Crossing over from gospel to vanity

It would seem to me almost inevitable that if you were a preacher who went on and on about how, if you believe, believe, believe, you would be blessed with material riches, then you yourself had better live a life of luxury. If you didn’t, wouldn’t you run the risk that a member of your church might point to your lack of wealth and question your own piety? That might be a tad embarrassing.

Embarking on the prosperity gospel is to take the road to excess.

Readers at this point will know what I am referring to. Pastor Kong Hee and four others of the City Harvest Church were charged with criminal breach of trust and related offences on Wednesday this week. At the same time, the Commissioner of Charities released the findings of its 2-year-long investigation. As detailed in a press release, the Commissioner said his unit’s checks

revealed misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the Charity, particularly in relation to the funds that were in the Building Fund which had been raised and earmarked for specific purposes. Financial irregularities of at least $23 million from the Charity’s funds have been discovered. These funds were used with the purported intention to finance Ho Yeow Sun’s secular music career to connect with people. There was a concerted effort to conceal this movement of funds from its stakeholders.

– Press release, 26 June 2012, by the Commissioner of Charities

Ho Yeow Sun, also known as Sun Ho, is the wife of Kong Hee.

When the charges were read out in court, a further $26.6 million (making the total sums involved $50 million) was alleged to have been used in an attempt to conceal the misdeeds relating to the first $23 million.

Another court hearing is scheduled for 25 July; we do not yet know when the trial will take place.

That the church is wallowing in money is a a well-known fact. With a claimed 33,000 worshippers, each tithing ten percent of their income (something that many reports attest to), it was a money-minting machine.

Around March 2010, it was in the news when it purchased a minority stake in the megamall Suntec City. That too attracted the attention of the Commissioner of Charities.

The Commissioner of Charities has questioned City Harvest Church (CHC) about its $310 million stake in Suntec Singapore.

The money spent includes renovation and rental costs, the church said. CHC has not created a separate business entity for the purchase of the property.

But in the wake of the announcement, questions surfaced among the public about whether religious organisations – which are registered as charities – should be allowed to go into business using what are essentially donor funds.

– Straits Times, 20 March 2010, Charity Commissioner questions City Harvest, by Melissa Sim, Esther Teo and Yen Feng

According to what I could find on Wikipedia, the church then issued a statement clarifying that “it was under a non-disclosure agreement which required the details of the transaction to remain confidential, but explained that the investment was made through a holding company that is not a charity organization and does not enjoy tax breaks.” Apparently the church owns 100% of the said holding company.

Nothing more was heard about the move and I assume the Commissioner of Charities was satisfied with that transaction.

* * * * *

How do Kong Hee and other City Harvest pastors manage to persuade people to give so much money? I watched a video of him at work, but is still none with wiser. There was nothing at all persuasive about his sermon.

(Would someone who knows how to save this video do so?  I fear it will be taken down real soon after this.)

In fact, it was a pain sitting through its entire length. It was logically flawed and empty of meaning. Most crucially, for something in a religious setting, it addressed nothing about the human condition or the peace of spirituality.

But it was a wee bit interesting nonetheless in his clever use of argument. He first began by asserting that Jesus was a rich man, but who gave up his riches when he died on the cross, so that the riches might be bestowed onto his believers. Thus, the argument goes, if one believed in this now much-embellished character and what he represented, one would have one’s own riches multiplied.

Ah, but at around the 6 minute 40 second mark, Kong Hee sidled into a twist of that argument. However rich one became as a result of that belief, one is not really rich, for that is not the definition of richness, he said in essence. True wealth is one’s ability to use one’s wealth to do the church’s work. Hence: Give, give, give!

And remarkably – do these people I see in the video even belong to the same species as me? – his congregation must have been lapping it all up and giving.

* * * * *

By now too, readers are familiar with the church’s Crossover Project. Started around 2002, it was to promote the pop music career of Kong Hee’s wife, Ho Yeow Sun, so she could use her “talent” to help spread the gospel. It is this mission that has allegedly led to the misuse of $23 million.  There is more than enough commentary on the internet about the less-than-impressive quality of her output; I don’t need to add to that. In any case, I have never bothered to follow her career, so I have no special insight to share. I would note however that many have pointed out how incongruent it was for her to be slinking around in revealing shreds of clothing mouthing lyrics about a secret desire to kill someone, and yet claim that all this was to win converts.

Since first bursting onto the scene in 2003 as Kong Hee’s Mando-pop singing wife, Ho has been praised and slammed in equal parts by a public shocked by her skimpy dressing and blatant use of her husband’s church as a platform to promote her music albums.

[snip]

When the five successive albums she released between 2002-2007 hit double or triple platinum status, rumours of her “staged” popularity started to fly.

One church member reportedly accused Kong of using CHC funds to fuel Ho’s music career, but the allegation was later retracted.

In the wake of the accusations, Ho abruptly announced that she would be “looking overseas” to further her career, moving to Los Angeles, Hollywood with her young son, Dayan Kong.

The allegations were investigated by the Commercial Affairs Department in 2010, leading to the reported arrests Tuesday of her husband and four other key ministry members for alleged criminal breach of trust and falsifying church accounts.

But what was Ho up to in those three years she upped and moved to LA?

According to media reports, she was living the lavish lifestyle of a bona fide Hollywood celebrity.

It was reported by The New Paper in 2010 that Ho was renting a S$7.7 million estate in Hollywood Hills with her son, an assistant, a nanny, and her relatives.

The 29,000 sq ft Mediterranean style building boasted four structures, including accommodation for a butler, nanny, and maid. It also had a swimming pool and space for 11 cars, the tabloid said.

– Yahoo! news, 26 June 2012, Who is Ho Yeow Sun?, by Elizabeth Soh

Look, I have an easy explanation for this, and it’s a story as old as humanity: Vanity. It starts with someone who wants to be a celebrity. Then there is someone else, either so smitten by her, or so in awe of her, or so afraid of the hold she has on him, that he would do anything to feed her desire. And the rest is a sordid morality tale.

Yet, there is something new about this case. I didn’t see it until a friend pointed it out to me at lunch yesterday. He asked me to look again at Kong Hee and Ho, which I did as soon as I had the chance when I got back home in the evening. My friend was right: they look alike.

I felt creepy all over.

115 Responses to “Crossing over from gospel to vanity”


  1. 1 Anon 2894 29 June 2012 at 15:28

    NCCS basically does nothing. All the complaints about them has been going on for years but nothing has been done.

    Then out of sudden, the establishment wants to arrest all these people. Why? Did they encroach on the political establishment territorial?

    • 2 walkie talkie 29 June 2012 at 17:58

      NCCS (a Protestant body) does not have the power over those churches that join it. The churches are autonomous and not under the control of NCCS. A number of Protestant churches chose not to join NCCS. The Roman Catholic Church is not part of NCCS.

