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12 years ago, City Harvest Church threatened to sue whistleblower Roland Poon Swee Kay. They owe him an apology.

Saying sorry is the least the church could do. But, alas, it hasn't and most likely won't.

Belmont Lay | October 22, 2015 @ 03:40 pm

Oct. 21, 2015, might have been an ordinary ho-hum day for you and me. But it will forever go down as a super sweet day for one Roland Poon Swee Kay.

It is so sweet because he got to savour what vindication really tastes like having been 110 percent correct for the last 12 years — just that he had been waiting for this one day to be proven that he was right all this while.

On Oct. 21, the verdict for the 140-day City Harvest Church trial that took up a good part of the last three years finally arrived: All six current and former City Harvest leaders are facing jail time and fines having been found guilty of all charges levelled against them, including criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts.

And Poon was the one who got the ball rolling.

 

The original whistleblower

Twelve years ago, Poon, a businessman, called City Harvest Church out, alleging then that the church was paying for Sun Ho’s music career.

That move took a lot of guts because he was not only a CHC member then who was risking cutting all ties with the biggest burgeoning Christian community in 2003 and faced the prospect of all forms of ostracisation, but it was essentially a case of his word against theirs.

He had no clear evidence to show for but he had to take a stand for what was right and what was — given his position then, he probably had no idea how big this issue was going to be — a matter that was soon to be of extreme public interest.

Nonetheless, he blew the whistle by putting his name down onto letters to the press, having written to various mainstream media outlets saying it was not ethical to mix secular matters and religion.

This was after his queries to the church leadership about how church funds were being used went unanswered.

He had at that time alleged that church funds were used to finance Sun Ho’s publicity campaigns and claimed then that he was encouraged to buy her music.

When the church threatened to sue Poon for his allegations, he retracted his statements and apologised to CHC.

In January 2003, Poon subsequently took out five apologies in The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News and The New Paper, to a tune of $33,372.06, that was paid for by an anonymous donor.

That sucky feeling of having to publicly admit you’re wrong even when you know you are right — is still not as sucky as Kong Hee telling his congregation to forgive Poon in the aftermath of his newspaper apologies.

According to a Straits Times article on Jan. 27, 2003:

… in five sermons over the weekend, Ho’s husband, church founder and senior pastor Reverend Kong Hee, asked the congregation to forgive the man.

How rich of Kong Hee then.

 

Poon “now vindicated”

In a Straits Times report on Oct. 22, it appears that Poon has made peace as he found out he was right all along and typical of anyone who knew he was right, he had not much to say — let alone gloat:

The businessman who charged in 2003 that City Harvest Church (CHC) was paying for Ms Ho Yeow Sun’s music career is now vindicated, said his daughter.

[…]

Mr Poon’s daughter, Ms Sharon Poon, told The Straits Times after the verdict: “I feel happy for my father that he is now vindicated, and that after 10 years, we now know that what he did was right.”

She said Mr Poon had been concerned about the outcome of the case and was “waiting for this day to happen”, adding: “Now, he can sleep in peace.”

“He was brave enough to come out about it. Now, I hope that they can apologise to him, if they still have the heart,” she said.

Mr Poon declined to comment when contacted.

The humility.

 

Come on CHC, it’s your turn to say sorry

We’d end this story about courage with a call to be courageous and for basic humility and good sense to prevail.

Which is why we would like to highlight this quote by Kong Hee about his wife Sun Ho from the same ST article from January 2003:

“Her success, which has been achieved through her own talent and efforts, has been unfairly discredited by the false allegations. However, she believes that in time, the truth will dawn.”

It is ironically funny and painfully ironic on so many levels, we only need to point out the last part: The truth indeed has dawned.

Therefore, it’s your turn to admit you are wrong.

And then to say sorry.

Even though Poon might have forgiven you.

In his own private way, of course.

 

 

Here’s another article useful for ANYONE:
We lost track of the number of times people think lifelong learning is an old people thing

Related article:

Sun Ho: God will use the (City Harvest guilty verdict) outcome for our good

Whatever’s going against City Harvest Church is by the devil, according to Kong Hee’s pastor friend Phil Pringle

Oops, ST reporter takes photo inside court room building during City Harvest verdict coverage

 

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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