THE TEMASEK TIMES

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Archive for July 2nd, 2012

Churches ask followers not to blog about City Harvest Church saga

Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012

The ongoing battle between Singapore’s biggest church City Harvest Church (CHC) and the establishment has polarized opinion within the Christian community.

CHC founder Kong Hee was charged with four other members last Wednesday for misusing the church’s funds to further the music career of his singer wife Ho Yeow Sun.

Though the case is not heard in court yet, CHC has defended its accused members staunchly with some prominent pastors expressing their support for them even as the National Council of Churches reiterated that the law must be allowed to take its course.

According to reliable information we received, at least two churches had asked their members during services over the weekend not to blog about the case online or to give any public statements on it.

Kong Hee, who had been posting updates on his Facebook and Twitter, had stopped doing so for the last two days while CHC has not issued any new statements.

The case will be heard again on 25 July.

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Related articles:

A Christian speaks out against defensive behavior of Kong Hee and CHC

Concerned parents attend City Harvest Church with their children

Kong Hee receives standing ovation from CHC members

Kong Hee speaks out against charges: I maintain my integrity

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: , | 8 Comments »

CGH ‘FT’ doctor Senaka Liyanage charged with touching buttocks of ‘sweet-looking’ PRC nurse in OT

Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012

File photo

A Sri Lankan ‘FT’ doctor from Changi General Hospital (CGH) was charged in court on Monday with molesting a PRC nurse at an operating theatre on three occasions. The PRC nurse was reported to be ‘sweet-looking’.

File photo

Senaka Liyanage, 36, was accusing of touching the buttocks of the 26-year-old inside the operating theatre at Changi General Hospital at Simei Street 3 between 11am and noon on April 5.

He is accused of touching her on a second occasion, and a third time at about 2pm.

Dr Senaka is currently out on bail and his passport has been impounded.

This is not the first time that a CGH ‘FT’ doctor got into the trouble with the law over sex-related offences. Two months ago, a CGH doctor from Malaysia Ivan Ngeow Ko-Yen was charged for outrage of modesty by exposing his genitals to a female NUS student cross-dressed in the female uniform of Victoria Junior College.

Last year, Indian national Thiyagarajan Mathimaran, 33, a doctor at CGH’s urology department at that time, was charged with molesting a 42-year-old woman in the hospital’s toilet. He was later cleared of the charge after he paid $5,000 to the woman he allegedly molested.

Both Dr Ivan Ngeow and Dr Thiyagarajan are still working at CGH.

*Illustrated photo

Updated in 2013:

Dr Senaka was acquitted of all charges of molest.

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong found inconsistencies between the woman’s testimony in court, her police statements and a memo she had submitted to the hospital of the incident that occurred on April 5 last year.

He said her evidence, which had to be “unusually convincing” for the court to convict Dr Senaka Liyanage, 37, “was not sufficient to prove the prosecution’s case beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Dr Senaka has since left Singapore and is working as a Consultant Anesthesiologist in an Australian Hospital.

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Related articles:

CGH molest case: Sri Lankan doctor called up by police for questioning

CGH insider: Nurse was asked not to lodge police report against pervert foreign doc

Foreign doc from CGH suspended for allegedly touching buttocks of nurse

Netizens outraged by CGH’s defence of pervert doctor Ivan Ngeow Ko Yen

Posted in News | Tagged: , , | 54 Comments »

Prices of resale HDB flats continue to climb

Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012

Despite a slew of cooling measures introduced lately and more BTO flats being released into the market, the prices of resale HDB flats continue to climb.

According to HDB’s flash estimates, resale prices rose by 1.3 per cent in the second quarter of this year, higher than the 0.6 percent growth in the first quarter of 2012 and reversing a trend of slow price growth in the previous two quarters.

HDB will release another 25,000 flats under its Build-To-Order (BTO) scheme in 2012, but it will not affect resale flat prices because most of the BTOs are still being built.

Speaking to queries from the media, Senior Vice President of local property firm PropNex, Lim Yong Hock, said:

“There’s still a wait so the impact won’t come in so soon. The impact will probably come in about one to two years’ time, when most of the BTOs are ready, and there’ll be more resale units in the market. Currently there’s still a shortfall of supply in the resale market.”

According to a property agent we spoke to, the continued rising prices of resale flats is caused by a genuine demand on the ground as a result of under-supply of new flats in previous years.

The prices of resale HDB flats have nearly doubled since 2006, thereby pricing many ordinary Singaporeans, especially newly-wed couples out of the housing market who now have to opt for BTO flats instead, thereby delaying marriage and starting families.

 

Posted in News | 12 Comments »

A Christian speaks out against the defensive behavior of Kong Hee and City Harvest Church

Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012

On the recent CHC saga, I would like to offer my humble two cents worth, as a Christian – not to judge the people involved in the saga – but to correct any erroneous views about Christianity to the public that may have arose through this saga, for the sake of the God I worship.

