If you’re wondering why I’ve not blogged in a while, it’s because I’ve been busy with my house renovations as well my ongoing consultations. I had an extremely exhausting 2018, but it seems like 2019 isn’t going any slower for me either.
I’m not sure if anyone actively writes as a hobby, but it’s really not easy trying to come up with something that will interest people while also communicating it the right way. I thought I’d squeeze in some time to churn out a post especially when I’ve been getting a lot of new subscribers to my blog. To my new readers: A very warm welcome and I really hope you enjoy what you see here. If you have any suggestions on the kind of topics you wish to see, please do not be afraid to leave a comment to let me know.
They say Mercury is in retrograde now, and in Western astrology, it’s always known to be related to misunderstandings and communication issues. I have to say the past few weeks have been plagued by such issues and I have to say I’m pretty amazed at how salient the effects are. Has anyone else been facing communication issues, or is it just me? In the spirit of Mercury being in retrograde, before you proceed to read this post, I really don’t want anyone to misinterpret the intent or tone and I hope everyone gives me a safe space to express myself here.
Well, my birthday is coming, and occasions like this get me a bit emotional and introspective. Its amazing people on the forums can dig out my birthday and share my chart online so I guess I don’t have to get uncomfortable letting people know when my birthday is and have every Chinese metaphysics enthusiast break down my chart.
It’s been 5 years since my life took an upturn. I can’t begin to tell you how bad my life and situation was back in 2012 and 2013. Arriving at milestones, such as my birthday, always gets me into a rather contemplative mood as I think back about all the things that have happened and what I’m grateful for. I thought I’d take the occasion to share some really personal thoughts with everyone while the mood to blog is still there.
I don’t think many people can appreciate or understand the depth of my feelings or thoughts on this field and why I feel so passionately about it because I am nothing but the image or author you see behind these posts. It takes a bit of reading and background research to understand the vicissitudes of what I’ve been through. It’s hard not to get emotional given how the past 5 – 7 years have turned out.
This post is another one of my ‘rambling’ posts, so if you’re not into such posts, just exit here as I don’t think you will enjoy reading whatever’s here. If you do decide to proceed, I’m sure you’ll get something out of it and have an idea just how messed up this field is.
This post is going to be a very raw, honest sharing of some of my thoughts on this field and how it’s conducted as a form of livelihood. I hope some of this information will be valuable to my readers and put things in perspective. I’m going to be a bit more vocal and open this time, so there will be less restraint in this post. It’s not about me getting more business – I just need an outlet, and I just want people to have a clearer view of how this field is like and how it can be. In other words, this post is going to call out all the nonsense in this field. Enough is enough. If you are new to this blog, I ask that you withold judgment and spend some time reading my other posts when you can.
It’s my birthday, so please cut me some slack.
How BaZi Consultations Are Being Conducted These Days
The number of questions I receive from random strangers naturally grows as a result of my website reaching more people. A lot of my clients, especially the younger ones, do end up as my friends as we share our life stories with each other and exchange thoughts and opinions on how each of us is doing in our relevant fields. I’ve been getting a lot of questions on what goes on behind the scenes in the life of a feng shui master or practitioner from my younger clients, which includes very personal questions from why the fees can differ so much, whether the services are any different, to what it’s like to possess such knowledge especially at my age and whether it changes the way I live?
In some cases, or rather, a lot of cases, some clients have come up to me to share about their readings and consultations with other practitioners due to them ending up more confused and leaving with more questions after a consultation. Most consultations are conducted in such a way that clients are just told to accept what practitioners say at face value, which often leads to the client feeling a bit uneasy after a consultation.
This style of doing consultations doesn’t sit well with me. Imagine going to a doctor and he says “I’m sorry, but you have cancer.” You will likely ask “why?” The doctor just goes “Don’t ask me why – you just do.” This is how BaZi consultations are being conducted these days. I may not be a doctor, but if I’m told I have some terminal illness, I would at least like to know how the tests lead to that conclusion – show me an X-ray at least. Isn’t the job of professionals to explain things to the laymen who don’t?
These clients eventually find me as they Google on BaZi in search of some answers. A lot of people turn to me for second opinions seeing after reading my blog and seeing how different my approach is. I make it a point to explain the technicals behind the chart so that people can be assured I’m not making things up, and that they can have some understanding of their own chart.
All these being said, being asked to take things at face value is the least of everyone’s concerns. Read on and you’ll understand why.
The Growth Of My Website & Journey So Far
People have wondered about the waiting times and queue practitioners always claim to have. There is this notion of practitioners are always busy. Some really are, and some just like want to appear busy to give the false perception of higher value because of scarcity.
