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How Much Ang Pow Money Should You Give This Chinese New Year?

$4, $8 or $88? Are you giving the right amount?

While there is a consensus on what to do and not to do when it comes to slipping moolah into those red packets — ie. don’t give odd numbers like $5 or $7, and if you’re super pantang, don’t give amounts with the number 4 in them, like $4 or $14, and don’t use grotty old notes — the actual amount given can vary wildly. We checked in with three individuals — let’s just call them Person X, Y and Z — to see how much they would give to their parents, kids, siblings, friend’s kids, security guards and domestic helpers.

PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS AND IN-LAWS

Person X (The voice of moderation, reason and doing the ‘right’ thing): “$200. It’s the least I can do to for the people who gave me so much. I can never repay them.”
Person Y (The generous one who loves ‘face’): “$500. I can afford it what. Make my ma and pa happy that their offspring is so filial and make so much money. Also make sure they know I’m the one who gave so much.”
Person Z (The kiam kana, aka miserly, one who believes that giving an ang pow is “very good already”): “$50. They don’t need my money. I save it for my kids lah. Yi shi (token sum) can already.”

YOUR KIDS/GRANDKIDS WHO ARE STILL IN SCHOOL

Person X:
“$50. It’s a blessing for my children.”
Person Y: “$100. Next time they will also give me a lot of money.”
Person Z: “$18. Yi shi can already. Children no need so much money.”

YOUR KIDS/GRANDKIDS WHO ARE WORKING BUT STILL UNMARRIED

Person X:
“$100. It’s a blessing for my children.”
Person Y: “$200. They better get married soon and start giving me grandkids/great-grandkids.”
Person Z: $50. They better get married soon and start giving me more money.”

SIBLINGS

Person X:
“$50. Whether they are married or not.”
Person Y: “$100 if not married. Otherwise $50.”
Person Z: “$38 if not married. If married already, no need lah!”

COUSINS

Person X:
“$12 if unmarried. If married already no need.”
Person Y: “$20 if unmarried. If married already no need.”
Person Z: “$10 if younger and unmarried. If older than me or married already, no need lah!”

NEPHEWS AND NIECES

Person X:
“$38 to $50 for the kids of my siblings. $6 to $8 if the family is huge and there are dozens of nephews and nieces who are the kids of my cousins.”
Person Y: “$50 for kids of my sibs. $12 for other nephews and nieces.”
Person Z: “$18 for kids of my sibs. $6 for other nephews and nieces.”

KIDS OF MY GOOD FRIENDS

Person X:
“$12. If they only have one kid and I have two, double the amount so as to even things out.”
Person Y: “$20.”
Person Z: “$6. Yi shi can already.”

KID’S CLASSMATES/NEIGHBOUR’S KIDS/COLLEAGUE’S KIDS

Person X:
“$8. Just a blessing.”
Person Y: “$12. Just a blessing.”
Person Z: “$6. Just a blessing.”

RANDOM KIDS WHO JUST HAPPEN TO BE AT THE HOUSE YOU’RE VISITING

Person X:
“$6. Just a token sum.”
Person Y: “$10. Just a token sum.”
Person Z: “$4. Just a token sum.”

YOUR DOMESTIC HELPER

Person X:
“$38 to $50. Consider it a small bonus for helping our family.”
Person Y: “$80. Even the maid needs to huat so my family will also huat.”
Person Z: “$8. I already pay her every month what.”

SECURITY GUARDS, CLEANERS, GARBAGE DISPOSAL PERSONNEL

Person X:
“$10. Just a blessing.”
Person Y: “$18. Just a blessing.”
Person Z: “$6. Just a blessing.”

OTHER DOMESTIC HELPERS WHO HAPPEN TO BE AROUND

Person X:
“$6. Just a token sum.”
Person Y: “$8. Just a token sum.”
Person Z: “$4. Just a token sum.”

Photo: Celine Tan 


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