      [Yawning Bread: I think you meant – does not have the power over those churches that do not join it]

      • 3 walkie talkie 30 June 2012 at 09:17

        No typo in my comments :)

        I really meant that NCCS does not have the power to control those churches that join it. NCCS cannot control how its member churches run themselves. I quote from one of NCCS’ documents: “The National Council of Churches of Singapore is a body bringing together churches and Christian organisations in Singapore to present a united witness…Membership is voluntary and each member (i.e. church) retains its autonomy in determining its own policy and action.” NCCS can only control who they want to admit/retain as its member-church. For example, they would probably not want to admit Free Community Church as its member. At the same time, some Protestant churches (especially certain non-ecumenical churches) do not want to join NCCS.

    • 4 Erica 29 June 2012 at 19:35

      It may not be significant, but I note there was a change of attorney general on 25th June.

      I agree with Alex, if the allegations are proved, the story potentially has all the classic elements of a film noir, complete with femme fatale.

  2. 5 Anon 4027 29 June 2012 at 15:45

    “Look, I have an easy explanation for this, and it’s a story as old as humanity: Vanity. It starts with someone who wants to be a celebrity. Then there is someone else, either so smitten by her, or so in awe of her, or so afraid of the hold she has on him, that he would do anything to feed her desire. And the rest is a sordid morality tale.”

    Really? Dumb guy manipulated by woman? That’s your explanation? Kong Hee is the leader of the church and the guy preaching the prosperity gospel. I would guess that he is as, if not more materialistic than Ho.

    • 6 Poker Player 29 June 2012 at 17:28

      A guy doesn’t have to be dumb to be manipulated by a woman. He just needs to be horny enough.

  3. 7 Ian 29 June 2012 at 16:29

    View the video in Firefox or IE. As long as you have Realplayer and enabled the “Browser Download Plugin” or something similarly named, a pop up will appear on the top right corner. Click that to download the video in .flv format.

  4. 8 Poker Player 29 June 2012 at 16:36

    Flashback:

    http://temasektimes.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/businessman-withdraws-allegations-about-city-harvest-church-and-singer-ho-yeow-sun-and-church-prays-to-forgive-him-over-the-week

    After the recommended level (according to the LKY School of Forgiveness) of impoverishment and grovelling had been extracted from Mr Roland Poon, then chutzpah or closure – depending on your point of view:

    “And in five sermons over the weekend, Ho’s husband, church founder and senior pastor Reverend Kong Hee, asked the congregation to forgive the man.”

  5. 9 C.H. Cheng 29 June 2012 at 16:54

    Free Studio 5 lets you download YouTube videos to your desktop.

    http://dvdvideosoft.com/

  6. 10 Tortuga Poderosa (@tortugapoderosa) 29 June 2012 at 17:22

    I’m not too comfortable with the “Madame Bovary” take here either. The marriage of “prosperity gospel” and neoliberal capitalism, paired with access to vast amounts of money, would be a combination potent enough to corrupt Francis of Assissi.

    • 11 Poker Player 29 June 2012 at 20:21

      I don’t think Francis of Assissi is a good example.

      People born into wealth and give it up later in life tend not to be motivated by greed. There are also very few of them – offhand I can only think of St Francis, Wittgenstein and Siddhartha Gautama.

      It’s those from modest circumstances who find wealth later in life that you want.

  7. 12 Rhubikon 29 June 2012 at 17:46

    Spirituality and religion are rather separate entities. Nothing new with the appeal to
    Give Give Give in the name of a religious organisation. It was something similar that sparked off the Reformation after all.

    • 13 Anon w907 30 June 2012 at 00:23

      on the dot man, the part about the Reformation!
      go around and ask why there is a Vatican City and i bet you 9 out 10 or even less, have no absolutely no idea!

  8. 16 Teresa 29 June 2012 at 18:25

    I myself never joined up with the CHC activities as I felt they were morally wrong. Associating faith with money and glitzy buildings is awful but attractive to impressionable people.

    I knew a former schoolmate who became a devout CHC follower: Ms T. One thing interesting was her “minder” who often accompanied her everywhere: Ms Y. This Ms Y would often watch her behaviour and force her to stop, if she disapproved of Ms T’s actions. Ms Y would watch what she ate, drank, how she interacted with others, what she bought, what she listened to, etc. It’s unknown if Ms T’s job, her personal expenditure, etc. were also scrutinised by Ms Y.

    So Ms Y was like the “minder” who accompanies Katie Holmes, wife of Tom Cruise, currently a Scientology follower.

    Ms T boasted she donated $10,000 of her personal saving. She also claimed to attend functions where attendees were encouraged to purchase exorbitant outfits(sometimes tailored), to meet the dress code. Both of these are unverified claims but there were photos of the functions.

    • 17 Goop 2 July 2012 at 12:23

      If I had read this comment out of the blue and not on a post on CHC, I would’ve thought you were describing a cult.

  9. 18 lee sze yong 29 June 2012 at 18:37

    One easy way to download youtube videos is keepvid (http://keepvid.com/). No need to install software (though you need to allow it to use Java)

  10. 19 Gazebo 29 June 2012 at 18:51

    actually wealth preachers suit the ruling party created society… a society which worships wealth and material success over all else. the success of CHC and other wealth preaching churches has much to do with the way our children are brought up and the structure of our institutions.

  11. 20 octopi 29 June 2012 at 19:11

    There are forces much more powerful than rational thought in governing human behaviour. One of these forces is one’s conception of the self. It may not necessarily be that Sun Ho was adept at manipulating Kong Hee. Rather, Kong Hee saw himself as a great leader of men, and married to a princess who was a media celebrity and adored by the masses. (Think of how the Beckhams also behave like a royal couple). Then they sought to fulfil what they perceive to be the natural order of things by whatever means necessary.

    So that tells you something about elites. Yes, they are greedy, but it’s also a lot about shaping and preserving the order of things. And it also explains why it’s so hard for the die hards of CHC to understand that they are the victims of the fourth biggest scam that has ever been perpetrated in Singapore – because that contravenes the self-image that all these guys have spent years building up.

    Then again, it is not with a great deal of confidence that I say this – religious people are different from secular people because their brains are wired differently – just like how gay peoples’ brains are wired differently from straight people. In effect there is not one human nature but at least three or four.

  12. 21 Joseph Wong 29 June 2012 at 20:15

    Alex, I find your articles generally insightful, but like some of the posters above I object to your characterisation of Pastor Kong as being in thrall to his wife. It’s sexist, bordering on misogynist, to assume that the man must have been led to his downfall by the femme fatale. He’s an adult man who was intelligent, disciplined and charismatic enough to cultivate a congregation of more than 30,000 – he can take responsibility for his own actions and his own shortcomings.

