I first became part of the workforce in September 1984 after graduation. Six months later I decided to buy my first car because having my own transport was an essential part of my job and the organization that I worked in offered staff loans at a very attractive rate.
After deciding on the make of car that I wanted, a 1.5litre Mazda 323 hatchback, I went to the Road Transport Department to see if I could book a nice registration number. On the RTD's notice board was a list of new registration numbers on offer... of course the really nice ones (the ones with only 3 digits and those containing the number 8) were mostly taken up. But I knew there would be some that would still be available, especially those that include the number 4. Most Chinese individuals (and probably some Malay folks too) would avoid this number because in the Cantonese dialect it sounds the same as the word for `die' or `death'. In other words, not so lucky laa...
I ended up booking the registration number JBJ 4400 and paid only RM200 for it. Four-four-zero-zero... die twice and end up being nothing... twice. How's that for tempting fate?
Over the years, I enjoyed driving the car very much. It was nifty and had reasonable acceleration power, or to use the common local term, got good `pick-up'. Some people call the 323 as Tarzan's car.... tree to tree, get it? It was my trusty companion on all the outstation trips to visit project sites. Before the days of toll highways, I was a regular traveller on the old JB - Air Hitam road of the Federal Route 1. This stretch is famous for notorious road accidents and I chalked up thousands of kilometres on this route on my trips from Johor Bahru to Batu Pahat or Muar or Segamat and back, mostly without incident. I say `mostly'... because there were a few near-misses, very near misses.
That Mazda however, did get involved in a few accidents... two of which were serious because the car had to spend quite some time in the workshop for repairs. But these accidents I consider as not my fault because on both occasions, my car was hit from behind. After 4 years of trusty service, I decided to sell my car... not because I felt unlucky with it, but because I thought it was time for me to upgrade to a bigger one.
If there is belief that some numbers bring misfortune, there would of course be belief in some numbers that carry good luck. In Chinese culture, 8 is such a number. It is thought to bring prosperity. Some property owners go out of their way to try effect the favourable fortune that such a number is believed to bring.
While many people do not believe in the influence of numbers on their fate, most people do have certain numbers that they consider to be favourite. The legendary Malay film-maker P. Ramlee is known to like the number 3. Madu Tiga and Tiga Abdul are two of his popular movies. His Bujang Lapok series of films show the adventures of three comical bachelors.
So, do you have a favourite number?