Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chinese New Year Ang Pows

Don't you like the sound of that word? ANG POW! It reminds me of KAPOW! from the Batman comics. It also feels a little like that some times. KAPOW! Several Hundred Ringgits knocked out of my pockets in one day.

Ang Pows are the red packets of money that married Chinese traditionally distribute during Chinese New Year. All children are guaranteed of a huge stack of red packets during this season. Grandparents and parents (of working children) will also benefit from this tradition. Newly married couples are the big losers of the season because they don't have any children to receive Ang Pows. At least I've had Aaron these past two years to recuperate the losses.

I've got all my new notes changed but will probably procrastinate filling the red packets until the night before Chinese New Year. Then there will be the usual shuffling of notes from packet to packet. Certain packets will contain larger amounts for closer family members. Other packets are 'lighter' and will be for general children that I meet. The trick is to remember which packets contain what without marking the packets themselves.

Another headache when planning how much to give is deciding how much to give each person. Ideally, everybody can have a 'big' packet but that would mean that Aaron would have to go hungry and naked! But, who am I to judge which family's children are more in need of cash? And, should I be fair and give all my grandparents the same amount or give more to the ones who actually need more cash? And also, should the amounts increase from year to year to take into account inflation? Or the fact that we earn more money now than when we were newlyweds?

I need to get back to my calculator....

p/s In case you're wondering, if you're not a grandparent/parent, you can only collect Ang Pows from people older than you. So, Evil Lyn....don't try ;)

6 comments:

Bilbo said...

That's an interesting tradition - perhaps I should have been born Chinese rather than Hungarian/German/Scots/Irish/etc. I'm reminded of the time I was best man at the wedding of an Italian girl I knew in college. At the reception, I stood beside the dance floor next to the maid of honor...she wore a large, full apron over her dress and I carried a tray filled with shot glasses of whiskey. The bride took to the dance floor and the men all lined up, dropped cash or sealed envelopes into the apron, took a shot of whiskey, then danced with the bride. I was astounded at how much money ended up in that apron. All my friends are poor - if I'd done that at my wedding, everyone would have dropped IOUs into the apron.

Kellan said...

I love hearing about these great traditions - this is very cool, this one. Sounds a little overwhelming to keep up with, but such a great way to take care of the family!! Good luck figuring yours out. See you soon Amanda - Kellan

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I was unaware of these. Thanks for educating me!

Nap Warden said...

Never heard of this...Thanks for the education!

MamaGeek said...

I have a friend who actually told me about this very thing. I love it! Those traditions are so interesting to me.

NomadicExpat said...

Awwww.... I thought I'd be able to get some off you and richard this year. Darn. Ok, will exchange ang pows for hugs instead. From Aaron, of course, not you/Richard! :-P Haha.