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Hong Kong Culture: Understanding Feng Shui from a Feng Shui Master -1

At one of our monthly meetings, Victoria Wong - one of LocalHood volunteers in the Website Content team suggested the name of her cousin Ali, when we were discussing about our next article on understand HK culture.

Ali Li, a Heung Gong Yan (local Hong Konger) has been practising Feng Shui since over 20 years and is now a Feng Shui master. Feng Shui accompanies Ali not only when he's seeing clients but forms a part of his daily life, using it in every small opportunity he gets be it in business, personal life or his social life. Outside of Feng Shui, Ali is a businessman and also an avid Basketball player.

In this article, Ali explains what Feng Shui is, as he practices it.


Feng Shui means “Wind” and “Water” in Chinese characters, however the true meaning behind is actually geography, a study of landscape, architecture and directions.

Feng Shui to many people is generally understood as fortune telling, so to be exact we should call it 術數 (ShuShu), and I will use ‘ShuShu’ in following paragraphs.

Feng Shui is the study of Geography. And it’s only a part of ShuShu. ShuShu is a more general term that also includes many kind of fortune predictions, astronomy, calendar and seasons. To begin with, I will have to explain how ancient Chinese study their technology.

Every kind of study has to build upon a fundamental system, most of the scientific study we are working on today are build upon numbers and maths. For example, Economics builds upon statistics, numbers and basic economic models such as GDP; Weather forecasting builds upon on temperature degree, air pressures, etc. These are all in numbers.

ShuShu (and many other ancient Chinese technologies) are the same, however numbers are not widely used at that time, or even some numbers are prohibited, or can only be used by the royal family.

Instead of numbers, their studies were build upon 陰陽 (YinYang) , 五行 (WuHang, the 5 elements), 易經 (I-Ching) and also the characters of 天干 (TianGan, Heavenly Stems) 地支 (DiZhi, Earthly Branches), and more. Science Technologies including Medical, Astronomy, Geography and Future Predictions were build upon these fundamentals (yes future prediction methods were science to them).

Ancient Chinese people (as well as all other civilisations in history) studied on what they saw and observed, normally their study continue on (consume) for their whole life. For many centuries, people investigated on their ancestors’ experiences, learnt from their articles, made their own alteration and continued to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

As they were normally very well-educated people, their knowledge was thankfully written in poetry, using the terms of YinYang, WuHang, I-Ching and the characters said above. This poetry requires high education levels in ancient Chinese language, and very good knowledge in ancient philosophy and terms, in order to read and to understand those articles. Thats why not much people have the ability to read it, to understand it, and to really make use of the knowledge nowadays.


Back to Feng Shui (ShuShu), the purpose of this study is to predict future. By observing a house (or working place, graveyard), in consider the relationship between the house, the geography and landscape surrounding the house, the direction of the house, and also the birthdate and birth-time of the person who lived in, Feng Shui master will have to make predictions with all the information mentioned above.

More details on the birth-date part, most Feng Shui master uses a method called 八字 (BaZi, 8 characters), which is a fortune prediction method according to one’s birthdate and birth-time. This is one of the most famous, mostly used and effective method to make future predictions, and been widely used for centuries.

In the Chinese history, ShuShu is mainly used by the emperor, royal families and nobles, as those were the most reliable methods to them at that time. Because it is highly prestige in the history, most people today, including many Feng Shui masters, have over estimate the capability of ShuShu, or even purposely make exaggerate explanations.


In my opinion, ShuShu is just a scientific study that pass on for thousands of years, a study aim to predict future.

I will make an example with the stock market to explain ShuShu. Investment bankers collect data, analysing data in the way written in text-book, and then predict the future trends of the stock market based on their experiences or by their factions.

ShuShu is similar to this, Feng Shui master collect data from houses, geography surroundings and birth-dates, and analysis the data in the way written on ancient articles, and then making prediction according to their experiences or by their factions.

One important thing to note, As with Investment bankers and stock market, Feng Shui master also has the knowledge to predict future trends. However, none of them are ever 100% accurate! NEVER! Having said that, you can’t say their study or knowlege is completely wrong or useless. It really can help to a certain level to know the trends as it will be depending on how well the Feng Shui master (or investment banker) analysis their data, and capable to make predictions accurately.

One more thing to emphasise, ShuShu does not involve any kind of spiritual or supernatural power, there were no conclusion of any ghost or spiritual in any ShuShu articles in the history. There maybe arguments between Feng Shui masters that some articles does mentioned ghost and supernatural, I have personally heard another master who believe in ghost which was written in an ancient article, however to my understanding on that particular article, its just an metaphor in the poetry, the author doesn’t really mean they saw it.

Speaking about spiritual or supernatural power, it is actually a study in the ancient ages, however it is under the category of Taoism (not ShuShu), which is a study of philosophy and spiritual, that aiming for immortality.




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