As skyscrapers are built throughout Hong Kong, many try to adhere to the practice of feng shui. Feng shui is the practice of positioning objects in a way to ensure harmony, health and fortune. This increase in development has disturbed the feng shui of many towns and villages. As a result, many villages have commenced actions against the government, seeking various remedies. These remedies often come in the form of money for restructuring and landscaping, or for rituals of spiritual cleansing.
Citizens are skeptical both of the amounts of money that the government is doling out for feng shui remedies and of what the money is being spent on. Additionally, citizens are growing skeptical about the practice of feng shui and doubt that those seeking money are strict adherents of the practice. The Hong Kong government stated that it has paid $1.2 million to villages for remedies since 2000.
One of the first oppositions of a feng shui claim was by local villagers of the village of Kap Lung. Their chief had asserted claims for compensation connected to the construction of a high speed railroad nearby. The villagers opposed the chief’s claim because they thought he was simply trying to get an infrastructure improvement to a footbridge that would have resulted in his own financial gain. This case made others question if those seeking compensation were simply trying to make money off the government.
This practice of reimbursement has existed for over a century, since the British ruled Hong Kong. The British created the system as a way to adapt to the feng shui beliefs of the villagers. While it remains unclear as to how many people adhere to feng shui principles, the popularity of newspaper columns and television shows on the topic seem to indicate that there exist a great number of people who do practice feng shui in some capacity.
Should the Hong Kong government continue to pay villages that claim damages to their local feng shui? Should the practice of feng shui be continued as the counties continues to modernize or is it simply a way of the past? If the policy of reimbursing feng shui damages remain, how could the government better ensure that they are not being taken advantage of by non adherent whom are simply interested in a capital gain?