Friday, June 29, 2012

CHC case spotlights the need to regulate big charities.

In March 2010 before CHC was investigated by CAD, I wrote about my concerns surrounding mega-churches like City Harvest Church[Mega-Churches, Mega-Finances]. I looked at the CHC 2008 financial statement and found that they used $2.9M of their funds for charity but paid out $9.2M in allowance and salary to staff. $9.2M is enough pay to pay 100 people $92K per annum.  CHC is registered as a charity but the amount of funds used for salaries and allowance was 3 times more than the amount used for charity.
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"Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. " - Luke 18:22
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We now know the problems at CHC run deeper than the lack of spending on charity. Money is alleged to have been siphoned off to fund ventures in the pop music industry - $23M of funds used for this purpose. CHC is just one of a long list of charities that have run into problems since the NKF scandal broke in 2005. Following the scandals, a set of guidelines was issued for the charity sector [Link]. The Singapore govt, however, continues to use the "light touch" to regulate this sector, however, given the rising magnitude of wrongdoing and alleged wrongdoing, this "light touch" approach may have to be limited to smaller charities. While there is fear that regulation will stifle the growth of this sector, it has to be balanced against the potential damage caused by big cases such as the CHC which was collecting donations from 40,000 followers many of whom made personal sacrifices to donate to the church.  
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"It has been suggested that the church has been cheated of S$50 million. This is not accurate. The S$24 million, which went to investment bonds, was returned to the church in full, with interest. We didn't lose the S$24 million, nor did we lose 'another S$26.6m' as alleged. The church did not lose any funds in the relevant transactions, and no personal profit was gained by the individuals concerned." - CHC Pastor Zulkarnain, 28 June 2012[Link]

The COC and CAD investigated this case for 2 years to gather evidence before the case goes to court. Putting a charismatic pastor  with a following for tens of thousands in court is not something they will do unless it is completely necessary and there is compelling evidence to go to trial. A mistake here will end the careers of senior officers involved in the case. This is very unlikely that what Pastor Zulkarmain said above is true because it is very easy for the church accountants to prove what he said to satisfy the investigators if the money is there. It is unwise for CHC people uninvolved in the alleged crimes to put themselves and their church on a collision course with the authorities. While they may want to support Kong Hee as a friend in his  time of need, they should be careful when dealing with the facts surrounding the case. If they continue to demonstrate a denial of the facts, the outcomes can show that their faith is blind and the credibility of their church can be destroyed and the church may not be able to recover from this setback.  Kong Hee has hired one of the best lawyers in town. Justice should be allowed to run its course and all evidence surrounding the matter will emerge in the coming days.
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A pastor during a sermon I attended a few years back said, "Do not put your faith in me.". He went to tell the congregation not to put their faith in their children, their parents, their spouses and their leaders. His message was that human beings are never perfect. They are always tempted to sin and not matter how strongly virtuous they have been in the past, they can succumb to various temptations. This is an enduring piece of wisdom from the Bible we should always remember when we deal with systems that involve human beings. When there is a lot of money involved, full transparency, accountability and sufficient check and balance are the best ways to safeguard the system from fraud and abuse. We cannot trust what we cannot see fully and never trust people who keep black boxes in accounting.

A few years back, a businessman who was a devout Christian suspected something was not right at CHC and wrote a letter to the Straits Times. He was forced to withdraw his allegations and apologise when they threatened him with a defamation lawsuit[Link]. This was also what happened in NKF - use of threats to silience critics. When there are questions surround the accounts of these charities, they responded with threats of lawsuits instead of greater transparency. When people refuse to tell you the numbers, they have something to hide and history tells us we should continue to probe because there is almost always something there they don't want you to see. For Singaporeans there is something very large and very opaque and we have been told to have faith and trust in the people managing it without full access to numbers.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great article, LT. Doesn't this also drive the question about our reserves? The temptation for Kong Hee should not be greater than our caretakers in GIC/TH. But yet we do not realize that we are actually allowing the cat to guard the canary without casting a careful eye.

Anonymous said...

"For Singaporeans there is something very large and very opaque and we have been told to have faith and trust in the people managing it without full access to numbers."
Yup, the two-key system certainly cannot minimize, let alone prevent, instances fraud or CBT on the nation's reserves.

Anonymous said...

Lucky, I assume you are talking about our foreign exchange reserve and the sovereign funds?

