Boys, babies got more hongbao money: OCBC data

Boys, babies got more hongbao money: OCBC data
Infants of both genders received about $990 last year but the gap widened as they got older, said OCBC Bank.
PHOTO: The New Paper

Infants and teenage boys received the most hongbao money last year compared to other groups of kids, said OCBC Bank.

That trend was observed based on data extracted from 125,000 OCBC children's accounts between infancy and 15 years old, the bank told The New Paper.

Infants of both genders received about $990, but the gap widened as they got older, said OCBC Bank.

Boys aged 10 to 12 years old received about $274 more than their female counterparts.

National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser said gender bias is unlikely to be the case, and that there could be other factors at work.

These include social class, number and generosity of red-packet givers, and propensity of red-packet receivers to spend the money instead of saving it.

He said: "There may still be gender bias in Singapore, but I am not convinced that this is reflected in the lower amounts that girls are getting.

"My sense is that educated, middle- and upper-class folks are less likely to practise gender discrimination, and with Singapore becoming more of a middle-class society, we would expect the latter to decline."

POSB said it saw a 15 per cent increase in balances of POSBkids accounts last year. More POSBkids accounts were also set up during Chinese New Year for the past two years.

POSB said this can be attributed to the festive season and the convenience of opening an account online.

UOB predicts children will receive an average of $129 in this Year of the Rooster, $5 more than 2016, a monkey year.

Last year, Mrs Charmian Xie's daughter celebrated her first Chinese New Year.

Mrs Xie was not surprised when her daughter received significantly less money from red packets than when her son celebrated his first Chinese New Year in 2011.

She said her son got several hundreds more on his first Chinese New Year, and she expected this because her son was also the first grandchild for both sides of the family.

The family also visited fewer relatives last year.

She said she does not differentiate between boys and girls, but will give closer relatives more money than distant ones.

The 32-year-old quantity surveyor said: "Last year, we just took the total and divided it by two, since both kids will definitely get the same number of red packets."


She added that she will continue to do this for her children in future.

Madam Seah Nee Lin, 50, said her children - two boys and a girl - receive different amounts only from their paternal grandfather.

Her eldest son receives the most, while her daughter, the youngest of the three, receives the least.

She said: "He thinks the eldest should receive more because they need to take care of the younger kids.

"The firstborn also tends to get more at first, because once you have more kids, people tend to spread the money among them."

Madam Jasmine Lim, 45, who has two daughters and a son, said giving different amounts to boys and girls is an outdated practice.

She added: "This was practised in the days of my grandparents, who tend to favour boys over girls, or perhaps see boys as holding greater responsibilities than girls."

This article was first published on January 21, 2017.
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