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September 11 and Feng Shui
by Angi Ma Wong

What can help us to comprehend disaster and loss of such magnitude?

We can try to put it in terms of astrology, currently circulating.

Numerology on the World Trade Center:

The date of the attack: 9/11=9=1+1=11 September 11 is the 254th day of the year=2+5+4=11

After September 11 there are 111 days left to the end of the year

119 is the area code to Iraq/Iran= 1+1+9=11

Twin Towers standing side by side resemble the number 11

The first plane to hit the Towers was Flight 11

State of New York-the 11th state to join the Union New York City=11 letters

Afghanistan=11 letters

The Pentagon=11 letters

Ramzi Yousef=11 letters (convicted of orchestrating the 1993 attack on the WTC) Flight 11=92 on board (9+2=11) Flight 77=65 on board (6+5=11)

Emergency number=911 (9+1+1=11)

Coincidentally, September 11 is the date in 1814 that the British attacked Ft. McHenry and a young Georgetown attorney named Francis Scott Key composed his poem which later became the lyrics to our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," ending with the moving words, "land of the free and home of the brave."

From a feng shui numerology standpoint, the pervasive number 11 is one of the master numbers representing a highly emotional, possibly painful year.

The number 9 magnifies the 11. If there is a silver lining in the monstrous cloud, 2 (1+1) symbolizes connectedness, togetherness, and dynamic attraction, and an opportunity for us to become closer to those in our lives.

Four Pillars Feng Shui reveals a tremendous imbalance of the fire and metal elements on that very yin (dark) day.

September 11, 2001 was a day of yin earth, yin metal, during the most yin (metal) animal year of the Chinese zodiac (Snake) which is ruled by yin metal and yin fire.

The day was in the summer when the fire element dominants as well as gives birth to the element of earth.

The hour pillars, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., ruled by the Dog, were those of yang earth and yang earth while 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., ruled by the Boar, were yin earth and yin fire.

The first plane hit at a time during the hour of the Dog, which clashes with the Ram and Ox, the ruling animals already in conflict that day.

Notice the convergence and dominance of yin energy at that year, month, day and hours, with precious little yang energy to maintain balance. In the generative relationship of the elements, fire generates earth during those hours, days and season, with nothing to balance or offset them.

There was no wood present that day to destroy earth and nor was there any water to put out the fire.

Moreover, there was a triple clash of the zodiac animals: Dog, Ram and Ox, all earth elements, during the hour of the dragon, which accentuates whatever is happening during that time.

On that day on the Chinese almanac, the hours of 7 a.m.-9 a.m. are marked as "killing," or "unlucky." While some of the victims were killed by fire, the majority of them were destroyed by earth-the pancaking of the multi-storied earth-material building collapsing and crushing them to death.

The abundance of the fire element resulted in the tons of buildings, ash and dust. How can feng shui help you during such traumatic times such as these?

Check out the Feng Shui Lady (R)'s column at and

Featured in over 150 print articles, she has appeared on all major network television and radio, The Atlantic, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Toronto Sun, etc. Angi is a featured columnist at, on under Markets and Investing, and in Entrepreneur and BRIDE magazines. Her clients include Universal Studios, Motorola, Bank of America, AT & T, New York Life, and over 80 major commercial and residential developers internationally.

The Significance of Numbers and Colors
by Angi Ma Wong

     There are two more cultural aspects that need to be addressed before I leave the subject of marketing: that of the importance of numbers and colors. Many loan, escrow, and real estate agents, as well as new home salespeople have discovered that among some Asians, especially the Chinese, numbers and numerology constitute an important wrinkle in doing business.

     Before I get into some numbers that have special meanings, I'd like to share a bit of general information about the Chinese language. It has over 230,000 written characters, which originated from symbols, and has no alphabet. Each word is a separate character that may become a part of another. The average person knows about 4,000 to 6,000 words or characters; the scholor approximately 8,000. There are no tenses but there are four or five tones or pitches, depending on whether you are speaking the Mandarin or Cantonese dialect.

     New words to describe inventions are formed by description or sounds. For example, the word radio in English is five letters long, the letters that comprise it have no meaning individually. In Chinese, it takes three words to say "radio" - "receive + sound + machine." A telephone is "electronic speech" and a fax machine is a "transmit + real(ity) + machine." And the Chinese who loves a play on words or double meanings are very imaginative with their puns. In the 1960s when the mini skirt came into fashion, an anonymous pundit called it a "may nay kwun", the first two words sound like "mini" skirt. But everyone realized what a wit the inventor of that word was, for "may nay" in Cantonese means to hypnotize. Thus a may nay kwun is a skirt that will hypnotize you!

     Although the dialects of Chinese can be very different, the written language is the same. It is from Chinese that the Japanese and Korean languages have derived and therefore some of the beliefs regarding numbers are similar. There are many homonyms, but the variation in pitch will make the meaning of a word a completely different one. Just as in English, the word red and read (past tense) are pronounced exactly the same, but have distinct denotations.

