THE TEMASEK TIMES

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Archive for June, 2012

Kong Hee speaks out against charges: I maintain my integrity!

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

Embattled founder of City Harvest Church (CHC) pastor Kong Hee spoke out defiantly against the charges slapped on him by the prosecutors during a service at Singapore Expo Hall this evening.

Kong Hee was charged together with four other CHC members on Wednesday for misusing the church funds to further the music career of his singer wife Ho Yeow Sun after two years of investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD)

With his wife up on stage with him, Kong Hee declared loudly:

“I maintain my integrity.”

Hugging his wife on stage to win public sympathy, he added:

“There were times when Sun and I just didn’t know what to do…The past few days have been very challenging. Please know that there are always two sides to a story. I look forward to the day I can tell you my side of the story in court.”

Despite the gravity of the offences allegedly committed by him, CHC members continue to support him as evident by packed crowd of 5,000 people with many banners saying ‘I love Pastor Kong.’

Some members also gave testimonies on the church’s “Crossover Project” started in 2002 supposedly as a way to use Ho’s secular music to connect with people and reach out to non-Christians, which was highlighted by the prosecutors as a destination for CHC’s funds via sham companies in the charge sheet.

CHC had earlier threw its weight behind pastor Kong Hee and expressed disappointment that he and seven other members were suspended from the board by the Commissioner of Charities:

“The people currently in the news are our pastors and trusted staff and leaders who have always put God and CHC first. As a church we stand with them and I believe fully in their integrity.”

Meanwhile, Kong Hee has been tweeting and posting on Facebook to rally his supporters. He had earlier implored them to pray for him on Facebook, but the post has since been deleted.

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Related articles:

U.S. Pastor defends Kong Hee

‘Celebrity culture’ at CHC does not fit into biblical principles

SPH hits back at CHC

PAP MP Sam Tan: It is ‘understandable’ for CHC to support its leaders

City Harvest Church issues warning to media

My unpleasant experience at City Harvest Church

City Harvest Church stands by Pastor Kong Hee

CHC blogger defends Kong Hee

Pastor Lawrence Khong urges fellow pastors to pray for Kong Hee

Kong Hee’s family upgraded from 5-room HDB flat to Sentosa Cove Penthouse

An Analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church

Defiant Kohg Hee places his faith in God

Ex-CHC member: I donated more than $10,000 to the church in the last five years

Overwhelming support for Pastor Kong Hee by CHC members

Kong Hee charged for misuse of funds at City Harvest Church

23 million dollars of CHC funds used to finance Ho Yeow San’s music career

Pastor Kong Hee arrested for criminal breach of trust

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 46 Comments »

VIDEO: “Honor God by your generous giving” – Kong Hee

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

In one of his sermons, disgraced founder of City Harvest Church (CHC) Kong Hee told the congregation to ‘honor’ God by their generous giving.

CHC found itself in the public spotlight lately after Kong Hee and four other members were charged on Wednesday for misusing the church’s funds and criminal breach of trust.

Watch the video below:

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Related articles:

U.S. Pastor defends Kong Hee

‘Celebrity culture’ at CHC does not fit into biblical principles

SPH hits back at CHC

PAP MP Sam Tan: It is ‘understandable’ for CHC to support its leaders

City Harvest Church issues warning to media

My unpleasant experience at City Harvest Church

City Harvest Church stands by Pastor Kong Hee

CHC blogger defends Kong Hee

Pastor Lawrence Khong urges fellow pastors to pray for Kong Hee

Kong Hee’s family upgraded from 5-room HDB flat to Sentosa Cove Penthouse

An Analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church

Defiant Kohg Hee places his faith in God

Ex-CHC member: I donated more than $10,000 to the church in the last five years

Overwhelming support for Pastor Kong Hee by CHC members

Kong Hee charged for misuse of funds at City Harvest Church

23 million dollars of CHC funds used to finance Ho Yeow San’s music career

Pastor Kong Hee arrested for criminal breach of trust

Posted in Videos | 37 Comments »

Prominent U.S. Pastor A R Bernard defends Kong Hee: Facts and Truth are not synonymous

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

Prominent U.S. pastor A R Bernard has spoken out publicly in defence of Kong Hee, the disgraced founder of City Harvest Church who was charged in court on Wednesday for misusing S$50 million dollars of the church’s funds to further the music career of his singer wife Ho Yeow San.

