Tuesday, September 06, 2005


We've known it for a while now: the fact that we have counterfeit currency in circulation. We hold it in our hands, and we feel that its different, and of course the ever present frustration when the autopay machines (like I always say, it ain't auto when you're the one doing all the work), refuse to accept the RM1 coin no matter how you try to drop it in the coin slot. Its funny when people (including me) try to do it anyway just to please our curiousity: drop it fast, drop it slow, add some force, push it in diagonally.

But of course we already know that these machines have been programmed to not accept your coins anyway, so it isn't a big surprise that Bank Negara Malaysia declared that the coins will therefore cease to be legal tender by year end. What do you really expect when you make that kinda announcement? Pure chaos. How these people are handling simple situations like these really dumbfounds me, there isn't a three-pronged approach to reap back as many coins as they can get before they announce. Nothing. Its just -we're taking it back, you have about 4 months, good luck.

Naturally vendors will cease to accept any form of RM1 coins, as some already have done so way before the announcement. What does this mean for the average Malaysian citizen? We are just regular folks, earning regular (and non-increasing) salaries, with the prices of everything going up, now we have less money to spend. It isn't because the average Malaysian isn't working hard enough, some of us work several jobs keeping it together so you can pay off the bills, but its mismanagement of the elements that weave the fabric of our society.

Newspapers report that one po' folk went to the bank with RM100 worth of coins and only got RM70 in return, is it his/her fault that it was counterfeit? Who really should be punished? Apparently the sentence is dropped on the bearer of the fake currency. What of the kid who saved for years in his piggy bank that consisted only of RM1 coins because 'sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit', but apparently that won't hold true anymore, because by the time this poor child gets his coins rechecked he'll notice that for some strange reason quaint practices such as keeping a piggy bank doesn't work anymore.

As for me, I have to feel like a thief everyday trying to clear my RM1 coins. Buying nasi lemak and pretending its the only cash on me, or paying the toll with it, that kinda thing. But the real question is, why do I even have to feel like I'm in the wrong?