In China, there are certain "bad notes" that frighten people and are refused as legal tender. Why?
Generation Gap: "The parents of China’s post-1980 generation [the bā líng hòu (八零後)] (themselves born between 1950 and 1965) grew up in a rural, Maoist world utterly different from that of their children. In their adolescence, there was one phone per village, the universities were closed and jobs were assigned from above. If you imagine the disorientation and confusion of many parents in the West when it comes to the internet and its role in their children’s lives, and then add to that dating, university life and career choices, you come close to the generational dilemma. Parents who spent their own early twenties labouring on remote farms have to deal with children who measure their world in malls, iPhones and casual dates." [more inside]
Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency. In China, expensive cigarettes (not to be confused with counterfeits of popular brands) are sometimes used as bribes. Cash can be difficult to handle, or outright illegal, in some places. Since a smoking ban (and subsequent black-market trade in cigarettes) in US prisons, canned mackerel (previously on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
"The last European monopoly, in any area, is crumbling. This recently-opened transfer window has underscored, more than anything else, that it is no longer the European football clubs’ birthright to sign the greatest players in the world." -- Leander Schaerlaeckens on the growing clout of Chinese, Brazilian, and (WTF?) Indian soccer leagues in grabbing the top talent
After starring in First Kid with the immortal Sinbad, Brock Pierce was left wondering what to do with the rest of his life. He decided to set out and make his fortune accumulating and selling items in EverQuest and World of Warcraft.
The new monetary standard: Copper.
For the first time in nearly a decade China is issuing new banknotes without the image of Chairman Mao. Instead there's a picture of, you guessed it, their shiny new Olympic stadium. And a discus thrower on the back. [more inside]
The Most Important Article You Did Not Read This Week Now, it is true that the most important article you probably didn’t read contains all the usual hair-raising things you’d expect to see about the real estate market, including “developers under siege,” “signs of weakness in key markets,” developers “slashing prices,” and the head of a major builder advising “that people wait three to four years before purchasing a new home.” But the most important article you probably didn’t read is not about real estate markets in Naples, Florida, or Sacramento, California. It is about China. [ full WSJ article here]
Hell Money "the Chinese believed Hell was the English term for the Afterlife. The word was incorporated and printed on the traditional Chinese Afterlife Monetary Offerings, otherwise known as Hell Bank Notes."
Hell Bank Notes are a chinese funeral custom of burning paper money in specialized cemetary ovens for use in the afterlife (Some even feature US Presidents JFK and LBJ). I have heard of instances where entire paper houses or cars are burned in tribute. Find out more about contemporary chinese funeral practices, such as funerary music like Mei Hua Ts'ao (Plum Blossoms) [3 meg mp3] and personal insightful interviews. What unique funeral practices have you witnessed or participated in?