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.
The Special Meeting
(This is an extract from Stanley Chua's facebook thread titled "4D - 4 Distortions".)
This is a special posting to respond to some real issues. We did not have the luxury of time to inform you ahead of time and I want to apologise for this very late posting if it causes some inconveniences.
On the other hand, thank you all for following this thread all this while despite intimidation from authorities. This goes to show your sincere and genuine sensei's spirit and your readiness to respond speedily in time of great injustice. Once again, thank you very much for reading my posting.
I want to refer to fresh intimidation that have been raised against the writers with regards to facebook postings. This has caused even more confusion amongst readers. In order to prevent worsening of the situation, I have decided to continue to write even more vigorously in facebook to clarify all unfounded claims and false accusations made on the writers by those in authorities in the leader meeting.
It was mentioned in FaceBook that the organization lacks financial transparency and that there was a mishandling of accounts and audit.
This has never been the intent of the related FaceBook postings. There is no doubt about accounting or audit, as it is performed by professional and qualified bodies. The real context or intent of the FaceBook posting is to address whether the expenses are justifiable, whether the activities are conducted for the sake of kosen-rufu, for the sake of sharing the greatness of our mentor.
Loi Wei Ling
The starting point of every single leader I met in Japan is always how to “宣扬师匠” and how to enable more people to know about Daishonin’s Buddhism and SGI. I was very touched when I read Stanley’s post on “Reminiscing my overseas trip” on how SGI Taiwan goes against all odds to achieve these objectives. In their community outreach programme held in all over Taiwan, they placed “The Earth Charter” exhibition right after the entrance that led to the venue of cultural performances to make sure all the audiences and guests have no other way but to walk past the exhibition which includes a section on SGI movement and Ikeda Sensei. Sensei is always in the heart of their focus. It is of no coincidence that the SGI Taiwan is able to win so many awards for Sensei. Maybe this is the real reason why the Taiwan SD members that I met in Singapore in the year 2002, with only a few years of faith, has such strong M&D spirit.
A writer’s position The recent event GO carnival have many negative feedbacks given by members and ground leaders that were helping out that day.
There was a lack of refreshment to the helpers who volunteer themselves, yet cartons of mineral water were left untouched. The whole layout were so bad, many stalls had to suffer either the heat of the sun, or too near the speakers that is deafening to some. Many helpers fell sick after that! So what kind of success we have when we have to overlook the safety and well-being of members?
The efforts of these youth are definitely commendable because they took the effort to do it even though they are new to handle such events. However, the concerns are on those management and top leaders watching closely? Since there are such shortcomings, why are there no apologies to those that suffered? Many of them were adult division, why are the credits only given to those youth for doing a great job and not to these helpers that suffered? Is it because they are adult division who usually are more accommodative while youth are more outspoken?
Sensei’s exhibit was so cordoned off from the public which many were unaware of the existence of the exhibition. Worst of all, the exhibit was the Gandhi, King and Ikeda’s exhibit done by external organisation. Learning from the examples of other SGI countries like Taiwan, whenever they have exhibitions, sensei exhibit will always be a must to pass through for people to learn and understand the greatness of our mentor. Furthermore, we are not even allowed to mention any elements of religion in the pledge card. So where are the Mentor and Disciple spirit and the elements of Kosen-rufu in the event?
The principal who is also a top youth leader and also part of the management committee, not forgetting that he is also the organizer of the event. From here, there is already a multiple roles being played from within and without. Even though, there are regulations from the management, such multiple roles involvement are already a conflict of interest and have invited negative comments and feedback from the ground. The intent of bringing this up is to create awareness of our positions as leaders, not to be in the limelight and invite unnecessary scrutiny/comments.
A writers position
My comment regarding the transparency on the Go Carnival was not intended to discriminate anyone directly or indirectly,it was my deep concern about the spending that need to be clarify for all people so as to enhance future of such similar activities,and not out of any ill intention or intention of any disharmony that may misunderstand or causes.
