Sceptic turned believer, Ir. Sidhi Wiguna Teh, MT, reveals that many of his life achievements are a result of feng shui.

Having built a career in the feng shui industry over the past 17 years, the 53-year-old architect is in an enviable position: being recognised and appreciated as one of the best feng shui experts in Indonesia. Sidhi is one of the lecturers who pioneered the study at a number of Indonesian educational institutions of the ancient Chinese discipline, which focuses on how the flow of energy (chi) should be taken into consideration when designing spaces and buildings. He was the first feng shui and architecture lecturer on the architecture course at Tarumanagara University (UNTAR) in Jakarta, one of the oldest private universities in the country. Through his knowledge and capability in teaching, he advocates that feng shui is a science, not a superstition.

“When I started to learn feng shui, many people thought that I was on the wrong path. One of my closest friends stayed away from me because he was afraid. He thought I was learning superstition,” he recalls during our interview at UNTAR.

His fellow architects also looked down on him. “I guess that was one of my lowest moments. But I knew one day, time would tell. And when my other friend, a lecturer at UNTAR, asked me to teach feng shui, I said yes because I believed it would be a good opportunity to prove that feng shui is a science,” he adds.

But being accepted as a lecturer was not easy. Sidhi had to prove to 17 senior lecturers that feng shui had nothing to do with the mystical. When he could explain, academically, that his field of study was a science that related to the orientation of buildings, he got the job.

“I began to teach in 2004, three years after I commenced as a feng shui practitioner,” he says.

As well as teaching, Sidhi is now Head of the Architecture Undergraduate Program at UNTAR. He has also been appointed as Governor’s Special Staff for the Development Section of the Provincial Government of Bangka Belitung Islands, situated off the east coast of Sumatra. He believes he wouldn’t be in such respected positions if he hadn’t studied feng shui. But who would have guessed he had started off as a sceptic?

“When I had my final assignment for my Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1989 at UNTAR, the examiners questioned my design,” he remembers. “One of them said my design was incorrect, based on the feng shui. At that time, I didn’t understand what feng shui had to do with architecture.”

That moment became a trigger for him to find out more. He read feng shui books and finally decided to study the practice seriously from 1999 to 2003. He studied in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan and China by taking classes with Malaysian-based feng shui grand master Yap Cheng Hai.

“Not only was he the best feng shui expert, but he was also an amazing teacher. He passed on to me all his knowledge and treated me like his own son,” Sidhi enthuses.

Like his teacher, Sidhi is passionate about sharing his knowledge with people who are interested. As well as his work at UNTAR, Sidhi also offers private classes Unfortunately, because of his tight schedule, he can’t do it frequently.

He has written a book, Fengshui & Arsitektur, and lists one of the great joys of being a feng shui expert as being able to help his students and clients achieve a good life by harmonising themselves with the buildings surrounding them.

A case in point is when one of his students thanked him for his guidance in finding the right place to live. “She said after she applied the right feng shui in her home, her [university] score leapt from 2 to 3.5. In fact, she got a 4, a perfect score, for her final assignment. I was extremely happy to hear that,” he smiles, eyes sparkling.

A father of four children, Sidhi trusts that feng shui can help people to have a better life. Feng shui is based on the Cosmic Trinity theory, which states that human life is influenced by three factors: heaven, man and earth.

The influence of heaven, in relation to a person’s destiny, can be optimised by being religious. The ‘man’ factor relates to the actions of a person throughout their life, so can be maximised by doing good deeds. Meanwhile, the ‘earth’ factor relates to the environment in which a person lives and can be improved by having the right feng shui. If the three factors work harmoniously and optimally, the person can have a good life.

How can we measure the right feng shui? “First, I need to know the person’s birth date,” Sidhi explains. “Then, I can calculate the right direction for the building, including the rooms and interior. It’s based purely on mathematics that anyone can learn,” says Sidhi, who holds an UNTAR master’s degree in Urban Development.

In addition to houses, feng shui can be applied to offices and other places of business, including airlines. “I suggest that every key person in the airline business has good feng shui in their working space. It will help to boost the airline’s performance,” says Sidhi, a keen flyer with Garuda Indonesia.