Snappy solution to Adam Cheng 'curse'
Alignment of heavenly bodies influencing your luck or even deciding your fate is a belief that has been around as long as human beings. In ancient times, people believed movements of the moon and stars determined the future of their lives and welfare.
With the passage of time, these beliefs have not vanished, but morphed into modern versions. Now some people in Hong Kong think movements of television stars can affect their good fortune. Their worry centres around a film, starring Adam Cheng Siu-chow, to be released on Thursday. Every time Cheng appears on screen, these people get the jitters as they believe he has a face that launched a few market crashes.
While some link luck to movements of stars - a star of the celluloid variety, in this case - others rely on their own methods varying from carrying a simple lucky talisman, to numerology or detailed art forms like fung shui.
But complete faith in such beliefs can bring unforeseen results - as former Myanmar junta strongman General Ne Win found out. A great believer in the power of No 9, he decided to issue notes in denominations of 45 and 90 and banned higher denominations. Invariably this ended in economic chaos, with millions losing their savings. That led to student rioting at Rangoon University on August 8, 1988, popularly known as the 8-8-88 uprising. So in the end, the number brought Ne Win no luck.
Linking seemingly unrelated events to a time of chaos and misfortune is common. But even when things are going well, this happens.
It was not too long ago, in 2003, that the appearance of a crocodile in the Shan Pui River in Hong Kong was linked by some to a rally in the Hang Seng Index and a rise in property prices. The crocodile, which caught the attention of the global media, after experts failed for months to capture her, was finally caught in 2004. By that time, she was so popular she was voted as person of the year in a poll. Named Pui Pui, meaning "precious one", she now resides at the Hong Kong wetland park.
Now that should bring comfort to those wary of Adam Cheng's new film. If the markets start sliding after he hits the screen, as they fear, all we have to do is take Pui Pui back to the river to prop the index back. Simple.
Alex Lo is on leave