I’m going to give everyone a peek behind the scenes so that you know what’s going on. This post is more of a personal sharing one and nothing technical, so if you’re looking for case studies on wealth, career or health, I’d recommend my other blog posts. You can find a good summary of the must-read posts here: https://www.masterseanchan.com/blog/8-chinese-metaphysical-things-to-remember-in-2019.
I think most people who visit my website don’t really know about its history. To my readers, this is just another website they stumble on after a Google search. To me, it’s like a diary and a chronicle of how things have developed every since I started this website. This website and blog paint a story of how I grew as a practitioner, the challenges and also the joys I’ve experienced as the years go by. I mentioned in a previous post that when first started this website, it was named “www.seanchan-bazi-fengshui.com” but that domain has since been deregistered and you will no longer be able to find it. I used to only have 10 to 15 visitors to my website a day, but it has grown so much since.
I have the habit of always repeating that I do not make up content for the sake of content – I hate pretense and I hate misleading people. I’m not sure how this habit started, but I guess it’s due to this field being plagued by acts of wanting to appear as the more popular practitioner.
The habit of wanting to show proof that I’m not making things up is a way for me to dispel and remove the veil that has been put on readers and laymen. It’s also a way to make myself feel better and keep that level of authenticity there. Please take a look below:
The above is my website data taken from my Google Analytics account. You can see on the top right that my logo is there and this isn’t fabricated data. I hesitated to put this up as I didn’t like the idea of letting other practitioners knowing how my website is doing, but figured that if they really wanted to, they will still be able to do it. There are a lot of tools out there for people to get web traffic data on any website. For those in digital marketing – you should know what I am talking about and you can verify the data on your own.
If you look at the chart above: I am comparing data from January to February this year to last year’s. The growth of my website ranges from 79% to 92% depending on which metric you use. I have almost twice as many visitors from last year if you measure it by sessions. The other metrics don’t perform as well because the core of this website is my blog, and it’s not an easy feat sitting through one of my wordy blog posts. If you have been wondering why there is such a long waiting time, the above is the reason why. I am not lying when I say I have 7,500 to 8,000 visitors to my website every month. This is the reason why I really need people to wait a while for their reports, especially when I still hold a day job.
When I say that someone is not the only client I am serving, I really do mean it and I’m not trying to put myself on a pedestal. When the Channel NewsAsia article mentioned that I have an average of 1 client a day, it’s not false, and the number is growing.
The Issue With Competing To Rank On Google
My website is not the most visited website of course. I am still outranked by a lot of the incumbents that have been in the field for very long especially when it comes to feng shui, but I think I should be the leading one when it comes to BaZi. Those who deliberately put the word “feng shui” as part of their domain address will of course rank very high and it is a trick many people use. However, there is a bigger issue that I want everyone to know.
I’m not sure if my readers are familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), but one of the factors for ranking high on Google is what we call backlinks, meaning other websites must put your website URL on their page and link it back to yours. This is a signal for Google to rank a page higher because it is deemed a more trustworthy website. The issue with the field of Chinese metaphysics is, opportunities to get backlinks for SEO purposes comes at the ‘cost’ of having to write a lot of things that are false and misleading. It’s good for business, but it’s bad for the integrity of this field because no one is putting their foot down and saying these things are wrong. You get a lot of ridiculous content and people endorsing things like the lucky colour of your underwear or lingerie, or what flowers you should have on your wedding and what jewelry you should wear.
I’ve been working in tech start-ups since 2014, and these are the companies that can suddenly be worth billions in a few years. The environment is intense but you get to learn a lot there and grow as a professional. I picked up SEO on my own – I actually didn’t do much initially and didn’t make any special effort for SEO per se. I just focused on penning down my thoughts on my blog and one day I suddenly found myself ranking first for BaZi. The opportunities for media exposure came after.
What I’m trying to say here is this: In order to rank higher on Google, commercialized practitioners will be tempted and incentivized to write and put their names on things that have nothing to do with metaphysics. The more websites you can get to link back to your page, the higher your rank. A backlink from the right website is extremely valuable. This is one of the biggest moral hazards of this field as the temptations to do things that bring down the standards of this field is extremely high. This is the number one reason why I keep telling myself to hold on to a day job because I do not want the tiniest inkling of temptation in my head.
I am at a point where this moral hazard is becoming less and less of an issue, and I have everyone and my readers to thank. Despite not participating in the charade, a lot of you still show your support by getting a consultation with me and I am very grateful for that.