    • 22 sacralnirvana88@gmail.com 30 June 2012 at 12:12

      Please, let this be the last time that the term “femme fatale” is used in association with Sun Ho.

    • 23 Poker Player 30 June 2012 at 17:58

      Leaving aside whether they are true or not, these two things are not mutually exclusive:

      1) He was led to his downfall by the femme fatale

      2) He can take responsibility for his own actions and his own shortcomings.

    • 24 Jentrified Citizen 30 June 2012 at 21:53

      agree with Joseph on this. Perhaps Kong is the manipulator while Sun is the adoring fan who will feed his desires? whatever the case, we will be mon the wiser as it is between them.

  13. 25 Alfred Bartom 29 June 2012 at 21:23

    I’m enjoying the many interesting comments. I have a few ideas to add.

    I watched the video too (well, parts of it anyway) As already noted by Alex: It was logically flawed and empty of meaning.” I’d have to agree. But then such a belief system relies heavily on emotionalism as the highest expression of belief/faith and what members would claim is spirituality. Not much thinking is encouraged or required; note the entire lack of a meditative or contemplative atmosphere. I once wandered into a religious performance at Oral Roberts Univ in Tulsa, OK. People would jump up and down, crying, and shout out “Jesus!”. It’s a clean way to get high (and both embarrassing and amusing to witness). In this regard, the CHC crowd are rather staid, I’d say.

    Just wondering and anticipating: the alleged misuse of funds involves bond deals, which would involve financial consultants/bankers/lawyers among other parties. $50M is a lot of money to account for and move around. So, will the circle of players in the alleged misdoings widen?

    The money-prosperity side of how the “business” operates really smells. Has this really just been a business from the start, if you know what I mean? And a less than “kosher” one to boot?

  14. 27 Erica 29 June 2012 at 21:39

    While I haven’t attended CHC, I have attended, by invitation, a very large secular “prosperity” convention. The techniques employed by the speaker included manipulation of emotions, exploitation of our natural desire to care for others, closed eye mass hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, emotional music, to name but a few. The result is an addictive elation, that could certainly keep people coming back each week. I would like to claim to be immune to these methods of persuasion, however, it is all too easy to get swept up in the emotion of such large events, no matter who we are, and to end up suspending good judgement. I had an expensive lesson. I can totally understand how sensible people can be manipulated by charismatic leaders of mega churches and prosperity cults into giving away sizeable percentages of their income, which often goes towards funding the wealthy lifestyle of the leader.

    • 28 Poker Player 30 June 2012 at 18:06

      It’s a continuum. One end you have outright cults. At the other, motivational speakers, life coaches and self-help gurus. It’s an accident of circumstance that Anthony Robbins is not a televangelist.

  15. 29 yuen 29 June 2012 at 22:05

    > My friend was right: they look alike.

    I have in the past noticed that some husband/wife pairs look more like each other as they grow older; it is probably related to common expressions and speech patterns affecting face muscles

    however, kong hee and sun ho’s resemblance is not clear from the photos you provided, but these photos in international press sites show the resemblance very clearly

    http://timenewsfeed.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/sun_ho.jpg?w=600&h=400&crop=1

    but this is a recent thing; older photos I saved do not show obvious resemblance

    your readers might like to know that Kong Hee was my student in a 1986-7 computer science course; he was then running some small bible study groups on campus; that the thing grew to be a megachurch in less than 20 years was a surprise to everyone in the department and he was considered the most notable success story among our graduates; now he is even more notable, but I guess not in the way we would have preferred

    • 30 Goop 2 July 2012 at 12:26

      Well. Seems obvious that someone’s had the nose done.

      • 31 diligo 18 July 2012 at 11:07

        indeed, the old pic and the kong hee I chanced upon in KKH back in 31st Dec 2009, shows a different nose.

    • 32 diligo 18 July 2012 at 11:15

      Curiously, does the loving God encourage plastic surgery so that one looks better, Kong definitely got his nose done, does God condone vanity? I wonder?

  16. 33 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 30 June 2012 at 02:25

    1.He first began by asserting that Jesus was a rich man, but who gave up his riches when he died on the cross, so that the riches might be bestowed onto his believers.
    2.Thus, the argument goes, if one believed in this now much-embellished character and what he represented, one would have one’s own riches multiplied.

    My answer:
    1. Did the Word of God state anything about Joseph and Maria being rich? Is Nazareth full of rich people? What did the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law said about that place?
    “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

    2. I believe in the Lord. I know he represents salvation on the cross. I know my riches as nothing more than God’s promise upon the Calvary. And I know in whom I believe in.

  17. 34 octopi 30 June 2012 at 04:28

    “I fear it will be taken down real soon after this.”

    I don’t know what will happen to City Harvest Church after this. It will be too big to close down, like the banks. It’s about the work of all the members, and not only about a financial scam. There will be an exodus, but people will stay. I think it will survive under a different leadership. But then the main issue would be how to get rid of the cancer.

    That’s why this video is important. It is like some kind of holocaust memorial that should serve as a warning to the church: “never again”.

  18. 35 Tell Me the Truth 30 June 2012 at 08:30

    Kong Hee is CHC & CHC is Kong Hee, both are inseparable, what he has done has a profound impact on his congregation whether thru his sermons or thru his lifestyle, period. There are no two ways about it.

    Just wondering whether the National Council of Churches (NCC) & a certain Minister are now slapping their foreheads for standing by Kong Hee & his church in their very public statements that the public should not prejudge CHC. I am bringing this up becos in a statement released by executive pastor Aries Zulkarnain of CHC on Thursday evening, the church stated that it is standing by the five individuals. Not forgetting foreign pastors stepping in, CHC Advisory Pastor, Rev Dr Phil Pringle.

    Most intriguing is CHC’s affirmation of the high moral & spiritual value of the Crossover Project.

    From ST:
    “The church states that the Crossover Project is not about one person’s singing career; it is a mission that is fundamental to the congregation of CHC. The Crossover Project is an outreach that uses Sun Ho’s singing and music to engage people and places that would never otherwise hear the Gospel”

    So my question to the NCC, if Sun Ho is the primary key to the Crossover Project, then all her videos on youtube are also endorsed wholeheartedly by all the churches under your umbrella? NCC, take another good look at the videos, those dance moves are the same as those found in American stripper clubs. So going by CHC’s explanation of the Crossover Project, stripper dance moves are alright as a vehicle to spread the Gospel? Excuse me, no parents in their right minds would allow their children or teenagers to be associated with stripper trash tagged along with Christianity.

