atans1

Posts Tagged ‘CHC’

Putting Roy’s fund raising efforts into a global perspective

In Uncategorized on 27/08/2014 at 4:57 am

Anti-PAP cybernauts were quick to draw the conclusion that the PAP was doomed and publicise this ‘fact’. when Roy raised his $70,000 (and then a further $30,000) pretty quickly. So were S’poreans whose views I respect. Even I was impressed with the response. Until I read this:

Ohio man Zach Brown turned to crowdfunding to help fund a modest goal. He set up a Kickstarter page to help him make potato salad….just wanted to make a tasty side, but lacked the cash for basic ingredients.

He set a goal of $10 (£5.84). That’s low considering that the majority of successful Kickstarter projects raise between $1,000 and $9,999, but steep for homemade potato salad. But the humble and slightly ridiculous request – Brown promised to say the name of each backer aloud as he made the salad – took off. Five days into his challenge, Brown has raised almost $60,000 (£35,000), with most donors giving $4 or less.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-28216299

US$60,000 is more than S$70,000. Both were raised within about the same time frame.

What the reaction to the fund raising shows is the low expectations that we S’poreans have of our fellow S’poreans’ civic consciousness: $70,000 in a few days is a big deal. Roy has a huge following on the internet and social media. Yet what gd has that done him? He faces a law suit that will bankrupt him and all he has as a result of his popularity is S$100,000++ fighting fund and the acclaim of netizens. “Noise” doesn’t pay the legal bills does it?.

And while on the topic of “Loud Thunder, Little Rain” from anti-PAP voices and netizens, both TRE and TOC have appealed for donations to keep their shoe-string operations going. No wonder the PAP considers the views from cyberspace ‘noise’. The talk of support doesn’t get translated into action i.e financial support for the idols of the anti-PAP cyber warriors, or in attendance at gigs. (Btw, here’s Han Hui Hui reporting that 1000 people attended her gig. Read the comments as it shows the length hoe divorced from reality some cybernuts are: example: PAP will lose next GE.)

Contrast that with the financial support that members of Kong Hee’s church are giving to the defence funds of most of those charged for criminally misappropriating their money to fund auntie Ho’s Hollywood life-style.  Those funded have engaged expensive lawyers.

 

 

 

Sentosa Cove: His god deserts Kong Hee?

In Property on 15/07/2014 at 4:21 am

“We believe in you for better jobs, raises and bonuses, finding money, money finding us, incomes, royalties, real estates, dividends, inheritances…We pray to Jesus and there shall be a turnaround,” sums up the essence of the prosperity gospel*.

I was reminded of the above when it was reported yesterday that the trial of Kong Hee and friends was resuming.

Well his god seems to have left him to swing in the wind when it comes to property investing. Reminder: he owns a Senosa penthouse. A benefactor of Kong Hee’s church, an Indonesian tycoon, Wahju said in court a few months ago, that  he and Kong have been paying $17,000 a month each for a penthouse at Ocean Drive since 2008.  The tycoon had tot it would make a gd investment.
The penthose remains underwater, not literallo, of course. I was reminded of the penthouse by a BT report of a few weeks ago, that I juz read on Sunday.

ABOUT two in five Sentosa condominium units have resold at a loss in the past year, symptomatic of the plight of luxury homes here, as financing restrictions put off buyers, industry watchers say.

Since May last year, 31 units have changed hands at six Sentosa projects: Marina Collection, Seascape, The Azure, The Berth, The Coast and The Oceanfront, according to data compiled by STProperty.sg from URA Realis.

The profitability findings is in line with data gathered by HSR Research which shows resale prices at the plush Sentosa district falling 25 per cent to about $1,800 psf in the first five months of this year, compared to around $2,400 psf over the Jan-May 2013 period**.

Maybe his god thinks giving him Sun Ho and her filthy rich parents (they are paying his legal fees) is enough prosperity for one man? But he was too greedy and incurred the wrath of god? Hubris?

