THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW: Passionate about feng shui

New Straits Times , Sunday 17th July 2005

As a feng shui expert, she has developed friendships with some very influential people across the globe, including several actors on Hollywood’s A-list. Lillian Too talks to NURAINA SAMAD and RINA DE SILVA at her Pantai Hills residence on her reliance on feng shui and her success.

NST : When did you start your feng shui practice?
LT : I quit (a banking job) nearly 15 years ago when in my mid-40s for no other reason than to become a full-time mother.

I want to tell all women out there that that was the best decision I ever made because I am so incredibly close to my daughter.
NST : You must have been financially secure to have been able to quit your job.
LT : I was right at the top of my career as the head of a bank. It took a lot of courage to quit. Financially, it was not a problem. I was not fabulously rich but I had more than enough money to retire.

But I want to tell you, when you make a decision to quit when you are at the top, when you have so much power and everything is done for you and everyone wants to be your friend, you become nothing overnight. Believe me, it was tough.

I suddenly realised that half of my friends only wanted to know me because I was who I was. I used to call my friends and their secretaries would say, "Oh, Lillian from where? Who are you?"
NST : But you are very successful now.
LT : I have a lot of luck and I am proud to say I am building an organisation that we run honourably. I am fiercely protective of its values. I am dealing with something called feng shui, which is so cultural.

And you must make sure you don’t promise the sun and the moon and the sky to people because it is so easy to take advantage of people who are at the low-end of their life, and I refuse to do that.

I say to them, "It works for me and I hope it works for you." I am very proud that we have succeeded. I don’t sell feng shui as magic. I don’t sell it as anything spiritual.

Of course I am a Buddhist and I am a spiritual person.
NST : So feng shui is a living skill?
LT : That’s right. That’s what I am trying to tell people.

It is not just about getting rich. It is about being happy. It is about being harmonious that you love your children, your children love you and your husband is kind to you.
NST : What do you think of yourself?
LT : I am a person who is very happy to be able to do something that I am so passionate about and make good money from it and help people, and which also helps other people to make money. I am very proud of this profession.
NST : You have maintained that feng shui is a science. How so?
LT : Your best direction is based on a formula. And this formula was preserved down the line in China. When you do feng shui based on a formula, you cut out most of the judgment.

When you practise the formula, and I teach the formula, it works. This year, this corner is lucky. Next year, that corner is lucky. When I say it is scientific, it is because it is based on a Chinese view of science.

Feng shui can be taught. If you practise feng shui everyday, you can be better than me. It has very clearcut principles. Feng shui is not superstitious, not religious, it is very scientific and it is a great skill.

If in the process, I make some money out of it, then why not? One of the biggest criticisms of me in the last few years is that I am commercialising feng shui. Tell me one thing in this life that is not being commercialised? Even cooking is commercialised.
NST : You are saying that you are commercialising your practice and there is nothing wrong with that.
LT : If I don’t commercialise, where do I find the cash flow? What do you think this country is based on? It is capitalism. Commercialising is capitalism.
NST : You must have some very powerful, very famous and very rich clients.
LT : Well... they range from very rich people, powerful companies to just ordinary people and my friends.
NST : Have their lives changed because of feng shui?
LT : Yes. That’s why feng shui has made me tonnes of friends. I am very proud to tell you that I am a person rich with friends. I love it.

For my friends, it is done for free. They buy me a box of chocolates, a Prada bag. It does not matter. They take me out for makan.
NST : What was the most you have charged a client?
LT : Recently, I was in Indonesia for a feng shui consultation requested by this wealthy and arrogant guy. I charged RM100,000. He told me he was very rich. Cost was not an issue, he said. I gave the money to charity.
NST : Any big names in Hollywood?
LT : One was an Oscar winner. The year she was up for an Oscar, she called me. Then she won a major Oscar award. Another one is a well-known actor who is a Buddhist.

No need to mention names, lah. Don’t want people to say that I use famous names.
NST : You live a feng shui life.
LT : Very much so. My breakfast juice has five flavours. Must be bitter, salty, sour, sweet and spicy. I put bitter gourd, capsicum, green apple, star fruit and celery. The five flavours is very good feng shui, representing five elements to take care of the body health.
NST : So are you saying that even this interview is decided by feng shui?
LT : Yes. That is why we are in this room and not in the other room. This is a good place at this time.
NST : We heard that 11 is your lucky number — your house number is 11 and you often hold your appointments at 11 o’clock.
LT : Oh, yes. If I gamble on the number 11, I will sure win. I will. But I don’t gamble, lah.
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