This year however I find myself unenviably catapulted to the position of banker. Not in the God of Gamblers mahjong or card games sense of course ( although I get stuck in that role sometimes too ). Each year during the Chinese New Year, my octogenarian grandmother nominates an unfortunate chap - usually the eldest singleton - to take charge of her coveted red packets. Of course the singled out chap usually ends up the target of petty hate-crimes by most of the younger unmarried folks since the banker - like the proverbial Santa - finally decides the exact amount that goes into each red packet, depending on who's been naughty or nice.
Grandmother : This year you come back?
Paul : You don't want me back?
Grandmother : Still no girl? Not married?
Paul : You could import a few Vietnamese brides to cook and clean for me.
Grandmother : Find yourself you must. Old I am. *cough cough* Not long to live, want to see you married.
Paul : That's what you've been saying for the past ten years.
Grandmother : Hmph. This year ang pow you give.
Paul : Me?
Okay. I adlibbed the shades of Yoda with a pathetic off-the-sampan immigrant Chinese accent. In real life, my indomitable grandmother doesn't sound anything like a decrepit old woman and would be insulted at any such insinuation.
*evil smirk* But the important thing is this year, I have the power! And I'll be handing out red packets in my New year best - though not necessarily in dashingly wicked black since it smacks of bad luck!
By Chinese tradition, it's unlikely that I'll ever be the one doling out red packets - no matter how much I'd enjoy the giving - since it seems even more unlikely that gay marriage would be accepted into the vaunted constitution. Not to mention that I can imagine how Charming Calvin would balk at throwing away money, especially with his current financial crises. Unfortunately ( or fortunately depending ) due to some ancient unclarified taboo, unmarried folk simply don't go around handing out red packets.
Maybe I'll give myself a few more crisp notes for being such a good, good boy this year. At least it will distract me from pelted questions on my perpetual bachelorhood.
Of course ang pows aren't the only things I am giving out this year. The infamous Lucrezia Borgia is also getting some homemade arrowroot chips from me this year ( unless Charming Calvin finishes the lot on the way home ).