Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chapter 26: Good Feng Shui for Offices

I was having a very bad morning. Some critical issues with a new FX fund had surfaced suddenly and its launch date was around the corner. I had been on four conference calls with the Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and China country managers respectively for the past four hours, repeating the same things over and over again.

Just when I put back my headset and took a first sip on my already cold coffee, my MSN Messenger popped out. I had got a message from Nicky.

“hey, ur product got prob? u sounded exasperated on ur conf calls”
“yeh, got surprises at the wrong timing.”
“do u think everybody has been rather unlucky lately?”
“is it?”
“ur product got prob, Choi’s report was handed up late”
“erm… Choi’s reports are always handed up late”
“ok, Dawn’s project got stuck”
“Nicky, Dawn’s project is never destined to be successful”
“Sally has been scolded by Ju for a few times in a row this month”
“it’s their event period. It’s normal”
“ok ,Rose has been falling sick”
“hmm… true. She has been having migraine quite frequently these days”
“and my shares has been dropping”
“so wat are u trying to tell me?”
“i think our office’s Feng Shui has got prob”
“are u sure it’s our office’s Feng Shui?”
“yeh. I tell u wat. I’ll bring my stuffs here tomoro”
“wat stuffs?”
“my Feng Shui tools. I need to take a look at our office’s Feng Shui and see wat’s wrong”

Geez, to Nicky, all misfortunes lead to Feng Shui. But he was not being too paranoid though. It was true that all of us had been down on our luck lately. Nothing seemed to work and anything that could go wrong went wrong. Maybe it was really the Feng Shui.

As promised, Nicky appeared with an ancient Chinese Feng Shui compass, a.k.a. Luo Pan, in the office on the following morning. It was a small compass embedded in a huge movable copper disc with lots of Chinese writings on it and this whole thing was then housed in a red square box. There was even a tiltmeter with a liquid bubble inside a chamber that indicated if the compass was tilted. The only time I had seen this kind of compass was in a Chinese movie about zombies and Taoists.

Nicky walked to our office door, turned and tilted his compass then noted down his reading on a piece of paper. He then did the same action at the other three corners and the center of the area that belonged to our department.

“Dude, I was right,” Nicky looked at me solemnly. “Our office has got bad Feng Shui.”
“Then why did it only affect us at the end of the year?” I was not convinced.
“Because then it was not time yet. But now, my friend, the bad luck has finally surfaced. We need to counter it or else more misfortune will be expected.”

If I was not standing in front of Nicky and looking at him, I would have thought that I heard those words from a Feng Shui master who was trying to tell me that we needed to buy some thousands dollars Feng Shui cures to end our bad luck.

“And what are we supposed to do, our dear Feng Shui Master?” I teased.
“Our office door is facing the West, which is where the Grand Duke Jupiter is situated this year. That is very bad because all the movements at the door have created too much noise.”
“Oh, so this Mr. Grand Duke Jupiter is a quiet guy like KZ, huh?”
“Beng! In Feng Shui, Grand Duke Jupiter is very well respected. And misfortunes will fall upon us if we create noises at where he is seated!”
“Okay, so what’s the cure?”
“We need to buy a Pi Xiu,” Nicky continued. “This Pi Xiu should be placed at our door and facing West where the Grand Duke Jupiter is. It’ll then get rid of the bad luck due to the conflict.”

Oh, so that guy with a horn, a face that looks like a mix between a lion and a dog, hoofs at its feet, two little wings and a tail would scare that cantankerous and sour old soul away.

“Will this Pi Xiu stops people from treating me as a receptionist as well?” asked Ju who sat at the desk nearest to the door. “I’m so sick of having delivery men and guests asking me where is who seated, where is the wash room and where is the exit.”
“Erm… I’m not sure about this part.” Nicky admitted. “But I know that it’s bad Feng Shui to sit facing the office door directly. It means that you’ll be out of the company soon.”
“Out of the company? Does it mean that some headhunters will look for me and some companies will offer me higher pay?”
“Err… I’m not sure if it can be translated to that.”

“Nicky! Maybe you should look at my Feng Shui problem as well!” shouted Sally.
“You’re not under any exposed overhead beam, and your facing direction seems okay. What’s wrong?” asked the puzzled Nicky.
“It is bad Feng Shui to face the copier machine right?”
“You know, everybody who discovers that the copier machine is out of paper will turn around and ask me whether I have any papers,” Sally complained. “There was once, this guy even told me that the copier machine was spoilt and he just stood in front of me and expected me to do something about it! What did he expect? Do I look like I can repair a copier machine?”
“Erm… Sally, I’m afraid I can’t help you on this. The Feng Shui books did not mention anything about what to do when you sit facing a copier machine.”

Before Sally could ask him anything, Nicky hastily walked to the back of our department area. He looked at the vertical blinds covering the windows then turned to me and said: “I’ve found another problem.”

