Thursday, March 19, 2009

Currency is SRS BZNESS

I mentioned earlier that at the current exchange rate, 1000 won is about seventy cents. That does a poor job of explaining just what you can buy with seventy cents here. At the kpop-blaring bakery across the street from Sherlock Academy (I've come to think of it as a disco-bakery), you can get a light little cheese pastry for 600 won. There's a little junk food stand in the first floor of the school that sells baked apples and chocolate in a small waffle for 500 won. So for a while, topping off the currency at a 10,000 won bill made sense.

Not anymore, though. The ROK has announced that they want to start printing 50,000 won bills, but this decision hasn't been met without controversy and delays. Some of them are utilitarian-based: fears of corruption and excessive spending. But most of the issues seem to be largely one of principles. You see, the face on the 50,000 won bill will be Shin Saim-dang, a renowned Korean writer and artist who also happens to be a woman (appropriately enough, mother to the fellow on the 10,000 won bill, Lee Yulgok). Some people object because Saim-dang Shin is renowned largely for exemplifying old-fashioned ideals and that's not the kind (or at least, not the only kind) of things people should value in women. But there's at least a few Koreans who just point-blank don't want to see a woman on their money.

"I don't think they should put a woman on it," one of the boys in another class said, apparently. "I don't like women."


1 comment:

  1. We have two women on our money - Kate Sheppard and The Queen, and given that we only have 5 notes, and that the Queen is on all our coins, I think that's not doing too badly :)