How much should one give in a Wedding Hong Bao?

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 2:23 pm

I ended up with three toasters!
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Wind In My Hair » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 2:41 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I ended up with three toasters!
Wouldn't you'd rather have three angpows? :wink: Cash is just more pragmatic. Saves time and hassle for the giver too. Not necessarily money-minded, just lazy!

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 2:52 pm

That was the problem. Half of the guest were Singaporeans, half were westerners. None were from my side. So we ended up with half & half. It's one of the few times the local definition of pragmatic makes absolutely good sense. I think there is still an unopened bottle of Vodka in the cupboard from the wedding! :o
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by JR8 » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 5:52 pm

When I was researching wedding venues in SG I was scanning through the forums of a wedding magazine (SG Bride or some such (I know, pretty macho stuff :wink: )) and this question of ang-pows came up over and over again. It slowly dawned on me, as I read on, that guests are expected to adjust their gift according to the venue. Or put it another way, the gift should approximately equal the cost of you being there. I was pretty stunned (and then amused) by this. I recall one poster in the run-up to her wedding at the Raffles mentioning that her fiance was almost dying of a nervous breakdown, at them not turning a profit on their Big Day :???:

p.s. I agree that cash is practical, but it should be noted that physical gifts in western weddings are usually bought off a list (so you don't end up with 3 toasters a la SMS :) ), and a part of the thinking is they are items that you will use and enjoy for years to come, while remembering those who gave them to you.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 6:01 pm

That's what happens when you "assume" everybody will follow custom. That's why we didn't have a "list" as in a western wedding.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by the lynx » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 6:12 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:That's what happens when you "assume" everybody will follow custom. That's why we didn't have a "list" as in a western wedding.
A list would still probably help. Imagine receiving something you don't really want/need and you can't bear to give it away/sell because of the sentimental value it has from your friend (the giver) on your wedding day :-p

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Post by Wind In My Hair » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 6:19 pm

JR8 wrote:p.s. I agree that cash is practical, but it should be noted that physical gifts in western weddings are usually bought off a list (so you don't end up with 3 toasters a la SMS :) ), and a part of the thinking is they are items that you will use and enjoy for years to come, while remembering those who gave them to you.
Some uppity westernised types here use the wedding gift list, too. In principle it's not that much different from an angpow though, especially when the item (including brand and model) is chosen by the couple and the guests simply make payment online to the department store / wedding planner. It's still "giving" money, just that in the gift case you know where the money goes.

Think of it this way - most couples here would put "wedding dinner at 5-star hotel" as a gift item on the list, and the cost of that is so high that it takes many many guests sharing the cost to cross the item off the list. Same difference.

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Post by JR8 » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 6:38 pm

the lynx wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:That's what happens when you "assume" everybody will follow custom. That's why we didn't have a "list" as in a western wedding.
A list would still probably help. Imagine receiving something you don't really want/need and you can't bear to give it away/sell because of the sentimental value it has from your friend (the giver) on your wedding day :-p
In a western wedding yes, but SMS is saying he had an eastern style one, and assumed people would follow local protocol (ang-pows).

p.s. Maybe this is why he is so good at toasting spam! :wink:

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 8:09 pm

:devil:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by JR8 » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 8:42 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
JR8 wrote:p.s. I agree that cash is practical, but it should be noted that physical gifts in western weddings are usually bought off a list (so you don't end up with 3 toasters a la SMS :) ), and a part of the thinking is they are items that you will use and enjoy for years to come, while remembering those who gave them to you.
Some uppity westernised types [JR8 bolding] here use the wedding gift list, too. In principle it's not that much different from an angpow though, especially when the item (including brand and model) is chosen by the couple and the guests simply make payment online to the department store / wedding planner. It's still "giving" money, just that in the gift case you know where the money goes.

