We welcome Dr Maria to IMC. As an experienced family Doctor who has lived and worked in Singapore for many years – we wanted to get to know her and welcome her to the IMC community.
Croeso i IMC! You were raised up in Wales – can you speak any Welsh?
Diolch yn fawr! Yes, I studied Welsh from primary through to secondary school up to GSCE level (it was compulsory for everyone back then) I also sang in a Welsh choir for many years. In some parts of Wales, it is still commonly spoken and there is even a Welsh TV channel – spoken purely in Welsh of course! I seemed to have picked up Welsh quite easily when young but it is not an easy language to learn – there a lot of rolling of the R’s with your tongue as well as plenty of tricky maneuvers with the tongue and sounds from the back of the throat! Unfortunately, I have forgotten a lot of my Welsh. As with any languages – you need to keep up with it to keep it going. As I found out when I studied in London – not many people speak Welsh outside Wales!
You have been practicing in Singapore for over 7 years and with the international community for over 3 yrs. What do you enjoy about working in Singapore?
I really enjoy meeting different people from all over the world and working in an international clinic like IMC gives me the opportunity to do this. It’s amazing how so many different people from all over the world come to this Little Red Dot whether to stay for a brief period or for many, many years. They all have so many different stories to tell and I really enjoy listening to these – as well as their medical problems of course!
I also enjoy the local lifestyle here too. Waking up in sunny Singapore and taking an early morning walk or run always gives me a fresh, zingy feeling. Then roaming the wet markets or bakeries for fresh produces, going for dim sum with the children, then off to the parks or swimming pools and staying out late enjoying the hustle and bustle of the nightlife here.
You trained as a GP in London. What do you miss about London? Anything you do not miss?
The main thing that I do miss is my family and friends back in the UK. They are the people that I grew up with and who formed an integral part of my life. However, we have also made some fantastic new friends over on this side of the world too. I loved studying and living in London. It was so cosmopolitan – it was like living in a different world from the small rural Welsh town that I came from. It was a real eye opener for me! After my training, I worked in Luton, Milton Keynes and Cambridge as a GP.
The other thing that I do miss is the four seasons. I love watching the landscape change with time over the year and it really is so spectacular in the Welsh countryside.
One thing that I do not miss is the constant drizzling of grey rain that can lasts for days to weeks. We get that a lot in Wales – its really quite depressing! I’d much rather the thunderstorms here and just get it over and done with really fast with the rain!
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just dug out an old classic from our collection of books that I’ve read a long time ago – Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am also reading the Harry Potter books with my youngest daughter. We have read the books and seen the films umpteen times! And yes, we will be catching the new Fantastic Beasts film when it’s released this month.
I was a total bookworm when I was young and I practically lived in the library much to the amusement of the librarians. I must have read all the books in the children sections (many several times over) before I got bored and moved to the adult sections. Now, my real luxury is to immerse myself in a really good novel without being disturbed by my three rascals. Sadly, that is not often.
As a working mother of three children…what do you do to relax?
To relax and get away from the chaos of daily life, I like to go to the gym for a good work out or go for a run to release all the tension and thoughts accumulating in my head. It gives me a good buzz and feeling afterwards. Escaping into a good novel or chilling out with a good movie and a glass of wine is also ideal!
Why did you decide to become a Doctor?
It was a very personal choice after a very close member of my family passed away when I was young. I remember vividly the doctor simply broke the news and walked away (I don’t think he will score too well on communication in medical school these days…) I wanted to run after him and ask him so many questions going through my mind but of course, I remained rooted to the spot. I decided that if I were ever to become a doctor, I would never walk away from a patient like that.
Growing up, I was naturally good in Science and especially Biology. I was fascinated with the human body – there simply was so much to know and to learn about it. So choosing to become a doctor was an easy choice for me.
What do you enjoy most about being a Doctor?
Definitely, the patient contact and the relationship that you build up with each patient over the years. In UK, a family doctor is truly one that looks after you from birth to death. The patients place such an immense amount of trust as well as confidence in you not only with just their medical problems but also with many aspects of their personal lives. I also like to have a good banter with my patients – it definitely is the best medicine to have!
Dr Maria is based at IMC Katong.
Please call T:6342 4440 to make an appointment.