He said he was once a "shepherd". Then, as the chief missionary of the City Harvest Church, his role evolved into that of a "rancher".
Yesterday, for the first time since the trial started in May last year, church founder Kong Hee took the stand as a defendant accused, along with five others, of misusing church funds to further the music career of his wife, Ho Yeow Sun, and then covering it up.
The evolution from home-bound shepherd to jetsetting rancher with overseas missionary commitments meant that he had to depend on his team of lawyers and auditors, including his confidant, auditor Foong Daw Ching, to look into the church's transactions.
He insisted he did this to make sure that the use of church funds was above board.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong pointed out it was unclear what the professionals had been asked to review in several instances, as e-mail evidence - which Kong's lawyer, Edwin Tong, had referred to as examples of this diligence - was missing the relevant attachments.
"We don't even know what the lawyers were asked to look at in the first place," said Mr Ong.
Unlike the hysteria that greeted the start of the trial, the courtroom was not even full yesterday. The 49-year-old pastor, dressed in a smart black suit, strongly defended the Crossover Project, which was fronted by his wife to spread the gospel through pop music.
Kong said the inspiration for this came from a 1999 trip to Taiwan, when he was told young people were more interested in sports and pop entertainment than religion.
So, on the opening night of a June 2000 event organised by City Harvest to train church pastors and leaders in Asia, he asked Ms Ho to tweak pop song lyrics to include gospel messages.
"Instead of saying, 'I love you', she would sing, 'I love you, Jesus'," Kong explained. The response among the young was "overwhelming", he said.
When they tried this again in a Taipei church two months later, he claimed "hundreds" accepted Christ.
Kong said he decided that the church would "engage the world of Music Television (MTV) and, through it...preach the gospel of Jesus".
The Crossover Project, using Ms Ho's albums, kicked off in 2002. By 2007, she had released five Mandarin albums.
"If not for the Crossover, we would be just another neighbourhood church. The Crossover Project doubled, tripled our congregation size," he told the court.
While the church had paid for Ms Ho's first two albums, the board members decided to call on long-time church member and wealthy Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi to reimburse the costs, as he had pledged to support the Crossover Project.
Kong said the church consulted both Drew and Napier lawyers as well as Mr Foong on various transactions to ensure they were above board.
"Mr Foong is my friend, confidant and mentor in financial matters, and he took it upon himself to keep an eye on all our accounts," said Kong. "In fact, he made me a promise that, if something was wrong, he would contact me."
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