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Feng Shui Malaysia

Touched by magic?

New Straits Times
04 Feb 2007

Call it magic, superstition or science, but some people will swear by that old kris for protection; old coins sewn onto a pillowcase to ward off evil; or that bag of crystals to absorb negative energy. TAN CHOE CHOE speaks to some believers.

CHERRY Kwan had a tough time last year, constantly plagued by one illness after another and unable to perform at work.

And to top it all of, she was having problems with her boyfriend.

Up to her neck in frustration, Kwan, 25, consulted a Chinese astrologer and was told she would have to wear a string of rainbow black obsidian crystals to improve her luck.

"It was miraculous! After just one week, my boyfriend became more caring. And a month later, I got a new job."

Kwan, an accounts manager who deals with consumer loans with a local bank, said her job is much smoother these days.

"Sales is good and my relationship is more stable now. I think it’s these magical crystals. Originally, they were all black, now they’ve changed to pink, purple, green, even blue," said Kwan, indicating her now multi-coloured bracelet.

Kwan said she bought the crystals because "they looked rather cute, just like candies".
The beauty of the crystals attracted her and she readily fell for the astrologer’s sales pitch, and paid RM330 for them.

Businessman Firdaus Abu Bakar, 32, believes that a few old Straits settlement coins sewn onto his pillowcase six years ago has helped his distribution business to flourish.

"I started my business in 1998, during the last leg of the economic crisis that hit the better part of Asia," he said. "And I was struggling to stay afloat for the next two years.

"But when my mum, who lives in Sarawak, visited me and sewed some one penny Straits settlement coins onto one of my favourite pillowcases, my luck changed for the better."

Just two weeks after the coins were sewn onto his pillowcase, he met an old friend who took him to a Christmas gathering.

"Before I knew it, two contracts, one of which was from a multinational firm, landed on my lap."
Firdaus said his mum also left some of the old coins with him to replace "any that might be torn off in the washing machine".

Unsure of the origin of the practice, Firdaus, whose great-great grandmother was a Chinese, said it was probably passed down from her side of the family.

"The coins are said to bring wealth, and the yellow colour of the pillowcase is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to whoever sleeps on it."

Since then, Firdaus has listened to his mother whenever she prescribes "strange rituals" for him to perform.

"Like when I cook rice, she told me to pour half a measure into the pot and the other half back into the rice container. So, instead of filling the rice cooker with one full cup, I would fill it with two half cups."

Firdaus said his mum told him it was a petua (advice) passed down from previous generations to ensure that those who stay in the house would never go hungry.

Daniel Deo, 27, believes that a person can become kebal (invincible) carrying a kris.

Deo, who studied silat (traditional Malay martial arts) for 10 years from when he was 13, said his Tok Guru (master) told him about the mystical properties of the traditional Malay dagger, and suggested that he wear one for protection.

"I used to wear this miniature kris I bought from Central Market as a necklace and it was magical.

"I had to fend off an attacker once and got hurt in the process, but strangely, I didn’t feel a thing. It’s magic, that’s what it is," said Deo.

But some, like Evangeline Lim, 38, think certain items bring luck or healing powers, not because of magic, but science.

"Crystals have been scientifically proven to have certain vibrations and these vibrations can affect us."
Crystals, said Lim, are also known to retain energy.

Lim carries a bag of six crystals with her at all times — rose quartz, carnelian, sodalite, clear quartz, bloodstone and amethyst — which she says work collectively to absorb negative energy from her surroundings.

Lim, who holds a law-degree, said she bought the crystals 10 years ago when she first returned from the United States and was having problems with gossip, back-biting and overly competitive colleagues at work.

"I was more receptive to new age therapies and alternative healings such as reiki because I read a lot about them when I was abroad and how it could benefit us."

For her, it couldn’t hurt to try, "since crystal healing is natural and doesn’t involve drugs".

So has it worked so far? It is a mind, body-and-spirit connection, said the freelance writer, adding that she became less affected by her colleagues at work and eventually got the courage to quit and freelance instead.

"In any form of healing, if your mind is convinced of the efficacy of the method, then it’s a start on the road to recovery.

"You will start to see results because you also make a conscious effort to change things for the better."

If you believe it, it’s everywhere

COME Chinese New Year, feng shui practitioner and author Lillian Too’s chain of shops, the World Of Feng Shui, will be packed with people who want to get a dash of "magic" to help them improve their lives.

"They come to my shop looking for things to ward off danger or bad luck in the new year, to enhance their luck, find love, or get a little bit richer," said Too.

Too is a firm believer in magic.

"Magic is about miracles and the fact that we’re alive today is magical. If you believe in it, there’s magic all around us."
She said magic has its basis in many cultures, be it Tibetan, Chinese, Indian or Malay.

"When I speak of magic, I’m not referring to the mumbo-jumbo type of illusions you see on stage."
Too said magic also has its roots in the power of symbols, the movement of planetary stars, legends, superstitions and traditions.

"Feng shui is based on the Chinese study of the environment and it is said that certain things work when placed in certain parts of the house at certain times of the year. There is a formula."

Too, who made herself a household name in the field of feng shui when she first published her book on the subject in 1995, said many items she sells in her shops have magical value.

"Some of them are magical. They work because my customers believe in them. But I don’t sell them as magical items, I sell them as beautiful products that you can wear or place in the home, and if they bring you good luck, it’s a bonus."
Some feng shui items, she said, can bring more harm than good.

"For example, you won’t find swords or pa gua mirrors in my shop. They have the potential to hurt others.

"If you hang up a pa gua mirror incorrectly, it could hurt your neighbour. The same happens if you hang up a sword and aim its edge at your neighbour’s house."

She said those things are magical too, "but they’re bad magic".