Let's Celebrate CNY with some Hong Bao Envy -- Starting with the PAP

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Chinese New Year is almost here and we all know how much we loved receiving hong baos when we were little. I remember my very first hong bao envy incident. My aunt had accidentally given my brother a $12 hong bao instead of the $8 hong bao which she had intended for us. When I found out, I was quite jealous of my brother. $4 more dollars. Imagine the number of marbles (yes we used to play marbles) I could buy with that.

Now Chinese New Year is back again this year (yes I have no idea why it just keeps coming back) and it's time to celebrate it once again with some hong bao envy.

PM Lee, why hong bao so small?
On Feb 3, PM Lee gave out a grand total of 377 hongbaos to elderly residents in Teck Ghee. Various other MPs all over Singapore also gave out hongbaos to people they deemed to be needy and elderly.

In response to that, keen observers from sites like therealsingapore have deduced a sinister motive behind the PAP's latest porkbarreling. According to therealsingapore, 

"The PA is supposed to be a community grassroots organisation which handles residents needs and is not supposed to be affiliated with the ruling party. However, in Singapore, the PA is consistently used as a political tool to help the PAP."
They have also cast doubts on the generosity of the People's Association towards opposition MPs.

Not wanting to be outdone, Singapore's opposition parties have attempted to conduct their own hongbao giveaways. But, of course there is no way they can match the generosity of our well-entrenched ruling party.

To match this hong bao envy, there have been cries of disappointment by Alibaba staff as the miserly Jack Ma, who has a net worth of $20.2 billion USD, says, "no hongbao for you this year because you guys sucked." It appears that Jack Ma too would like to save on giving out hong baos this year. $20.2 billion USD is simply not enough for him.

What do I think of all this? I think festive seasons like this bring out the best and the worst in people simultaneously. Extreme misers like Jack Ma will remain misers, and while politically astute MPs from the PAP may be truly generous, one has to wonder whether there are any strings attached.