In a tweet yesterday, A R Bernard called on Christians to pray for Kong Hee and insinuated that the charges slapped on Kong Hee may not be the ‘truth’ after all:

“Please pray for Pastor Kong Hee, his family, and City Harvest Church. And remember “facts and truth are not always synonymous.”

A R Bernard is the Founder, Senior Pastor and CEO of Christian Cultural Center (CCC) located in Brooklyn, New York, United States.

He is also the President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York representing 1.5 million Protestants, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians and sits on the NYC Economic Development Corporation Board; NYC School Chancellor’s Advisory Cabinet and served on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2001 Transition Team.

His public pledge of support came after Head Pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church Lawrence Khong’s call for Christians to ‘stand united in love and stronger in prayer for Kong Hee and City Harvest Church.’

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Related articles:

‘Celebrity culture’ at CHC does not fit into biblical principles

SPH hits back at CHC

PAP MP Sam Tan: It is ‘understandable’ for CHC to support its leaders

City Harvest Church issues warning to media

My unpleasant experience at City Harvest Church

City Harvest Church stands by Pastor Kong Hee

CHC blogger defends Kong Hee

Pastor Lawrence Khong urges fellow pastors to pray for Kong Hee

Kong Hee’s family upgraded from 5-room HDB flat to Sentosa Cove Penthouse

An Analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church

Defiant Kohg Hee places his faith in God

Ex-CHC member: I donated more than $10,000 to the church in the last five years

Overwhelming support for Pastor Kong Hee by CHC members

Kong Hee charged for misuse of funds at City Harvest Church

23 million dollars of CHC funds used to finance Ho Yeow San’s music career

Pastor Kong Hee arrested for criminal breach of trust

Posted in News | 28 Comments »

Chan Chun Sing: Govt has been increasing ‘engagement’ with Singapore

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

Despite widespread criticisms of the PAP government’s authoritarian style of governance, it has been increasing its ‘engagement’ with the citizenry, said Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing.

In an extensive interview with the state media to boost his national profile, Mr Chan, who was touted by some to be the next Prime Minister  acknowledges that the Government is still feeling its way and noted that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

“While there are detractors who still feel that, in some cases, the Government has already made up its mind before consulting citizens, the key lies in finding a “sweet spot”, where there is agreement that it is at an appropriate stage for consultation,” he added.

Mr Chan also noted that, ironically, any dissatisfaction over the Government’s consultation efforts stems from its desire to constantly pre-empt issues before they snowball into problems.

Using the example of the building of eldercare centers in HDB estates which was met with stiff opposition from residents as an example, Mr Chan said:

“(We) could have avoided these issues politically by not doing anything in the short term. Then, one day, everyone will grow old and, suddenly, there will be a huge clamour for certain services to be provided. When the clamour starts, you will have no political problems, you will have enough political support.” 

Posted in News | 7 Comments »

Ex-CHC member: ‘Celebrity culture’ in City Harvest Church does not fit into biblical principles

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

I am a Christian and I’ve attended City Harvest Church for two periods in my life for a total of 2 to 2.5 years.

I initially attended it with my folks. We enjoyed the sermon and the clear teachings of the pastor and his fellow leaders. But things went downhill one Sunday morning when a leader took to the stage to plug Ho Yeow Sun’s new album. The horrifying thing was how he chirpily used hard sell tactics to move the units.

We were asked to buy more than one copy and pass them to our friends. If one were to buy 6 copies or some absurd number, that would entitle one to a free poster or t-shirt (something along those lines). What was most upsetting at that time, was the fact that he was using the pulpit to push the sales of the pastor’s wife who was more interested in cutting pop albums than say attending church service. The posters from her new album were also plastered along the entrance and lobby of 4he building. There were no images of Jesus. No, instead, this singer’s face, the pastor’s wife, was all over the building. If that does not trigger alarm bells in the average church-goer, what will? That was the last week we attended CHC.

