Author Archives: Henry

About Henry

Feng Shui Consultant based in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Offers Feng Shui consulting services for residential and commercial properties.

What Kind of Rat Are You?

What kind of Rat are you? Wood, Fire, Metal, Water or Earth?

The Rat is one of the 12 animals in the Chinese 12 Animal Zodiac. From a Chinese astrology perspective you can be either a Wood, Water, Fire, Earth or Metal Rat.

Do you know what kind of a Rat you are? Or Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog or Pig?

There is a very simple way to find this out but I will give you a roudabout answer so that you get a better picture.

Heavenly StemsThe basis of Chinese time keeping is the Heavenly Stems (Gan) and Earthly Branches (Zhi). Each of them have an associated polarity and element and in the case of the Earthly Branches they are closely related to the Zodiac Animals. For example the Branch “Zi” is associated with the “Rat”, the Branch “Chou” with the “Ox”, the branch “Yin” with the “Tiger” and so on.

The Stems are combined with the Branches to create a Stem-Branch pair. The golden rule is that only those of the same polarity can combine. For example “Jia” with “Zi” giving “Jia Zi”. Both are yang polarity. Next is “Yi” and “Chou” giving “Yi Chou”, both of which are negative polarity. “Zi” cannot combine with “Chou” because they are of opposite polarity.

Due to this limitation, there are 60 combinations instead of 120!

Earthly BranchesThe Stem Branch pair or “Gan Zhi” pairs are use to denote the year, month, day and time. For example the year 1924 is known as the “Jia Zi”. The next year 1925 is “Yi Chou” year and so on. This is repeated every 60 years. Thus 1984 is a “Jia Zi” year. And 2044 is the next “Jia Zi” year.

“Jia” is associated with Wood element. “Zi” with the Rat. Hence 1924 or 1984 are known as Wood Rat year. So is 2044.

There are 10 Heavenly Stems and they are repeated every 10 years. Therefore any year ending with the 4 such as 1924, 1934, 1944, 1954, 1964, 1974. 1984 etc are Wood Years (though the animal sign differs).

The next Stem in the series is “Yi” which is Yin Wood. Therefore 1925 is also a Wood year albeit a Yin Wood one. Again since the Stems are repeated every 10 years, any year ending with a 5 e.g. 1935, 1945, 1955, 1965, 1975 etc is a Yi or Yin Wood year.

What can you infer from the table? If you are born in a year ending with 4, you are a Yang Wood person. If ending with a 5, you are a Yin Wood person, if ending with a 6 you are a Yang Fire person, if ending with a 7, a Yin Fire person and so on.

Please refer to the table for the polarity and element for each of the years.

Sixty Jia Zi

While it is as easy as A, B C it is not too difficult either. Just sing Jia, Yi, Bing, Ding, Wu, Ji, Geng, Ren and Gui!

The Chinese Calendars

The Chinese Solar and Lunar Calendars

Am I a Horse or a Goat? This is very popular question encountered especially during the Chinese New Year talks on the luck of the various Chinese zodiac animals.

Why? The calendar that we use today is known as the Gregorian or Western calendar. This is the one where the new year starts on the 1st Jan. Chinese astrology obviously do not make use of this calendar. Instead it uses the Chinese calendar. Unfortunately for us, there are two Chinese Calendars. One is called the Chinese Solar Calendar (this is tied closely to the rotation of the Earth around the Sun) while the other is the Chinese Lunar Calendar (this is based on the moon cycle).

The Chinese Solar calendar is also known as the Farmer’s Calendar as it was first developed during the Xia Dynasty to regulate farming. The solar starts at the beginning of spring (also known as Li Cun) and falls on either the 4th or 5th of February each year.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the moon’s cycle. The starting date for each year can vary between late January and Late February, The Chinese New Year celebration is based on the calendar and this explain why the festival is celebrated on different days in Jan or Feb every year.

Pure lunar calendars like the ones use in Islamic countries using the moon solely for timekeeping. Unfortunately 12 months of moon cycles (29.53059 to be exact) do not equate to 365 days (time it takes for the earth to circle around the sun). Thus a moon year is shorter than a solar year.

This can be terribly confusing and the ancient Chinese choose to synchonize the Chinese Solar Salendar with the Chinese Solar Calendar by throwing in an extra “moon” or month now and then in to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This is why we have and extra leap month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

Back to the question on zodiac signs.

In 2015, the Chinese Solar year of the Goat starts on the 4th of Feb while the Chinese Lunar year of the Goat starts on the 19th of Feb.