A writer’s position
Before the 2nd distortion I actually took a look at all the comments again just to take a step back to see if anything said was detrimental or destructive, but I couldn’t find any. Why? Because I am clear on what I am saying, I am not implying anything negative when for e.g. I write on Durai and Minyi and what we can learn from them or from the attitude of the social worker. Just that we have to learn from her attitude, which is to be careful on what she spends on as it’s all the contributions are hard earned money. I was glad that in the meeting they reported on the spending for this is transparency.
If I say that I am not angry at the 2nd announcement, then I am lying to you. As sincerity begets sincerity, anger begets anger. When ppl reported to you re the comments and show you excerpts of it, what was your first thought? Is it negative or neutral? Did the ppl also hv negative thoughts and thus transmitted the negative thoughts to you? When 10 diff ppl read the comments, you will get 10 different reactions. Why? Bec all of us are in diff life conditions at any given time. When the neg thought occurs in your mind, do you just let it rest there? Neg thoughts are dangerous for it will grow roots and plummet your life condition and you will look at everything connected to this in a negative light. I am sure all of us know this as we are not new comers.
When all of us share our concerns here, its just that concerns for you to look into. From this sentence, surely you can see that we, can I speak for all here? Despite all that were said, we or I still believe in the organisation and our seniors, we believe that you can turn the situation around. This is because we believe that we have a great organisation and we all know this great Law that we believe that to turn the situation around is possible.
I can see that all of us, yes all of us, are running around in the lower nine worlds. Is it time to elevate to the world of Buddhahood? When we are in the world of Buddhahood, then can we right what is wrong, then the outside world will be able to see what a great and humanistic organisation we have and they naturally will want to know us better.
Indeed the life conditions of people determined the values of the matters they are involved in. This reminded me of an important meeting conducted by Soka Gakkai Study Department Leader, Mr. Morinaka to the zone and above Singapore youth division leaders.
He shared with us with regards to a question whether there was a threshold to kosen-rufu, such that when the threshold was breached, it would invite the persecution of the 3 powerful enemies. Mr. Morinaka shared that when Buddhism is viewed from the standpoint of a common mortal, it is different from the fact when Buddhism is viewed from the standpoint of a Buddha. He further explained that the standpoint of a common mortal represented the standpoint of a human being who manifested the 9 lower worlds and the standpoint of a Buddha represented the standpoint of a human being who manifested the state of Buddhahood.
In this light, when a common mortal viewed kosen-rufu, he/she will view kosen-rufu like any other activities or matter in this world, where a limit is always present. Because there is such a perception of a limit, once that perceived limit is crossed, persecution will be manifested without fail. But when he/she manifested his/her Buddha nature and manifested the state of Buddhahood, such threshold in kosen-rufu did not exist. To a Buddha, not only was kosen-rufu boundless and limitless, a Buddha did not fear the manifestation of the 3 powerful enemies. In fact, a Buddha would welcome the manifestation of 3 powerful enemies and faced it with great courage and tenacity. Also a Buddha would regard the manifestation of the 3 powerful enemies as a proof of the validity of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism which kosen-rufu was based on. Hence we should always view kosen-rufu from the standpoint of the highest life condition in life i.e. the state of Buddhahood.
Isn't this a clear example that the life conditions of the people determine whether the correct view, especially matters in the realm of faith, can be seen? Shouldn't the seniors within the organization elevate their life conditions to the state of Buddhahood to perceive the truth of the matter, instead of distorting it further?
The meeting states that it was mentioned in Facebook that there was an accusation of mismanagement of association funds and that TBSC redevelopment project was to replace the new HQ building.
Out of the 400 over comments posted, there is only 1 single post that was queried by a district leader sought clarification but did not receive his answer in the all leaders meeting and there are many more fundamental issues that were raised but were not answered? Surely the authorities should be able to distinguish between an accusation and a genuine frustration of not getting an answer. Are we making a mountain out of a molehill in order to sweep the genuine issues under the carpet again?
A writer’s position
Let’s now look at the molehill. Firstly, it is absolutely of nothing wrong for a junior leader/member who has contributed the Zaimu donation and building fund to request update on the progress/status of both funds and where it is intended for.
Secondly, if it was announced in the AGM, why nobody could answer to this question during the Regional Leaders meeting?
