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Archive for July 3rd, 2012

Singapore girl sabotaged by ‘anti-Singaporean’ online tabloid site

Posted by temasektimes on July 3, 2012

A Singaporean girl was sabotaged by an ‘anti-Singaporean’ online tabloid site notorious for publishing blatant untruths and lies to smear the characters of innocent Singaporeans.

The site had earlier published an article accusing ‘Fong Meilleure’ of offering sex to pay for her house rent on her Facebook:

It turned out that the Facebook post has been photoshopped.

However, Fong, who is currently residing in Bangkok, said she would not sue the site for defamation as she had already clarified the matter:

“Nope, waste of my money and time. I already explained whats going on, if anyone wanna be in denial and believe in this bull then i wish them goodluck with their lives. It’s gonna be hard if they dont grow a brain.”

The site is reportedly run by a former opposition candidate who contested in the General Election last year. We urged netizens to take its content with a double heavy dose of salt.


Posted in News | 11 Comments »

Ex-CHC member claimed church refuses to help him pay medical bill of mother and asked for donations instead

Posted by temasektimes on July 3, 2012

A self-proclaimed former member of City Harvest Church accused the church of not doing enough to help him pay the medical bills of his mother on Hardwarezone forum today.

Using the moniker of ‘rash8silvers’, he started a thread in the forum to raise funds for his mother’s medical bills:

“i need to say that i need help for my family which is only me and my mother. i come from a single parent family. i need help to raise up a sum of money for my mother for her medication. i know to many people u guys may feel either i am a cheat or i am bull shyting.. truth is, i dun mind meeting people up and bringing u all to either hospital or my home to show u.”

When a fellow forummer advised him to seek assistance from City Harvest Church, he retorted:

“bro i am from chc.. i left there because even i told them i need to save the money for my mother’s medication, they force me to give offerring.. the next thing i did was i left cause all they say is they will pray for me.. no point at all..”

City Harvest Church was in public spotlight of late after its founder pastor Kong Hee was charged with four other members for misusing up to S$50 million dollars of the church funds to further the music career of his singer wife Ho Yeow Sun.

“rash8silvers”‘s claims could not be independently verified.


Related articles:

Analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church (Part 2)

Churches ask followers not to blog about City Harvest Church saga

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: , | 29 Comments »

Australian ‘FT’ jailed for squeezing the breast of 38 year old lady twice

Posted by temasektimes on July 3, 2012

An Australian ‘FT’ Paul Joseph Smith was sentenced to 18 weeks’ jail on Monday for molesting a woman at a farewell party.

The 55 year old was found guilty of squeezing the right breast of the 38 year old IT consultant twice outside a restaurant at Mohamed Sultan Road in September last year.

According to court documents, the lady had dinner with Smith and three others at the restaurant after which they bid goodbye to one another and shake hands outside the restaurant.

For some unknown reasons, Smith squeezed her right breast twice while shaking her hand.

Smith is appealing against the sentence. He was a testing manager with a foreign bank at the time of the offence.

*Illustrated pic

Posted in News | 18 Comments »

VIDEO: Naked man lies on road at Jalan Sultan

Posted by temasektimes on July 3, 2012

A netizen was having dinner at Jalan Sultan when he noticed a naked man lying on the road:

A passer-by eventually placed a towel over him to cover his private parts. It is not known if he is a local or foreigner.

Posted in Videos | 20 Comments »

Analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church (part 2)

Posted by temasektimes on July 3, 2012

It has been two years since I wrote an analysis on the wealth of City Harvest Church (CHC). This week, news broke out that the Pastor has been arrested over alleged misuse of church funds. It is really amazing that the most fervent defenders of the Pastor are the very victims whom he was alleged to have abused – the stakeholders of City Harvest Church. A business with such loyal following among its stakeholders can easily survive adversities. From this single characteristics springs forth strengths that I shall outline in the subsequent paragraphs. Again, please read this article as a business analysis and not an insinuation that CHC is acquiring wealth through questionable means. I apologize upfront if some readers are still offended.

