Monday, June 07, 2010

Latest Updates on City Harvest and Pastor Kong Hee?

So what is the latest news with regards to the probe into City Harvest on the misuse of church funds with their Founder Pastor Kong Hee and 16 other church members assisting in investigations?

If you have not heard of it, where have you been? You can read about it on Yahoo - Pastor Kong Hee 'takes a break'

Some comments (and flaming) have been going around online. Some comments are reasonable and level-headed, while others are plain childish and insulting. I hope it does not become a "religion" thing. It is an investigation into whether there are misuse of funds and it happens to be a church.

I agree with some of the comments I have read online, even from churchgoers of City Harvest, let the authorities investigate. Let people ask questions.
If there are areas to be improved, do it and let the matter be put to rest once and for all.
So for people who are at the extreme ends:
A (personal insults and jumping to conclusions) or
B (die hard placard waving fans and ALSO jumping to conclusion)


After reading an article in the Straits Times Friday, June 4 2010, I have a concern.

I am no expert in reading and interpreting the figures.
What is the effect of links between the church and companies owned by key people in the Management Committee? I can't tell

Is $8,296,977 paid for staff salaries and allowances justified? I don't know.

What stands out to me in the figures reported is the sum of $25,000 for Club Membership. (Tower Club, "which the church uses to host and entertain visiting foreign VIPs, guests and dignitaries")

Is that really necessary? As read on Yahoo - Pastor Kong Hee 'takes a break', City Harvest is a church with a 14,000 sq foot office in Suntec and their very own building in Jurong West which was built at a cost of $47 million. A building of $47 million and there is no decent place to host and entertain visiting foreign VIPs, guests and dignitaries? Sure be a good host but surely the amounts spent can be modest and not necessarily at Tower Club which "has been established as the nation's premier private business club" as listed on their website?

I am sure they have helped and touched the lives of many. But everything can be improved, isn't it?
There are no easy answers when it comes to money. Especially so when religious bodies come into the picture. I think they have greater responsibility to provide accountability and make sure funds are used in the best possible way.

So far, based on what I read, City Harvest has been open about their Financial Reports and they post it online. The key question is, is that enough?
Even after the investigations, whether or not any law is broken, can the system be improved?

--Ginseng Tonic Maker-- Ginseng for the well needed rest...


B.Ang said...

As asked by friends.. what I meant by no law broken but improvements may still be needed..

For example.. if you are a CEO of a company, people likely won't bat an eyelid if you fly by business or first class.. But if you are a pastor/monk flying with church/temple funds.. that becomes subjective...
Perhaps some guidelines or processes have to be in place on the issue.. and let this be known as well..

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