Malaysians tightening the belt to give bigger ang pows

Malaysians tightening the belt to give bigger ang pows

PETALING JAYA - While parents will try to stretch their ringgit this Chinese New Year, children can still expect fat ang pow.

Alice Ling will be slashing her festive shopping budget to increase her "ang pow fund" to make up for inflation.

"Last year, I spent about RM2,000 (S$755) on clothing, praying paraphernalia, reunion dinner and an endless list of new year items.

"I intend to trim my spending this year to give bigger ang pow. This year, my red packets will be between RM5 and RM20," she said, adding that last year, it was between RM4 and RM10.

The working mother said she would place her only daughter's ang pow haul in a fixed deposit, noting that some banks were offering interest rates of over 4 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent last year.

Housewife Tan S.P. will pack 20 per cent more in ang pow for relatives and children of close friends to make up for rising costs.

"The increase is based on what I can afford," she said, adding that she would bank in her daughter's ang pow.

Grandmother K.L. Yew said she would stick to RM5 for children because "she's not a rich man's wife".

"In the past, to receive RM10 was a big deal. Nowadays, receiving RM5 is considered the bare minimum.

"My son insisted I double the amount. He said that nobody gives such small ang pow anymore because you won't be able to buy anything with RM5."

However, despite leaner times, she said she did not think anyone would be reducing the amount.

"Giving out ang pow is a happy occasion and it is only once a year. It's very embarrassing to give less than before because it means that you are doing very badly," she said, adding that she would rather tighten the belt than give smaller ang pow.

Accounts executive Amy Wong and financial controller Shirley Ng said they would not be handing out bigger red packets this year.

"I gave between RM5 and RM10 last year. I'll stick to that amount because it's not nice to give the kids less now," said Wong.

Ng said her ang pow for close relatives now ranged between RM10 and RM50.

"My ang pows are already so small. I can't shrink it further," she said.

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