Well, number one, it’s too much hassle for me. Number two, you waste two hours of your life just sitting there eating pop corns, while you don’t even know whether the movie would satisfy you or not.
That’s just my take on movies anyway.
* * *
I have to admit, this whole article is mere ramblings. I had considered putting this into a video and upload it in youtube but my father said a big no before I even seriously consider it. Hahah.
* * *
It doesn’t matter, does it, whether we look similar, or whether we love fashion or not.
For me, what matters most is we should use our talents, energy and influence to do more good and spread more good. As a Muslim, we should inject some elements of dakwah whenever we find that chance.