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Give and take

'Tis the season to hand out lai see and await tokens of affection

 

You know what the best thing about living in Asia is? It's all the extra holidays. In Europe and North America, there's nothing to look forward to after December, except for the long, dark, dreary months before Easter.

In "Asia's World City", after Christmas and New Year, we have another extended break in January called the Lunar New Year. Even better this season, it came early and not at the same time as Valentine's Day. For a single and desirable girl like me, that's a good thing. I can enjoy a week of cash and lai see followed by a day of flowers and chocolate.

Let's get one thing clear, though - if I wanted to, I could pout in front of Daddy, whine about my lousy boss and not have to work another day in my life. But like Beyoncé, I chose to be an independent woman - I depend on me. See the shoes on my feet? I bought them. The clothes I'm wearing? I bought them. The rock I'm rockin'? OK, that came from a guy at Goldman Sachs.

My point is, I'm my own woman, but it's nice to be spoiled occasionally. It might be better to give, but it feels darn nice to receive too. But karma dictates that you can't take without giving back. That's why the first thing I do in the office the morning after Lunar New Year is dole out my lai see to the junior staffers. And I don't hand out cheap HK$10 bills. I believe in setting the tone for the senior partners to make sure they give according to their pay grade.

What I can't stand are the people who have no problem taking the holidays but won't acknowledge local customs. You know the ones - they also wrinkle their nose at any Chinese dish that doesn't have sweet-and-sour sauce. Their refusal to partake in Lunar New Year traditions is no different than Scrooge's "bah humbug" at Christmas time. A handful of lai see is not going to hurt their wallets, especially when they have no qualms buying drinks for every model at Dragon-I. So fork it over, you flinty thing!

Giving at Lunar New Year also makes me feel extra rewarded when the boys shower me with Valentine's Day gifts. To paraphrase Mrs Jay-Z again, if they really like you, then they'll put a ring on it. Until that time, other jewellery and flowers are welcome. To the suitor who impresses me the most, I will even give him the privilege of inviting me to a March vacation. Yes, I give a whole new meaning to the term "calendar girl".

The Aristocrat

 

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