“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.
Pabila mendung awan kelabu,
Turunlah hujan guruh mendatang;
Pabila gandum disulam tebu,
Itulah manisan untuk dihidang.
Tubuh layu hatiku gundah,
Tidak berdaya mendendang inang;
Buah nyiur diparut sudah,
Tinggal ditambah si batang pinang.
Bahtera sultan menongkah lalu,
Zapin dan joget jadi hiburan;
Sutera nian dialun bayu,
Sampin songket tenunan menawan.
Halus bisikan hiasi malam,
Pungguk bimbang kasihnya ke mana;
Manis senyuman mewangi alam,
Umpama bintang meneman purnama.
Lamunan bercambah terhabis masa,
Saat berharga yang dilepaskan;
Ampunan didamba dari Yang Esa,
Segala khilaf dimaaf insan.
Mawar di laman, melata dahlia,
Begitu sifat hutan seribu;
Biar aman serata dunia,
Itulah hajat di dalam kalbu.
Kiambang tasik tidak berpaut,
Bunganya merah menghias titi;
Andainya kasih bisa bertaut,
Cukuplah sudah hasrat di hati.
Hati ceria di Aidilfitri,
Senyum berseri bila bersua;
Hari raya berlalu pergi,
Hidup ini teruskan jua.
A few months ago I saw someone posted on facebook a photo of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim with his wife, Datin Seri Wan Azizah, and their three youngest daughters. It was a beautiful photo, and many men commented about how they wanted to become Dato Seri’s son-in-law, saying things like “When will I be able to call you father, Dato Seri?”.
This post is not at all related to politics, or Anwar Ibrahim, or his daughters. It’s about something that I have always wanted to write about, but haven’t gotten an idea how to start, until I read those comments.
Are these men really up to it?
* * *
I hope I do not offend anyone, as I do not intend to do so. All I wanted to talk about is about challenges in life, and the companion we need to travel with.
You see, the divorce rates are rising, and among those marriages that are still intact, you’d wonder how many of them are truly harmonious. I believe that part of the reason is people feel frustrated as they do not get what they wanted or expected from the marriage, having been fed and supported through their lives by their parents, given everything they ever wanted. There are also some who probably could not stand the challenge that life throws at them, failing to be there for the partner when trouble comes along.
There are men who left their wives after she miscarried for the second time, or after finding out that the wives’ parents are having marital problems/health problems, and worse still, divorced their wives when they found that the wives have breast cancer (or any other illnesses), rather than being there for the wives.
“I am suffering, I have my needs too,” said some breast cancer patients’ husbands. Or later, ex-husbands.
Then there are parents who could not stand seeing their sons suffering, or facing difficulties in life. They want the best for their sons and the definition of “the best” is for him to not face any challenges. So they became unhappy, some mothers even told the sons to divorce their wives when she failed to get pregnant after two years of marriage! Some said, “My son has never failed any exams, until he met you. He was so stressed because of you,” to the daughter-in-law (these are not just Malay drama material, these are real life issues).
What hope do these men have if they marry into such a troubled family life like our ex deputy prime minister’s?
Just imagine, you met a girl, nice and pretty, you wanted to marry her. But her father has personal issues, her mother is trying hard to cope with her father’s issues on top of being unwell and ageing herself, her brothers and sisters are on the verge of breaking down because of the troubles the parents are in, when they are supposed to be growing up happily.
The family is breaking because nobody could trust the father anymore, although he was the one who raised all of them with all his love, fed them, educated them.
This girl you wanted to marry, it is likely that she is part of the reason why the family is still intact. She might be the one who have told her siblings that they should love their parents no matter what. It might be her who have supported her family financially, helped out when parents were unwell.
When you marry her, you might want your own family life, but would she be happy just leaving her family behind like that?
She’d want to be her mother’s confidante as she always was. She’d want to be there for her brothers and sisters when things become too much to bear.
She would need your full support when the father runs into problems again, she might become needy and emotional, and she would need more of your time than you’d want to give. She would need your listening ears, as difficult as it is to fit that time into your busy schedule. She might even cry further if you said the wrong things and complicate the already troubled matter.
She may not be able to join your parents in all family events, because sometimes even with a long standing issue, there might be some new problems that come along and she would want to be there for her family.
Would you let her go, even if it means not having her home-cooked meals for a few days?
Or do you think taking her away from all this, would make her happy? Would you calm her down by saying, “my parents love you, why can’t you be happy with my parents? Why should you miss your own parents when mine could give you everything?”
Her father might not be the best of man, a man with not the kindest behaviour, someone who has been labelled all sorts of things by his own family or neighbours or even the whole country. Her father might have gone to prison, and there are possibilities that he will be incarcerated again. You might believe that he is indeed a bad man, you might think that he doesn’t like you.
But he is still her father.
He is still the one who raised her with all his love, fed her, educated her, despite his own shortcomings, despite his own weaknesses to all things wrong and illegal.
