Saturday, 28 January 2012

Ang Pow: Does the amount matter?

Ang Pows (red packets) are a must to every Chinese during Chinese New Year, weddings, birthdays and many other occasions. The origin of it is unclear but in Malaysia and Singapore, the tradition of giving red packets were also practiced by other race albeit a bit different like green packets instead of red for Malays.  
During Chinese New Year, red packets are usually given by those who are already married to parents, siblings who are not married, nieces and nephews, children of friends or someone younger than you. These days, they were also given to your favourite waitress at the restaurant, the policemen who drop by your house when you light firecrackers or the security guard at your housing estate.
The amount is just a significant of your sincerity but of course you don’t put amount associated with four or seven as they are considered unlucky. However, these days, I notice people care more about the amount in the red packet rather than receiving one.
Uncles and aunties who give one with big amount are good ones who those who give less are said to be stingy or not good. There are also parents who judge which children are better by the amount of money in the red packets they received.
Just recently, I heard a complaint from a staff at a restaurant saying that customer A only give us 10 bucks while customer B gave 50 bucks so next time we will reserve a seat for him even when the restaurant is full. What the heck is this? The society seems to have gone very materialistic and money minded in the wrong way.
Another thing I disapprove of very much is when you attend a wedding dinner, the amount in your red packet is being recorded or the red packet that you gave is written by the receiver that it comes from who so that they can know who gave how much. What is the point? Can you ask for more if you know if say, someone only gave 20 bucks to attend your wedding dinner? People will usually give according to their wish and their ability and we should respect that.
So, is amount really that matters? I would like to hear your view.

1 comment:

  1. The basics of the Red Envelope is always there and it is always people that practice it who interpret it differently or wish to to something different. I'm sure there are practices that are obviously wrong but recording down the value of the money given on a wedding dinner has been around for a long time. I guess you only seen the dark side of it. :) Look on the bright side :P