    • 36 ttt 30 June 2012 at 17:53

      History repeats itself. Remeber in Durai’s case, when he was first charged, some famous people wrote to the ST Forum to vouch on his integrity.

    • 37 Ian (the other one) 30 June 2012 at 23:06

      CHC =/= Kong Hee, i believe that his conduct and his sermons are not entirely the same. I also do not believe that he listens to all his sermons and follow it strictly, hence the lies he and the few charged has made to doctor the records.

      I think that CHC is being discussed too much and is pretty much irrelevant to his conduct.

  19. 38 Regime Change 30 June 2012 at 09:21

    This reminds me of Osho, also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. He was an Indian mystic and pseudo-philosopher who had a huge following in the U.S. in the 70s and 80s and amassed a fortune in donations. What did he do with the money? He bought 76 Rolls-Royces for himself. (Seventy-six, it’s not a typo.)

    The CHC is not a religion or a church. It’s a personality cult like Osho.

    When will people learn that religion, (any religion), has little to do with money. All you need is faith in whatever God you believe in, be a good human being, and don’t do to others etc. etc. That’s all, do that, and you will go to heaven or paradise or Elysium or Valhalla.

  20. 39 ckyyck@cheerful.com 30 June 2012 at 11:03

    The whole sermon here can be deconstructed. Point by point, it is flawed for the aim of the whole sermon is directed towards getting the audience and video watchers to donate to the church. It is not about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is more the Good News of one man’s dream to become more richer. I wonder how much of all the millions collected were spent on charity. Is this not supposed to be a charitable trust. So who are the real beficiaries here? But when people are sucked into this lie, you cannot persuade them otherwise. To give up following this one person now would risk too much. You can be sure that none of the members would be voting for the current Government at the next election. What is the world coming to? Yet, be not deceived for such things will come to pass when the “elect” will be ensnared in the last days.

    • 40 yawningbread 1 July 2012 at 10:21

      You wrote: I wonder how much of all the millions collected were spent on charity.

      Somehow I can’t find any easy link to City Harvest Church’s Annual Report and Financial statements on their website (www.chc.org.sg). I thought all non-profits are required to publish such information. Can anyone point me to them?

      • 41 Drakaina 1 July 2012 at 11:16

        Lucky Tan (Diary of a Singaporean Mind) has some figures, albeit from 2008. But seems that CHC has removed them from their website since, which makes it even more fishy…

  21. 42 Passerby 30 June 2012 at 13:18

    Maybe there’s a deeper meaning behind it all. While Kong Hee sends his wife Sun Ho to gyrate and flaunt her body (even though there really isn’t much to see) to proselytise to the heathen masses in the US, he is deliberately setting himself up to be a convict – one who faces a life sentence, no less – in order to preach to the ungodly in prison.

    For how else can one truly understand another sinner unless he has walked a mile in his shoes, or in this case, donned his Changi prison uniform? Where else to practise turning the other cheek other than when the calloused knuckles of a fellow inmate from whom you are trying to extract tithe smashes into your expensive botoxed face?

    So let us all hold our righteous anger and derision in check and pray for the two messengers of God who, having “harvested” the wealth of the rich in Singapore, are now debasing themselves for the Lord to preach to the dregs of society by becoming one with them.

    /sarcasm

  22. 43 Rabbit 30 June 2012 at 14:03

    The whole idea of him hopping around in the video was about MONEY TALK, especially more clear from 7 minutes onward when I wanted to stop but at 8 minutes, he said prosperity was not about the size of money one holds in the bank which sounds sensible. Unfortunately he killed it seconds later by asking people to depart their wealth otherwise they will not be mentally prosperous. Is that all? Prosperity narrowly defined by gullibly departing one’s wealth to make another man wealthier which seemed likely in this case. At that point, it became too painful for further consumptions and I stopped watching knowing the whole intent was clear – the church needs more money with no transparency of its ultimate usage.

    Now I wonder how many still live in HDB among those 33000 followers who suddenly became bank rich and prosperous after departing their wealth for the extremely extravagant lifestyle of Kong Hee & family. I am not against Christianity but let’s look at this man objectively behind his religion, $23mil could have been well spend on the poor and needy instead of making his wife more sexy and famous with million dollar estate to match those rich and famous in Hollywood. Surely, the couple must be laughing all the way to their fat banks screaming with prosperity in the name of doing “good cause”.

  23. 44 ttt 30 June 2012 at 17:55

    A sucker is born every second, How long does it take to reach 33000?

  24. 46 Poker Player 30 June 2012 at 18:14

    Just for fun, google “non-tithers”.

  25. 47 Poker Player 30 June 2012 at 18:18

    When you are low on funds, and people stare at you for not tithing, do a Captain Kirk…

  26. 48 Lala 30 June 2012 at 20:30

    I disagree. I think Pastor Kong was not entirely in thrall with his wife. His 9million Sentosa cove appt, his car, his expenses… I think he’s in thrall with money and luxury, and has full responsibility in this case.

  27. 49 Mohammad Nizam Abdul Kadir 30 June 2012 at 20:33

    “In fact, it was a pain sitting through its entire length. It was logically flawed and empty of meaning. Most crucially, for something in a religious setting, it addressed nothing about the human condition or the peace of spirituality.”

    I don’t think this is a fair comment on a sermon by a particular belief. Must all sermons address the human condition or the peace of spirituality? And the fact you based it on just one video, I think it is really unfair.

    You’ll need to read more about their project CrossOver, because I know some Muslim artists who went to the secular music scene with the same aims of reaching out to the secular world. Here’s the link: http://www.citynews.sg/2012/05/city-harvest-church-10-years-of-the-crossover-project/

    “It was then that they realized that pop music could be a powerful bridge to communicate the love of God to the youth. What if they could repackage the message of faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ and bring it into the schools, the boardrooms and the bedrooms of the unchurched? At that time, it was unheard of for those in the Christian world to share the Gospel through the secular entertainment platform.”

    • 50 Anon 7125 1 July 2012 at 11:56

      I wish people would find out what secularism really means. You can be religious AND secular. Secularism is the seperation of religious institution from governing bodies, and that policy decisions are not based on doctrines from any religious groups, without the intention of dismissing or criticizing religious beliefs of any creed. It ensures and allows everyone the freedom to follow their own religion.

      You can be a Catholic AND be secular, because the other person over there might be a Muslim, and if ever Catholicism becomes a minority, you can STILL be a Catholic without the government persecuting you because it’s illegal to be anything other than a Buddhist in the state.

      • 51 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 1 July 2012 at 13:43

        Secularism can be defined in two facets. One is the current world we’re living in now. The other is the carnal pleasures borne from the flesh. One can combine the two together, yet do not forget that while the world belongs to God, we cannot say God belongs to the world.

