Lucky numbers mean BIG money in China

Ages ago I wrote about the near-obsessive care Chinese people take to avoid “bad-luck numbers” like 4 and 14.

Then there are the good-luck numbers, most prominently the number 8, which in Chinese is “ba” which sounds like “fa” which means “to prosper.”

All of this is background to a tiny anecdote, namely that Sichhuan Airline a few days ago bought the telephone number 8888-8888 for $288,000 USD, which is about 2.33 million yuan. It’s going to be their customer service number. It illustrates just how powerful these superstitions can be.

Superstitions and feng shui and luck play an amazingly important role for millions of Chinese, even here in Singapore. One of my clients told me we had to delay the launch of his new company because the third week of August had bad feng shui (something to do with the Hungry Ghost Festival, I think) and the second week of September was the earliest he could do it. This is a computer geek in his 20s, not an old villager. Some traditions just linger on….

Update: In case you skip the comments, a reader referred me to this informative article on the magic of 8. Thanks, commenter.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

I remember the uproar when the San Gabriel Valley (Pasadena, Glendale, and esp. Monterey Park, which has a large Chinese population) changed its area code from 818 to 626. This article may overstate the case a bit, but not by much.

August 21, 2003 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

In college, a Korean classmate (a philosophy major, no less) had a vanity license plate – 888888.

On the flip side, my driver license starts at B118888. You would THINK that those 4 8’s would bring me some luck, especially since it’s an Ariozna license and lasts until 2036. But, nope.

Plus, you add to that that numerologically, I’m a 9 from my name, and that it was my people that began numerology, and you think I would have greater luck. But, nope, no winning the Powerball yet.

August 21, 2003 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

what about shoe pointing ..bad manners I guess and where from….

April 19, 2004 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

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