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Jack Simonian: The eulogy by Jeremy Sirley





Eulogy delivered by Jeremy Sirley at the funeral of Jack Simonian January 3, 2020

GOOD AFTERNOON & WELCOME FAMILY AND FRIENDS, OR AS JACK WOULD SAY ‘KARIBU’ - SWAHILI FOR WELCOME ALL.
IT IS MY PRIVILEGE TO TALK ABOUT JACK...
I MUST HAVE BEEN ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD WHEN I FIRST MET JACK
AT THE MOTORCYCLE RACES IN HIS RACING LEATHERS IN KENYA, MY FIRST IMPRESSION WAS ‘THAT'S SUPERMAN A REAL LIFE SUPERMAN I WANT TO BE LIKE HIM!’
JACK WAS BORN IN THE SUDAN, THE SON OF ARMENIAN PARENTS - HIS FATHER AN ENGINEER, HIS MOTHER A SEAMSTRESS WHO WERE FORCED TO FLEE PERSECUTION IN THE 1930'S AND FLED OVERLAND AND BY SHIP TO EGYPT BEFORE MOVING ON THROUGH THE SUDAN AND ON TO KENYA WHERE JACK AND HIS 2 ELDER BROTHERS GREW UP.
JACK WAS A TRUE GENTLEMAN, GENEROUS, HUMBLE , A LITTLE ECCENTRIC AT TIMES AND ALWAYS AUTHENTIC. I DON'T KNOW WHERE HE FOUND THE AMOUNT OF PATIENCE HE HAD, IN ANY SITUATION I HAVE NEVER EVER HEARD HIM RAISE HIS VOICE! JUST RECENTLY I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE WORDS HE SAID TO ME AFTER I HAD BEEN A LITTLE IMPATIENT WITH HIM WHICH I REGRET! HE SAID ‘POLE POLE KIJANA’ - IT MEANS SLOW DOWN YOUNG MAN! I GOT THE MESSAGE AND INSTANTLY APOLOGISED FOR MY BEHAVIOUR.
JACK HAD THIS REMARKABLE ABILITY TO LISTEN AND WHEN ASKED WOULD OFFER SOUND LEVEL HEADED ADVICE AND SOLUTIONS TO PEOPLE IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS OR CIRCUMSTANCES.
HE WAS VERY HIGHLY RESPECTED SO MUCH SO HIS SIKH BROTHERS WHOM HE PLAYED HOCKEY WITH REFERRED TO HIM AS ‘JACK SINGH’ ONE OF THEM- AN HONOUR HE HELD CLOSE TO HIS HEART.
JACK WAS A UNIQUELY TALENTED TRUE SPORTSMAN, SO MUCH OF A SPORTSMAN THAT DURING NUMEROUS COMPETITIONS HE WOULD OFTEN STOP DURING THE RACE OR RALLY TO ASSIST HIS FELLOW COMPETITORS, OFTEN ALLOWING HIS RIVAL TO WIN THE COMPETITION. ONE EXAMPLE IN 1969 AT THE KENYA MOTORCYCLE CHAMPIONSHIP, WAS WHEN MIKE
KIRKLAND, A GOOD FRIEND AND FELLOW SPORTSMAN AND JACK LINED UP ON THE GRID FOR THE FINAL DECIDING RACE. WHEN MIKE NOTICED HIS OWN CHAIN HAD A PROBLEM ON HIS MOTORBIKE HE KNEW HE WOULD BE UNABLE TO START. HE PULLED OFF THE TRACK TO ALLOW THE RACE TO START, AND JACK PULLED OFF AS WELL! JACK FIXED MIKES BIKE FOR HIM THAT ALLOWED MIKE TO WIN THE RACE AND HIS ONLY KENYAN BIKE CHAMPIONSHIP.
IN THE MOTORSPORT WORLD HE WAS A MULTIPLE EAST AFRICAN & KENYAN MOTOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR WINNER WHERE HE EXCELLED BOTH ON MOTORCYCLES AND IN CARS ON AND OFF THE ROAD
HE WAS A WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER FOR THE FORD LANCIA ALFA & NISSAN TEAMS & HIS MECHANICAL ENGINEERING ABILITIES TO DEVELOP AND IMPROVE THE MOTORCYCLE OR CARS DURABILITY AND PERFORMANCE were LEGENDARY. HE SPENT MANY YEARS DEVELOPING CARS FOR THE TEAMS PARTICIPATING IN THE EAST AFRICAN SAFARI RALLY
IF YOU HAD A MECHANICAL PROBLEM WITH ANY VEHICLE ASK JACK HE WOULD FIX IT AND AT THE SAME TIME MODIFY IT SO IT NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN!
HIS UNBELIEVABLE SPORTING TALENT WAS ALSO DISPLAYED ON THE HOCKEY FIELD BY HIS PARTICIPATION IN THREE OLYMPIC GAMES AS A HOCKEY GOALKEEPER IN ROME, MEXICO AND TOKYO, WINNING THE BEST GOALKEEPER OF THE TOURNAMENT IN THE 1968 MEXICO OLYMPICS.
SO HUMBLE WAS THE MAN THAT I ONLY FULLY UNDERSTOOD BY READING THE NUMEROUS LETTERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AFTER HIS PASSING THE ENORMITY OF HIS SPORTS ACHIEVEMENTS.
JACK ALSO SERVED IN THE KENYA REGIMENT ARMY IN THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATION BRANCH DURING KENYA'S EMERGENCY PRE INDEPENDENCE PERIOD WHERE HE WAS THEIR TOP MARKSMAN & WAS OFTEN CALLED UP TO SERVE AS THE FIRING MARKSMAN ON THE LIVE TRAINING EXERCISES!
MY QUESTION IS HOW DOES A MAN ACHIEVE WHAT HE DID IN A LIFETIME? I STILL HAVENT FOUND THE ANSWER!
I HAVE A LITTLE SECRET JACK KEPT THAT I ONLY LEARNT OF VERY RECENTLY- SOMETHING NOT EVEN MY FATHER, WHO KNEW JACK FOR OVER SEVENTY YEARS KNEW, JACKS REAL NAME WAS JOHN - JACK WAS HIS OLDER BROTHERS NAME!
ONE OF JACK’S GREATEST PASSIONS WAS IN THE KITCHEN AND HE COULD JUST ABOUT RUSTLE UP ANYTHING AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE - MANY OF YOU HERE MAY HAVE BEEN GRACED WITH ONE OF HIS FAMOUS CURRIES OR LATELY HIS DELICIOUS FRUIT CAKES! ONE WOULD NEVER GO HUNGRY IN JACK’S COMPANY!
JO PIP MARK & SUZY YOU MUST BE SO PROUD, AND I WILL ALSO ALWAYS CHERISH THE MEMORIES OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL MOTHER PAULINE WHO JACK MARRIED IN NAIROBI IN 1961. I KNOW THEY ARE BACK TOGETHER AGAIN, TWO HEARTS THAT COULD NEVER BE SEPARATED.
ABOVE AND BEYOND ALL JACK’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS WAS HIS FAITH. IT IS WHAT DROVE HIS EVERY MOVE AND WAS HIS COMPASS IN LIFE. JACK COULD BE FOUND IN CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY CLUTCHING HIS PRAYER BOOK AND SINGING HYMNS, ALWAYS READY TO LEND A HELPING HAND AND OFFER A WELCOMING HANDSHAKE TO ALL HE MET.
JACK WAS A LONG WAY FROM HOME WHEN HE DIED PEACEFULLY IN HIS SLEEP BUT AUSTRALIA AND HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS MADE HIM HAPPY. HE WOULD PACK HIS BAGS DAYS BEFORE HIS ANNUAL TRIP AND WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE NEIGHBOURS AND FRIENDS HERE FOR THEIR HELP, LOVE AND SUPPORT.
WE WISH HIM A RESTING PLACE FULL OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN


