Saturday, 19 January 2008

Books, Wind And Water

Finally found the long-awaited download of the infinitely better version of the Will.I.Am "hit". How did they record all that with straight faces? Right now it's the tenth replay of the file. And. I. Still. Can't. Turn. It. Off.

Don't help me.

"Hello!" went the young lady's enthusiastic greeting. "Are you here for the book talk? This way, please."

I've come to expect some sort of audience at book talks, so you could imagine my shock and dismay to find less than ten people in the Booker Room today: Sharon Bakar, feng shui expert and new author Jason Fong and his two guests, Julie of MPH (the enthusiastic young lady) and myself. A far far cry from the rock-concert crowd during the last Authors' Hi-Tea.

I guess keywords like "book" and "feng shui" aren't exactly crowd-pullers.

Sharon invited me in, and did a double-take when she realised who I was. I was introduced as a friend and blogger. It's an honour to be called a friend, but I didn't really feel like a blogger today. It's like being at a press conference where you're the only journalist.

The show, however, went on.

Fong answered many of Sharon's questions on the science of geomancy, which he backed up with scientific facts. Some of the revelations included the role of running water and granite in causing cancer and other maladies, plus the secret to "Mr Genting" Lim Goh Tong's wealth. We also found out just how difficult it was for the author to take pictures for his book; there was some mention of battling bad weather and traipsing around rooftops for the perfect shot.

Lillian Too, the self-proclaimed Queen of Afflictions was also mentioned, albeit in a less flattering manner. One of Fong's guests - a colleague and traditional feng shui practitioner - dismissed the famously prescribed placings of statuettes, wind chimes and ornaments for more luck and money. "Those things don't work," he scoffed, "and your house will end up looking like an animal farm." We laughed.

I am skeptical of the whole feng shui thing, but never in doubt of the psychological impact it has to those who believe it - something agreed upon to some extent by the rest of the assembly. The talk adjourned about an hour later, after a presentation by Fong's colleague about how the sixty-four transformations of the ba gua - the foundation of the I Jing (Book of Changes) - came about.

After the guests left, there was some talk about another banned-books controversy. The Internal Security Ministry is offended because these books feature bearded men who claim G*d talks to them. I suppose I couldn't fault the Ministry for enforcing such rigid standards (the people there have bills to pay, too), but if that's the case they should also pull publications featuring Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Abubakar Bashir, Osama bin Laden, and to a lesser extent, Pat Robertson, Shoko Asahara and George W Bush.

Then again, what do I know, anyway?


  1. thanks a lot for blogging this so well

    i haven't got round to it yet!

  2. Bibliobibuli: No problem. Take your time.


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