Fresh vegetables and fish, dried mushrooms, perhaps even a can of abalone.
Those are what Madam Teoh Mei Ling is thinking of buying with the red packet she received yesterday from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, ahead of the Chinese New Year. "This will all be for the family reunion dinner, it's very helpful for us," said Madam Teoh, 72.
She was one of more than 400 needy senior residents from Teck Ghee who were given red packets with $150 cash and $50 Sheng Siong supermarket vouchers at the estate's annual Hongbao Presentation Ceremony.
They also received four bottles of chicken essence and two mandarin oranges each.
Mr Lee, in a brief message to open the event at Teck Ghee Primary School, said he hoped the gifts would bring residents some new year cheer and help them to be "healthy, well and successful in the year ahead".
Number of performers at this year's Chingay parade
Number of spectators expected at the parade
"This year is the Year of the Monkey - (but) the monkey has been quite naughty. Next year is the Year of the Rooster, I hope it brings us good luck, good fortune and a good future," said Mr Lee, to laughter from the audience.
Mr Lee, who is MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, later sat down and chatted with some residents as they tucked into a breakfast of fried beehoon.
Madam Gurdip Kaur, 66, was thankful for the small gifts she got from Mr Lee. "It helps the needy a lot. I'll use it to buy some rice, oil and other necessities," she said.
Madam Rossidah Mohamed, 55, said she will buy chicken to whip up a dish of chicken curry, as a treat for her five grandchildren.
Afterwards, Mr Lee met and greeted residents at two wet markets nearby.
Later yesterday, 10,000 students from 60 primary and secondary schools were treated to a preview of this year's Chingay parade at the National Education show.
It featured local segments of the parade that will take place on Feb 10 and 11, and went on at the F1 Pit Building despite a persistent rain.
This year's parade, its 45th, features 8,000 performers in seven segments that look at Chingay in the past, present and future.
Highlights include the recreation of a tiger float that first appeared in the 1974 parade, and a finale featuring laser lights and fireworks.
Members of the People's Association Youth Movement (PAYM) dressed for the weather in poncho costumes, inspired by the heavy downpour at last year's parade.
School of the Arts dance student Vinny Lai, 17, who returned to perform for the second year in PAYM's finale performance, said: "I'm not worried about the rain, we danced in the rain last year too."
Tickets for the Chingay parade are on sale at Sistic and about 46,000 spectators are expected to attend over the two nights.
Danson Cheong and Tiffany Fumiko Tay