The Fees Feng Shui Masters Charge
It really just boils down to very simple economics – demand and supply. I am going to be completely honest with what goes on in my head with everyone here.
I wouldn’t call a Chinese metaphysics consultation a commodity per se, and neither is this service or product homogenous. Not every practitioner is equally skilled or experienced, and various factors also differentiate them. Our own life experiences, the time we spend, the way we deliver the message to our clients and how we take what we’ve experienced and transmute it into something that is useful for the client all play a part.
When I first started this field, my fees were SGD$168 for a BaZi consultation, but I’ve since adjusted it higher as I could no longer keep up with the volume of requests coming in at SGD$168. It was taking a serious toll on me, and as I reach more people, I inevitably end up attracting the kinds of people I have no interest in serving – the toxic ones who think the world owes them everything and every mishap is someone else’s fault.
To maintain the quality of the reports, the amount of time I give to each client and my sanity, I had no choice but to raise the fees to manage the volume and act as a filter.
I can’t speak for other practitioners and the prices they set, but it should pretty much be the same. I’m sure the fees any feng shui master or practitioner sets takes all of the above into account. Of course, there is a ‘trick’ in marketing whereby a higher fee is set to create the illusion of higher perceived value – you’re going to have to do your own research and figure out the value of the service you’re getting yourselves and how much you value the practitioner’s input.
I’ve actually addressed this in my FAQs. To put it simply it’s really just a price I’ve set that will allow me to feel happy working on a case because the last thing I want to do is to be giving inputs about someone’s life and home while feeling anything close to negative.
My Thoughts On Other ‘Practitioners’ – Yes, Even ‘The World Famous’ Ones
I ask that you withhold judgment this one time and give me a safe place to express myself here because I’ve been waiting for a very long time to let go of restraints and just saying whatever the hell I want and be politically incorrect for once.
Whenever someone fills up the BaZi consultation request form, it goes to a Google sheet. If you use Google Suites at work, I’m sure you will be familiar with this process. I don’t think I have to show what my Google sheet tracker looks like now – the website traffic data should be enough to give you an idea. I have around 7,500 to 8,000+ visitors each month, and if we make an assumption that 0.5% of them choose to go for a consultation, that’s 35+ clients a month and it can already keep me busy for a whole month as each BaZi report is customized and comes with a 7-day Q&A which I’m always happy to extend.
The reports I write are not computer generated – yes, some parts are templated of course as those parts are meant as a guide and primer on how to read your own chart, but the systematic and logical breakdown of the chart, and describing how every year and 10-year phase are interconnected takes a lot of effort as I have to write it in such a way that the layman can appreciate. I do not write generic reports that can be sent to everyone without the client knowing it’s being sent to every single person, and trust me, this is happening with some of the ‘practitioners’ who are also appearing on the first page of Google. Clients have sent me their reports from these practitioners, so I have a very clear idea on what’s going on out there.
I know this is not the first time I’ve mentioned I have reports from other practitioners, and I know everyone has been curious for the longest time. So here’s a look:
I’ve taken out the brand name of this person from the snippet and I’m not going to reveal names here. Everyone can go find out for themselves who this person is. He’s perhaps the most unethical one out there in my opinion.
The above is supposed to be an “Annual Report” with a 12-month forecast. To get this out of the way first: you cannot do a forecast without touching on the natal chart, its structure, and also the 10-year phases one has to go through. You can literally send this garbage to anyone while packaging it as a “personalized” forecast. Unfortunately for a lot of laymen, this is a ‘practitioner’ who ranks first on Google for both BaZi and Feng Shui and he charges $388 for the ‘report’ above.
The hogwash in this report is out of this world:
“For the guys, one can look forward to new born (sic) child if family planning is in process”. It sounds like the report isn’t a customized one that is even taking the client’s gender into account. Two people can have the same birth date and time, but if the gender is different, it makes a huge difference because the direction in which your 10-Year Elemental Phases travels is different and the quality of the chart will be entirely different.
“You might get a demotion due to your subordinate (sic) mistake.” Firstly, I really can’t stand this person’s English (not that mine is perfect, I know). Also, what’s important to note here is that as practitioners, you need to have some context. The client is a business owner – he is not getting a demotion anytime soon. Practitioners should not make assumptions about your situation, and it’s important to give some context because two people with the same charts can have very different lives, just that there will be parallels.
This line takes the cake: “You tend to make the wrong decision if you are not careful.” Who in the high heavens doesn’t? You don’t need a practitioner to tell you this!
