Archive for June, 2007

Have luo pan will travel

Often, I am approached by people at my seminars and talks, who are very interested in Feng Shui, but are intimidated by the idea of lots of formulas, and mugging information. Or they think it is a seriously complex field of study that is dry and extremely tedious. Actually in fact, there’s a lot of excitement and adventure in Feng Shui! Learning and researching Feng Shui is not about being trapped in a library full of dusty books or slogging away in a classroom. On the contrary, learning Feng Shui involves a lot of observation and adventure. That’s why I encourage my students to Walk the Mountains and Chase the Dragons – to go out, look at the mountains and rivers, observe buildings and be curious about everything.

Up the mountain, down the river

Researching and studying Feng Shui is like being Indiana Jones - there are no rickety bridges to cross or gun-totting characters that cross our paths, but there’s quite a bit of adventure, travel, and detective work involved. Finding and studying interesting Feng Shui formations has taken me to a lot of places that probably most people wouldn’t go. Occasionally it’s quite exciting. Going to the rooftop of the world in Tibet in search of Heavenly Pool Water and breathing canned oxygen all the way just to get a glimpse of the unique High Level Dragons that are found in Tibet was definitely an adventure, not just for me, but for my students who went to Tibet with me this year.


Sometimes however, quite a lot of detective work and legwork is needed to discover interesting Feng Shui spots and locations, especially those with historical significance. For example, searching for the Yin House locations of great leaders and historical figures in China takes a lot of effort. This year, I took a group of my students to audit the Yin House Feng Shui of Chiang Kai Shek, the founder of Taiwan. In order to find Chiang’s ancestral tombs (specifically that of his parents), I spent a lot of time tramping around the backwater and provincial areas of Zhejiang in China (braving the famous Chinese toilets!) and practicing my Mandarin talking to the locals, in order to ascertain the location of the ancestral tombs.


Researching Feng Shui also throws up lots of red herrings so one has to not just be a detective, but you’ve also got to piece together the information with the history and also, snippets of information from the locals. Going to Chiang’s ancestral home is often misleading if you’re not familiar with the history of his family or don’t pay attention to the little details. Many Feng Shui enthusiasts who visit the Chiang family home are usually not able to see why Chiang managed to rise up and become such a great leader. This is because whilst the Feng Shui of the Chiang ancestral home is reasonably good, with the forms showing a Literary Arts Star and a Tan Lang General Star at the Direct Spirit Location, it’s not the sort of formation that can produce a powerful leader.

The answer to the conundrum is rather simple. Chiang never made use of the Feng Shui in his ancestral home. He was not born in the family ancestral home (he was born in the family salt store), and while he inherited the ancestral home as the 2nd son, he didn’t live there. During his rise to power, Chiang lived in a different residence with his wife, Soong May Ling. Now, that home has a General Seat Star interlocking the Water Mouth, resulting in a Sleeping Bow Water (Mian Gung Shui) Formation. The property is also flanked by Ju Men Mountains nearby, producing power, status and authority.

Looking without seeing

Let’s say you’re not into checking out Yin House Feng Shui and not into going around the countryside looking for the tombs of long-dead people. If you are into cosmopolitan cities perhaps, or you like shopping, you can also learn a little Feng Shui in your favourite locations. All you have to do is - look. Yes, just look!

What makes Oxford Street in England and the Champ D’Elysee in Paris a highly sought out real-estate location, have you ever wondered? Whenever I visit a new city on a research mission, I always make it a point to either take a helicopter ride or go up to a vantage point like a tower to have a look at the city and its central business districts or shopping areas. This gives me a vantage of the macro landforms that are influencing the Qi of the area. After I’ve seen it from the top, then I walk around the area. I look to see the little hills in the distance, and undulating landscape of these areas and see if there’s water coming in from the right direction. And the best part is, it never feels like work!


