#Chinesepeopleproblems: Why You Wish You Weren’t Giving Out Ang Pows This CNY

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Many Malaysians have resorted to tightening their purse-strings and are reworking their budgets in anticipation of the price increments that will come with the looming Goods and Services Tax (GST).

But try as you may, there is just no escaping certain expenditures such as bills, taxes and “ang pows” (if you’re married).

Ang pow giving is customary to Chinese culture and is usually given out by married couples to single folks, especially to children during Chinese New Year (CNY).

These shiny red packets supposedly symbolises good luck and wards off evil spirits, though they do not always herald good news for your wallet. Here are some reasons why giving out ang pows in the Year of the Goat may make you go baaaaa.

1. You have no budget


More is always merrier when it comes to celebrations and festivities…unless you have to give out ang pows this year.

Consider this: the current “market rate” for ang pows range from RM10 to RM30 for your friends and relatives (and their children), and between RM50 and RM100 for your own spawn. And let’s not forget your parents and in-laws, who are expecting between RM188 and RM388, and RM88 and RM188 respectively.

Given these rates, one would have to fork out at least a few hundred or even thousands of Ringgit just to fulfil their ang pow giving obligations.

You could be getting a new iPhone 6 with the same amount of money you’ll be giving away, but at least you gain points for filial piety.

2. You could “lose face”


Your hair isn’t the only thing you shouldn’t trim during Chinese New Year. While Malaysians are reportedly cutting down on spending this year, many are unlikely to do the same with their ang pow budget.

This is because ang pows are often seen as a reflection of one’s wealth and symbol status (whether you like it or not), and trimming the contents of their ang pow could cause the giver to “lose face” among their relatives and friends.

Also be warned that downsizing your ang pow budget could mean anything from earning a reputation as a cheapskate to getting an abundance of dirty looks at your next family gathering.

3. You could be splashed with paint


We kid you not. A motorcycle repair shop was reportedly debauched with paint by two young men after its owner refused to give them any ang pows.

The duo had reportedly brought mandarin oranges and paid the owner a visit at his premise earlier in hopes of getting some ang pow money.

The solution to this is simple – you can either hide under your bed or (like my editor, Iris), opt for a vacation overseas. Or you could relent to such audacious demands and pray you’ll be blessed by the God of Fortune.

4. There is no ROI


Ang pow giving is an act that never gives back. Unless you have children, who at least stand to gain some leverage on your CNY expenses.

Don’t just stop there. You can help your child grow their ang pow money by allocating a portion of it in fixed deposit. Think of it as a long-term investment for their future. The highest FD rate currently offered in the market is 4.18%.

While there are no real monetary rewards for the ang pow giver, perhaps the biggest return of investment (ROI) that married folks can derive from this festive occasion is family bonding and togetherness (which is priceless!).

It is true and rather unfortunate that many of us tend to let societal pressures dictate how much we should be giving away in our red packets. We don’t always have to give in, but if you’re keen to avoid becoming that cheapskate auntie that people secretly talk about (hello, Iris!), check out iMoney’s ultimate guide to ang pow giving.

Here’s wishing everyone a happy Year of the Goat!

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