Just before every Lunar New Year, banks in Singapore become the hottest place to be. For just a day or two, banks are swarmed by hordes of people hoping to nab brand new notes that will be released for the Lunar New Year. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since I can remember.
The tradition’s supposed to bestow good luck when the new notes are given in red packets to relatives.
Should it be stopped?
In our current, environmentally aware society, the printing of new notes is a very wasteful practice with very little upside. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has even spoken out against the practice, urging the public to cut down the practice or stop it outright if possible.
It’s not hard to see why.
MAS reports that a large portion of the new notes they print are subsequently returned. These notes are then destroyed because there’s no demand for them. It’s a wasteful practice for very little discernible benefit (no, tradition is not a valid reason) for everybody involved.
Now, it’s not just the Chinese who are into this new note traditions. I know Muslim families are the same way too when it’s time to gear up for Hari Raya Puasa.
It’s not a racial thing, or a religious thing…that makes it a tradition that’s ripe to be nixed for a more environmentally conscious one.
In fact, it seems like the younger generations don’t really care that much about the tradition too, as most of those claiming the new notes are of the elder variety or collecting for the behalf of the elderly people they know.
Besides, as somebody who’s been on the receiving end of both red and green packets, not once did I think the quality of the notes inside them mattered. As long as they’re not torn up and unusable, I don’t care at all.
I’m sure many feel the same way as well, so why are we all maintaining a tradition that’s wasteful and harmful to the environment?