This is a sensitive issue, so I am just going to make a single statement only. Leong Hwa Chan Si Temple’s Reverend Meow Ee earns peanuts too! For the uninitiated, the value of a single peanut is pegged at S$600,000 (S$1.35 = US$1 at present exchange rates). This came about because Mrs Goh Chok Tong, wife of Senior Minister Goh and patron of the NKF commented that "$600,000 per year is peanuts compared to the reserves the NKF has"; sparking The Peanut Controversy, in which the public was irked by this comment (Source: Wikipedia,

It’s always the nifty gritty details that get people into unwanted limelight. If the monk is doing a good job and managing everything well and above board, would it be right for people like me to judge him? What rights do I have to say that he can’t indulge in life’s finer things (referring to his Mercedes-Benz) and that he can’t be paid more just because he is a monk?

Reading the article, I also wonder how does his pay come into picture – although it’s all about money. If money is indeed the root of all evil, and if owning more of it makes one more evil, then Singapore is quite filled with evil people. =)

Sorry, just a cheek-in-tongue.

AN ONGOING legal battle between a Buddhist temple and its former business partner has thrown light on the big pay cheques and business interests of its top monk.

A court was told that the Venerable Meow Ee, 41, of the Leong Hwa Chan Si Temple in the Novena area, had been earning $100,000 a year in the last few years; his bumper year was 2001, when he took home $660,000.

The monk and his family are also said to own several businesses and properties.

He took the stand last Thursday in the suit filed by construction firm United Fiber System (UFS) in 2005 against the temple and other parties – Hok Mee Property, Hok Chung Construction and a Mr Kek Kim Hok – over a payment dispute.

UFS is seeking, among other things, compensation for an unpaid $13.3 million loan to the partnership.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported that the Venerable Meow has stakes in four companies under the name Chia Eng Soon.

Under cross-examination, he admitted setting up a company with his brother to help the temple sell covers for columbarium niches, but denied profiting from the business.

Asked about his Mercedes-Benz, he denied indulging in life’s finer things and said he bought the car while in his previous job as an army regular.

The temple’s dispute goes back to 1999, when UFS – then known as Poh Lian Holdings – financed a project with the temple and Hok Mee Property to build a columbarium.

The construction company handed out advances of $15.6 million and stood as guarantor for a $24.8 million loan, but the debt repayments went unmade.

Hearing resumes today.

Article obtained from on 20th May 2008

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