      • 52 yawningbread 1 July 2012 at 16:47

        you wrote: yet do not forget that while the world belongs to God, we cannot say God belongs to the world.

        You shouldn’t be preaching.

      • 53 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 1 July 2012 at 17:06

        No I’m not preaching my own logic. It’s just like you can say the created is owned by the Creator, yet not vice-versa. Of course my wording might have gone a bit too harsh. Yet what I’m trying to say is this: Definition on secularism can never be simplified under theological grounds.

      • 54 Anon k45p 1 July 2012 at 16:07

        I say go all the way. It’s safer to be a Muslim in a secular state that one in an Islamic state. Ask any Shi’ite (in a Sunni majority state) or Sunni (in any Shi’ite majority state) or Ahmadiah (in any(!) Muslim majority state). Guideline – if a country allows a man to marry another man, it’s safe for for Muslims – how matter how “funny” other Muslims thinks his beliefs are.

        Unfortunately once Muslims gain any influence in these countries, they want to make it unsafe for men who want to marry other men.

      • 55 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 17:00

        Secularism can be defined in two facets. One is the current world we’re living in now. The other is the carnal pleasures borne from the flesh. One can combine the two together, yet do not forget that while the world belongs to God, we cannot say God belongs to the world.

        In no (even half-) serious discourse is secularism defined the way you have “defined” it…

      • 56 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 1 July 2012 at 22:49

        Guess we’re entering a messy territory here. We can go on and on until the cow comes home, but if theological argument is a no-go territory for either side, then I don’t see any point for this debate to continue. You can stick by your guns and I can ask for your own definition as well. But at the end of the day, it’s not gonna do us good. After all it takes two hands to clap. Period.

      • 57 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 23:09

        “You can stick by your guns and I can ask for your own definition as well.”

        I don’t have to have one because I haven’t used it in any of my arguments here.

        Even if I did, I would use one “off-the-shelf” because this is not a new word and it is used a lot – I like to avoid giving definitions to a word that is already defined by people who think about it a lot.

        Not only is your definition unique to your own use – it doesn’t even sound like one .

      • 58 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 23:26

        “No I’m not preaching my own logic. It’s just like you can say the created is owned by the Creator, yet not vice-versa. ”

        That is only intelligible if you grant that creation occurred or that the concept of creation even makes sense in that context.

        “Of course my wording might have gone a bit too harsh. Yet what I’m trying to say is this: Definition on secularism can never be simplified under theological grounds.”

        Which definition? Who did the simplification and on which theological grounds?

      • 59 octopi 2 July 2012 at 05:53

        It’s funny to be saying that theology is not a subject worth of serious study, but secularism is. An idea such as “there really is a God and He is really existing and operating in physical space” may or may not deserve serious consideration. But if we think of God as a entity in mental space and if we look to the bible for some indication of how Christians might think, if we want to allude to their system of beliefs and mental constructs, then you cannot ignore theology.

        If you don’t understand theology, you don’t understand how these people think. If you don’t understand how they think you shouldn’t comment on them. Even though I do think that God is just an idea, I don’t believe in: just because it’s an idea, it’s not real.

      • 60 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 3 July 2012 at 06:47

        And this, my friend is where the politically correct factor lies: Theological debate=supporting religion where in fact the two should be seen as separate unless we’re living under a theocracy.

      • 61 Poker Player 2 July 2012 at 10:31

        “If you don’t understand theology, you don’t understand how these people think. If you don’t understand how they think you shouldn’t comment on them. ”

        So, who should comment on people who fly planes into buildings? I don’t think relatives or survivors “understand how they think”…

        You can comment whenever their actions affect the material world – whether or not you understand or care what goes on in their heads.

      • 62 Poker Player 2 July 2012 at 10:57

        “If you don’t understand theology, you don’t understand how these people think. If you don’t understand how they think you shouldn’t comment on them.”

        There are more than 70 comments here and counting…very umm…theological….

      • 63 Anon s9kj 2 July 2012 at 22:58

        sigh….well, i suppose some discussion on secularism is better then no discussion, but man, Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu, and octopi, you’re so way off the mark you’re not even on the same planet….

        once again, you can be religious AND secular. Secularism takes NOTHING away from a religion. It’s just a system in place that allows EVERYONE to follow their own religion without interference from the state, with the police bearing down on you and hauling your ass into the abyss just because you have a different creed. Can you imagine trying to be a Christian in a Muslim state like Saudi Arabia? Or that poor fellow who got arrested in Indonesia because he doubted the existence of god?

        dammit, it’s not that complicated. It’s about co-existence! it’s about allowing the other party to believe whatever he or she wants to believe in. that’s all there is to it!

      • 64 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 3 July 2012 at 06:58

        Sigh… I never said this isn’t secularism. Just that what you’ve described here is PART of secularism itself. In a social-political sense, yes this is secularism and I don’t have any problems with it since to me, theocracy is the worst form of human government. So let’s stop at here, okay? I suspect more strawmen will pop up if I go on further.

      • 65 octopi 3 July 2012 at 02:39

        There is freedom of speech, so you can comment on them. But the discussion will always go nowhere until you understand what it means to be religious. There are broadly two types of people and they speak different languages. The first type will quote the bible when they start commenting, and I’ve come to realise that those people give more credence to arguments if something in the bible (no matter that it is almost always quoted out of context) seems to support it. The second type would roll their eyes every time somebody starts quoting the bible. Inevitably both sides would stop listening to each other and the dialogue would stop being a dialogue.

        So you can talk about religion, but it wouldn’t be anything meaningful. You can talk about the flying of an airplane without knowing the laws of physics, that’s freedom of speech. But then why would anybody want to listen to you? You can be religious and secular at the same time. But the problem is that when both people talk to each other about religion without a good understanding of the other person’s values, they will always be talking past each other. The bible quoting guy will keep on quoting the bible without realising that people find it incredibly off putting, and the secular guy, because he’s rolled his eyes and stopped listening, knows and learns nothing about religion.

        Poker player, I remember you once mentioned that it’s time to stop participating in a discussion once somebody mentions the Nazis. The same would probably apply to those who draw an equivalence between religion and 9/11. Well let me say that I agree with you that 9/11 is a Really Bad Thing, and also that it’s an incredibly bimbonic thing to say.

      • 66 octopi 3 July 2012 at 07:23

        And since you mention 9/11, when I look at the consequences of the actions that the US government took since 9/11 – two wars, probably a million dead, trillions of dollars spent and the US economy destroyed, museums commemorating the birth of human civilisation destroyed, civil liberties taken away, and at the end of the day, Egypt gets an Islamist government – I think everybody would have been better off if they did nothing and said nothing.

