Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Today is of course the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year of the second millennium. In Chinese culture the number 9 is pronounced the same as the word for long lasting and so is often associated with marriage as a symbol for an everlasting relationship. The significance of today’s date was not therefore lost on the 500 Chinese Malaysian couples in Kuala Lumpur who participated in a mass wedding. Nor indeed on a Los Angeles budget chain, known as the 99 Cents Only Stores, which paid the bill for 9 couples to marry in a famous romantic location.

In our culture 999 is of course the number we dial for the emergency services. Perhaps with a bit of forethought our “Less Than a Pound” stores might have been persuaded to pay for 9 unlucky couples to travel to their solicitors with a police escort in order to get an injunction and be divorced, as well as giving them each 99 pence. Okay, it was only a thought.

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