So, how many millions does it take to turn a pastor's wife into a pop star?
Aun Koh is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Ate Group. Originally founded in Singapore in 2006 as a boutique consultancy providing lifestyle companies with innovative solutions for their communications and marketing needs, Ate has since grown into one of Singapore’s most dynamic and creative organizations. Today, Ate consists of 3 different private limited companies. Ate Integrated Communications; Ate Digital provides digital; and Ate Ideas.
Aun has worked for some of the world’s most well-reputed media properties, including the International Herald Tribune and Newsweek, and has also launched several impressive publications, including EAST magazine, an Asian regional lifestyle publication, and Shopping!, which won a Gold Medal for Best in Design at Publish Asia 2002. East, which was distributed across 13 countries, was called “Asia’s hippest magazine” by Asiaweek and “an Asian Vanity Fair” by Fortune.
Between 2004 and 2006, Aun ran the visual arts and literary arts divisions for the National Arts Council Singapore. Some of the projects that he oversaw include the Singapore pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the Singapore Biennale, and the Singapore Writers Festival.
Aun has covered the hospitality and F&B industries throughout his career. In 2005 and 2006, he researched and wrote all of the essays on hotel trends for Institutional Investor’s annual hardback World’s Best Hotels. In 2006, he helped write SingaporeChic. Aun has written three cookbooks, two for acclaimed and award-winning hotels or hotel groups (Six Senses and Chiva-Som). He also runs one of Southeast Asia’s most popular food blogs, Chubby Hubby (www.chubbyhubby.net), which at its peak got over 3 million hits a month from over 90,000 unique visitors.
So the big news in squeaky clean Singapore of late is that this manicured island-state is hardly as bland, boring or as vice-free as it's been made out to be, by both local politicians and Western media. In fact, over the past few weeks, Southeast Asia's shining tower of morality has been plagued by one scandal after the other. First, several well-reputed public figures were charged with engaging the services of an underaged prostitute (mind you, prostitution is legal here but frolicking with a minor is considered a huge no-no); among the 50 or so men charged was a former school principal, a number of other public servants, and a very high-profile millionaire environmental activist. After this scandal broke, two similar cases came to light, in which very senior government officials have been charged with corruption; both men appear to have awarded large government contracts to certain companies in exchange for sexual favours. Even more recently, the chief of protocal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has come under police investigation for filing improper claims for expenses during overseas trips.
But the case that has the whole country talking concerns the misappropriation of possibly up to US$62.5 million of church funds in order to fund the pop music career of a pastor's wife. Dance music fans may have heard of a singer named Sun Ho, who has or has tried (depending on who you speak with) to break into the dance music scenes in China, Taiwan and the United States. Overseas, her image, thanks in part to music videos in which she cavorts around in skin-tight or hardly-there outfits, is pretty much that of an Asian strollop. At home, however, Ho Yeow Sun, as she's properly named, is heralded and loved by thousands. Despite her ridiculous popstar image, her fans adore her and hold her up as a model of a good Christian wife. Ho's husband, Pastor Kong Hee, is the founder of one of the country's largest, most popular, most charismatic and wealthiest churches. From 1993 to 2003, Ho was the head of City Harvest Church's Creative Department and was often seen on stage performing for the congregation.
Today, Pastor Kong and four other members of the inner circle of City Harvest Church are under arrest for corruption. The investigators are still piecing together how much money Kong and his cronies embezzled. First it was reported to be US$20 million, then it became US$39 million. Recent rumors have suggested the sum is as high as US$62.5 million. And what did the money go to? To helping Kong's wife live her dreams and buy her way into the top of a number of charts. She's released multiple Mandarin pop albums, all of which have either reached double or platinum status. She's collaborated with Wyclef Jean and has had four #1 songs on the Billboard dance charts.
In Ho's case, money was able to buy her happiness and fame. But depending on the pending cases against her husband and his co-conspirators, all this may be coming to an end.
Here are a few of her videos, as well as a video on the church itself. You decide if the tens of millions was well-spent... or rather, well-stolen.
Photo by AISPIX by Image Source/Shutterstock
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.