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Cleared all doubts and questions. It was an interesting and fruitful day. Joey is so friendly and knowledgeable.

Ivy Chang Hwee Hoon , Singapore

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Source : The Egde
Date : 28 Jun 2004
by Choo Li-Hsian
Leveraging on wind and water, young master Joey Yap has created a rising global enterprise dealing in ancient Chinese wisdom. Choo Li-Hsian takes the trip to China.

oving quickly but unsurely towards some eventual destination is a sign of our times; a time when feng shui has become a much sought-after fix enmeshed in corporate and personal fortunes.

Enter Joey Yap, Malaysian feng shui master, and the man behind the Feng Shui Mastery Excursion Series – The Feng Shui of Imperial China. Instead of the application of “Chinese restaurant-style of feng shui” and “home decoration”, as he puts it, why not tap into the wisdom of the Chinese ancients? Why not leverage on natural phenomena over superficial object placements and man-made interventions?

Yap devised the Mastery Excursion Series after recognising the need for a formal feng shui course that gives students the practical experience of “walking the mountains”. It would be a “back to the roots” movement that enables students to test classroom theories via the experience of real, historic examples of actual feng shui application, both deliberate and serendipitous.

The course takes in significant historical sites of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) from the time of its inception to its downfall. The Qing Dynasty, one of the smaller ethnic groups in China, with a relatively small army, took over a whole kingdom. It lasted for 295 years. In 1912, the Qing Dynasty’s last and 12th emperor abdicated. By correlating and corroborating the elements of feng shui and these sites with the peaks and troughs of the dynasty’s fortunes over time, participants can verify the formulas for themselves.

Yap attempts to show participants how feng shui started, driving home the difference between classical feng shui (as advocated by him) and its variants. He believes that this course, with its structured syllabus, instruction, content and context, is the first of its kind in the world.

The Traders Hotel is to be our base for the next four days in Shenyang. The organizers and participants have turned out not to be New Age cultists, after all, but an international group of seasoned feng shui practitioners (yes, there is a difference between the two groups). It’s not their first time together, this diverse lot from the US, Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK, Greece, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia. Might this be a new category for tourism, I wonder. But first, a quick round of introduction to members of the feng shui United Nations:

Alex Ho, retired finance professional and citizen of the world, was born in Shanghai, grew up in Brazil, lives in the US, is married to a Chinese-American, and has a Brazilian-born daughter about to marry a French-Canadian. Ho was initially sceptical that someone as young as Yap called himself master. He has since been impressed by the clarity of Yap’s home study videos and thinks the man is “a natural in the field of Chinese metaphysics”. Vin Leo, meanwhile, is a real estate agent from Singapore now residing in Perth who works closely with Yap in feng shui research. He thinks Yap’s methods encourage you to think things through for yourself and “removes the mystery shrouding the ancient art of feng shui.”

After a bad fire some years ago at her house, former paramedic Jayne Goodrick moved into a small cottage where she experienced a welcome change of fortunes. The she moved back and things changed back to normal too. Her scientific training sought out an explanation. She thinks feng shui has an image problem – everyone wants “commercial feng shui where they use a lot of trinkets and apply quick-fix feng shui”. Goodrick is attempting a study of the history of the British Royal Family based on feng shui analysis of its graves and palaces.

Representing the home team is architect Chan Kuan Eng from Kuala Lumpur, who laments the lack of social and cultural relevance of architecture today. Globalisation has exposed us to different styles and cultures, but it has also resulted in a demand for designs unsuited to their environment. Chan hopes to bridge that gap between the feng shui master and architect.

South African Di Grobler met Yap in 1999 and found his style of teaching refreshing. Yap always provided an appropriate reason, the background and general philosophy in response to questions. “Joey researches everything, questions everything.” Bruno Koppel was a former marketing manager for a large international business and is currently owner of one of Mexico’s leading consultancy firms. He’s in China because he “could not get knowledge of this anywhere else.”

Irene Loukou from Athens is concerned about the current massive construction works going on in Greece for the Olympics. She trained in graphic design but has a special interest in mathematics and thinks feng shui is an interesting art form that marries the two. There is also Eva Maria Spotta, sales director of a large high-end German furniture company. She has been practicing feng shui for 15 years, finding that good taste is not enough to succeeding in this business. She says one needs a special sense to discern what works and what doesn’t and was amazed that there was a Chinese system of feng shui that explained such “feelings”.

Yap is in a foreign country with mainly western students, and he knows he can’t pull a fast one by showing them his wizard’s hat or master’s robes. “If you can’t explain why, you’re out of business,” he says. “(Western students) demand reasoning. And I find that a reasonable request. I mean if people want to learn something, they have to ask, why?”

He is somewhat aloof at first, more mature than his 27 years as he preps us for what lies ahead. He is passionate, articulate and has a knack for communication: “If there is no hair, you can’t perm it,” he explains in trademark fashion – the random placement of objects inside a building is pointless if there is no good Qi around it to harness in the first place. Like the real estate agent’s mantra, location, location, location is the key to classical feng shui.

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