Fengshui expert Wilfred Leu tells us how to improve our health and relationships in the Year of the Metal Ox — and how to obtain more luck from the luckiest zodiac this year

When it comes to setting goals and wishes entering into the new year, improving our love and health tend to rank high among our priorities. We can all agree that last year — also known as the Year of the Metal Rat — was probably not the best for either.

As we usher in the Year of the Metal Ox on Feb 12, we thought we would seek a little help in improving our prospects in both departments with fengshui, which literally means wind and water. Detractors may write off fengshui as superstitious mumbo-jumbo but the concept, also known as Chinese geomancy is derived from thousands of years of observations by the Chinese, who — as an early agricultural society — has to understand both the land and seasonal weather. Fengshui is thus practiced to allow people to live in alignment with their surroundings.

We speak to fengshui practitioner Wilfred Leu, who uses the principles of established by the Chinese imperial palace in the Ming and Qing dynasties — particularly in the following books, The Imperial Complete Books of the Four Repositories, The Complete Collection of the “Imperial Encyclopedia’’ and The Yongle Encyclopedia. The good news is — those born in the Year of the Rooster are in for an excellent year.

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Fengshui practitioner Wilfred Leu is a best-selling author who consults for institutions in Singapore as well as international celebrities. Photo: Wilfred Leu

Options: What should people generally look out for in the Year of the Metal Ox in terms of health?

Wilfred (WL): This year, people should look out for their health in the following areas, the urinary tract, kidneys, and sexual organs. This is due to the Number two star, which represents illness, being in the North this year. The North represents the Year of the Rat. Typically, the zodiac sign of the previous year is also known as the illness element. Together, the Rat and the number two star represents ill health twice over, which means people should be careful overall.

The North also represents water, which means any health-related issues could arise from your sexual organs, kidney, or urinary tract. At the same time, this year continues to have a strong metal element. Metal cuts wood, which is why people also must be careful of hurting their limbs. For those who are physically active, you have to pay attention to safety.

Metal, which carries over from the Year of the Rat, also represents both large intestines and respiratory organs. As such, we would continue to see Covid-19 lingering until the summer; I would then expect things to begin to get better sometime after the Dragon Boat or Dumpling Festival. 

The travel industry would only be in the position to recover in 2022, which is the Year of the Water Tiger. Both elements during that year represent both movement and travel.

To combat this, put a calabash or gourd, and tie three Qing dynasty coins from the reign of the Emperor Kangxi (also known as Kangxi coins), with a yellow string together in the direction of the North. Why Kangxi? The Chinese word, Kang represents health, and Kangxi sounds similar to the words “healthy” and “blissful”. Kangxi also lived to 68, which is considered quite a ripe old age during his time. The calabash is used to absorb the sick elements from the north and the pronunciation of the calabash, hulu, also sounded like fortune and money, another reason why it is considered auspicious. The number three also represents the wood element, which mitigates water. A yellow string is used as yellow is earth, which will strengthen the metal element, which is the coin. How does this help? If you find yourself feeling unwell, you will end up finding the right treatment and doctor.

What about love?

WL: Love isn’t that hot either — partly because of Covid-19 from last year. For instance, people who are in relationships from last year will face two possibilities due to the pandemic — you either grow closer due to the amount of time spent during the lockdown, or you may find yourself drifting apart due to the distance. It could go two ways.

That said, those who are born in the Year of the Ox may not have good luck in love this year because the animal clashes with the Grand Duke. 

There are ways to mitigate this if you’re looking to enter into a relationship this year, or get closer to a significant other. What you can do is to put auspicious flowers such as peonies and peach blossoms in four (for example, four in the direction of the South, where the number one star that represents luck in relationship and social skills, is at).

If you are single and have a particular type you’d like to attract, you can put a picture of your ideal man or woman in the same direction, along with the flowers. Don’t use roses though, as they come with thorns, and could represent a thorny relationship. 

For those who are not averse to putting a Chinese lucky mascot, you may also put a picture of a monkey on a horse at the South location of your living room, with the head of the horse pointing towards your main door. This could help to enhance your career opportunities. Even if you don’t have a Chinese compass, you may use a regular compass to find the direction too. 

To prepare for the Lunar New Year, is there anything we can do to boost our luck?

WL: If your luck is not very good in 2020, you may want to take the opportunity to clear your house of messiness and clean the house thoroughly, typically about a week before the Lunar New Year. I think this is more important now as more people work from home.

If you’re a big believer in fengshui, you can also put a picture of Zhong Kui, a Tang dynasty scholar-turned-Chinese deity that is believed to be the vanquisher of ghosts and demons, in the direction of the South or Southeast. That direction represents the Snake zodiac. This year, the star of the Five Ghosts will be in that general direction, hence a picture of the “Chinese ghost catcher” deity who catches evil spirits will help mitigate any bad luck that may flow that way. In the Qing Imperial palace, it is recorded that they would put up Zhong Kui during the lunar New Year Celebrations. Typical painting of this person is usually seen with a bat or bats, which represents good fortune. Zhong Kui also represents wealth and intelligence, which means putting a picture of him is likely to bring in luck in that department.

Who are the luckiest in the Year of the Metal Ox?

WL: That would be those born in the Year of the Rooster. If you’re born between Sept 6 to Oct 5, which is the month of the Rooster, you will also enjoy plenty of blessings and luck this year. Roosters seeking love should don more flowery clothes, or brighter colours to attract more luck in love this year. If you’re not used to flowery clothes or brighter colours, you should essentially be neat in your clothing, and include a bit of red in your outfit.

