Chinese Elevators Felix Wong

Can you spot what is unusual about these elevator buttons at the Noble Crown Hotel, which we stayed at one night in Wuxi, China?

Hint: Note what floors are missing.

The Chinese are still a fairly superstitious bunch (e.g., feng shui), so this actually isn’t all that uncommon. Here’s an explanation:

  • The words for “Four” (Pinyin: sì) and “death” (Pinyin: sǐ) sound the same in Mandarin, just with different tones. Thus, four is unlucky.
  • The number 13 is unlucky in western culture. (See Wikipedia for why that is.) On the other hand, 13 is lucky in Chinese culture, but I guess it was omitted to be on the safe side.

Speaking of numbers and luck, eight (Pinyin: bā) is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture because it rhymes with “wealth” (Pinyin: fā). Hence it is very desirable to have the number eight in one’s license plate. Telephone numbers and license plates with multiple eights in them have sold for ludicrous amounts.

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