NTD $100 Luck

Benefiting From The Economy:

What Chinese tradition and fortune will tell you is that the hair cutting business is of one called, “golden bowl,” an old Chinese term, meaning there will always be a continuous flow of income.

(Photo, courtesy of CNA)  NTD $100 haircuts are gaining in popularity throughout Taiwan.  Shops that offer NT$100 (US$2.9) haircuts are seeing a sharp increase in business, as more people are trying to cut back on spending in a difficult economy.

(Photo, courtesy of CNA) NTD $100 haircuts are gaining in popularity throughout Taiwan. Shops that offer NT$100 (US$2.9) haircuts are seeing a sharp increase in business, as more people are trying to cut back on spending in a difficult economy. Photo, taken in Taichung.

What is better than a USD $5.- haircut?  How about NTD $ 100 (USD $3.-)?  No kidding!

>>>Funny, but unbelievable article in how teenagers in China were tricked into paying USD $1,700 for a USD $5 haircut.  <<<

It’s not the latest crazed fashion, but a bigger demand in current struggling financial times.  In Taichung City of Taiwan, one may find at least one NTD $100 barber shop in the local hypermarts.

The value-for-the-money not only held reliable clientele, but have recenlty brought in more, coming by the numbers.  Affected by this business, other local salons offer the same deal to keep their business.

Traditional Superstitions:

Indeed, cutting the hair and dusting the house following the Chinese New Year is a well known and practiced tradition that has continued for thousands of years.

The missing fourth floor.  Four, in Chinese culture is associated with death, where as eight, is associated with good fortune.

The missing fourth floor. Four, in Chinese culture is associated with death, where as eight (lighted elevator button), is associated with good fortune.

Why not?  Do you know that you’re not suppose to wash your hair on that day?  The belief is that it would wash away your good fortune for the year to come.  The practice of cutting hair is to discard and leave-off the bad luck from the previous year.

Tradition also says to spend money in even numbers because odd numbers (in cash) are associated with funerals.  $ 100 NTD sounds even enough for me!

Other Should-Nots:

Here is a list, just in case, for those of you who may not be aware.  10 Noes for the Chinese New Year:

A great fortune depends on luck; a small one on diligence -goes the Chinese saying. The average Chinese prefers the easy way to prosperity: leave it to fortune, but never push you luck!  Good fortune favors a clean house, so the family welcomes the Spring Festival with a complete spring-cleaning, a big sweep to do away with all misfortune. All sweeping is done by New Years Eve.

"A great fortune depends on luck; a small one on diligence" -goes the Chinese saying. The average Chinese prefers the easy way to prosperity: leave it to fortune, but never push you luck! Good fortune favors a clean house, so the family welcomes the Spring Festival with a complete spring-cleaning, a big sweep to do away with all misfortune. All sweeping is done by New Year's Eve.

1. Buying books is bad luck because the character for “book” (書/书) is a homonym to the character for “lose” (輸/输).

2.  Offering anything in ‘fours,’, as the number four (四), pronounced sì, can sound like “death” (死) in Chinese.

3.  Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck. The character for “shoe” (鞋) is a homophone for the character 諧/谐, which means “rough” in Cantonese; in Mandarin it is also a homophone for the character for “evil” (邪).

4.  Getting a hair-cut in the first lunar month puts a curse on maternal uncles. Therefore, people get a hair-cut before the New Year’s Eve.

5.  Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one’s own luck

6.  Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year.

7.  Saying words like finished and gone is inauspicious on the New Year, so sometimes people would avoid these words by saying “I have eaten my meal so that it disappeared” rather than say “I have finished my meal.”

8.  Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious.

9.  Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional Chinese funeral colour, or death.

10.  Foul language is inappropriate during the Chinese New Year.

Western Superstition:

There is superstition in hair, and even nails!!

A three-year-old ABC (American-Born-Chinese) is biting his nails.  Generally, this is psychologically and socially accepted as a habit stemmed from anxiety, stress or social pressures.