     In the different dialects of China, a word may be said a completely different way. This means that a number may suggest something good or bad in one dialect and may have no connotations in another. Last, but no least, many words have meaning only because they are close to sounding like other lucky and unlucky words. Are the Cantonese speakers more conscious of numbers or are the Mandarin speakers? The answer is like asking how many people belive that 13 is unlucky and 7 brings good luck.

     In the Taoist tradition throughout Asia, odd numbers are considered to be male or yang; even numbers are feminine or yin. There are many degrees in the belief in the mystical powers of numbers and no generalizations can be made about who believes in numberology and who does not. But it is worth mentioning that between May 1973 and December 1985, the Hong Kong Transport Department was able to raise over HK$36.4 million for its charity lottery fund by auctioning off a select group of "lucky numbers" for autombile license plates.

Here is just a sampling of ten numbers (but by no means a comprehensive list of the innumerable combinations possible) and their meanings to illustrate:


pronounced yut in Cantonese, sounds like sut which means "guaranteed" or "assured" is considered lucky when positioned in front of number eight (prosperity) or three (life).


in the Cantonese dialect is pronounced yee, a homonym for "easy". This word is good when combined with eight so it will be "easy prosperity."


is pronounced saam, and is close to sounding like the word for life, so it suggests life, birth, or living.


the unluckiest of numbers for the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese because it sounds like the word for "death" or "to die" in all three languages. It is very unlucky to give gifts in groups of four.


pronounced im, is a good number by itself as there are five elements according to the Chinese. While in Mandarin (wu), it is neutral, it sounds close to "not" in Cantonese so is considered inauspicious when placed in front or back of the number eight. That latter combination will mean "not to prosper" which makes you wonder how many model 528 BMWs sold in Hong Kong or Singapore.


pronounced look, is a homonym for the word "deer" which symbolizes longevity so therefore is an auspicious number. There are many groups of six things in Chinese belief, for example: the six relatives closest to a person, the six roots of desire a man must purify before he can become a monk; the six inclinations; the six feelings of man; the six colors; the six Classic books.


pronounced chut, is another lucky number because it is fortunate to sound like the word for "guaranteed," like the numbers one and ten.


pronounced baat, is commonly known as the "luckiest" number because it sounds like "faat" which is to prosper. Confucianism has eight emblems as does Buddhism. There are eight sides to the ba-gua (trigram) of the I Ching; eight "pillars of heaven" and so forth.


pronounced gow, is a popular number as it has always been associated with dragons and longevity. There is a Cantonese phrase which goes "Cheong cheong, gow gow" or "long, long, nine, nine." It is no wonder then that one of the most popular Asian supermarkets in Southern California is called the 99 Ranch Market. Nine is the square of three which is considered a potent number; there are nine rites listed in the Book of Rites. However, I want to point out that the number 9 has always been associated with suffering to the Japanese and therefore has negative connotations.


pronounced sup in Cantonese, sounds like sut, which is close in sound to one or the word that means "guaranteed" or "assured." Some Mandarin speakers do not like this number because it sounds like unlucky four or because this is the number of chambers or levels in hell. Care is taken that 10 doesn't appear next to the number 4 because then the combination would mean "guaranteed death." Likewise, sometimes 22 and 13 are both undesirable for the simple reason that the digits in both numbers add up to the inauspicious 4.

      Knowing a few of the nuances behind numbers gives you a better understanding of why many Chinese businesses flocked to the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. The area code in that vicinity was 818 or "prosperity guaranteed prosperity!" As any businessperson dealing in numbers, e.g., accountants, loan officers, real estate agents, new and resale home salespeople, or developer, you may want to take another look at the how numbers impact your business. Are some of your most unpopular models or resale homes not selling? Is there one numbered 1400 (guaranteed death, forever and forever)? Or did you figure out that you could sell my house in a minute, knowing that someone might pay an extra $100,000 just to get the number 28928 (easy prosperity, logevity, easy prosperity) in addition to having five digits, and perfectly balanced!

     A glance at business telephone numbers listed in any Chinese telephone directory will reveal how seriously numbers are taken. Teh following is just a sampling of telephone numbers among some local business in one yellow pages: 688-8680; 688-8612; 625-1888; 625-8686; 281-8808; 541-9488; 722-8800; 225-1888; 288-8991; 289-2833; 308-3388; 281-0088; etc.

     Some new and resale homebuyers petition their cities to change their house numbers. Others may believe that having a closing price comprised of "lucky numbers" bodes well for the future. And it is no accident that the new and swanky Chinese-owned Peninsula Hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills is number 9882 on its street.

     Some time ago, a friend of mine who was an official at the East-West Federal Bank was the target of numerous telephone calls soliciting for the various long-distance companies. He finally told each of the salespeople that he would sign up his bank with the carrier that could get the telephone number with the most number of eights. MCI did and got the business.

Other articles by Angi
The Significance of Numbers
The Significance of Colors
Crash Course on Asian Corporate Etiquettes
Order Angi's autographed Books and Feng Shui Kits

This article is from Target: The U.S. Asian Market
Copyright Angi Ma Wong, 1993



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