      • 67 Poker Player 3 July 2012 at 16:40

        I say:

        So, who should comment on people who fly planes into buildings? I don’t think relatives or survivors “understand how they think”…

        In your reply:

        You can talk about the flying of an airplane without knowing the laws of physics, that’s freedom of speech. But then why would anybody want to listen to you?

        Are you doing this sort of thing on purpose?

      • 68 Poker Player 3 July 2012 at 16:40

        I think everybody would have been better off if they did nothing and said nothing.

        Wow…

      • 69 Poker Player 3 July 2012 at 16:58

        “Just that what you’ve described here is PART of secularism itself.”

        True – but you can’t expect him to encyclopedic in a blog comment. But this definitely is NOT the rest of it:

        “Secularism can be defined in two facets. One is the current world we’re living in now. The other is the carnal pleasures borne from the flesh. One can combine the two together, yet do not forget that while the world belongs to God, we cannot say God belongs to the world.”

      • 70 octopi 4 July 2012 at 03:39

        Doing what? You mean stuff like fudging religion and terrorism?

      • 71 octopi 4 July 2012 at 06:15

        “So, who should comment on people who fly planes into buildings? I don’t think relatives or survivors “understand how they think”…”

        I’m waiting for somebody, in the wake of the Breivik massacre to denounce Christianity as an “evil religion”. The silence is deafening. It’s not really about religion, is it?

        Also:

        I said,

        “9/11 is a Really Bad Thing… (is) an incredibly bimbonic thing to say.”

        and you said,

        “Wow…”

      • 72 Poker Player 6 July 2012 at 10:18

        I’m waiting for somebody, in the wake of the Breivik massacre to denounce Christianity as an “evil religion”. The silence is deafening. It’s not really about religion, is it?

        Do you even understand the concept of a counter-example?

        You haven’t backed up your claim:

        If you don’t understand theology, you don’t understand how these people think. If you don’t understand how they think you shouldn’t comment on them.

        And now you are obviously evading and obfuscating.

      • 73 Poker Player 6 July 2012 at 10:23

        I see:


        I said,

        “9/11 is a Really Bad Thing… (is) an incredibly bimbonic thing to say.”

        and you said,

        “Wow…”

        In my comment:
        ——–
        I think everybody would have been better off if they did nothing and said nothing.

        Wow…
        ——–

        Imagining things is now a valid form of argumentation for you? Do yourself a favour – if you have nothing to say – wait for the next article and give it another go – this is no good for your credibility.

    • 74 Anon 11j5 4 July 2012 at 00:22

      Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu wrote:

      “Sigh… I never said this isn’t secularism. Just that what you’ve described here is PART of secularism itself. In a social-political sense, yes this is secularism and I don’t have any problems with it since to me, theocracy is the worst form of human government. So let’s stop at here, okay? I suspect more strawmen will pop up if I go on further.”

      You are shifting the goal-post. Your original entry is as follows:

      “Secularism can be defined in two facets. One is the current world we’re living in now. The other is the carnal pleasures borne from the flesh. One can combine the two together, yet do not forget that while the world belongs to God, we cannot say God belongs to the world.”

      Any fair and objective reading of your original text can, in no way, be interpreted to mean that your thinking on the matter dovetails with mine. What is this current world you speak of? Much of the world today is NOT secular. I’ll even stick my neck out and say that the majority of the world today is not secular. And even secular countries can be hijacked by religious fundamentalists.

      Secularism also DOES NOT mean what you think it means (at least as apparent in your original text). In any dictionary meaning of the term. It has nothing to do with the material world, nothing to do with carnal pleasures or whatever the rest of your text means. It’s simply an idea, and it’s a very good one.

      However, if you can accept that the PRIMARY concept of secularism deals with the very simple and basic idea of live and let live, that no religious doctrines from any creed should drive government policies, and that the state has no business telling us what to believe, and to persecute us if we don’t, then we have no quarrel.

      Which, incidentally, brings us to your use of the term strawmen. For the benefit of those who do not know, this is the definition from wikipedia:

      “A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.[1] To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position”

      Given that my follow up post is almost an exact replica of my original post….I fail to see how it is a straw-man. If anything, it is you who had engaged in it, given that your definition of secularism was really nothing but a huge misinterpretation of what it really means.

    • 75 Poker Player 6 July 2012 at 10:46

      “Doing what? You mean stuff like fudging religion and terrorism?”

      When you make a very general claim, giving a counter-example is not fudging. Sometimes it’s good to just stop “producing content” (like comments) for a while and just read good books where people make careful distinctions and know the inferential relationships between their own sentences and those of their debating opponents.

  28. 76 Kelvin 30 June 2012 at 22:15

    To save the video from YouTube, just install a plugin for either Chrome or Firefox called YouTube Downloader, you will be able to download the video from YouTube and save it on your desktop.

  29. 77 K 30 June 2012 at 22:31

    They probably have “adjusted” their features, so they looked alike !

  30. 78 Jeremy Chen 30 June 2012 at 23:24

    Here are the bible references that give the complete picture on why Jesus was decked out in that time’s version of bling…

    Mark 15:17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
    Mark 15:18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”

    John 19:2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe
    John 19:3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.

    Two accounts…..

    They dressed him up to mock him. Then the grunts wanted to take the bling from his body…

    His preaching is disappointing.

  31. 79 Png Kiok Khng 1 July 2012 at 00:21

    Noticed that people clap without prompting from the pastor when he mentions becoming rich by believing in God. Seems to suggest that they buy into this argument. Isn’t it the same as those who goes to temple to ask for 4D number? 4D can be cheaper than those 10% tithes.

  32. 80 Confused 1 July 2012 at 01:40

    What is sad about our society is that it has come to this – the existence of so many of these mega churches with their wealthy pastors and related biz activities – plus their ludicrous prosperity preachings – but everyone is so hush hush about it and no one speaks out against it publicly enough – to protect the innocent. The media hardly speaks about it and I suppose bec its religion – it is so sensitive and politicians don’t speak about it. But it took so long for the govt auditors to go in and recommend better governance in these organisations n put more stringent checks on these sharmas!

  33. 81 skponggol 1 July 2012 at 11:14

    At least this church is focusing on the materials desire of their leaders and followers, and not their moral needs.

    Instead of organising their followers on a crusade for so-called Family Values such as anti-gay and anti-abortion agenda, the members are galvanised to focus on satisfying their materials needs and their leaders’ material gain. Instead of campaigning against Lady Gaga like those Christians in Korea, this church is trying to mimic and surpass her???!!!

    As such, this church is actually less damaging and less polarising than those in America, whose leaders are more interested in accumulating political power and imposing their doctrines onto non-believers.

