C’mon, don’t tell me you were surprised…

Many would have heard of Rony Tan and his interviews by now, so I shall spare you embedded videos and links to the videos.

For those who haven’t heard of him, you will soon, since it has already made its way to Channel 5 news.

While, no doubt, the misinterpretation of the practice of Buddhism was vile and not pleasing to watch…

C’mon. Don’t tell me you were surprised that these things happen in Singapore.

I recall being distributed a pamphlet near Parkway Parade that condemned the traditional Chinese folk beliefs of the Hungry Ghost Festival. I recall a woman walking around the Vesak@Orchard exhibition areas distributing pamphlets and warning participants that they were on the road to hell. A neighbour has told my mum that we were praying to idols by having a Bodhisattva shrine in our home and told her not to be so superstitious.

Haven’t you seen these kind of things happening?

‘Course they do.

I wasn’t surprised by the clip. Curious, but not the least shocked by the contents of the interview. I was more surprised that the church was un-savvy enough to have uploaded it on their website. Once it was up, there was no way, as much as they can pray, that they can reverse the course of their actions. That’s called karma by the way.

But let’s look a bit further. If the good pastor made vile comments, what of the people in the congregation that laughed along with it? I saw those aunties in the first few rows rocking in their seats and clapping their hands when Buddhism was being made fun of. They had a good laugh at those jokes, didn’t they?

Everyone has got such ignorance, though. Have you never poked fun at the expense of something else? Such is the ignorance and heedlessness that Buddhists try to guard their minds against, with “a virtuous life” and mental cultivation, as well put by dear old ex-“monk” Joseph. We don’t always succeed, but we try, and it’s not just Buddhists that should try, everyone should try. Buddhism is not Buddhism. Buddhism is daily life.

And if you don’t succeed, keep trying. One of the things I’ve learnt from listening to Joseph is: never blame my meditation teacher if I fail. Never blame myself either. True failure only happens when you fail n times and try n times. Everyone succeeds if they fail n times and tries (n+1) times. Even dear Joseph. Look: he tried a new method and called upon higher powers to stop the blood in his stools! He may have falled short in his effort in meditation, but he sure succeeded elsewhere: n was simply zero in this case! (:D Poking fun at Joseph, at his expense, sorry.)

On the topic of sorries, the good pastor has just apologised on the church website:

Urgent Message From Pastor Rony

I have received a number of emails from people who have been saddened and hurt by the testimonies of an ex-monk and an ex-nun. I realized that my presentation and comments were wrong and offensive. So I sincerely apologize for my insensitivity towards the Buddhists and Taoists, and solemnly promise that it will never happen again.

When we have received those emails, we immediately removed the video clips from our website. I urge those who have posted those clips on the YouTube to remove them as well.

After reading the frank views from those emails, I was also prompted to tell my members not only to continue to love souls, but also to respect other belief and not to ridicule them in any way, shape or fashion.

Let’s put our goal to build a harmonious Singapore a top priority.

While I am tempted to ask the pastor how he intends to build a harmonious Singapore with people like me who insist on being fed visions by Satan when I am doing meditation (I’m sure he was serious about this when he said this about past life visions in the video, don’t tell me he wasn’t – apologising for saying something doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t believe what he said), I think I’ll cut him some slack.

Everyone needs some slack, as long as they truly apologise: from Goh Kah Heng @ Shi Ming Yi to Joseph to Rita to Rony Tan. Let’s all cut them some slack if they really feel sorry.

May those who have caused us hurt and distress, too, be well and happy.



  1. Still learning said,

    9 February 2010 at 22:08

    In Buddhism, we forgive not for the sake of the one we perceive to have cause harm, but for the well-being of ourselves.

  2. thesunshineson said,

    9 February 2010 at 22:20

    Well said about people needing some slack as long as it is relatively sincere. His apology, with the Buddhist Federation accepting it should be enough for now. But true, it is also how he relates to his congregation this Sunday about their laughter and making them contrite too. I hope he is gracious enough to let this matter slide and not inflame his followers.

  3. kwekings said,

    9 February 2010 at 22:46

    Dear fellow still-learner,

    I’d say that the statement is 80% technically correct but 80% not quite politically correct.

    But since I am probably only politically correct 80% of the time, I must say that I agree with you.

  4. 15 February 2012 at 23:36

    […] photo is making the rounds on facebook. Following the case study of Rony Tan, let me guess what’s going to […]

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