I don’t know how this glittering gem of silliness got past me this spring, but here it is now: the town of Richmond Hill, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, has banned the number 4 from new street addresses (see http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/31/richmond-hill-bans-number-four-tetraphobia_n_3368213.htm ). Furthermore, the town council is under pressure to change existing street addresses to get rid of the offending numeral, and there is some speculation that telephone numbers could be next.
Why are they doing this? What’s wrong with the number 4?
It seems Richmond Hill has a large Chinese population; and in the Chinese language (Mandarin, Cantonese), the word for “four” is szu, and the word for “dead” or “death” is szu: and so there is a superstition that 4 is a very unlucky number. Actually, a Chinese speaker would be able to distinguish between the two. Nevertheless, there is a superstition.
Now, Chinese civilization has had how many thousands of years to think of some other word for “four” or “dead”? Why haven’t they bothered to do so? Were they waiting all this time for some multicultural lackwits in Canada to solve the problem by banning the number 4?
And you want people like this to be in charge of your health care?
Really–what happens if they get another influx of immigrants from some other place: say, people from the River Shribble who want the town to ban the number 2 because it sounds like the word for crab lice in their language? And is it only going to be minorities of a certain percentage of the population who’ll be so accommodated? Like, how is that fair to the one lonely guy from Mongo who can’t tell “beer” from “bier”? Why should his superstition be disrespected, just because there’s only one of him?
Government by dopes and flibbertygibbets, I promise you, is not going to turn out well.
P,S.: The link to the news article in the May 31 Huffington Post doesn’t seem to work. Sorry.