The versatile bamboo


THE  VERSATILE  BAMBOO  AND  ITS  USES
By  ARMAND  RODRIGUES
Technically, bamboo is not a tree.  It is a woody grass that can include over 1,400 species.  Cane and elephant-grass are related to it.  Man has used it in different forms, for centuries.  It is found in places as diverse as East Asia, India, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Argentina, Chile, the Andes, Ecuador, Africa, Central America and Mexico.  The name bamboo is believed to have originated with the Portuguese.
This plant can grow up to an astounding metre and half a day, and reach a height of thirty metres. An indoor version is relatively minuscule in size.  Yellow bamboo is mainly ornamental and not as useful as its green cousin  The seasoned green variety makes sturdy ladders, scaffolding, mats, sieves, toothbrush handles, combs, screens, musical instruments, shop-sticks, scoops, weapons, pulp for paper, supports and rafters for huts, slats for partitions and walls, and floating huts.  Bamboo, soaked in water becomes pliable and can be used in several ways.
 Thin bamboo makes for ideal fishing poles (rods) that are flexible and springy.  In Brazil, the forest dwellers of the Amazon use bamboo blow-guns in hunting.  Elsewhere, people make pea-shooters and pop-guns with bamboo. Interestingly, gorillas build “huts” in bamboo forests in the Congo and Uganda, like birds building a nest from grass or straw.  Coarse bamboo leaves are a staple food for pandas, elephants, lemurs, gorillas and chimpanzees.  Its tender shoots are a food source of sorts for humans and are used in dishes, soups and pickles. In the world of song and dance, Jamaican limbo-rock uses a bamboo rod. In the Philippines, a lively hopping dance entails dodging two clanging bamboo poles.
Anji County in China (Town of Bamboo) produces the most-valued bamboo poles in the world.  Since bamboo is light-weight, strong and durable, it is ideal for pushing the small craft in shallow water.  In ancient China, thin bamboo branches were made into pens to dip in ink and write or paint.  A recent fad seems to be bamboo pillows, sheets, towels and cushions. In reality, they are made from rayon derived from bamboo fibres, with added chemicals.
Even as I scribble, the bamboo shoot has really shot up in stature!


