Ah, superstitions. Where would we be without them?

By Ian Chee - on 07 Feb 2016, 9:00am

Mars, or maybe even Jupiter, I suppose, but I digress.

Chinese New Year is around the corner again, and you’d probably see other listicles on what tech-related superstitions you should adhere to for good fortune, tip-top health and all that jazz. But this is the 21st century, and the Earth is a spherical entity and not a cosmic clay plate with puddles on it. So let’s have a look at some superstitions you were told to adhere to, and why it’s also probably a bad idea to do so, at least from the tech perspective.

Before we begin, here are some lions to ward off whatever bad luck this piece may bring. <br> Image source: Calgary Herald.

1.) Do not perform any form of cleaning/cutting

Be it clearing your inbox, getting rid of files and apps you don’t use anymore, or even your search history. You’ shouldn’t wipe fingerprints off your phone either. For some, this "guideline" extends to cutting as well, so no video editing or image cropping either.

Why you should do this: The idea is that if you do any sweeping or cutting away of dirt, grime, dust, hair, paper and whatnot, you’d do the same to your luck. If you need to have any of these done, they should be done before, or after the 15 days of Chinese New Year, or the first three if you’re more lenient about it.

Why you shouldn’t do this: No matter how much luck you accumulate, nothing is stopping stray tangerine juice droplets or the odd leak from boxed drinks from landing on your phone or something else that can go very wrong when exposed to liquids. Oily fingerprints also mean less grip on your phone, and they’re more likely to pay the floor a visit.

2.) Get yourself a new stash of apps

It’s the Chinese New Year, where people will want everything to be new. So go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and download to your heart’s content. Try pushing new boundaries by making sure that they are really new to you, as in you’ve never downloaded them before from any platform.

Why you should do this: You are getting new clothes, and your house is probably getting a fresh new layer of paint, so why not give your phone the same treatment? Get as many things new as possible in conjunction with the Chinese New Year.

Why you shouldn’t do this: If you’ve been adhering to the first superstition, you probably won’t have space to get new apps for your device anyway. Getting new apps – especially ones you don’t use – will just take up more of your valuable – probably limited, if you use an iPhone or any other Android device with no expandable storage – space for things that you’d want more, like photos and videos.

3.) Post social media updates in twos

Good things come in pairs. Double happiness. Phrases you always hear during this season. So do everything in pairs. Send an incomplete greeting and finish it off with a second text. Post half of something on Facebook and the other half immediately after. Send a half-tweet first and finish it off later. You even get double the character limit for that last one.

Why you should do this: As mentioned, you’ll often hear the phrases going about, so if customary superstition is your thing, then why not? Might actually increase your fortune quotient too. On the more practical side of things, your double text will bring double notifications, doubling the chances of the receivers actually reading them. On social media, you also double the chance of your posts popping up on others’ feed.

Why you shouldn’t do this: It’s spam. Spam is annoying. Annoying things usually don’t get the attention they command. Annoying things and their sources also get blocked or removed. Do you want that to happen to you? Or, if someone is spamming you instead, maybe you should consider such actions if you can’t take any more.

4.) Keep multiple web browser windows open

As many as you can, at that. Can’t do windows on mobile devices? Open as many tabs as you can then. Already the type of person who does this? Good. Keep it up, then. Double them, even. The more, the better and do so on as many devices as possible.

Why you should do this: The custom goes that when you leave your doors and windows open, you welcome the Deity of Prosperity and Wealth. The digital alternative for the door would be to remove any lock you have on your device.

Why you shouldn’t do this: Each tab of Google Chrome on a PC system has its own process when you check them with the Task Manager. Having five tabs open on Chrome takes up as much of your system’s resources as a Firefox window with over 30 tabs open, let alone windows. Multiple windows of any browser will rob your system blind of resources just the same. Don’t be surprised when your Task Manager stops responding when you do this. On mobile devices, well, don’t be surprised when it freezes for five seconds before you get to open the app drawer or another app.