The plot thickens because what makes things even more interesting is that this is not the only case of this ‘practitioner’s’ reports being sent to me for review. Ex-clients of his have come to me to ask for my opinion on reports written by him, and this is what it reveals:
I did a split-screen when I took the screenshot. The report on the left is for Client A and the report on the right is for Client B. These are two ‘different’ reports ‘written’ (or copied rather) for two different clients by the same ‘practitioner’. I think anyone would agree with me it’s a copy and paste with minimal paraphrasing. You can be assured this is from the same report because he would not be writing two paragraphs of the exact same thing and sending it to a client. The ridiculous templated “Lucky Colour” section also shows it’s not the same report.
Now, everyone, you tell me – should I be angry? Does everyone finally know why I can’t stop talking about such issues? And mind you, this is a self-proclaimed “international feng shui master” who claims he has taught more than “1 million students”. Is my anger justified?
I am really not bringing this out into the open for the sake of bringing down the competition. This is not about competition or money. When people go to you because they think you have a gift and knowledge in this field – you don’t do this. People will get harmed.
It’s not possible for me to just sit back and not say anything knowing all these things are happening.
As I’ve mentioned above, there is a huge moral hazard in this field – this field ends up being a competition to be popular, more visible on media, and who can rank highest on Google. The person who puts up the best act will get the highest monetary reward. If you recall, I’ve mentioned some time back that clients have revealed to me that some ‘practitioners’ buy fake social media followings in order to appear more popular, and the ‘practitioner’ in question here is one of them. Is there really a need to do such things?
The client who received the report above came to me at a very dire point in his life and is now a good friend of mine as we bonded over laughter and how ridiculous things can get in the metaphysics field. The analysis my friend from this ‘practitioner’ received was way off, and he walked away with no understanding of his chart as well. What was told to be the best years of his life turned out to be one of the most challenging ones, and if he were to have followed the instructions of the ‘practitioner’, he would have gotten into a lot of trouble. Imagine if I told someone who is not meant for business to jump into it and expand aggressively – the kind of harm I can bring to this person’s life will be crippling.
I felt compelled to share the above report by another ‘practitioner’ not just for the purpose of creating awareness – I have to admit it’s perhaps a way to get some closure for myself as well. I don’t think anyone knows just how much effort and care I put into a report. Yes, it may not be perfect, but I always make it a point to let someone walk away having a clear understanding of their chart, and have enough respect and dignity to not conduct this field like what you’re seeing above. If I wanted to conduct this field like a touch-and-go, and just take someone’s hard-earned money and just disappear, I really wouldn’t be putting my personal number online and I wouldn’t be giving the 7-day Q&A which all my clients know it’s more than just 7 days. Many people ask me why are my fees high especially when I am young and still considered a new entrant albeit less so with each passing year. My answer will always be a very forthright and blunt one – because I know where I stand and I would personally feel very imbalanced if I were to charge significantly lower than the ‘practitioner’ above. Heck, the above practitioner still charges way higher than I do.
If you are receiving email updates on my blog posts, it’s likely because you were once my client and you were automatically added into the mailing list. Any client who has gone through me will know this is not the way I write my reports. The above example is absolutely unacceptable. No breakdown of the natal chart structure, no description of the 10-year Elemental Phases. The report isn’t even written to cater to the specific gender of the client. It’s hard not to get worked up by this and it’s hard not to be annoyed seeing this person keep throwing himself in front of the media. I’ll let everyone come to their own conclusion on whether someone who has no pride in his work and who conducts this field this way can be considered competent – and may I remind you, this person ranks on the first page using every marketing trick possible.
Like I said, popularity and fame have no correlation to proficiency. The world’s so-called leading practitioner charges a 5-digit sum for a consultation but doesn’t even know why there is a need to adjust your chart for Solar Time – not because he doesn’t know because I’m sure he does. The hole is too deep for him to come out and say “Sorry, I made a mistake” because it would utterly crush his credibility as the leading practitioner. There was no concept of man-made GMT time zones in the past, and there were no clocks – time was measured by looking at the positions of stars and planets. The time on the clock is not the right time to use when plotting a chart – adjustments must be made.
Just some trivia: My close friend’s partner engages the same feng shui master that Robert Kuok’s family does. If you don’t know who Robert Kuok is, please Google him. I can assure you, the best practitioners in the field are hidden and are on retainer fees from the elites, and these elites are where they are because they can see past pretence.
Sorry for the rant.
I don’t expect anyone to understand why I simply cannot let go and shut up about the malpractices in this field. I don’t want to repeat the story here – just go to my personal Facebook page and head to the Notes section.
