Lee Kuan Yew: “You can have enormous trouble once religions clash”
12 Oct 2013
On this date last year, I quoted parts of the former Singapore Prime Minister’s interview with Mark Jacobson of National Geographic for the magazine’s January 2010 edition.
Jacobson had zeroed in on what he called “the recent rise of Evangelical Christians in Singapore”. The NatGeo reportertold Mr Lee, “I went to the New Creation Church [in Singapore] and you might as well have been in Tennessee, it was exactly the same”.
Lee Kuan Yew responded that presently, the English-educated young Singaporeans are questioning why their Chinese parents and grandparents are praying before the traditional altar and worshiping dead ancestors.
Mr Lee said in Singapore there are “Christian groups who go out and evangelize”. These groups catch the youngsters in their late teens “when they’re malleable and open to suggestions”, he explained.
These young Singaporeans who convert to become Born Again Christians then become very fervent evangelists themselves. “My granddaughter is one of them,” added Mr Lee.
In March 2009, “pent up religious resentments came to the surface in dramatic fashion, when a secretive group of conservative Chinese Christian women surreptitiously took over” the exco of AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research).
Half of the Chinese women in the group who snatched control of the council had attended the same church.
Critics questioned the “shady tactics” employed by these evangelical Christians.
Meanwhile, two months following the coup by the evangelists, the old exco tabled a no-confidence motion to force an EGM.
“At a stormy meeting the new council [comprising the evangelical Christians] lost the vote and resigned. A new liberal committee was restored with a Buddhist at the helm, a Muslim secretary and a Hindu treasurer.”
“This episode brought to the surface strong resentments within Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu communities in particular about AGGRESSIVE TACTICS used by local Christian evangelical groups rich with cash to lure in young people to their churches.”
“In an unprecedented move Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dedicated more than half of his 40 minute National Day Speech in August 2009 warning Singaporean about religious intolerance and social exclusion. Though he did not mention any religion by name most Singaporeans knew he was referring mainly to Christian evangelical groups.”
12 Oct 2012
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On this date two years ago, I highlighted an article written by Terence Martin published in The Malaysian Insider.
The article by Martin complained that Christians are being made the “bogeyman” and “convenient fall guy to stir the emotions of Muslims”.
He wrote that “hypocritical Muslims” have turned Christians into their “favourite punching bag”.
“Christian bashing”, he said, has caused his community to be subjected to harassment and all kinds of accusations even though it was really the Christians that are the victims when their Bibles are seized and desecrated.
He lamented that “divisive politicians” are the ones leading Malaysia today, and “unbridled suspicion and fear towards others” is being stoked in our present political climate.
He complained that some people “disparage the faith of others to create fear, rifts and conflict”.
I suppose from Martin’s point of view, it might not be so funny that Hannah Yeoh rants how it is the “progressive wickedness” of the BN which gets worse every year.