Even a visit to the mall can be an informative Feng Shui exercise. Ever wonder why a particular mall is perennially busy and others can barely get a decent crowd in on a weekend? Chances are, it’s not just the shops. It’s the Feng Shui. Are there mountain and water forms in the vicinity? Or is it in a flat location? Does the mall appear dark and gloomy, even on a bright day and with plenty of windows to let in the sunlight?

In Feng Shui, it is important that buildings have natural light; otherwise, the building becomes very Yin. Now, logically having enough windows should enable the building to have natural light in abundance, correct? But if you visit certain malls or apartment buildings, despite having lots of windows, it’s still gloomy or very Yin. And it certainly doesn’t put anyone in the mood for shopping.

Why does your favourite store seem to be floundering despite its great product or items? Take a look at the location. Is there a big lamp post at the entrance? Is it under the escalator? Is the entrance low, suppressing the door? The Main Door is an important aspect of the Feng Shui of any property because that is where the property receives its Qi. So we don’t like any blockage at the Main Door.

By observing and looking at the doors and Main Entrances, and looking at the roads and walkways, corridors and pathways, you can figure out how the Forms are affecting the Feng Shui of a property. And this is the same everywhere around the world – in Hong Kong, in Singapore, in Japan, in America, or in Europe. The forms always repeat themselves, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Even if you don’t know how to fly the stars using Xuan Kong Feng Shui or if you aren’t that good with memorising formulas, just looking can be informative. Feng Shui doesn’t have to be all serious and stuffy – it can be fun, and it can be an adventure too!

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Ahoy Spidey, dates do count

A few weeks ago, I talked about the power of a good date and promised to share with you more information and insights into the art of Date Selection. Most people understand the importance of getting a good date to do certain activities like getting married or holding an official opening. However, people often do not understand WHY having a good date is important. For most people, getting a good date for an important activity is to fulfill some superstitious belief or satisfy some cultural requirement. Another box to be ticked off in the long list of wedding to-dos.

So this week, I want to show you why a good date matters. And instead of picking an ordinary example like opening a simple business or getting married, I have chosen a very special industry, the movie business, to illustrate how a good date can make a difference. I selected this industry because I love movies and more importantly, there is no business like show business. In an industry where the cost of making a film seems to go only in one direction (upwards), the pressure for an expensive blockbuster film to open not just well but to sling home with a massive ‘booty’ within its opening 5 days is imperative. Losing money is not an option.

Also, Hollywood has always understood the power of a good date, although admittedly, not the kind found in the Tong Shu(Chinese Almanac). Traditionally, certain weekends are usually selected for the opening of the summer blockbusters such as July 4 or the US Memorial Day weekend. So this makes the comparison exercise with Chinese Date Selection methods a little more interesting!

The biggest two films that everyone is talking about this year are Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Spiderman 3. So for this Date Selection experiment, I will use the Spider Man and Pirates trilogy. First, they both have common denominators – both the trilogies were made by only one director (so only one BaZi to reference) and secondly, are all 3 part films so we can compare apples with apples. For the purposes of this article, I have used both the premier date and the official opening date in the US (the date when screenings begin in theatres) to compare and contrast – the US date is chosen because the US market is arguably the most important market for the product. So, let’s look at some of the basic details.

The Directors!

Spider Man 1, 2 and 3 were directed by Sam Raimi. Mr Raimi is born in the year of the Pig. His Day Master is Wu Earth. Pirates 1, 2, and 3 were directed by Gore Verbinski. Mr Verbinski is born in the year of the Dragon. His Day Master is Jia Wood. (Birth data sourced from


Let’s look at the Spider Man franchise first. Spider Man 1 opened on May 3, which is a Bing Zi Day. Using the 12 Day Officer Method (Shi Er Zhi Wei Xing), it is a Success Day. According to Grand Master Dong’s System (Dong Gong Ze Re)of Date Selection, this is also a good day, with Yellow Embrace (Huang Sha) and Sky Happiness (Tian Xi) stars present, along with the Heavenly and Monthly Virtue Stars. Spider Man 2 opened on June 30 2004, which is a Geng Chen Day. According to the 12 Day Officer Method, this is an Open Day. This date is also auspicious according to Grand Master Dong’s System of Date Selection, with the Heavenly Success (Tian Cheng), Yellow Spiral (Huang Luo) and Purple Sandalwood (Zi Tan) stars present. Spider Man 3 opened on a Full Day and an auspicious day according to Grand Master Dong’s System. Interestingly, this date also contains Sam Raimi’s personal Fame star and his personal Resource star, which might explain why despite less than great reviews, the film still made a killing on its first weekend!

