Literally meaning ’wind and water’, feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of positioning objects and buildings in harmony with nature to bring about good fortune. Often referred to as ‘geomancy’, its origins stem from an ancient Chinese respect for the environment, as well as a belief that cosmological influences have a strong effect on our lives.
Many people in Hong Kong believe that good feng shui can attract prosperity and ward off bad luck. Because of this, feng shui practitioners are consulted on everything from new home purchases and office floor plans, to the enormous architectural and engineering projects that have given the city its distinctive look.
You can find feng shui in practice almost everywhere you turn in Hong Kong. For example, in Central, the two famous bronze lions sitting in front of the HSBC Main Building are not just there for decoration. When the building was completed in the 1980s, they were reinstalled in their current positions only after lengthy consultations with feng shui experts. Considering that HSBC hasn’t exactly done badly as a business, some locals like to stroke the lions’ paws and noses in the hope that some of their good feng shui fortune will rub off on them.
Even Hong Kong itself is said to naturally have excellent feng shui. Its geographical position relative to Mainland China symbolises a place where things come to fruition. The various mountain ranges of southern China are considered to be the pulses from a moving dragon that flow into Hong Kong, while the city gazes back at its ancestral heartland. The mountains of Kowloon appear to bow to Hong Kong Island, which means that Kowloon looks to Hong Kong Island for protection and that the two places complement each other. Finally, the water of Victoria Harbour is in visual harmony with the skies, which brings stability and prosperity. The best place to take in all this mystical phenomena is from the unbeatable vantage point of The Peak.