“What’s that?”
“The three of us, you, me and Choi, we are seated with our backs to the windows. That’s bad Feng Shui!”
“Because there’s another disagreeable guy situated there?”
“No! In Feng Shui, if you are seated with you back to a door or a window, it means you won’t have the support from your bosses and colleagues in work. No wonder Rose rejected my last analysis report!”
“Err… Nicky, I heard that she rejected that report because you made some mistakes in some of your charts.”
“Never mind, I know how to cure this,” Nicky ignored my comments and continued. “We can place a Dragon Tortoise here to give us the support that we lack of.”
“Dude, is it a dragon or a tortoise?”
“A Dragon Tortoise.”
“Yah, so which one? Dragon or tortoise?”
“A Dragon Tortoise! A Dragon Tortoise is a Feng Shui animal with the head of a dragon and the body of a tortoise!” explained Nicky, slightly miffed with me.

Nicky then turned and pushed away the vertical blinds as he opened one of the windows. He stuck his head out for a few minutes, looking up and down, left and right, then came back in and closed the window.

“I don’t really see any sharp corners or protruding parts outside our office windows.”
“Well, that’s great then.”
“But in order to play safe, I think we’d better increase the yang chi in our office.”

I had heard this from a television program before. People who believe in Feng Shui believe that our environment is consisted of yang chi, which is positive aura, and yin chi, which is negative aura. When the yang chi is weaker than the yin chi in an environment, the people staying in that environment will be very unlucky. And when the yin chi in an environment is too strong, that place could be haunted. I wondered if that was the reason for Sally’s spiritual experience.

“How are you going to increase the yang chi in the office?” I asked Nicky.
“There are these five-coin amulets that are made of five I-Ching coins tied together with a red string. I’ll get five of these amulets and we can hang four in the four corners and hang the fifth one in the center.”

“Hey bro! Since you’re at it, is there anything you can do to the Feng Shui here to make our wealth luck stronger so that we can win some lottery?” Choi asked.
“Hmm… actually there might be a way.”

Nicky walked back to his table and took out several Feng Shui books from his document bag. One by one, he flipped and read through some pages. A couple of minutes later, he put down a book and walked over to Choi’s desk.

“Choi, there is one way to enhance our wealth luck. But it’s a bit troublesome though.”
“Well, if I can win the first price for lottery, I don’t really mind doing something that is troublesome,” Choi grinned.
“We need to take a porcelain bowl, put in five I-Ching coins and fill it with water. Then we need to place this bowl of coins and water at the corner diagonally to our office door.”
“That doesn’t sound too troublesome.”
“We need to change the water every week.”
“That’s not a problem at all. I can do it,” Choi committed.
“And we can’t use normal tap water.”
“Then what? Use mineral water?”

Nicky took a breath, and then said: “We need water from the heaven, from the sky to be specific. We need to collect rain water to fill the bowl.”

Choi raised an eyebrow and said: “Forget it. It’s really too troublesome.”

During lunch time, I accompanied Nicky to the Feng Shui shop that he usually patron at The Bencoolen to get the Pi Xiu, Dragon Tortoise and five-coin amulets. After we left the shop, Nicky mentioned that we needed to bless our Feng Shui cures in the Kwan Im Tong Hood Che Temple.

“How do we bless these stuffs?” I asked.
“Oh, just circle the cures three times around the main joss-sticks urn in the temple and ask the Goddess of Mercy for her blessings,” Nicky explained.
“Okay, I presume that you’re doing that because you’re a Buddhist. But Dawn is a Christian. Will these animals and amulets protect her as well?”
“Err… I’m not sure. It’s not stated in the books.”

After we returned to the office, we could not place those Feng Shui cures yet. Nicky said that the only auspicious hour for that day was at five o’clock and we could only place those cures by then.

Finally at five minutes past five, Nicky placed the Pi Xiu and Dragon Tortoise at their respective places while Choi and I helped to hang the coin amulets on the lamp holders. Dawn watched in amaze as we hung the coin amulets.

“Hey, what are you guys doing?” Dawn finally could not control her curiosity and asked.
“We’re hanging some Feng Shui coin amulets,” I replied the obvious.
“What is that amulet for? What is it supposed to do?”
“Err… bring us good luck.”
“Okay… these coins look pretty eerie. Will it affect me negatively? I’m pregnant, you know?”
“Erm… I’m not very sure actually. Why don’t you ask Nicky? It’s his idea.”

Immediately, Dawn walked over to Nicky who had just finished adjusting the Pi Xiu’s position and asked him a series of questions. Nicky frowned as he tried to answer her questions and I could see that he needed to read more Feng Shui books.

Actually, maybe Nicky should find a Feng Shui cure that could stop Dawn from bothering him.