Obviously if you are born after the year starts you are a Goat. If born before you are a Horse.

But which calendar do you use?

Most Chinese Astrology Systems including the 12 Zodiac Animals and Zi Wei Dou Shu uses the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

BaZi on the other hand uses the Chinese Solar Calendar. Most most Feng Shui and Date Selection systems however uses the Chinese Solar Calendar.

So the next time someone ask you whether you are a Horse or a Goat (or any two consecutive zodiac signs) you can answer more intelligently by asking him what system he is using.

Now a word about the Chinese hour. Luckily for us it is quite straight forward.

In the Gregorian Calendar, each day is made of 24 hours of 60 minutes each. In both the Chinese Calendar system, each day is made up of 12 hours of 120 minutes called “Shi Shen”. For example the “first Chinese hour” called “Zi Shi” runs between 11 PM and 1 AM. The second called “Chou Shi” runs from 1 AM to 3 AM and so on.

Since most Chinese astrology systems uses the same Chinese hour, a person born between 11 PM and 1 AM is considered born during the “Zi Shi”, regardless of the system that we are using!

How to Measure a House’s Facing Direction?

Measuring a House’s Facing Direction

What is the facing direction of a property? It is the direction perpendicular (or at 90 degrees) to the facade wall of the facing side of the property as shown in the diagram.

A common questions that I get is whether we should measure looking into or out of the house? Since it is the facing direction of the house, you should use the house as the principal (or host) and measure looking out of the house.

So far so good. But where should we take the measurement?

Measure Facing DirectionLogically it should be at the intersection of the the facing direction with the facade wall on the facing side. While it is logically so, it is not the best position to take the measurement. Let me explain why?

The direction of the needle of the magnetic compass can be easily affected by nearby metal objects. You can easily verify this by bring a metal object near the compass.

Most homes here are built using the RC (reinforce concrete) method. Within the beams and pillars are steel bars which can affect the reading on a compass.

For an accurate reading you should be as far away as possible from metal objects. Try to stay away from the gate which is usually made of metal or has a large metal content. It is a good practice to remove the cars from the garage as they may compromise the reading.

So where so you take the measurements?

I will illustrate with a diagram of a typical link house. I would normally take a reading at point A and at point B. Both the position are as far away as possible from the porch pillars, overhead beams, stairs and columns.

Measure House FacingIn the accompanying diagram, I have indicated imaginary lines that are parallel to the facade wall at the facing. In most homes, these lines are can be real and they are usually form by the tiles or stones that owners install on the porch. In its absence we can use our best judgement and in the worst case scenario, you have to mark it with a chalk.

Usually the reading at both the locations will the same or very close. When measuring the facing direction most system of Feng Shui measure by spans. For example S2 facing is between 172.5 to 187.5 degrees. Therefore if one reading is 181 and the other 182, it is still S2!

Another things that I have observed is the influence of the electricity meter and distribution box. The compass needle vibrates ever so slightly when you are near them. This vibration is almost never seen in buildings that have yet to receive they power supply.

Therefore, I would also advice against taking the measurements too close to them.

Do you need a Feng Shui Lou Pan (compass) to get an accurate reading? Not really but it would be good to have one as the straight edge allows you to easily align with the facing.

A navigation compass with a straight edge will do to. I do not recommend a round compass as as you cannot easily align it parallel to a straight wall or line as it does not have a flat side.

House Facing Direction

A House Facing and Sitting Direction

The sitting or facing direction of a house is also often used to determine the qi distribution or in layman terms to identify the auspicious and inauspicious sectors of the house.

Sitting and Facing Side

Sitting and Facing Side

As a rule, practitioners will try to allocate the most auspicious sectors of the house for the main door, bedrooms, kitchen and living area. The less auspicious sectors for the less important areas (Feng Shui wise) such as the toilet/baths and stores.

Some Feng Shui systems like the Eight House or Eight Mansion systems utilizes the sitting direction while others such as the Xuan Kong Flying Star system uses the facing direction of the house. The facing or sitting direction is used by itself but often in conjunction with other factors such as the period to determine the quality of the house.

In addition, the facing direction of the house is also often used in conjunction with destiny and luck systems such as Zi Wei Dou Shu to determine the effect of the house on the occupants of the household.

