Feng Shui of the “Lotus Flower”
It’s almost springtime again! Blossoming flowers galore, rustling green leaves sway to the tune of the gentle breeze and members of the animal kingdom awake from their hibernation to bask in the pleasant warmth of sunshine and dance to the sweet fragrance of new beginnings.
Hey, wait a minute! There aren’t four seasons on the tropical island of Singapore, but flowers certainly do blossom in our Lion City. In fact we have a new flower in town and your eyes are not playing tricks on you, as this one is unique, special and very big. Standing at 60 meters above ground, she weighs more than 5000 tons. Alright, enough of the suspense, I’m referring to the Art-Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands, which began welcoming her first visitors in mid February 2011. With a form reminiscent of the Lotus Flower, she is one of the latest iconic presences in town! So who says there isn’t springtime in Singapore?
Responding to the Essence of Place
Of course the man behind the architectural design of MBS and the realisation of the complex is renowned architect, Moshe Safdie. One of the first principles which forms the basis of his design philosophy and approach to architecture and urban planning, is to respond to the essence of place. Specific to the place and culture, his designs are inspired by traces of history, cultural background and integrated into our social diversity.
The outcome is a $5 billion, high density, mixed-use integrated resort that brings together three 55-storey hotel towers, a 1.2 hectare sky park that is large enough to park four-and-a-half A380 jumbo jets, an atrium style casino, a magnificent shopping complex, world-class convention and exhibition centre, an iconic Art-Science Museum, two state-of-the-art theatres and an outdoor event plaza that is capable of hosting 10,000 people for live performances.
“Marina Bay Sands is really more than a building project, it is a micro-cosm of a city rooted in Singapore’s culture, climate and contemporary life,” says Moshe Safdie.
Together with the other skyscrapers in the financial district, MBS embraces the serene waters of Marina Bay, transforms the city’s skyline and further cements Singapore’s status as a dynamic, vibrant and contemporary lifestyle hub.
In Feng Shui, it is essential that the design of a building or house integrates or blends in amicably with the landscape of the surroundings or design of neighboring buildings. We wouldn’t want a tall skyscraper amid an area of low lying houses. It doesn’t fit into the area and it looks just awkward. Similarly, building a three-story bungalow on a plot of land surrounded by several 50-storey buildings is not advisable. Just imagine putting on your beach shirt and Bermuda shorts to attend a formal gala dinner. You will be out of place and you will be in the limelight for all the wrong reasons!
I think MBS responds to the essence of place and blends in cohesively with the surroundings. In terms of Feng Shui, this is a plus point for MBS and it is the first step to co-exist in harmony with the physical environment.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
When the architectural design of MBS was first made known to the public, there was a furore of comments and injections of creative imagination. Many liken the three hotel towers to ancestral tablets and the sky park to a blade that cuts into surrounding buildings. Just like paintings or art pieces, if you like it, you like it. If you think that it’s a lion, then it’s not a tiger. That’s the beauty of art. It inspires us to think beyond logic and encourages creativity and imagination. Don’t stop there and keep on trying.
So what’s my take? Someone was asking. I personally think otherwise. I have a hunch that Safdie derived his inspiration from ancient columns or gateways. The resemblance between the two is hard to dispute. I guess that he sees MBS as a gateway to Singapore and it is a place where people should converge upon setting foot on the shores of the Lion City. Moreover, there is a slight curvature of the orientation of the three hotel towers that seems to embrace our cosmopolitan society.
As the ‘gateway’ stands tall in front of the financial district, I envision that the three hotel towers look like a Chinese character as well. Like-minded people will agree in tandem with me that the three hotel towers look like the Chinese character 山. It is pronounced as shan, and it means mountain.
But why do we build a ‘mountain’ there? If my hunch is correct, then I guess there is a Feng Shui reason to it. In Feng Shui, it is ideal to have a ‘backing’ or a mountain (靠山) at the rear of your building. It helps to shield and protect you from adverse natural conditions. We know that the land is as flat as a pancake on this reclaimed land and where on earth to find a mountain? It makes no economic sense to reclaim one of them as well. Hence, I guess the towers are built to symbolise a mountain to serve as a ‘backing’ to the casino, the ‘jewel’ of the integrated resort. Believe it or not, it’s up to you.
