A sombre mood covered the otherwise glorious surroundings of the Hotel Urban in Sydney. It was late December 2013 and the Yin and Yang Room of the Hotel Urban St Leonards was brimming with people. It was a conference called by an organization facing a definite problem, one that would require a complete, root and stem, rethink of the organizations procedures.

“In many ways,” said the Yin and Yang’s Duty Manager, when I asked him about this event, “it was the ultimate compliment that could be paid to us.”


Earlier last year a television current affairs program launched an investigation into the efficacy of Feng Shui, the oriental discipline of creating and using spaces for particular outcomes. The investigators employed the services of three separate Feng Shui Masters and asked them for advice on converting a room to achieve a sense of greater serenity. Each of the results was vastly different from the other two. So much so they blatantly contradicted one another.

For a tradition so old and steeped in cultural custom it was difficult to accept.

“We lose face because of this,” the Feng Shui conference organizer told the assembled Feng shui professionals. He was everything you’d expect in a Feng Shui Grand Master: A large impressive, jovial man, with what can only be described as a sense of ponderous depth to his demeanor. “We lose respect because of this,: he rammed the point home.

Until now there hasn’t been a great deal of policing over the authenticity of Feng Shui graduates. Almost anybody could hang up a shingle telling the world they were a Feng Shui Master and charge for students and consultations while pretty much reciting their advice from a book.

This weekend all that would change.

The organizers of the Feng Shui conference had spent a great deal of time sourcing possible venues. It was to the Yin and Yang’s credit that they were chosen. In effect the weekend was t be an intensive course to ascertain the competency of those professing to be experts.


To this effect the organizers had carefully studied the Yin and Yang’s layout, the furnishings and colors used throughout the room. From their appraisal they compiled a list of questions to be filled out by the guests. The large windows allowing in sunshine, the aspect of these windows, the manicured garden and floral arrangements, everything was studied and quantified according to the Feng Shui discipline. And then these observations were formulated into questions and put into a test.
The Duty Manager of the Yin and Yang Room in the Hotel Urban St Leonards didn’t know any more. “Sure I was curious,” he told me. “But hey, it’s none of my business. Our client’s privacy is respected.”

One thing was for sure – the press weren’t invited.

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