Untold History of SSA
The purpose of this page is to keep for posterity the untold history of SSA in associating with the actions of certain central leaders.
1. All contents and information should not be misused or misquoted against Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and its affiliates in any forms.
2. All contents and information exist for the sole purpose of education.
Special Report on SSA Annual General Meeting - Part 2
The haze blanketing Singapore recently obscured the vision of beautiful landscape. Nonetheless, the underlying cause of haze is definitely not the mean of nature, as imprudently acquitted by an Indonesian minister, Agung Laksono. Rather, we have to internalize the cause and search from within. The choking smog is, in point of fact, the manifestation of greed and stupidity, the haze within human lives.
The Creator of Haze to Conceal Untold Truths
As the top management of SSA continues to emit haze to befog the general membership so as to conceal their serious mismanagement, it is time the essential disciples of the second act of kosen-rufu stand up to defog and reveal the truth. The period of ‘bystanders effect’ was long gone. In the essential phase, which is now, the genuine disciples shall rise to take full responsibility of matters concerning our noble organization, and not the top management. Equipped himself with such noble spirit, we have witnessed in part 1 how Mano arose to challenge the authority and top management of SSA in blanketing, in this case, several wrongdoings in the redevelopment of Soka Peace Centre(SPC).
During the AGM, Mano made several inquiries pertaining to the redevelopment of SPC. One of the inquiries he put across to the Management Committee (MC) was whether they had obtained sufficient quotations to establish the fee that they intended to pay the consultants. Another inquiry was directed at the cost for internal furniture, fittings and special features. He also requested the committee to enumerate the special features.
Mano continued, “The sound system, who is specifying the sound system? Who is evaluating this? What is the budget allocation? There is an item called soft landscape. I would like to know do you have any landscape architect for horticulturist involved in this …… It is said that the above you have cost estimate of 1.2 million. And that is 55% of the contract value. So I would like to know how you arrive at this cost. We are already 8 months into the contract, so I think we should be able to get a more accurate cost breakdown including the balance estimation of the proposal. What will be the setup cost of M&D hall…we are left with 6 months. So I would like to know what kind of check and balance you have in place to ensure that we getting the best value for the finished product. More enquiries about contribution coming from the members.”
More questions were directed at the MC during AGM, but none of them were duly responded. One can imagine how the project was aimlessly carried forward in severe haphazardness. Without the appearance of Mano and his associates, several facts of mismanagement, on the part of top management of SSA, will be buried without trace. Is this not conflicting to the self-proclaimed spirit of integrity, transparency and accountability, reported in SSA Times?
Imprudent Handling of Member’s Fund
The Project Team Leader Ong Bon Chai and the MC did not exercise prudence in handling funds contributed by our precious members. The mishandling led $30,000 to be imprudently disposed of. Pertaining to this point, Mano disclosed, “One of the findings during the quarterly stage, where the test piles was done, who was there to evaluate it? The ultimate load test. Who? We have professionals. We have one of the finest professional engineers. He was not consulted. And as a result, we dumped $30,000 into the ground. So, is this the way you managed member’s fund? ”
Leading us to this, it is incogitable that the MC has indeed exercised prudence in managing the funds of our members. We can’t blame someone who casts doubt in the MC for not safeguarding the member’s interest. At this juncture, we have to mull over if our MC genuinely possesses the well-beings of our members at heart.
Mano continued, “I’ll direct this question to the chairman, Mr Oh. I wrote you two emails, one on the 29th of December and 4th of January for explanation pertaining to the late problem charges. You have not responded to me on all the issues that you have raised on this row. So, because of your inaction, we have potentially lost the opportunity to save a $200,000. So, what are we looking at? I don’t know. $200,000 can be small change to somebody, but it is not to me or the members.”
The amount of $200,000 may be a peanut to a handful, but luxuriant to many. Over the years, practicing as a leader in this noble organization, we have witnessed several members who can’t make ends meet. Even though, they live so frugally just to save enough for the zaimu contribution. Is it right on the part of former MC Chairman Oh to guilelessly ignore the calls of the sincere and lost the opportunity to save $200,000?
Priceless Contributions Made by Ex-RPC Members
In addition to the various priceless contribution made by the ex-RPC members, Mano personally spotted more than 200 errors in the drawing. He emphasized that the number of errors amount to 200 and not merely 20. All the findings were adopted by the consultants before the scheduled drawing went out. Without the presence of the ex-RPC members, the consultants were be able to proceed with their errors undetected. Tapping on the professionalism of the ex-RPC members, they are able to closely monitor and safeguard the consultants, engaged by SSA, to discharge their responsibilities with due diligence and effectiveness. Moreover, they can make certain that the redevelopment project can operate at a lower cost.