A three-year-old ABC (American-Born-Chinese) is biting his nails. Generally, this is psychologically and socially accepted as a habit stemmed from anxiety, stress or social pressures.

Nail Cutting: the discarded nails should not be left for evil spirits to find, a lucky place to bury them is said to be under an ash tree.  Some families go to the extent of not cutting their infant’s nails until past their first year of life.  Instead, the mother would bite them to prevent the coming of evil spirits.

Hair-Cutting: This became a culture of superstition because the Westerners, centuries ago, believed one’s hair as the person’s inner strength, as in the story of Samson and Delilah from the Christian Bible (< speaks about the virtue of hair, in the bible).

The first gathered locks from the infant’s first cut was carefully preserved from witches and past infancy, the discarded hair strands were to be burned to guard against unwanted spirits.

There were rules to this matter.  The hair should not be shaken out into the garden, as it is believed that one would endure headaches if a bird shall come upon the strands and weave into a nest.  Once this occurs, the only cure to come by is through the destruction or deteriation of the nest.

Funny Fact: some of these superstitions derived from North Africa (such as Egypt), however have since been more lenient from Mohammad‘s time.

What We Think We Know:

I was bound to get down to the centre of business and interview barbers and get a perspective into this matter.  I remembered having passed through Shuang-Lian MRT station and seeing the hair cuttery (barber shop), this became my destination.

(Photo, courtesy of wikipedia)  Inside the MRT from Taipei Main Station.

(Photo, courtesy of wikipedia) Inside the MRT from Taipei Main Station.

First thing’s first: why do we cut hair?

To keep-up with a neat, organized look.

To follow in accordance with the changing climate or seasons.

To adjust ourselves to the current market trends.

To change current ‘look,’ in effort to feel refreshed or anewed.

On average, each human carries 100,000 hair follicles.  The hair grown from our scalp, however, do not grow in unison, as they do in newborns.  Those of us who have attempted to grow our hair out past a certain length, are all too aware of this fact.  What’s funny, is that if they were to grow in unison for our entire lifetime, we would all fall to become bald!

(Photo, courtesy of pg.com)  Electronmicrograph showing new hairs emerging from the hair follicles of the scalp.

(Photo, courtesy of pg.com) Electronmicrograph showing new hairs emerging from the hair follicles of the scalp.

What may appear to us as random falling of hair strands, is really a controlled pattern.  To this day, the answer to this mystery is still unknown – but nonetheless puzzling.

Hair grows, on average, 1cm per month, therefore 12cm a year and 60cm in five years.  Waist-length hair is around 8090cm long, given the variation in length of one’s waist and placement of the hips.  Shoulder-length hair, from scalp to shoulders’ base, takes three years, at this speed.

Why do we cut more during the summer?  Easy: because it is hot.

Why do we cut hair during the winter?  Because the rate of growth and shedding increases!

With some elderlies, the hair growth-cycle, may be shorter.  The follicles give up their attempts to grow up to their potential lengths, and thus becoming thinner and shorter.

Social Value: Little do we know, back in the times of ancient Egypt, the royal servants of the court would tweeze every single strand of hair on the Pharoh’s head and body.  Ouch!

Currenty trend among the women as the popular Taiwanese singer and actress, Rainie Yang, depicted in the photo, here.

Currenty trend among the women as the popular Taiwanese singer and actress, Rainie Yang, depicted in the photo, here.

Following [below] are seven defined social values of hair throughout history.

1. The quality of hair signifis one’s genetics and state of health (hair growth stops with anorexia, and body hair becomes thicker and greater in numbers with buhlemia).

2.  While the amount of white (or grey) hair may be associated with the person’s age, he or she may become self-conscious and begin dying or hilighting to mask their ‘greys.’

3.  Male pattern baldness, is as well associated with age, but in old Chinese culture, is to signify a successful business man.

4.  Certain religious groups allow certain lengths or manner of hair.  Back in ancient China, varying from the changing dynasties – the style of hair and length would vary just as well.  The last dynasty of China, the Qing Dynasty (16th to 18th Century), the Emperors lead the society to follow the style of the queues (after the Manchu [Mongolian] conquer).