Anonymous said...

//For Singaporeans there is something very large and very opaque and we have been told to have faith and trust in the people managing it without full access to numbers.//

Spot on!
There needs to be a return to ethics.
What we should not have is a return to authority-based morality.
SWF like GIC & Temasek must set the way and examples forward if they expect generation of people to do the same.

UnLucky said...

So who is vetting the finances and expenditure of GIC and Temasek?

Anonymous said...

"So who is vetting the finances and expenditure of GIC and Temasek?"
Unlucky 29/6/12 10:57

60% have vetted PAP to be OK as govt in GE 2011.

So indirectly they are also actually vetting on all the things PAP govt did or will do lah, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who guards the guardians?
Who watches the watchmen?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quis_custodiet_ipsos_custodes%3F

Don't just focus on the 2 key system.

Ask who is controlling the 2 keys?
How independent are the guardian of the keys?
And what can we do if the key guardians go rogue?

Anonymous said...

"And what can we do if the key guardians go rogue?"
Anon 29/6/12 11:56

Ask the 60%. Or rather, win over the 60% from the PAP at the next election.

But not so easy like blogging, right?

Anonymous said...

Sinkies have got no recourse except to accept the Fate they have allowed others to exploit them. They had accepted the manipulation with their eyes opened big big.

Anonymous said...

It does not change the fact that our productivity is still minus.

It does not change the fact that the bullet from Europe is on its way here

It does not change the fact that people above 40 years with or without degrees still cannot find jobs.

Lets not get distracted by petty thieves who seek celebrity status.. they have finally arrived anyway.

Anonymous said...

We need to consider this fact...

CHC is becoming too big for its shoes...and its support is being extended overseas with affiliated churches (names are different but linked to CHC)...it is taking donations from its worshippers (not followers)...they don't worship the true god...they worship CHC and its founder Kong Hee...

CHC and Kong Hee are interwined...even if KH goes to jail...CHC will wait for him...and once he is back (indirectly or hidden in the back)...CHC will continue to grow and spread its tentacles with its "brand" of christianity...

Do you see God worshipping money and material gains at the expense of the common man/woman...do you see jesus doing the same...

CHC brand of christianity is deadly as it continues to grow...its brand of christianity is not about allow human souls to grow and to question and be all that they can be as God and Jesus intend...but to be mindless "slaves" slaving away and self sacrificing themselves for CHC and KH & his cronies.

If CHC continued to grow too big...it will reach the stage where it can threaten directly and indirectly the gov't of singapore...and due to its overseas "connections"...it can also do untold damage...

Singapore is a secular state...all religions are to be in harmony...when a religion is used for nefarious and other purposes...secular laws in place has to stop this...

Good day all.

Anonymous said...

Is CHC more powerful than the Laws in Sin?

Anonymous said...

You ppl don't be silly...almost anything is justifiable in the bible.

you say...my bible says...serve the poor....another group using the same bible can find justification for being like king Solomon.

At the end of the day...they hear god telling them they are right,the others wrong....and this conflicting voices is multiplied millions of times all over the world for centuries and nothing but wars and bloodshed comes out of this bickering ...yet, despite clear evidences of stupidity in all their claims...they still pursue this god whom all of them are clueless about.

This is a bloody joke not only on CHC but the religion or Christianity lah

If you can't see that...you are as blind as CHC leaders

Anonymous said...

What about the Church of Meritocracy and its high priest?

Who watches over them?

Anonymous said...

All Bodohsss....deserve to burn in hell on earth

Anonymous said...

Lucky, when I see a pastor in expensive suit and live in penthouse, I normally put my guard up and dont believe in what is being preached

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with a pastor in expensive suit and live in penthouse.

In fact you can even be a billionaire and then become pastor as well, right?

It's only wrong when the money is gotten through dishonest and illegal ways.

Anonymous said...

It's only human to also worship money, besides other forms of worship.

Worship money means want to get a lot of money, whether through doing business or getting high pay job, like millions of dollars a year. And all done legally, of course.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing wrong with a pastor in expensive suit and live in penthouse.

