LSH Pre-release

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Tiger Painting

The Tiger Painting
In 2002 we were living in Singapore on an expat posting with DH's (Dearest Husband) company. DH was always travelling so was rarely at home, Number One son was doing HSC at the Australian School, Number Two son was in Year 9 and a lump of teenage misery and  I was trying to hold the whole ship together. Don't get me wrong, I was having a perfectly wonderful time but it did have its moments...the ones they never tell you about in the "Expat life is wonderful" articles.


In May of that year I bought DH a beautiful painting of a tiger that I found in an obscure little Art Gallery in Holland Village. DH was suitably pleased with the purchase and we hung it in the dining room of our apartment. Our apartment was one of  the older style apartments, spacious, airy and multi level. The dining area was at the top of the highest level and we placed the painting on the wall facing down the stairs, effectively in the most dominant place in the apartment. This is IMPORTANT!
The Dining area of our apartment - Tiger looked straight down the stairs!
We started to experience a period of "general domestic unrest". DH was told that he may be posted elsewhere...could be back home, could be somewhere else or we could be remaining in Singapore. We began to quarrel in a way we had never done before - or since (one famous quarrel resulted in me offloading DH on the side of a road).  #1 son was going through the "HSC blues" and #2 son as well as being a general lump of misery, seemed to be continually unwell. It felt like our little ship was beginning to founder.


"Feng Shui" tours of Singapore are very popular and a group of us embarked on one of these tours. As the bus circumnavigated the popular haunts of the island, the Feng Shui master who was hosting us, went to great pains to explain the power of "tigers" and "dragons". Tigers he said were the most powerful images and if you had one in your house you had to be very careful where it was placed or the power of the tiger could overwhelm the household. I stared at him! The tiger painting...I had placed it in the MOST DOMINANT place in the whole apartment. I had upset the balance of our home and we were being overwhelmed by the tiger.


On the way home I gloomily considered whether art galleries in Singapore would take returns on the basis of bad feng shui. Stopping for coffee in one of the malls we were joined by a newcomer to the school mothers' group who, she told us, just happened to be a geomancer (from Sydney). I related the sad story of my beautiful tiger painting and she laughed (well who wouldn't!). The problem was easily fixed, she said. Just move the painting to a left hand wall (relative to your front door) and make sure it is facing a blank wall and then balance it with a dragon image on the other side of the room.
The $5 resin dragon


My first stop was one of the cheap touristy curio shops where I purchased a small, resin dragon for the huge sum of $5 , I then hurried home and moved the painting just as the geomancer had instructed to a benign wall in our living room, carefully placing the dragon opposite.


An hour later #1 son slumped in from school. In answer to my tentative "How was school?", he replied with a quizzical look on his face. "Good. Half way through the afternoon, it suddenly felt OK again.". I gave the tiger a wink.


Next morning, I received a phone call from DH. "Just had a meeting with the boss. Sorry, Al, but I am being posted back to Melbourne." Job uncertainty resolved, I gave the tiger a thorough dusting.


The following day, #2 son's grumbling appendix threatened to burst and he was whipped into hospital. OK, not a great outcome for him but at least it explained the ongoing ill health! At this point I felt I should be lighting joss sticks in front of the tiger.


Over lunch with some friends a few days later, I related the story of the Tiger Painting and one of my friends went pale. She had just purchased a large Tibetan chest, painted with the faces of six tigers. She promptly went out and bought a multi branched dragon candelabra (figuring so many tigers needed something more substantial than a $5 resin dragon) and had her sceptical teenager moving the chest into less dominant positions. Too late - the next day her husband's appendix burst and he was whipped into hospital with peritonitis - a week before they were due to be posted back to Melbourne. (I have often wondered if there was such a thing as contagious appendicitis as we had hosted a BBQ only a week earlier and 3 people from that day came down with appendicitis!).


So you can see, I am a staunch believer in the power of the elements and the principles of Feng Shui. The wealth corner of our property is the far left hand corner of DH's garage which is so cluttered and disorganised you can't even get to it. Knowing this was likely to happen if you dig through the junk, you will find a frog with a coin in its mouth. I can't change DH but I can do what little I can to influence the qi!


Tiger still lives with us, I couldn't find a non-dominant left wall for him, but he has his back to the front door and across the room is his little friend the dragon. Peace and harmony rules.


Tiger and the Dragon - in harmony

(If you find yourself in Singapore and you have exhausted the joys of Orchard Road, why not take a Feng Shui tour? You never know what you will discover!)