Food for Thought20 Jan 2011 01:56 pm
In Chinese communities around the world, eight is considered the most fortuitous of numbers, and is a much-coveted status symbol for addresses, phone numbers and bank accounts. In fact, the Chinese have revered the number eight as the most fortuitous of numbers for centuries, as it is supposed to portend a prosperous future. In fact, a personal license plate flush with eights in Hong Kong can cost millions of dollars. Thus, even a single eight on a license plate can confer status on its owner, because people assume they had to pay through the nose to get it.
The main reason has to do with the pronunciation of the word for the number 8 in China. It is pronounced “ba” and sounds like the word for prosperity, which is pronounced “fa”. Another reason why the number 8 could be considered lucky is because it is a perfect symmetrical shape. You can cut the number 8 in half vertically or horizontally, and both halves mirror themselves perfectly. Perfect symmetry lends itself to perfect balance. In Chinese Astrology, perfect balance is considered the ideal.
The Chinese obsession with the number eight cannot be overstated and frankly borders on the insane. A few examples:
• A telephone number of all eights was sold for $270,723.00 in Chengdu, China;
• The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm (local time);
• A man in Hangzhou offered to sell his license plate reading A88888 for RMB 1.12 million (roughly $164,000.00);
• The Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia each have 88 Floors;
• The KLM route from Hong Kong to Amsterdam is Flight KL888;
• The United Airlines route from San Francisco to Beijing is Flight 888;
• Dragon Fish Industry in Singapore, a breeder of rare Asian Arowanas (which are “lucky fish” themselves, and, being a rare species, are required to be microchipped), makes sure to use numbers with plenty of eights in their microchip tag numbers, and appears to reserve particular numbers especially rich in eights and sixes (e.g. 702088880006688) for particularly valuable specimens.
• On the date 08/08/08 there were a record number of weddings, even surpassing the number of weddings on 07/07/07.
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