In fact you can even be a billionaire and then become pastor as well, right?"

ur 2nd sentence is correct.

but for ur 1st sentence - as a pastor, he has to be the best example he can be for his church member of what he preaches, not only how he conduct himself, but also how he present himself and the god/founder of his belief - christianity.

but in the case of kong hee, what he endorses and preached are frowned upon on mainline church leaders, not just locally.

and coming back to ur 2nd sentence, yes one can be a billionaire or even trillionaire then become a pastor. but any sane pastor would forgo all the extra money to charities and umanitarian aids, keeping only enough to feed his family and pay bills.

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan, please don't be mischeiveous and make insinuations about our reserves. They are safe in the hands of our ruling family.

Our MM and PM are not Kong. And Ho Ching is not Ho Yeow Sun, even though they both are Hoes. Our MM and PM certainly did not spend any money to jumpstart Ho Ching's singing career.

Few people around are more righteous than our ruling family.

Anonymous said...

How come the auditors had not discovered the fraud committed by Kong Hee and his gang?

How are the auditing firms and the auditors who signed on the audited reports, in those years when Kong Hee and his gang committed the fraud, going to be dealt with?

The hard truth is auditing is a lucrative business. Even for small auditing and accounting firms, there are plenty of money to make from this business. These so called licensed auditing firms charged high fees to get the jobs done quickly using the minimum amount of time so that they can complete the maximum number of jobs, hence the maximum profit that can be earned, without getting the jobs done in the utmost due diligence and highest quality.

To keep the clients happy, the auditing and accounting firms may not have the courage to challenge the clients. This is to ensure that continuous flow of fortune is not choked.

To extract the maximum amount of money from the clients, the auditing and accounting firms provide full range of accounting, auditing, tax, secretary, advisory services for the same clients. Effectively, there is no independence in the auditing business. But the peoples who set the rules and allow this permission are the same peoples who have vested interest to see that this is perpetuated continuously. They are the one who are earning big bulks of money.

This Hong Hee's incident is a reflection of this industry where you only see money's face peoples who are simply interested in money only.

Anonymous said...

"When there is a lot of money involved, full transparency, accountability and sufficient check and balance are the best ways to safeguard the system from fraud and abuse. We cannot trust what we cannot see fully and never trust people who keep black boxes in accounting."

This is so very true

Ghost said...

I am totally against even more control by the government on charities. Most charities always have manpower shortage; so imagine how much worse that will be if the government get involved.

Anonymous said...

What is the purpose of dressing simply?

Have you seen how ornate and expensive the clothing of orthodox religions, the leaders are wearing?

Do you know how costly the robes of buddhist leaders are?

Anonymous said...

These days, most people worshipped religion or pastor and not worship God anymore. People conveniently forget the first commandment - do not have other God before me.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing wrong with a pastor in expensive suit and live in penthouse.

In fact you can even be a billionaire and then become pastor as well, right?"

It is alright to be rich and give until you are poor. Nothing legally wrong.

It is not alright to be poor and rob to become rich. Everything legally wrong.

Anonymous said...

Worry over who watches over the Church of Meritocracy and its high priests when shit can still happen with GOD watching over CHC and his right hand man?
Only if the sheep demand transparency will there be hope.

Anonymous said...

 And Jesus WENT OUT, and DEPARTED from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the BUILDINGS of the temple. 2  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be THROWN DOWN

Jesus WENT INTO the temple, and began to CAST OUT them that sold and bought IN THE temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that SOLD DOVES

time to pack up and walk out

Unknown said...

AS A PASTOR...living in a Sentosa Cove Penthous is totally UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Organized religion = 666 = beast image

Dont be deceived. You won't find God there

Anonymous said...

Sin gotta stop and think. Sin is looking at the good in the temple. There is plenty of useful money in there - sure.

But you have to poison souls and corrupt the order in order to get it

Not worth your investment. Full of hypocrisy. Whether you like it or not, there is a huge price to pay fo corruption

Anonymous said...

Once I asked a Christian friend of mine why is it compulsory for any church member to donate 10% of one's salary as tithe to the church ?

The reply I got was that Jesus said so. But I went further to ask that was so so many centuries ago but why must it still be compulsory now ? It's in the bible, was the reply.

My friend even commented that some churches she knows even will put up the names of those who don't pay up. Looks like my friend is trying to say they are under some kind of pressure to do so.

But if it is meant to be for charity, shouldn't church members be given a free choice of deciding for themselves whether they have the resources to donate and also if they do decide to donate, why must it be 10% ?

Anyone free to comment ?

Anonymous said...

