One of the most vivid memories from my childhood is helping my mother slip coins into hongbao on the eve of Chinese New Year.
It was an annual experience I cherished, and I carried on the practice with my own children.
This may come to an end with the rising popularity of e-hongbao, and future generations will not experience the pleasure of smelling newly minted cash or feeling the crisp notes from hongbao printed with auspicious wording (MAS encourages Singaporeans to opt for e-hongbao this CNY, Jan 12).
I guess traditions must evolve to be safer and more environmentally friendly, and so the impersonal interbank transfer of money with a few choice words displayed on a screen to signify love, care, appreciation, good wishes and filial piety is inevitable.
With the tradition of exchanging cash hongbao evolving and the lighting of firecrackers but a distant memory, there is only the important family reunion meal to cling to.
We all need to keep up our guard against Covid-19 to make sure even this is not taken away from us.
Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)