SINGAPORE - His love affair with fengshui, or Chinese geomancy, began two years ago.
Mr Eric Tang, 26, had wondered why the boss insisted on having a fortune cat (yes, the one that waves at passers-by) at the front of the salon he manages.
That, coupled with his boss giving him a set of things he should avoid doing at work, got him even more curious.
Mr Tang marvelled at how changing the arrangement of things in an environment could make a difference to one’s life.
Initially, he researched on the Internet to satisfy his curiosity.
But he knew his hunger for fengshui knowledge was not easily sated when he found himself looking up classes for more in-depth knowledge.
Said Mr Tang: “I thought that instead of asking for fengshui masters to help do some arrangement, why not go and learn so that I have the knowledge to help myself?”
Last November, he obtained a certificate of qualification from the School of Chinese Metaphysics (SOCM) in Singapore, after 10 months of weekly lessons.
Mr Tang now applies his newly-acquired knowledge to improve his life and to help friends who approach him.
“So far, they told me it’s been effective,” he said, adding that his younger friends would ask about relationships or their careers, while others would ask more about the spatial arrangement of things in their homes.
Mr Tang is among the increasing number of younger people taking classes on fengshui and then applying their knowledge to help others.
A check with three schools that conduct fengshui lessons showed that more young people are showing interest in the subject.
A Singapore Feng Shui Centre spokesman said they usually have undergraduates attending their course, but the centre has also seen polytechnic students joining recently.
Master Andrew Tan, who founded SOCM, said he has seen students as young as their early 20s.
Geomancers have also noticed more people in their 20s knocking on their doors for consultations.
Miss Judy Foo, 45, who runs Jing Geomancy, said that she now sees about five such walk-ins monthly, compared to just one two years ago.
One reason fengshui is attracting a younger demographic profile, Miss Foo suggested, is due to “stress and competition” and that they “can’t find ways and means they can rely on”.
“They come to me for two things - relationship questions for the singles and work problems due to competition, stress and insecurity at work,” she said.
Mr Tang attributed the rise in interest to easy access to information on fengshui on the Internet.
“Last time, we had to go to bookstores or masters to look up information.
“Now, with the Internet and social media, the net-savvy people are more exposed to fengshui,” he said.
What is fengshui?
Fengshui literally means wind and water, and is said to be both a science and an art.
The science comes from the calculations and methods used when analysing a property.
The art of feng shui is tapping the wisdom acquired from performing the analyses and knowing the exact degree to which remedies are prescribed.
A fengshui master does his or her analysis by observing the environment using a lo pan (compass) to determine the orientation of a property.
Calculations are done according to the basic principles of fengshui, and the “qi”, or life force, within the property is determined, as are its effects on the occupants.
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