Thirdly, reports, updates and communication to Junior Leaders/Members have been irregular, inconsistent and slow. There was little or unclear mention of this separation of funds and its status until the last ‘special’ meeting which was raised in response on the queries from Facebook. There are many members who have contributed but not being able to attend the AGM, they would not know where the money they have contributed has gone to and not aware how they could access to the financial reports.
Tan Teck Beng
From the posting above, it doesn't seem that that the Facebook posting are totally groundless and judgmental as claim by the authorities. One can't help feeling that they are "moving into the defensive, growing conservative and self protective" over the genuine concern brought up by the district leader. I believe that the questions brought up by the district leader are also what many others have. Thank to the questions ask, these doubts of theirs have also been cleared. There are lessons that can be learn here. Authorities should take proactive efforts to ensure communication and updates are prompt and reach all the audiences intended. They should not take thing for granted and leave things unattended.
3rd Distortion - Part A
Tan Teck Beng
In the meeting, they stated that there were defamatory remarks make on the management integrity in the posting on Facebook. These postings insinuated that the management lacks integrity and that the principal of Northland Sec which is a key appointment holder in the committee is using his position to further his career path.
Looking through all the posting again, there was no mentioned that the management lacks integrity or lack good management practices. They were only questioning about the basis of involving external group on a gakkai organized event, especially when the group involved is related to the key appointment holder. Won’t there be a perceived conflict of interest? This conflict of interest should have been avoided.
In conclusion, the writers were only asking questions of genuine concern, they did not defame, accuse or insinuate. The authorities seem all out to twist the words used in the postings and portray them as accusation out of malice.
A writer’s position
Another mountain out of molehill in this issue. They are zooming into areas that can create accusations and malign against our real intention. Today, speaking up is not against Organisation but the intent of reminding us our purpose and objectives.
Our real intent was to query on the real significance behind the GO carnival. Does it justify the purpose behind the whole event.
1) Does it really our mentor spirit and name?
2) Does the event really revitalise the spirit of the youth towards Kosen-Rufu like all the formation days that have achieve?
As mentioned in all previous posts, it appeared that the end result did not serve the purpose of the above 2 points.
Our concern are clearly stated again of the lack of spirit and never once doubted the organisation. Yet rather than addressing our concerns of the lack of mentor spirit in the event, the management choose to nitpick on the collaboration with authority to avoid and accuse the writers.
The real issue was that the significance of the GO! Carnival had been lost by the many misgivings of how it was conducted and what had transpired e.g. lack of proper organization of the event such as lack of water supply under great heat, improper layout of stalls and other existing infrastructure, involvement of many collaborations such as the secondary school performance that was not even shared beforehand with the element of conflict of interest and using an external group premise which did not allowed us to share the ideals of our mentor and the SGI. It was not too far to say that the organization had conveniently used the sharing of ideals of our mentor and the SGI to rally the membership to work towards this event. Precisely where our members across the organization had worked so hard amidst challenges and difficulties, we could not afford to let down our members but this, in fact, was the real letdown to all our members who supported the carnival in one way or another, who asked for nothing in return. The issues manifested in the GO! Carnival is a true reflection of how the authorities view activities that our organization is holding or is involved in one way or another. Shouldn’t this be a final wake up call to the authorities?
3rd Distortion - Part B
See Soon Leong
As the meeting states that there were defamatory remarks on the management procurement policies.
The query was never on the procurement policies or the methodology used. As a matter of fact, the query was instead on the authorities to be transparent on the collaboration. The member sincere donation is very much appreciated by all & the collaboration should have been done in a manner of better transparency. If the sincere member were to sell the mooncakes at a discounted price or free, this sincere donation of the particular member should have been shared, otherwise it will lead one to worry over the collaboration of the vendor & authorities. By not being transparent, it will be unfair to the sincere member. Furthermore, the authorities announcement on the meeting that there were 3 quotations being obtained & has created even further questions, such as selection criteria and has undermined the efforts of the member’s sincere contribution.
