Nury Vittachi: The Feng Shui Detective

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Nury Vittachi The Feng Shui Detective
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    The Feng Shui Detective
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Mr. Wong is a feng shui consultant in Singapore, but his cases tend to involve a lot more than just interior decoration. You see, Wong specializes in a certain type of problem premises: crime scenes. His latest case involves a mysterious young woman and a deadly psychic reading that ultimately leads him to Sydney where the story climaxes at the Opera House, a building known for its appalling feng shui. A delightful combination of crafty plotting, quirky humor, and Asian philosophy, the Feng Shui Detective is an investigator like no other!

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Nury Vittachi

The Feng Shui Detective

A book in the Feng Shui Detective Novel series

To Feng Shui Master

Lo Hung Lap


The feng shui techniques in this book are mostly from the Flying Star School and the Form School of East Asia.

The vaastu principles are from the northern Indian school.

The ancient Chinese philosophy, stories and quotes from Confucius and other sages are largely genuine and come from texts up to 2500 years old. The extracts from ‘Some Gleanings of Oriental Wisdom’ are by C F Wong, with spelling and grammar corrections by J McQuinnie.

1 Scarlet in a study

Recently, one thousand years ago, a sage lived on the Plain of Jars. His name was Lu Hsueh-an. He said, ‘The trappings of a man’s life are not his life. Yet the trappings of a man’s life are his life.’

Is this a contradiction? Yes but also no. Please consider this image.

It is a hot day. You sit under a very small tree. This is good. There is shade. You can see all around you. Nowhere can hide an interloper.

But there is shade for one person only. You have no visitors. You become lonely.

You move to a bigger tree. It has room for two-three guests to share the shade.

This is very nice. But the trunk is a little bit wide. There is a space behind you. You cannot see who is there.

Some of us we grow older. We move to much bigger trees.

You find a banyan tree so big that a whole village can sit in the shade. You have a very big world now. But there is danger. Behind you there is an unknown space as big as the space in front of you.

Some people never get to a large banyan tree. Others move from small to big worlds. But something in their lives shocks them. They go back to very small worlds.

Blade of Grass, when you meet someone you must silently ask them a question. How big is your world? This is one of the most important things you can know about a person.

There are times when you meet someone and you realise that your own world is not big enough to fit them. Then you have a decision. Do you say there is no room? Or do you move to a bigger tree?

Again Lu Hsueh-an said: ‘Do not ask the Immortals how big the world is. You make the world.’

From ‘Some Gleanings of Oriental Wisdom’

by C F Wong, part 73.

C F Wong shut his inky journal and put it and his pen into the drawer. Then he flexed his fingers and stared out of the window. Although he affected the role of the wise old sage when he wrote, there was often a moment when he found himself helplessly transformed into the admonished pupil.

He felt his own world was big, but it was his office that was small. It was the second of these factors that he used to justify his immediate hostility to a request from a person who was above him, in the temporal, corporate sense.

Wong’s secretary and office administrator, Winnie Lim, had delivered the bad news in her broad Singapore-Hokkien accent. ‘One of Mr Pun’s contack, he wan’ a favour. M.C. Queeny or something. He wan’ you to fine a job for his son, you know already, is it?’

‘M.C. Queeny? I have never heard of him.’

‘M. C. Q. U. I. N. N. I. E. The boy’s name is Joe. His daddy is very good client of the company. Friend of Mr Pun. Mr Pun’s secretary, she phone me to tell me. You must give the boy a job for his school holiday, okay or not?’

He sighed. Incursions into his private space always caused discomfort. He knew it was extremely common in this city, as probably in most modern places, for persons in power to find jobs for each other’s sons. The phrase, he thought, was ‘Old Boys’ Network’, or was it ‘Young Boys’ Network’? He must look it up in his dictionary of English idioms. But his office was just two rooms, and his organization was small, consisting of himself, Winnie and occasionally an underemployed Chinese philosophy graduate who did part-time research. He had no budget, no spare desk and no inclination to help.

After a lengthy-for her-pause of three seconds, Winnie added her next bit of news: ‘Mr Pun tol’ me to tell you that he would be extremely pleased if you help. That’s what he said. Extremely pleased.’

This phrase caused a momentary flicker in Wong’s eyes. ‘Ah. I see.’

There was silence in the room as the brain activity of its two occupants switched to the left cerebrum, financial department.

‘How much you think?’

The geomancer pulled thoughtfully at the few straggly hairs on his chin. ‘When he says he is “happy”, it means a little bonus is in the oven. If he is “extremely pleased”, it might mean a pay rise is in the oven.’

‘In the oven?’

‘English colloquial usage. I heard it from Dilip. It means will soon happen.’

‘There is already a pay rise, but not for you-lah, for the office. Retainer is going to be raise’ to cover the boy’s wages.’


‘When he comes.’

‘No. When is he coming?’

‘Nex’ week. Monday.’

‘Oh. We can just give him some filing to do. Keep the child busy. Out of the street. That’s all he wants, really. Mo baan faat. What to do?’

The problem soon started to recede in Wong’s mind. He slowly let out his breath ch’i-gong style, and his fears were expelled with it. There was something about today that was preventing him getting worked up about anything. He couldn’t put his finger on exactly what it might be. He just seemed to be in the grip of a general feeling of wellbeing.

This positive feeling was more likely to come from inside than out, he knew. The offices of C F Wong & Associates were on the second floor of Wai-Wai Mansions, an old Chinese shophouse in a less fashionable quarter of Telok Ayer Street. The small road outside was becoming a busy thoroughfare, and the floor regularly shook as heavy vehicles rumbled past. This morning, traffic had been bad. Slow movement meant there was less rattling of the windows, but more horn-thumping by impatient commuters.

The feeling of calm certainly did not come from the environment of the main room itself, which was crowded with tables, cabinets, shelves and bookcases. It was a disgrace for a feng shui master to work in such a chaotic space, but Wong had long since given up any attempt to control the architectural decisions of Ms Lim. Many powerful business-people in Singapore would eagerly await his oracle-like pronouncements on how to order their offices, but he dared not proffer similar advice to Winnie. A fiery twenty-six-year old from a Kuching Chinese family, she believed that since she was the office administrator, all physical aspects of the office were hers to administrate. In reality, her principal daytime interest was to practise and refine the techniques of make-up and nail polish application.

Some four years ago, when the company had opened, one part of the single large room they had leased had been blocked off to make a separate room for the chief (and only) geomancer. Wong had initially tried to make it into a ch’ienergy-focusing workroom for himself, but it had proved too small and badly positioned.

In feng shui terms, following the School of the Eight Houses, the office was a Tui Kua dwelling, its back facing west and door facing east. His cubby-hole was between southwest (good-indicating blossoming health) and south (bad-the Location of the Five Ghosts), so he had had a lot of work to do to make it usable. Worse still, it was close to Winnie’s desk. The judicious positioning of a metal chime served to ward off the worst of her excess of fire ch’i.

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