Firstly, I was surprised that people found this saga surprising. CHC has been known in Christian circles as being a prosperity sideline church for many years now. I know of several people who have dropped out of CHC for that reasons. They went there to seek Jesus but instead received a different gospel from the one they know. Having visited the church a couple of times, I was uncomfortable with the fact that they kept emphasizing giving money.

Tithing to God is definitely important, but what they claim – tithe, and you will get much more financial blessings back in return – is an erroneous way to appeal to the lustful greed in people’s hearts (sort of like gambling and 4D), but not at all biblical. They also constantly back this strange philosophy with many testimonies for people who have prospered financially after giving to the church. The Bible never teaches getting more money as the motivation of tithing. The Bible does say that we will be blessed if we give, but we give to help God’s work, not to expect money in return. Also, the blessings in return may not necessarily be monentary. In China, there are churches where poor believers still tithe every cent from their pocket to fund their church missionaries (who truly need and money and literally risk life limb and jail to preach the gospel). However, they do so, rejoicing in the fact that God’s work can continue, not that they expect to get back money in return!

Secondly, I was surprised at the defensive behaviour of City Harvest members. I thought this issue was about the church’s pastor, and not the church? Initially when the news about Pastor Kong Hee being arrested broke out, I had never felt the church’s name was defamed in any way – neither do I think the public feels this way. The public seems to know the church is the victim not fellow consipirators. However, the overboard reactionary behaviour of CHC members, and not their pastor’s charges, now has made the public eye the church in a disapproving manner. We are not told to put our faith in men, who are untrustworthy, but in God.

The sad thing is that I see the CHC members blindly continuing to profess their faith in Pastor Kong Hee rather than professing their faith in a just God who would let justice, whatever the outcome be, prevail. God taught us to be respectful and submit to authorities because their power is given by God above. Whatever happens, good or bad, is in God’s Will as well. As a Christian, I feel it is disgraceful to see CHC members pushing and shoving and saying nasty things to reporters outside the court to protect their beloved ‘pastor’. What does this convey to the non Christian world, who see us as messengers of God? What impression of the God we profess to worship does it convey to them? Why are they sacrificing their testimony of God to the world, for the sake of a mere man? What lengths would they go to protect their idol?

Christians throughout the ages have been no strangers to going to court and getting into trouble with the law. The difference is that such things normally happen because the authorities has issues with them preaching the gospel. However, to be charged by the law for mishandling God’s money, that is altogether a different kind of ‘persecution’. It is just and honourable for us Christians to be persecuted for righteousness and for God’s sake…but to be persecuted for our own foolishness and sinful behaviour, is just plain shameful. For the former, God is on our side; for the latter, it is His judgment upon a professed ‘Christian’ who continues to disobey him and indulge in sinful behaviour.

The saddest thing I have felt throughout this whole saga is that I have yet to see an apology from Pastor Kong Hee to God and his church members for commiting a wrong. And also that I have yet to see an apology from CHC members to the non-Christian public observers for their ridiculous ruckus outside the court (as well as writing letters alleging their church has been defamed by the authorities??) giving such a flawed testimony of God to the non Christian public observers. The crux of Christianity is to acknowlege we are utterly depraved, sinful and flawed, and calls for true repentance. Christianity without true repentance and confessing of sins is meaningless. We should be unashamed of acknowleging our wrongdoings because doing so will set us free.

According to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What is so hard about apologizing? What is this wretched pride (perhaps stemmed from our face-saving culture?) that Pastor Kong Hee is protecting? That his congregation is protecting for him? Is this pride more important than God? Jesus forsake his pride and died shamefully on the Cross. Because of that He was resurrected and given authority over all men, and millions of Christians honour and revere him today and praise Him with our lips. Can’t Pastor Kong Hee and his church do the same?

If not, let humble me apologize to the public on their behalf. I am sorry for the negative impressions Christians in the media have been giving you recently. I know we Christians normally try to convince you to come to church and to show you that God is living inside of us (of that I respectfully will not apologize for as that is what God calls us to know). But sometimes you see our actions going contrary to what we try to show, and for that I apologize. I would like you to know, that true Christians are not necessarily those who say they are Christians with their lips, nor those who do a lot of volunteer and charity work.

True Christians are those who mean what they say, who obey what Jesus says, who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We Christians may say a million theological words about Christianity to you that you probably think is gibberish, but I would like you to know – indeed – actions speak louder than words. What we do is more important that what we say to you. If ever our actions contradict what we say – if we do not practise what we preach – you are right to label us as hypocrites.

MICHELLE TAN

*The above article was contributed to us for publication by the writer. We thank her for taking the effort to write such a well-thought article.

