Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Feng Shui History of Singapore's Hyatt Hotel (Updated!)

I believed many of you have heard of the story about Singapore Hyatt Hotel's application of the Castle Gate Method (Chen Men Jue) on its doors (that's why they are tilted diagonal in relationship to the facing of the building) and the inconspicuous water feature in front of the building. This story was told also by Lilian Too if I am not wrong. The work was attributed to the late Venerable Hong Choon, a famous Buddhist monk that was popular with some political figures in Singapore. Grand Hyatt Hotel was said to have the building analysed by him and the Castle Gate method was a suggestion from him.

Here's an extract I found online from Frommer's website:
"Despite its fantastic location, this hotel was doing pretty poorly until they had a feng shui master come in and evaluate it for redecorating. According to the Chinese monk, because the lobby entrance was a wall of flat glass doors that ran parallel to the long reception desk in front, all the hotel's wealth was flowing from the desk right out the doors and into the street. To correct the problem, the doors are now set at right angles to each other, a fountain was built in the rear, and the reception was moved around a corner to the right of the lobby. Since then, the hotel has enjoyed some of the highest occupancy rates in town."

The grand staircase at the main lobby has 32 steps, which when spoken in the Cantonese dialect, sounds the same as "business".

A few months back, I spoke to a colleague (a bellhop working in my company) and discovered that he used to work in Hyatt Hotel for more than 20 years since 1976. He was there when the feng shui audit was being done (around 15 to 20 years ago) and he told me it was not the monk, Hong Choon who did it but rather a layperson, a feng shui master. He said many monks were invited to blessed the place (Venerable Hong Choon was probably one of them) but not to do feng shui. My colleague told me that the feng shui master was very particularly about the room he was staying during the consultation period. Only one room was selected and he would only use that room. As for the name, my colleague is unable to provide as the incident had happened so long ago.

However, I have passed by Grand Hyatt hotel along Scotts Road today and had noticed the partial closure of the main entrance for renovation. On the wooden partition (put up to enclose the construction work inside) was a notice saying that the renovation was done so as to reap the feng shui benefits for period 8 and 9. The notice also states that the original feng shui design was done by the Venerable Sek Hong Choon for Period 7. The main door now requires to be tilted to face 313 degrees and the fountain to be raised to the height of 1.35 metres for the current period. Go down and take a look if you have the time. Some said its Castle Gate but many practitioners say its nonsense. I myself think that it is not Castle Gate method because the correct way will mean relocating the entrance so that it falls in a different palace in the flying star chart altogether, which can't be achieved simply by tilting the door. I didn’t manage to measure the facing of the building so can’t draw up a flying star chart for it. This is a great case study for Feng Shui practioners.

So based on the notice outside Hyatt hotel, the information I was given by my colleague was not accurate. It was indeed the monk Hong Choon who did the Feng Shui audit. But who exactly is Venerable Sek Hong Choon?. Here's what I found on the internet:

"Venerable Sek was born in 1907 (2nd Age), came to Singapore in 1938, thereafter went to Penang in 1943 to be the abbot of Mio Hiong Lim Temple where he met Wu-Chang Sect Geomancy Grand Master Yu Xi-yin. This chance encounter made the Grand Master accept the Venerable as his selected disciple to impart the Xuan Kong geomancy theories.

Therefore in 1965, Venerable Sek officially returned to Singapore to take charge of the building of Phor Kark See Temple. Venerable Sek Hong Choon devoted his time to the Buddhist faith. It is a great loss for not imparting his geomancy skills to any of his close disciples. We could only induce from the geo-design of Bright Hill Monastry, the theory of his geomancy methods."

In addition: Just discovered yesterday that the recent Feng Shui audit of Grand Hyatt was done by Master Victor Li, a famous Wu-chang Style Feng Shui Master from Hong Kong but currently residing in Singapore. His office is in Fu Lu Shou Complex. Since Victor Li is a Xuan Kong Da Gua expert, thus I believe this is the actual method used in tilting the main door since Xuan Kong Da Gua is known for using precise measurements in compass directions. As for Venerable Sek, he has a fellow brother disciple from the same Tan Yang Wu's lineage by the name of Master Francis Leyau, currently teaching in Kuala Lumpur at Central Academy of Feng Shui.

Alvin Chua

Written by Alvin Chua. All rights reserved. Copyright @. Not for commercial use of any kind.


Anonymous said...

Hi! Found out about your blog from yesterday.sg. I think you write really interesting articles. Will be dropping by to read more. :)

Anonymous said...

hi are there any other hotels built using fengshui concept? any recommendations for a newly wed couple to stay to bring good fengshui to the marriage? email me at saftjeje@yahoo.com.sg. thanks.