Ever wondered why Sea Life Carousel in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park spins counter-clockwise? Or why the waterfall and decor of its Panda Cafe are all on the left side of the restaurant?
How about the winding walk up its Sichuan Treasures attraction before you can get a glimpse of a giant panda?
It’s all to do with feng shui, the age-old Chinese tradition of positioning objects and buildings in harmony with nature to ensure good fortune, and it’s being credited with Ocean Park’s rejuvenation from the brink of collapse.
After years of successive losses that threatened the marine park with closure, it has risen like the phoenix, smashing attendance records in the past several years and winning various international awards.
Joseph Leung has witnessed the transformation from a front-row seat as its executive director in charge of revenue. He understands the role of feng shui in all this, being himself a practitioner of the ancient Chinese art.
Leung has advised hotels, banks, airlines, charity organizations and governments on the best way to harness nature’s invisible forces to capture good fortune.
He hasn’t always been into feng shui, he told the free daily am730.
At 16, Leung joined the British army and lived overseas for the next 20 years, working as an accountant in hotels and oil rigs in Switzerland, Belgium and Australia. He picked up several languages as well as Australian, Swiss, and British passports.
In 2001 Leung was a director of Swiss flag carrier Swiss Air when it filed for bankruptcy. He described the incident as a personal low and it convinced him to follow in the footsteps of his feng shui master, Chan Ka-fai.
Chan was responsible for much of the design of Ocean Park at the time of its construction in the 1970s, Leung said. Today that philosophy carries on in many of its attractions.
Take the Grand Aquarium for example. It was built in the shape of an ancient Chinese golden wine container facing an artificial lake, a setting that is believed to attract strong revenue.
In feng shui, water means money. Come to think of it, the park has a whole ocean at its doorstep.
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