Does The Amount Given In Red Packets Actually Matter?

Apart from family reunions, the irresistible snacks and array of lion dancing, nothing is perhaps more synonymous with Chinese New Year than red packets, or ang bao.

More specifically, what’s inside them.


However, are their contents really all that important? What if you were to simply receive just $2 from it?

Like in the case of one Gerald Lim.


Who didn’t take too kindly to the amount and took to social media to air his frustrations.

Unfortunately, his post stirred so much controversy that the resulting backlash forced him to delete his it and privatise his Facebook account.

Unhappy about receiving $2 in his red packet

In his Facebook post – which has since been removed – Mr Lim lamented about receiving a paltry sum of just $2 in his red packet and criticised the giver for daring to give such an amount in “this era”.


He was even filmed looking on in disbelief as he took the note out.

Surely enough, his unpopular opinion spread like wildfire and to nobody’s surprise, the Internet didn’t agree with him one bit.

Overwhelmingly negative response online

Almost immediately, Mr Lim was referred to as an ungrateful strawberry.



Alluding to him being part of the “strawberry generation” where many see them as being too sheltered.

Some even stated that his post was an example that Chinese New Year had lost its meaning.



And explained that the entire point of the red packets was not for the money.


But the thought of giving itself that matters.

Some agree with him

However, not everyone seemed to disagree with Mr Lim.


Admit it, how many of you would be upset if you were in Mr Lim’s shoes?

Some shared his consensus that $2 simply wasn’t acceptable anymore in this day and age.


A few even compared it to the cost of living in Singapore today.


And stated that the amount wasn’t even enough to cover the cost of public transportation.

One even questioned what $2 could buy in this day and age.

Unfortunately, the situation took a turn for the worse when netizens began posting Mr Lim’s personal information online in order to publicly shame him. This led to the subsequent removal of his post and the privatisation of his Facebook account.

Meaning of giving red packets

So amidst the heated debate, what actually is the meaning of giving red packets during Chinese New Year?


As you know, many Chinese regard the colour red as a symbol of energy, happiness, and good luck.

Therefore by giving others a red packet, you are sending them good wishes and luck. FengShuiWeb even states that the imagery on the front of red packets are symbolisations of blessings and good wishes for a long, successful and healthy life for the receiver.

In fact, School of Human Development & Social Services at SIM University vice-dean Dr Lim Lee Ching mentions that there isn’t a rule as to what the minimum amount given in red packets should be.

Giving hongbao is a gesture – it symbolizes a blessing – and not a transaction, although many Singaporeans seem to think otherwise.

Ultimately, it’s more about giving luck instead of money.

Ungrateful or realistic?

So what do you think of Mr Lim’s opinions on receiving $2 in his red packet?

Do you agree that it’s simply too little of an amount to give nowadays or is he completely missing the point of receiving one in the first place?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Featured image from Edwin Poh’s Facebook and Stories of Beijing’s Facebook.