It’s a topic of deep interest every year — how much should we pack in the ang baos we give during Chinese New Year? We ask some local celebrities how much they spend on red packets during the festive season, and what they think of the practice.
Andie Chen | Source: Instagram
“I give double-digit ang baos to friends and three-digits to family. In all, I probably spend four digits on red packets. I think the married rule is quite silly – that married people have to give ang baos to single people. It’s time for a rule update. It’s weird when your 40-year-old friend is receiving an ang bao from a 20-plus-year-old friend. In Taiwan, red packets are given only from working children to their parents and to kids below 16. I actually prefer that.”
Romeo Tan | Source: Instagram
“I give my parents ang baos with $500 to $800 inside. I also give my niece and nephew red packets as blessings, with around $100 to $150. But instead of giving it to them directly, I pass the ang baos to my brother instead. I still accept red packets from my cousins, those who are closer to me in age, this, I’m not paiseh. But I won’t take any from my Ah Ma and elderly relatives, and I’ll give my Ah Ma a red packet, too.”
Pan Ling Ling | Source: Instagram
“We hand out a lot of red packets, around a few thousand dollars each year, because we have a lot of relatives and friends. In fact, my favourite Chinese New Year tradition is giving ang baos. Every year, I feel so happy putting the notes inside the red packets, I love it. My husband (former actor Huang Shinan) is the ‘banker’ as he will change the new notes for me.”
Xiang Yun | Source: Instagram
“I don’t give a lot, around $5 or $10 in each ang bao. The purpose of giving red packets is different now. It’s meant to be a blessing to the recipient, to wish them good luck. Of course, you don’t give an empty red packet, that would be too much. When I was a child, I received 20 cents ang bao, and after that, I gave the money to my mother for her to pack into ang baos for other people. Our family were poor and there were a lot of children among our relatives. There was joy in receiving and opening the ang baos.
“Kids these days have a lot of money, so how much ang bao money is enough? I think what’s important is that they receive blessings from family and friends. I think we should inculcate the notion of wishing each other well during Chinese New Year.”
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