Cross-examination by defense team began this morning. As Xtron director, Choong Kar Weng had final say in decisions, and was assured by detailed scenario planning done by Kong Hee with American artist managers.
A fresh perspective on the City Harvest Church case was introduced in court this morning as the defense lawyers began their cross-examination of fourth witness Choong Kar Weng, with the origin and purpose of the Crossover Project being read out in court.
Senior counsel for John Lam, Kenneth Tan, sought to establish that while CHC staff were involved in discussions pertaining to various Xtron issues, no action was taken without the approval and final decision of the Xtron directors. On the issue of CHC staff bearing Xtron name cards, Choong explained that these employees were assisting Xtron in the Crossover project, which is a joint effort between Xtron and the church.
Tan also asked Choong if, as Xtron director, he had ever disagreed with suggestions made by CHC parties. Choong gave the example of how, when he disagreed with the suggestion of the advanced rentals, he made it very clear to Chew Eng Han and Tan Ye Peng. Ultimately, the decision was made to issue Xtron bonds as a protective measure.
Tan also read out from a Crossover Project memorial book distributed to CHC members in 2012, which laid out the origin of the Crossover vision of the church. This paragraph—which is in the agreed facts between prosecution and defense—stated that Ho was to be sent out to bring the Christian message to the secular world through pop music.
Tan then sought to establish that the success of the Crossover Project required discretion. He asked Choong that, had Ho been sent out from the church overtly as an ambassador of the church, would the Crossover have succeeded? Choong replied, no, and that was the need for the church to be discreet in order for the Crossover to be successful. Choong explained that CHC wanted Sun to use pop culture to influence the lives of the youth, especially in China, and that the people would not accept Sun or her message readily if she went as a representative of CHC.
Edwin Tong, defense lawyer for Kong Hee, took the court through Choong’s extensive commercial experience, including his directorships in several award-winning companies in Malaysia. Choong confirmed that the S$13 million bond issued by Xtron to CHC made commercial sense to Xtron, from his perspective as a director of Xtron. In addition to the bonds being an investment for Xtron, it would also assist in promoting CHC’s Crossover Project. Choong explained to the Court that it was not a secret at all that Xtron was managing the Crossover Project. Choong said that Xtron had to gear itself to meet CHC’s needs as a major client, as long as the interests of Xtron coincided with CHC’s interests.
With regards to CHC employee, Suraj, seen to be making key decisions within Xtron operations, Choong stated that in servicing a major client, it is not uncommon for companies to take on board a key personnel of the client for his expertise and experience.
On the issue of losses incurred before the Crossover album launch, Choong said that it was a “no-brainer” that breaking into an established pop market like the US would require an initial period of losses, before breaking even and then making money. The Court was shown evidence that Kong had engaged in detailed projections, budgets and scenario planning with the American company that managed Sun’s music production in the US, JH Management. Choong said he was assured by such scenario planning that Xtron’s bonds subscription investment was viable and recoverable.
Court resumed at 2.15pm.
In City Harvest Church, the vision for its members to be in the Marketplace, for the Marketplace and to serve the Marketplace is known as the Cultural Mandate.
Through its years of operation, CHC has grown aware that effective missions and evangelism do not depend solely on bringing people to church services or Christian-related events.
Effective evangelism also hinges on our ability to be “ambassadors of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20)—to represent and connect with people who might never step within the four walls of the church. There is a real and present need for us to “cross over” into a world that is oftentimes foreign to the Christian faith and culture; a world where the Lord has told us to be “wise as serpents and harmless (or innocent) as doves” (Matt. 10:16). In fact, in the same verse, Jesus makes no apology that He is sending us out “as sheep in the midst of wolves.”
In City Harvest Church, this vision for its members to be in the marketplace, for the marketplace, and to serve the marketplace has its basis in a theology known for millennia as the Cultural Mandate.
– EXTRACTED FROM THE CROSSOVER PROJECT BOOK