My observation of events that followed after the arrest has reaffirmed my belief on the wonderful business characteristics of CHC. In addition to the 14 points raised in my first article, I have more to add here;

15. Extremely forgiving customers who will keep coming back for more no matter what

CHC members have taken plenty of battering from the public this week. The moment a person reveals he is from City Harvest Church, people will look upon him like a brain-washed idiot who is unable to see the obvious “truth” (verdict is not out yet, so nobody knows the truth. Wait for Pastor to tell his side of the story first). The mere association with CHC brings embarrassment.

When a business has such a firm grip on its customers that they refuse to go away despite suffering lots of abuse, this business is on solid ground.

Any business(even reputable ones) that has been in existence long enough will eventually make a big screw-up or even get indicted in scandalous frauds. However, if that business has loyal and forgiving customers like CHC’s, it can be assured that its customers will probably keep coming back. It is very hard to erode its customer base as they can take a lot of beating before saying goodbye. Such a business is certainly built-to-last.

16. Very easy to raise money from loyal and trusting shareholders

CHC has a special characteristic in that the customers are also the shareholders because CHC raises funds from its church members.

In my first article, I concluded that if CHC were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, I will surely buy it. With the benefit of hindsight, some netizens sneered at this conclusion. They said that I would have lost lots of money this week if CHC were listed as a stock. If CHC were an average business, I would certainly have lost my pants. Most stocks would have crashed on allegations that the Founder has defrauded its shareholders. Shareholders will sell first and ask questions later. Not CHC. Its loyal and trusting shareholders will probably buy on the dips/crashes and no need to ask questions at all. Their faith alone in the company is enough.

With such loyal shareholders, it is very easy for a company to raise new funds for future expansion. It can set up building funds to buy new buildings to house its ever-rising membership. In fact, this was exactly what CHC did 2 years ago when it bought Suntec City.

17. Highly motivated and loyal employees who will work for little money with great passion

City Harvest Church has a unique stakeholder characteristic. The extremely loyal customers and shareholders as mentioned above are also the same group of people who are the employees. Therefore, it naturally follows that CHC has a very loyal team of employees.

HR departments like to say our greatest assets lie in our human resource. Nothing can be more true when this is applied to CHC. Some CHC members (or employees) work as volunteers for little or no money but carry on their work with great passion and sacrificial spirit. Internet stories abound on how much personal time some members devote to church activities. It is a compliment to CHC members on their self-sacrificial spirit in volunteering their free-time for church work (provided they do not neglect their earthly family duties).

These dedicated volunteers are not paid a salary but perform essential operations for the church. This results in tremendous cost savings for operating the company. The company does not need to pay for this voluntary workforce and yet enjoy amazingly high staff morale. I challenge readers to find me another company in the world with such an amazing workforce. Where can you find a passionate voluntary workforce who not only are not paid a salary but actually are encouraged to pay until tears stream down their cheeks in order to have the privilege to work for the company? Little or no salary, high staff morale, work with passion and dedicaion, even pay to work … WOW!!

The heavy commitment and sacrifice put in by the employees serves yet another advantage to CHC. The more time and money and sacrifice a person puts into an endeavor, the harder it is to let go when the turn of events suggest that he may be wrong. Once he has invested too much, it becomes very hard to “cut loss”. A person faced in such a situation may resort to self-denial as a form of psychological defense mechanism to protect himself from facing the pain of meeting reality head-on. It is this defense mechanism which plays an important role in strengthening employee loyalty to the company in crisis times.

CHC enjoys another advantage with the employee pool. In 2010, 47.3% of its members are below the age of 25 and the majority are young professionals aged 25 to 35. The young workforce injects awesome energy and dynamism into the business at little or no cost because they are mostly volunteers.

Having a young membership works towards enhancing corporate loyalty for a church business. When it comes to transmitting a set of beliefs, it is preferable to start with the young as it is easier to shape and mould young minds. Some friends have jokingly suggested starting an Internet church preaching prosperity gospel to get rich (let’s ignore the morals of such an enterprise for the sake of discussion).It will not work. To have a firmer grip on the minds of its stakeholders, the church should ensure that members’ lives revolve around the church. The more social interaction, the more time/effort put in, the lesser exposure to outside influences from other churches (or even disapproving parents), the tighter will be the bonds. Left alone in front of the computer, people are more discerning and analytical without social pressures from the crowd. Just a few simple searches on Youtube turns out videos highly critical of Prosperity Gospel.