Let’s look at the Big Picture
Stepping out of yourself and seeing the bigger picture helps you to visualise illusive solutions more easily. Do not keep running in circles or people on the ground may miss the overview totally. Ascend higher, get a helicopter’s view and see things from a different perspective. It helps to unveil the layer of simplicity beneath the misty disguise of complexity.
Many people have the misconception that Feng Shui is only about interior layout, furniture orientation or the placement of auspicious items. Mind you, it is much more than that. In fact, unknown to many, the exterior environment actually plays a more crucial role in Feng Shui. I may be able to change the direction of the stove, hack down walls or alter the main door orientation but I may not have the means to move a mountain, shift a monsoon canal or change the alignment of an expressway. So when you go house hunting the next time, be sure to see what’s outside too. Look out of your main door, look out of your windows or balconies and do not just focus blindly or be distracted by the branded toilet fittings or the smooth finish of the marble floor.
Similarly, for a huge project like the MBS Integrated Resort, we should observe its exterior environment as well. People may have commented on the mirrors in the toilets or the lamps above the gaming tables and spin juicy tales around these minute details, but what about the external configuration that exerts a more significant influence? Have they missed it completely? I marvel at some of the Feng Shui features that have been put in place and I’m going to share with you some of my observations.
The Stars Shed Some Light
From maps and ground measurements, I observe that the development is orientated to sit East and face towards the West direction. It belongs to an Age 8 development as it is constructed between 2004 and 2023. From this information, we will then be able to derive the Flying Star chart of MBS:
For those of you who are familiar with Xuan Kong Flying Star Feng Shui (玄空飞星风水), you will know that the auspicious stars during Age 8 are Star 8 (八白左辅星), Star 9 (九紫右弼星) and Star 1 (一白贪狼星). The smaller digit at the top right-hand corner of each of the square grid is known as the Water Star, whereas the smaller digit at the top left-hand corner is known as the Mountain Star. The Water Star relates to wealth and prosperity, while the Mountain Star is associated with health and harmony. The Water Star favors movement and activity, whilst on the contrary the Mountain Star prefers stability and stillness.
From the derived Flying Star chart, I see that there are many favorable Feng Shui configurations in place. One of the more prominent features is having double Star 8 in the front at the main entrance to The Shoppes at MBS.
The surrounding environment works to MBS’s favour too, in that MBS enjoys the scenic view of the Marina Bay (real water in front) and it has tall buildings at the other side of the bay which act as virtual ‘mountains’. This combination, when supported by favorable conditions, which are the Marina Bay waters and the skyscrapers at the financial district, brings about abundant wealth and harmony.
MBS has long-term interests in its sights. It is what I would always attempt to design for commercial or residential projects as it is orientated in such a way that it qualifies for a rare but auspicious Flying Star Feng Shui configuration known as “7 Star Robbery” (七星打劫法).
Let me walk you through some technical aspects of this auspicious configuration. To qualify, the building must first possess double auspicious Star 8 in the front or at the back of the building during the Age 8 period. Secondly, the triangular formation of Water Star 2, Water Star 5 and Water Star 8 combination must be evident. Lastly, the main entrance must be located at the double Star 8 sector, together with a door or window being located at the Water Star 2 and Water Star 5 sectors.
Let us look at the MBS site plan again. The main entrance of The Shoppes is located in the West sector with double Star 8, there is the Helix Bridge that brings visitors from the North sector of MBS and finally there is the Garden Bay Bridge in the Southeast sector to link up the energies.
MBS welcomed its first visitors in April 2010. However it has not been entirely smooth sailing as it initially ran into some legal issues with the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA). It was again featured in the papers for all the wrong reasons in early 2011 when it introduced the controversial and very unpopular demerit policy to its staff.
