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TUTORIALS

A Fishy Story

Tuesday, March 1, 2005
By: Joey Yap

It's not often that I get urgent calls from non-clients literally screaming at me to help them but that's what happened just the other day.

It seems, a very agitated Mrs Chan had the unfortunate coincidence of having one of her fishes go belly up on her. She was distraught – not because the fish had died- but because she had heard somewhere that when her pet goldfish dies, it has literally ‘sacrificed' its life to protect Mrs Chan's.

“Thank goodness the goldfish absorbed the bad luck meant for me”, as she so eloquently put it.

I calmed Mrs Chan down first, reassuring her that there were no terrible accidents or falling comets headed her way. Only then did I manage to get a word in and let her know in no uncertain terms that her poor goldfish had not died in a sacrificial act to save her life and given a choice, I doubt it would want to in the first place. Simply put, that's not it's purpose.

Needless to say, Mrs. Chan was a tad bit disappointed.

“I thought you were a Feng Shui expert?”, she said, almost skeptically. “I've read in a few Feng Shui books that say it's good when a fish you keep dies because it has sacrificed its life to absorb the evil effects or negative energies meant for the owner.”

“This also you don't know wan ah?”, she retorted with a cutting colloquial slang.

Those who know me will know that I love a challenge. And Mrs. Chan provided just such a challenge on this sunny Monday afternoon.

I explained, as clearly as I could that this notion of the ‘sacrificial fish' was nothing more than an old wives tale. And naturally I'd heard about it, but fact of the matter was, this was in no way Feng Shui. It was pure superstition, plain and simple

A fish is after all, just a fish. Its main preoccupation being to swim around in your fish tank and provide the odd child or two some meager entertainment as they pass by the aquarium. It doesn't have any special, magical powers! And unless you happen to have some sinisterly magically endowed fish, there is no way it's going to partake in ‘absorbing' your bad luck.

Instead I recommended that she check the water in her tank or maybe get an expert to see if the poor fish had some sort of skin disease. I also suggested that she should perhaps get the water cleaned more often and the filter changed.

My short Feng Shui lesson over the phone seemed to calm down Mrs. Chan who finally understood and felt better by the end of our conversation.

The reason I am sharing this with you is to provide you with an idea of the many fallacies that often literally paralyze people.

It is the element or polarity of ‘water' that we need to use when an aquarium is prescribed in a Feng Shui consultation. Water is Yang and active energy - even when it's still, water particles are constantly moving. We use water to harness the Qi in the environment or home. The fishes in the tank merely keep the water lively and active; other than this, they serve no real Feng Shui purpose.

Furthermore, Feng Shui is not about having your pets ‘sacrifice' themselves like lemmings leaping into water. If you are planning on having an aquarium, make sure the water is clean and healthy for your fishes.

To truly activate Qi in Feng Shui, the crucial point to take into account is the LOCATION of the water or aquarium. It has nothing to do with your fishes, regardless of what types of fishes you may rare (again another fallacy being that Koi's or Arowana's bring you abundant wealth).

Kuo Po (believed to be the ancient founding father of Feng Shui) himself, in the very basic theory of Feng Shui, wrote that “Qi is dispersed by the wind and gathers by the boundaries of water”. Water has this ability to allow Qi to collect and settle. Which is why a good practitioner will recommend that his/her client position an aquarium or pond in the section of the house where good Qi resides.

So, the next time you hear a friend proudly declare just how noble their now-dead fish was, tell them this story. I'm hoping my article will at least go some way towards changing this archaic mindset. You need to be very sure on the difference between true classical Feng Shui and popular Chinese superstition; they are really two very different things.

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