The Today paper talks about how Pastor Ho was not a bookworm, but enjoyed sports and life. He was also seen as a visionary and perfectionist. Below is the extracted article.
THE BIG STORY on the Today Paper
Before he was Reverend Kong Hee …
Former schoolmates recall an easygoing student who enjoyed swimming and life
by Neo Chai Chin 05:55 AM Jun 05, 2010
SINGAPORE – At a Raffles Institution Class of 1980 reunion five years ago, he was on the receiving end of friendly jibes. “Never knew you could do this, man,” former schoolmates kidded Reverend Kong Hee (picture), who by then had established City Harvest Church as a rapidly growing entity.
“Most of us were very happy for him, and he extended an invitation for every one of us to go to his church to listen to him. All we needed to do was call his secretary, and he would arrange the seats for us,” said an ex-schoolmate who attended RI and Raffles Junior College with Rev Kong from 1977 to 1982.
Before he became the face of one of Singapore’s megachurches, Rev Kong was just one of the boys in a top school. But it was not as a bookworm that buddies remembered him
According to two former schoolmates, he was easygoing, playful and enjoyed sports and life. He was in RI’s swimming and water polo team, and sported chlorine-bleached hair.
“He fell into the tall, dark and chlorinated-hair category,” one schoolmate quipped, a stark contrast with Rev Kong’s description of himself during a 2005 media interview as having been short, fat and ugly in secondary school.
After graduating in 1988 with a degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore, the young man who planned to be a missionary in the Philippines, worked for a short stint at a local Anglican church, according to the biography on his website.
But then he started City Harvest with 20 people in 1989 and was ordained at Bethany Christian Centre two years later. It was as a Christian youth leader working with students, that Rev Kong met his future wife Ho Yeow Sun, then a student at Anglican High. They married in 1992 and now have a son, Dayan, five.
She went on to become a pop singer in the media limelight, crossing over from church music director to chart-topper in the Chinese and American markets, while her sexy outfits set tongues wagging……….
………Over the years, church members came to regard him as “visionary” and “passionate”. Himself a businessman – in 2005, he took himself off the City Harvest payroll when he and his wife set up Skin Couture, and later added two more boutiques – he connected with followers like Elim Chew…………
………..”He’s a perfectionist. Working with him is not at all easy. You have to work even harder because he’s so sharp. A slight mistake and he’ll be upset, and that’s how he moulds most of us to be sharper.”
There was the church’s anniversary celebration at the Singapore Indoor Stadium a few years ago, when the sound crew could not get things right and the backup vocalists could not hit the right tone. The crew had to rehearse “again and again”, with the session ending close to midnight.
……….The spotlight on both the church and its founder has been intensifying in recent months – for example, when he announced in March its indirect purchase of a stake in Suntec Singapore’s convention centre. Then came murmurs from netizens accusing him of plagiarising other authors’ words in his daily devotionals.
………Then came news on Monday of the investigation into individuals and companies linked to City Harvest for alleged misuse of funds. Seventeen individuals, including Rev Kong, were questioned by the Commercial Affairs Department……….