A large part of Chinese superstitious beliefs is tied up in numerology – lucky numbers and unlucky numbers. I talked about it before in Rich Chinese ; crazy things are done and large amounts of money is spent to get the right numbers and avoid the bad ones. Barry Li, author of The New Chinese: How they are changing Australia recounts a story of a Sydney house that failed to achieve the same ludicrous selling price as other Sydney properties, all because it had the street number of 74 (it probably still sold for other 1million AUD though). With different tonal inflictions, the pronunciation of 74 can easily become ‘wife dies’, ‘angry to death’ or ‘die together’, so Chinese buyers steered clear.
If you’ve read my previous passage on 80后then you’ll know that 90后 refers to the Chinese generation born between 1990 – 1999 (congrats on your Mandarin 101 Learning!). If I had been born in China this is where I would fit in.
Why should I read this book? What a good question, Barry Li.
This is the third part of my elongated discussion of Barry Li’s book The New Chinese: How They Are Changing Australia. The first part was about his parents, then next himself, and now me – yay! (I’m Australian, in case that point’s been missed). But please don’t feel excluded if you’re not an Aussie from DownUnder, because “if you feel you are surrounded by Chinese, or your life is impacted by the Chinese in some way, or you seek to profit from trading with China” then I imagine this book is also for you.
Here enters the second part of Barry Li’s recount. It’s the difficult one to do: critique and commenting on someone’s personal story, especially when it’s only just over three pages in length. I’m guessing we will probably learn more about Li from the rest of the book than just this section.
He’s 10 months old when he leaves his parents to live with relatives. He doesn’t live with them again until – I’m estimating rough dates here – about 14 years later to finish high school in Beijing. Is this normal? For an only child to be separated from his parents and live 2600kms away? It’s not uncommon in any case.
By Barry Li Two weeks ago, a Chinese international student running for election on the University of Sydney Union board was disqualified for bribery and graffiti painting on campus walls. My initial reaction was of […]