Monday, January 31, 2005

CNY Ang Pow

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and like the previous 2 years, we have to make sure all the angpows are ready. If you don't know what an Ang Pow is, it's those red packets containing some money that parents give to children, and to "unsold sugar cane".

Since we are no longer singles, we are no longer eligible for ang pows, except maybe from our parents. But for the first year of marriage and CNY, the couples do get ang pows.

Every year, we faced the same problems. Deciding how much to give and to whom, and at the same time, we need to make sure it's fair to others. Apart from this, we need to arrange the angpows properly. A different design for different monetary value. And then where you put the angpows is also important.

Front left shirt pocket - RM 10 angpows (Angpow packet from Magnum 4D).
Front left pants pocket - RM5 angpows (Angpow packet from Giant).
Front right pants pocket - RM 4 angpows (Angpow packet from Genting).
Back left pants pocket - RM100 angpows (Angpow packet from Maybank).
Front Pouch - Yiyi's angpows!

I really suck at this, because I'll get confused and mixed up the angpows. So I normally memorised the locations before an angpow giving occasion.

Door Bell: Ding Dong!

Papi : *whisper to self* OK, front left RM10, front left pants RM5, front right RM4....*repeat repeat*

Visitor : Hello Papi, Happy New Year!

Papi : Hi! Happy New Year, come in, come in.... *whisper whisper* front left...RM10, front right RM4...

Visitor : I beg your pardon?..

Papi : Oh...nothing nothing...have a seat...have some keropok.

Visitor's kid : Uncle, Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

Papi : hey, Gong Xi! Gong Xi! *whisper* RM4...front left pants....nah!

Visitor's kid : Thank you, Uncle!

And Mami's not much help either..

Mami : Eh Papi...the RM100 angpows still with you ah...

Papi : *Check check back pocket* Yes, yes, still here...

Mami : You sure ah? How many you have there?

Papi : Aiya, sure lar, don't worry.

Mami : You sure or not, don't give to other people you know.

Papi : Yalar...*whisper to remind self* front left...RM10, front right RM4......

Among the parents, basically it's common sense and understanding that help you decides how much you should give. So let say a relative has 2 kids and they gave Yiyi a RM10 angpow. So, we will be 'returning' with a RM5 angpows for two of their kids. Thus it balance out, no one lose or gain. But some how, some parents are treating this like business, to make money! Some will even peak into their kids angpows to find out how much they received and then purposely gave out lower so that they gain!

The money in the angpows has to be new and crisp! So normally, a couple of weeks before CNY, you will see Aunties (and Uncles too) bringing envelopes in and out of banks, to change for new notes. Normally RM1, RM 5, and RM 10 denomination is very common. RM50 and RM100? You want to give me?? he he he.. The value is also important. RM 8, RM 3, RM10, RM5 are common. RM4, RM14 is a no-no.

The angpow packets have also been commercialised over the years. Nowadays we get all kind of design and patterns of angpow packets with company logos. Some with beautiful drawings, others with meaningful caligraphy, some even with 4D numbers on it. So you can use your angpow money to buy more 4D!

This year, there are a few adidtion to Mami's side family as well as Papi's side. So looks like we will be giving out more angpows *sigh*. But then, it's all part of the rich Chinese tradition. And it's fun to look at the kids and their face when they got their angpows. Like Mami said "One year one time mah!"

Unsold Sugar Cane: A Cantonese saying (probably originated from Hong Kong) refering to those singles of late age.