5.  Regular hairdressing, in some social circles may signify one’s amount of wealth or social network.

6.  The African-American afro was a symbol of racial pride (unique texture of hair, limited to the African decendents).

7.  In the 1920’s America, the bob-cut was a symbolism of female independence and sexual freedom.

NTD $100 in Taiwan:

(Photo, courtesy of yours truly, dated to Thursday, February 19)  NTD $100 Hair Cuttery, located within the MRT's Shuang-Lian Station.

(Photo, courtesy of yours truly, dated to Thursday, February 19) NTD $100 Hair Cuttery, located within the MRT's Shuang-Lian Station. In the photo, Barber, Jason, works on a long-time client.

In the interview, I had the privlidge of speaking with two of the three Barbers of the cuttery.

Lan: How long has this hair cuttery been in business?

Sam Zhu: This location has been openned sincee October of last year (2008).

Lan: Tell me about your business?

Jason: Since we’ve openned, the business started out with an average of 20 – 30 customers a month, whereas today, it has gone up to 20 – 30 a day!

Lan: Have you heard from the news that due to the financial crisis, people are turning to hot-deal barber shops, such as this one, in search for  the best deal for their money?

Sam: Yes, I agree.  The owner of this business was influenced from travels in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, where they have already started with the same idea.  I am one of the senior staff members here, and from what I’ve seen, business have picked up late last year to what I believe could be in affect to the financial crisis.

Jason: Yes, I believe that much from our business is in due to the financial situation.  Our regular clients have grown, however, in part due to reference, or word-of-mouth.

Lan: What are your average customers?

Jason: Definitely men.  They like to keep their hair short, or up to date with trends.  As for women, I would say about 30%.  As we all know, they enjoy having long hair.  I can say for women with shoulder-length hair, or longer, may come in once every two to three months.

Barber, Sam Zhu, greets customers in queue to purchase their ticket.

Barber, Sam Zhu, greets customers in queue to purchase their ticket.

Lan: Other than your speed of service, how does your cuttery set apart from others?

Sam: We have three staff members at hand so there is an efficient turn-over, and less of a hassle for customers in waiting.  Also, we offer a ticketing system!  You insert a NTD $100 bill, and out comes a ticket with a given number, but usually one does not require waiting.

Lan: I see, this is unique, and certainly attractive for business!

Both: Yes.  Yes.  It has worked well for our staff.

Lan: Tell me what NTD $100 offers the potential customers.

Jason: The amount is good for ten minutes, however I have not seen a situation where it has exceeded NTD $200.  Because we provide the service for customers’ convenience, we do not offer straightening, perms, hair-wash (shampoo) or colouring.

Lan: Is there a website one way visit, in reference to your service?

Sam: It is www.f100.com.tw

Lan: Thank you both very much for your time.  I wish you all great, continuous success in your business.

Both: Thank you.

Barber, Sam Zhu is skillfully at work with one of his clientes, as others [behind, left] are coming in queue to purchase their tickets.

Barber, Sam Zhu is skillfully at work with his client, Kevin, as others (behind, left) are coming in queue to purchase their tickets.

A read that placed a smile on my face, I will simply call it, “Only in Taiwan,” via TravelPod.com.

It may be well passed New Year’s, but with the current fluctuating weather conditions, it just may help (in more ways than luck) to cut your hair.  🙂

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~ by Lan on 2008 ThuUTC2009-02-19T16:57:55+00:00. 15.

4 Responses to “NTD $100 Luck”

  1. […] Beehive added an interesting post on NTD $100 LuckHere’s a small excerpt…one’s hair as the person’s inner strength, as in the story of Samson and Delilah from the BChristian/B Bible (#060; speaks about the virtue of… […]

  2. […] Scott David Foutz wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptFunny Fact: some of these superstitions derived from North Africa (such as Egypt), however have since been more lenient from Mohammad’s time. What We Think We Know:. I was bound to get down to the centre of business and interview … […]

  3. thanks, your article is very informative.

  4. Wow! great information.

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