Cash Is King, 2020
Ink on 'Banana Note'
15.8 x 7.7 cm
My grandmother was 13 years old when the British surrendered to Japanese troops invading Singapore on the 1st day of Lunar New Year, 1942.
For the following 3 years and 8 months, other Singaporeans like herself would live in constant fear and extreme hardship as an occupied people. As she recalls vividly, prices for valuable items such as food, medicine and household goods skyrocketed as supplies everywhere depleted.
The frequent shortage and massive inflation led to the rise of a booming black market. Locals would prefer payment in kind, with food as the most cherished "exchange currency". As a result, Japanese invasion money circulated in occupied areas such as Singapore were rendered worthless.
So was my grandmother's suitcase full of "banana notes".