The facing side of a house is usually the busier side and the side that lets in most of the environment energy into the house. The larger windows are usually at the facing side. It usually (though not necessarily) the side with street access, main door and living area. The sitting side is usually the quieter side. This is usually (though again not necessarily) the side with the kitchen, backyard or back lane. Usually (but not necessarily) there a mountains on the sitting side and flat lower land on the facing side.

Alternate Sitting and Facing Side

Alternate Sitting and Facing Side

In some cases there is a better view at the back of the house. For example houses on a hill slope or overseeing a a lake or the sea. For such houses, the architect would usually reverse the facing to take advantage of the great view.

The rear side of the house now has the larger windows and doors. The living is now move to the rear and more energy comes in from the rear and more activity takes place at the rear.

In doing so, he changes the facing of the house. The facing becomes the sitting and vice versa. The street side of the house now becomes the sitting even though the main entry door and the street access remain unchanged.

So much for the facing and sitting side.

Sitting and Facing Direction

Sitting and Facing Direction

So what then is the facing direction of the house? It is the direction that is perpendicular (angle of 90 degrees) to the facade of the facing side of the house. The sitting direction is the direction that it perpendicular to the facade on the sitting side of the house.

Must the facing direction be exactly the opposite of the sitting direction? It most cases it is but many modern design have a differing facing and sitting direction.

Which to consider will depend on the system that you are using. For example with the Eight Mansions, we use the sitting direction. With Xuan Kong Flying Star it is always the facing direction.

A common questions is they get different readings at different parts of the house. If so, then which is the correct facing direction. I will attempt to answer this in my next article.

Interior Sha

In the last few articles I discussed exterior sha. Exterior shas are of greater concern as their inauspicious effects have the potential to affect the entire house.

Interior sha usually affect an area within the house unless the sha affect critical areas such as the main door of the house.

False Ceiling

False Ceiling

The most common example of an interior sha is the overhead beam situated at the wrong location e.g. over the bed, door or stove. The typical solution is to shield the affected object such as the bed from the overhead beam with a false ceiling.

This is however not always the best fix especially when the ceiling is low and the overhead beam is large. Such a combination can result in a low overall ceiling height that gives the occupants an oppressive effect.

Thankfully in modern homes, overhead beams are sensibly placed and they usually avoid directly suppressing the main door, living and dining areas, stove and beds.

This is another reason why we prefer taller ceilings during a house selection audit!

Overhead Beam

Overhead Beam

What if the beam is not directly place over the bed but to the sides? Will the corners of the beam still affect you?

In addition to direct sha, the overhead beam technically speaking also emit corner and blade shas (as shown in the diagram). They are however in my opinion small enough to be ignored.

Corner Sha

Corner Sha

This is however not true in the case of the ‘Room Corner’ sha. This is a corner formed by two walls at 90 degrees to each. Normally this is not a problem but when the corner strikes at an occupant as shown in the diagram it becomes a sha. The toilet is often the culprit. Long term exposure to such a sha is inauspicious and can cause health problems.

In addition to the ‘Room Corner’, there is the blade sha. However like a blade sha created by the overhead beam, this is in my opinion small enough to be ignored.

Slanted Ceiling

Slanted Ceiling

Ideally the ceiling in a bedroom should be level. A low slanted ceiling is inauspicious. Sleeping in a room with a slanted ceiling can cause emotion related problems in the long run. Leveling the slanted ceiling is the normal remedy but this can result in a very low ceiling which is again oppressive to the occupants.

Given a choice you should place the bed head on the higher side of the ceiling.

What about a mirror in the bedroom?

While not technically a sha, it is a best practace not to have a large mirror in the bedroom. At the very least the mirror should not reflect the bed. Another way to look at it is you should not see yourself while on the bed. So the playboy style ceiling mounted mirror is out!

What about shelves? A lot has been written about this. The blade like shelf has the form to emit sha. However in my opinion it is too small if at all to cause any ill effect. My take on this is it is better not to have but if you can cannot avoid having it, just live with it!

Pole and Corner Sha

During an audit, the practitioner would first examine the surroundings especially at the facing and sitting side to look for auspicious land form and identify inauspicious sha generating structures.

He would also look out of the house though the doors and windows to look for shas that may penetrate the house through them. Since the main door affects the luck of all of the occupants in a house, special attention is given to ensure that it is free from shas.

Pole Sha

Pole Sha

The main door of your house should not open directly into a pole like structure, the more common ones of which includes the porch column and the lamp post. Stand at the main door and look straight out in the direction perpendicular of the door as shown in the diagram. The column or post should not be in front of the main door using the lines extended from the edge of the door as a guide.