Kong Hee and Sun Ho – A celebrity culture

This leads me to ask this very important question. Who is worthy to be worshipped? Jesus? Or a man and his wife? Unfortunately, this question has not been addressed.

Twitter has been a flurry with ultra-supportive tweets from young members (and some older ones), proclaiming their undying loyalty for their pastor and his wife. Some say that they believe in the duo, know their hearts, believe in their cause and have already declared them innocent and faultless.

The Christian community, Christian leaders (within and outside of the church) and church members themselves should have questioned the culture of CHC – where the pastor and his wife have Fan Pages on Facebook, where their supporters, fans, devotees, express their undying love and support for the duo and what they do.

Any pastor, any leader of a church should know that this is not the right type of church culture and it should NOT be encouraged. This should NOT be advocated. Never mind what the pastor has done and his successes. No pastor should have a Facebook fan page. I find that absurd.

Didn’t the bible say that we should have no idols? And that we are to have only one God? Why do the church members till this day pledge their undying support for their pastor and his wife when clearly their loyalty and devotion should be channeled to serving God? Why are they fighting fire with fire? Why are they risking life and limb to support a man and his wife? Why are they not declaring their love for God instead? How has this man and his wife managed to mesmerise these youths to the point of delirious and blind support, such that Reverends from other churches have pinpointed the matter of blind support as an issue, a problem and yet these kids, CHC cell group leaders, etc, continue to obsessively tweet their love for the man and his wife?

I can have respect for a leader. I can praise him for his work, but ultimately all glory goes to God. I don’t see why I should dedicate myself to acting like his rabid fan for his good sermons and his community service. Instead, it would be way wiser to ask God for similar blessings and encourage everyone to learn from the areas in his life which he has excelled in being a good testimony for God but not necessarily put him on a pedestal that all begin to forget that he is only human.

If anything, men can fall, men are imperfect and only God is perfect. This is commonsensical, logical and of course biblical. So why the 100% Faith in a Man? CHC members should ask themselves why they feel so much love for Kong Hee and his wife. What is the source of this love? Does it come from a healthy place? CHC members must realise that Kong Hee, his wife and their team are mere mortals, mere men, and can fall. If they love their leaders, they should be bold, correct, rebuke if necessary.

The bible talks about how we are wise if we allow ourselves to BE CORRECTED (It’s so upsetting to hear that the church is standing by them in the recent statement they released – do they stand by misappropriation, corruption, white collar crime, does the church stand for dishonesty and siphoning of members’ contributions? Does the church not realise that the leaders could have made mistakes, could have possibly fallen?). They should be discerning and wise. A thinking individual who exercises the intellect that God has given him, is a wise man who is an asset to those around him.

Correction is not judgment, as the Bible says that we should correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning. It is to be done in an act of caring for them in the hope that they will believe. That way we could contribute to the saving of a soul. If we don’t, we could be responsible for suppressing the truth which could mean eternal death instead of eternal life for that person. “James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

Jesus and the Apostles were very bold and rebuked and condemned evil. They even openly rebuked people in the church for doing evil, in order to strengthen the church. Rebuking a sinner, exposing corruption, correcting someone in love or disciplining ones children is not judging wrongfully. f so, Jesus and the Apostles who were our example to follow would have been in error. Source: truechristianity.com

To be an asset to any setting and situation we are in – we need to think critically. Decide when to accept, reject, ask, comply, argue, refuse, suggest and stand up for and against the actions of our fellow human beings. This applies to any context. Question your leaders. Your teacher, your boss at work, your colleagues, your most esteemed mentor, your gang leader, politicians, your prime minister, the United Nations panel, whoever they are, their ideas and actions are imperfect. No one but God is perfect. Full stop. With great power comes great responsibility – inserting this here for the young CHC members who might understand a quote from Spiderman. It is our job to make sure our leaders can do THEIR jobs well, efficiently, ethically.

The leaders of CHC may or may not be proven guilty. Nonetheless, they have crossed the lines of morality and ethics as church leaders, beacons of example, role models to their young congregation in the following ways:

1) Pressurising their members – students, youths especially – to purchase Sun Ho’s albums. These students get their allowance from their parents, most have yet to work a day in their lives. Why does CHC’s leaders find it reasonable and acceptable for their members’ parents to fork over money for Sun Ho’s music ambitions?

