Feature Story – Siti Saropah

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Rain or shine, Siti Saropah works seven days a week. She usually arrives at her first client’s house as early as 8am and finishes her last appointment at 6.30pm. Each day, Siti sees about 8 clients. She often has her lunch at no fixed venue, the only place that has been fixed for lunch is in her car, where she could have a quick bite before heading to the next appointment.

For the past two decades, about twice every year when she was not working, she returned to Indonesia for two weeks to spend time with her family.

Siti is a traditional postnatal therapist. She uses her grandmother’s unique Javanese method passed down from generations. Siti is a household name amongst the married women in Brunei, especially those who have children.

As Siti scrolled through the list Top 50 Most Influential Women in Brunei (of Inspire Magazine), she could identify more than half of the people; most of them her clients at one stage of their life or another.

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Photos by Kate Chua

The reason why Siti has such an arduous schedule is simply because postnatal therapy requires the client to have continuous daily treatment for a minimum of up to 7 days. Siti explained that the treatment would not be as effective if a mother skipped a day of treatment. And being one of the few people in Brunei who provides this type of service, Siti’s appointments are usually booked up for 3 to 6 months in advance (You can call her at 8835041).

siti3Renowned in this industry for getting results, Siti specialises in helping women who have given birth to recover quickly from their wounds; she helps to ease their pain and most importantly, she helps them to get back into shape by assisting them to get rid of air and water retention.

This type of treatment usually involves steaming, application of traditional medicine and ointment for the massage followed by a full tummy wrap. It takes about an hour for Siti to complete her session with a client.

Women who have been through labour will agree that Siti is a gift sent from heaven, as only God knows the amount of pain mothers have to endure in order to give birth to a child.

Siti never complains because she thoroughly enjoys what she does. She is fully aware of the physical demand that comes with the job, but also understands what a critical role she plays in the lives of mothers. This would explain why Siti always has a radiant smile and is always jolly at work. But beyond being a physical therapist, she is also privy to the heartwarming stories which mothers have to share.

Being in a position of such unique intimacy with the patient is certainly one of the privileges of this job which she cherishes. But by far the best perk of this job, she explained, is being able to witness the adorable new lives next to their mothers. Speaking of doing work that matters, there are few careers in life more meaningful and rewarding than what Siti is doing. Through Siti and her husband’s dedication and hard work, they have successfully raised two children who are both doctors – also making a real difference to the society.

This article was published in the Oct-Dec 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!