I paged thru’ a book “Watching the Tree” by Adeline Yen Mah, author of the bestseller “Falling Leaves.” The book is on the bargain shelve ($5.98) of Barnes & Noble, next to a few of L. Too’s books and other spirituality books.

This book is a collection of Mah’s childhood memories and her own views about Chinese culture. Chapter 10 is on her view about Feng Shui, which is quite representative of many Chinese intellectuals– Feng Shui is superstition.

Mah cites two of her personal Feng Shui experience. First was about her father, who had rented a house from a landlord during early fifties in Hong Kong. The landlord was a Feng Shui expert.

The landlord said his house had good Feng Shui. Mah’s family just laughed it off and did not take it seriously. Then Mah’s seventy-something grandpa had died soon after moving-in.

Mah’s father questioned the landlord about his good Feng Shui claim. Landlord replied that it is not unusual for a 70+ years old guy die of old age.

The business of Mah’s father went well after moving into this house. Mah herself had won top prizes in international writing competition.

So, did Mah’s family think the house had good Feng Shui? Nope.

Then Mah had a young brother, her father’s favorite son, suddenly died of an acute sickness.

Her father questioned the Feng Shui landlord again and he could not give an explanation either.

They moved out of that house.

According to some social psychological researches, people tend to attribute success to their own personal qualities and hard work and failures/ disasters to external factors like Feng Shui, third parties and factors that are beyond their control.

Sometimes you may offend some people by saying their successes are due to good Feng Shui of their house or office, especially for people who do not believe in Feng Shui theories. They think you try to minimize of their personal efforts and talents.

On the other hand, some Feng Shui practitioners tend to attribute any success, financial or otherwise, solely to their Feng Shui remedies. Some even claim “overnight millionaire” Feng Shui tricks.

It is not difficult to create “millionaire” in California, if I play my cards right.

Real estate is pretty expensive in L.A., especially around new China Town area like Monterey Park, Acadia, and etc. An average house could easily cost US$400- 500k and $600- 700k houses are all over.

So if you find a guy who starts with say, a $500k house, it is not difficult to make him into a paper millionaire in a year or two, esp. during the real estate boom in the last few years.

Ken Lai