Prosecution witness sings praises of singer Ho Yeow Sun

SINGAPORE - A "remarkable" woman whose character would not be tarnished when sent out into the "harsh" and "cruel" world.

That was why Ms Ho Yeow Sun was chosen to be the Crossover Project's ambassador, said City Harvest Church (CHC) trustee Susan Ong on Monday. Not because Ms Ho was church founder Kong Hee's wife.

Cross-examined by the defence, she said: "We had to send someone we know has the gift and the talent, and would work very hard, and will not be tarnished... So we selected Sun because she fulfilled all three criteria."

The Crossover Project, which started in 2002, seeks to reach out to non-Christians through music.

Madam Ong was the eighth prosecution witness to take the stand in the criminal case involving Kong and five of his deputies.

A financial services associate director with an insurance firm, she is married to former CHC pastor Derek Dunn. The couple moved to the US in 2011 and set up City Harvest Orange County, which is affiliated to CHC Singapore.

Apart from the "glorious, glamorous work that she's doing", Ms Ho is a "very wholesome lady", added Madam Ong.

"She raises a son who is wholesome, well balanced and of good nature... has a fantastic marriage with Pastor Kong. They are still very much in love after many years of being married."

Ms Ho also counsels those in the entertainment circle and "helps a lot of them overcome their depression and their suicidal thoughts", she said.

Madam Ong was not the only one impressed by the singer. Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi said he was inspired to fund Crossover after seeing Ms Ho and her husband evangelise at one of her concerts in 2001 or 2002.

So instead of giving the church about $1 million every year, which he had been doing since 1998, he diverted the money to Xtron in support of the Crossover Project.

The prosecution highlighted a letter from him and his wife dated Jan 13, 2004, requesting a refund of his donation of $1.45 million to the church's building fund so he could further support the project.

He said on Monday that he suggested this as the church still had "a lot more money in the bank".

Mr Hanafi also described Xtron, of which he was director from 2003 to 2008, as a "special" and "spiritual" business.

When asked whether the company was meant to be profitable, he replied: "If I spend a million and then we win 138,000 souls, that means every soul is worth less than $1,000. To me, I think it is a good buy."

melodyz@sph.com.sg

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