The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore played host to the 9th Annual International Feng Shui Association Convention (IFSC) over the weekend of the 17th & 18th of November. Titled Ancient Art-Modern Practice – this wonderful event once again attracted Feng Shui Grand Masters, Masters, practitioners and enthusiasts not only from Singapore and South East Asia, but from many parts of the globe. Following a brief introductory video, the IFSA President – Mr. Darren Ng, commenced proceedings with his opening address. The Executive Committee then awarded Master Accreditation to this year’s worthy recipients and we congratulate all the newly Accredited IFSA Masters; Aparna Agarwal, Edward Liu Kheng Wah, Rikako Fujiki and Sally Cheng Loy Thai.
The IFSA Executive Committee officially opened the event with a ribbon cutting ceremony and as always, our thanks are extended to GM Yap Cheng Hai, GM Tan Khoon Yong, GM Vincent Koh, GM Raymond Lo, Master Jacek Kryg and Master Aparna Agarwal for their ongoing efforts to ensure the continued success of this important annual event in the Feng Shui calendar.
As most of us know, Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that is commonly associated with the fortuitous positioning of homes. Building a home that optimizes the well-being of its dwellers was, and continues to be, much sought after. Centuries ago in China natural land forms such as mountains, valleys and rivers were prevalent and the houses were popularly oriented towards the South. Living standards and needs were basic and as such, Feng Shui practices were simpler and revolved around architecture and culture. Nonetheless, the knowledge of Feng Shui was so coveted that its secrets were passed only to descendants or selected protégés by word of mouth. Manuscripts were closely guarded and deliberately written incomplete or with mistakes to prevent the knowledge from landing in the wrong hands.
Yet in this 21st Century where lifestyles and desires have since evolved, the pursuit to constantly improve one’s well-being in all aspects remains. The practice of Feng Shui and the interpretation of its science and art form has also adapted to the environment and the people of today. Landscapes, especially in cities, are now dense and cluttered, with an absence of space and natural elements. How then can this ancient art be applied in our modern world, to suit the ever changing environment and diverse cultures?
This was the question that was posed at the 2012 – IFSC and over the course of the following two days, some 13 imminently qualified and experienced speakers responded in a variety of contexts.
Grand Master Raymond Lo was the first to speak and as always he entertained and informed the esteemed gathering of delegates with his Four Pillars of Destiny prowess. This year, he shared some of his latest research on Four Pillars & Beauty and not only revealed the 5 Types of Beauty related to the aspects of Power, Resources, Friends, Intelligence and Money; but also those in-born qualities of a Birth Chart such as Peach Blossom, Red Charm, Star of Virtue and Academic Star which can also enhance the appearance, attraction and charm of a person. By defining and identifying these factors we are better able to understand potential and perhaps even improve our own personal outlook and charisma. In today’s extremely competitive and highly visual world this must surely be an asset as we strive to achieve satisfaction and success in our chosen field of endeavor.
The second session on Day 1 was presented by Dr. Michael Oon and was aptly titled Winds of Change. Utilizing the relevant Trigrams of the Bagua in conjunction with the Lo Shu concept of time, Dr. Oon led us through some of the well-known people, themes and attributes that characterize the Lower Period. Using Paris Hilton to illustrate Period 7 and the Tui Trigram, this glamorous, selfish and often controversial socialite certainly exemplified the rise of ‘girl power’, from 1984 to 2003, which arguably reached its pinnacle in the mega successful and outspoken female band – The Spice Girls.
The energy of Period 8 and the Ken Trigram is now of course well represented in young men such as United States President Barack Obama and television chef and philanthropist Jamie Oliver. These caring, skilled, humble, family orientated and hard working men typify the creative, spiritual and nurturing energy of our current time period.
Dr. Oon also spoke about other major shifts that we are seeing today within our industries, financial centers, businesses and careers. Big organizations are giving way to the self-employed entrepreneur and middle-eastern dictatorships are falling to people driven democratically elected governments; as we have seen over the past couple of years in the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings.
Following the lunch break, Session 3 was conducted by Master Goh Guan Leong from the WayOnNet Group and focused on the all-important topic of Bazi and Marriages. This insightful presentation captured the attention of all the delegates as Master Goh began by reminding us about the important role that Bazi once played in traditional match making. In today’s world however we have the freedom to choose our own marriage partner and rather than utilizing Bazi to determine long term compatibility, we now tend to place more emphasis on analyzing the characters of the couples. Some factors to consider when doing this are of course the Spouse Palace, in association with Combinations and Clashes.
