Underwater Money

Until the 20th century, the people of the Pacifc island of Yap used large stone discs called rai as money. These were usually used in social transactions such as marriage and ransom. The rai, which weighed as much as four tons, were rarely moved. Rather, everyone knew who the owner of a particular rai was. The rai were cut in Palau, an island 280 miles away, and transported by canoes. One of the rai was dropped into the ocean while being transported. It was still recognized as money.


From the September 2011 issue of Happiness Pony. [PDF]

One thought on “Underwater Money

  1. December 26, 2016

    Letter to the Editor:

    I fully realize that I’m commenting on a different story than the one featured above, but I think I have excellent reasons for doing so. Namely, I didn’t see the “Christmas Supplement” on-line, and I felt compelled to write my editorial for a few…well, compelling reasons. I lived and worked in Connecticut for about one decade, and due to many reasons, I re-located to Massachusetts. When I initially changed states, I stayed at the Saints Francis and Therese Catholic Worker home with the Duffy’s. I remember them as very helpful, peace-loving folks. So, imagine my surprise at seeing a photogaph of “Santa” in handcuffs! I read the accompanying story, and I truly don’t understand just how that particular situation became so uncontrolled. Although law-enforcement runs in my nuclear family- (ie. my sister’s father is a retired Police Officer and I was raised unconventionally- in the front office of a rooming house for men owned and managed by my father and brother- really, they were like my body-guards, though). I only mention my biographical details because I think they’re relevant to this published story. In the end, my sentiments are with the Duffy’s- I think that toy guns that resemble actual handguns are potentially dangerous, because an officer can easily mistake a toy for the real thing. Mr. Duffy’s point caused much mayhem, yet can he really be blamed for his behavior when it was for such a just cause? Plus, reading the article “Bad Santa” inspired me in two ways. More specifically, I plan to buy the book “Nothing Is Impossible:Stories from the Life of a Catholic Worker”. And, finally, I’ll see the movie “Bad Santa”! Oh- and I nearly forgot- I also plan on enlarging that photograph of a beaming Scott Duffy being escorted out of a toy store by a cop. Then, I’ll dignify my copy with a frame.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *