Friday, January 20, 2023

Richard Cullen on The Remarkable Little Red Envelope (China Daily)

Published on January 19, 2023 
Introduction: Once upon a time, when I was still in primary school, some relatives visited us in the hot, dusty country town where we lived, about 200 kilometers north of Melbourne, where they also lived. It was shortly before Christmas. My kind, visiting auntie took me aside and gave me a Christmas card. I had never received a personal Christmas card before, so this was already a special day. I was encouraged to open it and when I did, inside there was a rather crisp, 10 shilling note ($0.62). It was a delightful and unique surprise. I had seen such notes before, of course, but I had never actually possessed one myself.
     The memory of this gift remains as vivid as ever. And it came to mind again recently as I prepared a red packet to give, on a special day, to someone close in Hong Kong. That got me thinking about what an uncommonly fine cultural creation the unassuming red envelope has turned out to be.
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