Eulogy for Dr. Christian Samuel
28 June 2016 at Zion Cathedral
Before I begin I would like to thank all of you here on behalf of my mother, my sisters and myself, for your efforts large and small to be here today, to help us mark my fathers passing. It has been a difficult few days for my mum and I in particular but God has given us the strength to go through it.
Each of you here had your own relationship with my Dad, each of you has your own set of memories and your own picture that describes my dad.
My dad was born in Penang on February 28, 1931. He had his early education at Malacca High School and Bukit Mertajam High School, most commonly known as BM High School. He qualified as a Veterinarian from Bengal Veterinary College, Calcutta, India in 1954. He served as a Veterinary Officer with the government before being sent on a Colombo Plan scholarship to Massey University, New Zealand, where he obtained a Diploma in Agricultural Science in 1966. On his return he joined the Agricultural College of Malaysia in Serdang as a member of it’s academic staff. In 1969 he was sent to the University of Queensland, Australia on a Ford Foundation Scholarship where he obtained his Master’s degree in Agricultural Science in 1971. With the merger of the Agricultural College of Malaysia and the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Malaya dad was appointed as Acting Dean of the newly formed Faculty of Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine, University Pertanian Malaysia in 1974. He was also the Head of the Animal Science Department at UPM from 1969 – 1974. That same year in 1974, my dad enrolled as a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York under the staff training program of UPM and graduated with a PhD in 1977. His major field of study at Cornell University was Animal Science with minors in Animal Physiology and International Agriculture.
My Dad held various academic positions at UPM and was also seconded to the Ministry of Agriculture in the early 80’s for 2 years to head the Small Holders Livestock Development Programme under the Veterinary Services Division. Dad was also actively involved in the Malaysian Veterinary Association, Agricultural Institute of Malaysia, the Incorporated Society of Planters, Malaysia and the Australian Society of Animal Production. He retired from UPM in July 1986 as A/Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science. He was later ask to join the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as Chief Technical Advisor for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for South Asia based in Kathmandu, Nepal from 1986 – 1991.
Even though he was in his 60’s dad’s affinity for learning never stopped. He completed a second Master’s degree programme, this time a Master of Divinity from Seminari Theologi Malaysia (STM) in 1994.
Dad’s greatest joy was serving in the Evangelical Lutheran Church Malaysia (ELCM). He had the opportunity of serving under 3 Bishop’s on the Diocesan level. :
- Bishop E.B. Muthusami: Vice – Chairman of the Diocesan Council 1981 -1984, Diocesan Secretary 1984 – 1986
- Bishop Julius Paul : Served 2 terms as Diocesan Secretary from 1993 – 1999
- Bishop Dr. Solomon Rajah – DA Delegate
My Dad had also served on a local level at ELCM at Good Hope Lutheran Church as Chairman and Vice – Chairman of the Local Council. He also served as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Rumah Hope.
Seminari Theologi Malaysia (STM)
- STM Council Member from 2 June 1995 – 17 May 2006
- Chairman STM Personnel Committee 26 August 1998 – 17 May 2006
My dad got married to Saguntala Ratnam, my mum on 18 June 1960 and they recently celebrated their 56th Wedding Anniversary together. We had a wonderful celebration here at Zion Cathedral for their 50th Wedding Anniversary in June 2010. Some of you who were here would remember what a wonderful evening it was. He had 3 children: Dr. Shanti Samuel, Prema Samuel and myself and a grand daughter, Chitra and a son in law, Richard Barcham.
If I could choose one phrase Apa, to describe you as a father, it would be – Life Mentor. The day I was born, you were the carpenter and I was the wood; you were the master teacher; I was the apprentice with God overseeing the whole process. Apa, although you’re in the presence of God now, you left a very large legacy, one that will continue both on earth and in the heavens. We understand the mantle has now been passed on to us and we have a responsibility to be both caretakers and investors in what you had deposited into our lives. We promise to take care of Ama, surround her with love and honor her as you have. And last of all, as you know quite well, our fervor for the Lord has not been dampened; instead, our resolve to follow and seek after Christ is even stronger. We will carry on as a family because you live within us.
I love you Apa and miss you very dearly. We will meet up again one day.
(*Government postings 1954 – 1965 – Padang Besar, Perlis; Baling & Sungai Petani, Kedah. At the time of marriage he was in Sungai Petani)