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The number 8 is 'No. 1' in China

posted 3 Jan 2013, 02:17 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 3 Jan 2013, 02:18 ]

2008, August 8 - the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

China insurance firm PICC's Hong Kong IPO: The first photo op was from 12:58 p.m. to 1:58. The IPO priced at 3.48 Hong Kong dollars. Note the eights?

And one of Disney's new hotels in Shanghai will be in the shape of an eight.

Once frowned upon by the Communist Party, superstition, including numerology, has been making a strong comeback along with capitalism.

REUTERS REPORTER, JANE LANHEE LEE

"Eight in Chinese, ba, sounds like fa, which means get rich. So people pay extra to get the number in addresses, phone numbers, and license plates."

REUTERS REPORTER, JANE LANHEE LEE

"Then there's four, si, which sounds like death. So, many buildings like to skip floors with the number four in them. Look here, no number fourteen, no twenty four."

But do numbers really change our luck? I asked Chang Sheng-shu, a master of Chinese fortune telling.

ASTROLOGER, CHANG SHENG-SHU, 

"Numbers themselves aren't good or bad. It's all based on folklore. For example, for Chinese people, nine represents the emperor. Nine with five indicates the imperial throne. Six is good, eight is good, nine is good, seven is good, five is good, three is good, so it's all good except four."

Chang instead uses one of China's most popular forms of astrology dating back thousands of years - initially banned by the Communist Party.

Anthropologist Zhang Jingwei says growing up in Shanghai, numbers weren't a big deal at all.

ANTHROPOLOGIST, SHANGHAI MUSEUM, ZHANG JINGWEI

"During the reform and opening up which began in 1980s, successful Cantonese businessmen spread their obsession with numbers to the rest of China. And the trend is definitely growing with the pick-up of commercial activity."

So maybe eights won't make you rich or successful, but ignoring it in China could put you behind the eight ball.


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