Archive for September, 2005

To consult or not to consult ?

2consult-or-not-2-consult.jpgBy now, many of you readers may have already caught my Discover Feng Shui with Joey Yap program that is on at 11pm every Sunday night on 8TV. On the show, I ask my viewers to send in their questions, so that I can answer them in the next episode.

It might surprise you that one of the most frequent question I get is, “How do I know what to expect from a Feng Shui consultation? How do I know if the consultant is for real?”.

This, I thought, would make an excellent topic for my article this week; what exactly does a Feng Shui consultation involve? Do you need one? How do you get one? And what to expect.

In Search of the Real McCoy

Perhaps one of the most troubling dilemmas is this; how do we know that the person we just hired to inspect the Feng Shui of our property, is for real?
The answer is simple. The same way you would look for a reliable doctor. You check their qualifications.

You ask for their background, their qualifications (on the subject of Feng Shui – what system of Feng Shui they apply), level of experience, affiliation and references. Just like you would when looking for any other service provider. There are many consultants around these days, so shop around. Ask and talk to people who have had consults done for references.

Tell the consultant why you are looking for a consultation; check if he is confident in handling your case. Sometimes an inexperienced Feng Shui consultant may not be able to handle a very complex case. And they will tell you. For instance, some Feng Shui consultants are experts in auditing Yin Houses (grave yards), but the can’t do houses. Or they might be experts in handling landed houses but aren’t so good at handling condominiums or apartments. (Didn’t you know that there are specialists in the practice of Feng Shuitoo?)

One the other hand, if you don’t really have a problem, if things are going really well in your life – you DON’T need a consultation. Undertake a Feng Shui consultation because there is an aspect of your life you would like to improve – not just to keep up with the Jones.

Spotting a Quack

If he steps out of his car looking like a character from an episode of X-Files, you need to be wary. Most Feng Shui consultants go to work the very same way you would – in professional office attire. He definitely does not strut out in flowing robes like he might have just come from a Jedi Council meeting, sporting an incense instead of a light saber.

The next giveaway is usually his advice to ‘enhance’ or ‘activate’ every sector of your home with some specific item. Conveniently enough, he will have most of these items right in the trunk of his car, or a large suitcase he may bring along.

In case you find yourself being the recipient of such bad news as, ‘your house is infested with bad Qi’ or worse, haunted and you will need to pay a princely sum to have it all fixed. And bad things happen to people who don’t get this ‘infestation’ taken care of, he will warn you. This is a typical scare tactic con artists deploy, so beware.

Another typical type are those who will tell you that they have created billionaires and that it is your ‘good fortune’ to have met him or her on that day. This always fascinates me – if a Feng Shui Master can create billionaires, why on earth is he still slogging away doing a Feng Shui consultation for you? Why doesn’t he just make himself a billionaire? I am more surprised by the fact that not many people challenge this claim made by the so-called Feng Shui practitioner.

What’s in a Feng Shui Consult?

A proper Feng Shui Consult will often first involve the inspection of your External Environment prior to taking a look at the internal layout of your home. If you’re wondering why, it’s because Qi originates from your external environment, it is NOT manifested inside your home or from any objects or corners inside.

Your consultant needs to verify where this Qi is from before he is able to determine how he will harness it to benefit your home.

Internally, he would usually use the Eight Mansions, Xuan Kong Flying Stars or Xuan Kong Da Gua systems of Feng Shui. (There are other branches of classical Feng Shui systems too, you can ask him what he practices). You would have seen him calculating or working with an energy map of your home after taking the relevant measurements and directions – this is also known as the Natal Charts of your home and may look to you like a tic-tac-toe grid with numbers in each of the boxes. Sometimes the calculation may look pretty complicated involving several trigrams from the Yi Jing (Da Gua) method of assessment.
If he comes right in, walks around, starts telling you about colors and décor – congratulations, you’ve just hired yourself an Interior Decorator. Not a Feng Shui consultant.

A genuine Feng Shui consultant will also ask for the date and time of birth for residents living in the house, or if its and office, the birth data of key personnel. This is used to calculate a BaZi or Destiny Chart. This is how a Feng Shui practitioner DIAGNOSES his patients (residents of the property) before making out his prescription (Feng Shui remedies). If you don’t see his analysis of your BaZi – ask him what method he is using to diagnose your problems – chances are you might not be getting the right prescription.

What Should You Prepare?

I do understand that many people fear bringing in a Feng Shui consultant because they might be told they need to undertake massive renovations or are forced to buy things that they don’t need.