I’m sure a good portion of the money went to doing real charity work. But what about the portion that didn’t? Are we to close an eye to the siphoning of monies? God expects us to be good stewards of our money. This means that when we give, we must know where it will end up. So the hastag “mytrustisnotbreached” on Twitter just speaks of how misinformed their young members and leaders are, and how willing they are to continue to be duped if necessary. Members have tweeted that despite all of this, they would continue to give and give more.

The issue we non-members and Christians from other churches, have is why they would willingly contribute to the music career of their pastor and his wife. Why they would stamp their approval on doctoring books, creative accounting, falsifying documents and dealing only in cash to throw auditors and the authorities of their scent? Does it mean to say that your wholehearted support and love Kong Hee, his wife and their team stands for corruption, cooking the books and deception/dishonesty?Do you mean to say that your leaders couldn’t have handled the matter better? Could they not have been clearer about their intention with certain portions of the money given? Could they not have avoided selling her CDs during service? Could they not have pressured your young members to buy her CDs? Could your leaders not have given external bodies like the COC even a fragment of a chance to penalise them in any way? They are now facing 36 charges. CHC members, this is a wake up call. God does not allow this to happen for no reason. God does not stand for deception, vanity, consumerism and materialism.

2) Surely, your parents would not let you walk out of your house in skimpy, skin hugging attire. Christian parents, perhaps even more so. What about a church leader, a pastor who preaches from the bible? Is the body not a temple of God? Accepting your wife’s wishes – to dance, gyrate and parade in front of the world as a Geisha (a Japanese hostess trained to entertain men with conversation, dance, and song), an angry girlfriend cohabiting with her boyfriend and creating music for clubbers to gyrate and rub up against in each other in clubs across the States – not putting your foot down, and promoting her music, her work, her lifestyle to young impressionable minds at CHC is just a BIG NO-NO. IT IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. Christians should not compromise in such a manner. I find it so sad that these young CHC members, some whom I know personally, do not see how their pastor and his wife are so very weak and so very wrong in this manner. Other pastors, other church leaders, the Christian community, the secular community have disapproved of this. Yet only CHC stands by their pastor’s “choices” and his wife’s lifestyle.

Materialism and Consumerism

Just a question – when should religious leaders say no to love gifts? Do you need that expensive high end tablet or can you just make do with the phone you own now? Do you NEED that? Do you need to stay in the most expensive housing project in Singapore when there are clearly better ways to spend your money? If you are truly doing God’s work, I really don’t think you’d find it wise to spend your money on an excessively expensive and overpriced car or condominium. Kong Hee is no king in the eyes of God. He is his servant. Yes, servants of God should be blessed. But we should always spend wisely and seek His counsel pertaining to such matters.Solomon for instance, used his riches to build God’s temple.As Christians, we should try our hardest to avoid chasing the things of the world. The 5Cs apply to Singaporeans, but surely, as a church leader with such a “following” more judicious spending of his church money, his own monies, whatever finances he has access to, is only sound and morally and ethically right.

The second time I joined the church was for a shorter period. I joined a cell group and soon learned that 4 out of 5 of the leaders did not care for me. They cared for God yes. They were fervent in that manner yes. But unfortunately, they were not encouraged by their higher-ups to care in a way that mattered to the youth who were under them.

1) We were pressured into socialising after church. To go back to study, was discouraged. “Hang around and spend time, socialise with members of God” they would say. Apparently attending service is not enough and forcing a young member (group pressure) to socialise despite having a Chinese exam the next day, is godly.

2) You must attend service at least once a week – if not BE WARNED. Once, I decided to skip the morning service and not attend it with the cell group and to watch the online broadcast. My parents had given me their approval as a kid, to skip the service, rest and recuperate for the busy week ahead and spend time with God on my own. One of the cell leader’s assistant called me to berate me in a very harsh manner. I needed to go she said, attend the afternoon service, she would go with me for it, she said. She was clearly overriding my parents’ authority and making me FEAR her as a 15-year-old. Where do these cell-leaders get their gumption from? Who taught them to be such repressive, indoctrinated, uncaring, unfeeling, superficial and overbearing leaders? GOD IS LOVE. GOD DOES NOT INDUCE FEAR. GOD IS MERCIFUL. CHC members, if you are reading this and if you are guilty of this, stop this nonsense right now. Pray about it and let God lead you in your leadership of the youths under you. I’m pointing this out because thousands have been bullied, pressured, many have backslided because of the errant ways of your young leaders and the lack of wisdom by those over your young leaders. This needs to stop. This is the Church of God. Not the Church of Kong Hee and not the Church of Your Human Ways.

