Water Palaver …

Water Palaver

Singapore. Friday 17th November.

Just a few weeks until the Water Dragon of 2012. The Dragon is the Thunder, the beast of sudden change. Events build to a peak and then the Dragon brings the chaos that resolves.

It wouldn’t take a diviner to see that next year is unlikely to be tranquil. In St Paul’s Churchyard there’s a kind of invisible, silent battle going on. I can feel it all the way from here. It would be crass to call it good versus evil and all conflict is illusion but there’s something of that about it. Love against control perhaps. Those kids are waiting for something. And something’s starting to happen.

But I’m 12000 miles away. Burl Ives singing Holly Jolly Christmas?  30 centigrade plus humidity?  This must be Singapore in November.  Every time I come here it’s bigger; more buildings and more tourist attractions to compensate for the buildings. It’s a vibrant 24 hour place but there’s no Earth anymore, everywhere fresh construction, more land reclaimed from the sea for more skyscrapers. There’s hardly a building under ten storeys. And then there’s Sentosa Island.
I’m going out to Sentosa to attend a conference of Feng Shui Masters so I can corner one who is the cutting edge on date selection and isn’t returning my emails.

Before I leave I have a flurry of stuff to deal with.

On the morning I fly, I clear a young boy’s bedroom. He has ME. We pull the bed to the middle of his room, dust, scrub and Hoover the perimeter, then replace the bed and attend to the middle. Then his Mum and I place tourmaline tumble stones on the floor all around the walls; one every few inches. They are to be removed on -you guessed it- the next Remove Day which is approximately (but not always exactly) twelve days away.

I was originally called in because his Mum had placed an ornate water garden in a position that had made most of her doors wrong (don’t ask) and inadvertently frustrated their joint plan to have her husband forsake the hurly burly of corporate Olympus to be home with her. She didn’t know that was why she was calling me in, just that something was wrong.
The little boy – in truth just about a teenager – has been home from school too long. One of the teachers told his Mum that it was all in his head. That of course would not make it any less real.

Before that Jackie calls me back to her very large house. She’s trying to sell it. Miraculously a purchaser appeared just as I was surveying. These things happen; sometimes the act of calling (that is emailing) the feng shui man starts the energy moving. However, she can’t make the major changes required because the sale is “as seen”. You can’t go removing waterfalls between offer and completion even if they’re in Imperial Heaven Star bou din which is an absolute no-no for water. It’s in the South West btw which is where many authorities say you can fill your boots. Don’t believe a word. Water in bou din: the mother sheds tears.


It’s very warm here but mostly it’s humid. I’m sweaty within minutes of stepping out into the street. Which is probably more than you needed to know. As is that I was dripping by the time I even got to my room but that might be consequent upon the fact that I’m on the third floor and there’s no lift. This is the first time I’ve stayed in Chinatown. It’s still crowded and funky. And unlike the rest of Singapore it’s mostly narrow streets and the buildings are reassuringly small. There’s a night market across the way full of the sort of tat I know Sheila would love. She should be here. Next time.

I take the MTR (Metro) to Harbour Front. Sentosa Island rises out of the sea, reclaimed and extended like Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island complete with 50 metre tall Merlion. A beautiful little Chinese girl points and says “Lion” to her mother with impossible cuteness.

Singapore is business, business, business and this is play, play, play. Now the bays and coves and villages are gone, to make up for it,  they need casinos, Formula One, theme parks, a big wheel a few metres taller than the London Eye. And Sentosa Island.

You can approach Sentosa by funicular or monorail. So I walk. There’s noise, tourists and food everywhere, rides, restaurants, a huge Casino and a colossal marina. And clutching at straws, the powers that be are attempting to capitalise on the fact that the Admiral Zhong He (of 1421 fame) lay his fleet over by the island at the opening  of his epic voyage. There’s a partial reconstruction of his flagship in a brand new Maritime Experience Museum full of souvenir shops, between Crockfords’ Casino and Universal Studios.

Before Jackie, I went to see a lady in Hampshire who wants help selling her house after three years on the market. It’s a long story -family- but I can’t see any reason she’d want to sell. My friend Master Howard Choy says that feng shui follows “ching” that is to say affection. For feng shui to work, he says, someone’s got to care. If I were her, I wouldn’t. Nuff said.
Before that I’m in Brighton, my favourite destination on Earth because it allows me to see my daughter Henni who’s at Sussex University. My clients are a couple with serious family difficulties going back generations. We talk ba zi for a very long time then I measure and move around the house. I find her father – if you subscribe to that metaphor -somewhere in the North West where he ought to be and talk with him. His own father drowned saving him. That’s complex stuff. He like anybody else, just needs love. So we give him some.

Night Falls

The assembled campers at St Pauls, mostly born between 1987 and 1992, the yang half of the great year, Rabbit to Monkey,  appear to have been drawn to the City, the Shard, the Heron Building and One, Canada Square. These tall buildings are the t’ang lungs, the hungry wolves of London. The theory is that t’ang lungs bring prosperity and power to those within and those positioned correctly in relation to them. Who would argue it doesn’t work?

It’s now 8pm and my body thinks it’s noon. That’s following the one and a half hour’s sleep I enjoyed last night. I’ve spent another day listening to feng shui Masters telling me feng shui is scientific; that’s before, after and during a visit to the Nirvana Memorial Gardens. There is no linear theory that is ever going to explain how placing your ashes in an auspiciously numbered red and gold  casket surrounded by glowing Buddhas is going to enhance your children’s inheritance. And that’s not to say that that doesn’t work either.

I have scrambled egg, tomatoes, bean sprouts and rice for dinner in the unpretentious cafe next door to the hotel. It’s just perfect and the lady of a certain age who serves me has a lovely smile. And my head is zinging.
I get a conversation with the Master I seek. He puts across ideas that are a million miles from scientific. That’s a relief.  We arrange to meet in 2012

The kids at St Paul’s and Boston and Oakland and Wall Street are the ones who were disenfranchised in 2004/5 on both sides of the Atlantic and then mostly sold down the river by 2010.  Something’s changing as riot police pepper spray peaceful students in California and  bankers float £20 notes from upper storey windows in Leadenhall Street down on students good-humouredly protesting at funding cuts. East or West, arrogance is the traditional response of doomed power.

Many don’t know quite why they are in the cathedral churchyard but have been drawn by a sense of wrong and of the coming Dragon. I see them in my dreams, in Boston and Oakland and on Wall Street too. It reminds me of some other great gathering that I can only half remember.

Those who are on the side of the angels are watching closely and so are those who are not, while the battle stays silent and invisible for the time being. There’s something world changing going on here and the trigger event has yet to take place. The Euro and the banks will last to 2012 but not to 2014, I think. That’s one of the things these kids do know.


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