Using several case studies, Master Goh not only demonstrated how clashes can repel and combinations can attract, but also why we are often attracted to certain people because of the favorable elements in their Birth Chart or Luck Pillars. In some cases we can even be attracted to unfavorable elements which can set up a destructive or love/hate scenario that is difficult to get away from. Multiple Combinations are another factor which can affect our love lives as they tend to create a triangular relationship issue. Sometimes these dynamics are quite obvious due to their location in the Heavenly Stems, but in other cases their presence in the Earthly Branches means that the ‘other person’ is relatively hidden or not known to us. No matter your personal circumstances however, one thing that Master Goh emphasized was the importance of mutual understanding and respect within any relationship, regardless of which time period we live in.
At last year’s IFSC, Master Victor Garza’s presentation on the Mayan Calendar separated fact from fiction with regard to the ominous predictions and inaccuracies which have long surrounded the 21st December 2012. This year he spoke on Travel with Feng Shui and took us on a fascinating journey through the Far East Asian countries of China, Mongolia, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, North Korea and South Korea. Hexagram 56 (Lu) is Fire above Mountain and represents the Traveling Hexagram. Travel with a purpose is the essence of this particular hexagram and was the underlying theme of Dr. Garza’s presentation, as it tells us that each moment in one’s life is indeed part of a greater journey.
Using the Hexagrams of the I Ching, Dr. Garza also illustrated certain qualities and geographical features that are unique to each country and revealed how through the millennium they have continued to successfully utilize Feng Shui principles in their palaces, temples, tombs and modern day constructions. Singapore is a great example of this as we can see from its visionary and forward thinking people. With few natural resources, this small island country has cleverly incorporated Feng Shui into many aspects of its architecture, infrastructure and daily life. In fact apart from the better known iconic structures of the Suntec Convention Centre and Marina Bay Sands, did you realize that the Singapore Flyer has 28 capsules which each hold a maximum of 28 people? In addition the $1 coin is the shape of the Bagua, which in effect means that every person has the potential to carry around with them a little piece of positive Feng Shui symbolism.
Masters Yap Boh Chu, Richard Ashworth and Stephen Skinner rounded off the speakers for the final three sessions of Day 1 and what an impressive line-up this proved to be! With their accumulated knowledge, experience and wisdom these venerable gentlemen managed to breathe new life into ancient Chinese metaphysical practices, while still providing us with a clear sense and understanding of the rich heritage of its past.
Master Yap Boh Chu was the first to speak and his presentation focused on Feng Shui Evolution. This year his practical approach focused on the keys to evolving successfully as a Feng Shui practitioner. Understand the principles; do not believe the ancient Masters know everything and be prepared to fail from time to time as trial & error is a great teacher. In essence we should be adapting and evolving our knowledge and understanding of Feng Shui and be prepared to alter our practices to allow for changes in our local environment and for the different needs of a modern world. The ancient Masters were more immersive in their practice and as such they probably only performed around 30 consultations during the course of their working life. With the faster pace of the 21st century and access to much greater technology a practitioner today may average this many consultations in just one year.
Master Richard Ashworth was the next speaker and his presentation on Feng Shui & Bazi was quite profound and even poignant and provided the delegates with a slightly different approach. In his practice Master Ashworth hand drafts his client’s Bazi Charts in much the same way that medieval Masters did. From the information that he gathers from such an analysis he is better able to assist his clients through Feng Shui advice and also to offer them additional solutions via other modalities including TCM and acupuncture.
Master Stephen Skinner is well known to all of us as a world renowned author, researcher, publisher and lecturer. In his presentation on the Intriguing History of Feng Shui, he tracked the early beginnings of Feng Shui and how the different methods evolved and related to each other. In addition he highlighted the various techniques that modern day Masters and practitioners use (including 8 Mansion and Flying Star) and how these methods do not necessarily conflict with each other, but rather are used to measure different things. Heaven, Earth & Man must be in unison in order to open the ‘hidden doors’ to harmony and prosperity and benefit can best be gained by utilizing both the different schools of San He & San Yuan.