3) We were pressured into buying a church organiser for about $26-$29 if I remember correctly. All members of the cellgroup made a purchase, members were taught to frown upon others who did not make that purchase. I saved really hard for 3 weeks to get that kind of money with my paltry allowance. There was no other way for me to get my hands on that kind of money. I was a student in the midst of a busy school year, my parents are not rich, I’ve no older sibling and “godly” church members were forcing me to pay for a diary I would not use. I would pay $1 for a diary as a student – a simple notebook. But this church was forcing me to hand over several tens for a silly book that wasn’t even the bible. In the end, I got my money back and returned the diary. That was the last I saw of those horrible, horrible people, who treated me as just a statistic to boost their cell group size.

City Harvest Church started out with the vision to plant God’s word in the heart of non-believers. CHC represents Christianity on a mega-scale. Its leaders need to do its utmost to maintain the leadership/management’s integrity. Its leaders need to set forth directives for its young leaders to exercise caution, love and grace with their members. Its leaders need to make stands – stand up against materialism, consumerism, fetishism, vanity, worldly pursuits and blind support for mere men. The CHC body needs to better represent itself – as it represents the Christian community, not only in Singapore, but all over the world. It also needs to re-invent itself and restore its image for the church itself has done A LOT OF GOOD. It needs to create a good image for itself, for its members and for God.

CHC should release a statement along the lines of this – to show the world and most importantly, what its young members should believe in.

1) CHC stands for good, honest accounting.

2) CHC stands for biblical principles.

3) CHC supports its leadership and would love for its members to pray them through this difficult period. That said, it no way condones any dishonesty whatsoever and aims to be judicious in spending members’ contributions and is looking for ways to improve the system.

4) CHC will continue to do God’s work according to the word.

I personally believe that CHC should end this Celebrity Culture thing that it has going on with Kong Hee, Sun Ho and its other leaders. Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. I really hope that the existing CHC leadership can be better examples and better leaders to its young congregation. Please tell them to stop blindly supporting Kong Hee and his wife on Twitter, Facebook and in their personal lives. Men are imperfect, accept that. Only God is perfect. No one is persecuting God. The lifestyles of Kong Hee, his wife and the leadership are being judged. And why not? They are imperfect. Let them be judged by the courts. Let the law take its due course. Detractors and supporters must realise that Kong Hee, Sun Ho and the team are IMPERFECT.

NO ONE IS PERSECUTING GOD or Godly lifestyles. Let’s get that straight.

*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times. The writer wishes to remain anonymous.

Posted in Commentary, Opinion | 142 Comments »

SPH hits back at CHC’s remarks: They may be seen as ‘interfering’ with judicial process

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

Singapore’s sole and only print media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has hit back at City Harvest Church (CHC) after it issued an official statement two days ago threatening to ‘deal’ with the media over its ‘unfair’ coverage of the ongoing court case involving its founder Kong Hee (pic left) and four others.

Kong Hee was charged on Wednesday for misusing S$50 million dollars of CHC’s funds to further the music career of his singer wife Ho Yeow Sun, a charge which was strenuously denied by CHC which vowed to stand by its side.

In a statement issued on its website, Bobby Chaw, the pastor in charge of missions at CHC expresses his disappointment with some of the media’s coverage so far, particularly in relation to the COC inquiry.

“In some instances, they seem to have pre-judged us. We will be dealing with this in due course,”he says, without elaborating on it.

A lengthy article published in the Straits Times today questioned the intent of CHC to issue the statement dismissing the allegations.

It also quoted some lawyers as saying that the statement may be construed as ‘interfering’ with judicial process which could see CHC Executive Pastor Aries Zulkarnain being investigated for ‘contempt of court’.