If they are within the dotted lines and near the door, then it is a sha. If they are outside as in position “a” and “b” or very far away as in position “c”, then it is not a problem. Traditional believe is such a sha can cause health and money problem for occupants of the house.

Corner Sha

Corner Sha

In addition a corner structure either directly in front or behind the main door (as shown) is not favorable.

We should also keep an eye on sha created by the corners of buildings in the near vicinity of the house. This kind or corner sha is also quite common in areas with many apartment block located nearby to each other.

A corner sha is more serious if it attacks the main door or the mouth of qi of a property. In this case, it can affect the luck of all of the occupants of the house. A corner sha that attacks say through the windows of a room is less serious and would likely only affect the occupants of the room.

Wind Blade Sha

Wind Blade Sha

Another kind of sha is the Wind Blade sha that is generated by two buildings a right angle to each other as shown. The effect of a Wind Blade sha is less than that of a Corner Sha and the inauspicious effect is likely limited to the room in the house affected by the sha.

A variation of the wall blade sha is the Sky Chop Sha that is formed when a property faces gap between two buildings. The wind accelerates in the gap and rushes towards the property at the end.

In an earlier article, you read about the Sound Sha. A good example is living close to a noisy waterfall or next to a a busy highway.

Something similar is the Reflected Light sha. Many modern buildings use glass panels which at a certain angle may reflect sunlight at your house.

Sky Chop Sha

Sky Chop Sha

Then there is the Smell Sha. A good example is a house located closed to a lake with rotting vegetation. When the wind blows pass the lake towards your house, you are exposed to waves of bad smell which is considered a sha!

The land that the house sits on should be “healthy”. You can assess the health by looking at the flora and fauna. A thriving community of fauna together with lush vegetation shows the presence of strong qi. Land where the vegetation is sparse or turning yellow suggest weak qi.

When selecting a house we should avoid houses that are built on top of a landfill. Unless property treated and maintained, contaminants from the land-field may leak into the surroundings. Methane gas may also leak into the environment. Both of which are detrimental to health.

We should also avoid houses built on former mining land, water logged or swampy land. Unless they are property treated they then to be less stable and the qi tend to be weak.

Finally we should avoid land that was previously used for biological or chemical testing.

You may be interest to know that in the old days, practitioner taste the soil to determine the quality. Thankfully it is not require today!

Shape and Size Matters

In Feng Shui, it is considered inauspicious to live near to a graveyard or funeral home. It is acceptable if you are far away enough and cannot see or do not have a clear view.

The Graveyard is considered a sha and can result in matters related to health – both physical and mental.

The roof top of some buildings looks like a Chinese tombstone. This considered a sha and the resulting effect is much like that of living near a graveyard.

Another variation of this Chinese tombstone is a roof that looks like a Chinese coffin!

Roof Sha

Roof Sha

While in the subject or roofs, I would like to touch on sha generated by convention Gable type roof which is quite common and the newer single pitch roof which is currently in fashion.

The single pitch roof act like a blade. It is usually not a problem unless the houses are of different number of levels or on uneven land as shown in the diagram.

Gable type roof are not usually a problem unless the top roof line cuts into your house as shown in the diagram

Gable Roof

Gable Roof

It is also inauspicious if your property is sandwich between two excessively tall properties of the left and right or at the front and back. Such configuration can result affect the career and fortune of occupants and caused depression.

In an earlier article I talk about the dangerous effect of high tension pylon near your property. The electromagetic fields generated can cause health problems especially from lonfg term exposure. But what about substations usually found a single storey buildings found in housing estates?

Tall Building Sha

Tall Building Sha

In my opinion, they are not dangerous. Even though the transformers inside emit electric and magnetic fields, they are shielded by the walls of these single storey buildings. Furthermore they are usually a distance from the houses and there are usually plants or wall in between forming another layer of protection.

Even so, I would not advice you to buy one because it is likely to affect the resale value as home buyers can be overly sensitive to having them near their house.

In commercial complexes these transformers rooms are integrated into the building. I would advice against having an office next to the room. Even though it is shielded by the walls, it is still quite near.

In the rural areas especially, instead of substations, they may come in the form of pole transformers. These are step down transformers that convert high voltage to low voltage that we use in our houses. These are usually mounted on poles outside the house.

My advice is still the same, that is to stay a distance from them just to be on the safe side.

A Word About Water

In Feng Shui, water can be good or bad. Good water also called “sentimental” water and is clean and flows slowly. Bad water is called “merciless” water and they are polluted or stagnant and when flows fast and straight.