Think of it this way - most couples here would put "wedding dinner at 5-star hotel" as a gift item on the list, and the cost of that is so high that it takes many many guests sharing the cost to cross the item off the list. Same difference.
Blimey, for the number of gents that feel a need to rush in to your defence you're not exactly backwards in coming fowards with your gloves up are you WIMH :wink:

My parents over the years have taken an item out of a cupboard, or polished it, or what ever (china, glass, silver, antiques), and even 50 years on reminisced in passing 'This is what Aunt Nina gave us for our wedding', or similar. That is the nuance that you seemed to have missed in my earlier post, the gift is personalised and the giver remembered. You don't get that with a packet of $ bills that rebate for a dinner.

Furthermore, in 'western culture', the wedding celebration is a gift that you give to your guests, to witness and celebrate your contract of marriage. The idea that you'd invite people to your wedding and expect them to pay for it is gobsmacking from western eyes.

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Post by x9200 » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 9:38 pm

JR8 wrote:The idea that you'd invite people to your wedding and expect them to pay for it is gobsmacking from western eyes.
Yes, no doubts but only if I think of the Western wedding. Is it only me that have such perception? Chinese wedding is so different, so the Malay and Indian.
The money thing - gifts to remember are typically given by the family and the closest friends - they know what to buy, but in majority of the weddings also some more remote friends and family members are invited - lets be honest, they care less about the things to make you remember :)

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Post by Wind In My Hair » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 9:47 pm

JR8 wrote:
Wind In My Hair wrote:Some uppity westernised types [JR8 bolding] here
Blimey, for the number of gents that feel a need to rush in to your defence you're not exactly backwards in coming fowards with your gloves up are you WIMH :wink:
Blimey right back at you, JR8. You conveniently left out a key word in the phrase: "some uppity westernised types here" which refers to my compatriots here born and bred in the Chinese / Singaporean culture here who at some point in their adult lives decide that they are too classy for their roots and mimic western practices. If you've ever felt it strange or annoying that some Singaporeans miraculously develop a British accent after a holiday in England, you'll know what I mean.

Ironically this is one of the few times I, and not you, are criticising locals and instead of gleefully agreeing with me, you decide I'm combating you. Now who's the one easily offended? ;)
JR8 wrote:My parents over the years have taken an item out of a cupboard, or polished it, or what ever (china, glass, silver, antiques), and even 50 years on reminisced in passing 'This is what Aunt Nina gave us for our wedding', or similar. That is the nuance that you seemed to have missed in my earlier post, the gift is personalised and the giver remembered. You don't get that with a packet of $ bills that rebate for a dinner.
Ture, and I think this is really sweet and meaningful. For my last birthday I asked my mum not to buy me anything but give me one of her old rings or necklaces as a keepsake. She did, but gave an angpow on top of that anyway! Old habits die hard.
JR8 wrote:Furthermore, in 'western culture', the wedding celebration is a gift that you give to your guests, to witness and celebrate your contract of marriage. The idea that you'd invite people to your wedding and expect them to pay for it is gobsmacking from western eyes.

Well, many things done in 'western culture' is gobsmacking from eastern eyes too. That's the challenge and beauty of living in a global village - we move around, get culture shock, adapt and accept, and everyone lives happily ever after...

I'm not sure if you can understand this, but for many couples the wedding dinner is not a gift but an obligation, done not for themselves but for the parents and relatives. Ask any young couple about to get married - they will likely tell you that if they could have it their way they would have a simple ceremony overseas on a romantic beach, but they have to have the grandiose logistically-nightmarish money-sucking 5-star dinner to please their parents.

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Post by JR8 » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 9:48 pm

x9200 wrote:
JR8 wrote:The idea that you'd invite people to your wedding and expect them to pay for it is gobsmacking from western eyes.
Yes, no doubts but only if I think of the Western wedding. Is it only me that have such perception? Chinese wedding is so different, so the Malay and Indian.
The money thing - gifts to remember are typically given by the family and the closest friends - they know what to buy, but in majority of the weddings also some more remote friends and family members are invited - lets be honest, they care less about the things to make you remember :)
It is true, in SG they seem to invite just about anyone, you know the 'bosses aunties neighbours friend', who they've never met.