You may ask if it has such an auspicious Feng Shui configuration, then why isn’t it working for MBS? The probable reason could be this. The construction is completed in stages and the opening is done in different phases. The positive effects of the configuration will kick in only when the entire construction of the integrated resort is completed. It is the same as why you need to complete the whole course of antibiotics to get rid of the flu bug.
When it comes to Flying Star Feng Shui, Star 3 (三碧禄存星) is related to disputes, arguments, quarrels and legal issues. The Flying Star chart presented earlier shows us that Star 3 arrives in the East sector, which is the back of MBS.
So what landforms have we got there? Indeed there is a busy expressway (East Coast Parkway / ECP) right behind MBS and it also doesn’t help matters with the Gardens by the Bay being completed in 2012, as both features activate the quarrelsome Star 3, which possesses Wood element properties.
Fortunately in the East sector, the Mountain Star has a perfect ten combination, which portrays an auspicious configuration and helps to bring about harmonious resolutions to disputes or arguments. Anyway, as it has always been, harmony is a long journey which is sometimes chequered by disputes along the way.
Crouching Tiger & Hidden Dragon
When it comes to Feng Shui, we look out for the Four Celestial Animals. We refer to the left side of a building as the Green Dragon, the right side as the White Tiger, the front as the Red Phoenix and the back as the Black Tortoise (左青龙，右白虎，前朱雀，后玄武). The ideal configuration is having a balanced left and right side of the building, a low-lying and flat front, and a high back commonly known as “supporting mountain” (靠山). Think of it as an armchair with a back rest and two supporting armrests by the sides.
From the site plan of MBS, I observe that there is a beautiful embracing Green Dragon on the left but an absence of the White Tiger on the right. I’m guessing that this could be the reason why there is a semi-circular bulge on the right side of the land, where the Art/Science Museum aka ‘Lotus Flower”’ is situated. This may help to complement the lack of the White Tiger, which is crucial for businesses to amass wealth and acquire prosperity. As you see, the application of Feng Shui can be elegant and subtle.
There could also be another reason for the construction of this semi-circular bulge. Observing Marina Bay, there could be incoming water from the northwestern direction. From Water theories, it is deemed to be inauspicious if this incoming water goes out in the northeastern direction. It will lead to disharmony and severe monetary loss. The semi-circular bulging landform could therefore be the answer to this infringement. Looks like MBS has it pretty well covered. Another warning, it isn’t going to be easy on the gaming tables.
So How Does the “Lotus Flower” Fit In
The Art/Science Museum ‘blossoms ’in the North sector of the integrated resort with each of the eight different directions exerting elemental influences from one of the Five Elements (五行) which are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. The north has strong influences from the Water element. The Five Elements interact with each other and the Water element supports the Wood element. The ‘Lotus Flower’ which symbolises the Wood element, therefore has a harmonious relationship with the Water element in the North sector.
From the Flying Star chart presented earlier, we observe that potent Star 2 (二黑巨门星) and Star 5 (五黄廉贞星) arrive in the North sector. This inauspicious combination brings about misfortune, calamities, disasters, poor health and disharmony to MBS.
Star 2 and Star 5 have strong Earth elemental properties. These negative energies have to be resolved and dissipated. As the Earth element supports the Metal element, the latter will aid to weaken the former. This could be the reason why the colour of the Art/Science Museum is white and circular in shape. If you have some basic knowledge of Feng Shui, you will know that the colour white and circular shapes symbolise the Metal element, which could be applied in this manner to weaken the potent Star 2 and Star 5. So by locating the Art/Science Museum in the North sector, is it coincidental or intentional? You decide for yourself.
A Divine Beauty
Purity is what the lotus flower exudes, as it is unstained despite growing from mud. As it doesn’t touch water, it is unaffected by sinful actions. It stands pure, elegant and beautiful. It serves as a reminder that we must not be blinded or dictated to by monetary gains and our lives must not be entwined by the root of evil – money.
Judging from its location in prime downtown, is it a strategic caution to the casino goers or the hard slogging banking executives at the opposite side of the bay? I don’t know, but I hope so. There will only be happiness when you are contented with what you have.
