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Advice on social customs to follow

Advice on social customs to follow

Old Jan 12th 2011, 1:29 pm
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Default Advice on social customs to follow

If you are invited to a festive gathering such as during the upcoming CNY, what sort of gifts do you bring to the household?

What if it is a kind of street party gathering or more likely a condo type gathering? As an expat are you suppose to bring "ang pows" to this type of celebration for distribution to the little kiddies and what is an accepted amount to put in these ang pows?
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 1:50 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Yes I'd like to know this too.
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 2:37 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Tricky one this. But a popular and most important gift is mandarin's. So give mandarin's to the hostess and can also give biscuits, box of dried fruit etc. These often presented in a Chinese paper bag with handles, commonly found in $2 shops. For the hostess' children its usual to give ang pow. This must be in a red envelope, but may contain as little a $1 (in whichever currency), however 2 notes is often thought to be better luck. Mixed notes can be given, eg. a 1 and a 5 , however again its better luck if the total is an even number...in this case 6.

Usually women will keep a variety of ang pow in their handbag. One design will be 2 by$1 notes. This for kids you don't really know. Next will be 1by$5 plus 1by$1 for kids you sort of know, their parents at least. 2 by$5 for kids you do know, although here often 1 by $10 and 1 by $1 if you run out of $5's. Its accepted although not an even number (I think it sort of means the rice bowl is overflowing and seems to apply to the number 11 only). Larger amounts for very well known or relatives kids and the amount is your choice although the 2 notes and even number is still observed.

Pretty straight forward really

At least its what we do and we haven't been thrown out of anywhere yet
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 2:46 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Wow! Strider, you seem to be well versed on this topic. Must be Mrs Strider who is the topical expert.

Thanks for that. Forgot about the mandarins or oranges. What about durians if the durian fruit is in season!

In my case, you can gift me with kuih kapit or durians..........not fussy at all, just as long as it is one of these two. Both would mean that we are friends for life.
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 4:22 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

.....plus go to the banks to get new notes!! Seems to be the tradition. Last year the bank ran out of new ones for certain denominations
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 4:55 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Absolutely Columbine, I had forgotten that one....which reminds me...better get in early for new notes.
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Old Jan 13th 2011, 7:48 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Gee, Columbine, you seem to be in the know about Malaysian customs etc.

Are there any taboos that one should know of in case one unknowingly commits a social gaffe?
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 2:02 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Originally Posted by Strider24 View Post
Tricky one this. But a popular and most important gift is mandarin's. So give mandarin's to the hostess
But never 4 mandarins as unlucky, right? I got given a bag of mandarins in Singapore when I was living there, but didn't reciprocate. They probably thought I was very rude... but just ignorant at the time.
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 5:23 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Originally Posted by bakedbean View Post
But never 4 mandarins as unlucky, right? I got given a bag of mandarins in Singapore when I was living there, but didn't reciprocate. They probably thought I was very rude... but just ignorant at the time.
The number 4 is considered bad luck by the Chinese. They especially don't link it in car number plates for example.
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 7:18 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Yes, Strider I too should be going to the bank for the new notes. Last year was a tad late I had to iron out some old wrinkly ones in an attempt to make them look new

Oh yes, Bakedbean - no 4, (sounds like 'death' for the major dialects) hehe. That's for most Chinese who are superstitious where ever they live. Unless it's combined with 5 (54 = won't die in Cantonese; 84 in Hokkien) or 8 (48 or 84 = prosper forever) haha I don't mind if you give me 4 Mandarins, I'll take them, and reciprocate with one or two so I get only 3 or 2 hehe

Redbean: Here the local Hokkien has a dish for new year called 'jiew hoo char' a dish made with cuttle fish. Seemed to be acceptable. But with Cantonese it's taboo because it's 'chow yeow yee' - same in HK never any cuttle fish dish for CNY.
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Old Jan 14th 2011, 7:40 am
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Default Re: Advice on social customs to follow

Columbine you are a wealth of information. I didn't know about the combination of 4 with 5 or 8.
Chow Yeow Yee I gather can mean the boss just sacked you...or alternative, the wife just chased you out of the house....not sure if that one is a threat or a promise
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