When Hong Kong Disneyland opened in late 2005, there was a great deal of buzz in Hong Kong about the theme park. Yes, there were debates on the over-consumption of sharks-fin 2023 風水佈局 and a few other issues too, but one of the oft-discussed subjects about Hong Kong Disneyland was about its Feng Shui. The whose and the what’s particularly were of interest to Hong Kong residents – they were curious as to which consultant had been given the task of overseeing the Feng Shui of the theme park and what had been done to ensure the theme park would have an auspicious start. Even Hong Kong’s main English daily, the South China Morning Post, ran a feature piece on the Feng Shui of Disneyland, and even speculated on which consultant had the enviable (or unenviable, depending on how you look at it) task of doing the Feng Shui for Mickey’s home.
The avid interest in the Feng Shui of the Mouse House provides an insight into how Chinese Metaphysics is perceived very differently in Hong Kong, and even in Taiwan, compared to Malaysia. In Hong Kong, Chinese Metaphysic is a given. Most of the major buildings along the Hong Kong city line have been Feng Shui’ed. Most of the design of the prominent buildings, such as the HSBC building and the infamous IM Pei ‘joss-stick’ Bank of China building, have also been tirelessly dissected and discussed in many night-classes in Hong Kong. Talk to anyone in Hong Kong and they have something to say about the Feng Shui of these two buildings. No tour of Hong Kong’s famous Peak is complete without a running commentary from your Hong Kong tour guides on the ‘Feng Shui of Hong Kong’.
In Hong Kong, people are not secretive or wary of being associated with this subject. It is openly discussed in newspaper columns and magazines, and television programs featuring Feng Shui masters are very popular fare. These masters make the breakfast shows on a daily basis, alongside the financial analyst and celebrity of the week.
Over the years, I’ve continued to touch base with various teachers in Hong Kong in my research into specific areas of Classical Feng Shui. So in this part of the column, I thought it apt to share with you some of my observations over the years of what the scene is like in Hong Kong
Throwing open the doors of knowledge
Up until some 50 years ago, Chinese Metaphysics was very much a closely-guarded profession. The master-disciple system was very much entrenched and trade secrets were handed down from master to disciple. All this changed in the 1980s when one Feng Shui Master started to teach Feng Shui openly to the public, classroom-style. Anyone could come and learn this art, as long as they paid the tuition fee. This radically altered the landscape of the profession because it paved the way for anyone, as long as they had an interest, to learn Feng Shui and if they were prepared to supplement their own learning with personal study of the classics (available at most Chinese bookstores), they had the opportunity to rise to become a consultant too. The profession became democratised and the practice of Feng Shui became less the purview of only the noble, rich and very wealthy. You didn’t have to be the son of a famous master or endure many years as a disciple, in order to learn the trade.
Of course, initially there was uproar amongst the profession – change, after all, is always uncomfortable at first. But then eventually, many other masters also began opening up classes and teaching. It also helps that in Hong Kong, there is a strong interest in self-cultivation and continuing education amongst the public. There is an appreciation of the value of knowledge and the perspective that learning something new all the time and constantly updating oneself is important to retain a competitive advantage.