The Art/Science Museum or the ‘Lotus Flower’ has ten ‘fingers’. I imagine it to be the palms of two hands cupping together in a receiving gesture. As the palms face the sky, they receive the Heaven energies. They also harvest the rainwater and channel it down to the bottom of the structure to distribute it throughout the complex. I find the design quite intelligent, a subtle way to connect the Heaven (天), Earth (地) and Man (人) energies.
Qi Men Dun Jia & Feng Shui (奇门与风水)
Qi Men Dun Jia (奇门遁甲) is one of the highest levels of divination methodology and consists of an advanced and complex computational model encompassing time and space dimensions. It is extremely accurate and it offers a superior analysis of ground conditions and Feng Shui. If a Feng Shui practitioner is equipped with Qi Men Dun Jia knowhow, it is like having an additional third eye in assessing Feng Shui (风水师的第三只眼睛), or adding wings to a tiger (如虎添翼). In other words, with this additional skill, the practitioner will be able to bring tremendous benefits to the people and his clients.
Qi Men Dun Jia structure consists of 4 levels, which are the Heaven, Earth, Man and Divine configurations. Heaven configuration consists of Nine Stars (天盘九星), Earth configuration refers to the Eight Trigrams (地盘八卦), Man configuration is defined by the Eight Wondrous Gates (人盘八门) and Divine configuration is ruled by the Eight Celestial Guardians (神盘八神). The Ten Heavenly Stems (十天干) and Twelve Earthly Branches (十二地支) are also used extensively in Qi Men Dun Jia.
Out of curiosity I have used Qi Men Dun Jia to assess the Feng Shui of MBS so as to give me a feel of its exterior and interior environmental conditions. Du Men (杜门) speaks of its exterior conditions, while Xiu Men (休门) relates to the interior well-being.
At the time of my analysis, Du Men resides in Li Palace (离宫) together with Tian Chong Star (天冲星), receiving Ding Qi (丁奇) in the Heaven configuration, Jia Wu Xin (甲午辛) in the Earth configuration and Jiu Di (九地) in the Divine configuration. The time of my analysis is during the season of spring when the Wood element prospers and supports the Fire element, thus leading to Li Palace gaining in strength.
This combination gives an indication that MBS has a fairly stable exterior environment, but both favourable and unfavourable surrounding features do exist (朱雀入狱), depending on which position you are in.
Xiu Men resides in Gen Palace (艮宫) together with Tian Xin Star (天心星), receiving Jia Zi Wu (甲子戊) in the Heaven configuration, Jia Shen Geng (甲申庚) in the Earth configuration and Liu He (六合) in the Divine configuration. This category (值符飞宫格) is not so ideal. It implies that there are some issues with the interior configuration and it may lead to changes in event venues or departure of management personnel. I have a hunch that the issue may be related to the towers or management office. Fortunately, the presence of auspicious Liu He signals to us the potential of favourable interior conditions if proper orientation and alignment are carried out.
After reading my previous paragraphs on Qi Men Dun Jia, I know that it’s quite a handful for you to take in. I never say that it’s easy. In fact, it is one of the more complex and multi-dimensional methodologies that I have come across. But if you have a passion for learning and are willing to put in effort, I’m sure you will be able to pick up the skills slowly and put them to good use. I assure you that you will be amazed by its accuracy, multi-faceted analyses and multiple uses. Don’t stop there, keep learning and exploring.
In the Name of Feng Shui Appreciation
As I pen my observations and thoughts for this article, there is no intention to counter, disturb or crack the Feng Shui configuration that the owner has put in place. I am writing this article to share my insights with you, hoping that you will appreciate, together with me, the carefully thought out and elegant application of Feng Shui in MBS integrated resort.
The information presented in this article is based solely on my personal opinion, observation and analysis. As such it may not reflect in an exact manner, the actual Feng Shui configuration of MBS integrated resort.
I do not advocate gambling, but I guess it isn’t that bad if you do it responsibly and in the form of entertainment. Your state of mind is equally important so remember to have ample rest before you decide to try your luck on the gaming tables. I wish you top form and good luck!