‘Money is Power.’ What does this phrase mean? It means money represents a country. To travel overseas, the first thing you need is the currency of that nation. For foreigners, money is the first face of a nation, so each nation chooses wisely the people on its currency. The Sookmyung Times asked three foreign students at SMU about people featured on their home country’s currency.
Great Warriors, Great Currency Value
Dua Ribu Ruphia is the official currency of Indonesia. Ruphia consists of coins and banknotes, just like any other nation. Coins start at 50 ruphia and go up to 1000. Banknotes start at 1000 ruphia and go up to 100,000 ruphia. “Our currency has several monetary units. Rather than using simple units, all of the coins and banknotes are used together in a variety of ways,” said Stevani. She was quite surprised upon coming to Korea to discover that the Korean won was very simple and easy to count. “Ten years ago, our 100 and 500 ruphia were changed from banknotes to coins and this made it much simpler for us to count currency.” Stevani added that those banknotes were also changed into coins because Indonesians use 100 and 500 ruphia to pay for transportation fees.
Most of the people portrayed on its currency are warriors. “Since Indonesia has a history full of great warriors, we mostly place decorated warriors on high currency units,” said Stevani. She mentioned that except for the 1,000 ruphia and a few coins, most notes and coins depict warriors of Indonesia. On the 1,000 ruphia, there is the country’s 1st president. On the country’s coins, there are pictures of Indonesian birds and flowers. This use of birds and flowers is quite similar with Korea since Korean currency also makes use of Korean birds and flowers. Stevani said that the ruphia currency illustrates dedicated persons who have helped develop Indonesia. “I only wish there were more women on the ruphia. There is only one woman warrior on a small coin unit,” she added. Stevani strongly expressed hope for more diverse representatives on her country’s currency. She thought that there would be somewhat more dedicated persons in Indonesia that could wonderfully decorate the ruphia.
Ho-Uncle, Our Pride and Deliverer of Freedom
While Korea has seven currency amounts (10, 50, 100, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000), Vietnam has ten (500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, 500,000). The Vietnamese monetary unit is the ‘dong(đ).’ 500 dong is equivalent to 25 won. Vietnamese currency is mostly banknotes, except for in Hochiminh City, where 500 dong is a coin. In Korea, different people are featured on each banknote; however, all notes in Vietnam feature only one person, Ho Chi Minh, the historical Vietnamese leader who led Vietnam through two invasions: one by France and the other by the U.S. Y Quanh said, “For Vietnamese people, Ho Chi Minh is admired more than the president of the country. He created a new era for the Vietnamese people: an era of independence and freedom. He is respected for his strong will, great knowledge, desperate patriotism, and humbleness. He chose to live in a humble cottage even after becoming president.” She explained how Vietnamese people love Ho Chi Minh. “Vietnamese people respect and love him so much that we don’t call him Ho Chi Minh President. We refer to him as Ho Uncle, which means he is like part of our family.” When asked if Vietnam features females on its money, she said there are no women featured on Vietnamese currency, but she believes there will be in the future. Because Vietnamese people strongly respect Ho Chi Minh, people believe that Ho Chi Minh deserves the title as representative of the nation and to be featured on its currency. “Even though he is no longer alive, he and his great life will live forever throughout thousands and thousands of Vietnamese people generations, and we will continue to be proud of our country, a country in which one of the greatest people in the world was born.”
Representatives of Independence and Integation in Tanzania
Before starting our interview, Debora showed the reporter foor Tanzania banknotes : 500, 1,000, 20,00 and 10,000. Tanzania’s monetary unit is the Tanzanian Shilling (Shilling). A unique feature of Tanzanian currency is that the 10000 and 2,000 shilling have images of animals on them. The 10,000 shilling features an elephant and the 2,000 shilling features a lion. Debora explained, “Tanzania is famous for its Serengeti National Park , so we feature those animals as symbols of Tanzania. We have a giraffe featured on our money too because in Tanzania, the giraffe is the symbol for ‘Gentlemen.’” The 1,000 shilling and 500 shilling both feature famous leaders who did great things for Tanzania. “The man featured on the 1,000 shilling is Mualimu Julias Kambarage Nyerere, commonly called Julias Nyerere. He was the first president of Tanzania. Tanzania was once a colony of German and England, so he helped Tanzania gain independence from England, and Tanzania became an independent country.” She explained the person featured on 500 shilling as: “The man is Abeid Karume. He was vice president during Julias Nyerere’s term as president of Tanzania. In the past, there were two countries; Tanganyika, the country on the mainland, and Zanzibar, located on the island. He was also the first president of Zanzibar and cooperated with Julias Nyerere to combine the two nations into one country, which is now known as Tanzania.” On the flip side of Tanzanian currency, there is a picture of Dar-es-salaam National University and its students. Debora is proud of her nation’s peoples’ strong desire to be educated. Speaking of women empowerment and education policies in Tanzania, she said that soon there would be a great female leader featured on her nation’s currency.