During the September holiday, and incidentally, a September 11, I went to the State Court for a City Harvest Church Trial hearing.
I have 'liked' the Facebook page of CHC Confessions and read that anyone could attend the hearing. And some of them posted what the court, but not the mainstream papers, revealed on the page. I thought it could be good to be there in person and experience for myself if it was true that Pastor Kong and the other 5 accused were as what the Facebookers made them out to be.
It was the school holiday. I woke up bright and early and left the house at 9am.
It was the first time I attended a court hearing as a bystander. I walked through the scanning device at the court entrance and got in Court 1 at 10am.
Outside Court 1, I saw Suraj, the long-time follower and trusted man of Pastor Kong, and another petite, bespectacled man who stared at me as I made my way to the Court.
As I walked into Court 1, a female Indian security guard asked me for a court ticket. I said I didn't have one. I had read on the papers that the court would open the seats to members of the public if they were not taken up by 10am, so I thought I didn't need a ticket.
She directed me to the security guard counter to get a ticket before admitting me into Court 1 again.
The 5 accused were sitting in a separate section from the members of the public, a row or two behind the lawyers and their assistants.
Pastor Kong was in the witness stand, giving his testimony and answering questions posted by his lawyer, Edwin Tong.
While I could hear Pastor Kong clearly, as he was side-facing us, I had problems hearing Edwin Tong who was back-facing us. His voice was soft and somewhat muffled.
I was terrible at trying to comprehend what was going on.
I had imagined that Edwin Tong, being Pastor Kong's lawyer, would seek to defend Pastor Kong aggressively and show evidence to discredit the Prosecutors' claim of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) upon the 6 accused, but all he did was to refer to the different figures on the minutes and statements and asked Pastor Kong what they were for. Most of the time, Pastor Kong replied that they were donations to the construction of Chinese schools in China.
Then Pastor Kong spoke.
He maintained that as a senior pastor, he had some level of influence over the church, the Crossover Project and the Xtron directors, but he did not have total control over the church or the Xtron directors.
To the collaboration with Wyclef Jean, he had this to say,"I love my wife, and I love the vision that God has given to our church, but I cannot agree to a proposition, in good conscience, that will cause CHC to be in a precarious financial situation, to lose money."
In explaining why the church did not continue to work with Wyclef, he maintained that,"Although the prospect of collaborating with Wyclef was tempting, I could not agree to the budget." Besides the upfront payment of USD30mil, Wyclef and Justin Hertz were asking for a 50-50 profit split. He felt that the request was 'beyond reasonableness'.
Halfway through the hearing, my fifth sister whatsapped me to task me with the mission of collecting my father's lab test report from the cardiologist's clinic, so I had to leave after the morning session of the court hearing ended.
Subsequently, I read from the Chinese evening papers that Pastor Kong teared in mentioning how the adults and children in his son's school had taunted his son by asking,"Has your dad gone to jail yet?"
The poor child is probably in P3 this year and he has to suffer the stress even adults can't handle.
I saw a humbled, and somewhat resigned, Pastor Kong that day, but I maintain that he loves his wife the way he did when he first married her, if not more. I don't know of any other man who dares to proclaim his love for his wife in a court, especially when the case has nothing to do with his marriage.
Based on what I saw and heard that day, I feel that Pastor Kong already know what is to come.