THIERRY CHOW tells how a rev­e­la­tion over­turned her at­ti­tude to­wards her fa­ther’s call­ing, and led to her own vo­ca­tion

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Our colum­nists sound off

GROW­ING UP AS the daugh­ter of a feng shui mas­ter, I cer­tainly didn’t feel any dif­fer­ent from other kids, ex­cept that our fur­ni­ture at home would be moved around a bit more of­ten than other fam­i­lies’. I was cre­ative and artis­tic as a child, and when my grades in other aca­demic sub­jects didn’t ex­cel it was easy to dream of be­ing a fash­ion de­signer or a fine artist.

Fol­low­ing in my dad’s foot­steps was never in my book, but life has ways of teach­ing you things. As I reached a point where I thought I knew and un­der­stood ev­ery­thing, and had worked at a few weari­some jobs, I started to think about my pur­pose over again. Some­thing hap­pened inside me, and right there and then, the idea of feng shui popped into my head.

“Make it cre­ative,” my heart told me – and that was it; I knew clearly what my next step would be, and it felt so right. Some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary had hap­pened and my life was changed for­ever.

I didn’t know ev­ery­thing of the world, I’d only scratched the sur­face. I used to think feng shui was all ho­cus pocus, hav­ing never had a real un­der­stand­ing of what the prac­tice is about. That’s when I re­alised how lit­tle I knew and how much I judged ev­ery­thing, liv­ing in my own tiny world with my mind a prison I’d cre­ated for my­self. If I didn’t un­der­stand the peo­ple that are clos­est to me, how was I go­ing to un­der­stand any­thing else? Thus my jour­ney of un­der­stand­ing and con­tem­po­ris­ing feng shui be­gan. Here are some things I’d like to share with you: The orig­i­nal con­cept of feng shui has been pol­luted over time.

It’s a prac­tice that brings har­mony into our space and en­vi­ron­ment, it’s not a short cut to for­tune, it’s not go­ing to turn you into Bill Gates or David Beck­ham overnight, it’s a prac­tice that should be ap­plied daily, just like healthy eat­ing or daily ex­er­cise. The lan­guage of feng shui is

a relic. Don’t get me wrong, the lan­guage is very im­por­tant, but only peo­ple in the in­dus­try will un­der­stand feng shui terms. For an out­sider the lan­guage might as well be the lan­guage of black magic, with phrases like “dragon is fly­ing through this moun­tain”, “chi will flow in this area”, or “this low ceil­ing will give you bad luck”. It sounds su­per­sti­tious and masks the log­i­cal rea­sons be­hind the ad­vice. De­sign and feng shui can go

to­gether. The prac­tice can be used along­side de­sign, and nei­ther should be over­looked. If one chooses to con­sult both a feng shui ex­pert and a de­signer, one should aim for a good bal­ance be­tween both, and good team­work is es­sen­tial.

It’s not su­per­sti­tion. The con­cept is sim­ple – it’s about how the en­vi­ron­ment af­fects our men­tal and phys­i­cal health. For ex­am­ple, the prac­tice of­ten rec­om­mends hav­ing enough nat­u­ral sun­light in a space, and stud­ies show that our brains nat­u­rally pro­duce more sero­tonin on sunny days, and that those who live in low-light en­vi­ron­ments are more prone to sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der, or SAD. An­other com­mon piece of ad­vice is not to have low ceil­ings. Ceil­ings that are too low are not healthy, and for this we can look at how air cir­cu­lates in a low-ceil­ing space as op­posed to a high-ceil­ing space.

Once we be­gin to un­der­stand this ad­vice log­i­cally, we re­alise that feng shui is not black magic but a sys­tem that ex­ists all around us, and we al­low our­selves to ap­ply the prac­tice prop­erly and with cor­rect un­der­stand­ing.

My jour­ney into the world of feng shui has lasted about seven years to date, em­brac­ing many con­struc­tive talks and cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tions. My goal is very clear: to help oth­ers un­der­stand what I un­der­stand. A lot of peo­ple look at me and are baf­fled as to why I chose such a tra­di­tional prac­tice in which to work. All I can say is that it has given me a great sense of pur­pose and mo­ti­va­tion be­cause it al­lows me to look at the world not only dif­fer­ently but also with an open mind.

Most im­por­tantly, it has en­abled me to un­der­stand my fa­ther and what he does – and that’s the best re­ward of all.

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