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50,000 collectible Tainan train tickets sell out in 4 hours

A Republic of China Founding Centennial issue of 50,000 collectible, commemorative train tickets good for a single one-way ride from Yungkang (永康) to Baoan (保安), both within Tainan, was sold out in less than four hours yesterday.

A college student, who had been standing in a line for 73 hours, bought the one numbered 0000, the first ticket sold at the Yungkang Station when the sale began at 8 a.m. He also bought the No. 0000 ticket on Jan. 1 this year. Many people who stood in line to buy the ticket yesterday were people born on Oct. 10, who considered the ticket a very special birthday present for themselves.

Wang You-jen (王宥壬), a sophomore at Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, broadcast the new on Facebook, calling his purchase of the ticket “mission accomplished,” after which he would go home and hit the sack immediately after two sleepless nights.

Tickets for rides between the two stations have long been regarded as something of an amulet. The two Chinese characters designating the point of departure, in this case 永康 and the two other designating the destination, in this case 保安, are arranged horizontally, from left to right. But if they are read vertically, also from left to right, they would become a phrase meaning “keeping you healthy and safe for ever.”

The special train tickets for Oct. 10, 2011, the centenary of R.O.C. founding, are considered an especially hot item, especially the ones numbered 0000 and 1010. The added message “keeping you safe and healthy, a blissful centenary” is printed on the back of each R.O.C. founding centenary ticket.

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