Album launch delayed by illness and probe: City Harvest founder
Published on Aug 15, 2014 8:31 AM
There were big plans for the launch of Sun Ho's first album in America - from talk show appearances to spots on popular TV shows such as Gossip Girl, CSI and Dancing With The Stars.
Yet, "all the work we had put in, the money we had put in all these years, just went down the drain", said City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee yesterday.
His wife's album, which was supposed to extend the church's reach internationally and attract people to the Gospel through her secular pop music, is still to be launched almost a decade after work began on it.
Ms Ho Yeow Sun, whose stage name is Sun Ho, was hospitalised in March 2009 and had to undergo two operations for abdominal adhesion, said Kong on his fourth day on the stand.
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Kong Hee's key points
CITY Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee and five others face various charges for their part in allegedly misusing around $50 million of church funds to boost Ms Ho Yeow Sun's music career and then to cover it up.
The trial is expected to heat up today when the church's former investment manager, Chew Eng Han, who is representing himself, cross-examines Kong.
Since taking the stand on Monday, Kong has been answering questions set by his lawyer, Mr Edwin Tong. Here are some of the key points he made over the four days:
CHECKS, CHECKS AND MORE CHECKS
Kong insisted that he and the other defendants had repeatedly sought and received assurance from lawyers and auditors that transactions at the heart of the trial were all above board. Pointing to meetings set up with auditor Foong Daw Ching, Kong said: "If I have committed fraud, corruption and forgery, why would I want to see him?"
CHURCH BEFORE SUN HO'S CAREER
Kong said he put the church's interest before the project to launch his wife's music career in the United States.
"If Sun (Ho) was able to succeed in the US, then... every continent would be open to her and... to CHC's missions," he said.
But he ensured costs were kept manageable. "The church has invested its building fund (in the album)... and I wanted to be sure the church will suffer no loss..."
PROJECT HAD MEMBERS' SUPPORT
Kong said church members supported the project to use Ms Ho's pop music career as an evangelical tool. "In 2004, we had a service at the Indoor Stadium, and the entire congregation, about 10,000, prayed for Sun and blessed her as she embarked on her crossover into the US."
DISCOMFORT OVER CHINA WINE
Ms Ho's China Wine single enjoyed chart success but some criticised it for being risque. Kong admitted he and his wife were uncomfortable when Grammy-winning artist Wyclef Jean switched her to a fusion of Asian music and reggae because her previous songs sounded too "white".