Bad water can be a sha!

But first a little bit more about water. Clean, pristine water that meanders is usually found in rural area. In the cities such water is hard to find. Also in the cities, natural waterways are straightened to improve drainage. In the process, water speeds up and becomes merciless water. Or is it?

In my opinion, straight waterways are not necessarily merciless unless it flows very quickly. And less than clean water can still be considered “sentimental” water if it supports a thriving aquatic community.

Now back to bad water and sha.

Water falling off from high ground into a pool like a waterfall can be a sha. While a waterfall can be quite a tourist attraction, it is not suitable near a residence as the turbulence gives out a lot of sha qi. Usually the noisier it is, the worst the sha.

A common rule of thumb is if you are far enough not to see or hear it, it is okay.

Water should not flow perpendicularly towards or away from a house. When it flows perpendicular towards the house, it call clashing water and it is similar to a house facing a T junction or facing a lane.

Clashing Water

Clashing Water

It is worse if the water flowing towards the house is from a high ground. Then water is likely to accelerate and “shoot” at the house.

Also look out for drainage outlet from your opposite neighbor’s house shooting straight at your property. It is detrimental over the long run.

It is also bad if the water flows perpendicularly away from the house. It drains the qi from the property and such water is known as “Pulling Nose Water”.

Pulling Nose

Pulling Nose

River meanders naturally and properties can be found on the inside and outside of the bend. Properties on the outside of the bend or the convex side are less favored as the qi on this side is more aggressive.

In practice, this is not a problem unless the bend is unusually sharp and the rivers flows very quickly.

Like the water fall example above, any kind of water that creates a lot of noise is not favorable and can be consider a sha. Examples include sea water crashing to rocks, rapids or white water, water crashing into each other as in a confluence or a drain discharging into a river. The key consideration is the loud noise generate. It is a sha if it is very loud. Okay if not.

Cutting Feet Water

Cutting Feet Water

Finally it is what is commonly referred to as “Cutting Feet” water. This is water that runs laterally across the front door of a house. IN an urban setting, most of the time it is mad made. Some designers think it is artistic to artificial water running under a bridge at the entrance of a house.

Cutting feet water is considered very negative and can lead to financial losses!

Back Mountain Facing Water

Most Feng Shui enthusiasts know that it is favorable if a house is backed by a hill or higher land and faces water (e.g. lake) or a lower terrain. Such a configurable is good for money, relationship and health luck.

The reverse, Back Water Facing Mountain is unfavorable and suggest obstruction ahead without support that can lead to a decline in fortune.

While it is favorable to have mountain for support at the back and water in front suggesting a clear unobstructed path to money, I would like to suggest some qualifiers.

First the mountain at the back cannot be too near or too high. Otherwise it becomes a sha. Secondly the water at the facing cannot be too near or slopes down excessively which can result in health problems.



Finally the mountain at the back should be covered with lush greenery which indicated the presence of strong qi. In Feng Shui such as mountain is known as a Green Dragon and is revered.

A mountain that is bare or rocky with sparse vegetation or with rocks jutting out is not favorable and is known as a Sick Dragon. It is considered a sha and can depreciate the quality of the house, most of the time with problems affecting relationship and health.

It is also unfavorable if the house is located very close to a cliff. In Feng Shui, this is known as the Head Pouring Water sha as water can fall off the cliff onto the house causing damage. It also does not take much common sense to know that water and mud can fall on the house and when there is a mudslide and bury the house.

A house should also not face a long downward sloping road at it may cause money loss and health problem related to the lower abdomen.



What about if the land on the left or right is higher that yours? It is not a problem if the difference in the height between the land (and the house) on the your left and right is small e.g. 2 feet. However if the difference is great then the Green Dragon and White Tiger comes into play.

Traditionally the Green Dragon is associated with the male and is auspicious while the White Tiger is associated with the female is considered inauspicious (though I do not totally subscribe to this belief).

The left side when looking out of the house is the Dragon side while the right side is the Tiger side. Conventional thinking prefers the left side to be high so that it benefits the male in the family. Traditionally it is the male the brings the bacon home so benefiting the male makes sense. However in modern society, females contribute significantly to the family too and nowadays (at least in my opinion) it is okay too if the Tiger side is slightly stronger.

But why was it considered inauspicious. I suppose in a male dominated society if the woman in the house is too powerful or dominant, it is inauspicious!

Today? Perhaps not!