Or maybe he is a S’porean Job. The Lord’s praise of Job prompted Satan to challenge Job’s integrity, suggesting that Job served God simply because God protected him. God removed Job’s protection, allowing Satan to take his wealth, his children, and his physical health (but not his life) in order to test Job’s character. (Wikipedia)

And all will be well. God rewards Job’s obedience during his travails and restores his health and doubles his original riches.

Let’s see.

——————

*Another continent, another country (poorer). But the same rationale and motivation for donating generously

The service is for thanksgiving, which coincides with the first Sunday after payday. In what sounds like an economic report, the congregation is told to not worry about the first, second and third quarter of the year and that in the fourth quarter, there is still a chance to be blessed financially and materially. Congregants give testimonials describing long ambitions to land a job within government, to acquire a bigger house or a car and detailing how after fasting, praying, giving to the church, they are at last reaping the rewards. A leather-lined bin lands at Baobab’s feet. Give what you can, and you will be blessed …

… In Nigeria, where decades of governments have stolen hundreds of billions of dollars of oil money but most people live on less than $2 a day, many turn to religion, believing that only God can protect them and pull them out of poverty.

Note “poverty” is relative.

**Of the 31 transactions in the past year, profitability analysis could not be done for seven because caveats, which include information on purchase prices, were not lodged for the units. Profitability is calculated by subtracting purchase prices from selling prices. Of the remaining 24 transactions, 10 resold at a loss.

Among the loss-making transactions, four were units at The Berth, the debut project at the Cove which was launched in 2004 and completed in 2006. Three units made losses at The Oceanfront, two at the Coast, and one at the Azure.

Two in particular made seven-digit losses. A 2,982 sq ft unit at The Oceanfront sold for $5.65 million ($1,895 psf) in November last year, after it was purchased in April 2008 for $7.2 million ($2,415 psf) – a $1.55 million loss.

Another 2,820 sq ft unit at The Coast sold for $4.8 million ($1,702 psf) in January this year, two years after it was purchased at $6 million ($2,128 psf). This was a $1.2 million loss.

SLP International executive director … suggests that this could be due to owners struggling to find tenants for their units amid the weak leasing market. Some may also not be able to secure high enough rental rates to service their loans. (Most Sentosa homes are bought not for own occupation, but as investment.) “So they may find it a better option to just liquidate,” he said, adding that the location is also not the most convenient for expats to commute to the mainland for work.

Another industry watcher added that buyers who bought units at $2,100 psf and above appear to have “overpaid”. Those who profited from their resale deals mostly bought in at lower psf prices; a handful even got their units at $800, $900-plus psf back in 2006.

Meanwhile, several Sentosa Cove units are also up for sale at auction houses here. A 2,777-sq-ft unit at Turquoise condo, put up for sale by a lender at a Colliers’ auction this week, yielded no bids, despite having reduced its opening price to $4 million from its previous $5 million.

Two Sentosa homes are up for auction by DTZ, both by lenders, one at Turquoise and another at Marina Collection. Another four are for sale by private treaty (akin to private negotiations) by JLL – two at Turquoise and two at Marina Collection.

Typically, banks repossess homes and put them up for auction as part of a repayment structure when delinquent mortgagors (borrowers) are unable to find buyers and dispose of their properties themselves.

JLL’s head of auction … aid: “The owners of the two Turquoise units bought them at $7 million each, which is quite difficult to match in the current market.

“Auctioning is a good method to garner all interested parties in a room to competitively bid. Potentially, the owner can also expect to get the optimum price because it’s a competitive method of sale.”

Meanwhile, some Sentosa condos such as Cape Royale and The Residences at W have made strategic decisions to lease out their unlaunched units instead, given current soft condo prices on the Cove.

Roaring sales in the waterfront enclave back in 2006-2008 were hit by the financial crisis and had hardly recovered when the private housing market succumbed to successive rounds of cooling measures from 2009 … “For property prices anywhere, what goes up will also come down.”

Freight Links loaned $45m to CHC months after issuing bonds

In Corporate governance, Humour on 29/09/2013 at 10:28 am

A sharp-eyed TRE reader wrote to TRE as follows

Straits Times article dated 27 Sep reported on a $45 million new loan taken out by City Harvest Church (CHC).  The loan was not taken from any financial institution but a logistics company listed on the Singapore Exchange called Freight Links Express Holdings (FLEH).

