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Lai See Packet

Collaged red packets on paper. (2020)

For a really long time, I had detached myself from my culture. I think partly because I had only attended international schools in Hong Kong, I had tended more towards the Western point of view and lifestyle e.g. only really speaking English (even to my parents who would speak to me in Cantonese). I saw traditional Chinese holidays as ‘time-offs’ from school, not truly understanding or appreciating the rich history behind them. I became increasingly aware of this disconnection as the thought of moving to New York came closer, and now I’m almost hurrying to re-immerse myself in my culture (something I should have done long ago). Inspired by the upcoming Chinese New Year, I wanted to use red packets as a material for my piece.


Red Packets or ‘lai see’ 利是 are a form of monetary gift that is given during Chinese New Year. They may be given to bless someone younger with good studies or growth for the new year, or to thank someone for their service with luck, happiness, and good fortune. There are a whole variety of designs, and many of which including surnames (like mine 徐).

Lai See Closeup1.jpg
Lai See Front
Lai See Side_edited.png
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