From hongbao to joss burning, what price tradition?

Do we ditch physical red packets? What about hiding brooms during the CNY season? A look at the value of traditional practices through the cost-benefit lens.

The hongbao debate is not the only form of tradition that has come up for question. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
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E-hongbao or physical ones? Both are given out during this festive season. In the debate on the merits of e-hongbao over the paper versions, a writer to the Forum page of The Straits Times recently made the point that we should look beyond the value of the cash in the red envelopes to consider also the value of tradition and the happiness of seniors in taking part in what is, after all, a practice that happens only briefly once a year.

In short, it is not just about dollars and cents. The sum is the same whether given in hard cash or transmitted digitally. The latter method is being promoted for environmental reasons. But how do you weigh that against the value of tradition and something as intangible as happiness?

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