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Portrait on the Banknote


"HE is on every one of them. I bet his grandchildren joke about how it's 'their grandfather's money' all the time," I said to Bel referring to our new banknotes with the old guy on them. 


The new banknotes 
You should check out these notes. They're like fake money, like the sort the Chinese burn at funerals. It may take some getting used-to to see the new MYR as serious money but they are rapidly rolling and replacing the previous series of banknotes. My hope is that after some months of changing hands, the seasoned notes may finally look like they actually mean business. 

"He's Tunku (Abdul Rahman), the first prime minister. Someone argued with me that the portrait is of the Agong (King), can you believe that?," replied Bel. 

"I think that someone is right. The man is the first Agong. The one on the notes is wearing a Tengkolok (a royal head dress) and Tunku was hip with that Songkok (a type of cap worn by men in this part of the world) senget ( Tunku had a way of wearing it slightly tilted to one side, giving him a flamboyant look)."



Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj, who is known as the Father of Independence, also wore a pair of dark-rimmed glasses and his face always had a glint of smile from all the images I've seen of him. 


"Really??? But why. It doesn't make sense. Tunku's the first prime minister and he fought for the country's independence (Malaya was freed from the British on Aug 31, 1957). I've always thought it was him on our money. Google it."

Now there is nothing you can't Google. The portrait featured on the obverse on our bank notes since the first series of Malayan dollar notes were issued in 1967 is that of Colonel Paduka Sri Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad, our first King. *He was installed as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of independent Malaya on Sept 13, 1957. As Malay rulers do not traditionally possess crowns, he was installed by kissing the royal Keris. In honour of him, all subsequent Agong of Malaysia have also used the headdress Dendam Tak Sudah (literally means unending revenge), a fashion used in the state of Negeri Sembilan. 


Banknotes from the first series 

For some reason, it turns out that not many are actually aware of the man on our banknotes. When I went around asking a few people, some actually thought that he was the bank governor, while many, like Bel, presumed it was the prime minister.

"Geez. He gets to be in these notes forever just because he's the first Agong? Yeah, of course his grandchildren could joke about it." 

It was quite a revelation for Bel. That aside, I think Bel could use some of the jokes too as there is a road in Kuala Lumpur that's named after her late grandfather. He was some kind of a big shot here in the early days. 

* from Wikipedia 

Comments

  1. I didn't even know the new notes had come out until I saw them in my mother's wallet yesterday :P

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    Replies

    1. they just came out in July, they'll get around :) i think the 5, 10, 20 notes are just a little too bright. we'll get used to them i suppose.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the interesting lesson Jaya, Malaysia has such an interesting and rich history, I'd love to maybe visit there some day. An old friend of mine has family there and goes to visit them a whole lot and he seems to love the country, I've never heard of this guy before through him though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no maybes. you are visiting some day ! hahaha. no worries, even people here dont know much about who's on the notes :)
      you should some day travel along with your friend.

      Delete
  3. Hmmm...interesting! I'm terrible at knowing which president here is on which bill. Womp womp.

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    1. we have the same man in every note, Gia, and yet ppl have problems knowing who he is :) i dont blame you at all !

      Delete
  4. Facts I never knew and I'd be with most people, having no idea who is on the notes. Thankfully we have animals on our coins so at least I can win there haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hey we also had coins with animals on them some time ago. i dont know if we stil have them though.
      :)

      Delete
  5. That really does look like fake money LOL!

    Seriously though, Tunku Abdul Rahman looks like he comes from Cape Town... which makes me think that you'd be shocked if you ever came here because of the prominent Malay community :)

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    1. it does, doesnt it? lol.

      malay community in cape town? do they speak the malay language ?
      christmas might be in zimbabwe, so would probably have to stop at SA first. if all goes well, we can even meet :)

      Delete
  6. If money were so colored around here, I might have a better time keeping up with it. Color-coding and such things would bring out the interior decorator in me and I'd end up lining the walls with my funds.

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    1. i'm sure they'd be really nice as wallpaper :)

      if numbers were in colours, i would have excelled in science and math so much i'd probably be someone else right now.

      Delete
  7. I'm pretty sure Canada has the same type of Mickey Mouse banknotes, but why is the same guy on all of them? Don't you have a queen or a sportsman you could show? An orang-utan would be better than using the same portrait.

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    1. i dont know, GB. maybe it's just easier to have the same guy in all and all the time. sort of gives our currency an identity i guess. the king comes with a queen but she's really just a royal consort? i dont know.
      btw orang utans are not unique to us, GB.
      Malayan tigers are more like our thing. they're found only in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, that is, in the southern tip of Thailand and the Malaysian Peninsular.

      Delete
  8. Every days a school day - sounds like an interesting chap...I've no idea about half the people on our bank notes (UK) but now I'm a little curious.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. yeah, he's interesting. i've had the chance to speak to someone who'd worked with him closely. interesting indeed.

      :)

      Delete
  9. I like it when we have "gold" dollar coins. I always know whose on them. Thanks for the information. I learned more than my head could handle.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we had gold dollar coin once. it was a little chunky and heavy too. RM1.
      youre always welcome, Janie.

      Delete
  10. Wow, that's pretty interesting..

    I guess all the notes here have pics of great people.. currency notes have the Mahatma, my book notes have Sunny Leone I've doodled on em and my Galaxy note has me....:D

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    1. LOL. tahts a good one! i've never seen an indian note before but i know gandhi is on them.
      :)

      Delete
  11. We've been excited to receive some of these new bank notes! I had always wondered who the man on the notes was so thanks for clearing that up

    I have heard that the RM1 & 5 notes melt under the sun but I need to carry out that experiment myself to prove or didprove it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and now you know! yeah, i've been told that they shrink in the heat cuz they're made from some kind of polymer.
      also heard you cant tear them, but they do. my colleague found out from an experiment on a RM10!

      Delete

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