My life was tough – albeit not financially. I was pushed towards metaphysics for the same reason why my clients are drawn to it – I needed guidance and I needed clarity because if I couldn’t get that can find a reason to exist, I really didn’t want to continue living. I cannot begin to tell you how much setbacks, failures and devastating moments I had to endure growing up. I started practicing and going extremely deep into Chinese metaphysics after recovering from the lowest point my life, almost going bankrupt, getting betrayed by people I trusted and continually being abused by the person who gave birth to me. I move out of my parents’ place and severed ties with my family and started life afresh, and with some luck, I managed to rent a room from really nice landlords.
The reason why I feel so strongly about these things because, in a way, this field saved my life. And I don’t mean just BaZi and feng shui – I am talking about how our ancestors thought and perceived the way and how they spoke about why we had to sometimes suffer and go through tough moments. This quote by Mencius will always stay with me:
Heavens will test the mettle of someone first before giving this person huge responsibilities.
The idea of doing paid consultations came when I really just wanted to eat better so my health doesn’t start going down because I could only eat out. Time eventually made me realize I had the ability to help a lot of people with this gift and affinity I have, and I swear on my life that I never expected this sideline of mine to grow so big one day.
What initially started out as a means for me to pay rent and eat better eventually became a calling, and you have no idea how grateful I am to get an opportunity to turn my life around like that. This is the reason why I absolutely cannot allow myself to go down the path that some of these ‘practitioners’ have. I cannot take a dump on this new lease of life Heavens gave me.
I had doubts about myself when I first started doing this. When I was giving my very first few consultations, I kept wondering if what I’m doing had any value and if I could really help people with what I know. Trust me – I really, really had doubts. So much so that I wondered if I will get punished by Heavens if I did wrong badly. I can’t help but feel infuriated when I saw the above report written by the self-proclaimed international feng shui master.
I told myself a few things:
- I will do my best to spread the right message, set new standards in this field and help people use metaphysics the right way.
- I will not be like the incumbents because I do not agree with some of the things they do, no matter how tempting it is or how big the ‘pay off’ is.
- I will focus on being good at what I do and getting better, and I will only feel proud and be at peace earning my fees when my clients benefit. I will not waste time on pretence.
I am glad I managed to get somewhere while staying true to my principles and rules I’ve set for myself.
There are no prizes for guessing what are some of the things that peeve me the most. Here are some examples but note that these aren’t exhaustive:
- Zodiac forecasts are nonsense and the biggest lie in Chinese metaphysics. Practitioners do it for the buzz and the marketing reach, not that it really does anything constructive. Success, to most people in this field, means appearing on as many media platforms as they can and as often as they can. Why? Because a practitioner’s competence and skill are somehow only correlated to the number of media appearance they have.
- Practitioners snapping pictures of random apartments, condos and claiming they were there performing a feng shui audit. I know of a few practitioners so obsessed with looking successful and credible that they would book appointments for viewings at extremely lavish condos and packaging it as a client engagement. The funny thing is, you will sometimes see a picture of a practitioner holding on to his ‘luo pan’/compass and posing for a shot, but he is not even looking at the damn thing – then what are you holding it for!? You’re supposed to read the compass! Even if the practitioner was looking at the compass, I find it very weird that his or her assistance has to take that obligatory shot of him pretending to read the compass. If you don’t find this behavior or logic weird, then may I offer this thought experience: Do we need to see pictures of dentists pulling out teeth or obstetricians performing c-sections to determine his or her credibility and standing in the industry? I don’t know what you guys think, but I personally find that very pretentious and idiotic. Does one really need to take pictures like that to show how credible or in-demand he is?
- Selling items, crystals, rings, or jadeite. Whatever you want to call it. Is just downright wrong. Our ancestors spent centuries studying nature, studied the precise movement of the stars and planets which laid the foundation of how our calendars are used. And now, all of a sudden feng shui masters who claim to have a lineage say that items can turn your life around and they hold some secret that only emperors used in the past.
Laymen are at the absolute mercy of practitioners. This field is not regulated, so there is no protection on consumers at all. If a licensed professional like a doctor or lawyer did something unethical, but you can certain that their career will come to an end, but this isn’t the case in Chinese metaphysics. The bottom line is, it is important that you do whatever it takes to understand this field, and also to understand the practitioner you eventually engage.
Please don’t get me wrong, there are practitioners out there whom I look up to but they are the minority. I’m not trying to bash every other practitioner out there. I am calling out those whom I feel are causing more harm than good.
Tricks Of The Trade
1. Fake It Till You Make It
This is not different from lying and most ‘practitioners’ do this by inflating their achievements. For example, you’ve only taught a few hundred students in your career, but some some reason you are claiming you taught thousands or even millions.
