Archive for November, 2006

Right Way to Handle Sha Qi

I hope you all found last week’s article informative and helpful in figuring out how to undertake a basic Feng Shui audit of a property and helping you visualise some of the basic elements of Feng Shui such as the Bright Hall, the Mountains and the Water.

One of my earliest articles was about how people are easily frightened by Sha Qi, to the extent that everything sharp and pointy becomes a Feng Shui bogeyman. While identifying Sha Qi in an area is important, you can’t really expect to live in a civilised place without some kind of pointy or sharp object somewhere in the vicinity of your property. So it is all a matter of knowing what you are looking at, and being able to make a judgment call on the Sha Qi in question.

Consider Distance

Busy roads can be considered Sha Qi, especially if they cut in front of the house, or the property is located on the ‘blade’ of the road, meaning, the curve of the road points at the property rather than embraces it. However, there’s no need to panic if such a road is located far away from your property. If you have a busy, fast moving road 2 metres from your house, or the road curves into your house right at the front gate, then you may have a problem. But if this road is a distance away and only visible if you really look for it, then you don’t really have a serious Sha Qi problem. Immediacy is what concerns us when it comes to Sha Qi.

curved-road.jpg

road-below.jpg

Take a look at these pictures. These roads are quite close to the property that I audited some time ago. But these roads do not create a Sha Qi problem for two reasons: firstly, they are quite far and also more importantly, they are not actually visible from the property. Hence, the property is not affected by these negative features because they are too far away to be of significance.

Does the Qi really Sha?

Sometimes, you can have a tall or menacing feature in the vicinity, like a water tower, of the variety in the picture below. Now, most people will think - aha! Sha Qi. And then they will think they must avoid buying a house near this feature or where the feature is visible. A tall high pointy structure can be Sha Qi but in some instances, it can also be a positive form. For example, this Water Tower here, rather than emitting Sha Qi, actually functions as a Regulating Mountain (Shui Kou Sha), which guards and locks the watermouth and prevents Qi from escaping.

water-tower.jpg

Whenever you are looking at a structure and trying to determine if it is Sha Qi, don’t always go on pointy and sharp alone. Otherwise, we’d all have to stop using pens, avoid eating with chopsticks and hide our fingers in mittens. An object that emits Sha Qi is usually one that not only has sharp and pointy features but also looks menacing. Now, if you look at an electrical pylon, and compare it to the water tower, I’m sure you can see what I mean about ‘looking menacing’.

What’s the Sha Qi pointing at?

At the entrance to the property I audited, which I discussed in last week’s article, I saw this.

corner-of-pillar-with-stair.jpg

Now, you might be wondering: is it the staircase that is bad? Or the sharp corner? Those of you who voted sharp corner, you are right. That’s where the Sha Qi problem is. The staircase is not Sha Qi but in fact is a formation known as Cascading Water (Zhun Tian Shui), and is a positive form. The sharp corner is a problem that warrants attention because it points at the Main Door of the house. As a rule, if you are looking at a Sha Qi that affects a particular sector of the house, versus a Sha Qi that affects the Main Door, the Sha Qi problem at the Main Door is a bigger headache and warrants more attention. This is because if Qi is obstructed at the Main Door, or is negatively affected at the Main Door, then it doesn’t matter how good (or bad) the rest of the house might be - the house is already starting out in a negative equity position, from the Feng Shui point of view. Of course, when the negative star like #5 Yellow flies in a particular year, this might pose a problem.

What happens if there is a Sha Qi but it doesn’t affect the Main Door? If you are a little more knowledgeable about Feng Shui, you can check which sector is affected by the Sha Qi and then by determining which Gua corresponds with that sector, find out if a family member will be affected. For example, let’s say, the sector Dui (west) is affected by the Sha Qi. Dui, amongst other things, represents the youngest daughter. So if your family has no girls and only boys, then the Sha Qi does not present a problem to your family members.

