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Bertha HarianBertha Harian


A letter of complaint

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.

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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.

Written By

An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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