Saving lives while looking glam

  • Nation
  • Monday, 27 Nov 2017

Classy chic: Dr Amalina spending time at an art gallery in London recently. Inset: The trainee surgeon at work.

PETALING JAYA: To be a successful surgeon, one needs the eyes of a hawk, the heart of a lion and the hands of a lady, said Dr Amalina Che Bakri, trainee surgeon at the Royal College of Surgeons in England.

And the 29-year-old fashionista knows all about being a lady, having posted a photo of herself totting Gucci glasses and M.A.C cosmetics on Instagram with the caption: “Still need to look glamorous while operating”.

However, Dr Amalina, who made headlines after scoring 17As in the 2004 SPM examination, said while she loves fashion, she is a professional at work.

“When you are facing life and death scenarios, you only focus on doing your job.

“But obviously, I love to look good and presentable in front of my patients. In the clinic or when doing rounds are the two occasions where I get to dress up in a nice suit or a work dress with my heels. When I am in the operating theatre, I will be wearing scrubs and a surgical gown, with a scrub cap and mask,” she said.

She also expressed her dislike at being labelled the “Kim Kardashian of Malaysia” and urged people to stop referring to her as that.

“I love buying nice things and I think it’s a reward for myself after working really hard all my life,” she said in an interview with The Star.

Dr Amalina also assured her more than 55,000 followers on Instagram and over 60,000 followers on Twitter that what they see on social media is “the real her”, adding that she’s “just staying true to myself”.

While some may criticise her for not wearing the hijab, Dr Amalina believes that being a good person – to contribute to society, have a big heart, seek and spread knowledge, be polite and respect other people and diversity – is important.

Graduating with a first class for her masters in Clinical Science Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at Cambridge Uni­ver­sity, Dr Amalina is currently training to be a specialist surgeon in breast cancer and oncoplasty at the Royal London Hospital.

Her experience in Britain over the past 13 years has definitely changed her outlook in life, she said, allowing her to learn about diversity.

“I have travelled to about 60 countries. It is such a big world out there and I am here to discover it and learn.

“I can speak four languages and am still learning more. I don’t care what you do, what your skin colour is, where you come from, what you believe in.

“Everyone has one common ground – to have a sense of purpose in life and to create a better world,” she said, crediting the humbling experience to her volunteer work in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

“If you surround yourself with negativity and live in your own bubble, refuse to discover the world out there and refuse to compete, then don’t complain if you never achieve anything meaningful in your life.”

The hardest part of being a surgeon, said Dr Amalina, is the need to be able to detach from her emotions.

“Working in a major trauma centre in London, I see horrible things on a daily basis, including stabbing injuries, gunshot wounds and road traffic accidents. These injuries are often life-threatening.

“I was also involved in treating patients attacked by terrorists on two different occasions in Westminster and London Bridge. These experiences were surreal and very emotionally draining but you have to do what you need to do to get on with it.”

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