Day 2 of the 9th annual IFSC
Master Brandon Chua Chee Hiang opened proceedings on Day 2 of the IFSC with his energetic and entertaining presentation on Modern City Living & Yin Feng Shui. In fact he quickly grabbed the attention of the delegates by reinvigorating the musty old classics of the Green Satchel and Qing Nang Jing Scrolls. It seems that the popular Feng Shui methods of Flying Star & Da Gua-64 Hexagrams (which are used by most modern practitioners) can be traced back to these ancient classical texts and once decoded are actually quite simple and straightforward. The key is to match both time and space dimensions in order to properly apply Feng Shui for living premises (Yang Zhai) and Feng Shui for grave placement (Yin Zhai).
Masters Aparna Agarwal and Petra Coll-Exposito delivered Session 2 & 5 on the second day and featured case studies from their own practice in their presentations on Ancient Science and Symbolism Blending in Modern Homes and Classical Feng Shui inEurope. Both of these sessions were particularly beneficial as they showed how ancient principles and modern practices can be successfully applied in various cultures and societies in order to bring about balance and harmony to present day homes, businesses and people.
Session 3 on Modern Arts of Building Forms was beautifully presented by Master Mauro Rahardjo from Indonesia. Modern architecture has evolved over the past 100 years, but it has only been in the last three decades that we have really seen the application of Feng Shui principles more widely accepted into the design of present day buildings. Instead creative shapes and forms have often been utilized in modern construction, but without consideration of Feng Shui as a design factor. As a result this can sometimes combine with unfavorable landform and annual stars and trigger events and phenomenon such as bombings and hauntings.
Master Derek Walter’s presentation on The Feng Shui of Musical Sounds struck a happy note with the delegates and had them singing in their seats. This was certainly a different type of presentation from what we are used to at the IFSC, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Although we are familiar with the use of wind chimes and bells as Feng Shui remedies, very little is understood about the significance and relevance of the various pitches, melodies and timbre of sounds. In this session Master Walter’s not only demonstrated this relevance with the use of musical instruments, but he also revealed why songs such as Ol’ Man River, Auld Lang Syne and the music of Irving Berlin became so popular.
We know Grand Master Tan Khoon Yong as the debonair and highly successful C.E.O of the WayOnNet Group, but little did we realize that he is also an accomplished and very creative artist. In this final session of the 9th Annual IFSC, GM Tan showcased pieces of his own personal art works in his presentation of Bridging Feng Shui & Arts. Via a myriad of colours, symbols, shapes and meaningful forms GM Tan took us on an insightful journey and re-acquainted us with the fundamentals of Feng Shui from an artistic perspective. The 5 elements, 12 Zodiacs, I-Ching and Flying Stars were incorporated into dynamic and aesthetic Feng Shui solutions in order to enhance various aspects of life. GM Tan even generously donated one of his paintings as a raffle prize, so that one very lucky person got to take home a valuable piece of Feng Shui art!
Once again the 9th Annual IFSC was a resounding success and the Executive Committee of the IFSA is to be congratulated on such a wonderful event. In addition to informative and entertaining presentations, the IFSC manages to provide a great opportunity for delegates to chat and network with their international and local colleagues. The foyer is always abuzz with much conversation and laughter as many of the Masters and Academic Institutions also set up display-booths which not only offer Feng Shui related books and products, but also an opportunity to meet and speak with the speakers and Masters who gather during the break periods.
The International Feng Shui Association would also like to thank TTG Asia Media PTE LTD for their continuous support, involvement and contribution towards this event. In addition, we wish to acknowledge our appreciation to the WayOnNet Group and the Singapore Feng Shui Centre for their very generous sponsorship. A note of thanks also to those who had contributed to the success of this event.
A final note of thanks must also go to the IFSC Organizing Committee including University of Las Vegas, Nevada; in particular the Organizing Chairman Grand Master Vincent Koh and Organizing Vice-Chairman Grand Master Tan Khoon Yong for their tireless efforts in arranging the venue and speakers. Next year will mark the historical 10th Annual IFSC to be held in Singapore and I’m sure it is going to be something special. In fact rumor has it that the IFSA Executive Committee will be making an announcement regarding the 11th Annual IFSC, so make sure you get your ticket early as seats are limited and have already begun to sell!