Sunday, April 15, 2007

Yi,Er, San...

...One, Two, Three

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were having lunch (yes again, don’t you eat everyday too!!) and during the conversation it came up that two of them lived right above each other. The conversation went a little bit like: “I live in tower 1 on the 12th floor at suchandsuch....or I live right above you on the 15th floor....blah, blah, blah”. And you know what, nobody even blinked at this exchange because when you are in China the 15th floor IS right above the 12th floor.

You see we live on the 9th floor which is technically an 8th floor (7th for Europe since we start with ground floor!) because there is no 4th floor…. And why would you ask? Well because the sound for 4 (si4 四) is similar for the word death (si3 死) which is not really a good thing. Hence no floor 14th or 24th either. As for the 13th floor, well there is none either and that’s usually because of westerner’s superstition this time. So far I can understand, they have a lot of play on word or should I say play on sound in Chinese, but then that same night I was invited to a friend apartment on the 26th floor (the 22nd floor [21st for European] in fact because no 4th, 13th, 14th and 24th… are you still following?) but they live in tower…. 14th!!!
I realized that in our apartment complex there is a tower 4, 13 and 14 but never a 4th, 13th, 14th or 24th floor; which make me wonder if you have less chance to get struck by bad luck if you share it with you tower neighbor. And when you think about it you shouldn’t really live on the 5th, 17th or 28th (Chinese) floor since you would technically be on the 4th, 14th and 24th floor!!! (need to adjust one floor up for the European!!)

PS: 14 sounds like “must die”, 24 “easy to die”, 44 “dying and dead” and 74 “surely dead”… but 54 sounds like “not dying” so it’s actually a good number