Tainting by numbers – Feng Shui in Manhattan

A four-block development rejoicing in the name of Manhattan Hill has been progressively blocking off more light from my office these last couple of years. My interest in it was piqued before Christmas when I heard someone in the office referring to its five blocks. “No”, I said, pointing out of the window, “it only has four.” They responded by showing me a brochure, which said five.

So, lunchtime today, my memory having been jogged when I looked up from my perambulation to pick up my winnings from the Equine Investment Centre to see the words “Centaline Real Estate” on a shop-front, I popped in and introduced myself as a potential buyer. “How many square feet?” the lady shot back before I had taken my stool. “Fourteen hundred,” I said confidently, pretending I had my wife’s money. “How many blocks are there?” I asked nonchalantly. “Four or five,” she replied.

I let it go for the moment, as I looked at the leaflet which proudly displayed photos of night views of the West Kowloon Highway. “Ah,” I said, drawing her attention to the little map in the corner, “there are four blocks.” “But this one is too big, so it’s split into two,” she said, pointing to one labelled Tower 1 and Tower 2. “We’re both wrong,” I added, noticing that the other three blocks were called Towers 3, 5 and 6. “There are in fact six blocks!”

“No, sir,” she seemed to know a lot more than she had been letting on at first, “there are five blocks, but six towers.” “And four separate buildings,” I added, getting into the spirit of the thing, “so wouldn’t it have been easier to call them Blocks A, B, C and D?” “But there would still be four, and that’s an unlucky number for Chinese people,” she replied, earnestly.

Having no answer to that kind of logic, I proceeded to the Investment Centre.

Some day, the Chinese are going to laugh so hard at all the people they got to play along with their prank

Some of them are laughing now. Local media personality, David Tang, store-owner and socialite, interviewed a few years ago, was asked about feng shui.

“It’s merely supersitition,” he said.

“But do you do it?”

“Well, yes, sometimes. I was advised by an ‘expert’ to get my bedroom realigned. So I blocked a door off here, stuck one in there, added a fish-tank. Cost me an arm and a leg.”

“And it worked? Your luck improved?”

“Diffiucult to say, really, but I was divorced within the year.”