Don't quite get that. Does the size of wedding itself bring kudos, even if you don't know many or most people there?

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Post by Wind In My Hair » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 9:50 pm

x9200 wrote:
JR8 wrote:The idea that you'd invite people to your wedding and expect them to pay for it is gobsmacking from western eyes.
Yes, no doubts but only if I think of the Western wedding. Is it only me that have such perception? Chinese wedding is so different, so the Malay and Indian.
The money thing - gifts to remember are typically given by the family and the closest friends - they know what to buy, but in majority of the weddings also some more remote friends and family members are invited - lets be honest, they care less about the things to make you remember :)
A man who understands :kiss:

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Post by JR8 » Tue, 14 Dec 2010 10:15 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
JR8 wrote:
Wind In My Hair wrote:Some uppity westernised types [JR8 bolding] here
Blimey, for the number of gents that feel a need to rush in to your defence you're not exactly backwards in coming fowards with your gloves up are you WIMH :wink:
1Blimey right back at you, JR8. You conveniently left out a key word in the phrase: "some uppity westernised types here" which refers to my compatriots here born and bred in the Chinese / Singaporean culture here who at some point in their adult lives decide that they are too classy for their roots and mimic western practices. If you've ever felt it strange or annoying that some Singaporeans miraculously develop a British accent after a holiday in England, you'll know what I mean.

2 Ironically this is one of the few times I, and not you, are criticising locals and instead of gleefully agreeing with me, you decide I'm combating you. Now who's the one easily offended? ;)
JR8 wrote:My parents over the years have taken an item out of a cupboard, or polished it, or what ever (china, glass, silver, antiques), and even 50 years on reminisced in passing 'This is what Aunt Nina gave us for our wedding', or similar. That is the nuance that you seemed to have missed in my earlier post, the gift is personalised and the giver remembered. You don't get that with a packet of $ bills that rebate for a dinner.
3 Ture, and I think this is really sweet and meaningful. For my last birthday I asked my mum not to buy me anything but give me one of her old rings or necklaces as a keepsake. She did, but gave an angpow on top of that anyway! Old habits die hard.
JR8 wrote:Furthermore, in 'western culture', the wedding celebration is a gift that you give to your guests, to witness and celebrate your contract of marriage. The idea that you'd invite people to your wedding and expect them to pay for it is gobsmacking from western eyes.

4 Well, many things done in 'western culture' is gobsmacking from eastern eyes too. That's the challenge and beauty of living in a global village - we move around, get culture shock, adapt and accept, and everyone lives happily ever after...

5 I'm not sure if you can understand this, but for many couples the wedding dinner is not a gift but an obligation, done not for themselves but for the parents and relatives. Ask any young couple about to get married - they will likely tell you that if they could have it their way they would have a simple ceremony overseas on a romantic beach, but they have to have the grandiose logistically-nightmarish money-sucking 5-star dinner to please their parents.
1) It wasn't 'convenient'. I just thought you were making sweeping racist statements about westerners that's all :D . And we wouldn't want that would we? :D Can't say I have noticed the 'been on holiday to UK/US now speak like a native' thing. But that said what I have noticed is how my nieces in law (aged from say 3-12) all speak like CA Valley Girls, and that can only have come from TV. Strange, children in the UK pick up words and expressions from US TV, but they don't take on the permanent accent :???:

2) I am not 'combating' you, I am having a discussion. I am not in the slightest bit offended, are you? You need to tell me WIMH if you're honestly antagonised by this kind of chat, as it confuses the hell out of me, and some of the mods it seems.

3) Nice

4) Sounds rather idealistic. I have been to some utter hell-holes where the people were morally, and, oh hell, just in every way the sewer pigs of humanity. I will never accept them and will quite happily never go back. At it's extremes, hatred and contempt is a valid opinion and position.

5) Having gone though it I can understand it, yes. But I still think all this 'pleasing the parents' stuff, put before seeking your own path and happiness, if I can use an Americanism, really sucks.

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