The Flood and PUB’s Credilibity Washed Away

According to one of the world’s most highly paid PM in terms of salary (other PM’s don’t get paid so much as ours but they get other perks nonetheless), given our climate, it is impossible to prevent floods in Singapore. I have to agree. But I also have the prerogative to be cynical.

The unfortunate freak floods caused economic damage. However, they also floated in business opportunities for those repairing the shops, suppliers selling new stock of goods, construction work to minimise the occurrences of future floods etc. Also, the last big flood was in 1984 and PUB and company have kept the waters from ruining cars and businesses for 26 years.

Nonetheless, isn’t it obvious that for two freak floods to occur within two weeks of one each other, something is amiss? Besides for the second flood, despite ample warning and windows for PUB’s redemption after the first flood, it happened only after hours of heavy rain, not hours and hours or even days of heavy rain which are more understandable explanations for freak floods. Was PUB taking the flooding problem seriously to begin with since there was an earlier freak flood in Bt Timah last year, or did it like our PM have the mentality that it happens so why bother so much?

Unrelated to the floods in many ways, maybe it is time for a freak election win too.

Jun 28, 2010 Straits Times
S’pore can’t be flood-free

IT IS not realistic to expect Singapore to be completely flood-free given its tropical climate but the Government will continue to implement new drainage works to prevent widespread floods, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.

In his first comments since the two flash floods this month, he said it would any attempt to wipe flood flooding her here would be very costly, requring huge spending and tracts of land.

‘If you are going to do that, you will need huge tracts of land put aside for huge monsoon drains, which will be empty most of the time, (and) the infrastructure will cost a lot of money and it is not worth it,’ he said at the opening of the new facilities at Lower Seletar Reservoir.

A more realistic objective, he added, is to prevent widespread and prolonged flooding, and limit the risk to lives and damage to property.

Assuring Singaporeans that the Government ‘will continue to implement new drainage works, to improve the design of the drainage systems and deal with more intense storms’, PM Lee said: ‘But I don’t think it is possible in Singapore to expect the place to be completely free of floods,’ he said, as heavy downpours are very much part of the climate for an ‘island in the tropics’.

He also stressed the need to have contingency plans for unusually heavy rain to ensure swift response in pinpointing the problem areas, dealing with them and ‘putting them right’, and ensuring that the massive floods of the scale that wreaked havoc in Orchard Road, Thomson Road, Bukit Timah and Tanjong Katong would not happen again.

‘We have to learn from these episodes, do post-mortems, find out what happened, and upgrade our infrastructure and systems,’ he said.

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Kong Hee’s Pastorpreneurship?

Some are already making jokes about Pastor Kong Hee’s wealth as Kong Hee Fatt Choy. He and his wife has 3 boutiques – Ed Hardy at Heeren, Skin at Great World City and Christian Audigier at Ion. And they didn’t need to draw an income from CHC since 2005 as these businesses are lucrative enough. So lucrative that they can supposedly support his Horizon Towers condo at Leonie Hill District 9 condominium, which costs from $2.8-6.5 million according to Property Guru, and his wife’s residence in Beverly Hills according to rumours.

Pastorpreneurship is one word I could use to describe this whole rich business pastor church, adjective in that order of priority apparently to Kong Hee if the rumours on him are true and the Youtube videos are to be believed. Pro-Kong Hee supporters, and I suppose not all CHC members are blindly devoted to Kong Hee’s personality cult, would argue that the Devil is making us envious of Kong Hee’s success. More than just faith in the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty, the Kong Hee devotees forget that their pastor is also human and probably exposed to temptation and days in the desert as well. Some have alarmingly insinuated a call to arms as their church is supposedly under siege by the Devil. To CHC’s credit still, a minority of CHC goers acted as the voices of reason, which we shouldn’t be surprised as this constructive introspection has happened before.

The business of religion
Sat, Jun 05, 2010
The New Paper

GIVE.

Or as Pastor Kong Hee, the founder of City Harvest Church, put it in one of his many sermons posted online: “Give until tears stream down your eyes.”

That tithe is collected in churches is not new. But how it is used may have changed over time and that is causing some concern.

In 2001, eyebrows were raised when New Creation Church bought East Coast Recreation Centre, through its business arm Rock Productions, for over $10 million. Some of the church members had questioned then the use of church funds for investment purposes.

The church argued then that the business arm is run as a separate entity and that the purchase was in line with the church’s constitution.

Fast forward to present day.

City Harvest’s investment in Suntec City – where New Creation Church runs its services – sparked a series of letters to the press.

Readers also wrote in to The New Paper pointing out that the investment was substantial – City Harvest had invested $310 million.

Once again, the use of donations, or tithe, for business became an issue among some church members.

The central issue appears to be the complexity of running a religion as a business. The church’s founder, Mr Kong, also declares that he is a businessman.