Happy New Year And Thank You For 2018!

January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

This feels somewhat like an obligatory post since I’ve always written something to recap how my year went. Nothing important or particularly useful in this post – it’s really just to express my appreciation and gratitude for my clients and readers. For my regular readers: Thank you so much for spending the time to read my blog whenever I post something new, and a big thank you for everyone who has reached out to let me know they found my blog useful and, although I don’t think I’m anyone great to warrant this sort of praise, inspiring at times.

2018 has been a really great year for me. I think it has been the best year of my life so far – not that the benchmark was very high to begin with. My life did only start to turn around in 2014 when I entered into a new 10-year phase (大运)。

My apologies that this post revolves around myself quite a bit. A huge part of me still finds it uncomfortable to talk about myself through my blog as I don’t want to come across as self-absorbed, but I thought I’d write something personal and make it a point to connect with my readers once in a while (and remind everyone that I’m actually a very normal human being).

Here’s how my year went:

My Day Job Was Hectic As Hell

Long story short: The company I’m working for bought over our competitor. This happened in March. No prizes for guessing which company I’m working at – not that it’s a secret anyway since I’m on LinkedIn.

Everyone’s responsibilities doubled basically. Regardless, it was an extremely fulfilling year and I can’t tell you how much I love working here. My colleagues are great and so are my bosses.

The events that followed soon after made this year one of the most exhausting ones I’ve ever had.

I Was Made Key Opinion Leader Of 99.co – Singapore’s Largest Property Portal

The management at 99.co decided to put their faith in me, and I had the honour of being appointed as the key opinion leader of 99.co for feng shui matters in 2018. We share the same vision of wanting people to find a good home for themselves and decided to work together to achieve that.

They are definitely people I see as my benefactors, for they have given me a much bigger voice as well as reach in this field. I hope we’d be doing a lot more meaningful things together moving forward. I write articles for them regarding feng shui matters once in a while in hopes that people start making better decisions during their house purchases.

I know I don’t blog about feng shui as much, so I’ll try to do more of that in 2019. There are a lot of issues I wish to address and people don’t seem to understand the gravity of being flippant about choosing their home and the tedious process behind it, so do stay tuned.

I Got My First Big Media Break

Out of nowhere, and totally unexpected: I had the really good fortune of being approached by two really established media platforms, and somehow they came to me within the same month. I appeared on Channel NewsAsia and The New York Times Style Magazine: Singapore (T Magazine). It was something I never ever dreamed of, and it felt, really, really surreal when my face appeared on the banner of CNA Lifestyle’s landing page and a featured article on T Magazine.

Turns out word spread from my past clients and readers to their friends, and eventually to the editors working in these media companies.

Anyway, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts on media engagements (again): There is a very important reason why I choose not to appear in media or events despite being given several chances to do so. It’s not about arrogance or trying to play hard-to-get. I’m not a public relations expert, but I know enough to understand that where I choose to appear reflects my principles, values and what I stand for.

The reason why I turn down most of those who approach me is that it always involves me doing things I’m against, such as, you guessed it, zodiac forecasts. If not, it involves doing something that trivializes this field and whatever I’m doing, such as participating in an online sales campaign. For example, my ex-employer once approached me to appear on their live stream with “influencers” during the Chinese New Year period to recommend products to buy for people under different zodiacs.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not chastising the people or companies who have approached me for collaborations. It’s just business and I perfectly understand why they do what they do and that there’s no ill intent. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t expect anyone to understand what this field means to me, or what it’s like being a practitioner and having the privilege of people sharing their personal stories and struggles with you.

When you have people coming to you telling you they’ve got cancer, their spouse left them, or they are on the verge of bankruptcy because they followed the ‘advice’ of the annual zodiac forecasts; it would feel wrong to participate in something that doesn’t give the due respect to what some of my them are going through. It feels uncomfortable. I tried putting myself in the shoes of my clients and imagined myself going to a practitioner in good faith, searching for some clarity and direction. I’m not sure how I would feel if I suddenly saw this person pushing products on an e-commerce platform.

I guess the bigger beef I have, rather than the unintentional trivializing of Chinese metaphysics by companies, is the blatant abuse and spreading of falsehoods. I’d say the fault lies with the practitioners who say “yes” to these malpractices. Unfortunately, this is what the market wants and some ‘practitioners’ do indulge in it.

