A letter of complaint

In Money, News Reports, Society on February 22, 2013 at 1:38 am

So the old standby/enduring Singapore icon, the Merlion, is now stamped onto the face of a $1 coin, as part of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Third series of coins. I actually find the third series quite beautiful looking, but I suppose like any legal tender, we have to touch the coins, feel it, you know, to feel comfortable with it.
Anyway, I thought I’ll have some fun today with this piece of news. So enjoy this letter of complaint.

Dear Mr Mas Mint,

RE: Use of my image on the $1 coin.

I refer to yesterday’s announcement by your esteemed organisation, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, on the issue of the Third Series of Singapore coins. While I am pleased to be acknowledged as a Singapore icon (which I always have been incidentally), I am writing in to complain that my permission was not sought.

Please note that I impose a fee for the use of any image, whether my front or side profile or a bit of my mane. My fee is $1 per coin.
Please apply to me directly at Fullerton with the exact number of $1 coins that you intend to use me for. I believe there would be hundreds of thousands of the coins issued. But my bookie tells me that you would have no problem minting some more to meet my charges. I also levy a late penalty charge of 10 per cent for every day that my permission is not sought.
You are, therefore, late.

I am resorting to this letter of complaint, which I will cc to the Prime Minister, because I am frustrated at recent and not-so-recent instances of people and organisations riding on my name and fame. I have been stamped on plastic bags, adorned key rings and stuck on refrigerators. I have been turned into chocolates and eaten. I have been borrowed as a logo for the Singapore Tourism Board and made a mascot for the Youth Olympics. In 2008, I was even turned into a dress for Ms Singapore/Universe, not that I mind enveloping the female form. Please do not get me started on that travesty of my image on Sentosa.

Now, I am about to be crushed in people’s smelly wallets and purses, man-handled by fishmongers and stallholders who don’t wear gloves and swallowed by vending machines. It’s enough to make me puke.

I serve notice that I have consulted a lawyer, a Senior Counsel no less, on how I should go about protecting my intellectual property rights. He is advising me to take the matter to court, failing which I should engage a debt collector to splash graffiti on the front door of your building. If I succeed in the pursuit of my cause/case, please note that you will have to foot my legal fees. I hope your mint has spare capacity and is not suffering undue strain like our transport infrastructure.

On a more personal note, may I enquire why that pansy, Vanda Ms Joaquim, was stamped within my spitting distance? I am not xenophobic I assure you, but I do not like other species invading my space. I am now making enquires on the use of Hong Lim Park to launch a protest rally.

Thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,
Mr Merlion
Born-and-bred Singaporean

PS. My lawyer has reminded me that my visage is also imprinted on the smaller coins. To demonstrate my good faith, I have decided to waive my charges for your use on them. Such small change after all.

  1. […] Bertha Harian: A letter of complaint – Everything Also Complain: Singapore Third Series coins look like Euros – Musings From […]

  2. Bertha, do u know that my family has a code word? Whenever someone feels nauseous and may want to throw up, we say “XYZ wasd about to merlion”? If said someone has already thrown upm, we say “XYZ merlioned all night long leh… was thinking of taking XYZ to A&E ..” :D!

  3. It sickens me to see Mr Merlion on the coin. It hasn’t come from our shared heritage or folklore, but a costly bit of kitsch hastily put together in the corporate world when the tourism board decided it needed to invent its own national icon.

    As far as Singapore icons go, you couldn’t beat the humble packet of tissue paper. Wipes the mouth, wipes the arse, and most importantly, our tried and tested method to “chope” a seat in a crowded food court.

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