austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Must be funny in the rich man's world

My mother pointed out along the way to talking about other things that this was the first Fourth of July I've spent in the country of my birth in a couple of years. I was quick to say it was more than a couple: this was my first Fourth of July in the country this century. Only that's wrong, as I was in the country last July fourth; I just happened to be in California with spaceroo and the party organized for his wedding. It seemed longer, anyway. The town's fireworks were held on the first of the month, though, suggesting either creeping Canadianism or cheaper rates for working on the weekend.

There's no connection, but I just learned that Singapore and Brunei are starting a new issue of $20 bills. My whole time in Singapore I never saw a S$20 bill, and from the design of change drawers I had to suppose there wasn't anything between the S$10 and the S50 bills. (They had just discontinued the S$1 bill when I first got there.) The big deal is it's a joint issue between Singapore and Brunei, which have had an interchangeability agreement since 1967, so in theory you can take the coins and bills of one country to the other and spend it without trouble. The catch is only the sorts of people who trawl Wikipedia looking for bare statements to attach ``citation needed'' notes to were ever aware of this agreement, at least in Singapore, so the Brunei notes didn't circulate much. All my time there I got a single Brunei one-dollar note, which I had assumed was the equivalent of getting a Canadian quarter mixed in with the United States change. (I accepted the bill since I like gathering odder currencies.) Channel NewsAsia found people sort of knew about the interchangeability, but had the idea it was cancelled years ago.

So the new plan is to issue $20 bills with matching serial numbers from both countries. The backs of the bill will have the same design; it's just the front that will be different from the issuing countries. This way ... actually, I'm not sure I get the genius of the plan, since I'd image most people would look at the front and tend to reject bills from the wrong country, and there doesn't seem to be a cash register drawer for it anyway. Maybe there's a promotional side of things I'm overlooking.

Trivia: James Boswell, 18th century biographer, wrote a newspaper column in which he styled himself The Hypochondriack. Source: Flesh in the Age of Reason, Ray Porter.

Currently Reading: The Power of News: The History of Reuters 1849 - 1989, Donald Read.


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