FLEH’s core business is in freight forwarding.  To offer a loan of this size suggests its core business may have changed.  Have shareholders been notified?  At 8 per cent per annum, the interest charged by FLEH is also quite high.  But I guess CHC is desperate and will grab anything that comes along because no financial institution will offer a religious organisation a $45 million loan to purchase properties based on expected future ‘earnings’ from worshippers.
What is interesting is that FLEH had managed to raise $100 million in a Fixed Rate Note issue bearing an interest rate of 4. 6 per cent  just 4 months ago. http://www.freightlinks.net/MediaRelease/Press54.pdf  These IOUs are normally used for general corporate purposes and financing investments related to its core business, certainly not for loans. 
Business wise, it certainly does make sense to be earning 8 per cent while paying only 4.6 per cent without taking any risk.
However, this will set a precedent for every other listed companies on the exchange to stray from their core business.  Should this be allowed by the Singapore Exchange?
 
Phillip Ang
Surprising that our journalists from our “constructive”, nation-building media did not raise this corporate governance issue. Waiting for govt media briefing or telephone call to tell them what to say?
While I’m sure the transaction is perfectly legal, there is the governance issue of whether a logistics provider should become a lender to a church, albeit for a sum which is “peanuts” in the context of its financials. And there is the issue of the bond issue: normally used for general corporate purposes and financing investments related to its core business, certainly not for loans.
Restores my faith in the quality of people who read and post on TRE. Glad to see that not all readers and posters are “PAP are bastards” ranters. Maybe, they moved on to TOC or TRS?

Why preacher boy’s congregation will follow him to hell & back

In Corporate governance, Internet on 13/09/2013 at 6:01 am

(Or “Don’t be jealous that Kong Hee’s got it all leh”)

Woody Allen* once said that believing in God would be easier if He would show Himself by making a large deposit in a Swiss bank account in the director’s name.

No wonder Kong Hee (RI boy, like that thieving monk, and that ex-bishop (Methodist) of S’pore) is able to convince many people that prosperity gospel works: he is living proof of the $ that it brings. He is married Sun Ho**, who he said has rich, filthy rich, parents***. And he has Wahju Hanafi, as God’s personal ATM on earth:

– An Indonesian businessman and member of the City Harvest Church (CHC) … cast the business of saving souls in terms of a return on investment.

Justifying his $1 million-a-year donation to CHC for its Crossover Project – the church’s way of evangelising through pop music – Wahju Hanafi said: “If I spend $1 million and we win 138,000 souls, that means every soul is worth less than $1,000. To me, that is a good buy.

“I’m a businessman, and for every investment that I (make), I have to see a return. To me, in this case, the return is the souls that we are winning. If (we) are not winning souls, then I will probably pull back my money.” (BT report)

THERE was talk of love gifts like a Sentosa condo, expensive weddings and sponsorships so pop singer Ho Yeow Sun could receive bonuses.

God’s been putting serious money into his bank account. “If him, why not us?”, believers tell themselves. They got a point.
Now to the serious stuff.

First, the way the evidence is heading seems to indicate, to me, remember I’m a trained lawyer, that it was one big balls-up by the CHC people. They were trying to avoid paying tax or trying to help donors avoid tax. Whether they crossed the line, and were guilty of the offences charged remains to be seen. Anyway they didn’t have the benefit of this advice: Avoiding tax is not a fiduciary duty for UK company directors, opines a top UK law firm recently. http://taxjustice.blogspot.sg/2013/09/a-legal-opinion-on-directors-duties-on.html

The general principles of the opinion apply here too. CHC is registered as a company.

Next, much has been said by the magnificient seven bloggers and other lesser mortals about the intolerance of the PAP govt of views that do not fit the “right” narrative.Sadly, netizens too can be be a pretty intolerant bunch, reminding me of the biblical passage: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone …”.