I hope the process I have outlined this week and last week give you some idea of how to find a good Feng Shu property and that the pictures have been helpful in allowing you to visualise some of the key positive Feng Shui features and negative Feng Shui features, that can be found in an environment. I hope this helps those of you who have a keen interest in Feng Shui, screen your own properties.

Of course, when you Feng Shui It Yourself, it may not be as good as compared to a complete professional audit, where the consultant will also look at the direction of the Main Entrance (if it is a gated community or enclosed housing area), ensure conformity to Direct and Indirect Spirit principles in the macro and micro environment and personalise the Feng Shui to you and your family members. But remember, doing something is better than doing nothing.

If you can’t afford a Feng Shui consultation, do what you can. You may not be able to find a superb property, but you can avoid an unfavourable location. Ultimately, Feng Shui is very simple - avoid the Sha Qi, find the Sheng Qi. If you can do the first one, you’re 50% there already! If you can do both, then you’re definitely already putting yourself in an advantaged position, Feng Shui wise!


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A picture guide to Feng Shui

People are often curious about how a Feng Shui audit is done, partly because by understanding how a professional consultant approaches his task, it is easier for the layperson to gauge the extent to which they can undertake the same task themselves. How else can you learn how to ‘Feng Shui It Yourself’ but by seeing how it is done by a professional? I always say to my students, do not be worried about what you cannot do – focus on what you can. So keep that in mind as you read through this article. Using Feng Shui is more than just hiring a Feng Shui master – it is about being committed to helping yourself and using Feng Shui as a tool to achieve that end.

Hence, today’s article will share with you the ‘trade secrets’ on how Feng Shui consultants go about auditing a property and evaluating a property, to determine if it is good, or not good. To help you ‘see’ the Feng Shui, I have also included several pictures of the area.

See Mountains

 mountain-picture.jpg

Often people say they cannot see mountains (or Dragons) in their area. So, here is a picture of mountains taken in vicinity to the house I audited recently. The first picture is a “Jue Men” Huge Door Mountain. The second mountain in the vicinity, is a “Tan Lang” Greedy Wolf Mountain. Now, I won’t go into the specifics of where these forms ideally should be as there are complex formulas dealing with these issues. For now, focus on looking for an area or house, with mountains like these, which do not emit vicious Qi but are pleasant and noble looking. These are the faciliators of Qi in our natural environment. Preferably, the front mountain or “An Shan” Table Mountain should not be too high - an easy way to find out is to stand at the Main Door, and extend your hand naturally. If the mountain is higher than your extended hand, it’s too high. The mountain at the rear should have 3 ‘layers’ - meaning, mountain ranges extending behind the nearest mountain, but if pressed, just make sure there is a higher mountain at the area or higher ground at least. Where these natural features are found, there would be circulation of positive Qi.

Look for the Bright Hall

Generally, we want a nice big broad area in front of the house, to act as a Ming Tang or Bright Hall, to collect the Qi. The ideal is to have three layers of Bright Halls, so that one conforms to the “San Fen San He” Three Harmony Three Divide principle of Feng Shui. Take a look at these pictures.

external-bright-hall.jpg

Firstly, between the mountain range in front of the house, and the house, there is a large Bright Hall, and then a smaller one inside the larger Bright Hall. So where’s the third? It’s in front of the house. Now, look at the house in the pictures below.

house-bright-hall.jpg

Notice that this house has a broad, wide and high space in the front? Now, when you have a nice broad Bright Hall in the macro environment, we want to ‘mimic’ this in the micro environment, as represented by the property itself. A house with a tight Bright Hall squeezes the Qi. Also, if the Main Door itself is a little high, this makes it hard for Qi to enter the property. However, this can easily be rectified and furthermore, the overall environment is still good. So the owner of such a house can benefit from the Qi, but perhaps will find it is a modicum harder, because he’s not getting all of the Sheng Qi due to the tight entrance.

