In English, we have expressions like “a pain in the rear” or “a thorn in one’s eye” to represent something or people that make someone extremely uncomfortable but yet cannot remove it openly or easily.  The equivalent expression in Chinese is “the nail in one’s eye” (眼中钉, yǎnzhōngdīng).

The massive land development and building boom in China has created a new category of residence called “nail households” (釘子戶 dīng zi hù) or holdouts from land developers’ buyout offers. Most of these “nail households” dislike the low offers or resist the corruption due to official and land developer alliance.

The pictures below show what Chinese netizens termed “Coolest nail household in history” (史上最牛钉子户) in 2007. Even CNN had reported this incident in international TV news.

Click on picture to enlarge

“Nail household” is not a monopoly in China.  The following is the famous “nail household” of a Japanese-American family living in Anaheim, California, USA, next door to the “happiest place on earth“– Disneyland.  The family refuses to sell out to Disney for decades.

Below is a group of “nail households” in the middle of a major traffic throughway and surrounded by tall buildings.

Wait!  How about dead people?  Yes, China also has “Nail Tomb” (坟墓钉子户).  Descendants of the tomb refuses to relocate the tomb for land developer.  Here is an example:

“Nail Tomb” surrounded by tall residential buildings.  All the “dragon veins” are c

The “nail households”, if they preserve and keep staying in their isolated houses will win the battle but lose the war, especially the Feng Shui war because:

  • nail households are likely surrounded by new and tall buildings.  It create a subconscious feeling of being suppressed and lacking prosperity
  • dwindling luck because earth qi tends to migrate to newer structures
  • sickness and misfortune because qi is blocked by tall buildings surrounding them 

In the long run, the nail households will lose more than the land developers.  So this “a pain in the rear” Feng Shui has no winners but losers.

Ken Lai

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