A proper Feng Shui consultation does not always involve renovations, there are usually many alternatives that can be explored. It all depends on the skill level of your Feng Shui practitioner.
Classical Feng Shui remedies are usually very subtle, for example, changing your sleeping direction, changing rooms , positioning of water features or realigning your working desk. A good consultant will even be able to tell you what measures you can physically or mentally undertake to cope with the effects your Feng Shui in case you could not adjust your house’s interior due to constraints. What I mean by this is “actions” taken to fix a problem that might be evident presently or sometime in the near future due to the Qi of the house.

A thorough consultation should always be done in various stages. You meet up with the consultant to discuss your scope of work, he will then come to your property to inspect it, after which a summary of the consultation is prepared and you would then meet up with him again to be briefed on the findings of your property. It should take about two to three weeks for the complete consultation, unless there is a real urgent rush on your part.

Could a consultation be done in two hours? Of course, but expect a really rush job. With no proper report and mostly verbal communication on what needs to be done. Don’t be surprised if you forget what your consultant told you during the consultation. This is the reason why Feng Shui consultants today prepare proper reports and maintain documentation. You can even engage your consultant to work hand-in-hand with your Interior Designer or Architects, saving you the hassle of being the go-between and the risk of miscommunication.

I hope this has helped answer your questions, provided you with a guideline on Feng Shui consultations and set your mind at ease. I will have another interesting article for you next week, so do watch this space.

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Yearning to become WEALTHY OVERNIGHT ?

Is there a special Feng Shui formula to make someone Wealthy overnight?
As absurd as it may seem, some people think this is how it is. Or this is what they have been sold on when engaging a Feng Shui practitioner or when they read books on Feng Shui.
After many, many years of research, of studying and interviewing numerous Feng Shui Masters, having taught students all over the world and traveled thousands of miles – I have yet to come across this ‘miraculous’, get-rich-quick Feng Shui formula. It simply does not exist.
So, where then did this idea originate from?
Just as some people assume Feng Shui is about the décor in their homes or offices, so too do people assume that their bank accounts will grow itself overnight if they start to decorate their house ‘auspiciously’.
Here’s a thought to ponder – have you seen a Feng Shui Master’s name on the top 10 of the Fortune 500 list?
The fact of the matter is, there are some limitations to what you can do with Feng Shui. You are still governed by Heaven Luck (your personal, God given Destiny), which denotes the life you will have. Feng Shui is an art designed to help you make the most of your external environment to help you in your endeavours. Just like science and technology, it will make things easier to attain and get you closer to your goals in life but it cannot dramatically alter the course of your entire Destiny.
If you are wondering just what Heaven Luck is, let me explain it a bit. In the study of Chinese Metaphysics, a person’s life is governed by three key factors – Heaven Luck, Earth Luck and Man Luck. Imagine that you are on a voyage, Heaven Luck is the boat that you are given; you might have been lucky to have a cruise ship or may have ended up with a ‘sampan’ – either way, this is the boat you are given at birth. Man Luck is your efforts in guiding this ship – as the ship’s captain. This encompasses all your efforts, determination and perseverance to succeed – you choose where to go, how to do it and when you want to do it. Then there is Earth Luck – which is the part that Feng Shui plays. Earth Luck is similar to the tides and the winds that carry your ship – they can make a smooth sailing voyage or they can go against you.
The problem is, people have been misled to believe that a ‘secret’ Feng Shui solution exists to all the problems in their life! They just need the right ‘item’ – like the medicine to a life ailment they can’t fix on their own, maybe its financial or relationship problems, but they are often told there is a Feng Shui cure for everything that ails them.
Another question to ponder for you reading this – is there cure for every disease?
To a great extent, how effective Feng Shui is for you also depends on WHERE you are living, after all, what you are trying to do with Feng Shui is harness the Qi in your environment. If the Qi in your environment is the type that is supportive of your endeavours, then ‘activating’ the Qi inside your home becomes much easier.
But what if you do not have such Qi in the environment? Well, to be honest, there are then some limitations to how effective your Feng Shui results will be. This is because the Qi that is available from your immediate environment is simply limited. So, you will need to focus more on your Man Luck, change the way you approach issues and tackle problems, realign your goals in a more realistic manner. Feng Shui is a TOOL used to help you achieve your goals, but it is not an end-all to your life’s worries.
There is no real way to apply Feng Shui to become an overnight millionaire. But if you have a huge and sound business idea coupled with the courage to see it through, Feng Shui can give you the unseen advantage to make it easier for you to achieve your dreams and become a success. Keep in mind though – you first NEED A GOAL to start off with! If you are hoping that money will simply fall out of the sky because you have applied Feng Shui to your home, you are in for a sore disappointment.
I know, I know. Some of you are definitely going to bring up the ‘Water Dragon’ technique of Feng Shui that some people claim can bring you millions. According to popular understanding, this ‘method’ requires that you create a special drainage system in your garden to replicate a ‘Dragon’ aimed at enhancing your ‘Wealth Luck’.
This is a popular misconception. If you study the ancient book “Water Dragon Classics 水龍經” or “Di Li Wu Jue (Earthly Principles Five Verses 地理五訣)’ you’d find that the book clearly indicates that Water (Yang Qi) must be matched by the appropriate Mountain or Land formation (Yin Qi). If you apply just the ‘formula’ of Water Dragon blindly (like trying to make a drain to simulate a dragon in your garden), it is simply a recipe for disaster.
Everything in Feng Shui is about balance. Creating a drain and calling a Dragon does not actually generate good ‘Qi’ in your actual environment. I have come across so many people who fall into great problems as a result of their greed; trying to implement a Water Dragon with no clear idea on what it really is or does. Water Dragon methods are not based on Water exits alone, the appropriate LAND must first be present in the environment for this to work. But then again, finding such a land is not usually an easy task.
Conclusion; the next time someone tells you about get-rich-quick Feng Shui method – you can have a good laugh and know that you know better.

