My Singaporean Uncle – (a tribute to Andrew Soon)

Uncle Andrew and I having a laugh after I split my pants at our staff photoshoot... He always knew how to turn tragedy into triumph...

In Samoan culture, the term “Uncle” is probably used a little more liberally than most cultures, used to acknowledge older male family members, and possibly friends of family. But not usually any more than that. So it was to my surprise in Singapore when every taxi driver, every older food stall attendant, and every male 20 years older than me became “Uncle”. I wasn’t used to it.

Andrew Soon is my pastor, Larry Matsuwaki’s father-in-law. He is known affectionately as Uncle Andrew in our church. And I can honestly say, that he wasn’t just an uncle to me because he was older. He was an uncle to me in every sense of the word, just like any family uncle I have back home. He passed on to be with our God on Saturday August 27th 2011. I’m telling ya, that apart from my family members, I’ve not had the loss of such a presence of a human being so sorely missed as my champion, Uncle Andrew…

Here’s what I’ll miss mostly about Him:

His Humor

For those of you who know me, know that I love to laugh, and humor is so vital. This is probably the quality that he possessed that reminded me most of my own father – His ability to make people laugh. I told the staff at ENCS that Uncle Andrew is the only Singaporean to ever have made me laugh to the point of rolling on the floor. There was and is no-one funnier – No one had the knack of monologuing like Uncle Andrew – NO ONE. Which leads me directly to:

His Story-Telling Abilities

With such vivid sharp perception he took you into his multi-lingual opinionated world in High Definition and 3D. And his adventures were global, from stories of airport adventures in Canada, to healing adventures in Sri Lanka, to missionary adventures in China and Indonesia. No one told a story like Uncle Andrew, complete with sound effects, Singlish quips and body movement re-enactments.

His Street Knowledge

No one knew where to find any kind of good deal like Uncle Andrew did. From food to household supplies to moving trucks to builders to mechanics, Uncle Andrew had contacts for days throughout Singapore. His file-o-fax is a national treasure. And talk about an ability to bargain!

His sporting abilities

Uncle Andrew ran rings around me and other contemporaries on the badminton court. I played him a couple of times, and with him not even trying, he made me look like Mr Bean on the court.

His Servitude

If you knew Uncle Andrew you’d know that he embodied the Christ like servant-leader. Nuff said.

His Passion for Christ

Uncle Andrew is one of the strongest evangelists and faith-men I know in South East Asia. At a time when most people are winding up, Uncle Andrew was preaching the gospel and making disciples to the end. Even in his hospital wards in his last days, Uncle Andrew would tell of his relationship with Jesus to anyone who would listen, and some of his ward-mates would become followers of Christ because Uncle Andrew preached to them. That’s finishing strong. It was always a joy to me looking up from the floor of Vivo City GV Max as I lead worship and see Uncle Andrew in the back row with his tear filled eyes and hands lifted to his God in worship – because Uncle Andrew was a true worshiper.

We miss you so much Uncle Andrew, and are so thankful to God, and to the Soon family for sharing Uncle Andrew with us. As we say in Samoan – “Manuia le malaga” (have a blessed journey (to Heaven))


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