What I want people to know this: ‘Manipulating’ perception is part of any business, and companies hire teams of people just to manage this. Sometimes, it can be overdone, so much so that the real problem is not being solved. Managing perception is not inherently wrong – we all do that in some form or manner. But like I said, there needs to be a balance in everything. If all you are is about perception management, then you’re nothing but a liar putting up an act.
A trick that is commonly used is creating scarcity and this happens everywhere – it can be in the form of limited edition items or flash sales. I’m was in e-commerce, so I know.
How this is done in the field of metaphysics is easy albeit it not being a physical good: Practitioner A can have a waiting time of up to 10 days, but another Practitioner B can have a waiting time of up to 3 months even with one-tenth of Practitioner A’s web traffic – people will perceive Practitioner B as the more legitimate, better practitioner just because of this because the human mind is that impressionable.
Another trick that is used often used is pretending to be somewhere when you’re not. A practitioner goes overseas for a holiday with his family, but posts on social media that he has been flown over by an overseas client for a project. It happens.
Another way this is done is this – and I’ve mentioned it above already:
I post the above imagine on Facebook and say, ” It is an honour to be engaged for a feng shui project for the home of an ultra high net-worth client. It’s important to get the best out of your dream home.” Trust me, a lot of people (or suckers) will think that I was really engaged by a UHNW client. I just have to put my bag and a ‘luo pan’ there and make it more convincing.
You’ll likely be asking next – how did I manage to get into the house? It’s easy. I can book an appointment with a real estate agent to view some of the nicest houses in Singapore and claimed that I have been engaged by people in the top echelons of Singapore. It’s going to make me look extremely good and skew people’s perception of me – towards the positive of course. I can also do this by snapping a picture of any condo I walk past – I snap a picture, upload it onto social media and claim I have another happy client.
The above trick is a bit over the top, but it is being done. A more toned-down version would be this:
I can post this picture and make some intelligent comment about rivers and feng shui and claim I have yet another satisfied client. But no, this picture was taken when I was hunting for my own place last year. I could have easily lied to everyone, and trust me, every single one of you would have fallen for it and no one would have been able to find out the truth, because only my wife and I were there. I married my wife because I know she’s the kind of woman who will call me out if I acted unethically and deceptively like that.
The feng shui of this house is terrible by the way – the ‘river’ there doesn’t matter. The owner was forced to move out, but I couldn’t find out the real reason why.
What I say here shouldn’t shock anyone. If anyone was a realist and understood how the real world is like, and applied some critical thinking, it’s very easy to pierce the veil and understand what’s truly going on behind the scenes.
This is the reason why whenever I write something, I try not to let it be about an indirect boasting of how many clients I have or how busy I am. I find it a bit trivial and it’s not my style. I don’t want it to be about me shoving a certain impression or perception of me down people’s throats – it has always been about wanting people to appreciate the philosophy behind metaphysics, and use it the right way.
2. Packaging Chinese Metaphysics Get-Rich-Quick Schemes & ‘Wealth Conventions’
Not many practitioners have the habit of being part of such conventions that promise life-changing results.
I’ve attended such conventions and seminars before, and honestly, I am not a fan of it. I don’t want to spend too much time discussing about the legitimacy of such events, because everyone should do their own research and due diligence. There is enough information out there on the internet for everyone’s benefit. You can Google things like “bazi wealth convention” and you should be able to see a few examples.
There are companies out there that specialized in event management, and ‘practitioners’ and hire their services to gather a crowd for events which becomes their sales funnel. These events provided an opportunity for them to upsell whatever it is that they want, with whatever tactics that they want and the most commonly used angle would, of course, be get-rich-quick schemes.
I can’t help but find something very wrong with this because Chinese metaphysics should never be about upselling things and neither is it about getting rich quick. I can’t even begin to imagine the number of people who get harmed due to things being done this way.
The really funny thing is, back in the day when cryptocurrency was all the hype and everyone was making money out of it, you’ll see these conventions include so-called ‘crypto-currency experts’ and all of a sudden, they’re gone. Can you imagine the number of people who have lost money due to being misled by these events? There are a lot of such ‘coaching’ sessions masked as an event that promises to help you, but in fact, it is just a mass-sales event or sales funnel. If it may interest you, read up on “large group awareness training (LGAT)“. I’ve attended such events before when I was younger and seeking answers. I won’t say much – just do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
I personally do not agree with packaging Chinese metaphysics with these events. Let coaching stay as coaching. In my opinion, packaging Chinese metaphysics with these events just end up confusing and misleading people. This is not the right way of applying or educating people about Chinese metaphysics or BaZi.
