Saturday, July 11, 2009


There is some misunderstanding on reports by journalists that the judge abruptly ceased the cross-examination during my session of testimony. Here I hope that the situation can be clarified.

The work of an expert witness consists of two parts: to write a report based on the witness statements by various witnesses with reference to the field of expertise of the expert witness. In this case it is Feng Shui (known as Fung Shui in Hong Kong). The second part is to appear in court to be cross-examined by the barrister of the opposite side. Usually the cross-examination is focussed on the expert witness report. Most of the time, the barrister tries to find fault with what is written.

The first expert witness Mr. Szeto was cross-examined and it was pointed out that his report plagiarized a website and contained false information. It took over 3 hours and the barrister tried to impress the judge that his report is not trustworthy.

When it was my turn, the barrister did not mention anything from my report but instead began with my biography that is on my website. He asked whether my standpoint of vowing to destroy the superstitious part in Fung Shui. My answer was positive.

He then asked whether I considered Mao Shan and black magic Fung Shui practices. My answer was negative. He then asked whether I know Mao Shan and black magic and I admitted that I did not know and this topic was beyond my scope of expertise. He then asked whether I consider anything I did not know as not Fung Shui. I explained that even though I may not know certain practices, I could use common sense to tell that they were not Fung Shui.

At this point the judge took over to ask me whether my Fung Shui knowlege came from self-study. I said it was 90% from books and the other 10% was guided study by my master. When I asked the master something, there was no direct answer but he pointed to certain chapters of a certain book. When I thought I understood something, then I reported to my master. If he turned away without a comment, then I knew I was wrong and did further research until he was satisfied with my research work. That was the way I learned.

The judge then asked if I encountered something that I did not understand but made no sense to me, would I consider it not Fung Shui. I said I would not consider it Fung Shui as Fung Shui is a study that is based on logical development.

The judge then told the barrister there was no need to further cross-examine me. What I understood was that the judge had asked the questions on behalf of the barrister and he fully understood the point and therefore there was no need to carry on. He then asked the barrister who defended Tony Chan whether he had anything to supplement. He said not and the cross-examination was over.

It must be noted that the judge did not order to adjourn the cross-examination and had the barristers wanted to continue, the cross-examination could have continued.



גליה לביא said...

Dear Joseph,

Journalists always look for a scandal.
The importance of this trail is in its existance and in involving feng shui experts. This is a huge step for feng shui.
You've represented all of us very well.

All the best,


Chung Ling said...

Dear Master Joseph Yu,

Press reports are often abrupt and slanted for reasons beyond us.
The controversy stirred had already created doubts in the minds of many and I believed you have represented the community in good light.
You should be proud of yourself for articulating this argument like no others.

With utmost respect,
C L Koh

Sunny said...

Dear Master Joseph,

Interesting to note was the part where you were asked if you learnt by self-study. Bottomline is: Don’t expect a master to spoonfeed one 90%.
The appreciation of a subject is usually: 1. study and/or research, 2. practice, 3. double loop learning, 4. repeat step 1.

Your sharing of the cross-examination enforces the stand that Feng Shui practices are different from spiritual practices (and even cultural practices).

Some practitioners package the whole deal as Feng Shui even though it has spiritual components since the Feng Shui brand is easier to sell. And depending on culture, spiritual practices are readily accepted. Those with a casual knowledge on the subjects will start to see their fusion as a norm as time passes (sounds familiar?).

My reply isn't to talk about the good or bad of Feng Shui or spiritual practices but it is just to highlight that there is a difference between the two. Sometimes, people just like to jumble them together for their skill set convenience.

This incident should be an illuminating example for anyone.

Best regards,
Kah Hong

Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph and all,

No matter the headlines, I hope your message that Feng Shui is common sense is heard.

A few comments to Sunny....

What is double loop learning?
And wonderful description of Feng Shui

"... with a casual knowledge on the subjects will start to see their fusion as a norm as time passes "

Mary said...

> The judge then told the barrister there was no need to further cross-examine me.

Dear Joseph, all,

I think what happened is quite clear to see.
The credibility of the expert reports (or the experts) is being questioned. That is only normal, they do their job.

By your own answers, you basically said that you are not an expert in the type of "magical feng shui" that Nina Wang received and paid for. You only studied and practice "logical feng shui".

We need to remember that this case is not about which type feng shui is right, or what is feng shui or not.
They call experts witnesses to get a better idea of what role the feng shui advice and the trust in her advisor has played in the question about this will.
Since you don't practice or accept the type of "feng shui" that NW received, you cannot help the judge to get a better idea of what transpired between the lady and her feng shui "master".
Your answers would be about "logical feng shui", but that's irrelevant towards the case they are trying to solve.

That's why the judge says there is no need to further examine you.

They always look only from the perspective of what is relevant for the case.


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

The allegation in this case is that the 2006 Will is a "Fung Shui Will". It is not a "Black Magic Will". Both expert witnesses presented written reports and supplementary reports to the judge before the hearing. The judge, in the beginning, had to decide whether or not to accept the reports in the pre-trial. He accepted both expert witnesses when we agreed to remove certain statements that were inappropriate.

In my report (which consists of 28 pages), I explained what is Fung Shui in the broad sense and in the strict sense. Even in the broad sense, Fung Shui does not include black magic. This part was accepted without reservation.

The whole proceeding was very detailed and involved. The court takes it seriously. The next stage will be the final statements from both sides and this is scheduled to be on 21 September. After that, the judge will take about 6 months to deliver the judgement with detailed explanation.