    • 82 skponggol 1 July 2012 at 11:24

      My advice: Leave them alone. As long as they don’t disturb you, you don’t go and disturb them. What they want to do with their hard-earned money is as irrelevant to any outsiders as what you want to do inside your bedrooms. You don’t want people to make fun on your lifestyle, then you don’t make fun on other people’s lifestyle.

      If the outside world were to push them too hard, it may provoke a backlash. They may re-direct their followers to pursue a hardcore family-oriented conservative agenda. And with a weakened PAP government, they may be more successful in that direction.

      • 83 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 16:13

        What?

        If they break the law, expect prosecution. They should be treated no differently from the people who used to run NKF just because they thump the Bible.

      • 84 Anon 6dkg 1 July 2012 at 18:42

        It would be a mistake turn the other cheek / to leave them alone. They are already encroaching on innocent families, tearing them apart through their indoctriniation, which draws the very young & young into their fold, pressing them to donate, donate, donate to the church (by all means manipulative and pressurising). In many instances, impressionable young ones have “disowned” their parents to spend their time and money on the church.

        Another thing to watch out for: steeplejacking. CHC have also got themselves wrapped up with government ministry on numerous youth initiatives, almost like a win-win situation. Ministry officers achieve their government objectives, CHC get to sell their pitch to the same.

      • 85 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 22:49

        And yes, remind me again why gays (who include people who are fighting for marriage and adoption rights) are anti-family, and people who carry and revere a book with a passage like that are “pro-family”.

  34. 86 Anon 3118 1 July 2012 at 16:27

    Can you BUY God? Some people think so..Others like me think otherwise :)

  35. 87 yawningbread 1 July 2012 at 16:58

    There are several comments that I am not posting because they take the form of starting with a bible citation, and then drawing some conclusion from it.

    In other words, they go “The bible said this, this and this, therefore you should be (or he should do) that, that and that.”

    This form is not acceptable for this blog, because the starting citation is particular belief, not secular public reason, and hence the consequential statement adds nothing to a discussion that should be based on public reason.

    • 88 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 17:02

      Killjoy.

      • 89 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 17:06

        More seriously. I think this form is legitimate for this article because we are discussing the conduct of people who claim to be guided by the source of these citations.

    • 90 Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu 1 July 2012 at 17:08

      Well, if that’s the case, then playing theology will be an extremely tricky path to take then. Now I know why you’re so set off by my views on secularism. My thousand apologies offered. :(

  36. 91 TAP 1 July 2012 at 17:43

    Nice article and set of intelligent comments.

    I think an important issue in this whole story is the lack of transparency in financial matters in the church. If they truly believe the money is channelled for a good cause, they should not have tried to hide it. They should have announced the usage clearly during sermons.

    The whole affair also reminds me to judge a person not by his name, clothing,reputation or status, but by the meanings of his words and impacts of his actions.

    Nonetheless, it is interesting to wonder how the Pastor could enthrall so many people and gather so much strong support despite the seriousness of the allegations. I’m pretty sure many politicians would love to know the secret.

    TAP

  37. 92 Laws of Nature 1 July 2012 at 20:15

    Just sharing…Audio recording of Kong Hee’s “prosperity sermon” with voice-over critique by a caucasian. Interesting.

    • 93 Poker Player 1 July 2012 at 23:40

      The universe is divided into two groups of people. People who tithe – or give money to God, who later redistributes it to the second group of people. Of course the second group tithe too, sort of like the ang-pow your grandma gives you in return after you give her one.

      Gotta question God’s redistribution logic. A congregation gives to God. God redistributes it and decides that the person who should receive the most is the guy with the penthouse and fancy car. Not sure about the kid who broke his piggy bank though.

      Of course you need miracles for this to be palatable. The first group get their returns on investment with about as much reliability as prayers are answered. The second group get theirs with the same certainty as death and taxes.

    • 94 octopi 2 July 2012 at 05:54

      Does Desmond Kung sound like a caucasian name to you?

  38. 95 Leuk75 2 July 2012 at 00:08

    “However rich one became as a result of that belief, one is not really rich, for that is not the definition of richness, he said in essence. True wealth is one’s ability to use one’s wealth to do the church’s work.”

    Interesting, true wealth is ability to use one’s wealth to do the church’s work?? Christianity = Church? This is where it gets onto the slippery slope when folks stop realising that attending and supporting a church does not necessarily have any implications in improving the human condition.

  39. 96 Stories From The Air 2 July 2012 at 01:30

    So there’s nothing wrong with state controlled churches since both don’t deliver the absolute truth, anyway. Either the state controls the church or the church tries to play monkeys.

  40. 97 Anon ty8o 2 July 2012 at 06:41

    there will never be a shortage of gullible people on planet earth

  41. 98 huh? 2 July 2012 at 09:32

    why Jesus is rich. I recalled in one of Kong Hee’s sermon, he mentioned that the wise men gave them Gold, Incence and Myrrh….so he was thus born rich. I scratched my head.

  42. 99 nerdybeng 2 July 2012 at 11:53

    I remember attending a speech by a famous I*** of another major religion >15 years ago. One thing that stuck with me was how the believers were enticed with silver and gold in heaven – or on earth after resurrection, I can’t remember – besides other earthly pleasures. Gold and silver would be totally worthless if they were in such abundance. But flawed logic is beside the point. Human beings are not logical / rational by nature, as all the failed economic models will attest to. We all need stories to believe in. KH and CHC are not the first – and will not be the last – to use earthly pleasures to appeal to and attract followers. How many religions have survived in their original forms denouncing all earthly pleasures? These days, spartan lifestyles in religion have become all but a curio. Allowing earthly pleasures are essential for most religions to spread and perpetuate, to win new believers. CHC and company are just better than most in providing the lie that many crave to give their lives “meaning”, in recent history. I don’t think it was a matter of who being beholden to whom for KH and SH. Rather, what they preached took on a mesmerizing power of its own as their words won converts, so much so that they became totally convinced by what they preached. They believed in their own words so much that their own carnal desires took on the voice of the divine, and became “truth”.

  43. 100 IniD 2 July 2012 at 15:07

    I don’t know whether he did it for her, or whether she did it for him, but when they already have a high income, jobs, and a means by which they can better the lives of others (through the charities the church is involved in), the means to spread their religious beliefs, but still find it necessary for her to find fame as a singer, it suggests that they feel unfulfilled somehow.

    • 101 yawningbread 2 July 2012 at 17:42

      What I’d like to know is what charities City Harvest Church has been supporting, and of the millions they have collected in tithes, how much they gave, and to whom.

      • 102 IniD 2 July 2012 at 21:50

        Well, I guess you’ll just have to start buying TNP and Wanbao from 25 Jul onwards, Alex. :)

        btw: Why “Yawning Bread”?

    • 103 Teresa 2 July 2012 at 21:26

      It’s unclear if their website lists the charities and other beneficiaries who benefit from their givings.

