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1/15/2006

red packet or gold paper

i read that gold packet is getting popular and is preferred more than the traditional red packet for the lunar new year. one of the reasons may be novelty, to be different. and gold seems a more expensive item to hold. and gold prices is surging again. why not give gold packet instead of red packet? this reminds me of the attempt to have tiger dance instead of lion dance in malaysia a few years back. in their craze for something different, to be different, to be creative i supposed, people will try out new ideas. but trying out new things must be a result of improving something and not going backwards. the idea of fuzzy logic is good for those who build it from a base of logic. otherwise fuzzy logic is nonsense. all the man in the street has fuzzy logic as their thinking and thoughts are unstructured and totally fuzzy, with no logic. what has this got to do with changing angpow to kim cua(gold paper) or next time geen cua(silver paper)? a lion dance is built on the fabled and mystical lion which is an auspicious animal. the tiger in the chinese tradition is a vicious animal and anything but auspicious. during chinese new year there will be lion dances to ward away bad luck and welcome good fortune. tiger is most inappropriate for such purposes. the red packet, the colour of red during the lunar new year is also for a specific purpose. to ward off bad luck and the mystical beast or nian. red is everywhere, in clothing, pasted on the side of doors, in food presentation, and of course red packet for good luck and protection. red is more than a colour of choice but with traditional significance. what's wrong with kim cua? nothing wrong unless the mind wanders a little to include geen cua. kim cua is used in prayers to the deities and geen cua for the dead. sometimes kim cua is also burnt for the dead. how does it sound giving kim cua on chinese new year? last year when we gave kim cua or gold packets, we did received some not very favourable comments. some people may be offended by it on such an auspicious day when saying the right thing, right words and right sound mean so much. it will be disastrous if someone utters the word kim cua instead of kimpow. the latter is so unfamiliar while kim cua is a common usage and may be splurted out. happy chinese new year!

4 comments:

Speedwing said...

Good morning Redbean,

I too have read in the papers that gold packets are the in thing this year. I guess people just want a change and gold being a valuable commodity seem appropriate. However, changes for the sake of change is not always good. Changes for improvement is better. However, as in most cases, with all Singaporeans, as long as it signifies wealth and money, it must be good. I agree with you that red is more appropriate and traditional but gold is more in tune with the way of life in Singapore. Looking around us, it is very sad to see that some of our most cherished Chinese traditions are dying natural deaths. I for one regrets that many young Singaporean Chinese do not even speak a single dialect. I predict that in 50 years from now we will be hard put to find any Singaporean Chinese who can speak dialects. Do you think that is a good thing Redbean?

redbean said...

i still prefer to preserve the meaning of red. for it has a meaning. going for gold is the style of the unashamingly craze of materialism.

losing dialect can be good as well as bad. putting aside sentiments, it is better to simplify the language and just have one. too much effort to preserve something emotional can be very costly. malaysia is paying a price for it. so is india.

i think the world will gravitate and eventually there will be fewer languages and lesser distinction on race. let those who can afford to retain and enjoy dialect to preserve them. it is not a luxury that for everyone. dialect would eventually become some kind of exotic art to be preserved and seen only in theatres.

Speedwing said...

I am glad I am living in this era when I still have a sense of belonging to my teochew heritage. I cannot imagine a situation when all Chinese here will not know their own particular heritage or origin. You are saying that in a hundred years from now, all Chinese will probably be speaking English or Mandarin or both. There will be no distinction such as teochew, hokkien, cantonese etc. I would not like that at all, but you may be right, it could turn out that way, sad to say.

redbean said...

hi speed,

just look at singapore and how it is developing now is like looking at the future happening in a small experimental house.

many of the new generations are not only dialect blind, they are also racially blind. the amount of dialects they knew is too little to pass on. and many don't even know dialects at all. perhaps able to understand. but not to articulate or use it as a means of communication.

it has its good and bad points. not the problem of our generation really. they would probably have special courses in the universities to learn about dialects as a forgotten ancient language.

humans probably starts with a handful of languages, splitted into many, back to a handful.

don't be sad.