S'pore prayer offerings shop distributes coupons with image of Yusof Ishak resembling God of Fortune

Hungry Ghost Festival coming soon.

Ashley Tan | August 14, 2020, 08:18 PM

The seventh lunar month is fast approaching, and some stores catering to Buddhist and Taoists devotees have taken to ramping up sales through the distribution of vouchers or coupons.

A local store selling prayer offerings, however, drew some flak online for the design of its coupons.

Yusof Ishak transformed

Goldpaper.sg, an online store which sells joss sticks, incense and prayer offerings, had been handing out its coupons with a promo code for the store's prayer offerings packages at Waterway Point recently.

Photo from Zulkarnain Sadali / FB

According to Lianhe Wanbao, a person dressed up as a ghost in Chinese lore was spotted.

As seen in photos posted online, one side of the coupon resembled a S$10 Singapore banknote.

The coupon had the store's logo displayed on it, and stated "Xingapore" instead of "Singapore".

One rather stark difference however, was the doctored image of former Singapore president Yusof Ishak on the coupon.

A long moustache and beard, with ancient Chinese headgear had been added to transform the man's visage into what appears to be the mythological figure, the God of Fortune.

Photo from Zulkarnain Sadali / FB

Store stopped distributing coupons

The coupons have since rankled some netizens, with one user finding it "racially offensive".

Following the response to the coupons, the shop was reportedly informed on Aug. 12 to cease its distribution.

The 36-year-old owner of the shop told Lianhe Wanbao that the coupons were merely for publicity, and that there was no malicious intent behind it.

The design, the owner said, was a means to draw the attention of younger people who are more unfamiliar with the traditions of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

He added that the coupons were printed by the store themselves, and that the material of the coupons was different from the ones used for Singapore's banknotes.

He emphasised that it was not his intention to "mutilate" the currency.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, reproduction of currency images does not require the agency's permission if it is done for illustrations on currency-receiving machines, or as an advertisement or publication for education, or in news or factual reports.

MAS also states that the reproduction of currency should not distort images of the president or any national symbol.

Top photo from Zulkarnain Sadali / FB