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The One-Buck Smile


Once in awhile, we receive torn/patched banknotes from our regular transactions. How many of us try to get rid of those ugly banknotes as soon as possible?  Be it slipping it in between the good ones as you give it to someone else, donating it, or even exchanging it with a friend who is about to make payment – for fear of the validity of those notes, or simply because they don’t look good.

Almost everyday, I have lunch with my friends at our regular “Pink Shop” (think Chinese kopitiam selling economy rice) that receives payment based on trust, a system we can no longer find in bigger cities – most of them require you to show your plate of rice and pay for your meal before you eat. At the Pink Shop, the man who serves our plate tells us the price of our meal, lets us chomp everything down happily before we proceed to the counter and declare how much the quoted price was and the extras (drinks, soup) that we had. Therefore, if you’re feeling a little dishonest on that day, you can simply quote the lowest possible price and pretend you didn’t have drinks at all.

So far, none of us (that I know of) has bluffed our way through the system, because food there is cheap enough as it is. And good too.

Today, like any other day, I had my lunch there. As I made my way to pay for my meal (it’s usually a standard price since I take the same amount of food most of the time), the uncle stopped me after I paid and made me wonder what was wrong since he had given me the correct change. He pulled the RM1 note from my hands and replaced it with another one, explaining to me that the one he gave me earlier was torn and patched with cellophane tape. I was surprised, pleasantly surprised.

As my friend drove us back to campus, I couldn’t help but think about that kind gesture. I wondered what would happen to that note that he took from me? Does he give it to someone else (not his regular customers) or does he return it to the bank in exchange for a better one?

I don’t know for sure, but this little One Ringgit note has just bought a smile from my heart. =)


About the author


Fueled by coffee and thrives on kindness. Generally pleasant.


  • aww.. yeah I like tht ‘Pink Shop’ :))

    there was once while I was paying, I realised I gave him shot of RM1 note and he already slip all the money into the drawer and I took out another Rm1 to pay him and he told me I don’t have to pay him again once he slips all the money into the drawer even though it’s not the right amount haha He not only do trust us a lot but doesn’t mind small mistake that we made I guess. But that was really nice of him =)

    And yes.. Austria is all about honesty.. haha

  • […] He, is Uncle Chow. And Uncle Chow is the owner of Keng Heong, or more affectionately known as The Pink Shop, the coffeeshop that we frequent daily for lunch and sometimes dinner.  I have mentioned about him before in this post whereby his RM1 bought me a smile. […]

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