December 27, 2019

I’ll be honest. For the most part of my life, I’ve thought that astrology, phrenology and the like are nothing but a load of hogwash. They’re classified as pseudoscience for a reason, aren’t they? They’re just one of mankind’s many attempts at finding meaning, clarity and purpose in a world that is becoming increasingly uncertain and unstable. If you look past the fluff, however, it really doesn’t make any sense. How does being born in a specific month affect how my life would turn out? As much as I hold on to the belief that I’m above all this nonsense, I find myself inexplicably gravitating towards the horoscope pages of women’s interest magazines every time I enter a bookstore.

It might just be curiosity, but if I were to be brutally honest with myself, a little part of me seeks comfort, assurance and guidance from those pages. The bad days feel more justified, and there’s always something to work towards. Even if it makes no sense that all Cancers will have a higher chance of falling ill this month, it doesn’t hurt to take up that gym membership, eat your vitamins and drink more water anyway.

Don Miguel Ruiz, a Mexican self-help writer, famously wrote, “We only see what we want to see.” The truth is, when looking up your horoscope, you’re more likely to zero in on the things that ring true, and ignore those that don’t apply to your life. Receiving confirmation of certain patterns in your life brings meaning to them. At least this false sense of security and control over an otherwise unpredictable life gives you something to hold on to when the going gets tough.

Nevertheless, one has to draw a line when it comes to matters of pseudoscience, to avoid being taken advantage of. It’s one thing to find solace in your star chart. It’s another to surrender your life’s savings to a stranger who claims to be privy to the secrets of the universe. As one of the most widely practised philosophies in Asia, feng shui opens up plenty of doors for frauds and charlatans to interfere with the lives of average folks.

Hence, it is imperative to understand how the ancient art focuses on the energies around you, how to spot a false practitioner from a professional one, and the misconceptions surrounding Chinese geomancy. Shedding some light on the subject (including a summarised zodiac forecast for the year of the Metal Rat) is David Tong, one of the youngest feng shui masters in Singapore, who founded award-winning feng shui firm CMG Consulting. Whether or not you choose to believe is entirely up to you.

High Net Worth: What is the science behind feng shui and Bazi? How do they work?

David Tong: Feng shui and bazi are different forms of astrology. They are based on the movements of the planets and stars in the solar system, from which a person’s destiny or house’s destiny (feng shui) is derived. In terms of bazi, at the moment you are born, the location of the stars and planets will exert an influence on your life, thus shaping your destiny. A feng shui master is able to interpret from the bazi destiny chart a person’s health, marriage, career, wealth and luck cycles. Like it or not, life is unfair. A person’s life is sometimes limited by the potential of his or her destiny chart.

This explains why some people are always facing obstacles, while life for others seems to be smooth-sailing no matter where they go or what they do. Feng shui can also be known as the destiny of a house. A house with a good direction, layout and external forms will receive good energy and hence bring prosperity to its occupants. A house with bad energy due to bad direction, layout and external forms will bring obstacles, and health or marriage issues to the occupants. The energy of a house has the potential to enhance or pull down a person’s luck, which is why it’s often said that bazi is the diagnosis and feng shui is the prescription.

A house with good feng shui can pull up the luck of a person born with a mediocre bazi destiny chart. A house with bad feng shui can pull down the luck of a person born with a good bazi destiny chart, in terms of both health and career. This is why it’s possible for a person to pass away during a period of good luck according to their destiny chart. Examples include Steve Jobs and Bruce Lee.

What’s the difference between classical feng shui and other forms of feng shui?

The practice of classical feng shui is based on the formulas and principles written in ancient texts. Despite the fact that there are tons of ancient classical texts, the principles always revolve around two core concepts, which is location and direction. That is, adjusting the location of the house and the direction it’s facing to receive, harness and usher in good, auspicious energy. It has nothing to do with the purchase and placement of ornaments and good luck charms. That, in fact, is what we classify as new age feng shui, which is a modern version of feng shui based on the displaying of ornaments to affect a person’s life psychologically.

Can you do a bazi reading over email? I was born on 6 July 1995, at 6.04am. 

Yes, of course. I don’t do this in my professional practice as it is very hard to explain concepts over email. I prefer a meetup as things are always easier to explain face-to-face. If this is your real date and time of birth, you have a good career chart. You have strong boss luck, meaning that most of the time you will meet good bosses in your career. You have the ability to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, so if you ever do business one day, make sure you target the upscale market. You also do well in command, and hence are suitable for leadership or management roles. In terms of relationships, you have strong romance luck. If you are already attached, it’s best to get married after the age of 30. An early marriage might not last. Health-wise, take note of stomach-related issues.

How can people distinguish between a real and a fake feng shui master, or a good and a poor feng shui consultant, so they won’t get duped by people who don’t actually know what they’re doing?

