Hong Kong’s hippest Feng Shui master is breathing new life into the 3000-year-old Chinese practice and making it mainstream through her modernised interpretation and quirky illustrations of its esoteric philosophy.
Gone is the heyday of Feng Shui – the age-old Chinese practice that aims to harmonize people with their physical surroundings, but there is a revival afoot. While Feng Shui might be losing its relevance in contemporary society, there are those who are not ready to give up on the practice just yet. Taking up the tough task to revive this piece of Chinese cultural heritage is Thierry Chow, one of the very few young female geomancers making waves in this traditionally male-dominated sphere. With her creativity and artistic talents, she has given Feng Shui a complete makeover. By infusing her love of art and design into the practice, she is slowly converting even the most sceptical atheists into firm believers and making it her lifelong goal to resurrect the lost art of Feng Shui in the process.
Sporting vampy dark lips and with hair partially shaved, the fashionable 31-year-old is the undisputed go-to Feng Shui guru for her over 3k followers amassed on social media channels, as well as clients from all around the world. But, despite being the daughter of Hong Kong’s revered geomancer Chow Hon Ming, Thierry wasn’t always a fan of the ancient practice. Like the majority of young Hongkongers nowadays, she used to share the perception that Feng Shui was an outdated practice of moving furniture, plus investing in gobs of crystal, wind chimes and Buddha sculptures. “I once swore to myself that I would never get involved with Feng Shui,” Thierry laughs.
Her moment of epiphany came only six years ago halfway through a dinner with her father. After fumbling through a tedious and unsatisfying job life that took in various careers, she realised that Feng Shui could maybe help her achieve something more meaningful. “I was so unhappy during that time, and I started to reflect on my life, on what I want to achieve. And all of the sudden, I knew that I wanted to be a Feng Shui master and help others just like my dad,” she remembers. Immediately, she jumped into action, starting her own Feng Shui consulting company TRE Feng Shui and spending her days shadowing her father to acquire the knowledge from scratch.
As someone who used to dislike Feng Shui, Thierry knew from the outset that she had to find a way for Feng Shui to adapt to contemporary society. “It needs to be modernised,” the forward-thinking geomancer declares. As she sees it, the esoteric language in geomancy theory distances it from the 21st-century world that is built around scientific theories and statistics. “People tend to misunderstand Feng Shui as a shortcut to fortune and success. A lot more people nowadays find its abstract language incomprehensible, and thus they don’t believe in it. If a Feng Shui master says things like, ‘the dragon is flying through the mountain’, who wouldn’t find it superstitious and ridiculous?”
With a natural aptitude for art and fashion, Thierry decided to give Feng Shui a new look by incorporating her quirky style and aesthetics into the practice so as to make it more appealing to the public. “I’ve always found my Dad’s Feng Shui decors terribly ugly,” the art graduate laughs. “So, one of my Feng Shui modernising projects was to redesign Feng Shui items into chic, stylish decor and homeware that I would actually want to place in my house while retaining the essence of the philosophy.”
In order to appropriate elements of Feng Shui for a younger demographic, Thierry also published a series of guides to provide the next generation with relevant, stylish and inexpensive Feng Shui fixes. Her recent publication includes a guide to modern romance ‘Love and Fate’, which is filled with Feng Shui tips in the form of playful illustrations, and the light-hearted ‘BOOM Party Tung Sing’ — a Chinese almanac on how to make the best of parties. “Feng Shui may appear to be old-fashioned, but its philosophy is still very much applicable to our modern day life. It is just a matter of packaging and interpretation,” Thierry explains.
With her impeccable style and rank-breaking approach to Feng Shui, Thierry has not only impressed many curious minds, but has also been invited by some of the world’s renowned brands, such as Max & Co., J.Crew, and Guerlain for collaboration. For Thierry, taking such an innovative approach in a tradition-oriented area requires the courage to be different and stay true to herself. “It was a bold move into a completely unexplored path,” she explains. “Art, design and Feng Shui, for many Feng Shui veterans, are simply incompatible. I used to worry about what others had to say about me, and my greatest fear was them criticising me for ruining the tradition,” she admits. “But I’m glad I haven’t let that get the best of me. What’s unique about Hong Kong is that it is a city where everyone can talk about Feng Shui and do it openly, and I hope, one day, Feng Shui will flourish and be appreciated again, not just within the Chinese community, but by a global audience.”