The temple is the structure. Once it comes down, no more nonsense. Then the scattered has to ledge on to the...next ...great movement.

Anonymous said...

Kong Hee took a cue from the way our reserves are run.

Black pot taking a cattle to 'justice'

Lye Khuen Way said...

Understand the retort about the Pastor living it up in a Sentosa Cove penthouse is that he is not the owner!
Also understand that that Pastor was the registered owner of several units in Horizon Towers.

Is not that very clever?
The Church pay for his accomodation, he own other properties...
Sorry, I could recalled wrongly.

What surprised me actually was that it took the Authority so long.
Guess, the GE2011 has a part to play.

Anonymous said...

I did not regret voting PAP in GE 2011.

PAP govt has improved since GE 2011. Good.

If this trend continues, PAP will win at least 60% votes again in GE 2016.

Thank God, PAP remains the best party to vote for every election.

Anonymous said...

"Thank God, PAP remains the best party to vote for every election."
Anon 30/6/12 11:44

You must also thank the 60%, although God had created them.

In fact God also had created Singapore as a small island with no natural resources.

ah lian said...

Non-profit, volunteer welfare (NPOs, VWOs), religious organisations and charities, are given the "light-touch" regulatory treatment coz they take away the gahmen's BURDEN of caring for the needy.

And even though things got in the open and they must do something about it, it must be perfectly understandable to the elite pay-me-millions-then-I-can-condescend-to-be-in-public-service MIW, that a few leaders of these organisations feel the need to compensate their SACRIFICE with little things like a luxury mansion for their popstar wannabe wife, or just a gold tap in their toilet.

But don't anyhow criticise the gahmen for failing in its regulatory role, ok? See, for eg, they're v vigilant about having an internet Code of Conduct, so they can clamp down on people who continue to anyhow criticise the gahmen.

Anonymous said...

Anybody can put on a monkey suit and claim to be the messenger of the god. You only need to have the gift of the gap. Only fools believe lor

Anonymous said...

To err is human.
To be Millionaire Minister is divine.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of Catholic, Protestant, Charismatic, the priests, pastors, reverends or whatever title, needs to eat and pay bills for electricity, water, candles, flowers etc.

Donations are collected to serve this purpose. Sometimes to print newsletters or pay for photocopy paper, machine, telephone, mobile phone, ( how else can the pastor, priest know that someone is dying in hospital or home?)

But the 10% is a guideline and it was from a time more than 2000 years ago.

To collect money using the bible as the guiding principle is something I will not support.

But if you tell me in my face that you need to pay for rent that the church is sitting on, yes, I will help. ( or you need to eat too) But if you eat caviar and drink Petrus red wine... that is beyond.

In the old days, I will share my firewood.but in these modern times its just cash.

If you believe what you want to believe, you will believe.

A line must be drawn between spiritual pursuits and material pursuits.There is a distinct difference and when this line is vague.. problems emerge.

It does not matter which religion.

It matters when the line is blurred.

Anonymous said...

17.29 I agreed lar. I remember watching the 1970 movie king kong starred by Jeff bridges and Jessica Lange. In the scene whereby the filming crew saw the natives sacrificing the virgin to god ( they did not know it was for king kong) the director of the film crew commented that it's just a bunch of men dressed up to be priests or something to screw the virgin. So I never believe the middle men. If you believe there is god, seek the truth yourself. Don't believe the middle men.

Anonymous said...

Religion is supposed to be about faith in a higher being able to guide our moral compass to do the right things.

Men turned religion into something to serve their selfish aims, distorting that faith in God to confuse followers. In turn and in time such faiths have developed into 'blind' faiths through thorough and prolonged brainwashing.

It would be difficult to turn such followers around or wake them up. They need to live in denial for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

This is the result of a greedy society. Greed is so pervasive in Singapore. Not surprising as the govenment has over 50 years especially over the last 20 encourage it.
There are more frauds in the spiritual world in Singapore. I hope they pay more attention to this.

Anonymous said...

"There are more frauds in the spiritual world in Singapore. I hope they pay more attention to this."

Ha! Ha!
It is not a case of asking the wolf to protect the sheep?

Anonymous said...

Haha

The irony is we are reaching the stage whereby the flock of sheep is actually trying to protect the wolf.

Anonymous said...

The irony is that the Jesus they claimed to worship and serve is shutting down religious businesses or idolatry in the church.