My duty to the court is actually contained in the written reports. It is up to the judge how to view the statements. In his final statement we will know.

The senior councel defending Tony Chan has learned Fung Shui from a reputable master and therefore he has the advantage of knowing exactly how to push the other expert witness to the corner. It was very good experience to be in court to see the whole happenings.

At any rate, I am happy to have shown that my testimony is consistent throughout and that I stay unbiased and do not intentionally speak for any party.


Sunny said...

Dear Mary,

Double loop learning is a learning framework where you contemplate about what you were taught. Google should return some interesting results about it too.

Best regards,
Kah Hong

Annie Pecheva said...

Dear Joseph,

Although there are many controversies in this complicated case, imo, in the court you challenged the old-fashioned and superstitious thinking.

In many East Asian countries, and especially in a place such as Hong Kong, feng shui is mixed with lots of superstition, folk believes and with the religious practices and rituals (Daoism, Buddhism, etc.)... One can mix feng shui with whatever one wants. That's why the people start to buy Wen Chang pagodas, 3-leg frogs, pi xiu and other stuff. This could be a part of the local culture, which is mixed with feng shui. And it's all normal. But the people have to clearly understand what is feng shui and what is rituals and believes.

For example, qigong is also officially divided into 5 major schools: Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, Medical and for Martial arts. And no matter what kind of qigong school is used, principally it is still qigong and is separated from magic. A different issue is that some qigong masters and practitioners may mislead the others and talk about their magical abilities. Same is with feng shui, it may have many schools, but I think it should be regarded separately from black magic.


Teresa Hwang Feng Shui & Design said...

Dear Joseph,

You have my utmost respect for your honesty and integrity.

I would never take what was quoted in the media as the absolute truth on anything.

Best regards,

Teresa said...

Dear Joseph,

I don't think the judge will make much reference to the feng shui reports in his final statement.
Questions about the will being forged or not, are likely to weigh much heavier.

While I don't have any problem to believe that your report was consistent, I wonder if the judge considered it relevant for the case.

The judge may even have agreed with what you write or say, but he probably also knows that the kind of feng shui you described bears little or no resemblance to what is being sold in Hong Kong as "feng shui", and is probably a far cry from the "feng shui services" that Tony Chan delivered to Nina.

The "cures" that are being sold range from chiming clocks, bagua mirrors to putting a certain number of coin here or there... Then some special secret cures can be even more , let's say "esoteric" (and of course expensive).
In the eyes of many people that looks much more like magical spells and superstitions.
Hence the kind of questions they asked.

Since you insist on using only "logical feng shui" the judge probably realized quickly that there was no point in questioning you further, since they are trying to get the proper image of what happened, and not busy pondering the question what is genuine feng shui.

In the courts it's not about "consistence" or logic, but all about "relevance".
That's why it often looks absurd for the spectator.


Master Jodi Brunner said...

Dear Joseph,

The fact that we have studied with you and actively applied the theories we have learnt, achieving good results is testament to the fact that regardless where you learnt your Feng Shui, your teachings are sound.


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

You are right. It is probably the situation. What I hope is that this case will wake up the people in Hong Kong that superstition can be extremely damaging. The other message I send out is that authentic Feng Shui is not superstition. It is in fact valuable cultural legacy.

JY said...

Hi Joseph,

I think your report will get filed between thousands of other court pages and then gather dust in some archives.
Soon people's eyes will turn to who gets the money.
If you want to achieve what you hoped for, then you might do well by posting your complete report where people can see it, but maybe that is not allowed or possible.

It is not superstition that is damaging. Most superstition is fairly innocent and harmless.
Some people avoid nr 13, or don't want to live on 4th floor.. there is no danger in it.

What this case really shows is that *trust* in some master is very dangerous, and especially blind trust. Trust is often the basis for abuse and exploitation.
The person who trusts is in a very vulnerable position.

But feng shui is not alone in this problem.
If recent years have shown us anything then it is the bankruptcy of "trust".

Trust bankers and we see what happened.
Trust CEOs and we see the result.
Trust presidents (and politicians in general) and we know what it leads to.
Trust priests and religious leaders, next watch the news..
And now we can add: trust a feng shui master and you are at risk.
Maybe it is just part of the current zeitgeist.
If I had trusted my doctors, then they would have operated on me at least two times already.

So trust is the problem, not superstition.
Don't trust, and if money is somehow involved, then trust even less.
The only thing to trust is our own understanding. Even if that understanding is wrong, there is nobody to blame for the problems.
Then it is just the normal process of learning.

Yesterday is saw the saying:
"Denial without knowledge is stupidity"

But there is another side of the coin on that one:
Trust/belief without knowledge is also stupidity and usually leads to calamity.


Sunny said...

Hi Danny,

Great take on the issue of trust.

Other than that, I believe what is valuable from this case (for us) would be its "relevance" to the practice ethics.

As for the court, it's like what you mentioned, they just want to know if forgery is a yes or no.

Best regards,
Kah Hong

leegiat 理解 said...

A casual chit-chat.

A Taoist Master and a Judge.

Judge: 'Mr So and So, what do you think of the 49 days rituals and all the diggings?'

Taoist Master: 'H mm, looks comfortable with me.'

Judge : ' What do you think of the will for immortality.'

Taoist : ' Aah, it's possible but you mere mortals were not understand.'

Judge : 'no wonder nobody asks for your opinion, this is the 21st Century.'