Let me show you what I mean and how the commercial world continues to encourage the perpetuation of these falsehoods.

Badly drafted emails aside, I’d usually be getting a lot of emails like this where I become just another tool for pushing sales whenever Chinese New Year is around the corner:

I turned it down naturally. A lot of companies that have approached me could have given me a lot of audience reach, such as Resorts World Sentosa (they invited me for Fortune Walk 2019), TheSmartLocal, Rice Media and Lazada, but there’s a misalignment in what we were trying to achieve so it didn’t work out in the end.

It’s great that all these companies are doing what they can to engage their audiences. I’m still very much part of the corporate world, so it comes as no surprise that these things happen. Unfortunately, Chinese metaphysics always ends up being the unfortunate victim of being portrayed as something it’s not, and hence, we ended up in the situation we’re in today.

As much as I would have loved to tap into the marketing reach of established companies, participating in any of the proposed events would be considered selling out. We function in a society where more media appearances and pictures snapped at events means higher credibility. It’s definitely tempting sometimes but I guess the bigger picture is most important.  I don’t want to end up attracting the wrong demographic who aren’t aligned with my beliefs anyway.

Media appearances will likely continue to be a rarity for me. Till the day mass media starts to take my side (which likely won’t happen in my lifetime), I’ll just continue to share what I know through my blog and hope that it reaches the right people. That’s all the matters to me.

In any case, I was very fortunate that the editors from Channel NewsAsia, T Magazine and the angle they took on the feature allowed me to stay true to my voice as I do what I can to spread the right message about this field.

For that, I’ll always be grateful and I wish all the blessings and happiness in the world for the editors I worked with.

I Bought A House – With Near Perfect Feng Shui Of Course

My friends would know that I’m not the easily excitable type. It’s extremely rare for me to express glee for something and I can’t remember when was the last time I felt this way.

This house means so, so much to me. A home. Real home. Finally. No more abuse; no more violence. For the avid readers who read up about my past and family history – you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

The period where I was hunting for a house was intense. I visited at least 3 houses every single night, darting back and forth in search for the perfect house. I was ridiculously fortunate to find a unit with a good location and price all within a single month. This place has everything I want feng shui wise and I managed to get it below market price, and for some reason, the owner was even willing to take huge (and I really do mean huge) loss selling it to me.

Thinking back, it’s funny how this whole house-hunting process got started. I was casually looking at my chart one day and saw realized there were some positive signs regarding real estate (you can see this in the 田宅宮 of one’s ZWDS chart), so I asked my wife “Shall we buy a house?” That’s how everything got started. That wasn’t the way I proposed to her by the way.

This house is definitely going to be filled with lots of love, laughter, and good food too! I can’t wait to start cooking again. Renovations will start soon, and hopefully, I can move in the latest by April this year. It will be the best birthday present I’d be giving myself and I’ll be sure to share it with everyone when the time comes.

I’m going to miss this small HDB (for my international readers, this is Singapore’s public housing) room I’ve been rented for the past 4+ years. Everything was built in this small room and my life gradually turned around within the sanctuary of the four walls my landlords gave me. I will miss my landlords – they are the kindest and nicest people I have ever met. Always there offering a helping hand, and even cooking for me at times. I could have never achieved what I did without them as my benefactors.

This was how my room looked when I first moved in. I shifted the bed from its original position to let it be against the wall and added a small work table beside it where I’m typing this post right now. I know what you’re thinking. It has nothing to do with feng shui people – it was simply because it was more comfortable. But fine, having your bed against the window is not considered a good thing as it disturbs sleep, but please remember there is a lot more to feng shui than just simple things like bed arrangements.

It was really just me, my undersized bed (my legs stick through bed frame), and my luggage full of stuff. My new life began in this room and I can still remember the first night I slept here and the peace I felt, knowing I never, ever have to look back at the hell I escaped from.

It’ll be funny to show you the state of my room right now. IT’S IN A MESS – definitely not picture-worthy. I’ll take a photo once I tidy it up.

Hopefully, with the new house and a better resting environment, I’ll be able to do more things with my life and whoever I serve gets to benefit from that as well.

I Got Married To A Super 旺夫 Lady – She Brings Me ‘Good Luck’

And yes! I got married! Holy crap – I never thought I’d get this far in my life.