Dr Manu D'Cruz, Eulogy: a very special man and physician




Eulogy

Read By Dr. Gerald Moniz

Doctor Manual Joseph D'Cruz, son of Priscila and Lawrence D'Cruz was born on 25th December 1928 in Nairobi, Kenya. He was fondly known as Manu, Doc or Dr Manu. He was the 3rd born in a family of four with his sisters Lina, Lydia and Lillian. He attended his early school at the Dr. Ribeiro’s Goan School in Nairobi. His mother passed away in his tender years, hence he and his three sisters were sent to Belgaum in Goa to continue their education and be raised among the close family there. As the only boy in the family, he was doted on, Mana Bertil and Mana Marinha deserve a special mention serving him food and snacks first so he got the best. His mother lovingly embroidered his baby photo surrounded by flowers which he kept and is in his house until today. As is the group photo of his father in the treasury department surrounded by his colleagues, mainly Goan in those days.

Dr Manu attended high school at St Paul's high school in Belgaum and secondary school at St Stanislaus high School in Bandra, Bombay. He did his junior bachelor of Science, in St Xaviers college Bombay, and was enrolled to study medicines in B.J.Medical College,Ahmedabad, Gujarat University. The government decision of that time was that students of different states be brought together to study in a particular college and not of their choice. This resulted in Gujeratis, Maharashtrians, South Indians, Singh's, Punjabis and the one Goan study together, and form friendships that would last a lifetime.


As a true Goan during his medical degree, he taught his friends to let their hair down and take a break from studies, leading them in socializing, sports and singing. He smuggled Feni from Goa through the customs at Castle Rock, when travelling by train. And introduced it to them. He was famous for his beautiful baritone, with the song “old man river' a rendition of which he was asked to sing during the 1987 class reunion, he also led the hockey team of Gujarat University as its Captain in 1953.

As a young man, while he was in Goa on holiday from his studies, the time came around for the Saligao feast, which was arranged in his village vado, the problem was there were not enough girls. Dr Manu was given the task of finding and bring girls from East Africa from other villages to make the numbers, Marie Couto, fondly remembers, him cycling to Asagao to ask permission of her father, for her to come and spend the night with her uncle in Saligao, just to attend the dance.

Dr Manu, went on to do his post graduate degrees in the UK, a diploma- DLO RCP&S in ENT in London from the royal college of physicians and surgeons, and his FRCS in Otolaryngology. He came back to Kenya and has been in consultative practice as an ENT since 1962.

In 1972 he married Dr Clara D'Cruz at St Francis Xavier's Church with a reception at the Goan Gymkhana, the hall was overflowing with more than 400 guests, the reception had to be a stand up cocktail reception.



He was very passionate and derived much satisfaction much from practicing medicine. He was renowned as an ENT consultant in Kenya, and many of us here today have been treated by him. In 1963,



he was awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya, by the Government of Kenya and in 1992 the Paul Harris Fellow award by the Rotary Club of Mombasa in recognition of his work.

He held a large number of professional national appointments, he was Sessional ENT Consultant to Kenyatta National Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, Hospital, Mater Hospital Nairobi. (started ENT clinic at Mater Hospital). ENT Consultant to the Armed Forces of Kenya. Honorary Lecturer in Otolaryngology - University of Nairobi and the Schools of Nursing of the Nairobi and Aga Khan Hospitals. He held the chair of the Kenya Medical Association, the Association of Professional Societies of East Africa and the East African Medical Journal Committee. He was the Founder Chairman of the Medical Guild of St. Luke and a board member of Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board of Kenya. He was the Chairman
Kenya Society for Deaf Children and the Founder and Executive Director of Kenya Ear Foundation

Internationally, he was a member, Executive Committee of the International Federation of ORL Societies (IFOS), Member Executive Committee of the Pan-African Federation of ORL Societies (PAFOS), member Executive Committee of International Society of Audiology and a Consultant to IMPACT Foundation, UK

As an ENT Surgeon with a bias towards Otology, he was involved with the Kenya Society for Deaf Children for over 25 years, during which time many Educational and Technical Schools for the Deaf were set up. He also helped establish and initially managed, the Operation Ear Drop and IMPACT UK activities in Kenya


His main contribution is the establishment of the Kenya Ear Foundation (KEF) in 1985. He did this because of the vast reservoir of ear disease and the dearth of local ear surgeons and surgical facilities in rural Kenya. He has created awareness amongst Kenyans on the modalities available for the Prevention and Management of Deafness

In the Rural ENT Clinics Project, he headed local volunteer medical and nursing staff, with the help of the Kenya Air Force held free ENT Camps all over Kenya. Over 60,000 patients received treatment.