Here http://vivitelaeti.blogspot.sg/2013/08/kong-hees-spokesman-on-english-language.html the blogger makes fun of a CHC member’s and PR flack’s “bad” grammar because of her undoubted bad manners.

But grammar and bad manners aside, she has a very serious, valid point, on the use of the word “sorry”.As someone who is a lapsed Methodist (into meditation nowadays), and who disagrees with the prosperity gospel believers that worshiping God results in a bigger bank balance, I never viewed the clip in qn in the way netizens spreading it, or commenting on it, were trying to frame it.

I read it as him telling fellow believers that their God was “comforting” him for trials inflicted by their loving God. Waz wrong with that? It’s basic Christian doctrine. But it doesn’t fit the dominant internet narrative that religious people are stupid, irrational and intolerant.

Methinks also there is a lot of jealousy out there on the internet. It is not only hostile territory for the PAPpies (rightly so), but also for successful people. There seems to be a “tall poppy syndrome” on the internet. Google the term if you are a “green-eyed “char tou”, envious of others.

The vileness of the attacks on pastor boy and CHC are gd examples (Auntie’s different as she can’t sing or act). I’ll blog on other examples. Juz because the PAPpies do DRUMS to the beat of RAVII****, doesn’t mean we have to follow them. Be mean by all means (this blog believes in being mean, provided there are reasonable grounds to be mean) but don’t do the RAVII DRUMS.

Use this method (used successfully by a secret police force) to evaluate the reasonableness of data before being mean.

Other CHC related posts

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/chc-missing-a-trick/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/chc-charity-denial-persecution/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/chc-a-prophecy/

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/render-to-caesar-the-things-that-are-caesars/

*A stockbroker is “Someone who invests your money until it’s all gone.”

**Who in certain poses and when viewed from certain angles can be pretty gorgeous. But not in China Wine or when she leaves her hair black.

***But not rich enough to indulge her in her singing ambitions. Or they know she can’t sing or act?

****Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications, Insinuations & Insults

Great point on City Harvest Church

In Humour on 22/05/2013 at 7:21 am

This appeared on TRE

LIONS:

As poor as the churh’s mouse.

now,we have ‘AS RICH AS CITY HARVEST’?

CHC: Missing a trick

In Uncategorized on 16/07/2012 at 9:11 am

(Or “Morale that bad meh at CHC?”)

I was surprised to read that a must-go annual major Christian mega-show, scheduled for early August, has been cancelled because of the troubles enveloping CHC. The hubbie of Auntie Sun was the executive director of the show, CHC members provided the manpower to run the annual show, and CHC, this year, the venue.

It seems one Canon Wong announced on the festival’s Facebook and website on 13 July that in view of Kong Hee and CHC “currently undergoing a challenging period”, the festival’s committee had decided not to go ahead with this year’s festival.

While, CHC and its members cannot be faulted or blamed for not wanting to put in the effort for the show this year, it would have been good PR for the church, its members and its “prosperity” gospel: When the going gets tough, the tough get going” would be a great message to tell people about the CHC members.

Or in biblical terms:

– “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

– “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Good boxers never ever give the impression that they are hurt by the opponent’s punches. Remember the “Thrilla in Manila” or when Ali forced himself up when he was knocked down by Fraser in their first fight?

And anyway, by carrying on as usual, they would be showing the finger to their detractors.

They must be pretty demoralised by what has happened: if the five are convicted, they, CHC and its members have failed to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” . They have failed theit God.

As it is, the Commissioner of Charities has made findings of fact that CHC management have failed to appeal. This could account for the very aggressive show of support (members keeping up their spirits by showing defiance?) for Kong, the other four charged, and Auntie, that some (not me, though), including a top criminal lawyer, think amounts to contempt of court.

But I’m surprised that the other churches didn’t step in to offer the manpower for hospitality, ushering and security that is usually provided by CHC staff and members. CHC could still provide the managers, technicans and venue.

