Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Best wishes to you all, especially peace and joy in the love of the Lord!

It's cold this year, but then last year was extraordinarily warm. We get two days off for CNY which was nice (kind of an understatement) for me to catch up on homework and spend some time with people. I also actually did the 'bai leen' thing with my relatives, a good time since I haven't seen them in a while.

And then, there's of course, dealing with red pockets at work. The good thing is that our group is very small so it's still a personal gesture. I know that other groups had more formalized systems such that managers should shell out to give to everyone.

Last year, being my first year here, I was dreading it because it just seemed so weird. But after getting used to the culture (it's explicitly about money but not necessarily always), I can come to terms with it now. I think it also has to do with comfortability in being me too. [And maybe I used to view giving red pockets as something that is 'high above' where I am. :p] And I actually gave less red pockets than last year, since we have less staff. So, a good year!

But I was also in the office to see the 'red pockets craze'... as part of the tradition the 'big partners' (Chairman, COO, etc.) give red pockets. The COO, a new partner from the US, took the opportunity to experience the culture -- and meet all the staff in the firm -- by meeting everyone who came to his door. So whereas most other partners just give the red pocket and go, the COO ended up have a long queue...

This is on the 18th floor, the queue went down the stairwell down to the 16th floor where we sit. So all we heard was this louder and louder commotion, and it felt like an amusement park but you don't know what people are lining up for -- but has to be good if people are lining up for it! [It's quite HK, actually.] Quite a sight to see, as silly as it was. [No, I didn't join. :p]

And then the last thing that makes me smile about red pockets is... re-gifting... of money. It's not a big deal because cash is cash, but does everyone *really* have so many fresh and crisp bills to give away? They're all regifted!! It would be interesting to see how many hands a bill goes in CNY season, haha.

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

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