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Feng Shui Post: My day with Joey

January 18, 2009

So at the insistence of a friend who thinks I should go out a little more often, I spent all of Saturday at a Feng Shui seminar conducted by Joey Yap, who I’m told is a local Feng Shui supremo. It happened at the KL Convention Center.

First off I should declare that I’m no Feng Shui buff. This was the first time I’ve seen this art form (err… science my friend insists) up-close. Even though martial arts is in my blood, I’m not particularly traditional. I don’t decorate my home like the Forbidden City and I find more comfort in the logic of numbers than I do in weird figurines that look like half dog half lion.

So I was relieved that Joey didn’t touch any of that stuff. In fact what he preached sounded more like a mix of astrology, cosmology, and face reading. Notice I didn’t say astronomy which would’ve been a godsend to me. No, this was about how to apply ancient principles, not about the science behind it so the skeptic in me didn’t have a chance to stack it up against Newton’s or Einstein’s laws.

The whole notion about planets and stars affecting man’s destiny is as old as cave drawings. There’s a belief that earth will be screwed when all the 13 planets in our system line up in perfect formation. In fact I recall a programme, I think on Discovery channel, where a bunch of skeptics carried out an experiment to measure the physical effect of actual star positions on earth’s surface, as claimed by popular western astrology. They used fancy instruments to measure subtle changes in gravity, gamma rays and stuff like that.

And the result? It came to zero. Nada. None of the delicate instruments picked anything up. The skeptics naturally concluded it was a bunch of hooey.

Which didn’t surprise me. In science, we’re trained to believe that if it isn’t measurable, then it isn’t real. Right? It has made us feel like donkeys quite a few times. A few hundred years ago, people would laugh at us if we talked about galaxies and nebulaes. Then we invented the infra-red and x-ray telescopes. People ain’t laughing now. I don’t arrogantly sweep away things I can’t see because I know our “advanced” instruments are still blind to a lot of things out there. Proof: we haven’t stopped discovering new realities. Things like dark energy, dark matter and quantum-level particles. No, man is not exactly the authority on what exists and what doesn’t.

Anyway back to Joey’s gig. I guess one of the toughest things for me or any western-educated person was the bit about face reading. To say that if you have this kind of face, then you are that kind of person kinda sounded like stereotyping that I’m not used to. But I guess the ancients must have found the correlation to be statistically significant enough to make the call. Hell I use correlational anaylsis in my own work all the time so scientifically I can’t completely discount it.

As a whole, the talk was enjoyable. Joey’s an engaging, tireless and funny chap. I’m sure a long day felt short for the thousand-odd participants in the auditorium. I felt two things marred the presentation though. First was the technical difficulties just before the show. The rear speakers of the auditorium suddenly died. The MC on stage, initially deaf to the frantic shrieks of the audience at the back, then completely misdiagnosed the problem. No it wasn’t the echo. It wasn’t the curtains. It wasn’t the volume. The.rear.speakers.died. Even with a dozen ushers standing around, the crew looked like deer in the headlights. Urrghh, I felt like strangling someone.

Second was the frequent disconnects between what Joey was saying and his presentation aid – an XL-sized projection screen controlled by someone behind the scenes. Without it you need binoculars to see the speaker, that’s how far behind I sat. When Joey spoke about facial gestures, the screen would show a chart. When Joey spoke about a chart, the screen would zoom on something else. Synchronization fail. You sure this is a seasoned crew?

That aside, Joey himself saved the day with an energetic oratory that held up everyone’s attention. He’s one heck of a public speaker. I enjoyed it. I give the event a 4 out of 5.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2009 10:53 am

    Welcome to Malaysia. πŸ˜€ I’ve been to seminars in 5-star hotels…and they also screwed up the technical side of things (projector not working, mic not working, speakers gone nuts, or 1 project showing A but another showing B).

    Anyway, I do believe in Feng Shui and fortune telling (which includes face reading). My family n I met this guy in Mlk, he was from China and he was part of a grp of Chinese (China Chinese) who was having something like an exhibition in a shopping complex. My dad went to him for the face reading and what he said was very very accurate. He told my father of his past, etc. It’s not 100% but 90% of the things are accurate. And he only charged us RM 5, but we gave him RM 20. Then he looked at my mum and gave her a free reading – very accurate too.
    That’s why I do believe in such things. There are still a lot of things that our science cannot explain though I also believe there are some craps spreading out there as well.

    Putting a lion statue to increase my wealth this year just because I was born in the year of dog? Sorry la, I don’t believe that.

    I’ve been in KL for a year now. πŸ˜€ So did you have your face read? My face reading capability is limited to, “Oh man you look like crap today.” LOL. πŸ˜€

  2. January 18, 2009 1:50 pm

    well, it’s hard to avoid feng shui now (at least the basics) if you’re into property investments. But I’m surprised the bunch of scientist you said didn’t find any changes in measurements.

    I’m in a particular engineering field and the earth’s magnetic field pattern changes all the time! Although very minute, it does affect my equipment’s accuracy!

    Yes, the planet’s magnetic field varies and can even flip I’m told. Equipment calibration will be necessary to cancel out the local effects. We used to do it with radio astronomy so as not to confuse signals from outer space with that of the washing machine next door.

  3. January 18, 2009 5:13 pm

    fengshui seems to be the in thing now. moderation is good πŸ™‚

    Yeah, and it can be expensive too.

  4. LC Teh permalink
    January 19, 2009 10:04 am

    Come to think of it, I’m always suspicious that some so called Fungshui masters hold major shares in those weird figurine shops.

    I wouldn’t want to mess with the alignment of the planets either, but I have faith in the Great Designer who started all that.

    Talk about face reading, here’s one about moles on faces that might amuse you…

    Oh, those weird figurines. I think its actualy its a neat way to sell traditions, not feng shui. Its always interesting to hear stories behind things like the Fuk Luk Sau.

    I got no moles on my face but face reading must’ve been very handy in ancient times. When people don’t keep birth records and can manufacture their histories, prospective employers and parents in law still have a face to count on.

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