Find the Water - Look at the Roads

Now, the perfect environment in Feng Shui requires a mixture of both the Yin and the Yang. When mountains are present, the Yin element of the environment is already there. So, next we must look for Water or the Yang element. Remember, Qi gathers at the boundaries of Water. Roads act as carriers of Qi in the modern world that we live in. So, look at the roads in the area. A little bit of detail-consciousness is required, especially when the tilt of angle of the roads is very subtle. But if you look hard, you can see it.

sloping-road.jpg

This is the picture of the road coming into House 1. See how the road meanders down and is not a sudden steep incline? Then as it reaches the level of the house, it curves gently. Qi has gathered here. So all the owner has to do is tap the Qi, either by opening a door or adjusting the position of the house gate to tap the Qi.

The house in the picture also taps into the Qi brought down by the roads, from higher ground. Again, notice that the roads meander down from higher ground, and do not incline steeply. Qi likes to meander and move slowly, and not gush down the road; otherwise, it becomes Sha Qi. Now, this house has the advantage of a broad Bright Hall, so the owner just has to open the main gate at the correct angle to tap the Qi.

In my next article, I’ll talk about how to handle Sha Qi in a house audit, using the same example.


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Where’s the beef?

One day, while visiting my favourite ginger and spring onion fried beef and Gong Foo Chow (Cantonese Fried noodles) restaurant Soo Kee, in Jalan Imbi, I had an inspired moment. I’m always looking for new ideas and material for my column - my friends of course never fail to remind me that my readers are always hungry for more new interesting information from me every week, even though I can’t imagine how it is possible to be boring with so many things about Classical Feng Shui to write about!

So in the vein of staying interesting, this week’s article is a little different because I will be talking about the Feng Shui of a real place. Usually in my articles, the examples are often hypothetical so it can sometimes be difficult for readers to ‘see’ the Feng Shui as it were. By talking about the Feng Shui of a real place, it makes it easier not just for people to see the Feng Shui and how it works, but to go to the place and see it with their own eyes. Just as I always tell my students that ‘Walking the Mountains’ is an integral part of any Feng Shui education, so for laypersons and enthusiasts of Feng Shui, hearing the theoretical explanation, and then seeing the actual place, makes it easier to understand how the nuts and bolts of Feng Shui work.

Most of you might have wondered why it is that certain restaurants or businesses seemed to have boomed in one place, but failed in another. Or why is it that one business can succeed in a particular location, but the next tenant doesn’t achieve the same effect, despite being at the same location and sometimes even, doing the same business!

The ability of a business to succeed in a certain location is often attributed to the ‘Feng Shui’ but often, no one knows ‘what’ this Feng Shui actually is. In business, Feng Shui is like an invisible edge over your competitors - it is there, but no one really knows what it is or what it looks like. Of course, this sometimes leads to ridiculous situations where business owners refuse to touch any part of their property (for upgrading or renovation purposes for example) in the belief that it will muck the Feng Shui.

It is also with this in mind that I have decided to write about real locations and their Feng Shui setup. While it is true that Feng Shui can play a part in the ability of a business to succeed or do well, it is important to know ‘why’ the Feng Shui of a location is working and why it benefits a particular type of business, and not just buy into the ‘good Feng Shui’ statement blindly.

Find the Qi, Collect the Qi, Tap the Qi

My favourite fried beef and Cantonese noodles restaurant, Soo Kee, is a good illustration of how Feng Shui works in a business context or environment.