You may boost your luck further by carrying an amulet or picture of a horse, or hang around those who are born in the year or month of the Horse (which is in June). Why? For the Rooster, the Horse is in their peach blossom sector. This applies to relationships in general. So, if you’re seeking more popularity this year, stick around those who’re born in the year or month of the Horse. The noble people (people who can help you in times of need) this year, are those born in the year or month of the Tiger and the Horse.

What about the unluckiest zodiac then?

WL: That would be those born in the Year of the Goat, or in July, which is the month of the Goat. This is because the Goat, according to the principles of the zodiac, clashes with the Ox. Those born under the sign of the Goat will experience a lot of changes this year. Not all may be negative, as it really depends on your chart, but changes are certain. There will be big changes in terms of family affairs as well.

How can they mitigate this?

WL: They can carry a symbol or picture of a rooster, horse or tiger, who are the luckier animals this year. Alternatively, you can also go to places that represent these animals. For instance, the Tiger represents forests and trees, or nature reserves in Singapore. The Horse is represented by open area or vast lands, while both the Tiger and Horse represent documents, books and white-collar jobs, according to the ancient texts.

What are the lucky colours and directions in 2021?

WL: This year in general, white is a good colour, because that is the colour of the Rooster. This could mean white clothes, accessories, even white food. The West is also a lucky spot because it represents the Rooster.

To make the most out of it, you can consider keeping fish, or putting a lamp or lantern in the area to ‘activate’ the number eight star, which represents good luck. You may also put a picture, amulet, or figurine of a deer you have kept since Christmas in that location. Thus, you may want to use your creativity to put a nice arrangement of deer, water and for some, also a crane in this location. They could be lucky mascots or paintings or pictures.

All the good elements are in the sign of the Rooster, so anything related to the zodiac will bring you luck. Should you want to take it a step further, put a picture or ornament of the rooster at home where you can see it the minute you open your front door. Alternatively, carry an image of the rooster with you, including one on the windscreen of the car if you drive, to avoid accidents.

To prevent stale luck, you can consider putting a picture of an Ox on your front door. It’s important that you put it facing out, as the Ox is the Grand Duke this year. Avoid much movement in the Southeast sector too. This means don’t have any renovations or knock walls without consulting an expert on the right date to do so. You could also hang four Qing dynasty coins from the reign of the Emperor Qianlong (or Qianlong coins) tied with a black or blue string in that general direction. The coins, which represent money and status, help mitigate any back luck, especially if there is a door or window in that sector, where you can see a menacing building or object from there. Otherwise, simply keep that sector quiet and have less activities in that area.

What about people who prefer not to carry anything extra with them?

WL: Now that we’re entering the Lunar New Year, there are opportunities for you to obtain new notes. What you can do, is to put new notes, with serial numbers containing auspicious numbers such as one, six and eight in a red packet, for luck. Boost it further by putting in a ‘good’ amount such as $168 or $1,688 in the red packet.

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Look closely at the number on the note, and you'll find auspicious symbols, according to Leu. Photo: Shutterstock

In fact, Singapore’s dollar notes contain symbols that are considered lucky in Chinese culture or fengshui. Look closer with a magnifying glass and you will find bats, which represent luck on the $2 note; old Chinese coins on the $10 note; peaches on the $50 note; peonies on the $100 note and deer (which represents wealth and prosperity) on the $1,000 note. If you’re not a fan of putting symbols around the house, simply put the red packet in the centre of the house, as well as in the directions of the West and South.


SEE: It was a doggone year


Any tips for spring cleaning?

WL: It is important to clean out your house before the new year sets in. Chinese culture is about symbols and it is believed that this could be because you have a poor living or working environment, which would be a reflection and extension of your life. In ancient times, people believed that if your luck isn’t good during the previous year, cleaning out everything represents a fresh start, a reprogramming, if you will. Hence, we will notice we will clean out everything not working, messy and unworthy before the lunar new year, and then one gets “downloaded‘’ with all the auspiciousness symbols of decorations, words, sounds and even food from the first day of the lunar new year to the fifteenth day! 

Do that properly, and keep up with that, and you should have a fairly decent year. You should also look out for and clean dark areas such as the spots under your bed. I’d suggest using aromatherapy to reach areas where light usually cannot reach. If you can, use the ones that require you to burn candles with essential oils as fire is a cleansing element but you have to be careful not to start a fire in the house. Clear out any items under your bed too, for better sleep. In particular, don’t put anything that’s considered ‘metallic’ under your bed such as electric iron, pots and pans, and even luggage.

Sidebar: How to use fengshui to understand the year ahead better

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Yap: Fate and destiny co-exists to produce the outcomes of our lives. Photo: Albert Chua/The Edge Singapore

According to another fengshui consultant — Joey Yap — people should use fengshui, Chinese astrology and Chinese metaphysics as a tool for them to better understand the opportunities — or fate — that may come about during the year.

At the 2021 Feng Shui & Astrology Virtual Seminar held last month, the best-selling author says these opportunities refer to fate and are factors that are beyond your control. This includes the place of your birth and the era you were born into.

The seminar, which was held online, was viewed by over 24,000 people from 38 countries.

Yap also says destiny is what we know as “preparation”. He also stresses that every individual is equipped with free-will, courage and the ability to make their own choices in life.

“Fate and destiny co-exists to produce the outcomes of our lives,” he says.

Yap is the founder of the Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics, the world’s biggest institution for subjects that include fengshui, bazi (destiny study) and qi men dun jia (destiny analysis). The school boasts thousands of learners from more than 40 countries. Yap’s group of companies, which includes the Joey Yap Consulting Group, employs more than 150 people in Malaysia and Singapore. He has also given lectures at companies like Citibank, Microsoft and Intel.