While many consulting firms are being hit badly by the economic downturn, feng shui master Ooi Wai Loon feels very confident this is the right time to expand his feng shui academy and consultancy services around Asia.
The Malaysian master, 31, has chosen Bangkok as the location of his first branch outside his home country, but he also has his eyes on Hong Kong and Singapore.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese metaphysical system believed to use the laws of both heaven and Earth to help improve life by receiving positive, rather than negative life forces. Many Asians believe it can improve a person's luck, improve lives and benefit both work and business.
Using feng shui techniques to explore his own fortunes, Wai Loon said he became aware he should not wait long to begin expanding abroad.
"Most rich people make money in bad times," he explained. "For me, 1997 and 1998 - that was my best period. I bought my apartment when I was 19 years old."
But the feng shui master added: "This is like a recession-proof business."
Wai Loon, also known as Master Ooi, says he has more than 300 clients in Asia and a 100-per-cent success rate.
Among his clients that can be named are the Olympia College in Malaysia and two publicly listed Malaysian firms: Selangor Dredging Properties and Country Heights. He has also provided "feng shui solutions" to a few Starbucks outlets in Singapore, fund-management houses in Bangkok and Hong Kong, industrial parks in Laos and Shanghai and many business-owners, high-net-worth individuals and professionals in the region, he said. Some firms hire him to train sales staff on the use of feng shui principles to improve sales.
Wai Loon told The Nation in an exclusive interview that he chose Bangkok to open his first feng shui academy outside Malaysia next month, because his own surveys found greater interest in the ancient Chinese "science" among Thais than in many other countries.
"When I talk with 10 Thais, all 10 of them will show interest. When I talk to 10 people in KL [Kuala Lumpur], only six of them will be interested," he said.
Wai Loon plans to hold his first seminar in Bangkok, entitled "Creating Opportunity in Difficult Times", on August 22. The half-day seminar will be so easy that if an adult brings a child, the child will be capable of implementing feng shui upon his or her return home, he said.
"Most importantly, after the seminar you will know how to create opportunities by yourself, rather than waiting for opportunity to come to you," Wai Loon said.
He said feng shui was a science that captured "energies" - or opportunities - that flowed in the air, and had nothing to do with religious belief. Feng means "wind" and shui means "water", so the ancient system of aesthetics often involves a water feature, such as creating moving water, such as a fountain, in an office or house, and can also require moving one's sitting place, changing the layout of an office, or something as simple as moving a cash register.
The feng shui master, who regularly uses both Facebook and an iPhone, said he was trying to develop a feng shui software application out of the system's calculated formulas.