On a beautiful morning, two Indonesian rupiah notes were printed. One was a hundred thousand rupiah note, and the other one was a thousand rupiah one.
The day they were issued was a day of joy. Although it was only worth a cup of coffee, the one thousand rupiah note did not reveal any signs of jealousy. On the other hand, the one hundred thousand rupiah note remained humble, despite its higher financial values. The two notes walked hand in hand, laughing elatedly with thousand other notes as they were being distributed to various financial institutions in Indonesia.
Six months later the two notes were reunited in a wallet of a young man. Gazing at the old, shoddy one thousand rupiah note, the one hundred thousand rupiah note was flabbergasted. In angst, he asked, “It’s been only six months, why do you look so crumpled? What happened to you, brother?”
The one thousand rupiah note replied, “It’s because soon after we departed, I found myself moving from one hand to another; from a busker to a beggar; from the hands of stark-naked children to those of scroungers; from an orphanage to mosque weekly donations. I was in constant motion as people never think twice to use me for charitable purposes.” There was a glistened tear when he said this, but the one thousand rupiah note tried to be strong.
A moment later he looked at his counterpart in envy, saying, “And how come you still look fresh, still maintaining your attractive look? I mean, it’s been six months.”
The one hundred thousand rupiah note replied, “Oh, this happened because I was taken by a beautiful woman who always kept me in her fragrant and well-maintained purse. Even two months later when she handed me in to someone else, I was only circulated by and to the jet-sets. Expensive restaurants and luxurious hotels were my lovely havens.”
“Wow, you are one lucky note!” replied the one thousand rupiah note, now with jealousy engulfing his heart.
“No. I’m not as lucky as you are,” the one hundred thousand rupiah note begged to differ.
“What do you mean?”
“You were mainly used for charities, but I wasn’t. People looked at you, and they immediately saw your immense social function. But I never moved beyond my financial utility.
What they saw in you was your intrinsic value, but it was my extrinsic value that mostly interested people. Nothing else.”