It would be extremely myopic, and even foolish, to see BaZi or Chinese metaphysics merely as a tool for getting rich. If you approach Chinese metaphysics only from this angle, trust me, you will never be wealthy. It takes hard work, commitment, and truly knowing what you wish to do with your life to stand a chance of getting there. Attending these so-called ‘wealth conventions’ that barely skim the service of what BaZi and Chinese metaphysics is about isn’t going to do much for you.
I don’t know about you or if you’ve noticed, but there is a lot of pretense going around in such events. Remember what I said about manipulating perception and ask yourself who is trying to manipulate your perception.
Money, Overheads & The Inherent Desire For Validation
I’ve often asked myself why do some people do the things they do. It’s fascinating when you think about it. What is it that drives people to do wrong things that harm people? Is it because they are truly unaware? Or are they so blinded by money that they are willing to do anything to get as much money as they can? I have met scammers before and have been scammed many times when I was younger – a part of me wishes there is a special place in hell for people who scam.
Every field has bad apples taking shortcuts and god knows why they do it. If you have time, go read up on Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos:
I have been following the story of Theranos since news of the scandal broke out. It. Is. Amazing. The scale of this scandal is and how such a young person managed to pull off something like this is mind-boggling. Elizabeth Holmes went to the extent of faking her own voice just to sound more credible. Things eventually backfired for her and things just came crashing down on her in the most epic way possible.
Theranos has nothing to do with Chinese metaphysics of course. What I’m trying to get at is this: I’ve always pondered about how others conduct their practice and what goes on in their heads. It may really just be differences in perspectives and philosophy, or it may not. I spend a lot of my time thinking about whether there is a “right way” of conducting this field and what is best for everyone especially when this is an unregulated field.
I’ve always had something against treating Chinese metaphysics like a business where you have to push for sales and revenues – the consequence of this is your zodiac forecasts, throwing yourself in front of every media opportunity possible despite the degradation of this field, and, of course, selling feng shui items and crystals claiming it can change your life.
People who chose to build Chinese metaphysics into a scalable business or conglomerate have overheads. When your business has overheads, you will be under pressure for sales and revenue – that’s only natural. The more overheads you have, the more you have to push for sales and scale. Doing it this way sometimes feel like pushing medicine to someone who doesn’t need it. Pushing for sales and scaling sounds perfectly fine for a simple product or service that can be executed by anyone, but there is an inherent risk to the detriment of consumers when you try to scale a specialized vocation. I gave this example before: If you are a surgeon, you cannot scale your business by mass producing surgeons and collecting a commission from them.
The reason why I do not want to do things like those who turned metaphysics into a scalable business or conglomerate is to so that I will not have any overheads, and when I don’t have any overheads, I will not feel any pressure to push for sales. If I do not feel the pressure, I can keep my practice as pure as I can, and clients benefit in the end. I have reiterated this many times. Having overheads forces you to be in a position where you have to lose focus on the things that matter.
Metaphysics is a specialized field – you cannot simply pick someone from the streets and train that person to do readings for you while you collect the fees, and you cannot post job openings on career portals to recruit practitioners – yes, this happens. Not that it’s impossible to train someone into a practitioner, but certain fields and vocations don’t allow for such a model because it simply does not make sense. For example: If you are an aspiring dentist or doctor, and you train under a dentist and you learned everything from him or her – would you attend to patients and give part of your salary to the head dentist or doctor who trained you and he/she doesn’t have to do anything? No, you won’t – you’ll just go independent.
There is something very wrong and inherently doesn’t make sense about training a team of people to do readings for you. Why not just go independent? You don’t have a boss to report to, you don’t have to show up at every morning in the office, and you stand to earn a lot more.
Why I Still Hold On To A Full-Time Job
Many people have asked me why I don’t do my sideline full-time and everything that I mentioned above are the reasons.
Holding on to a full-time job gives me a psychological safety net and I don’t think many people appreciate what I mean by this.
I am learning tonnes of things by continuing to be in the working world, and quite honestly, I don’t think this sideline of mine would have done as well had I not learned all the things I have from the corporate world. It helps that I am working in an extremely amazing company that is allowing me to progress.
Taking shortcuts like what some ‘practitioners’ are doing – partnerships with get-rich-quick schemes, giving zodiac forecasts for the sake of reaching masses, buying fake social media followers, outright lying and deceptive behavior – are ‘good’ for business but it comes at the expense of the people who are looking to metaphysics for guidance.
