Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Recently, our partner in Singapore discovered two problems:

  1. A few hundred dollars missing from our petty cash

  2. The earnings for some shifts did not tally with the orders sent to the kitchen (which means some of our customers were not being charged for their food)

One of our worst fears were about to be realised... we had a thief among our staff.

The evidence all pointed to a particular female supervisor. A sweet girl, enthusiastic Christian who was a cell leader at our church in Singapore.

We decided to confront her about item 2, as we had the most blatant evidence in the second case to warrant the investigation. So our partner set up a meeting and sat down with her to clear up things with her. After all, perhaps there was a valid explanation for all this.

The culprit immediately confessed to item 2. The gist of what she told our partner was this: some of her cell members were having financial problems and could not afford to pay for the food, so she asked them not to worry about it, she herself fully intended to put back the money into the till later on... sob sob story indeed.

I was not moved at all... neither was MH... but our partner had a tendency to be more softhearted (probably because she related to the staff members on the ground level on a day-to-day basis, and could emphathise with them). MH believed that she should have been dismissed immediately... but in the end the penalty was 2 weeks suspension and the amount deducted from her pay. MH wanted to give her the option of giving a public apology to all her colleagues... but it's likely that she won't do it... which is a shame because rumours and whisperings can have much more worse consequences for her reputation.


The worst thing is that she is supposedly a strong Christian, serving as a leader in one of the leading churches in Singapore. What kind of testimony is this? SHAMEFUL!!! In fact, some of our other non-Christian staff members are becoming even more disillusioned by the behaviour of their colleagues who are also from this church... and they starting to develop a deep impression that all Christians are hypocrites.

I started to wonder how come members of this church can behave this way? What happened to integrity and Christian values? I talked it over with MH one night, here are some of my own thoughts...

  1. Percentage of new first time Christians very high, many still very young believers, fruit still growing and haven't matured enough to have full value system in place

  2. Information overload on biblical teachings (loads of great teaching, but possibly too much for some to stomach it all?)

  3. Not enough resources for discipleship to put biblical principles into action (all churches are always in need of more leaders, the faster you grow, the more leaders you need)

But it's wrong of me to stereotype this way. There are plenty of fantastic Christians and leaders from this church as well. So I'll stop all this before it becomes too one-sided.

The mystery of the missing petty cash is still unsolved. We've put in place more stringent rules and systems already. But the sting is not at all in the financial loss... but more painful in the loss of trust.

We told our supervisors... "trust is not given, but must be earned... when you lose someone's trust, you must work harder to get it back"

1 comment:

  1. There's an interesting quote from the movie Coach Carter. In the movie, Carter said "You have my respect until you abuse it". Guess it's the same with trust.



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