In late 1990’s, a young entrepreneur had teamed up with a well-known old master to form a Feng Shui school. The young man had picked the biggest asset of the partnership– lineage and experience to promote the school.

At that time, almost every graduate of that school would point out “lineage rocks!”

The young man had marketed this “lineage” thing so well that his competitions had to somehow coming up with lineage of some sort to stay competitive.

So suddenly, some Feng Shui teachers come up with their lineage overnight– you have dim-sum teahouse lineage, window-watching lineage and other off-the-shelve lineages.

“No lineage left behind”– almost everyone got one at that time.

Around 2003, something strange had happened. The young man no longer sang “lineage rocks”. His partnership with the old master had dissolved.

He can no longer piggyback on the old master’s 50+ years experience or lineage. Now he hopes people will forget his old preaching about “lineage and experience”.

So he preaches “lineage sucks” and pushes the “genius” card. His metaphysics knowledge is somehow “born” with him or fallen from sky to him. He rarely mentions where he got his knowledge from.

Lately there are new competitions coming from mainland China vying for a piece of the English-speaking Feng Shui market. These “newcomers” are likely dressed up with advanced degrees and titles like PhD, professor, chairman of obscure Yi-Jing club and the like and of course, a well-written up “lineage”.

When they market themselves inside China, their PhD will be likely from fake or paper-mill universities from the west. When marketing outside China, their Phd will be likely from prestigious Chinese Universities (you can get a fake PhD certificate with prestige Chinese university imprinted for around RMB$400 or US$50 in China).

So the relevance or irrelevance of “lineage’ pops up again.

One’s position is pretty much based on party line– people who think they have “real lineage” are likely to say lineage rocks. Those who have no lineage are likely to say lineage sucks.

Hey Ken, what is your position on lineage?

Well, I have quite a few lineages on my belt though I do not emphasize them.

It is difficult even for the Chinese to prove or disprove most lineage claims. The problem is that after someone had said or written about certain existent or non-existent “lineage” frequent enough (like 10 times), people begin to believe the lineage is real.

I treat lineage like SAT scores– just for reference only and will not pay for it solely based on lineage claims.

You need to observe the school or master yourself to see if s/he is credible or not. A simple rule of thumb is that if someone is very flashy and loaded with titles– the probability that the guy is a fake is pretty high.

Well, don’t dump your lineage yet (if you got any), as it may be fashionable again to have a lineage.

Ken Lai

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