Asia’s Interesting Superstitions Surrounding Money

Proud of its value for racial harmony, Singapore is a country that fuses people from different nationalities. Each nationality has formed a culture built on their own set of practices, rituals, and beliefs. Said beliefs do not have to be logical all the time as superstitions exist. Some of the superstitions surround heavy issues like money.

If you are interested to learn more about the Asian diversity in financial superstitions, continue reading this article.


The eccentric country of Japan is known for many things. One of which is their ability to morph paper figures – the art of Origami. To attract good fortune or wealth, you will need to put an Origami frog inside your wallet. The word “frog” in their language (“kaeru”) is a homonym for the phrase “to return”. Hence, putting an origami frog in your wallet entails the continued circulation of money.


As the age-old saying goes: “a purse on the floor is money out the door”. Putting your purse or handbag on the floor famously symbolizes your detachment from wealth. On the bright side, keeping your belongings at close proximity lessens the chances of object misplacement or theft.


Whether you are shaking your nerves away or acting on an automatic response, you must avoid fidgeting your legs in Korea. This common mannerism is frowned upon as it is believed that you are literally shaking off your good luck or wealth.


Have you been experiencing an annoying itch in your palm? Do not forget to put this “itchy palm” in your pocket immediately. What may seem like a product of insect bites is deemed to mean incoming wealth. Regardless of the origin of the itch, Filipinos believe that you must expect to receive money in the next couple of days.


One of Singapore’s superstition roots from the Chinese beliefs about the numbers eight and four. They believe that number eight is fortunate and number four is unfortunate. These meanings were associated based on the Chinese language. You see, these words are homophones for the words “prosperity” and “death” respectively.

Image Credits:

Image Credits:

Try negotiating a discount if your apartment or condominium unit ends with number four. Research showed that it will work in your favor!

Sources: 1,  2, 3, 4, & 5


Interesting Ang Bao Facts Every Singaporean Shall Know


It is that time of the year again! We are about three weeks from the festivities of the Chinese New Year. Family reunions, abundant food, and small red packets called “Ang Bao, Hongbao, or Ang Pao” shall grace Singapore once again.

The color red embodies luck that is supposed to ward off the evil spirits. Along with its potent color, here are 5 Ang Bao Facts Every Singaporean Shall Know:


There is no specific standard on the lowest or the highest amount to give but the amount definitely reflects your character as a person. A simple survey on TheAsianParent Facebook Page showed that readers usually give out S$2 – S$80 to children in 2014. Although, Singaporeans usually give out S$6. If you are truly in touch with your Chinese roots, you will give out an amount ending with an even digit as odd digits are traditionally associated with funerals.


Generally, the number of notes you put it does not matter as long as the amount you gave is in the range of what is expected. Most Singaporeans do not mind if you opt for putting four S$2 or two S$5 notes! However, leaving even-numbered notes is believed to bring out future success!


Some people are likely to avoid giving amounts in fours such as S$40, S$44, and S$400. This is due to the fact that the number “4” is similar (or rhymes) with the word “death in several Chinese dialects.


Since Singapore is a mixture of different cultures, we as a nation have created practices centering red packet gifting. It is not uncommon to have marriages between two different races, leading to traditional practices being modified or ignored. But aside from the Chinese, nations such as Vietnamese, Japanese, Filipinos and South Koreans have similar customs.


Aside from Chinese New Year, red packets are given to religious practitioners and lion dance performers as a payment for their excellent service. Also, it is given to couples during wedding banquets. The minimum Ang Bao amount for this event is about S$50. It certainly is “little” compared to the minimum of S$150 handed out in Taiwan.

Image Credits: (License: CC0 Public Domain)

Image Credits: (License: CC0 Public Domain)

Let us be the first to greet you, advance Happy Chinese New Year!

Sources: 1, 2, & 3


Money Management Tips From Around The World

Diversity is rich in meaningful insight that extends to financial values and money handling practices. Know more about the 5 money strategies from around the world that you can use in your everyday life…


China has a strong culture of saving. Being raised by Chinese parents, you will feel that saving at least 50% of your income is normal. In fact, China’s government has saved about 51% of their GDP in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund. Make frugality your mantra by saving electric bills through charging your hand phone at work and by unplugging everything after usage.


I cannot be the only one who constantly asks if there are discount options or if there is a better price offer. In Asian countries, negotiating is a common practice especially for those who are purchasing in the market or flea. Whether it be computers, bed sheets, or apples…there is always a better price and all you have to do is ask politely.


