When it comes to giving property and business advice in Australia today, the capital of psychics and feng shui experts has rarely been lower.
For a start, there was the former chairman of the stockbroking firm BBY who told the NSW Supreme Court in September that he relied on a psychic for business advice.
Then there was the restaurateur who was convinced he was onto a winner after completely refurbishing a new premises under the guidance of a feng shui master.
Both crashed, and BBY spectacularly so, with an estimated $61 million of debts.
But Asian psychic and feng shui expert Aur – she’s known only by one name – doesn’t turn a hair. As a consultant for $US5 billion-plus of commercial and residential property overseas, and a private adviser to more than 200 of Asia’s richest families, and now visiting Australia to run a series of workshops on her arts, she says she knows exactly where the blame lies.
Intercontinental Hotel Adelaide is one of Aur’s clients.
“The people they consulted obviously weren’t the best,” she says, blithely. “They just didn’t understand some of the most important aspects.
“If you don’t understand the person you’re advising, don’t know how they behave and don’t know what they’ll do with your advice, then you really shouldn’t be trying to help them in the first place. There is just so much bullshit out there in my profession.”
Aur, 45, who’s spent more than nine years hosting a top-rating feng shui show on Thai TV, could never be accused of not telling it exactly as she sees it. In fact, ‘bullshit’ is one of her favourite words.
The Park Hyatt Canberra is another business which has sought Aur’s advice.
She uses it when talking of many of the traditional feng shui favourites to bring businesses, or individuals, good chi – such as installing fountains, painting doors red and buying fish tanks. She uses it again when she talks of experts making wild promises to commercial real estate brokers about an imminent rise in their profits.
And finally when it comes to any mystical practitioner who restyles business premises without taking into account the personality of the person at the top … You guessed it.
“This is a profession where you can’t afford to make mistakes, either for yourself or the person you’re helping,” she says. “It’s like a doctor – they can’t make mistakes either. These are people’s lives we are talking about here.
“So for myself, I offer a 100 per cent guarantee of accuracy. People might say, how do we know if the feng shui is working? I say there’s only one way to tell: if your life changes for the better as a result. That is all the proof anyone needs. And I think I’m the only feng shui specialist in the world to guarantee that, and to offer people their money back if their life hasn’t changed within three months.”
The Le Meridien Hotel Bangkok is among many clients of hers in Asia.
Bangkok-based Aur certainly comes with good credentials. She’s spent the past 25 years conducting property consultations for many of Asia’s wealthiest and most influential individuals and companies, including property developer the TCC Group – owned by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi with a net worth of $US15.9 billion – the first lady of Malaysia and the jeweler Beauty Gems.
She also mentors more than 1000 private students and teaches workshops and seminars, and gives guest speeches at universities.
In Australia to consult to the upcoming renovation of the Adelaide Intercontinental Hotel, and to examine the Park Hyatt Canberra, she’s running a series of workshops here too, on the Gold Coast on November 19, in Brisbane on November 20 and in Sydney on November 26.
Her feng shui is billed as more ‘scientific’ and practical than the type most of us are aware of. She says she practises a variation more akin to modern environmental psychology combined with natural science. She ‘reads’ people and then helps them through business or personal challenges by giving them changes they can implement in their surroundings.
“It illustrates how our surrounding environment impacts our thoughts, behaviours and lifestyles, and how to use our surroundings to change our lives,” says Aur, whose grandfather migrated to Thailand from China and became a spiritual teacher. “So I’m able to know anyone’s personality and entire lifestyle from their homes, or workplaces.
“That’s a very important factor that some other practitioners might ignore. And that means, even when everything is changed around someone, if you haven’t taken their personality into account, it might have no impact at all. It has to be a combination of both things.”
So where did BBY and the restaurateur go wrong after advice from spiritual consultants?
“It sounds as though there were much bigger problems there in both cases,” Aur says. “And if a consultant doesn’t take those into account and work on them first, then they won’t have much effect at all.
“It’s vital to understand the nature of the businessperson you are working with first, and then work to improve their bottom line, triple their profits, or whatever it is you are trying to achieve.”