The one they served has risen to slay them.

Anonymous said...

"We cannot trust what we cannot see fully and never trust people who keep black boxes in accounting."
Lucky Tan

If got no choice, whether trust or cannot trust is the same what, tio bo?

For example if 60% had already trusted and voted PAP, so what if you don't trust PAP?

Anonymous said...

People who have a choice but yet trust those who cannot be trusted.

The word to describe them is DAFT!

Xianlong said...

With regards to charity, back in 80s & 90s there's no charity shows & irony is S'pore not as prosperous as now. People need to ask themselves how come gdp up up up yet more & more people need charity?



What Graeme Maxton said on charity startled me:
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Charity depends on desires & incomes of unaccountable donors. Their managers decide where & how $$ should be spent. This makes their activities undemocractic too. Govts are subject to regular democractic or political review, as well as public scrutiny & control. Charity business is not. Because of this, the way they spend their $$ can be subject to favoritism, waste & inefficiency.

Just as when a zoo gets visitors to sponsor animals & everyone wants to donate to the tigers, leaving vast majority of animals unsupported, charity is a way of supporting society's tigers. Donors give more freely to causes that appeal to them, rather than to causes where there may be greater need.

Lucky Tan said...

Xian Long,

I have the exact thoughts on charities. They setup with good intentions but they give out aid unsystematically and subjectively. Having many charities also result in duplication, waste, and confusion among those who need help and donors.

In Singapore, there are 1900 charities - quite unbelievable. The govt in the name of "self-reliance" walk away from many things that it should be doing and leave the job to this collection of charities. This situation is haphazard, patchy, and unsystematic help for those who need it.

patriot said...

Me had said it many times in Cyberspace since 2006, when Charity Organizations began to mushroom like wild plants in Spring, that kind folks should donate directly to the needies.

First, I find it disgusting that so many are in need of help in a so claimed First World Place. Secondly, I was of the view that abuses are inevitable. And thirdly, I felt and feel that the AUTHORITY WILL NOT BE COMPETENT TO PREVENT ABUSES RELATED TO CHARITY ACTIVITIES.

Charity, UNLESS GIVEN DIRECTLY TO THE NEEDIES, CAN NEVER BE FREE FROM ABUSES. Even giving directly does not free the donors from being conned.
THE MORE DONATION IS NEEDED,THE MORE SICK THE SOCIETY WILL BE. donation is needed, the more sick the society will be

Anonymous said...

"The govt in the name of "self-reliance" walk away from many things that it should be doing and leave the job to this collection of charities."
Lucky Tan

The govt is not walking away. Just like any organisation or even individual, the govt is just prioritising on what it should do. Probably taking over charities are low on their priority list.

"THE MORE DONATION IS NEEDED,THE MORE SICK THE SOCIETY WILL BE."
patriot 1/7/12 08:20

You may call it sick but if I were PAP, two areas are top of my priority to watch and do list, namely

1. GDP growth.

2. Enough majority voter support to get at least over 90% seats at every election.

And this priority is so critical that it does not change at all with time.

And charity become a top priority???

Wait long long lah.

Anonymous said...

"Enough majority voter support to get at least over 90% seats at every election."
Anon 1/7/12 08:39

This should also be the top priority of anyone or any opposition party hoping for change, hopefully change for the better.

Even if Lucky Tan as an individual cannot do it, at least he should make it his top priority to blog on it.

Anonymous said...

It will reform itself.

Deregister from being a charitable org, pay taxes and subject its accounts to be audited.

This will allow it to continue serving its members and they can merrily partake in their usual activities.

No more public comments. It becomes a private society that chooses who can join, how much to pay and the members continue to enjoy the entertainment, the cross over project etc.

He may go to jail ( very short term ) He may pay a fine, but "I'll be back" could be promoted as a marketing strategy.

All insurance agents and property agents should join in this fraternity... should be the default club.

They could slowly create another entity like a political party with a mission to change everyone to know christ.. sort of crossover project part 2.. this time on the political front..

Now, there is a potential path!

Anonymous said...

"No more public comments. It becomes a private society that chooses who can join, how much to pay and the members continue to enjoy the entertainment, the cross over project etc."

Sure or not?

I thought even in a private company, or even in the family, you cannot anyhow take money which is not yours to spend, right?

