$2 hongbao is a bribe? Really?

I was surprised by Mr Raymond Ng's recollection in which he said he acted against a postman for accepting a $2 hongbao (No bribes allowed, not even a $2 hongbao for postman; June 7).

Had Mr Ng ,who was a young investigating officer with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, overreacted?

Going by Mr Ng's interpretation we should also not be giving hongbaos to children of government servants that we happen to meet while visiting friends and family during Chinese New Year.

Giving token hongbaos is the traditional way to send the receiver good wishes and luck and is not meant to be a bribe.

It would have been a completely different story if the hongbao contained a disproportionately large amount of money.

However, the amount in question was $2 - the minimum one could possibly give as it is customary not to give odd number amounts.

The rigid black and white interpretation of rules and laws is common in law-abiding Singapore. And it is not necessarily a good thing.

Happily, there are signs of this changing.

There was no mention of what happened to the postman. I really hope that justice was done and he was not punished for accepting good wishes and luck.

Keith Heah