Friday, 21 January 2011

Fact of the Day: 400M Banknotes

Lai see envelopes waiting to be stuffed with crisp new bills

People who are married or elderly are gearing up for Chinese New Year.
They have to hand out lai see or red envelopes to anyone who is younger than them or to employees who work directly under them.
While the amount given is to the discretion of the giver, it's common courtesy to handout crisp new bills.
Which is why Hong Kong banks are busy preparing new banknotes for their customers to hand out in the red envelopes.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority estimates some 400 million new banknotes will be in circulation during Chinese New Year.
That's a lot of new bills.
I spoke to a hotel general manager here who joked he would be wearing a fishing vest with tons of pockets next week. Those pockets would be filled with lai see envelopes.
While he enjoys handing out lai see now, he admitted he was stressed out and nervous in his first Chinese New Year. There are about 800 employees in this hotel and he wanted to ensure every person got lai see so he asked his assistant to put the name of every employee on each envelope.
Then he tried to put them in piles according to each department to hand out, but he quickly discovered this system was not feasible at all.
Now he just has the same denomination bill in every envelope and gives them out whenever an employee comes to him and wishes him a happy new year.
His only concern now is making sure he has enough lai see at any given time and if not to disappear and refill his pockets.
Which is why the fisherman vest would come in handy.

1 comment:

  1. the spirit of giving should be kept all year round not just during new year time.