Ang Baos

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In the midst of this festive season, ang baos exchange hands at a rate more frequent than genuine advice from meddlesome relatives. It is time to question this age-old tradition of wrapping up the economic gift of cold hard cash in nicely decorated red paper.

Ang baos are of course an excellent way to conceal one's generosity or miserliness for that matter, allowing one to escape the cold hard stare of disappointment or for some, questions of their sudden wealth. They allow one to give freely without having to be placed in the awkward position of explaining the exact amount. But above all, ang baos serve as a symbolic reminder of our traditions. Till this day, people are still giving out ang baos, and for whatever the reason, it is definitely a strong symbol of a lasting Chinese tradition. This tradition not only represents the Chinese values of our forefathers, but rather they represent an acceptance in society of traditional norms, and also a reluctance to let go of them. It represents a respect for age-old values, one that will hopefully last.

No one knows what an Ang bao may bring, but for most, it brings wealth. Hopefully, these ang baos may continue to bring the wealth of values to a rapidly modernizing society.