There is a saying that finding the right partner is one of the best things that can happen to someone, and it can’t be truer. I can’t tell you how lucky to be married to my wife and how much my life has changed after I met her. She. Is. So. Beautiful.

Given how I grew up, I never felt I deserved or was worthy of anyone’s love and affection till my wife came along. She brings out the best in me. Of course, I still have my less-than-ideal side which I attribute to how I grew up, but she’ll always be there to remind me to be kind and patient. I am a completely different person when I am around her, and a pretty big goofball as well – but only she gets to see that side.

Trust me, there have been countless times I wanted to blow up at someone (no prizes for guessing who or what kind of people they are), but she’s the one who reminds of the reason why I started doing this and the vision I have for this field. This field can help people, but it must be used the right way and this includes the way I conduct it – my wife reminds me of that.

I’m very grateful what I saw in my charts really did come true. My partner is amazing and I know my marriage will be too.

Knowing how to read BaZi is a good ‘filter’ after all. *cheeky grin*

I’m Starting An Online School – Sharing Some Thoughts & Concerns

This is going to be my pet project for 2019. I’m in the works of starting an online school which can be found here – https://courses.masterseanchan.com.

I thought really, really hard about this. I do wish the online school will allow me to cut down on the number of consultations I take on as it can be quite emotionally exhausting. Monetary motivations aside, I asked myself if doing this may have unwanted ripple effects that I’ll be responsible for.

Students and enthusiasts have the bad habit of wanting to give other people readings after taken a few lessons here and there, not knowing the weight of their words and how it can affect others. It becomes a fun ego-trip at the expense of someone’s well-being which should never be the case. The irony is that some students who have taken classes with me completely gave up on Chinese metaphysics eventually because they’ve come to realize, indeed, this field is not meant for everyone.

My aim is to hopefully raise the standards in this field and contribute in some way. On one hand, I hope whatever I develop will get rid of some of the bad habits people are forming from an unholistic curriculum others are providing, and on the other hand, I want prospective students to be cognizant of just how much they don’t know and metaphysics is not something that you can just take a weekend crash course on and know what you’re doing. I’ve always believed that you can’t master an art if you don’t give it the due respect of appreciating its history and philosophy, and people don’t usually do that for this field.

These courses I set up ARE NOT intended to turn anyone else into a practitioner, nor will it be an endorsement for anyone who eventually wants to become practitioner – this is something I’m taking a very serious stand on. It’s purely for satisfying one’s own curiosity and enrichment. I don’t wish to end up contributing to the number people giving zodiac forecasts out there who end up spreading more falsehoods. If one is fated to become a practitioner, they don’t actually have to take classes from anyone.

There will definitely be added emphasis on the ethics and code of conduct for people looking to learn a bit on Chinese metaphysics and I will always drill this into people taking my classes.

It’ll probably take me a while to get everything ready and make the content presentable. I’ll announce the launch when the time comes. I initially wanted to kick-start the online courses last year but was too overwhelmed by work and personal matters. 2019 should be a lot more manageable.

Hopefully, all the courses and curriculum will be ready by mid-Q2 this year as I continue to juggle everything. It probably won’t have a lot of nice graphics and videos, but I’ll make sure the content is rich and students will get to interact with me there as well.

My Sideline Has Grown Into Something So Much More

This sideline has definitely grown and I always get teased about my day job is my part-time stint instead. When I first started my website under another domain name 4 years ago, it only clocked around 100 to 150 visits in a month. Today, I get up to 7,000+ unique visitors coming from all over the world through different channels and I’ve clocked more than 1,000 BaZi readings online, and this is on top of the other services I provide. It’s been a remarkable journey.

I never imagined my what I’ve built would grow to such an extent in 4 years. When I severed ties with my family and moved out with nothing but luggage full of my clothes, laptop, and important documents, I never thought my life would eventually turn out the way it did. What started off as a means to help me pay rent and eat slightly better other than just economy rice has turned into something so much more. I can still remember the day I got paid for my first consultation, and I rewarded myself with a nice Korean meal when I was on my way home from work.

