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The Really 'Kang Kor' Ang Pao Situations That You Are Too Paiseh To Talk About

Enough of all that talk about what the market rate is these days – as if you didn’t already know that it’s very chao kuan to give anyone just $2 (“$2 can buy what, not even a plate of chicken rice… may as well not give right?”) in 2023.

What you have been really wanting to talk about instead? These real life ang pao faux pas or awkward situations that happen to the best of us.

When you accidentally whip out a bigger $48 ang pao for someone whom you were planning to give $8

Blame it on a too-tiny purse cluttered with too many red packets that start to look alike – well, they are all red, aren’t they – after your third house visit. The trick? Use a secret coding system that only you will know (and so will anyone else who reads this now). Use ang paos from different brands or stores since they give these out with purchases during the CNY season. Then put in the denomination that is most closely aligned with that brand or store’s DNA. For instance, $8 in a NTUC one and $48 in a Cartier one.

When you can’t recall who gave you which ang pao so you can’t return the goodwill with a similar “denomination”

Always have a pen in your bag or pocket so you can scribble the giver’s name in font size 2 on the red packet.

When you visit a friend’s home and, whoa, there are 388 young children waiting to wish you Gong Xi Fa Cai

But you only have five red packets in your bag. Does it mean you have to give an ang pao to each and every one of them even if you have never seen them before and will probably never see them ever again? If you feel generous, you may want to prep smaller denominations, say $4 or $6, in advance before such house visits for “emergencies”. And make sure you slot these smaller notes in the NTUC red packets (see point above). If you feel giam siap, just return the greeting, grin and find something to munch on.

When you are the boss and, whoa, there are 388 subordinates waiting to wish you Gong Xi Fa Cai

Well, since you are the boss and you probably earn in one month what the rest of us earn in one year, be generous about it and prepare 388 red packets on the first day of work.

When you didn’t bring along enough ang paos (or worse, money)

This is when you learn the true value of recycling. Or upcycling. Quickly make an excuse to visit the loo where you can open a red packet that someone else has given you just a minute ago, check the amount in it and then reseal it for use again.


When you give a red packet to a much older, single friend

But he declines it and looks insulted. Tell him that you aren’t making fun of his age or marital status but are simply giving him good luck money for his career or for the next Toto snowball draw.

When relatives give you ang paos only to have a chance to mock your singlehood

Tell them that unfortunately, the red packets that they have been giving you all these years have been too meagre to contribute to your Bali beach wedding fund.

When you have one kid but meet a friend with five

This is one of those “sure lose money” cases because even if your friend gives your child $18, your $8 red packet for each of hers will add up to $40. That’s a $22 loss on your investment. There’s no way out of this, of course, unless you find out in advance if The Friend With Five Kids is showing up at the homes that you are visiting too.

When someone told you he sent you an e-ang pao but you never received it

Ah, the perils of a cashless society. If you die die want your money, be very thick-skinned and send the giver a seemingly innocuous message about how your phone has been acting weird lately – blame it on your telco, your WiFi or the latest system update – so you just want to make sure that he transferred the money to the right number.

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