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Strategic Positioning

Not too long ago, I was speaking to a Feng Shui enthusiast who told me that he practiced Eight Mansions and Flying Stars Feng Shui – two of the better-known classical methodologies, primarily used for internal Feng Shui assessment.

I was quite impressed. Listening to him speak, it was obvious that this man was proud of his knowledge and eager to share it with me.

So when I asked him what would he do with a “5 Yellow” negative star, I was taken by surprise listening to his explanation. You see, this man had said that “we should put a Happy Buddha” to absorb the negative energy of the star because the Happy Buddha “holds a bag which would be able to absorb all the negative Qi.”!

Based on his statement, it is obvious that this gentleman was not able to differentiate the between original classical Feng Shui and the mixture of classical and new age Feng Shui. This is an apparent confusion among many today.

First of all, a Happy Buddha cannot and will not affect the Qi in a home. It is nothing more than a symbol of good fortune. The 5 Yellow is a type of Qi in the environment while a figurine does not emit Qi at all. As such, placing a Happy Buddha to supposedly absorb negative Qi is completely off the track. Using the wrong method will not create the desired result. Worse still, you could possibly be in for adverse reactions.

Nowadays, a lot people expect Feng Shui to be the best and only solution to their myriad of problems in their lives. Although this might be true to a certain extent, one must bear in mind that Feng Shui is not the only cure. The unrealistically high expectations will likely result in frustration. Feng Shui is a means to an end. It can help you in your endeavours but you need to know what you want before deciding to use the system. Otherwise, you will not know what system to use when there are a number of different Feng Shui methods that can be implemented.

Even in classical Feng Shui, different schools like Xuan Kong Fei Xing (Flying Stars), Xuan Kong Da Gua (64 Hexagrams Method), San Yuan (Three Cycles), San He (Three Harmony) and Ba Zhai (Eight Mansions) seem to have theories that are conflicting.

Different theories in classical Feng Shui can be likened to the different types of medical practices. They all strive to provide cures but you must know how to choose the right type of medicine for a particular disease. To get the best result, it is mandatory for you to use the right system and avoid uncertainty.

The confusion may arise due to lack of information and understanding. So, if you feel that you want to be better informed and thus, have an improved understanding on the subject, why not start educating yourself in Feng Shui. You can begin by investing in classical literatures to increase your knowledge on your (Feng Shui) Earth Luck. By having the required knowledge, hopefully you will be able to differentiate facts from myths.

For example, some enthusiasts assume that everything in Feng Shui is about the décor in their houses or the layout of their furniture. But this is not the case as classical Feng Shui only deals with the location of their properties and the rooms therein as well as the directions that they are tapping into. It mainly concerns the way of harnessing the Qi from the external environment into the homes through strategic positioning of rooms, door, kitchen and beds.

On another note, a lady who attended one of my talks said she met a Feng Shui master who had told her put water in the west while another master prevented her from doing so. Adding to her confusion, a third master advised her to place a dragon painting and “everything will be okay”. With all the different approaches, she wondered which was the right one. To answer this, you must understand that source of this confusion. The conflict arose because there is no clear definition of Feng Shui.

Many people are also still not clear as to the actual role of Feng Shui practitioners and as such, are clueless of what to expect from them. A practitioner that you have engaged may feel that he or she is practicing the authentic Feng Shui but this is not necessarily true.

