60 Second Interview

Metro newspaper, London, UK,
Wednesday 4th February 2004

If you've spent the last ten years working out the chi from your chairs and hanging crystal around the room, chances are it's down to feng shui expert Lilian Too. She helped introduce the concept to the West and has published numerous books on the subject. Her latest, Feng Shui Life Planner, explains how feng shui relates to Chinese astrology and 20-year cycles.

Settle an argument. How do you pronounce what you practise?

There are many different ways - it depends on which Chinese dialect you choose to use. I wouldn't get too worried about the pronounciation. Feng [she pronounces it fong] is the wind; shui [sho-ee] is water. Feng shui is wind-water. It's a precious life skill - like cooking or the ability to read a road map - and everyone should know something about it. A lot of things get passed off as feng shui and there is come confusion. It is about arranging your living and workspace in such a way that you are actually in harmony with the energy around you.

Does it change the person or the space?

The person. As individuals, we need to be sync with the energy. You create the good energy and have to make sure you tap into it. You need to invest some time to study it.

What if my partner and I live together and have different energies?

You study what the differences are. If my good direction is your bad one and we live together, we arrange the space to tap into both energies. In the dining room for example, you make sure, at the very least, that every member is facing away from their bad direction.

Does this mean we could end up sleeping top-to-toe?

No. If husband and wife have different good directions, you follow the direction of the man.

That will upset the women's libbers.

Well, it's ancient Chinese tradition. This is one of the formulas of feng shui - and there are many different ones. In addition to the space concept, there is also a time one. Feng shui energy changes every year. A good practitioner will update his or her feng shui every year.

How does that differ from the previous?

The previous period - period seven - favoured woman and it was the period of 'metal' energy. Wealth was the most important aspiration. In eight, the young man is more important, as are the mountains. Relationships will be important over the next 20 years than say the last 20. More importantly, people need to revitalise the energy in their homes and workspaces, otherwise they will see a drop in energy.

So should we all start moving furniture around?

No. That's one of the misconception in the UK, that it is all about removing clutter. It is not. It is about energy alignments and understanding the changes that take place over time. Once you know what the time char looks like for 2004, you're in a position to remove all bad luck, all the tragedy and all the accidents from your life. It's all in the book, if you read it.

So can I leave my crap under the bed?

Yes - it's not that important. For heaven's sake, a busy executive's desk is bound to be cluttered to some extent. What feng shui doesn't like is that the energy is allowed to fester and go bad. My house is cluttered and I have excellent feng shui.

There's always a catch

Please, take me seriously. Illness flies to the direction of the monkey this year. You have to protect yourself using metal energy. Wear some white and some gold jewellery and you will be protected from illness.

The top tip on your website is: 'Do not have a water feature in the bedroom.' Isn't that bad news for hotels or people with ensuites?

No, of course not. A bathroom is a bathroom - I mean don't put a water fountain next to your bed.

I'll cancel the builders then.

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