The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, July 13, 2012

City Harvest Church scandal is Singaporean greed, not “Western”.

City Harvest Church is a very wealthy Christian church in Singapore. It requires its members to donate 10% of their income to the church. It has 24,000 members, so it takes little calculation to realize that City Harvest Church's income from this largely young professional congregation, is vast. Recently there has been a scandal at City Harvest Church. The Star carried an article by Seah Chiang Nee about it that was most odd in its assertions. In response, I wrote the letter below, to the Star, hoping it would be published. Four days have now passed and it has not. Normally the Star publishes letters before then, so I am assuming that they are not going to publish this one, though I am prepared to be surprised. Given my assumption, I have pasted the text of my letter below. Thank you.

"I object, strongly, to Seah Chiang Nee’s bizarre assertion, in his article “The rise of the mega-churches”, that the alleged crime of Kong Hee and his fellow pastors, in misusing 23 million Sing. Dollars, was somehow the fault of the “West”. It was not. It was the simple and direct product of Singaporean greed.

I have lived in many countries, both Western and Asian. I have visited around 20 countries in my life. Of all those countries, Singapore is by far the most obsessed by money. It does not surprise me in the least, that a Singaporean pastor, of a very wealthy church, should be accused of using tax-free charity funds for inappropriate purposes – in this case, funding his wife, Sun Ho’s, pop music career to win more converts.

Seah Chiang Nee argues that City Harvest Church is just copying the fundraising zeal of TV evangelists, in the US. This is nonsense. Had the Americans not pioneered this kind of prosperity theology, it is certain that the Singaporeans would have stumbled on it, themselves. Singapore is highly inventive in all the ways to make money. They don’t need to be instructed in finding money-making schemes, by the Americans.

Furthermore, it is very self-serving, of Seah Chiang Nee, to explicitly defend a fellow Chinese man, by suggesting that his crime was somehow America’s fault. Kong Hee did not allegedly misuse that money because of America – if he did it, it was because of his implicit own character flaws, around the issue of money. The responsibility for this crime does not lie far away, but very nearby. Singaporeans need not  look for others to blame, in a rather paranoid fashion, but need to own up to their own crimes and their own criminals, should these be so proven to be. Only then will there be the possibility of addressing the underlying problems. As long as Asians blame the West for their own problems, those problems will remain unfixed. Asians should take responsibility for their own flaws – then try to overcome them.

Finally, it must be said, most clearly, that greed is not a "Western norm", as implied by Mr Seah's article...nor is the misuse of monies. It is deeply offensive to all Westerners that he should suggest so. Furthermore, the "West" is not defined by America, or what transpires there - there are many Western countries, each with somewhat different cultures. Mr. Seah should find out more about the West before making such allegations. In particular, he should note that a typical Western country is far less obsessed by money, than is Singapore."

Perhaps my letter to the editor about City Harvest Church was a little too strong to be published. Never mind, please comment below if you have anything to contribute. Thank you.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:44 PM 


Blogger Shocker916 said...

can you please stop posting white highlighted text on this dark blue background. its very sore on our eyes. Maybe use a lighter background and a dark font with a light blue highlighting. this makes this website much easier to read as i have been finding it difficult to read your articles nowadays.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I would love to stop doing it. The problem is I AM NOT doing it. Blogger is doing it all on its own without my explicit instruction - and I have no idea why. I don't even know how to do it or how not to do it - it just does it. Sorry. Hopefully it will resolve itself in time.

Thank you - and I agree, it is not as easy to read.

10:53 PM  

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