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RECENT MEDIA

Feng shui, schmeng shui?

Saturday, June 7, 2003
The Star
By: Lee Siew Peng

With so many feng shui “experts” out there, how do you tell the real from the ersatz? Joey Yap gives us a few pointers.

  • Talk to and interview the consultant. Consider the educational background of the practitioner and his references – all the usual stuff you’d check out when seeing a doctor for the first time.

  • Do your research. Education is the best answer to know what you are paying for. Firstly, differentiate New Age (usually merchandise-based) from classical (advice-based) feng shui. But even in classical feng shui, there are many schools of thought

  • Ask your practitioner about his background and training in classical feng shui: where they studied and what systems they advocate. (A few of the authentic systems of classical feng shui include Ba Zhai, Xuan Kong, Xuan Kong Da Gua, Long Men Ba Da Ju, San Yuan and San He.)

  • Ask questions. You should be able to get satisfactory answers to your questions during and after the audit. Your practitioner should be able to explain everything to you without using any mystical, superstitious, or New Age jargon.

  • The placebo effect is not part of authentic classical feng shui. Thus Chinese decorations and design motifs are not necessary. There are many historical documents and literature from previous masters from the Tang, Sung, Ming and Qing dynasties that can prove this point. Do not confuse cultural superstition with classical feng shui.

  • Contrary to popular belief, classical feng shui does not always involve massive renovation and decorating your house with items and “magical” objects. You need to be careful when the practitioner suggests that you use his or her merchandise to “solve” or “cure” your existing problems. Classical feng shui is done through alignment to “directional” and “locational” factors. Often, the design is blended in, leaving no trace to the naked eye.

  • Be cautious when you hear that feng shui is an “intuitive” and/or “symbolic” art, bordering on a religion, or Chinese mythology, and has nothing to do with science. There is an overwhelming body of historical documents and archaeological discoveries that prove just the opposite.

  • Feng shui involves four main factors: the environment, building, residents and time. It does not involve the colour of your clothes, the way you comb your hair, the make-up you wear, nor the food you eat.

  • Your consultant should do a requirement study with you prior to auditing your home or office. He or she should understand your purpose for the consultation and understand your needs and constraints before making any recommendations. Most practitioners offer a feng shui report or summary of their audit as well as a follow-up programme.

  • It is perfectly normal to ask for a no- obligation quotation for the consultation. Many professional consultants provide a comprehensive job scope analysis detailing what their work involves and how they propose to do it for their potential clients.

  • Feng shui is not a miracle cure, so beware of over-promising or exaggerated claims. In circumstances where it is impossible to implement feng shui changes or remedies, your consultant should be honest enough to tell you upfront that he can’t take the job. This is why the requirement study and initial job scope analysis is important; the client then understands the potential and possibilities for feng shui in their property.

  • Feng shui consulting is just like any other professional consulting practice. You need to expect some form of professionalism and integrity in the practitioner’s work. The mysterious sifu of old who gave advice without proper explanation is a thing of the past.

Ask for reasons; don’t accept excuses such as “My work is a ‘heavenly secret’ and cannot be disclosed.” You deserve an explanation.
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