Boom time boosts lai see

Zoe Mak
Zoe Mak |

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The gift of lucky money at the start of Lunar New Year grows with improving economy, writes Zoe Mak

The gradual recovery of the economy has led to an increase in the amount of lai see given out this year.

The South China Morning Post reported earlier on a survey which showed that 25 per cent of those polled were planning on giving more red envelopes this year as a result of the improvement.

This is a 10 percentage point increase from last year and the biggest rise in the past five years.

Most people said HK$20 would be the minimum put into the red packets.

It is now the 16th day of the first month in the Year of the Tiger, and many children and unmarried young people have already received most of their red packets. Many had received more than last year in terms of quantity and value, they said.

Tsoi Wai-ting, 18, said she got more than 50 red packets this year, a big increase on last year.

'I only had about 30 last year, and even though many relatives went away for holidays this year, they left the red packets at my grandparents' house, so I got more this year,' she said.

Wai-ting said she received more HK$20 notes than last year.

'I had a lot of HK$20s, then HK$50s and I only had one HK$10,' she said. 'I got about HK$2,500 in total.'

As in previous years, Wai-ting said she received more from her parents and grandparents, adding she will save her money for her education.

'I usually pass it all to my mum to save it up for me for school later,' she said. Wai-ting begins her university studies in September.

Her younger brother Tsoi Hiu-fung, 15, said he received almost the same number of red packets as his sister but he was keeping them under his pillow - unopened - to make sure he got all the good wishes and blessings from them.

Nicola Ku, 19, and her sister Natalie Ku, 12, also got more lai see this year despite going to Japan for their Lunar New Year holiday.

'Many of our relatives and friends left their lai see for us with our families, so we got them when we came back from our holiday,' Nicola said.

'We never spend the red packets we receive. They mean good luck, so we just give them to my mum to save in the bank for us, but we did notice that we got more this year when we counted them.'

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