The 'God of Prosperity' giving out ang pow to the public during Chinese New Year.
PETALING JAYA: The recent slew of price hikes have seen Malaysians tightening their belts and keeping an eye on their bank balances.
Some are even extending self-imposed austerity measures to celebrations like Chinese New Year, and cutting back on the red money-filled packets traditionally given to single people and children.
For retiree Toh Seng Keat, 65, the price hikes will mean less ang pow money for his seven grandchildren.
“My wife and I survive on my pension,” said the former civil servant.
“We usually give our grandchildren amounts ranging from RM38 to RM168 based on their age. But this year, we simply can’t afford it – all our grandchildren will get smaller amounts of maybe RM88 or less.”
Dave Low, 36, has no children but will be cutting back on the red envelopes given to extended family.
“Less ang pow for sure! Only giving them to nephews and nieces this year,” he said.
Newlyweds Chris and Lam Chan, both in their 30s, will be giving out ang pow for the first time this year.
“We were looking forward to giving ang pow to family members and the like. But it will be difficult with the rising cost of living,” said Chris.
“Thankfully, Chinese New Year is still about family and spending time. I don’t think many will mind as long as the reunion dinner is fun!”
However, marketing executive Eileen Yap, 31, said her family would not be cutting down on the money in red envelopes.
“We don’t have many visitors and our extended family is small, so the price hikes don’t affect us as much.”
Retired teacher Janet Koay, 59, reminds everyone that an ang pow is only a gesture.
“We will still give ang pow out to the children, nephews and nieces. This is not the first price hike in our lives and it will not stop the ang pow-giving culture. I think everyone should give what they can afford.
“More importantly, I hope the young ones don’t expect fat ang pow. Be happy with what the elders give because it is a form of blessing.”
Chew Jane Li, 20, indicated that she will not be disappointed if her takings are lower.
“We are not even supposed to receive ang pow. It will be a bonus if we get it; otherwise, I won’t dread it.”
Shantal Soh, 18, thinks that the ang pow-giving is a tradition worth adhering to.
“The key is to not overdo it. I’m fine with receiving less ang pow money.”