SPH’s stance appears to contradict that of PAP MP Sam Tan who ‘empathized’ with CHC leaders, saying it is ‘understandable’ for the church to support Kong Hee.

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Related articles:

PAP MP Sam Tan: It is ‘understandable’ for CHC to support its leaders

City Harvest Church issues warning to media

My unpleasant experience at City Harvest Church

City Harvest Church stands by Pastor Kong Hee

CHC blogger defends Kong Hee

Pastor Lawrence Khong urges fellow pastors to pray for Kong Hee

Kong Hee’s family upgraded from 5-room HDB flat to Sentosa Cove Penthouse

An Analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church

Defiant Kohg Hee places his faith in God

Ex-CHC member: I donated more than $10,000 to the church in the last five years

Overwhelming support for Pastor Kong Hee by CHC members

Kong Hee charged for misuse of funds at City Harvest Church

23 million dollars of CHC funds used to finance Ho Yeow San’s music career

Pastor Kong Hee arrested for criminal breach of trust

Posted in News | 26 Comments »

PM Lee: The PAP government ‘looks after’ all Singaporeans

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

The PAP government looks after all Singaporeans, regardless of ethnic groups, declared Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Speaking in both Malay and English at Muslim community organisation Jamiyah’s 80th anniversary celebrations, PM Lee lavished generous praises on the government’s ‘high quality’ social services, such as housing, healthcare and education, to develop Singaporeans’ potential and to prepare Singaporeans for good jobs.

“This national approach has worked well for us. All communities have progressed with Singapore including the Malay/Muslim community. People have made achievements based on merit and fair competition, so that every Singaporean can take pride in their accomplishments and progress and we have strengthened the Singaporean identity as we have improved our lives together,” he added.

PM Lee reiterated that though Jamiyah’s work is focused on the Malay community, it has worked with other organizations such as the Buddhist Lodge which reflected the emphasis on inter-religious harmony, as this strengthened racial and religious harmony.

All Singaporeans have been under the ‘tender loving care’ of the PAP government since the island state attained independence  in 1965.

Though Singapore’s income gap between the rich and the poor is among the highest among First World countries, it has one of the highest GDP per capita income in the world.

Posted in News | 25 Comments »

Singapore is a good place for ‘FTs’ to earn money, but not to retire

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

I did not lose my job to a FT, but I know of people who did. I have never said they were cheaper in any of the things I have written. The closest thing I ever written was ‘I was slightly better paid’ and please do not quote me out of context.

You are right about the FT having equal wages from places like Mumbai and Shanghai.

So why did they not stay back in their country and get equal wages?

It is because many of them are unable to find job back in their homeland because of various reason.

Many of my friends from Shanghai have also told me about their plight back in their homeland (No friends from Mumbai). They are not able to secure a job due competition, lack of ‘connections’ and some corrupted government officials. Shanghai have the same cost of living, but they have rural areas and the cost of living drop significantly and the quality of life is better than in Singapore.

They also pointed out to me that their government may be corrupted, but they protect their citizens should any foreigners say anything bad about them. They can migrate within their country to a place where housing and cost of living are cheaper. Water, electric, gas, internet and mobile services are all significantly cheaper. They only have 1 party, but they can protest and basically ‘force’ their government to listen to them. It is unlawful to protest in Singapore. Their elderly who live in rural area can have compensation when they grow old as they have contributed to the building of China. In Singapore, your money is locked up with a minimum sum of 131k and it was your money to begin with. Also, some people might not even have that much money in their CPF by the time they hit retirement age.

They have the option to buy lands and properties back in their homeland with whatever they earn here. They can retire and live a decent life with no worries after that. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel before they even hit 40, but are Singaporeans able to do that?

These are the basic framework of the plan 3/4 of my FT friends have.

Work and suffer until the end of the contract. Be thrifty and just save up what ever you have, buy a property in Singapore and make full use of CPF. End of contract, sell the property, withdraw all CPF funds, go back and enjoy life in a landed property. And by that I do not mean 20 or 30 years, I mean 10 years or so depending on where they come from.

Just a side note, they are horrified to see so many people working at their golden age in the hawker centers. It is rare to see people like that back in China and the elderly normally choose to work at his/her age volunteeringly. For Singaporean, there is no choice regarding that matter for many of the middle/lower income group.

