SINGAPORE: A foreign student who came to Singapore last year took to social media to share that he wanted to give his favourite hawker couple “ang bao” this year.

“Will it be appropriate for a 20 year old to give them a small ang bao as a token of appreciation? Please let me know any suggestions in the comments,” the foreign student wrote on r/askSingapore on Sunday (Jan 4).

The student mentioned that he had been living off their delicious food for the past six months and wanted to somehow express his gratitude to them.

“Every time I go there, I always have a small chat, even though there is a language barrier,” he said.

The student also shared that it will be his first time witnessing the Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore.

‘It’s a great idea’

In the comments section, Singaporean Redditors encouraged the foreign student to give the hawker couple “ang bao,” as they would appreciate it. 

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One Redditor said, “It’s a great idea! I’m sure they will appreciate it. Just remember to put an even digit amount inside the angbao.”

Another commented, “Totally appropriate. Ang Baos are about giving blessings for a fruitful year ahead and business people will always welcome it. Hubby n I do it every year for all service industry pple we regularly interact with.”

One Redditor also added, “Traditionally, an ang bao is given by married people to their family members during Chinese New Year. You totally can give it to your hawker and tell them “Thank you for feeding me like I am family.”

Who can give and receive ang baos during CNY?

Ang bao, a red packet stuffed with money bills, is traditionally given to kids and singles by married couples.

Today, however, it is no longer unusual to see unmarried older family members, such as aunts, uncles, and grandparents, giving red envelopes to younger family members.

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This tradition has also grown over time, and an increasing number of people now give these ang baos to anyone they believe is deserving of some gratitude, like the helper, the cleaner auntie, or an uncle who once assisted them.

How much cash should be placed inside an ang bao?

Ang bao cash amounts usually vary from $2 to $100 for as long as it’s not 4, as this number is usually connected to “death and misfortune.” 

Additionally, although it was customary to give crisper and newer banknotes, the Monetary Authority of Singapore urged people this month to select more environmentally friendly options by choosing electronic hong baos (e-hong baos) or “Fit-for-Gifting” currency notes (fit notes).

Read related: MAS: Fit-for-Gifting Notes and E-Hong Baos for greener CNY gifting