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Related articles:

Concerned parents attend City Harvest Church with their children

Kong Hee receives standing ovation from CHC members

Kong Hee speaks out against charges: I maintain my integrity

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 Commentary, Opinion | Tagged: , , | 309 Comments »

PM Lee: We will continue to ‘integrate’ Singaporeans with foreigners to make Singapore a more ‘livable’ city

Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012

Despite growing public disgruntlement and anger at the relentless influx of foreigners which has marginalized Singaporeans in recent years, the government is focused on ‘integrating’ native Singaporeans and immigrants to make Singapore a more ‘livable’ city, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Speaking at Sunday’s official opening of three global events held in Singapore, PM Lee said Singapore will continue to improve and strengthen its ‘social capital’ which is more than just having better physical infrastructure.

Some of these measures include building new housing estates and upgrading old ones, improving public transport with more train lines and buses, and introducing more green spaces in the city.

PM Lee also took pains to emphasize that a ‘livable’ city is also about the people:

“Integrating Singaporeans and newly-arrived immigrants and foreign workers, preserving ethnic harmony, building a more compassionate society… This is what we have to do to make Singapore the best home for us all, and this is what we will do year after year, continuing to improve as we raise our standards step by step.”

However, PM Lee noted that this transformation is not easy as it is difficult to rally political support for the ‘right’ choices.

With Singaporeans fast being outnumbered by foreigners, they may need to ‘assimilate’ into them rather than ‘integrate’ as large numbers of them continue to flood into Singapore, leading to rampant inflation, sky-rocketing property prices, stagnant wages and an obvious decline in the quality of life.

Posted in News | 49 Comments »

Ex-HOD defends NIE curriculum

Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012

I was a teacher which meant that I went throught the NIE and schools route. I left after being appointed as a HOD but that’s a different story. (I can attest to that a HOD is no where close to 10k.)

I must say that studying in NIE wasn’t a breeze, practicum was a challenge, writing lesson plans tiring. However, it is exactly because of these lesson plans that I improved as a teacher. I spent hours on them, but reaped their returns when I taught my classes and saw how much they enjoyed the lessons. Teaching is not an easy job and we teachers need to spend time on it, going into teaching with the mentality that you get paid just by talking off the cuff is wrong. It is often very clear to me who in NIE were there for the wrong reasons, exactly those who whine about long preparation hours and badly behaved students and just about everything else. For me, teaching is a passion and when it is a calling, you will spend time and effort on your work. Thinking that you’ll just breeze through is not doing yourself nor your students justice. I think the writer got into education for the wrong reasons.

2nd, a HOD is usually assigned to a trainee to help them improve. Even though the HOD might not be teaching the class, he/she is ultimately responsible for the class once the trainee leaves. What the writer fails to mention is that for every lesson plan he/she wrote, the HOD had to read it through and discuss with him/her on how to improve it. The HOD also sits in on the class to assess the trainee. It is really not fair to tarnish the supervisors like that. You may have gotten an irresponsible supervisor but there are many around who take their work very seriously. Sometimes, it is also up to the trainee to put in the extra effort.

I enjoyed my practicum, had very little sleep, learnt a lot from my mentor as well as the NIE assessor. What was more important was that the feedback for my classes is immediate. A teacher walks out of the classroom knowing that he has done well simply from the reactions of the students. Nothing else matters more. But before anyone jump and suggest that I had an easy time, I did my practicum in a neighbourhood school, a rather notorius one. I did rather well for practicum too, I was lucky as the effort put in could be seen by all but most of all it was the bonds that I formed with my students that I hold true till today. Even till today, my practicum students remember me and greet me when they see me in the streets. That always bring a smile to my face.

I’ll just end by saying that teaching is not for everyone and that one must enter because you want to teach and want to make a difference in shaping the lives of youths. (not because you can’t find another job because of the economy or that you think that the starting pay is high which is so not true.)

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

Posted in Letters | 19 Comments »

ESM Goh urges Singaporeans to ‘create’ art to make Singapore more ‘vibrant’

Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012

Former Prime Minister and present Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has called on Singaporeans to ‘create’ art to make Singapore a more ‘vibrant’ place to live in.

Speaking at the People’s Association’s Teens Network Club’s 10th anniversary celebrations, ESM Goh said the Singapore government has invested more funds over the years to support the sports sector and the arts scene.

“The government cannot create arts on their own. They can facilitate but arts must come from the people… arts (has) got to come up from below within the framework provided by the government,” said Mr Goh.

During his stint as Prime Minister, ESM Goh promised Singaporeans the ‘Swiss standard of living.’ While Singaporeans are now burdened with the Swiss cost of living, their quality of life has deteriorated to such an extent that arts and sports are the last things on their minds.

Posted in News | 39 Comments »