Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Posted by metaphorical on 6 July 2007

In a comment, Kevin asks,

[My new phone] number was awful. It was so bad I’m not even going to list it here, except the area code, 646, with its ugly and unlucky 4 right in the middle. There were other 4s, and no 8s. Awful. And very unlucky.”

What the hell are you babbling about?

I can’t put a picture into a comment response, so this is a separate posting.

In China, and perhaps elsewhere in Asia, 4s are unlucky (they represent death, in fact) and 8s are lucky. Specifically for cellphones, on Chongming Island all the phone stores had whiteboards with their best available cellphone numbers. “Come and get one of these numbers filled with good luck,” the signs in effect say, “before they’re taken by someone else.”

Here’s a photo from one such store, taken back in January.

Lucky phone numbers on Chongming Island, Shanghai

While I live a superstition-free life, and don’t even have much respect for those of others, I do like having a number that others consider lucky, or at least not unlucky. More importantly, I do like area codes that follow the original rules for them, and I like phone numbers where all the numbers touch. They’re easily dialed and even though phones light up these days, they can be dialed in the dark.

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One Response to “”

  1. So do we call this “phone shui”?

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