The One Dollar Ba Gua Coin Myth

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exploringsingapore is exclusive ExplorerSG mini series where we reveal some of the lesser-known places, facts and history of Singapore.

We use it everyday, but little do we know the myth behind it. 

The myth tells that the construction of MRT tunnels was detrimental to the nation as it would sever Singapore’s ‘dragon vein’. In Feng Shui, dragon vein refers to the mountain ranges that represent the prosperity of a nation; breaking the dragon vein would cause bad Feng shui and calamity if not counteracted.

It is said that then-senior minister Lee Kuan Yew consulted Feng Shui expert Reverend Hong on the matter. Reverend Hong proposed that every Singaporean household must be given a Chinese Ba Gua (Eight Trigrams) to counter the bad Feng Shui caused by the MRT tunnels.

To avoid the sensitivity of religion, the Ba Gua was brilliantly incorporated into the design of the golden dollar coin

As part of the “Second Series”, the Ba Gua dollar coin began circulation on 28 September 1987, two months before the inaugural launch of the MRT system (on 7 November 1987).

As if the dollar coin is not enough, the octagonal shape can be seen in both the paper notes (the silvery portion) and the road tax label.

However, in an interview in 2008, late Minister Mentor Lee openly called superstitions, horoscopes and Feng Shui “utter rubbish”, at once busting the Ba Gua coin myth.

So, will carrying more one dollar coins lead to less MRT breakdowns?