Sunday, 30 April 2017

What's 4-ever for?

Where's the 4th floor?
The above photo of an elevator selector buttons was taken at a newly-opened hotel in Bangi, Selangor. We stayed there yesterday as part of our weekend break to attend two wedding receptions.

When I looked at those buttons, the following possibilities come to mind :

1. The building/hotel owner is a very superstitious Chinese man.
2. The hotel owner/operator does not wish to lose business should potential Chinese clients decline to stay on the 4th floor.
3. The building owner obtained advice from a feng-shui master that the numeral 4 should not appear anywhere in the building.

I understand the Chinese culture of avoiding the number 4 as much as possible because in certain dialects, it sounds close to the Chinese word for `death'. But going to such lengths as to replace 4 with 3A on elevator buttons only serve to manifest the superstition to become a norm. Heck, staying in a room at Floor 3A still technically means that you are on the 4th floor.

To what extent would this practice be adopted? Would there actually be a limit?

Would there be no counter number 4 at banks or government service centres?
Things that cost RM4.50 would now be priced at RM3A.50?
Channel 4 on your TV remote control would now be Channel 3A?
No more meetings or appointments would be held at 4.00pm?

I can go on and on... but I'd rather offer a solution. Can the Chinese consider giving their number four another name? Call it something other than `ser' or `sey'. Something that does not sound like death? It would solve the problem. Serious.

There is nothing wrong with the numeral 4. It's all in the mind.


JohorMali said...

I have many non Malay friends and as usual plain discussion of certain issues, may it be religion or race, sometimes lead to unintended complain to criticsm.
When they questioned why Muslims or the Malays subcribed to perculiar taboos for not a strong reason, the above No Four thing surely put them in place.

Oldstock said...

Sdra JohorMali,

Yes, I guess all cultures have their own peculiar superstitions, Malays not excluded. back when I was young kid, so many Malay taboos are actually not in line with Muslim religious practice. Even today, some rituals done as religious requirements, are actually carried over from cultural influences. I've gone through discussions and arguments with Malay friends on this, which sadly or otherwise, bring out the true character of so-called pious people when it comes to the topic of respecting other person's view.

Anyway, long time have not heard from you sir. Hope you are doing well. I occasionally see your comment in AKJ's blog, if I'm not mistaken.