the fear of red

the colour of red is getting unwelcome. red invitation card, and hongpow. i was reading this article in the paper where the mother of 6 children mentioned that sometimes she felt unwelcome because of angpows. got to give to 6 children. and the wedding invitation card can be quite formidable as a demand for payment. it is not easy to invite your colleagues or friends to a wedding when the angpow is now $100 per head when held in a hotel. some even put in $200 per angpow. at the rate the angpow is inflating i think one day wedding at hotel will only be for the very rich. and one of these days the wedding couple may get into shock when no one turns up for the wedding, all because of the hefty angpow. why be compelled to attend a wedding and pay so much? then a $2 or $1.10 angpow is disappearing and people are loading them with red $10 notes, and some times more than a couple inside for the lunar new year. how far will this go before giving angpows becomes a frightening experience? should someone speak out and reverse this trend, when giving angpows is just a token for good luck and not pot luck. angpow should be reverted back to its former practice, as a goodwill gesture with a small token sum, maybe standardised at $2. the specially big angpows be reserved for children giving to their parents. preservation of a tradition and culture must not become so expensive and prohibitive that eventually it will kill it.


Speedwing said...

I can still remember the Chinese New Year festivity of long ago. Thing were different then. Angpow were symbolic of good wishes and good fortune. We had to give the angpows collected to our parents who would open them for us at the end of the day. Now, things have changed. The first thing a child does on receiving an angpow is to open it in front of the giver to count the money inside. It can be quite embarrasing, especially when there are other adults around. I guess things are not what they were when I was young.

In one of my previous postings, I said I regret to see the change in some of our traditions and culture.
Here is a good example.

redbean said...

well speed,

call it the commercialisation of angpow tradition. i still remember the time when my cantonese friends said their tradition was to pack only $1.10. maybe this too has changed.

is it the devaluation of money or the devaluation of a tradition?

Speedwing said...

I think it is the devaluation of traditions. Very sad to say, but like they say, all good things must come to an end. very soon, we will have kimpow,nobody will go home to see parents. All will go on holidays. It will be like any other public holidays.

redbean said...

hahaha, kimpow.

how about burning kim cua?

i think the lunar new year will have greater significance for malaysians as many of them actually work away from home. and lunar new year is a time to return home. it gives a very special meaning to them.

even then, when the old trees are fallen, everyone will stay in their own nest.

Speedwing said...

Very true, when the old parents are gone, there will be no more the ancestral home to return to. Siblings will have their own family and the unity of the clan will disintegrate. Shame !!

You are right, Malaysians are more clanny. Singaporeans are less so. I know of siblings in Singapore who have not met each others for years, not because there are friction, but more because they cannot be bothered to make time for it. Someone recently told me that he has a first cousin living here in Singapore, but have not met him for many years and did not know where the cousin live.

Isn't that sad???? I am a Malaysian and I think in this sense we are better than the Singaporeans.

redbean said...

in a way, living too close makes one too familiar. and all sharing the same experience. nothing new.

for malaysian, the root of growing up in one place and a place called home makes more meaning. singaporeans have been moving houses too frequently and a home or a familiar childhood playground is none existence. a few years here and a few years there.

CM Lee said...

I was searching for a reason why an angpow used to be $1.10 that I come over this blog.
Wander whether this blog is still active.
Anyway,what I read hear is very true.
And I think everybody misunderstood the meaning of angpow.
Be it wedding angpow or "white gold",
it's the tradition of chinese community to help each other in time of need.
In older days, our ancestor live in the villages and mostly are farmers.So when somebody in the community gets married, everybody chips in for the celebrations.It is likewise when somebody pass away.
And nowadays living standard goes up and everything is expensive.
Some people status also goes up and they want face.So ends up restaurants are making good profits.They don't know the reason why the guests needs to give angpow.This makes everybody "the fear of red" packet.
In time, well wisher will become less and less.
Well,that's what I learn for my grandfather about the angpow.

I'm still looking for the reason behind why the CNY angpow started with $1.10
There must be a meaning behind it.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi CM Lee, welcome to the blog.

There are many wrong reasons for the angpow to be so expensive. $1.10 maybe way out now because of inflation. But it shouldn't be $50 or $100 for friends children during CNY either.

A reasonable token sum should be more meaningful and all happily giving within their means.