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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Odd Men Out!

The picture of the elevator buttons is from one of the most sophisticated and highly technologically advanced buildings in the Philippines.  It is also where some of the most advanced scientific researches in the field of medical studies are taking place.  You would think that there’s no place for superstitious or metaphysical beliefs practiced here.  The feared number “13” strikes here hence, there's no 13th floor.  But why is there no “4th” and “14th” floors?



I had the opportunity of living in Hong Kong for a while due to projects that are required to be implemented on-site.  I lived in a condo unit from one of the tallest buildings in Hong Kong.  I was curious as to why out of the more than 70 floors, the 4th, 14th, 24th, 34th, 44th, 54th, 64th are missing.  Lo and behold!  There’s a 13th floor!

My Hong Kong friends explained to me that the number 4 when pronounced in Chinese means “death”.  Most Chinese builders thus, do not include floors that would have the number 4 in them.  This explains a lot.  It is also apparent that they are not afraid of the number 13.  But what about this building in the Philippines?

Here’s what I think.  The building primarily is a medical center of which health care is being provided.  It is a place of business.  A lot of their clients are well-off (probably mostly Filipino-Chinese), expats, foreigners, and celebrities.  I bet that the building is purposely configured in such a way that would please their clients.  If you are a patient who believes in these superstitions, you would not want to be treated in the 13th floor or in the “death” floor, so to speak.  I guess in this aspect, the medical center should be given credit for going all out including putting their patient’s mind at ease.  This goes the same for the condominium building in Hong Kong, isn't it?  Who would buy a condo unit in the “death” floors?

Taking advantage of a “knowledge” is alright as long as you are not hurting anyone, I suppose.   Whether it is a marketing scheme or an honest practice of beliefs, it is important to keep an open mind about other people’s beliefs and of course, respect them.

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