Thursday, January 21

Hong Kong, the ultra-modern city that avoids number 4 at all costs out of sheer superstition

  • Matthew Keegan
  • BBC Travel*


Many in Hong Kong go to the temples in search of teachers who can help them with their predictions.

On a hot and humid day in Hong Kong, Wai Li, a finance clerk, is visiting Wong Tai Sin, the city’s busiest temple, for a divination practice known as kau cim.

This popular practice involves shaking a tube filled with bamboo “lucky sticks”, numbered from 1 to 100, until one falls to the ground.

Each stick is associated with a story that, when interpreted by one of the temple’s soothsayers, allows one to glimpse their future.

Li kneels on a pad in front of the main altar, closes his eyes, and begins shaking the tube, while concentrating on the question for which he seeks an answer.

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