Is the octagonal shape of the $1 coin and road tax label linked to Lee Kuan Yew’s strong belief in feng shui?


Fresh allegations that the shape of certain government-issued items in Singapore is linked to Singapore’s first Prime Minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew’s allegedly strong belief in feng shui has been circulating online.

Such allegations are not new and have been floating about for years now but a blog post that has condensed all of the supposed anecdotal evidence to support this theory has caused the allegations to make a comeback after it was recently shared on social media.

The allegations all have one thing in common: that Lee Kuan Yew was a deeply superstitious man who was very particular about Chinese geomancy – or man’s balance with nature. He supposedly believed that there is a particular time and day to inaugurate events, a specific colour of dress to wear during functions.

It is also believed that Lee would seek the advice of his “feng shui mentor” – a famous Venerable – whenever he had to make an important decision.

The blog,, alleges that it is the advice of this monk that led Lee Kuan Yew to order that the shape of the $1 dollar coin be octagonal, so that the bad feng shui of MRT tunnelling work could be circumvented:

“The one-dollar coin came into circulation at the time of the MRT construction on the island (check the date if you don’t believe me). The story goes that the Venerable had advised Lee that MRT tunnelling work would be bad for the feng shui of the island, its prosperity, etc. Firm however on pushing ahead with the project, Lee asked if there was anything that could be done to circumvent the bad feng shui. “Yes”, replied the Venerable, “but it may be impossible to implement”.
“Said Lee to the Venerable – please speak. The Venerable then said that EVERY household on this island must have or must display a ‘pak kwa’ or symbolic octagonal (8-sided) object. Oh no, there would definitely be racial riots. How could Lee force every household to have a ‘pak kwa’ then at home? Said the wise Lee – I have an idea. I know how to make EVERYBODY like to have as many ‘pak kwas’ as possible and so, our one-dollar coin was born.”

The blog also asserted that the octagonal road tax label was also instated after the Venerable advised Lee that the bad feng shui caused by MRT tunneling works may not be circumvented if those carrying an octagonal shaped item failed to display it:

“But then, the economy didn’t do quite as well as expected after the circulation of the one-dollar coin. Remember the ’85/86 recession??
“So the Honorary Venerable was consulted again. He said that whilst the one-dollar coin did symbolise the pak kwa, it was of no use if everyone had it in his pocket and failed to DISPLAY it. So the next novel idea was born the ROAD TAX LABEL If you recall, it used to be round and now, it’s OCTAGONAL and it is DISPLAYED.”

Interestingly, the Land Transport Authority announced that it has stopped issuing physical road tax labels from 15 February 2017 and no longer requires motorists to display road tax labels on the windscreens of their vehicles.

On 7 October this year, 8 months after LTA stopped requiring the octagonal road tax label to be displayed on vehicles, the Bishan MRT tunnel became flooded in an unprecedented incident, inconveniencing close to a quarter of a million commuters.

The blog also alleged that “the monk mentioned is the ex-head of a temple. When he passed away several years ago, Bishan Park was born because his temple was not allowed to be blocked by any HDB flats.”

The monk that Lee Kuan Yew reportedly sought advice from is likely the late grandmaster
Hong Choon who served as chief abbot of the Phor Kark See Monastery from 1947 to  1990 and as the second president of the Singapore Buddhist Federation.

Hong Choon has been credited as one of the most important Buddhist figures in the history of Buddhism in Singapore.

A quick Google search shows that Lee Kuan Yew has interacted with Hong Choon on a number of occasions:

During his lifetime, however, Lee Kuan Yew rubbished such claims and even went so far as to call feng shui “utter rubbish” as can be seen in the video below (from the 3:30 mark):

This hasn’t stopped netizens from believing that the allegations have truth and from circulating such stories though.



  1. I remember a journalist had sought verification from Old Lee, and his reply was : rubbish!

    Despite his clarification that it was not true, some Taiwanese media programme hosts, till this day, still parrot the rumours.