In Project Hearing, foreign senior ENT Surgeons were invited from India, Canada, UK, Sweden, Norway, Thailand and USA to donate their surgical skills performing over 6000 surgeries.

In  the  Noise  Project  to  prevent  Noise  Induced deafness,  he  initiated  the  required  legislation. Noise   Surveys   in   factories   were   carried   out, Management   advised   and   over   8000   factory workers were screened.

He established KEF Centers at strategically based Mission Hospitals to provide Hearing Aid services as well as screening of neonates.





Latterly, with Swedish support, he helped establish Hearing Aid Centres at Mathari and Kaplong where Hearing Aids were dispensed at subsidized rates or for free (specially for scholars).

The medical camps had Dr Manu and Clara traversing the country, there were many adventures on these trips, travelling to Lodwar on one medical trip, in Harold de Souza's, 4 seater plane, just after take-off, the pilot suddenly turns around and said, the door is not closed, and had to descend to close the door. To make matters worse, when they had almost reached, around Marsabit, Dr. Manu turned to Clara and in Konkani said, “this plane has a problem.” Truly, the landing wheels would not come down, the option was to turn around and crash land in Nairobi, luckily the pilot had an engineering background, and fiddled with the controls while all passengers prayed, and the wheels came down.

Dr. Manu was very involved with social activities, and was very keen on the culture and history of the Goans in Kenya and their contribution to Kenya history and politics, and was a font of knowledge for any author writing on the subject. He often lamented of his lack of information during the period he was away from Kenya studying. He was a trouble shooter for the community and was often the one everyone turned to mediate and arbitrate in a variety of problems.

He was a Founder Trustee and later Chairman of the Rotary Trust till 2013, he was Chairman and honorary member of Goan Gymkhana, Nairobi and Director and honorary member of the United Kenya Club.

He founded the Goan Cultural Society in 1978, which ran for 10 years, with the objectives to


maintain, promote & bring awareness of the various facets of Goan Culture, not only to the young Goans who were the targets but also to the other Kenyans. Programs like the Mando Festival, Goan Theatre, Goan Food Festivals, were annual features with Goans from as far as Mombasa participating. These were popular occasions and the Anniversary Dinner Dances were graced by High Commissioner of India, Ambassadors of Brazil, Canada and other dignitaries. Konkani classes were organized, Mando and the Portuguese dances including the Vira dances were taught to the youth, by “elder” Goan Members

He formed friends of the Nairobi South Cemetery to collect funds for its rehabilitation, the friends put   up   a   memorial   plaque   and   upgraded gravestones of the individual graves to give respect and  recognize  pioneer  members  of  the  Goan community who were buried at the Nairobi South Cemetery.

We found a piece titled “Thinking out Loud” and if you will allow us to quote his words “Historically, if I recall correctly, we had Goan clubs in Kisumu, Eldoret,  Nyeri,  and  maybe  Kitale  and  Nanyuki. Some of these assets have either been disposed off or reverted to the government in case of others. I know that the Goan Gymkhana was allocated land where Utalii College is now located, it reverted to the Government because we had not developed it as per the conditions of the grant.  We could not even produce evidence of expenditure on the plot, which  the  lands  commissioner  was  prepared  to reimburse! Susegaad!” With the dwindling number of  Goans  in  Kenya,  Dr  Manu  envisaged  a  trust which would be in charge of all Goan properties under one umbrella.


Dr Manu was very fond of his food, particularly Caramel Custard, Goan Coconut Prawn Curry, and Spaghetti Bolognese. He would decide how good an Italian restaurant, by their spaghetti Bolognese. He loved his Volvo and kept it in pristine condition, he loved his garden, especially flowering plants, anthuria and crotons, spending many hours in the garden and his passion for reading never abating. He liked to associate with his friends in the Goan Gymkhana on a Saturday afternoon, and enjoy his beer with them, something he had to give up when he fell sick. With Clara’s love of travel, Dr Manu accompanied her on many trips and symposiums and they met many VIP's, including, the current Japanese emperor and Mother Teresa.

During his long illness, he would often say he was in the transit lounge waiting for the call. He suffered from insomnia and could not read his books or spend time in the garden. His call came on 22nd November, where he will have eternal rest and be in the beautiful gardens of heaven.

A great mind and a noble soul, he will be truly missed by his beloved wife Clara, his family and friends and especially the Goan community where he gave so much of his time.

Eternal rest grant to Manu, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine down upon him. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.