Sunday 6 February 2011

Chinese New Year, Red Pocket and Gambling

Today is the 3rd day of Lunuar New Year or Chinese New Year. The west used the Sun movement for their calendar, which we are using today. The Chinese used the Moon (Lunar) movement for their calendar. In the Lunar calendar, on the 15th day, the moon is always full.. :) It just tells me that science exist long long long time ago. Just that thousands of years ago, only few people can understand how it works.

Furthermore, the Chinese is well known not to teach "EVERYTHING" to their disciples or apprentices... :) a hard fact... reason being the masters are worried to be "over throne" by their own disciples or apprentices. Can you imaging if one from the first generation knew 100% of the knowledge, he only passed down 99% of the knowledge to the next generation and so forth. Eventually, when they reached the 50th generation, only 50% of the knowledge are passed down. What a waste and what a loss. Sad... If, and only if, the Chinese passed down 100% of the knowledge from generation to generation, on top of that, improvise and make changes from generation to generation, I think the world will be a very different world today.. anyway, only if...

I recalled I read an abstract somewhere on former US president George W. Bush's memoir. He mentioned his encounter with the former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. I found the abstract from this site and I quote:-

"In one of our first meetings, I explained to President Jiang that faith was a vital part of my life and that I studied the Word every day," Bush wrote in his book, "Decision Points."

"I told him I planned to raise freedom of worship in our conversations. 'I read the Bible,' he replied, 'but I don't trust what it says,'" Bush wrote.

I can somehow understand former Chinese President Jiang's reaction because Chinese's culture and history are way longer and deeper than the bible. Furthermore, there are various versions and "editions" of the bible too. Learn more.

What I am trying to say here is that IF, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, did not burn away so many "books' (those were still in bamboo form I think). IF, knowledge and skill from the Chinese are passed down in its fullest form. And IF,... alamak (a singlish word which mean, OMG - oh my god)... please don't IF anymore... the past is unchangeable, the present will disappear in a moment, but there will always be a tomorrow to be shaped as you wish.... :) sounds familiar? Only if you have read this.

Red Packet ("Ang Bao")

Anyway, coming back to the Chinese New Year, it is a tradition that parents will give red packets (or also called Ang Bao - in hokkien) to their children and grand children (whether they are married or not) for blessing. Married couples are also "eligible" to give red packets to relatives and friend's children.

In my strong opinion, receiving red packets is a happy and an appreciative gesture. On the other hand, the person who give the blessing are also happy that they can bring happiness to those they love and care, and also show kindness to them. In life, what goes around comes around. In Chinese, we say 种什么因,得什么果. If you give happiness and show kindness, you will receive happiness and kindness. Therefore, don't reject your parents or relatives if they give you red packet. Yes, even if you are married or whatever. Just take it thankfully, don't spoil the ambience. If money is of the concern, in return, just give a red packet back and also include a blessing. Another Chinese saying: 有来有去, which is like a favour return with a favour.

As I have noticed, in the modern world, red packet becomes a material thing rather than in its purest form, which is goodwill. Sad. Hopefully, the adults will spread and impart this meaning and the youngsters will perceive and cultivate this meaning. 2 things you Must Not, regarding receiving red packets are
  1. Never open the red packet immediately and count the money in front of everybody and/or the one who give you the red packet. It is a very rude gesture. Yes, even if there are thousands of dollar in it.
  2. Never mind how much is in the red packet. Take what is given and be contented. Remember this, No one owes you any red packet. Do not show unsatisfying expression or gesture because of less amount of money. That is not just rude but low class and not cool at all. Be appreciative.


Now, I come to the Chinese 'inborn" characteristics, and that is Gambling. There is a saying that when 2 Chinese get together, they will start to gamble. I seriously don't know how this happened, but it is some how true. Gambling activity is part and parcel of Chinese New Year in Singapore. Relatives and friends get together and they will play cards or majong to pass time. All for the fun of it, of course.

This time round, other than just having fun among friends and relatives, I think people will go to the Casino to try their luck.

When the Singapore Government announced that they are going to allow 2 world class casino and going to put in place whatever they can to ensure social order, I somehow trust them and also agree with them. You see, the current government of Singapore has its own way of doing things to ensure that Singapore will grow and prosperous. Therefore, I feel that they will balance and act accordingly to meet that goal. However, this is still a new thing in Singapore and we will just have to learn along the way. I feel that we still have to keep an eye on it. Nonetheless, I believe that in future, governments of other countries will want to learn from Singapore how we did it :).....

I personally do not have gambling luck and I do not endorse gambling. I was asked a few times if I have tried my luck at any of the Casino. My reply would be:"You see, I am an entrepreneur. I gamble with my life everyday. The stake is way much higher than you would do in the Casino. So why do I still have to go to Casino?.. and lose $100 up front before I even start to try my luck?"... :)

Let me share with you what I learned as a gambler myself when I was a teenager.. :).. influenced by peers then... anyway, I was not a "gambling ghost" (aka Gambling addict), just that I spent quite some time in gambling majong and etc... what I learned are as follows:-
  1. Gambler's time stop at the game.
  2. When they lost money, their spirit and mood goes down. And they affect people around them.
  3. When they win money, they thought they can do it again. They will try again and again.
  4. They thought they can control themselves, but in fact, they are being controlled by their inner self, the "dark side".
At the end of the day, they spent money and time to either win some money or lose some money. In whichever outcome, they are still Lose Lose situation. If money is an apple, time is a pear. When you win, you get 2 apples (money) but you still lost a pear (time). When you lose, you lost both your apple and pear, you got nothing. Can you see the point?

As for business or entrepreneurship, we spent money and time too. However, we gain knowledge, skill, expertise, achievement, connection, regardless we win money or lose money. It is a win win situation because you are building on every step you take. It is not a zero sum game, which means, losing money this time could be just a precedent of winning money the next time, like a blessing in the sky. However, I cannot say the same to gambling....

Anyway, no matter what, Casino will still exist because trying out our luck and having that thrill of gambling are just part of human characteristics. The difference is how much of that characteristic reside inside each of us.

Alright, I hereby wishing all Chinese in any part of the world a Happy Lunar New Year!

身体建康, 新年快乐, 恭喜发财, 年年有馀. Yes, with Health and Happiness, we can better build our Wealth and accumulate our Surplus. Cheers!

Good Luck, Best Luck and Heng Heng (means Lucky Lucky in hokkien! HUAT Ahhhhhhh! (In hokkien means prosperous)

I was trying for the past half an hour to find a creative and nice Youtube video of made in Singapore production and artists on CNY 2011... but it is so limited.. there are so many from Malaysia....sigh (hai)... Anyway, enjoy the following clip that I feel is the best among the rest :)... Singapore, Show the World more of your Creative side.... Cheers!

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