There are only two ways to find out. One is to consult Google and read online reviews. This approach may not be the most accurate as sometimes, the reviews are based on the person’s friendliness rather than their skills, and they might be fake too. The best way, in my opinion, is to read up, and do some research before engaging a master. Do not take an answer blindly from the master. If you have doubts about the recommendations and cures, always ask why. He or she must be able to give you a logical answer to every question. A master acting like God who forces you to accept everything without giving you a chance to ask anything is basically trying to evade all questions because he himself doesn’t know anything.

How did you set yourself apart from other feng shui consultants, build a name for yourself, and show that you’re a legitimate feng shui master?

Always do the opposite of what others do. While many prefer to utilise a big shop front, I prefer to go small to deliver a personal touch in customer service. Whenever the customer calls or emails, I pick up the call or answer the email. There’s no sales staff. Clients can reach me directly via my personal mobile number. It is like seeing a doctor and you have direct access to the doctor’s personal number, should any questions or emergencies arise. You don’t have to go through a nurse to reach the doctor.

I treat all my clients as friends, not customers. I do not like the traditional, egoistic or superior relationship a master exerts on his client, where the master acts like a supreme God of some sort just to show that he is powerful and the client should listen to him blindly, no questions asked. As for building a name and legitimacy, it takes time for clients to see the results of my consultations. I’ve been in this business since 2006. I am happy to share that more than 70% of my business comes from referrals. I don’t do any form of advertising at all.

What are the common misconceptions about feng shui?

Many people think that feng shui has to do with buying lots of expensive ornaments to enhance their luck. In fact, the answer is the opposite. We enhance the luck of the occupants of a house via three key areas, which are the location and direction of the main door, stove and bed. If these three key objects are positioned correctly to receive the most positive energy, you don’t have to buy anything at all. Maybe just a water feature to further enhance your wealth and career luck. If the house is bad, we may introduce cures to minimise the negative energy, but those are what we call elemental cures. They’re different from lucky ornaments and objects.

For instance, if the Sha Qi is the earth element, we may need to incorporate heavy metal objects to suppress the negative energy because in the cycle of the five elements, earth produces metal. Metal can exhaust the earth Qi in reverse. By introducing a heavy metal object, the negative earth Qi is reduced due to the interaction of this earth Qi with the metal object. The metal object doesn’t have to be in the form of some celestial creature. A large, heavy metal Hello Kitty sculpture works too. Energy cannot differentiate between a metal dragon and a metal Hello Kitty.

What is the significance of the Metal Rat?

The year of the Metal Rat is characterised by a Yang Metal on the Heavenly Stem, and the Rat, which is of the water element, at the Earthly Branches. Based on the cycle of birth in Chinese metaphysics, metal produces water. This represents a harmonious relationship. Hence, in 2020, we can expect a more peaceful year as compared to 2019. 2019 is an “earth over water” Pig year, and in the cycle of destruction, earth controls water. Hence, it results in a year of chaos, as seen in the US-China trade wars, Hong Kong protest, and the deteriorating relationships between the US, North Korea and Iran. As the Rat is a peach blossom star in the study of Chinese metaphysics, expect more unions of relationships, as well as breakups and divorces this year. For singles, this might be good news, especially those born in the year of the Pig, Rabbit and Goat. For those who are attached or married, be careful of external temptations that might derail your current relationship or marriage.

What can people do to prepare for 2020, in terms of feng shui?

Based on the annual flying stars chart, the obstacles sector in 2020 is located in the East of your home and office. Avoid doing any form of renovation or drilling in those sectors as this will trigger the negative Qi. If it happens to be your room or the main door, place heavy metal objects at that area to reduce the negative energy. Good health will enable you to go further in your career. In 2020, the sickness sector is in the south. If the south sector is at the main door or your room, expect to fall sick more often this year. Similarly, you can place heavy, metallic objects in these two areas to reduce the negative Qi. The three Killings and Year Breaker Sha Qi for 2020 are both in the south. All north-facing houses and offices should not engage in any form of renovation or drilling this year. These two are the deadliest Sha Qi in feng shui, which if triggered, may bring major health issues or career and business downturns.

Any feng shui tips for business success?

Based on the annual flying stars chart, the wealth sector in 2020 is located in the northwest of your house and office. Place a large water feature in that area for one year (4 February 2020 to 3 February 2021) to enhance the wealth Qi. If a nobleman’s help is needed in your career (rather than in wealth), the nobleman sector will be in the northeast of your house and office. Place a water feature there instead. This will bring some nobleman’s help in your career, in terms of changing jobs and roles, seeking mentorship, and getting a promotion.

Zodiac Forecast for 2020 By Feng Shui Master David Tong, Condensed Version*