He is still a big part of her past that made her the person you wanted to marry, or already married.
The moment you married her, he became your father too, and he should be treated with respect and love, like your own father.
The moment the two of you are married, her problems become yours. You can’t take that away from her because those made her the lovely person she has become. In fact, without all those troubles in life, she may not have become such a mature, amazing person that you fell in love with.
Marriage is about companionship, a friend told me. Nobody said marriage is easy. Nobody said LIFE is easy, but the journey in life becomes easier, the baggage becomes lighter when travelled with a trustworthy companion.
So, are you up for it?
Are you that trustworthy companion, or just an additional baggage that she has to carry around with her?
I have so much to write about! So much!
The palm oil estate experience – written, but not typed in
The strong ladies, are you worth it? After seeing Wan Azizah’s tears, I was reminded of so many strong ladies I know in my life. No,it’s not about Anwar Ibrahim, it’s about women and strength.
The first step. Women’s journey to partnership. A short one.
Imam Suhaib Webb’s lecture on education in KGPA.
How to focus in solat – lessons from Imam Suhaib Webb’s lecture in KGPA
Inspiring senior medical colleagues – the amazing government hospital specialists and consultants
Learning from the dying – It’s too late
Learning from the dying – death with dignity. How people should spend the last days of their lives. No, we can’t really tell but there are so many things that people should know, including doctors.
This is what coffee does to me. I get agitated. Wish me luck! 🙂
For some reason I don’t feel at ease with myself lately.
My posts/comments recently have either been too preachy or too loud. Or angry.
People do say “practice what you preach”.
And obviously I need a lot of reminders…hmmm…
But then again I believe that sharing is caring – when one has a good thought or advice, it is nice to share it with others. It does not only remind others but it serves to teach one’s ownself about good deeds.
And I do believe that you get back what you give.
I used to be afraid of giving advice to other people because I don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t walk my talk.
Who am I to give out good advice when I’m not perfect myself?
I’m as bound to make mistakes as the next human being is.
But it’s nice to share good things, right?
Notice that there’s a lot of the word “I” used in this post.
I know the world is not all about ME but THIS post is about me. Heheh.
I just want to say sorry for any hurt/hard feelings anyone may have felt.
Any distaste everyone may have experienced.
I’m sorry if you’re taken aback by my “loudness”.
There are some things that would touch a sore spot in me.
There are times that I just want myself heard, and I’m sorry for shouting.
But I wouldn’t stop sharing nice things with you.
Written on 21st February 2011 @ 2338hrs
Written on 24th January 2011 @ 1744hrs
Dalam kereta tengah jam sempat berangan sambil nyanyi lagu Siti Nurhaliza sambil tulis blog.
Dulu pernah fikir, dah jadi specialist nanti nak tukar kereta apa?
Tau kata belilah Audi.
Aku fikir, personaliti aku memang macam Audi A4 sikit.
Lepas tu dia kata, BMW pun tak mahal dah sekarang ni.
Tapi, aku fikir2, aku ni kan humble. Taknakla kereta besar sangat, nanti riak.
Jadi baru-baru ni aku fikir, mungkin kereta Toyota yang “rendah diri” (humble) untuk menggantikan Saga aku yang, masa tu, mungkin dah lebih 3 tahun.
Tak pakai banyak minyak.
Tak rasa macam banyak duit.
Boleh beli satu lagi kereta untuk mak dengan duit lebih tu.
Ni semua sebab aku nampak kereta peugeot depan aku.
* * *
Tambahan selepas sampai tempat letak kereta rumah aku:
Ni konon-konon tulis gaya Redza Minhat bila dia tulis blog dia dalam Bahasa Melayu. Ini semua sebab baru tahu yang aku terlepas forum dia kat KL Pac semalam. Kecewa! 😦
Pretty girl meets cute guy.
Pretty girl asked him about his job.
He told her about his job.
She asked him about his hobbies.
He talked at length about his wonderful hobbies.
She listened with wide eyes.
She asked about his extra-curricular activities.
He happily listed all his activities, and what he does, who he helps.
She began to dig deeper. He was happy to answer her.
She asked about his parents.
He talked about them with passion.
Pretty girl began to wonder.
Is this cute guy trying to impress her?
Or it’s just that he is actually impressive, that he did not need to do anything to impress her, but only to passionately talk about his life?
Written on 30th November 2010 @ 2153hrs
When someone had just crashed your life and you’re trying to build up your life again, you’d cling to even the tiniest bit of hope you see around you.
* * *
Small doses of each.
A big smile that reaches the eyes, and lights up the whole town.
That person who passed by, say a friendly “hi” and walk away with a deep sigh.
A small token of thought from far far away.
That first, second, and third glance from that one person you’d never thought would even look at you.
That email saying, “Hey, of course I remember you!” with a friendly smiley at the end of each sentence.
That person who looked so gloomy until you came into his view.
Chocolates. Of course. Loads of chocolates.
* * *
Not for love. But for a friendly face.