Notwithstanding the tremendous efforts contributed by Mano and his associates, they were informed in a meeting scheduled on March 15 at SYC that the Redevelopment Project Committee (RPC) would be dissolved. Concerning this, Mano put forth the questions, “Why? Nobody knows. Our contribution to this project is very significant because we were able to find so many mistakes by the consultants. Horrendous fundamental defined errors, and through our checks and balances, we were able to bring down the price. This comprises of 5 very serious professionals. But for some reasons you know, you have chosen to listen to the consultants.”
Plot Leading to Dissolution of RPC
None of the good old souls we interviewed, via emails, are able to comprehend the rationality for dissolving the committee. One of the email replies was “conceivably, only the Gohonzon, the ex-RPC members, the Project Team Leader Ong and the top management of SSA know the answer.”
Preceding the dissolution of RPC, the ex members of RPC were being sidelined by the Project Team leader Ong and his clique’s months before the dissolution. Mano explained, “As of October 2012, all communication with RPC was stopped unanimously by the then project team leader for whatever reason. So we were kept in the dark, we don’t know anything. Tell me how you’re going to manage (the project)? I don’t know.”
It is obvious that this is another power struggle played by Ong Bon Chai, the same old tactic that has been recycled for umpteen times. Since the time of the formation of IS group within NSS, Eddie Yue was the victim of sacrifice by our infamous Ong in their power struggle. It is an unchangeable fact that victor writes history. Ong and Sandra impregnated Eddie Yue with the brand-name, ‘Ring Leader of IS’. The same old hat trick will now reuse on the innocent ex-RPC members, Mano and his associates.
We believe for some reasons, Project Team leader Ong was not able to remove them from RPC. As a deduction, the only way is to dissolve the RPC, change the Project Team leader and make himself the advisor.
Placing Puppet to Run The Show
Mano continued, “The next is can you also confirmed that Mr BC Ong is no longer the project team leader for this SPC project and that Chin Koi Meng has been appointed as the project team leader. I want to add, with no due respect, or not disrespect, that Mr Chin Koi Meng has got no building experience nor construction experience not to mention how to manage this project. I will give you concrete evidence. Before the RPC came into the picture, all those meeting that you have attended, either Chin Koi Meng or Mr Ong, all the minutes were skewed not in the favour of SSA. Everything was SSA decide, SSA agreed. We were at the mercy of the consultants. When we stepped in we stand swordlessly fighting. You don’t pay consultants and then you made the decisions and you say it is required by SSA. We were in jeopardy if we have not done our due diligence.”
Although our dear staff Chin was put in-charge of the Project Team, he was simply acting as puppet. Who is Chin supposed to report to? The current GD, SGI in Japan or our infamous Puppet Master Ong? It is still a BIG question mark. We speculate that there will be another power struggle right after the dissolution of RPC. This time round, it will be among our new GD Tay, Project Team advisor Ong and the new incumbent Chin.
Top Management Declines Dialogue
It is not wrong to conclude that the spirit of our founders, Nichiren Daishonin and the 3 Presidents no longer pulsates in this once beautiful organization. Yes, the ground leaders are no doubt still practicing it, but not the top. This happens when the decadence of the top surfaces. True dialogue exists when two parties, especially the top listens and not just pretending to hear. By holding meeting to resolve matters is just façade that dialogues are conducted and the grievances heard. In the deepest sense, the true gist of the matter does not register in the brain of the top management. In the end, this is always why the message was never brought across.
Pertaining to this, Mano shared, “I want to register in this meeting, in the last one year, neither the MC or the CCM, gave us a single opportunity to meet. A Buddhist association that promotes dialogue, compassion and grace, here we have professionals writing emails after emails, phone calls after phone calls. You didn’t give us a single opportunity to meet and to present our concerns.”
There is no transparency in the MC and top management of SSA, as advocated by the SSA Times. Differing views are regarded as creating disunity. Even though the top management ceaselessly emphasizes that the door is always open for dialogue, but in actuality the top turns evasive when things get rough. This has left Mano and his associates with no choice, but to expose the dirty linen of the Project Team and the MC in AGM.
Mano has this to say, “Our contributions were voluntary. We want to do it out of our gratitude. I’m not here for fame or fortune. In fact I am saddened by the fact that I have to take this opportunity to reveal all these things. It all looks like washing dirty linen. I’ve been in this organization for 33 years and has anyone seen me conduct like this? But you didn’t give us a single opportunity to meet, ok! You people became so evasive and illusive and I don’t know why.”
We have received numerous feedbacks that they find the actions of Mano and his team, heroic and gallant. What is wrong with washing dirty linen in public if it is really dirty? If by exposing the ugly nature of the top is equivalent to causing disunity among the believer, we are practicing Unity in Conformity (One in body, one in mind). Unity in Conformity is usually practiced by uniform group such as the army and the police. However, in a faith organization, we are practicing Unity in Diversity (Many in Body, One in Mind), as taught by President Ikeda. We have to embrace difference in opinions and resolve the differences through true dialogue which has been devoid in our top leadership.
To be continued…