Full-time CHC employees are loyal for a good reason. They are very well rewarded financially. Although CHC is registered as a charity, in the 2008 financial statement, CHC distributed $2.9m out to charity and spent 3.2 times more ($9.29m) on its own employees. This will motivate its volunteer workforce to work hard to get a chance to join its full-time staff.

To sum up, with the extremely team of employees, shareholders and customers, CHC as a business is unbeatable.

18. Need not incur any expense to deliver on customer promises

This business characteristic distinguishes City Harvest from all other businesses I have encountered. If a customer entrusts huge sums of money to a bank which promises 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns and the bank does not return a single cent, the customer can sue for fraud. If a Prosperity Gospel church makes similar promises and fails to deliver, the customer will have to die first and find out the truth on Judgment day. In the mean time, the Church can cite the story of Job and tell its followers to be patient. Better still, a sharp businessman can turn adversity into opportunity by telling its followers the reason they are not prosperous is that they have not given enough to the Church. Did you give until your heart breaks? Did you give until tears stream down your cheeks? If not, do not expect God to repay you with prosperity in Harvest proportions.

The CHC business is able to collect revenue on a service offering that does not require expenses to be incurred in its development. Even better, if delivery quality falters, tell the customer it is his fault because he did not pay enough. The customer has no way to verify on this claim. He probably will pay more eventually. What can be more wonderful for a business than that?

PS: Throughout history, religious organizations have a strong controlling power over their followers because they can make claims that cannot be proven (obey me and you shall go to Heaven), promises that need not be delivered (give me and you shall be prosperous) and threats that cannot be verified (defy me and you shall go to Hell). Under such uncertainty, even intelligent people lose their critical faculty to discern out of fear and greed. Christian crusaders were told they will go to heaven if they die in war. Same goes for the Muslim terrorists. More than a thousand years ago, the Roman Catholic Church claimed it could forgive sins on behalf of God so that rich donors can enter the Kingdom of God if they donate enough money to the Church. Since behind every great fortune likely lies a great sin, the business of a Prosperity Gospel Church pales in comparison.

Who knows for sure if they are right? There is no way to know until Judgment day. What we can be sure is that the interpretations of the holy book certainly suits right for those manipulative religious leaders. I believe religions are good with the best of intentions for their followers. Having a religion is better than not having one but be mindful of manipulation by people who use religion as a tool to advance their own interest. I have no doubt these people truly believe in their own message, otherwise they could not have been so convincing. Intelligent and even kind people have a way of inventing reasons to convince themselves to justify means that benefit themselves at the expense of others. All of us are guilty of this sin to some extent, including myself.

We are blessed by God with a brain to think for ourselves. European civilization was held back by their religious leaders because they let the religious leaders do the thinking for them for the benefit of the few at the expense of the rest. Try to think freely but fairly for yourself. We can interpret the Bible our own way if we feel uncomfortable with that of our religious leaders. Why should I donate 10% of my income if what is left is insufficient for my parents and personal savings? Instead of 10% of my revenue (salary), would it be better if it were 10% of free cashflow (salary – necessary expenses for my earthly obligations and survival)? Family obligations such as parents’ allowance have to come before the church.

I cannot agree with the Prosperity Gospel. It insults my concept of a loving God. If a God who claims to love me rewards me only after I have to give until my heart is broken, then He is lesser than my parents who has been giving to me starting from the moment I was born even before I knew how to give at all.

The above article was sent to us by the writer for publication and was first posted here.

Posted in Commentary, Opinion | 60 Comments »

Ex-teacher: MOE should do a better job in designing its curriculum

Posted by temasektimes on July 3, 2012

I am an ex-teacher, not a HOD or any other appointments, just a normal teacher. I agree with the earlier post “Ex-MOE teacher recalls ‘dehumanizing’ experiences of trainee teachers” to a certain extent. Not that it is a “dehumanizing” experience, but I would rather rephrase it to more appropriate terms – rigorous and hectic. If there is a scale out of 10 to measure the rigour and hectic of my NIE training, I will give a 10.

From the moment the term starts, assignments come in like waves of tsunami. Deadlines are aplenty and all of them are pretty close to each other – it is quite common to have several assignments due within the same week. Furthermore, there is the teaching assistantship and teaching practicum at the end of the curriculum year, where I had to observe numerous lessons, write reflections, plan lessons, prepare resources and teach. Sleep is definitely a luxury and given that I am a non-graduate, the remuneration is definitely not a motivating factor.

