'$360, is that enough?' Ghib Ojisan picks up ang bao etiquette from attending first 'authentic' Singaporean-Chinese wedding

'$360, is that enough?' Ghib Ojisan picks up ang bao etiquette from attending first 'authentic' Singaporean-Chinese wedding
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/GhibOjisan

How much to pack in a wedding ang bao is a contentious topic.

And for Singapore-based Japanese YouTuber Ghib Ojisan, it was an eye-opening experience when he attended his first "real, authentic" Singaporean-Chinese wedding here.

Ghib documented his experience in a 17-minute YouTube video published on Dec 16, which served to highlight the differences between weddings in Singapore and Japan.

Before he attended said wedding, he did a bit of prep work — yes, we're talking about research on red packets. Ghib  is not entirely unfamiliar with the concept of ang baos, noting that they have a similar tradition in Japan, with some differences.

He pointed out that in Japan, ang baos are typically presented in white packets, whereas in Singapore, the tradition involves using red-coloured wrappers.

Up next is the million-dollar question: How much does one give? In Japan, Ghib mentioned that 30,000 yen (around S$279)  is the "ballpark figure" for a cash gift when attending a wedding.

And why 30,000 yen, one might ask?

Ghib explained that even numbers are considered bad luck in Japan, as they can be split in half easily, symbolizing a potential rift in the relationship for the newlywed couple.

Contrastingly, for Chinese in Singapore, the superstition is different — the ang bao amount shouldn't end with the number four, while eight is considered lucky.

Furthermore, here, the ang bao is viewed as a means of covering the wedding expenses, as highlighted by Ghib's wife.

She also noted the existence of websites dedicated to ang bao rates, categorised based on the venue and whether it's a lunch or dinner event.

Expressing his surprise, Ghib added, "This is a big shock for me. In Singapore, you actually Google the amount you should give."

The wedding he attended was situated at The Clifford Pier, right across from Marina Bay Sands. Keeping this in mind, he researched online for the venue rate.

After thorough research, he discovered that he would need to give $360 "to cover the food and venue". "Should I give $360? Is that enough?" he asked his wife, to which she recommended giving a bit more for a "nicer number".

They ultimately settled on $368, considering the auspiciousness of the number eight in Chinese culture.

According to Ghib, back home, the concept of the wedding ang bao is not centred on covering the couple's expenses. Instead, it is dependent upon the relationship between the guest and the couple.

"It’s more like I’m their friend, so I pay 30,000 yen [or] if I'm their boss, maybe [I’ll] pay like 50,000 yen," he explained.

In the comments section, netizens shared their opinions on ang bao etiquette.

One user expressed confusion, stating they don't understand the idea of guests covering the couple’s expenses, emphasising that the responsibility for wedding expenses should be on the couple, not the guests.

Meanwhile, a different user highlighted that the ang bao amount should be based on the relationship, indicating they would reject an invitation if it came from an acquaintance.

Another user took a more neutral stance, stating that there's no right or wrong way to go about it.


ALSO READ: Wedding ang bao rates in Singapore 2023: How much should you give?


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