The proprietor of Soo Kee is Jasmine Hon - she runs the business together with her sister Jessica. Across the road, is another family restaurant, run by their brother. Soo is not the family name, but is in fact her father’s name. The family surname is Hon. The late Mr Hon Soo came to Malaysia at the end of the 2nd world war, and had been known for his fried beef and noddles, and teaching his daughters and sons the technique of good ‘wok hei’ and passing down the cooking secrets all these years. The Soo Kee business has moved three times since Mr Hon Soo started it, from their original location in Jalan Silang (now known as Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin where it was known as Tai Shue Tau the restaurant under the big tree!), to a location near Guangdong Bank, behind Isetan, and then to the shop opposite its current location. In 1987, the business moved across the road to where it has stayed till today. I have, on different occasions, visited Soo Kee for lunch, dinner and supper and it’s always busy and full of customers. Of course, the excellent fried beef and noodles is one reason but we all know of restaurants with great food that couldn’t survive. Here’s where a little Feng Shui help comes in.

The basic principle behind Feng Shui is simple enough. Find the Qi, collect the Qi, and then tap the Qi. To find the Qi, one must first identify the sources of the Qi or the Qi mouths. This is the direction in which the Qi enters an area. Next, the Qi must be allowed to settle or collect - this requires a Ming Tang or Bright Hall. Finally, once an area has Qi entering it, and the Qi has a means to collect, it is simply a matter of opening a suitable door (or doors as it were) to collect and bring in the Qi.

open-land-area-2new.jpg

Soo Kee Restaurant is located in Jalan Imbi, at a corner lot. The first thing you will notice about the restaurant is that squarely in front of it, is a little miniature park as it were. This little park is extremely important - it functions as a Bright Hall or Ming Tang, to enable the collection of the Qi. What is the source of Qi then that collects at this Bright Hall? Look at the road in the picture. You will notice it curves gently towards the restaurant - in fact, if you sit inside the restaurant, you can see how the road brings the Qi towards the area just in front of the restaurant. In addition, there is a secondary Qi mouth that brings in Qi from the left hand side, from the main Jalan Imbi. If you drive towards Soo Kee, from Jalan Imbi, you will notice that you are always travelling on an incline. Jalan Imbi itself is located at a lower level compared to Jalan Bukit Bintang. And Soo Kee itself is on a slightly lower tier, from the main Jalan Imbi. In classical Feng Shui this is known as Descending Water formation. So the Qi flows from Jalan Bukit Bintang, down the road next to Sungai Wang (which incidentally, thanks to a well-located Main Door, is scooping up the Qi as well, hence it’s prosperity till this day!) onto Jalan Imbi, and then meanders its way down and around, following the roads, to settle in the Bright Hall right in front of Soo Kee Restaurant!

All the proprietors had to do was open a door to receive the Qi. And that is exactly what they did. There are 3 doors in Soo Kee Restaurant but the largest door or entrance, coincidentally, is the one that is located exactly at the point where the Qi enters the area. Feng Shui is really that simple - find the Qi, make sure it has a place to collect, and then open the right doors.

From a technical standpoint, for those of you who are interested in the calculations aspect of it, the location of this property conforms perfectly to the principles of Direct and Indirect Spirit. The water flow conforms to the marco Ling Shen location – North and East. Specifically the property itself sits on the Tai Hexagram, with Qi mouth in the Tun and Li of the 64 Hexagrams conforming to the Xuan Kong Da Gua formation.

Also, from a Forms point of view, this property has an excellent embrace, provided by the buildings on the left and the right (Green Dragon and White Tiger), with the Qi that collects in the Bright Hall protected and locked in by a regulating Table Mountain in front. Qi is also prevented from escaping by the buildings located behind the Qi mouth. Internally, the restaurant’s general lay out, like cashier location, also follows the rules on internal forms, as appropriate for a restaurant business.

Jasmine tells me that they did hire a Feng Shui master when they moved over to this location, but he didn’t ask them to fix anything. A wise Feng Shui master indeed, given that nothing really needed fixing! And like with all things, in Feng Shui, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. According to Jasmine, since Soo Kee moved to its present location twenty years ago, business has been very good - their first night in their new location, she said, left her with aching legs because they were so busy!

