SINGAPORE — A joyous celebration for newlyweds turned into a calculative conundrum the next day for one guest who was asked to identify the hongbao, or red packet, that was given to the couple.
Red packets are traditionally given as tokens of good wishes during Chinese weddings but they are also seen by some as a way for guests to help newlyweds offset wedding costs in Singapore, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
A Reddit post on a Singaporean subreddit on Wednesday (Oct 25) titled “Is it okay for wedded couples to ask their guests which hongbao did they give?” detailed how the user had attended a colleague’s wedding and had given the customary red packet, albeit without indicating his or her name on the token.
“I don’t have the habit of putting my name down, I know some people do,” the Redditor wrote.
It is common, but not mandatory, for guests to write a congratulatory message for the newlyweds and to sign off on the red packet with their names.
The Reddit user received a text message the following day from the colleague, the bride, asking the user to identify the red packet he or she had given.
“Why would you take a photo of the hongbaos people gave and ask them to tell you which is the hongbao they gave?
“Of all the weddings I attended, this is the first time I have encountered such (a) situation. I thought it was rather rude,” the Reddit user pondered.
The person goes on to clarify that the monetary value of the red packet had more than covered his or her “portion” of the banquet table, likely to head off any suggestion that the guest had skimped on the customary gift.
Users who responded to the post promptly berated the bride for the perceived disrespectful behaviour in trying to track guests’ contributions.
A top comment wrote: “Ya to me this is rude and lame. Wanna invite people but also wanna make sure they can tally and ‘keep scores’, I don’t know man, just seems very off-putting to me.
“Thankfully (she) is just a colleague, not a relative or close friend so you are spared from any close interactions (on) a personal basis.”
Another Reddit user was equally honest: “Your host is being petty and really thick-skinned to even ask. In my opinion, if (you) cannot afford the banquet, don’t do it.”