Monday, September 10, 2007

Buying a phone number!

First day. At the cellular phone store.
I am there with a local translator, choosing a cellular phone and phone number. When I am presented with a notebook with hundreds of phone numbers to choose from, I cannot really understand why some phone numbers seem to be less expensive than others. “Because they contain a "4", an unlucky number for Chinese people”.
I already knew that luck played a big role in Chinese culture. A business will have its grand opening on a particular date, for good luck; the location of a future office will be chosen with the help of a fortune teller. What I did not know, is how entrenched it could be in day-to-day life... even affecting how much you pay for a phone number! A whole new world to be discovered by us, Westerners!
The end of the story is why "4" is bad luck. The reason: the word for "4" in mandarin sounds very much like the word for "death". Hummm, now we understand!

1 comment:

Cavey said...

hehe, yup. And now you know why the most expensive phone number is one with the number '8', the more the better as 8 in mandarin sounds like 'prosperity' ;)