Part of the fun in Feng Shui is figuring out why an area works, why a business succeeds, or why things click in a certain location, as a result of the Feng Shui. And there’s nothing like a real life example, to make the puzzle worthwhile figuring out, what more a location that has good food to boot! So hop over to Jalan Imbi, order up a plate of fried beef, some coconut water, and take a look for yourself. Check out how the set-up of the restaurant - the subtle angle of the door, the slight dip in the road at the entrance, the roof, the tree at the entrance - play their role in optimising the Qi and Feng Shui of the area but remember to pay attention as you drive towards and pull up to the restaurant. Have fun figuring out the Feng Shui of Soo Kee!


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Feng Shui for Apartment Buyers

In keeping with my promise of following up on the precious article about high-rise Feng Shui, I would like to share with you more tips on Feng Shui for Apartment Buyers! High-rise dwellings are prominent landmarks that dominate city and metropolitan landscapes all across the world, so it’s definitely worthwhile taking the time to know what makes an apartment or condo’s Feng Shui good.

Now, you probably don’t want to know all the technicalities and techniques involved – you jut want something practical, easy to understand – no-frills, as it were. So now, let me give you the ‘no-frills’ guide to Feng Shui for apartments.

And for the sake of brevity, I’ll be using the word “apartment” to encompass serviced apartments, normal apartments, condominiums and any other high-rise residential properties.

Getting the Direction

When it comes to apartments, the challenge for enthusiasts and laypersons are getting the Facing Directions right.

Now, most of the time, incorrect Flying Stars (Fei Xing) or Eight Mansions (Ba Zhai) calculations are obtained when it comes to apartments because the Facing Direction has been taken from the wrong place!

Unlike landed property, apartments can be confusing, because the Facing Direction is usually not always obvious. For instance, do you take the directions from the guardhouse? The entrance to the block you are planning to buy a unit in? Or is it from the unit in question?

Some people say each unit has its own Facing Direction. You may even have even heard of one school of thought that says the first nine floors have one Facing, and the subsequent nine floors have a different Facing.

The answer is fairly straightforward, however. Take the direction from the façade of the block that you intend to purchase a unit in. The reasoning is simple – an apartment block is basically one large house with many rooms.

Last I checked, most apartments had one common roof. So in Feng Shui, we treat the whole block as one house with one Facing Direction.

Once you have the direction, plot the Flying Star or Eight Mansions chart, whichever system you feel more comfortable with to obtain the Qi map of the unit.

feng-shui-for-apartment-buy.jpg

Use the calculators on my website, www.joeyyap.com to work out the Feng Shui math once you have the right direction.

Now, you might be thinking- hey, that means all the units in the block have the same Qi map! So how do I know which one is best or is there no difference at all?

The design, of course, will be standard and so is the layout but each unit is not all located in the same location on a space continuum.

Firstly, the external forms, which are the Mountain and Water formations around the apartment block itself and the area that the apartment is located in, will also influence the Qi of each unit differently. And the location of the forms will vary from unit to unit on the same floor, and each unit on different floors.

A simple way to appreciate this is to basically take aYin form, like a Table Mountain (An Shan), which is the term Feng Shui practitioners use for the mountain in front of the residence that serve to lock the Qi in an area. Of course, the size of the mountain will be different, depending on the floor you are on.

Generally, when it comes to Luan Tou or Forms Feng Shui, we don’t like the Table Mountain to be too high or too low. So depending on the floor you choose, the Table Mountain will either be just right, too low or too high. It will also be in a different sector, depending on where your unit is located.

When it comes to apartments, the application of Feng Shui is also much more subtle. The small differences between each unit on each floor are what count. For example, the difference of a few degrees in location of external forms and internal forms can make all the difference to the Feng Shui of a unit, because a practitioner will usually be using Xuan Kong Da Gua in addition to the basic systems. And Xuan Kong Da Gua involves very precise, down to the degree calculations to determine the Qi map of the property and ascertain the Qi points.