All three of the Spider Man films opened on what would be regarded as positive and favourable days for an official opening. Thus, the producers were rewarded with some nice box office gold!


Opening Gross

Worldwide Gross

Spider Man 1 114 million 821 million
Spider Man 2 88 million 784 million
Spider Man 3 151 million (n/a)

With Pirates of the Caribbean, all three of the films had a separate premier date and an official opening date. With all three of the Pirates films, the film either had a good premier and average opening date, or an average premier date and a good opening date.

For example, Curse of the Black Pearl, the first installment of Pirates, had its premier on a Gui Wei Day in 2003. The day is in a Fu Yin relationship with the year – not good. However, the film opened on a reasonably good day, according to Grand Master Dong’s System. June 28, 2003 was a Ren Shen Day and a day that contains the Heavenly Fortune and Sky Happiness Stars. It is not an exceptionally good day but not too bad.

This might explain why the film had a rather slow start with a poor opening weekend gross (a mere US$46 million) but went on to a pretty decent worldwide gross of US$655 million.

By contrast, Dead Man’s Chest had its premier on an exceptionally good day with the Heavenly Fortune and Sky Happiness Stars present. The film opened on July 7, 2006, which is Full Day according to the 12 Day Officer Method, although it is not a good day when Grand Master Dong’s Method is considered as it contains the Nine Earth Ghost star. However, this film not only had a fantastic opening weekend, grossing US$100 million in 2 days, but also holds the record for the highest opening weekend gross (US$135 million) and a staggering US$1 billion worldwide gross!


Opening Gross

Worldwide Gross

POTC: Curse of the Black Pearl 46 million 655 million
POTC: Dead Man’s Chest 135 million 1 billion
POTC: At World’s End 114 million (n/a)


How will Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End fare against Spider Man 3? Pirates had its premier on May 19 2007, with official screenings beginning midnight May 24 2007. The premier date is still a usable date according to Grand Master Dong’s System but the ancient text says: “Even though this day has the Sky Happiness and Heavenly Success stars, there is also the Red Phoenix and Grappling Hook Stars. Using this day will attract legal problems and disputes. It will also attract petty people.”

The film’s official US opening is a Remove Day, but is has auspicious stars, like the Yellow Embrace. However, there is also a negative star, the Heaven and Earth Drilling Sha, which makes it unsuitable for significant events, according to Grand Master Dong’s System.

Interestingly, Disney, producer of the Pirates film, is engaged in a spat with Sony, producer of Spider Man, over who’s opening weekend numbers are better! Talk about petty people! And the film’s opening weekend has not been as good as its second installment.

Of course, this is a very simple computation of the dates used, involving very basic methods like the 12 Day Officer and Grand Master Dong System. To really evaluate the superiority of the dates, the key cast members and the investors as well as the studio heads personal BaZi must be considered, and even the time of the first screening should be taken into account. A more sophisticated Date Selection system like the Heavenly Star (Qi Zheng Si Yu) or Mystical Doors (QiMen) system could be used to further refine the dates. A Date Selection Specialist would not just select the dates for the opening in the US but also in every country if possible, and at the same time ensuring that both the opening screening AND the premier are held on good dates! What IS interesting from this little experiment is that in the instance of all six movies, none opened on bad days such as Destruction or Close Days. All six films had good dates, some obviously better than others. Perhaps, Hollywood understands the power of a good date in more ways than one!

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