In addition, those in the Western countries are today being inundated with what I would call the practices of “fast-food type” Feng Shui which, for instance, entails the hanging of flutes on a beam or putting Chinese coins on doors to resolve Feng Shui concerns. The practices of using ornaments belong to the new age Feng Shui.

Sadly, the new age Feng Shui constitutes to the bulk of today’s practices. And don’t be surprised if you find that the majority of New Age Feng Shui practitioners today do not even know that they are actually new age Feng Shui practitioners!

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Terrorised by fallacies

Lately, Feng Shui has become more and more a common term in everyday life. Almost everyone has heard of about Feng Shui or knows someone who has applied Feng Shui for their property. Needless to say, a lack of education coupled with this meteoric rise in interest has led to lots of misleading information and a great sense of fear in many people who are unsure what to do.

I get a flurry of e-mails from many such people, all in a state of panic or constant worry over something they have heard or have been told by a well-meaning friend or family member regarding the Feng Shui of their house.

One lady wrote in about a painting she liked that she had in her house, only to be told by a friend that the water in the picture was ‘rushing away’ too fast out the door. Another young gentleman was told his collection of antiques had ‘expired’ Qi and was ruining his relationships.

They were literally, terrorised by Feng Shui.

Many of these mis-truths and superstitions are often passed off as Feng Shui when in reality; they are nothing more than old wives tales. And people start fearing everything and anything around them, paranoia sets in – eventually making their lives more complicated.


I’ve heard more than one person say they were completely put off by Feng Shui because it made it impossible to do anything; even buying furniture or painting the house would keep them up for nights as various people had differing advice on what colour, design or even building material would bring them the ‘best Feng Shui’.

A Madam Ong who wrote in told me she wanted to paint the Southwest corner of her house (the Love Corner as she described it) a red color to ensure her daughter would get married soon – but was then told that this color would then ‘burn up’ the romance in her daughter’s life and that of hers too! She was in a quandary and wrote to me asking me what could be done in this situation. Of course she had nothing to worry about and could go ahead and paint the Southwest any colour she wanted. It was not the ‘love corner’ as she thought it was and unless the room caught fire anytime soon, there was no ‘burning up’ of any relationships to be worried about.

People are just so misinformed when it comes to Feng Shui. A large number of people tend to think almost every item they have in their house that looks ‘Oriental’ have a Feng Shui meaning. And they fear that they’ve placed them in the wrong sector of their home!

Why then do people feel ‘negative’ vibes when they have placed a certain item in their home? Simply put, it’s all psychological. It is not Feng Shui.

The item in question may have been sitting on the coffee table or hanging on the wall for years, but all it takes is one person to say it has ‘bad Feng Shui’ and very soon, each time you pass by, you are going to worry about it. It’s no different to the chain mail you receive, the one urging you to send it to 7 people in 20 minutes, failing which your love life is doomed forever. Naturally, some people will fall for it and continue the chain. Feng Shui, a respected science has fallen victim to a similar treatment, with fallacies passed around as the truth and those not adhering to them destined for a horrible life.

This negative perception that people have about Feng Shui stems more from a lack of education than anything else. By merging ‘housewives superstition’ into the practice of Feng Shui, they have created an unnecessary terror about Feng Shui and for themselves. My article is aimed at creating a greater awareness about classical Feng Shui and why you do not need to spend your life being afraid of the so-called Feng Shui taboos.

As I have mentioned many, many times before, classical Feng Shui has nothing to do with items or pictures or any other décor you may have in the house. It has to do with direction and location – the two most crucial factors in determining the quality of Feng Shui of your property.

This means, you must first inspect where your house is located in your housing estate area. What type of Qi it is receiving from the environment. Then focus on the Main Door of your property, on the Kitchen location, the Stove, your Bedroom and the location of your Bed. To a lesser extent, you might also want to consider the other areas in your home in which you spend a lot of time. If these factors are correctly aligned or positioned, then your Feng Shui is already good.

But where decorations, colors and other décor in your house are concerned, don’t be overly worried. Go ahead and do what you would like to without being constricted by all these superstitious beliefs and myths. If you like a certain type of décor, be it Oriental or European, go ahead with it. Should you like a particular painting or sculpture, place it anywhere you like or feel comfortable with. The items will not hurt you nor will they bring you any ‘magical’ Feng Shui good luck. It’s like buying a new pair of Nike shoes – they may not make you jump higher but if they feel comfortable in them, then go ahead.

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Copyright © 2008 by Joey Yap. All rights reserved worldwide.