I've been busy the past few days so I missed writing one post. Unfortunately...
Chinese New Year in Singapore is a really happening time for singles. They get ang baos, or red packets, containing money. For those married, well... the married folks give them out to unmarried juniors and seniors regardless of marital status... I got married last year...
It was quite a novel experience to give out money to people for no apparent good reason. Total damage, about SGD1200. That's quite rough with nothing in return. One thing to note, I'm not particularly cheapo. I've been receiving these ang baos from senior family members for years, and now it's time to give back some. Ok it affects my savings for this month. It's one of those duties which need to be done. There are folks who bail out by going overseas during this period, which is fine. The thought did cross my mind. But I realised that the damage would be relatively the same anyway.
After more in-depth calculation, going overseas made no sense. Reason being, I could only avoid giving the insignificant family members. I won't even give much anyway. For the closer family members, the ang bao would still be given anyway and that's where the main damage lay.
Upon further breakdown, ang baos to close family members totalled SGD900 with the other members at SGD300.
The SGD900 included parents, grand parents, siblings, close uncles/aunts/cousins who grew up with us. These are ang baos which are in the need to give category. ie, even if I'm out of the country, when I return, I'll still have to give them.
The remaining SGD300 will be the give only if met category. So if I'm able to avoid them, then I won't need to give. Well, to book a flight to another country + hotel to escape SGD300 expense sounds really duhz...
The SGD1200 is a net loss. This means. I/We also receive ang baos from our parents, grand parents, siblings, close uncles/aunts/cousins, etc (I will refer to this group as "seniors" from here on as I'm tired of typing out the same group of people again.). After netting the difference between what we receive and give out, the SGD1200 is a net loss. Why the large net loss? Considering that we also receive from others?
Well, my mentality on this is that, the seniors have given me for 30 years. It is time to give them back with some gain/"profit" on their end. I have already gained/profited for 30 years as before I was married, I did not need to give them any ang baos. So my take on this is that I will let them have some gain on every exchange. So essentially, every exchange I gave with the seniors, my loss is about SGD50-100 per person. This totalled the SGD900.
The remaining SGD300... well these can't be helped as it's just the other kids, etc which I encounter during the period.
Do I feel particularly sad that I have to take this loss/damage during this period? Nope not really. Yes the money could probably be better saved. But this is how society works. You give and take. There's no running away and all that. That defeats the purpose of society and goodwill. Eventually, we all have to build our own stash of goodwill and trust and family bonds. It's not a given. There are aunts and uncles who are not in the close relatives category as they have not bothered to maintain a close relationship with the rest of the family. It's their choice. No issues on my side. But I think it is probably better to maintain a closer relationship with family members as these are really the things that matter in life. Else there's really no point in living if you're only living for yourself only. Someday, we might need help from each other and a closer relationship would help to aid each other in times of need.
You give what you get and if you're not willing to put effort and time in a relationship, it will eventually just crumble. This is pretty much the same with all relationships. So instead of moaning over the losses I made during this period, I think of all the goodwill gathered throughout the years. I think of the past years and the goodwill we have accumulated resulting in receiving bigger ang baos as close relatives when we were younger, and now as I am older, how we give more to the closer younger folks and the seniors as the amount given is a reflection of our level of relationship with them. By giving more, to me, it essentially "quantifies" how much more you value them over the other misc folks which you give.
Happy Lunar New Year to you all and wishing you and your family good health and prosperity in the year/years ahead.