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The Sunday Star reviews Walking the Dragons

Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Star

Land of Power
Take a walk, with 'dragons' in tow, through ancient China and discover the secret of emperors and presidents.
By Seto Kit Yan

This book is about powerful, traditional feng shui. The so called "New Age" feng shui nowadays, the more familiar, easily marketable face of this ancient Chinese art of geomancy - is all about manipulating the geomantic frequencies in your living space. But that's not where it's at, according to popular Malaysian master, Joey Yap. Walking the Dragons deals with the kinds of feng shui that produces generations of emperors, and builds powerful dynasties - or, in this day and age, charismatic political and philosophical leaders.

Click here to learn more about Walking the Dragons book.

This Guide to Classical Landform Feng Shui of Ancient China illustrates how the naturally majestic mountains and river formations in China make it both geographically and topographically a most vibrant and exciting land.

It seems to cover a wide area - from palaces to tombs and temples to immortals even - like a mouthwatering buffet spread offering tasty little morsels of everything, leaving the reader hungering for more. It's nice that you don't have to read it from cover to cover, but can simply dip into it wherever your interest is piqued.

It is perhaps strange to describe the placement of tombs and graves as captivating, but the way in which this book discusses such matters is really well done. For instance, one section demonstrates how the selection of an excellent burial spot (in feng shui speak, the "meridian of a dragon's vein") can bring benefits to future generations by studying imperial tombs and showing what caused the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It seems a fatal mistake in just one direction of the otherwise ideally located tomb of the fourth emperor, Qian Long (1711-1799), resulted in the dynasty lasting through the reign of only 12 emperors.

Equally illuminating is the chapter on subsequent leaders: how the location of Dr Sun Yat Sen's mausoleum does not benefit his descendants, how Chiang Kai Shek's birth place led him to becoming the first President of Taiwan, how the tomb of Deng Xiaoping's mother propelled him into power, and how Mao Zedong's birthplace and ancestral feng shui resulted in him being practically deified by the Chinese.

Then there's the tale of the intriguing village of Jiang, which has consistently produced high ranking imperial officers and ministers, even prime ministers, for centuries - the most recent being Jiang Zemin, who rose from being the Mayor of Shang Hai to become the fifth president of the People's Republic of China for a decade, from 1993-2003.

Another eye-opener is what makes Tibet a land largely associated with spiritual and religious pursuit; and the discovery of how a clash in Bazi (or birthdate) of the 14th Dalai Lama with the Norbulingkha (or Jewel Park) summer palace of Dalai Lamas led him to leave the country. Walking the Dragons would no doubt excite most Chinese history or feng shui enthusiasts, yet rest assured one does not have to be an expert in one or a practitioner of the other to enjoy it.

One major grouse, though, is how often Yap himself appears on the pages. Casual readers who flipped through the book remarked how the author, irritatingly, seemed to be in almost every picture.

That aside, this being a travelogue from a feng shui perspective, the pictures are excellent and illustrate each point brilliantly. Here it's true what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words. Readers really should appreciate not having to actually put on their hiking boots and walk the dragons to discover their enthralling secrets.

Perhaps Yap should consider embarking on documenting the feng shui of tycoons or entertainment greats!

Click here to view the article in full.
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