Looking through the posts again, an issue raised but not mentioned by the authorities was why the product with the logo was sold in a public mall? Is a product associated to a religious group supposed to be sold in public? Will there be any implications should anything go wrong? What if there are food contaminations resulting from the consumption? Are the public made aware that they are buying a product related or not related to the organisation? These are genuine concerns.
Tan Teck Beng
The meeting states that there were defamatory remarks about organization and leadership being authoritative. There were posting that the organization is bureaucratic and stops the membership from questioning.
The authorities’ states that any individual, member and non-member alike is free to approach the organization headquarters to have his/her queries and doubts attended to. The organization does not stop any members from questioning. This is a long standing practice and many people have used this channel to raise feedback and suggestion and had their queries attended to.
Firstly, the posts are not talking about the organization as a whole. It is targeted at certain power hungry individuals heading the authorities. There are no queries on the long standing practice of feedback mechanism in the organization; however it is the authorities’ methodology of handling these queries that is in question.
Listening from the meeting; Of course, the organisation cannot stop members from questioning. The question here is what is being done to address the concerns. When concerns, feedbacks or questions are raised, there were either unsatisfactory answers or politically correct answers that are manipulated for the authorities’ interest. If not, the questions are simply brushed aside. Subjected to the above responses type, one will naturally be disheartened and feel that there is no longer any point to raise further. The mindset of the organization receiving feedback has got to change as it is not open as what was claimed. All the talk of being “open” and “free to approach” is therefore only for show. When the concerns raised falls into the boundary of the “acclaimed OB markers” by the authorities, they are deemed rebellious, evil or scheming.
The meeting claims that posting mentioned the organization is authoritative and bureaucratic. This statement has certainly raised many eyebrows. It is imperative to know that we are referring to the few particular individuals at the helm of this local organization, not the organization at large and certainly not the membership. A crystal clear example of such authoritative and bureaucratic behavior can be seen from the incident of VGD Oh and Youth Leader Leonard Koh’s behavior at the Friendship Hall after the study meeting that eventful night.
VGD Oh raised his voice at Soon Leong and myself, telling Ming Quan that there were no need to dialogue with these people, and even maligning us for cornering Ming Quan on purpose to achieve this end. Isn’t this authoritative?
VGD Oh and Leonard Koh tried to pull Ming Quan away, not allowing Soon Leong and myself to talk to Ming Quan and ask him for dialogue. Whatever that he has maligned and accused of us is not even allowed to be clarified, hiding behind the protection of layers of top leadership, from youth to VGD, from this incident. Isn’t this bureaucratic?
The following was further announced in the meeting:
“Tonight’s meeting is held because of our great concern to stop confusion and to let everyone know the fact. We are concern that if we do not clarify, this unfounded fact and gossip would be taken as truths and that is bad for us. We hope that those concerned will cease their irresponsible actions.
The following is the official stand of the organization – The facebook posting has caused irreparable damage to the organization, not to mention the anguish and confusion of many concerned members. We will appeal to the writers to cease their posting immediately and take remedial actions to mitigate and alleviate the damage done. Failing which, the organization will seek all possible causes of action to have the matter addressed”
In response, the writers will like to reiterate the following:
1. The facebook postings were not to create confusion but to stop confusion. It is the meeting announcements that create confusion.
2. The facebook postings were to raise awareness and to let everyone know the truth.
3. If the truth was not spoken, the meeting attendees will accept the authorities’ one-sided announcement as the truth.
4. The facebook postings were raised in the hope that the authorities’ individuals can return to the spirit of the 3 founding Presidents and take concrete actions to advance future of Singapore Kosen Rufu.
See Soon Leong
After attending the meeting and its aftermath, the authority is implying that Facebook’s posting is detrimental and has caused irreparable damage to the organization. The writers are confused of the following:
1. Are the authorities concerns directed at the organization or just protecting specific individuals?
2. What is the irreparable damage? Without concrete evidence, it will just be another form of intimidation by the authorities?
3. Are the authorities more concern of members losing faith in them than members losing faith in their practice?
4. Is it more important to create and protect a positive image of the organization which already has a rotting core or an organization with a strong and healthy core that will naturally lead to a positive image?
5. Are we too afraid to expose dirty linen resulting in cover-ups and sweeping genuine issues under the carpet?