A. Good question. The quip goes that Chinese New Year red packet rates are pegged to Singapore’s inflation rate. Given that the country slipped into deflation in 2020 for the first time in a decade, does that mean budget cuts in the ang pow department in 2021?
By our own authority and meticulous calculations, and after deeply referencing the 10-year inflation rate and economic forecasts, we concluded that the ang pow rate for CNY 2021 is… huat-ever you feel comfortable with!
Red packets are traditionally given in the spirit of blessing the recipient, so it’s better to give happily than begrudgingly. You’ll likely end up giving out fewer ang pows in total since there’ll be fewer visitations allowed this CNY. (Sorry, all you red packet recipients!)
There aren’t exactly rules governing how much should go in a red packet, but there are a few customs. Even amounts are seen as auspicious, especially amounts ending in six or eight. Avoid amounts with four (e.g. $4 and $44 especially) as the number sounds similar to the Chinese word for death. Next, the amount you give should depending on where the recipient is in a hierarchy of blood relations (be filial and generous with your parents/in-laws), closeness, and how much you actually like the person ($2 suffices for your brother’s friend’s schoolmate’s bratty son).
Q. How do you address your relatives?
Of course, addressing your relatives in Chinese may not come easily to everyone, especially for jiak kantang “bananas”. Worry not, here’s a refresher on how to address family members.
Grandfather on your father’s side: 爷爷 yé yé
Grandmother on your father’s side: 奶奶 nǎi nǎi
Grandfather on your mother’s side: 外公 wài gōng
Grandmother on your father’s side: 外婆 wài pó
Aunts on your mother’s side: 阿姨 ā yí
Aunts on your father’s side: 姑姑 gū gū
Younger uncles on your father’s side: 叔叔 shū shū
Older uncles on your father’s side: 伯伯 bó bó
Uncles on your mother’s side: 舅舅 jìu jìu
Mother’s sister-in-law: 舅妈 jiù mā
Q. What Chinese New Year greetings should you use?