Hong Kong woman’s dilemma over empty lai see given by relative


23rd February 2024 – (Hong Kong) A woman from Hong Kong faced an unexpected quandary after discovering an empty lai see, a traditional red envelope given during Lunar New Year, which was supposed to contain money as a token of good luck and prosperity.

The woman, who shared her experience on a local discussion forum, detailed how, upon tallying her festive “earnings,” she was struck by a sense of embarrassment when one particularly elegant Lai See turned out to be void of cash. She likened the shocking revelation to being struck by lightning, leaving her in a state of considerable distress.

The Lai See in question was not of the ordinary variety; its distinctive beauty made it immediately apparent which relative had given it. The woman now faces a social predicament, as the said relative is expected to dine at her home soon. She grapples with whether to confront the relative with the truth about the empty envelope or to pretend as if the incident never happened, hoping to preserve family harmony.

Netizens have been split in their reactions to her post. Many advocate for discretion, suggesting the absence of money might have been an oversight, and maintaining silence could be the best course of action to avoid any awkwardness or potential strain on the relationship. “A simple mistake,” one user wrote, “no harm meant; best not to mention it and affect everyone’s relationship.”

Others, however, perceive an empty lai see as an ominous sign, arguing that the matter of ‘intention’ is paramount and that the relative should be informed discreetly to rectify the situation. “An empty lai see is an inauspicious omen… it’s not about the money, it’s about the principle,” another comment read, implying that correcting the oversight is not about greed but about maintaining the symbolic gesture of goodwill.

This digital-era dilemma has highlighted the complexities of traditional customs intersecting with modern societal norms. As the Lunar New Year celebrations draw to a close, the incident has opened up a wider discussion on family dynamics and the evolving nature of cultural practices in the digital age. The woman’s ultimate decision remains a personal crossroads, reflective of the delicate balance between tradition and the practicalities of contemporary life.