The amount to give usually depends on how close you are to the couple and the cost of the wedding dinner.
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How much is a reasonable ‘lai see’ (利是) or ang pow (red envelope) for a Chinese wedding banquet?
Therefore, every guest should be paying at least RM300 in order to make up for the cost, but many guests only gave RM150 to RM180 in lai see.
The netizen complained that everything is expensive now and if people are unable to give more than RM300, they should not accept wedding invitations and make the host lose money.
Not Always About The Money
The post drew a barrage of criticism from people who reminded the victim that wedding dinner is not a business to make money.
Many say a wedding dinner is all about sharing happiness and potential lai see should not be a criteria when it comes to inviting guests.
Some pointed out that not everyone likes to go to wedding banquets because of such expectations.
You want to ask someone to help you with the burden? What’s the point?A netizen saying that the financial burden of a wedding should not be placed on the guests.
Some said that getting married is a happy thing, and the wedding is to let relatives know that they are married.
However, it is good to let everyone share the happiness while keeping it within their means.
In any case, the nuances surrounding wedding lai see have been around for a long time.
For good and for bad, the advent of social media has shed light on the practice.
As it is usually expected that people would turn up regardless of their financial well-being, people have regarded wedding invites as a ‘bomb’.
Even if the invited guest could not make it, the person is still expected to give lai see as as a gesture of goodwill.
Hence, lai see is also called ‘yan cheng (人情)’ which literally means debt of honour.
There’s a reason why Chinese people call a wedding invitation surat saman. Memang rasa macam kena saman. There is pressure to give a lot. Ang pow amount is recorded in a book for kira-kira. So most would find out cost of the dinner (easy with hotels) and pay at least that.— thatsmyfullname (@thatsmyfullname) June 29, 2022
They added that in this extraordinary period and inflation, it is not easy for everyone, and the banquet does not need to be so expensive.
At the same time, people pointed out that wedding guests have never questioned the profits that a couple can make from the dinner.
In local wedding banquets, it is customary to give the couple money based on the cost per person.
Invited guests would usually estimate the cost based on the location of the wedding dinner.
The basic rule is to find out how much it costs for a table of 10, and if you’re a close friend or relative, you are expected to throw in at least an extra hundred.
It is also not uncommon for names to be written on the lai see, ostensibly to keep track on who is paying how much.
What Matters Is The Red Packet’s Meaning
The giving of lai see is to wish other people luck and health and to keep the evil spirits away.
Nowadays, it is given to young people during the Lunar New Year, and it is given to them with he hope that it will bring them good luck.
For the same reasons, a lai see is always in red.
Lai see is an important tradition that had been practised by the Chinese for a long time.
It is also a way of showing appreciation and as a token of gratitude, and has nothing to do with enriching oneself.