I said this countless times, but having a full-time job gets rid of the moral hazards for me. I have something to fall back on, and I will not be tempted by the things that other ‘practitioners’ are tempted by. The things that are currently happening are beyond me, and I am having a hard time accepting that this field has come to this.
Why Am I Saying All This?
I know some people might think, “Sean just wants to badmouth competition and get more business.” I don’t blame anyone who thinks this way because if I was reading someone else’s blog from another industry, I would likely feel the same way too but that would just be a mere first impression. Would I be disappointed if someone thinks that of me? Perhaps a little, especially if one didn’t try to first find out how I got started and how life pushed me towards metaphysics.
Truth be told, I am waiting for the right moment to let it all out. All of it. I know no one would have taken me seriously if I came out in the early days and starting rambling about all these things. I have a bigger voice now thanks to my clients, my blog and the various companies and media platforms I’ve been featured on. I am a practitioner after all, and if there’s anyone who can appreciate the importance of timing, I would be one of them.
I’ve always told my friends that I don’t want metaphysics to be my only sole source of income because it allows me to say whatever I want without having to feel like there is some conflict of interest, vested interest or hidden agenda behind what I write. Even if I were to quit my day job someday, which may likely happen, rest assured I’ll be finding other things to do – perhaps SEO consulting, starting a business with a friend or maybe even blogging. I don’t know. Call me weird, but I’m just not comfortable having this sideline as my sole source of income regardless of how much I’m earning from this.
I’m a vocal person who isn’t afraid to speak my mind, especially if I feel strongly about it and I feel what I am saying is just and right. I’m not the sort that is bothered by what others think, and I know a personality like mine does have the propensity to offend – I am extremely aware of that, and I’m doing what I can to keep things balanced and constructive.
I made it very clear that I am not the right practitioner for everyone. I am the oddball in this field and you can even say a controversial figure. The people who eventually engage me for a reading are those who are aligned to my thoughts and philosophies and I have been consistent throughout the course of my career. These are the clients I wish to serve.
I’m saying all these because I feel like these are the things that people should and ought to know. I am not pointing a gun at anyone and forcing people to engage me, and it’s always your prerogative to not engage someone you don’t like or have a good impression of.
For anyone who wants to jump to conclusions about my character. What I ask of you is this: Find a cause you want to fight for. For me, it’s always been about helping young people from challenging family environments, and of course, setting things straight in metaphysics. I also want my wife and my kids in future to be proud of what I’m doing. Once you know what you are fighting for, you will know what compels me to say all these things.
The Easy Thing For Me To Do
If anyone feels that I am being pretentious and I write all these things because I want more business for myself, perhaps I can offer you a little thought experiment.
Would you not agree that it is actually a lot easier and less tiring for me to join the fray by doing all those things that I am against. There are way more suckers out there to earn a quick buck from than those who choose to use metaphysics correctly. It’s really not in the core of my being to stand in front of a camera and say things like “This crystal is going to activate the auspicious feng shui energy in the wealth sector of your home, and usher in a new era of prosperity, wealth and good romance luck for you”. You’re not going to become smarter or a better partner just because of a crystal. That’s ridiculous.
Trust me, someone doesn’t need to be fully competent in BaZi to be one of the best scammers in the world. If I wanted to do it, this is how it’ll happen: I can identify positive turning points in someone’s chart, and right before the turning point comes, I’ll sell someone an ornament claiming it can bring you good luck. Once this positive upturn comes, the buyer will attribute all success to the item he/she bought and will surely return to the so-called ‘feng shui master’ to purchase a bigger, more expensive item. This is exactly what is going on right now.
I don’t actually need to spend that 7 days answering questions or have people texting my personal number. I don’t actually have to care about what I say or how it impacts people – I just sell you an item worth thousands and close the case. I don’t need every single Singaporean to buy something from me – I just need a small fraction of the population to spend a few thousand on me and I am set for life.
Thanks for taking the time to read all this. If you feel like anything I’m saying is wrong or crossed the line, do let me know and I’ll see if I can change the tone or the way I put it across. If you feel what I said makes sense – I’d encourage you to share it with your friends, especially those who get overly excited about Chinese metaphysics but yet know nothing about it to their own detriment. As I said, metaphysics is not all about warm and fuzziness, or your perpetual life-coaching ‘rah rahs’. Metaphysics is very grounded in reality, and reality can be harsh.
I’m probably not going to be able to blog as much as I would like to in the coming few weeks, but I’ll try my best to come up with articles and content that is meaningful and helpful for everyone. I thought 2019 would be a slower year but apparently, it isn’t. Pardon that I need to write blog posts like the one you’re reading now as an outlet of my thoughts. I still do hope they you’ve got something out of it though.