    • FF LKY is a known atheist who operate with science and reason. The superstitious shit is all nonsense stories. If he is still around he will kick the superstitious transport minister

    • While I dislike Old Fart, I don’t think he was superstitious. And I don’t believe he or any prime minister had the time to get himself involved in the designs or symbols of a government organization. This is why I said earlier that I suspected someone who was powerful within the civil service then was also superstitious – and that person had an influence on those religious related designs/symbols of some of our government organisations. Lee Kuan Yew, like most MNC CEOs or senior management, couldn’t be bothered by such petty matters – he was more passionate about fixing his political opponents!!

  2. Anyway I RESPECT LKY. There are pros n cons…He built up S’pore to world recognise. Life n future improve from 3rd world to 1st world…….he pulls his people through recession time. Things cock up, that minister/CEO will get FIRED FIRST. BUT not now….Own self check own self. Push all the blame to others. Credits they claimed.

      • Absolutely right. LKY ask to demolish Oxley after his passing. LHL demolish the country and the family.

        Hokkien saying: “Chew Toh Lau Kow Sua”.

    • This is the assumption that PAP is always drilling into people’s mind. This is simply not true. Maybe someone else could have done the same. Based on the history of what is happening in the world, in this region. Ships came here not because of LKY. Many businessmen became rich because of the war. This is the irony, maybe the wars made Singapore.

    • No matter what, leadership is crucial to a country’s progress. But Lhl? Besides thriving on his dad’s legacy, he has nothing but negative things to offer. Underperforming overpaid ministers, secret loss of state money, fluctuating economy, misreading of geopolitics, etc. As the confucian saying goes, he who cannot straighten family matters cannot rule the country. Look at how he handles his wife and siblings. Sad.

    • I disagree, it is in the 1980s that LKY set up this whole system that now we are facing. The issues been based on his decisions, from infrastructure to ISA, to minister’s pay peg to GDP, his decision also to increase foreign population in the country. Not to mention the penny wise pound foolish investments on infrastructure, restricted the budget not to plan and increase for MRT lines and roads, his whole insistent to tear down all our national heritage buildings, from chinatown to stamford road, his own eugenics on graduate mother scheme which is still in place is horrible. Not to mention it was LKY who introduced the min. sum to CPF and using it as a feeding funnel to Temasek! Only that this present incumbent ruler is using LKY policies and tightening it further.

    • Why everyone think LKY was god? when it was his govt that created this whole mess. His philosophy was fast economic progress regardless of long term plans

    • To me without LKY, we are still in 3rd world, jobs n life doesn’t improve. S’porean are also respected. He gain so much in reserve. But not now, since the day lhl took over. So many bad things happened, sia strike, bus strike, riots, locals being bullied by Foreigners. White collar jobs gone, lost TRILLIONS in investments, n that’s why keep increasing min sum. Worst, now say our cpf is not our money. Giving citizenship like toilet papers for the sake of power. Double standard laws……etcs

  3. Someone once mentioned that he consulted a feng shui master on how to ensure Singapore’s prosperity.
    He was told, for that to happen, everyone in Singapore have to carry a “pak kwa” in their pocket. But that would be a problem with people of different faith. And that’s how the idea of the dollar coin came about. Brilliant???

  4. Its a well KNOWN fact what………..people didn’t know about the Octogon shape of the coin and road tax meh?? But don’t worry, his RETARD and dishonourable son is reversing everything LKY had done, including bringing back the Slaughtering of chicken, ducks and pigs, his RETARD and dishonourable son obviously don’t understand Feng Sui!!! ChoDoMaDai Akan Datang.

  5. It was suggested by the late venerable master Hong Choon who was the advisor to lky during his time, but lky denied it outright. Without venerable advice and guidance, it could not be possible for the rapid progress. Now, all these has been destroyed by the dishonourable one causing so much regression and problems for almost everyone. Sinking sinkingpoor….

  6. Politically, LHL did not perform a great job for Sporeans but his G Spots of Elites. Wages of Millions on our Servitude.
    I m not sure if these G Spots are liable to pay taxes? If they do, it will be Heavenly to build a housing for the homeless. With regards to the last few years investments overseas, it’s a crazy and insatiable lousy decisions of our financial outflow of capitals.

  7. No doubt LKY consulted Hong Choon. The $1 coin also has the Singapore Crest on one side. The crest for the Singapore Air Force was adapted from the Taoist Ying-Yang symbol, perhaps by Dr Goh who is equally superstitious.

Comments are closed.