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Strictly ornamental

Sunday, August 28, 2005
By: Joey Yap

Of late, since the launching of my 8TV - Discover Feng Shui program, I have been getting a number of questions from clients and students about, of all things, the Flower Horn Fish. All of them seem to have only one question on their mind - is this the ULTIMATE 'Feng Shui fish' for Period 8? A magical fish endowed with extremely powerful Feng Shui powers?

According to a breeder friend of mine, the Flower Horn fish, also known as Hua Luo Han, is a product of cross breeding of cichlids which results in the protruding lump on the forehead. It's an aggressive fish with bright colours and some patterns which seem to resemble numbers or Chinese characters on its body. I don't know how or where this got started but nearly every aquarium and pet store is now on the bandwagon - the Feng Shui Fish for your Feng Shui-ed home. Even some usually practical students have begun to draw their own conclusions and new theories as to WHY this is a Feng Shui Fish. Just that day, one student explained the hypothesis to me.

He said that the Flower Horn was a Period 8 Feng Shui fish because Period 8 is represented by the Gua Gen or the 'Mountain Image' (based on the i-Ching Hexagram) and the Flower Horn supposedly has a lump on its head that looks like a mountain! ( I am afraid to ask what we Feng Shui practitioners are now supposed to make of cows, goats and other farm animals that also have prominent looking 'mountains' on their heads - will they join the list of Period 8 mascots?)

In Period 7, the Arowana was the Feng Shui fish for the period as it looked like a 'Shining Blade' and Period 7 was governed by the Dui Gua (of the i-Ching) which is the element of Metal, explained my enthusiastic student.

He appeared to have derived his theory from the Flying Star Feng Shui Gua attributes. My student happily acknowledged this. "Yeah, I sort of figured it out one day when I was studying the Flying Star numbers - they seem to relate to the trigrams (Gua) a lot. So, I figured the elements and symbols of the Gua played an important role and it suddenly dawned on me that this is why the fishes (Arowana and Flower Horn) are so popular". I probed into this hypothesis a bit more, "Which ancient classics did you derive this theory from?". He was quiet for a while and then he said he didn't know if there were any classics relating to Flying Star Feng Shui and fish.

So, then I asked him, "You say the Arowana is a Period 7 fish, so obviously it's not going to be much help in Period 8. Will you be flushing the poor thing down the drain now that it has supposedly outlived its usefulness?". (Arowanas are also very expensive fish and can fetch a princely sum for larger very special varieties.) Let's set the record straight. There is NO such thing as a Feng Shui fish. If it swims like a fish, has fins like a fish and can breathe in water like a fish - it's a fish.

A fish is definitely an attractive feature in the aquarium but I must point out that any reference it may have to wealth is only SYMBOLIC and has no Feng Shui value to it.

Feng Shui, contrary to popular belief, is really not just about symbols. It is about real Qi in our environment. A Flower Horn fish is not going to be emanating any Qi from its body. Furthermore, how can a fish, grown by aquatic breeders, make you money?! If so, how about the Siakap or PaTing fishes you eat in restaurants? They're fishes too, don't they emit some Feng Shui Qi then? Unless you're an active competitor in Fish contests and win because of your beautiful Flower Horn fish, there is no way it's going to be bringing you abundant wealth.

Whatever symbols you may be able to see on the fish's body are merely its own marking and do not indicate any special Feng Shui powers.

"But the rich guys SWEAR by it", my student insisted. "If they're already rich, they can afford to spend the $10,000 for the fish and not feel it. Rather than adding to their wealth, it more likely massages their egos," I explained to my student.

All this about the Flower Horn fish being the ultimate Feng Shui fish comes from a wholly incorrect notion that 'water' brings wealth or another popular notion that fish bring money luck. For Feng Shui to ever be recognized as a true science, we need to clearly separate the study of Feng Shui from superstitious cultural beliefs. Though it's really nothing wrong to believed in 'Flower Horns', it's not correct to call this 'belief' Feng Shui. In the actual practice of Feng Shui, there's no need for any 'beliefs' as there are no references to symbols nor superstition.

I asked the student to do more research by reading up on some ancient classical literatures on Feng Shui. Needless to say, he thought that these books were only handed down by masters a day before they die! Again, I told him, that this is absolutely untrue. In this day and age, all the ancient literatures are easily available in Chinese bookstores. And you'd be surprise to find that NONE of these ancient books, talk about the use of Symbols or fishes as 'Feng Shui' enhancers.

Then why so much talk on Fishes and Water whenever the word Feng Shui pops up? Water helps activate the Qi in that particular area of the house and this helps you perform better and more readily take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. The fish is there to keep the water active and moving. (Because in the old days there are no 'pump' in the house and to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes, fishes are need). On its own, it does nothing to make you money! Keep in mind that it is the location of the aquarium that helps promote Qi in the house. If your aquarium is placed in the correct area of your home, then any fish will suffice.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that you should not be collecting Flower Horns. They are attractive fishes that fetch a high price and people are naturally inclined to keep them. By all means if you love to rare fishes, it's really an excellent hobby. But in no way should a Flower Horn be regarded as a Feng Shui fish or having Feng Shui powers.

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