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Year of the Fire Monkey

Cover Story
By Tan Mei Kuan
As the Year of the Monkey swings in on Monday, February 8, get into the festive Chinese New Year mood with Ipoh Echo as we present to you a glimpse into the world of feng shui, monkey-year individuals and a bonus mouth-watering section on our beloved spots to shop for perennial delights to heighten your Chinese New Year enjoyment. Let the fun begin!
Geomancy, Monkey Influences and Time for Feasting
Russian metaphysics researcher and Feng Shui Master Lada Ray defines feng shui as follows: “In its highest and purest form, good feng shui signifies perfect alignment between inner and outer worlds.”
As life becomes more and more frenetic, most people today have lost touch with the inner aspects of their lives and feng shui has been either dismissed as superstitious gobbledegook or as in the case of certain individuals who pay fortunes to consult with feng shui masters, followed slavishly to ridiculous extremes.
Feng which means wind and shui, water, is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.
Ipoh Echo set out to get the facts in a one-on-one with Master W.K. Chan, a 67‑year-old Ipoh-born astrologer who has been researching, studying and consulting on feng shui for about 30 years, to learn more about this ancient art.
“Do not be misled by the yearly predictions by the magazines or websites which are too general. For example, many believe that when the birth year of your birth sign comes around, you will suffer bad luck. Through my experience, not everyone does! You have to look deeper to know if you are offending the Tai Sui (Grand Duke Jupiter). Hence, not all Monkeys will become redundant this year,” he explained.
According to Master Chan, monkey is connected to the metal element. Taking the elements into consideration, with 2016 being a ‘Fire” year, many believe that this will not be a good year as the “fire” would destroy the “metal”.
However, Master Chan thinks otherwise. First and foremost, one has to look into their personal element by examining their birth date for the Four Pillars of Destiny (consists of year, month, day and hour). From there, you work out if your self-sign element is strong or weak to determine the favourable elements for yourself.
For example, if you are born in spring, then the wood element becomes powerful. When the wood is strong, water element is naturally weakened. Only by knowing this can you then decide what should be released or replenished to achieve a balance.
The five influencing elements are wood, water, fire, metal and earth and how the elements would behave is in turn determined by the nine square grid of the magic squares. The squares form the foundation of all the predictions.
So how do we rectify it? On a personal level, one could use astrology, numerology or putting on certain gemstones to acquire certain elements that we may be short of. Environmentally, it would involve the feng shui aspect, defined by the Oxford dictionary as a system of laws governing spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy, and whose favourable or unfavourable effects are taken into account when designing buildings.
To sum it all up, Master Chan advised, “In order to change one’s personal destiny or luck, you have to know your destiny, do the right thing at the right time and rectify accordingly, as advised by the Feng Shui master to yield results.”

The Monkeys
Ipoh Echo caught up with a few monkey-year individuals from all walks of life to find out their thoughts on feng shui. Here’s one from Joe Yee, a fresh graduate born in 1992: “I suppose like every year, 2016 will be a mixture of good and bad. I do hope that this year will be smooth sailing and a joyful one!” Hanyu, a 1992-born student, had this to say: “2016 is not totally disastrous for monkeys, perhaps just for some aspects like their health and love relationships.”
A same-age sketch artist Sophie Lee opined, “Although there are a lot of unexplainable things in life, I like to think that feng shui has a placebo-nocebo effect. In other words, whether it’s a good year for me or not ultimately depends on myself. Even if it’s not a good year, you can’t change anything if you don’t at least try, right?” She wishes that she will have better finances and good advances in her career this year.
“I only believe in myself. Let it be!” a housewife born in 1956 shared with Ipoh Echo. “I wish everyone shen ti jian kang (good health) and chu ru ping an (may you have peace wherever you enter and exit)!” she added. Born in the same year is staff nurse CP Hor. “Every year, there’s bad luck for different animal signs. So I have been praying every year for chip tai sui for my family of six and so far, we are alright. I believe we should think positively, pray and do more charity to pass the difficult times,” Hor told Ipoh Echo.
Seng Tat, a retired businessman of year 1968 observed that the number of people believing in Feng Shui has diminished, especially in this modern era. “It is also pricey to get feng shui advice,” he lamented.
 
Classic Perennials and CNY Shopping
Last but not least, here is a friendly reminder that Chinese New Year would not be complete without a visit to the following gems for CNY goodies:
 
Ching Han Guan Biscuits Sdn Bhd
Harking back to 1949, the one and only Ching Han Guan pastry shop remains loved by many. “I was only one year old when my father established the shop,” the 68-year-old Ching Chooi Hoe, always ready with his affable smile, shared. Freshly made and promptly sold, the all-time favourites during the Lunar New Year includes chicken floss roll and shrimp roll.  Their multigenerational regulars also swear by the meat floss lotus paste biscuit, green bean paste biscuit and Teochew walnut soft candy. While checking out these handcrafted labours of love, one would definitely be amazed by the plethora of choices and the constant stream of customers!
Address: 145, Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street), 30000 Ipoh.Opening hours: Monday – Saturday (9.30am – 6.30pm), Sunday (9.30am – 6pm), closed on TuesdaysTel: 05 2545126Website: www.chg.my
 

Eu Yan Sang
Established in 1959, the oldest Eu Yan Sang branch in Ipoh offers a series of hampers containing selected quality mushrooms, fish maw, scallop, ginseng slices, essence of chicken, bird’s nest, red wine, all in CNY-themed packaging along with auspicious names such as “Rolling Fortune”, “Tremendous Opulence”, “Joyful Success”, “Growing Fortune” and “Prosperity Happiness”. Prices start from RM99.
Plus, Eu Yan Sang is having a promotion for its health products, dried seafood, jerky treats and festive cookies till Monday, February 22 to ensure that you will find the perfect gesture of goodwill and filial piety! 
Address: 36-38, Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh.Tel: 1300 888 213Opening hours: 8.30am-5.30pm everyday
 

Lim Keng Guan (Siew Ping Food Stuff Sdn Bhd)
From meat floss, sausage to dried meat, Lim Keng Guan has it all since 1961. Prices for meat floss starts at RM19.80 for 300g, dried meat at RM45 for 600g and sausage at RM27 for 600g. Time to shop for these addictive perennial delights!
Address: No 154, Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street), 30000 Ipoh.Opening hours: 8am – 6pm every day during the spring festival seasonTel: 05 254 0837
Conclusion
Near and dear Ipoh Echo readers, cheers to a brand new start brimming with heart-warming family reunions and sumptuous dishes!
 

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