Eight Ain’t Enough

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: August 7, 2008

OlympicsPHILADELPHIA — The Beijing Olympicswill likely be one of the more controversial events this year given the desire for China to put on a happy face juxtaposed to the outcry over their human rights violations.

What some may not know is when a city wins the opportunity to host the Games, they get to pick the date and time.

In Chinese culture, this Olympic Games has even greater significance.

It is no accident that the opening ceremonies for the Games are to commence on 8.8.08 — at 8:08 p.m. local time.

The Chinese believe the number eight represents wealth and prosperity. In the years I lived in Vancouver, Canada, I can tell you point-blank some Asian folks paid more to have license plates with 8′s in them; and some have told me that in China people actually pay more to have a phone number with at least one 8 in it.

Also the Chinese calendar has 2008 as the Year of the Rat. While there may be an underlying meaning to that, the country is on high alert in part due to the superstitions.

The feeling there will “bad karma” if the opening ceremonies are interrupted by any pronounced protest of the host country will not bode well for the spirit of the Games; or for those participating in them.