“Everybody was Feng Shui fighting!”
From the song “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas (1974)
“Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit fright-ning
But they fought with expert timing…”
Being in the land of kung-fu and feng shui, we were taken aback, when on a Chinese tour, our guide talked about people in Hong Kong “feng shui fighting.” It brought to mind the song “Kung Fu Fighting” from the 1974 song by Carl Douglas (more recently popularized in the trailer of the movie “Kung Fu Panda”)
We listened more carefully to his story. It seems, in Hong Kong, and in the rest of China, people hang their wash out to dry. Dryers are just not that popular here yet. We notice laundry hanging everywhere here. There are no rules or neighborhood associations prohibiting hanging it. People do not use traditional clotheslines, like in the West; instead they hang their clothes over railings, on clothes racks; some have racks which telescope out from buildings. So how does this relate to feng shui? It seems that some people use poles (bamboo or metal) that stick straight out and point to other people’s houses or apartments (see picture).
So how does this relate to feng shui? Well, to give you a little background about feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”), feng shui (literal translation “wind/water) is an “ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive qi.” (Wikipedia) The “qi” (pronounced “chee”) is the “active principle forming part of any living thing,” or “energy flow” of any living thing (Wikipedia). Feng shui can be used to help orient buildings or houses to give them better chance of holding “qi.” It is all a bit superstitious. There seems to be good “qi” and bad “qi.” The Chinese believe good feng shui can bring you good health and much wealth-important to all Chinese. The Chinese also believe negative “qi,” bad energy, or bad spirits, like to follow a straight path, so those straight clothes poles will lead bad spirits straight into your house or apartment! We see the practice of good feng shui in the Chinese landscaping and building here. The Chinese believe gently curving paths, or short straight paths that jog left or right onto other straight paths help keep good “qi.” Seems the bad spirits get distracted by having to not go straight! The meandering makes them lose their focus…perhaps a lesson for us all? Don’t always try to take the short cut, wander to the left or right…it’ll give you good “qi.”
So what does one do about those pesky straight laundry poles sending bad energy straight into your house? Our guide told us the solution was to place a mirror opposite the poles! Right back at you, with the evil spirits! So this was the “feng shui fighting” he was talking about! But it was not over with this, he said. The people with the laundry poles would see the mirrors aiming bad spirits back at them, so what did they do? Got mirrors and aimed the bad spirits back away from themselves again! This probably resulted in the other people adding another mirror! We think it would probably be good to invest in mirror companies here! Their stocks will be going up with all this feng shui fighting!
There is much more to be learned on feng shui here in China. You can read to give you ideas on proper feng shui to help you keep good “qi.” One room in your house that is subject to many feng shui ideas is the bathroom. This is because of the water. Water is energy and the bathroom has the most water use, so if you don’t have proper feng shui, the “qi” is going to flow out of your house with the water. This can lead to loss of wealth and health. So what can you do about the bathroom? Put a big mirror in the bathroom! However, the mirror should not reflect the toilet-bad feng shui! Another idea from the feng shui playbook is to paint your bathroom red. This is right out of the Chinese belief that evil spirits are afraid of red!
To take the idea of feng shui further, one could say that most streets are bad feng shui because they are straight, easy for evil spirits to follow. Maybe that’s why there are so many accidents! Bad “qi.” Here in China it completely covers bad drivers. “I ran into the other car because of negative ‘qi,'” not that the people need to learn to drive better!
Many of the new skyscrapers are bad feng shui…too straight. Look at famous Chinese architect I.M. Pei’s Bank of China building in Hong Kong on the left. It has been criticized as bad feng shui…too many straight lines and connected angles.
So now you know about “feng shui fighting.” The song could be rewritten to:
Everybody was feng shui fighting
Those mirrors were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit fright-ning
But their “qi” had expert timing!