Even though I had come through from all that, I am certainly of the opinion that NIE can do a better job at designing its curriculum. No doubt the rigour and hectic prepared me well for the same kind of working condition and pace in school, I question a lot of times on the quality of our teacher training and education. What is the point of rushing for deadlines when we should really be acquiring in depth knowledge of the subject we are going to teach?

That being said, I am also not suggesting that trainee teachers to be given luxurious amount of time to complete each assignment, at least it shouldn’t be 2 to 3 deadlines within the same week coupled with tests and presentations. If teachers are trained in such pressure-cooker style, instead of being taught to appreciate the subject and cultivate the love of learning it, it is of little surprise that they will in turn use the same method on the students. It creates a vicious cycle as these teachers move up the ladder, and there will always be a huge barrier for education to evolve to keep up with times.

As a non-graduate teacher, I will disagree with my 2 hands up if anyone were to tell me that teaching is a well-paying job. Maybe for the graduate teachers, but definitely not for me. I even had to take up tuition classes at self-help groups in order to have a little bit of luxury. Nevertheless, that didn’t hamper me to join teaching. I joined teaching in the first place as I wanted to change and make a difference in my subject – Physical Education. I even told my interviewers that if I am not given the subject, I would not sign the letter to enter NIE after my contract teaching stint.

True enough, I was given the subject and went to NIE. Ironically, at the end of the day, it wasn’t the stress nor the workload and definitely not the remuneration that made me leave teaching. It was the negativity, lack of support from school leaders, the reluctance to open up to new ideas, the stick-in-the-mud mentality, favouritism from school leaders and many more obstacles that doused the passion. As I witness more of my NIE cohort-mates leaving the service, I began to wonder how a group of young men and women who were once so passionate about teaching gradually lose that fire in them. Salary is definitely not the issue, as some of them were emplaced into the graduate scheme after obtaining a degree from part-time studies.

I had the experience of looking for a job after I left teaching and I can attest to how difficult it was. Barring education qualifications, very few employers see the relevance of the skills teachers possess. To many of them, all that teachers know are to teach and this is such a specialised skill that many employers don’t see the transferability and relevance of the other skills that teachers have. Most of them do not know teachers spent most of their time doing non-teaching tasks. And in these non-teaching tasks, other skills like events planning and co-ordination, project management, adult training, handling “customers”, relationship building, administration and many more are required.

There are valid points in the author’s post and in all of the comments, and I will just want to end by saying there are people who joined teaching for the wrong reasons, I have witnessed them before, and strangely these are not the ones who leave after their bond ends. However, there are also those who joined because they truly want to make a difference, and more often that not, these are the ones who can’t sustain. It is probable that, in my opinion, the more you want to make a difference, the more dejected you will feel because the system just doesn’t allow that. MOE’s vision is to “mould the future of our nation”. And a truly passionate teacher will never do that, because they believe that children should be nurtured to his/her fullest potential. Moulding will only shape a person to what he/she is not. Perhaps it is the passion-turned-dejection part that doused the fire in most teachers. To avoid losing more good teachers, I believe radical changes to the current system should be made.


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

Posted in Letters | 10 Comments »

Chan Chun Sing promises not to ‘overspend’ taxpayers’ monies for SEA Games 2015

Posted by temasektimes on July 3, 2012

Following the disastrous Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010 which saw its budget being burst by nearly three times, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Chan Chun Sing, has given Singaporeans the ‘assurance’ that there will be no repeat of the fiasco.

Speaking to the media after revealing details about the Games’ Steering Committee, Mr Chan reiterated that the event will be done ‘within the budget’.

“We are keeping a very tight watch over the entire budget. Unlike the YOG, the SEA Games is very different. In YOG there are various contractual things that we have to abide by, but for the SEA games itself we have greater control of the choices of vendors and the kind of things that we want to use for the Games,” said Mr Chan.

He added that there will be ‘greater control’ over the budget for the SEA Games:

“We are quietly confident that we’ll have much greater control over the entire budget.”

This will be the fourth time that Singapore is hosting the event. Previously it was staged in 1973, 1983 and 1993.

Posted in News | 31 Comments »