GEORGE TOWN: There is apparently a proper way to hand out an ang pow – at least, according to one feng shui master.

The red packets should be given unsealed, so as to signify the continuous flow of prosperity and good fortune, said Mak Foo Wengg.

“If the ang pow is glued, it may be damaged or torn when opened,” he said.

So, if you receive an ang pow with a flap that is not glued, that’s probably because it is intentional.

According to Mak, the Chinese New Year ang pow is unlike those given out during weddings or the ‘pak kam’ (white gold or money given in an envelope during a funeral).

“For weddings or funerals, it should be sealed, as it is hoped that the recipient would not have to receive it again,” he said.

Other good practices, Mak said, would be to give out bank notes that featured even numbers.

“These are deemed to be more auspicious,” he said.

As for red packets given to elders, he said it is better to include a note wishing them longevity.

“The (appropriate) amount (of money to be included) varies, but it is the thought that counts,” he said.

For visits to friends and relatives during the festive period, Mak said they should be avoided on the third, fourth and fifth day, as well as on the 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th day, according to predictions in the lunar calendar.

“The first day is to be celebrated among closest family members at home, followed by in-laws on the second day.

“It is predicted that there will be conflicts on the third and fourth day, so it will be inappropriate.

“Just stay home to usher in wealth.

“On the fifth day, it is considered unfavourable to do any visiting,” he claimed.

Mak said it would also be good to use new bank notes to welcome the start of the new year.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Association Hall vice-president Ng Geok Chee, however, took a more practical stance.

“New notes issued just to meet the demand for festive gifting is unnecessary, causing a waste of resources,” she said.

She acknowledged that alternatives like electronic ang pow may be popular, but only with the young.

Still, she felt that certain other practices should be curbed to avoid wastage.

“How many people can finish all their CNY cookies before the expiry date?” she said.