As to those netizens bitching at Kong, Sun and the CHC because of the lifestyles of Kong (Sentosa Cove penthouse) and Auntie Sun (Hollywood mansion and lifestyles for herself, and various relations and friends: “The  [African prosperity gospel] pastors’ wealth raises eyebrows. Some have their own planes for jetting between the churches and the offices of their sprawling business conglomerates. In March David Oyedopo, reckoned to be Nigeria’s richest pastor by Forbes, a business magazine that puts his wealth at $150m, added an airline to his empire.” (From a recent issue of the Economist)

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s

In Uncategorized on 06/07/2012 at 6:02 am

(Or “CHC members: Why should tax-payers subsidise Sun Ho’s Hollywood life-style?” or “We are subsidising CHC in Crossover Project”)

In this, I pointed out, among a few other things, some in favour of CHC members, some against, that CHC members were wrong in thinking that CHC’s money could be spent as they wished: that it was not their grandfather’s money. This post expands the point I was trying to make because based on their media comments, some CHC members are showing a great deal of entitlement over spending taxpayers’ money over Sun Ho’s Hollywood life-style and Crossover Project. 

Maybe, they don’t realise they are using the money of other S’poreans, who may not share their idea of Christianity, or who may believe in other gods, or even no god. 

Methinks the members of the City Harvest Church in expressing their love and support of Kong, the other four accused and Geisha Sun are forgetting what Jesus is reported to have said in Luke 20:25,  Matthew 22:21 and Mark 12:17 about the relationship that should exist between the church and the state. Luke’s version reads, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s”.

In this saying, Jesus was establishing  the limits, regulating  the rights, and distinguishing “the jurisdiction of the two empires of heaven and earth” according to a famous American biblical commentator of the 19th century  http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1810_clarke_commentary.html

I’ll try to explain the relevance of this quote to the CHC situation.

CHC management and members are saying that how the money spent by the five is a CHC internal affair and nothing to do with others, implying that the Commissioner of Charities should leave them alone: it’s their money and if they want to spend it on their Auntie Sun and her hollywood buddies so be it.

But the problem with this view is that the status of a charity is granted not by God but by Caesar (the state).

CHC could have opted not to become a charity, but it chose to register as a charity (presumably because it was greedy for — OK taking advantage of — the tax benefits and reputational branding of being a charity). It becomes subject to the Commissioner of Charities, and all that entails.

It is no longer a private organisation, and the laws and regulations relating to charities applies.

In return for the tax benefits and seal of gd corporate governance that CHC gets by being designated as a charity, it has to play by S’pore’s (Caesar’s) laws, and in particular, the laws and regulations that CoC’s enforces. These include not “misusing” (as defined by Caesar’s laws, not the laws of God as understood by CHC) the charity’s funds . It cannot pick and choose which laws and regulations it has to obey.

Not their grandfather’s money.

Because of the exemptions from tax that a charity and donors get, the tax-paying public is subsidising Geriatric Gyrating Geisha’s Hollywood life-style and music performances. This explains how the state subsidises a charity, any charity.

As Christians, CHC church members accept that it’s either God’s way or the highway to Hell. Likewise they must accept that by becoming a charity, CHC and its managers have to obey the laws of Caesar. And that if the managers fail to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, they will be punished by Caesar’s courts. At least there are courts. Their God is prosectuor, judge and executor (OK, also the defender).

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up,” as Hosea 8:7 says.

No wonder other Christians are worried. CHC members should listen to this lady and “sit down and shut up” before they upset other S’poreans with their sense of entitlement that other S’poreans must subsidise Auntie Ho’s Hollywood life-style and Crossover Project.

CHC management and members, and Kong and his Geisha seem unable to appreciate that hard times for the many mean greater scrutiny of the few who flaunt living in Sentosa Cove penthouses or Hollywood mansions, especially when the former are subsidising the latter’s lavish life-style.

They shouldn’t forget that one reason why the PAP government is unpopular is because of its perceived indifference to the widening income gap. And remember, the PAP ministers don’t show-off their life-styles unlike Auntie Ho.

In a coming post (hopefully next week), I will prophesie  that Kong and the management of CHC are preparing the way to take a course of action more usually associated with a certain political party.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 206 other followers