5.) Set your mobile devices to never sleep, and never lock it

Basically, keep your devices lit throughout at least the first night of the Chinese New Year. Make sure the screens are on at all times, and at their brightest setting. You don’t have to be actively using them, just make sure they don’t get to rest.

Why you should do this: The custom of keeping every room of your house lit throughout the first night of the Chinese New Year is a sign of invitation to the deity mentioned in the previous point. So when you have another source of light, then you should put that to good use as well. Traditionally, you also light up fireworks and stay up all night as well.

Why you shouldn’t do this: For a few reasons. The first is, obviously, battery life. Your devices will last probably two hours instead of two days that way. If you leave them plugged in, then you’d still be shortening your batteries’ life cycle with the constant flow of power in and out of it. Next, there’s the screen. Be very surprised indeed if you don’t see any dead pixels within however long it is before you replace your devices if you actually try this.

6.) Avoid black and white

Avoid these colors like the plague. If your devices are of these colors, then cover them up in cases. Don’t have such a thing? Then get a replacement that’s of a different color. Doesn’t sound practical? Don’t use them altogether.

Why you should do this: The colors black and white are often associated with death and mourning. These things don’t belong in a period of festivities and everything new. You’ve had your elders tell you off for wearing those colors, have you not?

Why you shouldn’t to this: Simply because of its impracticality. These two colors are not only the most common colors on the devices of many manufacturers, they are often the easiest to match with clothes and fashion accessories of any other color. All these things considered, there’s usually no sense in avoiding these colors for the sake of 15 days out of 365.

7.) Buy every app or game you see on sale

There’s a tradition where families intentionally cook too much for the reunion dinner, so that there’d be something to eat the next morning. This is usually interpreted as a sign of abundance, in hopes that you’ll always experience such abundance throughout the year.

Why you should do this: In a way, it makes sense. You stockpile on games and apps while they’re cheap so that you have plenty to choose from for the rest of the year. If you’re being thrifty about it, then when you’ve gotten bored of the apps and games you already have and want new ones to play with, you’d have to get them at their full prices.

Why you shouldn’t do this: This abundance is solely a result of your own actions, not luck or fortune. Besides, if you sweep in every single thing you see on sale, you might end up broke before the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. Also, taking into consideration the paradox of choice, you’re likely to not make use of any of them entirely.

8.) Don’t have anything to do with books

This means if you see e-books going on sale, don’t buy them. If you have a pile of it already waiting for you, they can wait a little longer, at least until the 15 days of the Chinese New Year are over. They’ve waited for so long already, 15 more days won’t make a difference, right?

Why you should do this: The Chinese word for ‘book’ is the homophone for the word ‘lose’, as in to be defeated. As is the Chinese culture of taking homophones too seriously (the number eight being the best evidence of them all), reading books during the Chinese New Year period will mean that you’ll not only lose all the gambling you do with your relatives, you’ll be losing at other stuff in life for that year, like a business bid for instance.

Why you shouldn’t be doing this: Because books are expensive, and as such any time you come across one you’re interested in for cheaps, there is little other reason to not go for it. In fact, knowledge is power, and it is this knowledge that will allow you to win in things that matter in life. Like that business bid.

So yes, here are eight superstitions. I’d like to say for your reading pleasure, but there’s that last one that discourages reading. But hey, since this isn’t actually a book, I guess it’s okay. So read it, spread it around to your not-so-superstitious friends and relatives. I’ll leave it up to you if you want to do the sharing in twos. Just make sure you don’t share this to those who would be cursed for life by the color black, since that’s the color of all the text here.

And in closing, here's a dragon in case the lions weren't enough. <br> Image source:

And on that superstitious bombshell, adieu to y’all.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is the writer's own opinion, and does not reflect the views or opinions of, its affiliates or any other institution unless clearly stated.

Ian Chee

Ian Chee / Writer

Having given up his dreams of playing games for a living, he has gone for the next best thing: writing about them for a living. Or at least, whenever given the chance. Quite clearly a Japanophile, it's a wonder why he doesn't yet speak the language, although that might have something to do with the fact that he doesn't speak much in general.