To sum it up, many of them felt that Singapore is a good place to earn money, but not a good place to retire. It is also the main reason why they choose to remain PRs.

I am not expecting myself to live in a landed property in Singapore, but I wanted a home that I can live in comfortably and not to have to worry about medical fees or other unforseen events by the age of 65.

I have to work 9 hours a day for 6 1/2 days and more should it get busier. When I take the upgrade course, I have to go for it 3 times a week, and 5 hours each excluding travelling, will I be able to function at my 100% while I am at work? Will my mental status be adequate and not cause any errors while I work? When the company is busy, is my boss kind enough to let me go? The ‘bring home’ work and the course assignments had to be juggled as well. I had to go for resevice and IPPT and I had to literally beg my boss to let me go. Are these reasons good enough for you to understand my concerns about losing my job?

I do agree that there are people out there that have work ethic issues. I also agree that we need to constantly upgrade ourselves. However, I disagree that you tried to imply that Singaporeans are not willing to improve ourselves and also people who have work ethic issues do not apply to Singaporeans only. And also, do you have a family? Do you think you can be replaced easily? Do you save enough to withdraw your money from the CPF by 55?

SERAPHIM

* The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.

Posted in Letters | 18 Comments »

Wages of Singaporeans have increased by only 0.9 percent last year

Posted by temasektimes on June 30, 2012

The wages of Singaporeans have increased last year in spite of a slower economic growth, according to ‘Report on Wages in Singapore 2011′ released by the Manpower Ministry on Friday.

Salaries in the private sector rose by 6.1 per cent compared to a 5.7 per cent growth in 2010 which is attributed to a tight labor market.

However, after factoring inflation, the increase works out to be 0.9 per cent, lower than 2010’s gain of 2.9 per cent.  Singapore’s inflation rate does not include housing.

The top earners were manager with an average gross median wage of S$6,630 monthly followed by financial and professional services and technicians.

At the other end of the spectrum were food and beverage industries, as well as employees working in accommodation. Cleaners and labourers took home an average of $1,020 a month.

Posted in News | 2 Comments »

PAP hands out ‘olive branch’ to CHC: It is ‘understandable’ for the church to support its leaders

Posted by temasektimes on June 29, 2012

The PAP government appears to capitulate from intense pressure and lobbying from City Harvest Church (CHC) members following its latest press release yesterday that it will stand by its founder pastor Kong Hee and four other members who were charged on Wednesday for misusing the church’s funds.

In a strongly worded statement, CHC also expressed ‘disappointment’ that the Commissioner of Charity has implemented the suspension of its members without prior notice:

“We have been co-operating with COC for two years since the start of the case, so these sudden suspensions came as a surprise to us.”

Speaking to queries from the media, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports Sam Tan, said the City Harvest Church members’ support for their leaders is ‘understandable’ without condemning them for their ‘rowdy’ behavior outside the Subordinate Courts on Wednesday.

About 200 CHC members gathered outside the Subordinate Courts to ‘protect’ Kong Hee from the media circus and a scuffle reportedly broke out between them and some journalists.

Under the new Public Order Act, an assembly of one person or more is illegal and the police has the power to arrest the offenders on the spot. While the police was quick to arrest SDP supporters protesting outside the Manpower Ministry and CPF Board, no police was present to control the CHC members at the scene, thereby making a mockery of Singapore laws.

“It is understandable, that there will always be supporters to the leaders, and it is also completely understandable for them to express their support to their leaders. And it is also completely understandable for people who hold different views, to also express such views,” Sam Tan said in response to queries from the media.

Kong Hee is represented by PAP MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC Edwin Tong. According to unverified rumors circulating on the internet, a few ministers and MPs are members of CHC as well.

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Related articles:

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My unpleasant experience at City Harvest Church

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CHC blogger defends Kong Hee

Pastor Lawrence Khong urges fellow pastors to pray for Kong Hee

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An Analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church

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Ex-CHC member: I donated more than $10,000 to the church in the last five years

Overwhelming support for Pastor Kong Hee by CHC members

Kong Hee charged for misuse of funds at City Harvest Church

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