If someone complain and make police report, it can become an offence under the law, right?

Anonymous said...

"do not trust your children, parents, spouse etc" I think this is just saying only to get your attention, if can not trust then why should you trust that pastor's sentences/words ?? I think as a human being, there are only 3 types of people you can trust/rely on, and they are your parents (not your siblings), your spouse or your children. it can be these 3 or either 1/2 of them. The rest of the friends/people you can forget about them. If you can not trsu any single person might as well go live in the woods or caves or mountains...chammar

jack said...

Think deeper,God/Jesus have intended some really important lessons for Singaporeans at this critical junction.
Do not forget,God/Jesus always works in mysterious ways.
http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/67920978-post162.html
http://edmwtimes.blogspot.sg/


Lucky,can I have your email contact.Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Trust in your own abilities.
Believe in yourself.
Be your own hero.
And you will save your soul,
your family,
and Singapore.

Trusting people who call themselves leaders.
And this is what you get.
A nasty surprise.

"Greatest Love of All"
- Whitney Houston

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYzlVDlE72w

Awakened said...

Nice article.

To me, the opaqueness of the money channelling is more disturbing than its usage. Religious bodies should be required by law to open their account books for check at all times.

Anonymous said...

Dear Xian Long,

Charity has, and will always, depend on the appeal of the donors. They will always donate to support the 'tigers'.

Some of us prefer to donate money to help animals than to help handicapped or blind people. Are we wrong for having such a preference?

Some of us may prefer to donate money to foreign social work or missionary work than to donate money towards scholarships and bursaries for poor citizens. Are we wrong to have such a preference?

Having many charities may seem like a waste, but we have many charities because being humans, we all have different preferences.

If you are here to teach us how to donate, or whether the way we donate is 'wasteful', then the least wasteful thing I will do is to keep my wallet firmly shut.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, where did he get the monies to pay of the Sentosa cove house?

Anonymous said...

There is no mention of kong owning a Sentosa Cove home.

He lived in one. Perhaps owned by the Indonesian.

Anyway, he will not be sentenced too harshly because:

It is all accounting rules that was broken

The reasons that he took the money or channeled it was for the "project"
And his members knew about the "project"

It is debatable if the "project" was succesfull or not. But that is not the charge.
We can debate over how she moved her hips, pursed her lips, lived a life of luxury.. but these are not the charges.

The charge is for not properly accounting for the movement of money. It may be serious under the rules of the Charities Act.

But let me assure you all, the teenagers and the young men and women cannot be bothered about the Charities Act.

Regardless of hip swinging or living in a mansion, it was clear that it was for the "project"

He didn't say exactly how it will work.. but just to "connect" with people who they want to reach out, using SUN's singing.

Now, was that a lie?

He will remain popular and the support will grow even larger.
SDP or WP should induct him.. damnn good in building visions and letting other people think about how good he is... without saying anything concrete.

The platform is the Bible
The delivery is Kong
The target is your hearts
The result is money

Beautiful, elegant.

Its just messed up accounting. whats the problem?

Anonymous said...

In the coming days, weeks or even months, the spotlights would be on the "now famous" five being charged ... not forgetting that the spotlights is also on the CHC itself (its actions, reactions) and importantly, on the court / garman, on how they would be dealt with (eg. is it another famous Dr. Wu case or not).

Anonymous said...

In the 1990s, a very charismatic pastor called Rick Steward went to jail for similar offences. When he emerged from jail, his reputation was not tarnished by the case. While his ministry never regained its past splendor, many of his members till today, believed that he is innocent and that he was hammered by authorities who were threatened by his popularity.

Kong Hee has not, and will not lose credibility with a huge core of die-hard members. Even if he goes to jail, when he comes out, he will continue to pastor his CHC church. Many will believe, regardless the verdict, that the charges against him were trumped up.

Anonymous said...

"Kong Hee has not, and will not lose credibility with a huge core of die-hard members."

Now we know why PAP's 60% will never go down.

Pro Alien Party and the 60% Dafties.

Anonymous said...

We are now creating a culture of whistle-blower in SIngapore. This is one of the signs of severe income inequality acting out among the masses.

Anonymous said...

Singapore is generally an educated nation. Anyone wants to know anything about the bible can read for themselves and go from there.

No need a middle man to tell you what to believe and subsequently collect monies to expand his empire or the house of god rubbish.

