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Homesingapore#trending: Rude or pragmatic? Bride asks guest to identify red packet after...

#trending: Rude or pragmatic? Bride asks guest to identify red packet after wedding, sparks discussion on Reddit

SINGAPORE — A joyous celebration for newlyweds turned into a calculative conundrum the next day for one guest who was asked to identify the hongbao, or red packet, that was given to the couple. 

Other commentators added that although couples were free to spend on any “lavish” luxuries for their big day, they should not expect guests to cover their costs through red packets.

“For me, I pay what I can afford, and how much the host spends is their problem, not mine,” said one person.

Some users shared their own experience during their wedding when they too received red packets without names written on them.

“In my case, knowing which red packet was from whom wasn’t important.

“For me, it was (on a) ‘good to know’ basis, so that in the event that I am invited to one of their wedding perhaps, I would know how much to reciprocate,” explained one user.

Another user gave a different explanation: “Some people also want to earn money during wedding. Some people also gauge their friendship by the amount of money you give in (your) hongbao.”

Such cultural traditions and expectations of wedding hongbaos are not new in Singapore, as evidenced by the ever-resurfacing posts on Singaporean subreddits seeking advice on the expected monetary value of red packets for weddings.

A Reddit post in June this year titled “Do you guys tend to adhere to the wedding hongbao rates listed online and pack accordingly?” had the original poster seeking advice from more experienced wedding-goers. 

“I’m at the age where most of my friends are getting married, and very soon I’ll have three weddings to attend and they’re all being held at pretty expensive hotels, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Fullerton. All three are weekend dinners,” wrote the Reddit user. 

Citing the “steep” prices listed on online resources, the user sought advice from guests on giving red packets below the suggested rates.

“Somehow I can’t help but feel a little pressured to pack the hongbaos at the given ‘rates’ and feel like I’m shortchanging if I pack lesser.”

Comments responding to the post seemed to disagree with the so-called recommended rates. 

A top comment suggested that couples should adopt a more westernised approach to their weddings, writing: “The fact that there are ‘rates’ is absolutely rubbish and ridiculous. I’m happy that my Chinese friends are all modern millennials who don’t subscribe to such nonsense.”

“Just had one who explicitly said no to market rates and just give what you want, if you want. None of that writing names on (the) envelope to track who gave how much either,” they added.

A commentary by CNA last month challenged the “transactional mindset” in red packet customs.

The author, CNA deputy commentary editor Erin Low, argued that with the rising costs of weddings in Singapore, it would be “disingenuous” for newlyweds to have no expectations from guests’ red packets, but added that smaller monetary donations may result in aggrieved feelings. 

However, she cautioned against having extravagant presumptions.

“The notion that wedding guests have to pay for their seat at the table makes the hongbao a transaction, not a gift. This transaction can make weddings unpleasant for some guests.”

A Reddit user echoed this sentiment by responding to the forum on whether it was rude for the bride to question which red packet her guest gave.

“This is downright obnoxious to be honest. People need to drop this thinking that hongbao is there to help them cover cost,” wrote the user.

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