If you are married, this year would have been a bad start for your wallet so far. Following hot on the heels of Valentine's Day is Chinese New Year. Just as you thought you can finally save up for your beloved Aston Martin, it's the time of the year again to distribute your wealth.
I have never seen a year where there are so many money sapping activities happening at once. First on Feb 14, your girlfriend/wife decided that to show your true love, money is the key. A night out at an expensive restaurant and a box of chocolates would have set you back almost half of the GDP of Ethiopia. The next day, just as you are plotting your various investments for the rest of the year to recover that prior loss, the government decides to increase the current GST to 7%. Another hole is burning in your pocket.
As you walk on the streets with half of your Versace shirt tucked out and a half finished beer bottle in the hand, you realize that the next few days will be red packet days. How on earth are you suppose to fund those kiddies flooding your house unless you dip into your child's education fund?
PM Lee said this year will be a prosperous pig year. Well, it looks like more people are about to file for bankruptcy even before the Chinese New Year has started. With the impending GST hike, Singaporeans are in a mad scramble to prevent their savings from disappearing faster than you can spell the word pig. Hence, I expect this Chinese New Year hongbao takings to be less than initially predicted. Like you know, the way those PAP election watchers are expecting PM Lee to sweep the votes of Ang Mo Kio by at least 80% but only to receive a modest 66.6%. Well, there is always a positive effect for everything.
As you tuck in to your reunion dinners tonight, spare a thought for these people who are crushed worse than an empty coke can. With the Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year and the Budget happening all at once, you can expect many people to cut the hongbao money. For the givers of the hongbao, these are valid reasons to wrap a penny less but for the receivers like me, the year of the Pig has just started on the wrong footing.
Happy Chinese New Year people.