Seeing far with feng shui master Lee Shing-chak
Feng shui master Lee Shing-chak is one of the best-known fortune tellers in the city. In addition to appearing on TV to predict fortunes during Chinese New Year, he pens an annual feng shui almanac and makes regular appearances in print and on radio shows. He tells Xavier Ng about the true nature of feng shui and gives his take on God and religion.
I was born in 1968 and I’ve been working in the business since I was 19.
My father and grandfather are both feng shui masters, so I started learning about feng shui when I was very young.
I went to a school with a religious background and my teachers knew who my father was, so they were extra strict with me.
I was very interested in the history of religion. I even got a demerit because I raised questions about religion that the teacher thought was inappropriate.
The question that got me into trouble was: “Humans are sinful because the creator gave us freedom. So when judgement day comes, we either do it His way or we are going to burn in Hell—but He created this whole mess. Is that fair?”
Once a missionary asked me if I was worried that I’d go to Hell if I didn’t believe in God.
I said: “I’m not, because I have my own thoughts and beliefs. Even if I go to Hell I will stand strong and I know there will be people like me in the same place. I can still be myself and be a good ghost in Hell.”
It’s very simple. Be a nice person, do good deeds, care about others.
It’s not a must to have a “God” in your life. But if a religion urges people to be caring, then it’s a good religion.
There are common areas between feng shui and religions and I have always studied and researched them.
I think the most important thing is to have your own anchor in your heart.
I have a face that won’t grow old—it’s a blessing and a curse. When I first started advertising, I had to use a silhouette of myself instead of a photo.
I wrote a lot for newspapers, so people thought I was older—but they never knew what I looked like.
Many clients thought I was too young and challenged me about my lack of experience.
That made me strive to be better. That’s why I did a lot of predictions—who’d win showbiz awards, who’d be the next Miss Hong Kong, Mark Six numbers. You have to dare to face challenges to make yourself grow.
Feng shui is all about three things: the right time, the right place and the right person.
The “right time” refers to where the stars and planets are at a certain time, which will affect the big picture.
The “right place” refers to what’s happening on our planet—the climate, the landscape and so on, which affects people’s actions.
The “right person” refers to the day you were born—how the time matches your genes. From this, we try to maximize what you are capable of.
I believe the larger parts of our destinies are fixed, but we can tweak the minor things.
Chinese people started studying the mysteries of the universe in ancient times. They didn’t have many scientific terms so they used something easily comprehensible.
They used everyday animals—the 12 zodiac signs—to represent people’s personalities so even illiterate farmers could understand.
People think feng shui is not a science but they try to explain it.
But science is ever-changing and you can’t say that there’s no such thing just because you can’t prove it yet. That’s like looking at the sky from the bottom of a well.
Some say feng shui masters make a lot of money. It’s not actually true.
There was a guy who came to me for apprenticeship. I asked why he wanted to study feng shui. He answered that he wanted to be rich and famous.
I told him
he was in the wrong industry.
There are so many other businesses that can make more money. They can make a hundred times, a thousand times more than I do.
You need to invest a lot of time studying and doing constant research to keep yourself up to date. The effort and the income are definitely not proportional.
Money is important, but the feeling you get when you help someone is more important.
I had a client 20 years ago, before I became well known. He came to my office without an appointment, looking ill and depressed.
He told me he had gone to another feng shui master and paid $2,000 for a session, and the master told him there was nothing he could do except lie down and die! He just wanted to make sure it was true.
He said he had just come from the hospital, that he was Pigsy and his uncle was Friar Sand [from the novel “Journey to the West.”] Then I understood he had mental problems and needed treatment.
I told him that I was actually the Monkey King, and the last master he’d talked to was the White Bone Demon.
I secretly slipped $2,000 into an envelope for him and said the demon had tricked him.
Three months later he sent me a card together with the money I had given him, thanking me for comforting him when he wasn’t in his right mind.
I think one of my contributions to the industry was rejuvenating the concept of feng shui. I’ve done a lot of TV, radio and movies to popularize it, making it part of everyone’s life.
I want to continue promoting this unique part of Chinese culture. It would be a pity to see it die.
NEED TO KNOW...
Lee Shing-chak has appeared on multiple TV shows and movies since the 2000s, including TVB’s “Hong Kong Enigmata” (2011) where he met his wife, Miss Hong Kong 2009 Sandy Lau. His almanac “Lee Shing-chak 2016 Year of the Monkey Zodiac Fortune” is in bookstores citywide.