It is not only Chinese firms that embrace Feng Shui. HSBC, Citibank, and Cable TV have all used its principles. And when you need a FENG SHUI MASTER Raymond Lo is one of its most respected practitioners.
Life is full of choices. So when you get home or arrive at your hotel or office you may want to make sure you don’t read this article with your back to the door or window. To do so can be bad for your health and wealth. Sit with your back to the wall. This is the advice of Raymond Lo, one of the world’s foremost Feng Shui masters.
Feng Shui, translated as ‘wind water’, is all about making the best use of unseen ‘water’ and ‘mountain’ energies, known as chi, in the places where we live and work. If you want plenty of activity, especially money making activity, get close to water energy. If you want reflective calm, somewhere quiet to read a highly informative magazine article that could change your life, place yourself in the mountain area.
“It is bad luck to sit with your back to the door in an office,” says Lo. “Psychologically it does not even feel comfortable. If your back is to the door you cannot see who is coming in, so you do not feel very secure and stable. To have your back against the window is also not good, because outside the window is the street, and the street is water (energy). The back against a wall is better, because the wall is a solid support from behind.”
An ancient Chinese science applied to architecture and interior design, Feng Shui aims to improve people’s well-being. To create the perfect Feng Shui building, whether domestic or commercial, a practitioner is involved at the initial architectural design stage, helping to decide on many things from positioning the front door to how many storeys are built. At existing buildings, a Feng Shui master is called in to advise on what a room is used for, its layout and even the decorative colour scheme.
Some 4,700 years after it was conceived Feng Shui became a worldwide craze in the 1990s and is enjoying another resurgence now. Through his books, articles and international TV appearances Grand Master Lo has become a leading figure in the Feng Shui world. Also known as ‘Feng Shui Lo’ he runs the School of Feng Shui and Destiny in his home city of Hong Kong, and spends much of the year travelling, conducting workshops and addressing conferences, including the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, the yearly gathering of the global business and political elite.
“Ten years ago Feng Shui suddenly came up like a fashion,” he says. “In the western world I was amazed to see people produce Feng Shui toilet paper, but that kind of thing has died down. It is superficial. People are getting more serious about it now, they want to go deeper and know more about the logic of the subject, which is a healthier approach.
“In the modern world, you get more questions than answers. In science there are more and more mysteries, like quantum mechanics, so people are looking for answers.”
Feng Shui terminology may sound fanciful with references to dragons and other mysterious sounding concepts, but Lo says its analysis of the world is logical.
“Feng Shui is a science of the environment,” he says. “In the environment there are different kinds of energy, some are superficial and some will cause harm. Our job is to make the best use of the good ones and minimise the influence of the bad energy.”
A parallel can be drawn with another ancient Chinese practice, acupuncture, where needles are inserted in the patient’s body to activate our own unseen energy lines to promote healing.
“Of course we cannot prove it with modern techniques,” says Lo. “This does not mean Feng Shui is wrong. It is only that modern science cannot reach the standard to prove it yet.” When asked to improve the chi balance in a home or office, Lo uses a Feng Shui compass to work out which energy lines pass in and around it, and he finds out the age of the building, another factor influencing its energy type. With this information he creates a horoscope for the building, the basis for deciding what goes where.
“Our purpose is to make sure you put your important functions in the good energy area, so your living room which is good for prosperity should be located in the prosperous area,” he says. “Your back room has mountain energy which supports your health and harmony so we prefer you sleep there.”
To encourage greater prosperity, objects can be placed in the active, ‘water’ energy areas. “We recommend you put in fish tanks or a moving clock, so they stimulate even more activity in that area of prosperous energy,” he says, adding “The main problem is that people put functions in the wrong place. For example, they sleep in an area which is active, so they lose their health support, they lose sleep, they become restless and, at the same time, lose money, because they are sleeping on their money energy.”
Sometimes it is not possible to change a room function in a home, so Lo prefers to work on offices.
“Offices have a lot of flexibility,” he says, “you can decide where the boss sits, you can decide which area is for the conference room, which area is for marketing people, so you have a more free hand. But apartments today are usually fixed or too small, so there is only one place where you can put your bed.”
Hong Kong is the Feng Shui capital of the world and not only because it is widely practised there. Combined, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour have the best Feng Shui of any city on Earth says Lo. “It is about the energy of the dragon coming from the mountains of China,” he explains. “The mountains go thousands of miles and they stop in Hong Kong, so where the dragon stops you find the energy.” This energy is protected by the mountains of Hong Kong. These mountains also happen to protect shipping in the harbour from typhoons, making it an ideal spot to develop a port city.
Many homes, offices and hotels in Hong Kong are designed according to Feng Shui principles and it influences town planning. For example, in Central, the heart of Hong Kong’s business district, no high rise buildings are allowed on the piece of land between the Asia headquarters of HSBC bank and the harbour, so the water energy from the harbour can flow unimpeded into the building and make its occupants prosperous.
When it comes to architecture, Lo says The Peninsula Hotel on the Kowloon waterfront is Hong Kong’s best example of Feng Shui design. With a building layout that ensures it is set back from a noisy, busy street, the hotel is a landmark and hugely successful. “The Peninsula Hong Kong is built with two stretching arms to preserve the energy in front of the building,” says Lo. “In Feng Shui an active water fountain has the function of stimulating money energy when placed in a prosperous location. The Peninsula has a large fountain located in front of the hotel, which was originally designed for such a purpose.”
Further along the Kowloon waterfront, the InterContinental Hotel gets a thumbs up, because Feng Shui was integrated into its design. The hotel is built at the spot where the dragon comes down to bathe – the lobby’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows ensure the dragon’s trips to the waterfront are unimpeded. The windows also ensure the lobby is a light, airy space with an impressive vista of Hong Kong Island.
Feng Shui is one of three factors affecting the course of our lives Lo says. Destiny, your inborn quality, is the most important and decided by your birth date. Luck, the second, is not random but influenced by your birth date. Feng Shui, the only factor that can be altered, accounts for about 50 per cent of how your life works out. If you fancy having a Feng Shui consultant help you make the most of the chi in your life, test he has the right skills by asking him to read your fortune first, advises Lo.
“Good Feng Shui masters are good at fortune analysis, so if he can tell your past correctly he has skill,” he says. Now that is a good test.
The InterContinental Hong Kong is built according to Feng Shui
principles. The large windows allow energy to flow freely.
This building in Hong Kong’s
Repulse Bay has a special Feng
Shui ‘hole’ to let energy through.
The Peninsula Hotel’s two
wings preserve energy in front
of the building while the
fountain stimulates money