      The issue seems to be a lack of transparency and asking the cell leaders for some accountability, seems futile. They either don’t know or don’t care. If they are in love with pastor Hong Kee and Ho Yeow Sun, there is not much rationality left when they preach giving abundant amounts of money will earn you the favour of God.

      Fiscal accountability, CHC answerable to Commissioner of Charities, etc. have little impact for the ones who have absolute belief in Hong Kee.

  44. 104 Nicky 2 July 2012 at 19:30

    One of my colleagues appears that she has to defend CHC even though she does not like that church and attend another. She was quoting a response that her pastor sent to her church when we ask for her view on the Kong Hee’s trial.. it is as though someone in her church has given her a FAQs in case people ask..

    To believers like her I have the following to say..

    It is ok not to defend someone (or some churches) blindly.. it does not mean that just being a Christian means you have to defend another Christian, just like being a man does not necessary means I must defend another man being charge in court for misappropriation of funds.

    By being too defensive or defend blindly this Kong Hee fella, it will make you look very bad if Kong Hee were to be found guilty.

    Dont defend for the sake of defending.

  45. 105 Jonathan Seagull 2 July 2012 at 21:02

    They look the same because they have the same plastic surgeon.

  46. 106 Life is Cool 2 July 2012 at 22:05

    Singaporeans aren’t the only ones who got taken in for a ride. There are non-Singaporeans who joined because it was cool, the atmosphere was fun, the stadium was impressive and there was a sense of belonging. They love the sermons which are like concerts, spiced up with rock star glitz.

    I attended for 3 years and when I walked away, I was a much happier man. I was one of the many who were harassed, scolded or bullied to give out more money; to attend if they were sick or had exams or if they had an emergency.

    I was forced to buy Sun Ho’s albums, books printed by the CHC, tickets for dinners and many other items or events. Even when I told them I’d no money, they called me up and yelled at me, until I gave in. They got people to show up at places I frequented, if I didn’t want to pay up.

    My parents finally pulled me aside because they were concerned about my dwindling savings and my depression.

    Having left CHC for another church, I couldn’t have been happier.

    • 107 Poker Player 3 July 2012 at 10:20

      Here’s the problem. The churches that are actually going to have a positive impact on people’s well-being, or at least not cause any harm, tend to be run and peopled by comfortable, easy-going types – they tend not to go for the hard sell or recruitment drives. And they are declining. I hope someone can tell me different. I don’t want to one day see Parliament debating the contents of biology – the aggressive churches are run by people who don’t see any limit in their roles in people’s lives.

      • 108 Poker Player 3 July 2012 at 10:56

        I remember the good old days. A Baptist church. Attended Sunday School for free! Parents were not members. No money changed hands. Fond memories of the Pastor. From him I saw that God is just an excuse for people who are already good to be good.

        Lost the religion – but the church did me some good.

  47. 109 mike 3 July 2012 at 03:56

    the funny thing is how this behavior is made to look kiddish and amateurish by organizations like scientology, let alone, say, the catholic church…

  48. 110 Alan 3 July 2012 at 10:44

    Incidentally, is the use of cell leaders intentional so as to add peer pressure for followers to toe the line besides giving in to promotional sales of CDs, etc. within the group ?

    If it is, then is that not another calculated tactic to garner and manipulate support ?

  49. 111 x@y.com 3 July 2012 at 11:37

    City Harvest Church is the Fa Lun Gong of Singapore. Naturally the PAP finds it a threat.

    Most Singaporeans would sooner douse their dicks in lighter fluid and strike a match than give money to charity. But Kong Hee is so persuasive he could actually convince Singaporeans to part with their hard-earned money. Imagine the day when he decides to go the way of Fa Lun Gong and asks his followers to self-immolate in front of the Parliament.

    The PAP is wise to get rid of him now. Besides, it also serves as a warning to Joseph Prince, Lawrence Khong, Rony Tan, and other ambitious preachers.

  50. 112 x@y.com 3 July 2012 at 11:50

    “He asked me to look again at Kong Hee and Ho, which I did as soon as I had the chance when I got back home in the evening. My friend was right: they look alike. I felt creepy all over.”

    If you watch “Games of Thrones” on HBO, Jaime Lannister and Cersei Lannister are twin brother and sister but they screw each other.

    Quite common in real life too:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/story/2012-06-18/lookalikes-attract/55720994/1

  51. 113 annon rc 4 July 2012 at 11:45

    In recent times, we have no leaders that inspired and make connections to the people. I mean ordinary people.

    This man was able to do that with great simplicity.
    He was able to make connections to ordinary folks about something mythical, intangible.

    This is a skill that many leaders do not or refuse to apply.
    We get MPs, Prime Ministers, Presidents who use terms and paint visions so grand that the ordinary folk cannot understand and cannot visualise.

    “Cheaper, better, faster”
    ” Its for your retirement”
    ” We build for a better future”

    Can anyone connect their daily lives to these motherhood statements?
    LKY did it way back in the 60’s & 70’s. very skillful at it too, and he won the hearts & minds of many.

    The skill to connect with the audience is crucial. Once that is achieved, you can move mountains and rivers. Colin Powell did it to convince the world that Iraq had mass weapons of destruction.

    Using examples like:

    ” even the soldiers, his enemies, wanted a piece of his undergarmet!”

    is far more superior than:

    ” when I look at my CPF statement, I feel so rich”

    Ordinary folks do not have deep understandings of many issues.
    Our CPF is so intricately designed, tweaked and presented in a messy way that nobody understands it. The bible is even more complex, without an understanding of anthropology, history and jewish culture, Ah kong is able to break it down into bite sizes for the ordinary folk.

    I am no expert in the bible but he does have the skill to present ideas in a convincing manner. 8/10 for presenting skills, 5/10 for content,

  52. 114 annon rc 4 July 2012 at 11:55

    Just to share.

    If anyone wants to save clips from YouTube, besides the known many formats and softwares available, KeepVideo is one site that is safe and
    reliable. Just look carefully what you click.

    Here: http://keepvid.com/

  53. 115 Anon e13g 4 July 2012 at 22:30

    To put some perspective, Sun Ho launched her first Chinese album in 2002. That was the same time Crossover Project was launched. So it may be a misconception it was used to fund her Hollywood career alone.

    My heart has hope New Creation Church will also go under scrutiny. Some building is under construction at Buona Vista and costs about a whooping 1 billion SGD.

    NCC forked up $500-million for the performing centre and CapitaMall forked up $477 million for the shopping mall.

    http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20120322-334933.html

    No money, no talk. Out of all that money NCC gave out, how come none of it is given to the poor, their followers and elderly?

    Medicine and churches are run as businesses. What is the world coming to?


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