some people seem to have all the luck. but what if its success or failure was no accident? What if good luck could be created by the food you eat, the color of the products you display, or the energy flows around your workplace or home?
Sydney-based Chinese feng shui master Mina Zheng believes that the ancient art of placement, feng shui, can be used to improve your health, life and wealth.
Reading: Feng shui food
While some people dismiss these ancient ways as nothing more than superstitious beliefs, zheng insists there is much more to feng shui.
“Superstitions are based on belief and imagination, but feng shui is not,” says Zheng.
Feng shui is a pseudoscience originating in China, dating back thousands of years. Today, it is practiced throughout Asia, from Thailand to Singapore, Vietnam, China, and Hong Kong.
Translated to ‘wind’ and ‘water’, feng shui aims to help you generate good luck, health and fortune. Underlying the practice is the principle that the life force energy (or chi) flowing through a property or space can influence the way you think and feel.
As Zheng explains, many feng shui tips detail what and how we eat.
“As a Chinese feng shui teacher and practitioner, I look at the elements and see how food relates to these elements. that has a lot to do with our health.”
The five feng shui elements are fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. the color of each food is related to a different element and each element corresponds to a different body function or organ.
“Foods from the land relate to our stomach and digestive system,” she says. “metal is associated with our lungs and nervous systems, while water rules our plumbing (our kidneys) and wood refers to our liver.”
Using this deduction, Zheng says that red chili is considered a fire food. “By its nature, it is very hot. stimulates the circulation of our blood and our heart. if people feel weak and lack fire, they may need more fire in their food to enhance that area [so they can eat red meat].
“whole or beige foods are foods from the land, and foods from the water are black like black mushrooms.
“Chinese radish and some mushrooms are metallic foods because they are white. if we have a blockage in the chest, you need to eat more white food to cleanse your lungs.”
feng shui: a natural driver of business?
If you’ve ever traveled through parts of Asia, you may have noticed some commonalities with the way markets are decorated or displayed. Zheng explains that this is probably because owners are adopting feng shui philosophies to maximize their chances of business success.
“A greengrocer that is very colorful is very good,” she says. “Most stores are doing pretty well because they’re colorful, so it stands out.
If you can see the back door or the exit when you walk into a store or walk into a market stall, it’s bad for business.
“To set up a tent, it is important that the entrance also has a good flow of energy. we should be able to see a spacious façade and have easy access to the store. the interior should not be too busy or have items stacked on top of each other, as that would create a blockage. too little stock is also not good because it means there aren’t many things for sale and it’s a poor presentation of your business.”
the front door should not face the back door
As for energy flows, if you can see the back door or out when you walk into a store or walk into a market stall, it’s bad for business.
“It’s not good for the store because the energy is too direct and affects people’s thinking,” says zheng. “they will walk in and want to get out right away.”
don’t ask the price
In the sixth episode of Luke Nguyen’s Food Trail, Luke visits a food market in Vietnam. She quickly learns that local beliefs override Western methods of negotiation when it comes to buying fresh produce.
“A little tip when you come to some of these fresh food markets,” Luke says on the show. “never ask for the price and never pick up the product unless you are actually going to buy it. because street vendors are quite superstitious and if you do that, it means they won’t have any good luck or sales all day.”
hang a tangerine on the front for good luck
zheng says that in many Asian cultures, gold represents good luck and prosperity. That is why many shops in the region can be decorated with golden objects or strings of oranges or tangerines.
“in asia, gold is believed to be a very auspicious color. it is a lucky color. the gold color means that the money goes in, so people like to hang a lot of oranges.”
the attractive aroma of garlic
“hanging garlic canes around your store can also help grow your business,” says zheng.
“garlic represents prosperity, as there are many parts [cloves] that make up a bulb. a bulb of garlic with all the cloves is like a meeting.”
decorate your store with chili
“sometimes people hang some chili outside their stall because red chili is good to ward off bad intentions. some people even believe that it protects from thieves. In Chinese tradition, red means good luck and is the color of celebration.”
plain apples and bananas
Bananas and apples both help bring good luck, but more importantly, they represent safety.
The banana is considered good for security because it is shaped like a boat. meanwhile, apples are also said to bring a sense of security. “Apples are round, but in Chinese, the name for apple is ‘píngguǒ, which means security.”
zheng emphasizes: if you use chopsticks to eat, don’t use them to point at people, as this can be offensive and bring bad luck.
“You can also tell a person’s character by the way they hold a chopstick. some people keep them very high and others keep them low.
“People who keep them low are more stable in their current life stage. those who hold them medium, in the middle of the stick, are normal. people who hold chopsticks high are thinking of traveling and are in an unstable stage of life.”