Lucky numbers and the 2008 Beijing Olympics

This is vintage China:

The 2008 Beijing Olympics will begin at 8pm on 8 August, in keeping with one of the nation’s lucky numbers.

Eight is considered auspicious in China because its pronunciation in Cantonese sounds the same as the word for to make money.

The Games had originally been planned to commence in late August to avoid Beijing’s soaring summer temperatures.

But Beijing’s mayor said the sporting festival would begin in the luckiest manner possible – at eight on 8/8/08.

Mayor Wang Qishan conceded it would still be hot in early August, with the temperature often climbing above 40 degrees Celsius.

They sure take their lucky numbers seriously there, as I’ve noted before.

The Discussion: 10 Comments

twas the night before bloggercon

Just taking a random walk through the bloggercon blogroll, hope to meet some of these fine folks manana… The Peking Duck comments on lucky number 8 and the Beijing Olympics. It’s so true…I proposed to my true love on 8/8/88,…

November 6, 2004 @ 1:47 am | Comment

It’s also inaccurate; 8 is pronounced ‘baat’ in Cantonese – if I recall correctly; my Cantonese is terrible – whereas “get rick” is “fat.” It’s a rough homophone in all the dialects I know.

Speaking of lucky numbers, I’ve long wanted a cell number in China that’d include “4646-5914.” They charge extra for lucky numbers; I bet they’d pay me to take that one.

November 6, 2004 @ 2:39 am | Comment

i saw a real estate ad in hong kong about this brand new building. the footnote says: there are no floor 4 or floor 14 in this building. but there is a floor 13 …

p.s. about 14 in cantonese — ’14’ would be read not as ‘1’ plus ‘4’ but as ‘ten’ ‘four’. in cantonese, ‘ten’ sounds like ‘sup’, which is the homonym to the cantonese word for ‘sure’ or ‘certain’. in other words, ’14’ is ‘dead for sure or with certainly.’

November 6, 2004 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Don’t know about Cantonese, but in Mandarin it works both ways – 10-4 “shi si” and 1-4 “yao si.”

November 7, 2004 @ 12:08 am | Comment

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November 8, 2004 @ 3:34 am | Comment

I think it’s inaccurate too. I remembered that mayor Wang announced the games would be commenced at 8:08pm on August 8th,not 8:00pm. huh, one more digit 8, more money.:)

November 8, 2004 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

4 in most Chinese languages and indeed Japanese as well means ‘die’, so Brendan’s 3 x 4’s wouldn’t be too welcome by most Chinese and Japanese.

The Japanese in fact have another word for ‘shi’ to avoid the ‘death’ association – ‘yon’

But I am surprised by Beijing’s play of the 8-word. For a start, a good commie shouldn’t worry about the significance of puns (baat sounds like faat = properity). Secondly, ‘baat = faat’ only means something to the Cantonese – Mandarin and most other Chinese languages (eg. Fujian, Chiuchow) do not view 8 with any auspicious significance.

Is this an inclusive concession to the southerners (Guangchow) by Beijing re the Olympics? The Chinese places great store in deeper (political) meaning than just the obvious auspicious connotation. Would this be one of them, like the ostentatious visit of the successful 2004 Olympic team to HK?

November 9, 2004 @ 12:13 am | Comment

One correction in 1st sentence:

“4 in most Chinese languages and indeed Japanese as well means ‘die’, …..”

should read –

“4 in most Chinese languages and indeed Japanese as well sounds like the word ‘die’, ….. ”

November 9, 2004 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

Jacky – the joke was that if read aloud, the number sounds like “Done for, done for, I’m just going to die!” Doubt that works in any language besides Mandarin, though.

November 9, 2004 @ 10:26 pm | Comment

Aha, thanks Brendan, I was under a Cantonese “captured mode” because of the baat/faat (8) timings for the Olympics opening.

November 11, 2004 @ 12:41 am | Comment

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