Monday, November 01, 2004

What would you do with a 1 sen coin?

Reading this article in the Star really made me wonder how we Malaysians treat a 1 sen count. Most of us would scoff at finding one on the road, others would even be oblivious to such a petty sum. But is the 1 sen coin really that valueless? According to Bank Negara’s rule, the 1 sen is still legal tender to the amount of RM 1 but yet on many instances various parties would not even entertain you if you were to present such an amount. There was a time when all I had was small change in my pocket when catching a bus back to my residence in Kk. Forking out two 20 sens, one 5 sen and another five 1 sen coins, the conductor was blowing his head off and refused to accept the amount and made a sour face at my attempt in insisting that he is obliged to accept it. He finally won out as for one thing there was no Bank Negara employee there to explain the facts of monetary life to the conductor. Other instances even shops and supermarkets would tell you that they are not returning the few sens that you are entitled as change by stating they don’t stock them.

Thus is the 1 sen really irrelevant in our time? I know of friends who collect coins, not for the sentimental value but because they are lazy to lug around loose change. There would be glass jars and bottles stacked in the room, arranged in different denominations; 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50 sen and RM 1 (you’ll still remember the time the authorities decided to abolish the RM 1 note and replace them with bulky coins). These would then gather dust until the collector deems it necessary to lug them to the nearest bank and deposit them. Given a test, chucking 1 sen coins on the street, no sane person would lift a finger to collect it, why if a burglar decided to break into a house and saw jars of coins, he wouldn’t even try to take this loot.

What are 1 sen useful for? For one thing, look carefully at your fast food outlet counter and you’ll most probably see charity boxes, though to us 1 sen isn’t much, it could mean a world of difference to someone else. Bring those 1 sens along with you next time, it’s useful to pay those annoying tax that’ll put your bill at odd denominations. For hobbyists, why not get some glue and begin making sculptures and art of out your stash? Another suggestion, try to beat the Malaysian book of records for the longest 1 sen line. Need a wish? Just toss a few sens into ye olde wishing well. Get revenge by making change and giving all your small change to the guy you hate, nothing infuriates more. In any case I’ll assume that the 1 sens would be sitting in your pocket and lie forgotten in between your couch space or even gathering dust in inconspicuous corners where the roaches would scurry by them. Thus the question, what would you do with your stash of 1 sen coins?

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