Flat Earth: The other side of a Bosnian coin

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The Independent Online
THE FLAG of Bosnia-Herzegovina may fly outside the United Nations, but there are those who suspect that this may be its main claim to statehood. Undeterred, its national bank has commissioned a commemorative coin to celebrate the nation's 1,000-year history. One side shows the world's best known dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the other, the spectacular 16th-century bridge at Mostar, which was shelled to pieces in November.

The irony of presenting a creature long extinct and a historic monument destroyed by war as national images seems lost on the coin's producers, Pobjoy Mint, of Sutton, south- west London.

Tiya Pobjoy, marketing director of the 300-year-old family firm, denies that the dinosaur image cashes in on Jurassic dinomania. She says the aim is to heighten awareness of the need to preserve the habitat of our fast disappearing wildlife. The coin, bearing the slogan 'Preserve Planet Earth', is one of a dinosaur series, including coins for the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Liberia and Eritrea.

The Bosnian coin, struck in 1993, comes in three denominations: a 500-dinar cupro-nickel version, worth pounds 2, a silver one worth 750 dinars, and a gold 10,000-dinar piece. The Bosnia- Herzegovina National Bank would exchange the coins for any currency, Ms Pobjoy says.

If the cap fits

GIVEN the self-congratulation of most luvvies' awards, it is refreshing to see one dedicated to the world's misfits. The idea comes from Osho, guru at the Osho Commune in Poona, India, who describes himself, probably rightly, as 'the ultimate misfit'. It is customary to dismiss Osho and his commune as well-funded loonies, but in this case he seems to have a point. 'Society needs a few misfits. They are the people who carry the torch of freedom and consciousness from generation to generation.'

His nominations for 1993 include Diana Spencer, 'for her decision to retire from public life as a member of the British royal family, putting her personal happiness before duty, glamour and pomp'; Jack Kevorkian, nicknamed Dr Death, for 'breaking the biggest taboo and introducing practical ways in which old and terminally sick people can decide when to die'; and Sinead O'Connor, the Irish rock singer who once tore up a picture of the Pope on American television and 'who continues to protest against Catholic hypocrisy'. Winners will receive Osho's book in praise of misfits, The Hidden Splendour.

Karaoke anthems

CHINESE soldiers are being urged to reject rock music and return to the more austere pleasures of old revolutionary songs. Liberation Army Daily, disgusted with 'languid' pop music, wants old soldiers to teach new conscripts the classics, such as The Song of Heroes and My Motherland, to arouse feelings of loyalty to their country and the Communist Party.

The problem, my Chinawatcher says, is that most of the revolutionary songs have already been hijacked by Peking's pop stars. The venerable East is Red has become a karaoke standby and is even played by musical cigarette lighters.