Auspicious numbers?

An advantage of opening the Olympics on 8.8.08 is that few will have wondered what hour of the evening it was likely to kick off. Wang Wei, VP of the BOCOG, told Radio 4 that morning:

Hopefully this lucky day will bring luck to the opening ceremony. According to the weather forecast, there will be light showers, outside the air quality looks a little bit misty, so I think tonight will be lucky.

An odd conception of lucky as far as the weather goes. As a resident of Oxford for 22 years, I sympathize when you live in a city where showers and mist count as good weather.

If 8pm on 8.8.08 is already ridiculously auspicious, then 8.8.88 is one better. (Seoul missed that trick, which is perhaps why their doves were burnt to death by the Olympic flame.) That’s the date, if you remember, of widespread protests across Burma – hundreds of thousands of Burmese chanting “We want democracy” and sporting the symbolic image of a fighting peacock. Human rights groups claim over 3,000 protesters were killed when the army opened fire.

So maybe 8.8.08 isn’t so lucky, if it calls to mind such comparisons – what with the trigger-happy Western media scouting for angles on the Olympics. And let’s not forget that the day in 2001 when China won its Olympic bid was a Friday the 13th – which means nothing to Chinese, but a lot to superstitious folks in the West.

6 is a similar story. It’s auspicious in China: ‘liu’ (the Mandarin) sounds like the word for ‘flowing’ or ‘smooth’. 666 is especially lucky. Not so in the West. Let’s hope this blog picks up that oriental luck, and occidentally – well, it can still be a devilishly good read.

1 comment

  1. aha! I was wondering where the six came from… Now I know! Wish you a good flow in the blog! – Bo

Comments are now closed.