29 July 2021

Feng Shui rears its ugly head — Building a house in Dalat, Vietnam — Part Two

Let me start by giving you the link to the first installment on building a house in Dalat, Vietnam.

About two months after the architect presented us with the initial drawings and after the second level's floor was poured and the walls were going up, my in-laws (it's their land on which my money is building the house) took a copy of the drawings to a "Feng Shui expert" who told them (he's 70 and she's 64) that if they allowed the house to be built per the drawings, neither one of them would live the six months it will take to finish the construction.


I know enough about Vietnamese culture to know that Feng Shui is important, AND to check that the architect be familiar with Feng Shui and consult it/take it into account while designing the house. Apparently, that's NOT enough. Our architect assumed that since I'm paying the bills, it was okay to consult Feng Shui, but not let it dictate everything. 

You know what they say about "assuming"...

My first question to my wife (she who translates conversations between my in-laws and me and sometimes does so without getting their input, if you catch my meaning) was "why didn't they consult the "expert" BEFORE we started construction?"

The answer was a version of, "because they didn't".

1) We have a balcony off our bedroom in our current rental house that we've never used and is blocked by an overflowing wardrobe and 
2) The perfectly good mirror on the front of that wardrobe is covered by fabric and 
3) Another wardrobe can't be where it would be most convenient because the mirror on the front CANNOT align with us lying in bed...
I was already somewhat familiar with how seriously the family I married into takes their Feng Shui and thought I'd covered all contingencies when I asked, "Is there anything in the design that will go against Feng Shui?" and received a "No, it's fine." 

It wasn't. 

I was wrong. Again.

Or is it "still"?

Here is the 04 March 2021 architect's design for the ground floor:

Note that the karaoke room promised to my father-in-law is on the far right; the stairs start climbing along the wall shared with the karaoke room and go clockwise; and the kitchen is between the living room and the stairs with a bathroom in-between.

According to the Feng Shui "expert", ANY of these alone is enough to kill both of my in-laws before construction is complete.

I'm neither joking nor exaggerating.

Of course, the excrement hit the rotating cooling appliance because now we had to rethink the entire flippin' design because the "experts" said:
1) The drainage/sewage system was already in-place under the floor and would need to be dug up and moved.
2) Fire cannot cross water, so the stove can't be under any plumbing, even three floors up, so the kitchen has to be in the karaoke room space.
3) The first floor bathroom had to go away because... who knows?
4) The stairs MUST go counter-clockwise so to create "an upward energy vortex" distributing good fortune throughout the home. Since they are concrete and'd already been built to the second level (Floor 1), they had to be taken out and rebuilt going the other way.

So now, we have this and the karaoke/TV theater room is on the top floor:

If only we'd known this BEFORE pouring the columns and the slab, the ground floor could've been better laid out, say with a larger living room and larger garage... 

Feng shui came up again a few times during the build, but the changes weren't so drastic. We'll talk later about fortune tellers the sway they have on a LOT of people here. 

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