Singapore finance influencer uses S$10 Lee Kuan Yew coin for payment, baffles cashiers

SINGAPORE: On 15 May 2023, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched the issuance of a special edition S$10 coin (US$7.3), a commemorative piece dedicated to celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of Singapore’s esteemed founding Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew (LKY100).

While this coin primarily serves as a cherished memento, the finance influencer, Seth Wee, decided to engage in an unconventional experiment by attempting to make purchases with it, which resulted in perplexed reactions from cashiers, with some even refusing to accept it.

This unexpected turn of events prompted netizens to question the coin’s legal tender status, which, contrary to popular belief, it indeed possesses, as affirmed by MAS.

Confounding cashiers with the LKY coin

Individuals fortunate enough to acquire one of these special S$10 (US$7.3) commemorative coins likely preserved them as prized tokens.

These golden-hued coins proudly display the image of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father of the modern era, alongside the city’s iconic skyscrapers.

reverse side of the coin (Photo: MAS)

While many would cherish the sentimental value attached to such a coin, ‘influencer’ Seth Wee embarked on a quest to test its practical value.

On 17 September, he documented his visits to various stores in a TikTok video, attempting to use the LKY coin for payment. This experiment video has gained more than 93 thousand views on TikTok.


7-11 guy so cute made exaggerated gestures so we can get more views 🥲

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

The reactions from the counter staff ranged from immediate confusion to fascination upon seeing the coin.

One amused cashier at a 7-11 store quipped, “S$10 Singapore ah?” Clearly, they were more accustomed to the recognizable red banknote.

However, to Seth’s dismay, the coin featuring the late Mr. Lee was met with rejection by these cashiers.

A supermarket cashier scrutinized it closely, asking, “What coin is this?” before decisively stating, “No lah, this one cannot.”

The 7-11 cashier playfully echoed her sentiments, comically gesturing with crisscrossing arm motions to emphasize the rejection.

This animated reaction elicited laughter from Seth as well.

The good-natured cashier, however, found humour in the situation and suggested that the video might gain more traction on TikTok.

Despite the rejections, everyone present found the coin undeniably captivating, with exclamations of “Very nice leh!” and “First time I see [this].”

Legal tender status of the LKY coin

Viewers of the video were highly entertained by the reactions, especially those of the lively 7-11 cashier, whom one commenter praised as “a vibe.”


Questions also arose regarding whether the commemorative coin could genuinely be used as a S$10 (US$7.3) currency.


Seth clarified that it could indeed be used as legal tender, though its newness had led to widespread unfamiliarity.

The LKY coins hold legal tender status, as confirmed by MAS. However, due to their limited availability, convincing cashiers to accept them might require some patience.

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