I think the world will be a better place without hypocrites and snakes around.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree that Kong Hee will not go down.

How CHC become as it is, is probably due to two reasons which Kong Hee used cunningly to have a hold on his followers:

1) The first is the oft repeated threat of 'burning in hell' if they do not conform to his teachings.

2) The second is his capitalising on human greed. By stressing on the point that the more they donate the wealthier they will become is the key to controlling the minds of those eager to get rich. Of course it is just human nature to want to be rich.

Coupled with his gift of the gab, no wonder the followers are swallowing his every word the more they attended his preachings. It hs become more of a cult culture.

In any case, Kong Hee is just takinga a leaf from the PAP by using greed and fear to control Singaporeas for more than 45 years.

Thankfully, some Singaporeans have awakened while some are still in denial mode.

Ng Eng Hou said...

Indeed, any organization that gets money from the public should be treated as if they're a business organization. Because they're handling millions from the public, every cent they collect and spend should be accounted for and their accounts should be audited. With the huge amount of money they collect, they should be able to afford to hire auditors.

This is what I call accountability!

Anonymous said...

"... anyone wants to know anything about the bible can read for themselves and go from there.

...No need a middle man to tell you what to believe..."


The bible can be read in isolation but that is not advisable.

The language can be considered modern but there are many paragraphs that are lifted out from the original Hebrew and Greek translations.

Furthermore, one must also consider the period in which many of these parables, incidents are in relation to.

Another point is that one must also understand a little about anthropology. What was the indigenous practice of the Jews at that time and under different kings?

The Bible is regarded as a religious publication, and yet it is also a historical artifact. There are many books that form the amalgamation of the bible.. it is a very large, collection of many writings over many centuries.

This is where the debates and different interpretations arise.

To even appreciate the term 'brothers and 'sisters' as used in the bible, we need to understand the culture & language of the times.

The concept of 'cousins' as we understand it today did not exist during that time.

So how can we understand the stories and narratives in any book, if we do not accord sufficient knowledge of the social framework that it was written in?
Try to understand your grandfather's narratives of his childhood without accounting for the social, political practices of his time.

Reading of the bible by one's self is possible, but without taking into account the era, one can get a very, very different perspective.

This is the gap which exists and gaps ( like income inequalities) causes disequilibrium, which allows opportunities for those with a sharp mind.

Anonymous said...

Probably more than 90% do not possess the aptitude of biblical scholars to do an in depth study of the bible. Of the scholarly minded who do, many don't agree with each other. This explains why Christianity is a confused lot and often, senseless. Hence, the church is structured to exploit the weak and gullible.

Anonymous said...

In other words, we don't give them the platform, or the pinnacle of the temple, to screw the people.

The book remains a common book - and unexploited by idiots

Anonymous said...

The distinctive feature that makes us human is that we all have a past, a present and a future.

What will bind all this together and make sense of it?

Spirituality is the glue, the reason, the purpose, the guide, the values.

However, modern societies have embraced an alternative:

Materialism & wealth

It is a potent mix.

From tragic suicides to spectacular achievements in wealth and power.

Take a close look at a US$ note and you will find a pyramid with an eye at the apex.

The Egyptians worshiped the after life. That is what the pyramid was designed for.It is an ancient belief, and only the rich and powerful could afford such designs

In today's context, we still need pyramids to achieve ever lasting legacies.( we will still die )

The eye is the knowledge to achieve that.

Ah Kong has the eye.
Despite the charges, the wealth pyramid will proceed.

Anonymous said...

We have given too much power to clergy,pastors,priests etc.

Not wise and even unbilical

Anonymous said...

They all have to operate in BUILDINGS, whether they want to believe it or not, Building is a "structure".

This structure is unsound and is SIN.

Anonymous said...

Which is harder to believe and trust?

A God you have never seen? OR
CPF and reserves you have never seen?

Anonymous said...

You are not being objective in your article. He has not been pronounced guilty yet. However you wrote as if he is aleady guilty. A person is innocent until proven guilty.

Not happy said...

The government sues, so CHC and other offending charities imitate their acts.

Anonymous said...

"shouldn't church members be given a free choice of deciding for themselves whether they have the resources to donate and also if they do decide to donate, why must it be 10% ?" 30/6/12 09:12

10% is Israel's covenant. Christians are to give out of freewill.

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