Dear PM Lee, I am somewhat perturbed by the Law Minister’s remark on the City Harvest case saying “this matter is not over yet”. Is this fueled by public outcry over the reduction or is part of our highly revered judicial system? If it is the latter, would not one think over the course of the last 7 years and some 140 trial days that the Minister would have brought this to the public’s attention?
However, if it is indeed a response to public outcry I will be very very disturbed. Throughout the judicial process of over 6 years, we the church did what law abiding citizens should do, and that is to let the process run its course and respect the laws of our land. We attended the hearings so we get information 1st hand. We continued to serve the community as best as we can, while keeping the church together leaving some 15,000 or so members still in attendance.
I do not entirely blame the media as their job is to bring (to the best of its knowledge and sources provide), true and accurate reporting under the banner of freedom of speech that we enjoy in Singapore. A little sensationalism cannot be blamed as they do need to sell more copies, but the group of contributors who fuel such sensationalism should be the one in the spotlight. What is their motive? How are they involved in the church (to which is the very center of this entire case)? How have their lives been affected the last 7 years?
On the other hand, we the church, had to endure questions on why we remain for over 7 years. But in that 7 years, we continued to give. Not because we are brainwashed or less intelligent than the average Singaporean, but because this is our home, our church. Pas Kong Hee is our pastor, and he carries the responsibility of leading us, the church into spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity meaning a deep love for God and people, which is why we continue to encourage members to start families. Which is why visit homes, hospitals, low income families, even to disaster struck places like Japan when the need arose. Which is why we chose not to respond to attacks online but respect the rule of law.
What kind of Singapore do I want at SG100? Our continued love for the country, our families and our communities (no matter how diverse it becomes). A progressive government that continues to be strong, fair and forward looking. A nation of Singaporeans who show graciousness and generosity to fellowmen. The 6 have had their families dragged through the shame, confusion and stress that this trial has brought. The church stood by them because we are a family.
For 7 years, this church family kept mostly silent and focused on what the church believed in. The Crossover was to be an extension of these beliefs, and we supported it fully. If there is Crossover II launched tomorrow, this 15,000 who remains the church today, will support like we did in the early 2000s.
Sir, your highest courts have concluded no one benefited financially, the church suffered no monetary loss, the 6 did everything they did in the interest of a project fully endorsed by us, members of the church. While we thank God for the reduced sentences, we painfully accept and stand by the 6 and their families as they prepare to serve time in the next few weeks. When our 7 year ordeal came to an end (or at least we thought so), your Minister decides to make a statement that it is not over. It is interesting to observe how politics and religion are parallel. A small group of noisy netizens attempted to chart the 2011/2015 elections. They blamed the government for everything from CPF monies to high cost of living. To that we lost an esteemed and highly talented individual, the former Minister George Yeo. What have we learnt from GE2011/2015? Focus on the real issues, listen to real people. Then the country moves forward.
Sir, the real verdict has been issued. Real people are sentenced, real families have been affected and will continue to be affected for the next 3.5 years. We respect our judicial system to be fair and highly regarded. All we ask is to let us the church, which is the charity that the COC said is protecting, move on and start the healing process.