‘US dollar’ popular as hell money this year

In high demand: Ang showing the US dollar hell notes at her shop in Kimberley Street, Penang.

In high demand: Ang showing the US dollar hell notes at her shop in Kimberley Street, Penang.

IPOH: The weakened ringgit has got the Chinese community worried for their departed ones as well.

With All-Souls Day (Qing Ming) being observed 10 days before and 10 days after April 4, many stores selling religious items are seeing an increase in the sale of “hell money” – notes printed to resemble legal tender and burnt as offerings for the deceased – in foreign currency, especially US dollars.

Store owner Kelly Tan said demand was also high for the yuan and Singapore dollar notes.

A businesswoman, who wanted to be known only as Chong, said it was her first year buying paper-made US dollar notes for Qing Ming because of its strength.

“As someone who dabbles in business, I know that the US dollar is at its strongest right now since around 10 years ago.

“I just thought it would be more prosperous to buy this for my family’s departed ones instead, so that hopefully, they bless us with good health and wealth in return,” she said.

Chong also said since she was planning to burn the US notes for her late in-laws, she decided to buy paper-made passports along with other offerings as well.

“That way, perhaps they can go travelling and shopping in the United States too,” she said.

Shopkeepers in GEORGE TOWN are reporting a similar trend.

Ang Siew Siew, a shopkeeper in Kimberley Street selling prayer paraphernalia, said the hell money in US dollar notes was selling like hot cakes as many perceived it to be stable and strong in value.

She said other hell-money currencies in hot demand were the Singapore dollar and yuan, adding that the “paper bank headquarters” is another best seller.

“Many people bought the US dollars to burn as the traditional hell notes.

“They told us it would be better to mix some hell notes with US dollars due to the depreciation of the ringgit.

“They claimed US dollars would be useful if their ancestors need to go on a holiday in the afterlife.

“The traditional paper money is meant for them to go about their daily affairs,” said Ang when met at Eng Chin Heong Sdn Bhd shop in Kimberley Street yesterday.

qing ming , ringgit