Germany has a deep aversion towards debt and an emphasis on responsibility. This is why they prefer to pay cash than credit. Having to pay with the money you already have is a wise decision that is accepted by most. This preference for cash is evident as they use one of the most valuable currency denominations in the world – the €500 note.


In Japan, money is handled with respect and is kept clean and crisp. This is why it is common to give cash as a gift, especially for significant life events such as weddings and funerals. Interestingly, they value money so much that they sell anti-bacterial wallets to sterilize the bills. Treating money with profound respect helps the saver to resist the urge of spending.


Most countries of Spanish decent have close family ties.

Image Credits: Alfonso Lomba via Flickr

Image Credits: Alfonso Lomba via Flickr

This is why before making huge purchases or monetary decisions, some Guatemalans ask for their family’s advice. This is a good tip because you never know who has a connection, a friends-and-family discount, or even an extra of the item so you do not have to purchase.


How Much To Tip When Traveling In These 10 Countries

Tipping is a practice of gratitude and recognition to those who have provided you with excellent service. In Singapore, they automatically have service charges in restaurants but you can still leave about 5% for great service.

Not all countries welcome tipping. In fact, some parts of China and Japan may be offended when you give them tips. Before leaving your hotel, it is important to research on the country’s tipping practices. Here are 10 countries you can start with


Tipping of 10-15% of your bill is appreciated for waiters and waitresses especially those who are serving you from expensive restaurants. It is customary to tip the hotel bellman at least AU$1 per bag.


A service charge of 15% is always included in your restaurant or bar tab. So, typing beyond that is not a must. For taxi drivers, you may tip at least 1 Euro and the hotel bellman should get at least 1 Euro per bag.


Like France, a service charge is included but, you may leave at least 5-10% of tip for good service. At least 1 Euro should be left for the hotel’s bellman per bag and the hotel’s maid per day.


Tipping is certainly acceptable in Hong Kong. Offer your bellman at least HK$2-3 per bag.


You may tip at least 10% in restaurants but, do not tip your taxi drivers. Your bellman should get at least 2 Pesos per bag.


Tip at least 10% in restaurants and taxis for gratitude. Group tours should receive at least R 10/tour guide while private tours should receive R 50/guide for half-day tours and R 100/guide for whole day tours. Hotel maids should get R 50 per day while the hotel bellman should get about R 5 per bag.


Consider at least 10% of tip for restaurants. Your bellman should get at least 5 Dirhams per bag.


It is common to tip the person who assisted you with your baggage in the airport or the hotel with at least US$1 per bag. Bellman should receive about US$1 per bag too. And, the hotel maid should be tipped at least US$2-5 per day.

Image Credits: Tax Credits via Flickr

Image Credits: Tax Credits via Flickr

Since some hospitality workers are paid less, they will truly appreciate a tip. Tipping per day will not only be a gesture of gratitude but it will help you to receive continued shower of good service.

Source: Fodors


How Much “Ang Bao” Money Shall You Give This Chinese New Year?

The festivity of the Chinese New Year is about a month away. Abundant food, family reunions, and little red packets called “Ang Bao” will grace Singapore once again.

These red packets are usually given during social gatherings such as weddings or the holidays. Its color embodies “good luck” that is supposed to ward off the evil spirits.

Married couples usually give these red packets to single people (e.g. children or work colleagues). Its history is rooted from the Chinese belief that you achieve the “adult status” once you get hitched. So, the newfound status comes with the privilege to distribute “Ang Baos” to those who still remain single or are younger.

Image Credits: Paul via Flickr

Image Credits: Paul via Flickr

Since Singapore is a mixture of different cultures, we as a nation have created practices centering “Ang Bao” gifting. It is not uncommon to have marriages between two different races, leading to traditional practices being modified or ignored. But aside from the Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Filipinos and South Koreans have similar customs.

A simple survey on TheAsianParent Facebook Page showed that readers usually give out S$2- S$80 to children in 2014. Furthermore, “S$4” was avoided due to its similarity to the word “death” in many dialects.

Ultimately, showed that economy and income status affects the money given. During good economy, it was common to receive “Ang Baos” with a minimum of S$6 each for children but economic recession urged its reduction to S$2 each. Since, economic downturn affects the whole country, there was no judgment in the amount you give.

To help you find the right amount to give…here is a concise “Chinese New Year Ang Bao Market Rate 2014” chart by :

As you can see, a red packet containing a minimum of S$2-S$20 is common to give for children, while it ranges to about S$8- S$88 for parents. Your in laws will not take it against you if you give them S$88 in the New Year. Lastly, you may give the same amount of money to your friends or colleagues’ children as you did with your own children.