Do you know why the Summer Olympics in Beijing were scheduled to open on 8 August 2008 at 8.08.08 p.m. 6 or 8 minutes and 8 seconds past 8 o’clock? That’s because the number 8 is another lucky in Chinese culture. The word for “eight” pronounced in the Cantonese dialect sounds like a word meaning to prosper or “sudden fortune” and is super-lucky to the Chinese.
The number four is considered unlucky because four in Chinese sounds like the Chinese word for death. Some hotels in China do not have a fourth floor. A few skyscrapers in Hong Kong have no floors with the number in them. So a tall building with a 100th floor penthouse might only have 81 floors because 4, 14, 24, 34, 40-49, 54, 64, 74, 84 and 94 are all missing.
” Real estate agent Imy Dulake persuaded the seller of this Arcadia home to get the address changed from 444 to 448. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times) By Ching-Ching Ni, Los Angeles Times May 21,2011″
In Arcadia real estate, 4 is a negative number.
Many Chinese buyers shy away from 4, because in Cantonese and Mandarin the words for it and death sound similar. A law allowing free address changes may be revived.
Pity the poor Arcadia couple trying to sell a house with a street number 44.
Most local buyers are Chinese — and for them, such a number can kill a deal.
That’s because, in Mandarin and Cantonese, the word for four sounds like the word for death. So 44 essentially adds up to double death.
Josh Grohs, managing partner of Sol-Mur Development, LLC, buys up Arcadia houses, tears them down and then builds new homes. He knows his market and the dangers of picking the wrong property.
“This property is worth $1.4 million if the address was not two fours. If they don’t change it, that would knock $300,000 to $400,000 off the property,” Grohs said of the owners of No. 44, who do not want their street name mentioned for fear of making a bad situation worse.
“No one would have thought anything of it 30 years ago,” he said. “Now it definitely, 100%, does not make their home that attractive.”
Twenty years ago, Arcadia dealt with similar complaints from residents about numbers when the city started seeing a dramatic rise in Chinese homeownership. At the time, like numerous other San Gabriel Valley cities, it decided to allow people to change inauspicious numbers — for a fee. But five years ago, it abandoned that program after city workers complained about how onerous and confusing the process of changing addresses had become.
Lately though, with Chinese buyers providing the only bright spot in a slow real estate market, complaints about bad numbers have been on the rise again.
“I don’t remember the last house I built I sold to a white person in Arcadia, except maybe for one,” said Grohs. “The only reason we’re not feeling the pain of, say, Glendora and Monrovia is because of the Asians.”
This month, the City Council voted 3 to 2 in support of bringing back the old address-changing program, pending a study of the costs. The council will revisit the issue next month.
Some of those facing numbers problems bought their properties many decades ago, before the Asian influx. Asians, predominantly Chinese, now make up nearly 60% of Arcadia’s population.
“If we can save somebody from taking a financial bath, we should,” said Bob Harbicht, the council member who first brought the topic up.
But his colleagues don’t all agree.
“There are 20,000 homes in Arcadia. One in four has a number four in it. That’s a potential of 3,000 addresses that could be changed,” said Councilman Roger Chandler, who is against restarting the program. “We have people who want to change the entire 1400 block. And a lady who lives in apartment No. 911 who feels it’s bad luck. Where do we stop?”
Supporters say changing building numbers isn’t such an unusual thing. After all, they say, when President Reagan left office, he and Nancy took up residence at 666 St. Cloud Road in Bel-Air but had the address changed to 668 to avoid the “number of the beast.”
“Many high-rises don’t have a 13th floor. It’s harder to rent them,” said Harbricht. “It’s strictly a business decision.”
Veteran Arcadia real estate agent Imy Dulake of Coldwell Banker tried to show a condominium at 444 W. Huntington Drive to Asian clients about five years ago.
“We drove up there and the buyer saw the number 444 and didn’t even want to see it,” said Dulake.
At the time, the city still allowed residents to change one digit of an address, but changing the number of a condominium building would have been too hard. Around the same time, though, Dulake got a listing for a house at 444 Oxford Drive. She persuaded the homeowner to get a new number, 448, which was an improvement because eight sounds like “to prosper.”
Armed with its new address, the house got multiple offers and sold within a month, she said.
With younger Chinese and very rich buyers from mainland China who pay for multimillion-dollar homes in cash, the number four is not necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s not preferred, said real estate agent Cordella Wong of Coldwell Banker.
“Psychologically, changing the number four would make the buyer more comfortable, and it’s good for resale value,” said Wong, who recently helped a client change an address in San Gabriel, one of several nearby cities where it is allowed.
As for herself, Wong says she once lived in a house numbered 2440. “Nothing bad happened to me,” she said.
Compound Words in Chinese
Chinese has been described as a language of Compound Words. An idea is often expressed in two or more Chinese characters. Multiple characters representing a single concept are called compound or compound words. The vast majority of compounds consist of two characters.
1. believe = 相 xianḡ信xiǹ
相 means each other or mutually
信 means trust
2. disfigure = 损 suň 毁huǐ
损 means harm, damage, lessen
毁 means destroy
3. degrade = 贬 biaň黜 chù
贬 means reduce, condemn
黜 means remove, dismiss
4. advertisement = 广guanǧ告gaò
广 means vast, extensive, spread
告 means inform, announce
5. famous = 有 yoǔ 名 minǵ 的
有 means have, possess
名 means name, celebrity
的 is a particle-word which follows a noun, pronoun, adjective, verb or phrase to show that it is an attribute of that noun, pronoun, adjective, verb or phrase.
6. American = 美 meǐ 国guó 的 de
美 means beautiful
国 means countty
的 means belonging to America or American
7. basketball = 篮lań 球 qiú
篮 means basket. Note the radical 竹 on top of 篮 which means bamboo. In ancient China, baskets were made of bamboo.
球 means ball
8. killing = 杀 shā 死sǐ
杀 means slaughter, fight, weaken or curtail
死 means death
9. defeating = 打 dǎ 败baì
打 means beat, battle, fight, attack
败 means loss, fail, spoil, decay
10. flying women = 飞feī 天tian̄
飞 means flying
天 means sky, heaven
The two words together 飞天 represent flying goddesses skilled in dance and athletics painted on the ancient murals of Dunhuang.
11. government = 政zheng̀ 府fǔ
政 means political, administrative
府 means office, official residence
12. massive = 巨jù 大dà 的
巨 means huge, tremendous
大 means big
的 is an attribute of the adjective 巨大
13. public = 公gonḡ众zhong̀
公 means official, public, state-owned.
众 means many, numerous, multitude
14. including = 包baōō 括 kuò
包 means wrap, surround
括 means draw together, contract
15. Yao Ming = Yaó 姚 Minǵ 明
Name of famous NBA basketball player
姚 is a Chinese surname
明 means bright, brilliant
16. superstar = 大 dà 明minǵ 星xinḡ
大 means big
明 means bright, brilliant
星 means star