Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
Jan 28, 2016
Singer-actor Syarif and his wife Malaque Mahdaly had planned to spend New Year's Eve on a romantic date before becoming new parents.
Instead, they celebrated it by welcoming their 3.5kg firstborn, Selma Malika, at 10pm that night.
The couple, who married in 2014, were caught by surprise because they had expected her arrival only in January.
Syarif, whose real name is Ahmad Syarifullah, told The New Paper: "I had barely four hours of sleep before Malaque woke me up at 6am, saying her water broke.
"In my confused state, I kept thinking, 'Water? What water? Oh, water bag. Oh no, water bag!' I then rushed to pack her bag."
Malaque, a Singapore Idol 3 contestant, who co-owns churros shop Chulop! By The Syarifs at East Village with her husband, described that moment as "a typical scene from a drama".
But while Syarif, 27, was flustered, Malaque kept her cool.
The 26-year-old recalled: "I took a long shower because I'd been told labour can take a long time. I even wanted to have a nice breakfast but I was warded by 7am."
Malaque's pregnancy came as a surprise.
"We wanted to go on a holiday once he came back from filming Zoom New Zealand (a travel reality show) last June and perhaps start a family after that," said Malaque, whose pregnancy and labour went smoothly.
But the couple quickly forgot the morning drama the moment they laid their eyes on their daughter.
"I must had been mentally tired, but I was smiling all the way," said Syarif, who was formerly part of local hip-hop duo Sleeq, with his cousin Alyph. "It was a surreal experience and I had never felt better in a hospital."
The new parents agreed that, Selma Malika, Arabic for queen of peace, looks more like Syarif and is an "easy baby to care for".
But there are, of course, sleepless nights and they are trying to adjust to parenthood.
Malaque even took a while to bring herself to change Selma's diapers.
"In the beginning, I would call Syarif to come home and help me with it," she said. "One day, he scared me when he asked me, 'What if one day our daughter doesn't want to help change your diaper when you're old?'"
Parenthood has made the couple, who are now experts at changing diapers, quite "paranoid".
"I Google everything, but I know I cannot believe everything I read on the Net," said Malaque. "The first time Selma cried, Syarif bought a thermometer and kept checking her temperature to make sure she was not down with a fever."
Other celebrity parents have also shared parenting tips and advice with the new parents.
"(Singaporean actor and director) Aaron Aziz visited us and told us that a daughter will always be a daddy's girl," said Syarif. "He also told us never to treat our children as a burden even when times are trying, they are a gift."
Local actor and director Faisal Ishak reminded Syarif to strive to be a good parent and to take things slow with his career, to spend time with his daughter.
"Faisal told me that he plans to slow down after building a career in Malaysia because he was hardly around during his first child's growing years," said Syarif.
"When I was single, I tasted life in showbiz and what it's like to be travelling so much. Now that I have a family, I don't want to be a dad who questions where all the time had gone to when Selma's much older."
Syarif is focusing his efforts on expanding Chulop! By The Syarifs with Malaque and has plans for his debut solo album in March.
Sleeq has been on hiatus for two years as both he and Alyph focus on individual projects.
As for acting or hosting stints, Syarif will consider offers if they fit into his schedule.
When asked if they were ready for baby No. 2, Malaque joked: "One of the first things I told him when I gave birth was that I was ready for another baby."
This article was first published on January 28, 2016.
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