Society & Lifestyle


It’s helped out Chinese businesses for centuries, and has recently crept into the offices of global companies such as British Airways and Citibank. So what’s all the fuss about Feng Shui, and can it really increase your luck in the business world? 

Eve Watling - Feng Shui

Feng Shui (which translates literally into ‘wind [and] water’) is an ancient Chinese belief that the surrounding environment affects the psyche of its human inhabitants. Buildings are viewed as spaces built to support the positive flow of chi, the universal energy, which should run uninhibited through a space. As it is affected by the Chinese zodiac, practitioners must make sure they are aware which parts of their building are having a good or bad season, and balance them back into neutrality with ornaments, pictures and furniture arrangements.

When Nabil Kannan moved his company headquarters from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap eight months ago, he felt it was time to take his growing interest in Feng Shui to the next level. “I’ve been interested in it for a while, but my scientific mind stopped me from taking it seriously. But when I began looking at Feng Shui rationally I realised there was a lot of sense in it. This office became the first space that I properly implemented the practice,” says the Malaysian businessman, who is the director of the information service provider Tender Direct.

Kannan was first attracted to the building due to its favourable Feng Shui attribute of being raised above road level. “This shows how Feng Shui has a practical side to it: it’s not just superstition,” he says. “Having a building raised above the level of the road means there’s less flooding, dust and bugs coming inside”.

Indeed, there’s a practical element to all Kannan’s Feng Shui decisions, from fixing noisy doors to getting rid of dead plants. “It’s good for a business to have everything in good working order,” he says.

Kannan has noticed big changes since he started imple- menting Feng Shui. Business has improved, and workers feel more productive after the biannual spring clean and furniture rearrangement that Feng Shui requires. His Cambodian staff were initially indifferent to his beliefs, but have since begun requesting extra Feng Shui charms as they felt the effect of the practice.

He admits that paying mindful attention to your sur- roundings and making the effort to improve your life may be just as helpful as the mystical aspects of Feng Shui, but he also feels more at peace with his surround- ings than ever before. “Scientifically, I know Feng Shui is not the reason, but this has really been the only place we’ve been completely happy,” he grins.


Text & Photograph by Eve Watling