Your Unit Here

Once you have the Flying Stars or Eight Mansions chart of your apartment block, get a copy of the unit’s floor plan. You have to do a bit of work here but, basically, you need to superimpose the chart over your unit.

How do you do this? Use a compass to get the direction of your unit’s door. Super-impose the Flying Stars chart that is in the building’s Facing Direction onto the unit’s plan.

So, for example, if your apartment block faces West 2 (W2) but your unit’s main door faces East 2 (E2), you need to transfer the stars found in the East sector of the apartment block’s chart onto the Main Door sector of your unit’s floor plan (see diagram).
Remember, the Main Door of the unit may not be in the same directions as the Main Door of the block, which is why you have to superimpose the chart.

I won’t go into the details of all the type of combinations you don’t want to see at the Main Door of your unit but here are a few negative combinations you don’t want to see:

3-2 (arguments and disputes will be plentiful), 9-5 (indulgences, unhealthy habits) 3-5 (wastrels and problems caused by money).

The logic behind this is quite simple: the stars at the Main Door of your unit give you a general snapshot of the Qi affecting it. So, if the Qi at the unit’ door is not good, what’s circulating in the unit cannot be any better.

As I always tell my students, you can’t perm your hair if you don’t have any hair in the first place! You can only tap the Qi that you have at hand, not create it out of thin air or suck it in with some cast-in-gold Flying Dragon.

If the Main Door of the unit has good stars or good combinations, move to check the bedroom sector. It is preferable too see good Sitting. Stars in the bedroom area as these help with health and ensure good relationships professionally and personally.

Forms, Inside Out

It is important to also observe the external forms that influence the apartment block’s Qi and the forms around the Main Door of the apartment block.

For this, the rules that apply to landed property, which I have written about in my book, Feng Shui for Homebuyers – Exterior, can be used. The external forms must always be checked before we look inside.

Typically, a professional Feng Shui consultant will evaluate the external forms from the apartment block’s Main Door and also the balcony of the unit. You can also do some quick and simple evaluation from the balcony yourself. Stand at the balcony and look out.

Do you see any hills or mountains or river formations? Where are these hills or mountain and river formations located?

Here’s the quick ‘no-frills’ answer to mountains and water. Ideally, you should see Mountains or hills at Northeast, West, Northwest and South sectors and Water at East, Southeast, North or Southwest directions.

Remember, the apartment swimming pool is a sufficiently large body of water to take into consideration, so check to see if it is located correctly, based on the preferred directions above.

For apartments, internal forms arguably play a more important role because if you have a problem, you have less room to play with in terms of making changes or renovations. So, observing the forms within the unit is important.

Good stars at the unit’ door will not be helpful if the unit’s door has a Qi flow problem due to obstruction or the lack of a Bright Hall (Ming Tang). You need both good stars and good forms!

Generally, try not to have cluttered or tight corridors outside of your apartment unit.

The life to your floor is considered an internal Qi mouth in apartment Feng Shui, so you don’t want the flow of Qi from the lift to your unit door to be obstructed or blocked. Similarly, inside the apartment, make sure that there is an open space just beyond the unit door for the Qi to collect.

Kitchen Matters

Moving the kitchen I a non-existent option when it come to apartment, so it is vital that you check this aspect of the unit out before you buy or rent.

Professionally, we look at both the Flying Stars or Eight Mansions charts and the forms to determine if the kitchen is an acceptable location and how to place the stove in it. But for the layperson, I would suggest just going along with the internal forms.

Here’s the ‘no-frills’ approach; make sure that you can locate the stove in a place in the kitchen that has no negative forms.

The rules that apply to internal forms for kitchens in landed properties apply to internal forms for kitchens in apartments.

So, for example, you don’t want to buy an apartment unit where the kitchen is designed in such a way that you have to locate the stove opposite the kitchen door - or the only way to put your sink and stove is right opposite each other, resulting in a Fire and Water clash.


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