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Sunday, September 11, 2005

To feng shui or not to feng shui?

In the case of my cultural identity I would say I'm made up of three cultures. Although my family’s ancestry is Chinese (my paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather were from mainland China) and I grew up in a family that maintained a number of Chinese traditions and values, we were never raised as strictly 100% Chinese. For one thing, my grandparents settled in Manila and all of us (starting from my parents’ generation) were born and raised there. This exposed us largely to the Filipino culture and way of life. We went to school, worked alongside, and made friends with Filipinos. In my case, I also married into a traditional Filipino family. Another piece of my cultural identity was a large exposure to the Western world – American in particular. My parents both received an American education and were quite open to Western thinking. Added to that is the fact that I grew up with so much American influence - television, movies, books, music, and to top it all off - getting an American education.

So technically, I am Chinese by ancestral origin, Filipino by nationality, (Malay by ethnicity- as most Filipinos are) and grew up largely influenced with an American way of thinking. How’s that for globalization?

Which brings me (finally) to the point of this post. A couple of days ago I was talking to my mom who casually brought up the fact that she had a friend who was apparently some sort of feng shui expert. (FYI: Feng shui is an Asian philosophy that creates an environment which is ergonomic; it allows one to work and live efficiently, comfortably and successfully by following the patterns of nature).

While talking to her friend, my mom found out that our bedroom was apparently a feng shui no-no and that several changes were suggested to correct that. I must point out that while my mom herself is not a feng shui devotee – she did mention that sometimes feng shui does bring about good fortune, as well as balance and harmony in life. Hmmm ...

This is the part where my explanation of growing up with three cultures comes to play. Right away, my “westerner” thinking argued that this was a complete waste of time. I mentally started going through a list of practical reasons why this was not a good idea. Then my “Filipino” mentality kicked in and recognized the fatalistic nature of feng shui – which led me to think about the possibility of this being a way to help out the fates. Interestingly enough I’m Catholic too and this makes me largely against any type of superstition. But then again my Chinese side saw the value of this suggestion – in addition to some type of ingrained filial piety – where I still feel guilty about not listening to what my mom says. So literally I was going back and forth with this idea.

To feng shui or not to feng shui???

I guess the argument that tipped the decision was my hubby’s – he claimed that we had nothing to lose and a change of scenery may be fun. Good point. Hence a good chunk of our weekend was spent going through feng shui articles on-line and scouting for the necessary supplies for our big bedroom makeover.

Some interesting facts that my mom’s feng shui expert friend shared with us: since I was born in the year of the Tiger and my hubby was born in the year of the Monkey – the best day for our makeover is Sept. 18th. All changes need to be done on that day. We don’t have to do all the work ourselves as long as the people helping us are not born during the year of the Pig. (Don’t ask me why).

Here is a list of the suggested changes for our bedroom:

1. Cover all mirrors that show our reflection while sleeping - this is tough since our closet doors are mirrored and take up an entire wall of the room. (Options are to cover the mirror using curtains, sheet paneling, or wallpaper).

2. Re-position the bed so that the foot of the bed does not face the bathroom door.

3. Move the bed away from the window.

4. Cover the window with some sort of shade.

5. Change the color of the walls from (the current) deep burgundy to an earth color (we are debating between celadon green and a deep tan).

6. Have a living plant inside the room.

7. Remove all electronic equipment from the room (or at least cover them up when not in use).

So far, we have several possibilities for each one of these changes. It will be interesting to see how much actually gets done on the 18th. Beyond that, I'll let you know if we become any more fortunate, harmonious or balanced!


JOL said...

Some things in life happens and is devoid of explanation. But everyone wants to have luck and good fortune. This may come about with the arrangement of one's bed, or the ref or even the oven. It does not really take much but you may be in a position to change your "destiny". Lead the way and everyone will follow!

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