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Lucky Red Pocket Etiquette

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Lucky Red Pocket Etiquette

Post by louy » Wed, 28 Jan 2009 1:46 pm

Happy Chinese New Year every body !!

I have a question on the appropriate custom / behaviour expected at for Chinese New Year.

I came in this morning, first day back in the office and people started giving me cash in red pockets.

What am I suppose to do, shake their hand, bow, get down on my knees, make them tea, accept it with both hands ?? I really dunno.

My boss gave me a red pocket, and she got a red pocket from her boss. Am I suppose to give a red pocket to my direct reports also ?

There was also people expecting a couple of oranges from me !!

Are these common tradions in Singapore, or is my office just a mad house ?

Is it reasonable to just take the cash I have been given and go home laughing ?? However, I dont want my direct reports and people without oranges going home crying thinking I am an insensitive person.

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Post by smayrhofer » Wed, 28 Jan 2009 3:25 pm

I think it depends so some extent on your office. By us, bosses give red packets to all the subordinates in the office, regardless of race. My german and aussie bosses both gave red packets to everyone, including me (I'm german). Some of my employees brought oranges for the bosses, but not all.

They will all be understanding of the fact that you are new to the customs, so don't fret. Asking around a bit about the details will probably make it obvious that you are clueless but well-intentioned.

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Post by BodyBlitz » Wed, 28 Jan 2009 4:25 pm

Red packet is a sign of good luck and generosity given by married couples to singles/children.
What you do in return is to give oranges to give respect and to signify prosperity.

All you need to do is to humbly accept the red packet and thank them and wish them happy new year and if you wish add in Gong Xi Fa Cai - its the equivalent to merry christmas.

It is a tradition for all chinese in the world to give "Hong Bao" - red packet during chinese new year.

By all means take it and spend it, it is the way its meant to be. - A new era of fitness.

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Joined: Sat, 02 Aug 2008 5:29 pm

Post by louy » Wed, 28 Jan 2009 9:29 pm

If I had to buy oranges for my boss, I would ask her to sign off my expense claim for it


Anyone else pick up red pockets from work ?

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Post by textex » Wed, 28 Jan 2009 10:02 pm

Hi, as BB mentioned, it is an Asian cultural practice. One more note if you receive an Ang-Pow/Red Packet, take it with two hands and say thank-you. In the biz community, you need to only give Ang-Pows to staff if you are a senior manager or above, else just buy a box(es) of mandarin oranges or food - get your secretary to do this (not an insult) and pass to staff to share around the office. Not too worry, you have 15 days to do this as Chinese New Year runs for this length of time.


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