I’m very humbled by everyone’s trust in me, especially when I am still considered a new-entrant to this field and I’m probably recognized as one of, if not, the youngest practitioner out there. As much as I am proud of what I’ve managed to build and achieve, I remind myself of the fact that it’s everyone’s trust and faith in me that has given me a better life and it is a privilege I will not take for granted. My only wish is that the consultation with me has contributed to everyone’s lives one way or another as well. I can never look myself in the mirror if what I do doesn’t help people.

I’m not sure what else I could expect from this sideline. At the moment, everything feels like it’s following a standard operating procedure, and I’m glad it is. I’ll likely grab the chance to take a step back in 2019, perhaps slow down a little, and decide how else I wish to go forward with this and more importantly, what (else) I wish to do with my life.

There’s a lot more I wish I could do, and I’ve even though of taking up Traditional Chinese Medicine to complement what I’m doing right now. We’ll see what happens.

Looking Back And Moving Forward

I know some people may go “Gosh… Why does he always sound so sentimental in his blog posts?!”

To understand why, you really, really have to get to know me as a person. I’m just like anyone else out there. I have no special powers or abilities. I’m really just another human being who happened to read books that people don’t usually read.

Why I always sound sentimental or point back to my past is because how drastically everything turned around in a few short years. Everyone probably doesn’t have an inkling of how much I suffered and struggled before people starting associating my name with Chinese metaphysics. Don’t misinterpret my tone here and mistaken it for arrogance, but when you often hear me ran about toxic people and clients, it’s really because of how I grew up.

I did all that I could to not make sure I did not end up like that, even despite what I went through. The kind of things I had to tell myself in my head, the books I had to plow through to figure out what was wrong with me as I was growing up as I suffered at the hands of the people who gave birth to me.

If you’ve ever felt lost, or still feel lost and not sure what to do with your life; if you’ve ever struggled financially and was on the verge of being declared a bankrupt; if you ever felt like a failure; if you’ve had a history of failed relationships and never understood why; if you grew up with abusive parents and was torn between taking care of yourself and upholding supposedly virtuous Chinese values; if you’ve ever been ostracized, bullied and betrayed by those you once trusted, I know how you feel. The first 28 to 30 years of my life felt like a few lifetimes worth of valuable life lessons jam-packed together. I never blamed anyone for the things I had to go through other than my own karma and flaws I see in my chart.

But please remember, as a practitioner, my job is not to solve anyone’s problems. This has never been, will not be, nor should it be a practitioner’s job. We can point out where the weaker areas are and give our opinions, but that’s it. It’s your life at the end of the day and you have to be responsible for the choices you have. Chinese metaphysics is not a magical solution to anything. To be honest, the solution is often as simple as continuing to grow and develop as a wholesome person and exercising common sense when needed. It’s really as simple as that. It’s probably the reason why some Chinese metaphysics practitioners end up packaging their services as a coaching seminar instead like what famed life coach Anthony Robbin is doing.

I never saw myself as someone who is qualified to be labeled “inspiring” or someone who knows enough to tell others what to do with their lives. What I wish is for people to understand the nature of this field and how it’s supposed to be used, and what it means for an individual’s life. You can never separate metaphysics and life itself, because metaphysics is but a way to describe how life unfolds according to nature’s laws. Hopefully, through the lens I view the world with, I can help people achieve what I’ve set out to do and right the wrongs this field has been plagued with for the longest time.

There are plenty of reasons why I would get sentimental. I simply cannot tell you, my clients, and whoever reads this blog, how grateful I am for how things turned out. I am lucky I survived and I think I turned out pretty alright. I’m proud of who I’ve become and that’s something no one can ever take away from me. What brings me peace is knowing what I had to go through has allowed me to do what I do today, and hopefully, contribute to the lives of others.

Thank you for taking the time to read such a self-indulgent post. I just really wanted to thank everyone for a great year. My principles, philosophies and how I operate will never change. Moving forward, I’ll endeavor to constantly make improvements in the way I operate – the usability of the website, how my reports are written and any tiny detail I can think of.

This precious blog of mine holds my hard work. It holds the experiences, lessons and knowledge I’ve acquired over the course of my life.  I will never write something for the sake of writing it. Whether you are a follower or someone new to this blog, I really hope you enjoy what you read here and that you get something out of it.

It’s been an amazing 2018 and I hope the years ahead will continue to be kind to me, my loved ones and all my readers as well.

Till the next blog post!

– Sean

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