CHC youths singing about ‘The Greatest Place’

From ‘City Harvest youths record song in support of Pastor Kong Hee’, 30 July 2012, article by Jeffrey Oon, sg yahoo news.

23 youths from City Harvest Church have recorded a music video to express support for their congregation and its embattled  leadership. Titled “The Greatest Place — City Harvest Church” , the 4-and-a-half-minute video begins with an opening sequence of several youths proclaiming their love for “this place”.

The video, which was recorded earlier this month on 15th July, also describes how the music video came to be. “23 youths from different zones and cellgroups came together to record a song in support of our church and our leadership,” says an opening message in the video.

Several lines of lyrics call City Harvest the place where the youths — who by their looks range from early teens to mid-twenties —  found their “home”, “freedom” and the “greatest place I have ever known.” Although church founder Pastor Kong Hee is never directly mentioned,  he is shown preaching in several sequences while lyrics allude to him as “the greatest man that I have ever known“.

The Passion of the CHC

This tribute ends with a shot of the lines ‘The Greatest Place. I love this place (Heart)’, a couplet which wouldn’t have looked out of place in an NDP song (Someone take notes for next year). Half of this song is dedicated to a man who saved many youths with his brand of Christianity, and despite his brush with the law and alleged siphoning of funds to turn his wife into a superstar, here are 23 youngsters returning the favour, though it remains to be seen if this musical tribute/protest would save Kong Hee and his band of Christian brothers from the cold, atheist hand of Justice.

The history of music is filled with songs dedicated to the male species and masculinity including friends, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, boyfriends, ex boyfriends, husbands, ex husbands, sons, grandsons, kings, princes, cowboys, dictators, gods, Jesus, Satan, Superman, Mohammed Ali and Micheal Jackson. I can’t for the life of me think of any song dedicated to a pastor (the closest is Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man), and one that heaps as much idolatrous praise as this, regardless of whether Kong Hee’s maintenance of integrity stands in the face of hard evidence. This feel-good hit of the year is set to be sung by more mouths in rapt unison than our current NDP fodder track ‘Love at First Light’. I can imagine people actually weeping to this, and then breaking into ungodly, ecstatic fits during the ripping guitar solo. Still, this ain’t no Bohemian Rhapsody, and thank God for that.

So let’s look at the lyrics referring to the Greatest One of All and compare it to this solemn but epic tribute to Mao Ze Dong titled ‘People Unite’, summoning whatever limited powers of translation I have when it comes to the Chinese language.

MZD: He is the People’s Great Saviour
KH: He’s a world changer and a History Maker (I don’t see Steve Jobs in the video, still this line is nerve-cringingly cheesy)

MZD: Chairman Mao. Loves the People.
KH: Of all things his love’s undeniable (especially towards Sun Ho)

The lyric of contention in this fawning Ode to Kong Hee (some insist it refers to Jesus Christ) is ‘The greatest man I that have ever known’. What about the actual FATHERS of all 23 boys and girls in the video, especially those toiling night and day for years to raise their Christian kids who are happier in a home away from home, now having to grapple for attention with another man who’s likely to be better looking and more charming than themselves? MM Lee, looks like someone has officially beaten you to it. It’ll be a long while before anyone sings a song about you, our founding father, a man who actually makes it into the Annals of HISTORY. If Kong Hee’s found guilty, this would be waxing lyrical about a JAILBIRD, and that would be, well, awkward. Wait, has any Singaporean man been sung about, ever? You mean we’ve never had a loving tyrant or a folk hero? Not even for our grandfather soldiers who died so we may live during the Japanese Occupation? You mean all these years we never cared about the real heroes of Singapore and all of a sudden we have an opus magnus about some fancy preacher man? Jesus!

But seriously, there are less controversial, more tongue-in-cheek, yet equally fanatical things to band together and sing about other than megachurches and their leaders. Take sports: In 1993, our Lions rapped to ‘The Dream Team’ song. Seeing Jang Jung go ‘I’m Jang Jung and I will TAKER you out’ always raises a chuckle. The sport has never been the same since, and maybe in a good way because we’re left with a touch of zany, fuzzy fondness just thinking about how great we used to be. The Greatest TEAM we’ve ever known.

Well dedicating a song to your church is fine and dandy if you can afford it, and having a man-crush and making your old man jealous is your own prerogative and all, but how about the cause of Gaia protection for a change? Why sing to save one man when you can, well, SAVE MY WORLD? The Greatest Kids in Weird Bee Costumes we’ll ever know.

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3 Responses

  1. OMG! Thanks for sharing “The Dream Team”!! Is an oldie but a goodie. First time i watched this, and I can still feel so much passion and energy in the movement and celebration. Gosh, why don’t we have the music /fans industry coming together to praise our national team once again…instead of some man-made superhero they have created!! Once blind, I hope they will see again.

  2. […] Everything Also Complain: CHC youths singing about ‘The Greatest Place’ – musings: (Sermon) Loving God & Loving Our Neighbour : Lessons From Micah – City […]

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