Sunday 19 December 1999
Feng shui experts beware. A lawsuit has been brought against a geomancer in Taiwan who failed to deliver the good luck his business client had been promised.
Self-described feng shui master, Chen Hsing Nan, diagnosed the ill fortune suffered by the client, a Mr Chang, as due to improper design on the family tomb. The angles were wrong, he said, and the flow of ki, or spiritual energy, negative. His recommendation? Major renovation work to make the ki positive. His bill was $136,000.
But Mr Chang saw no change in his run of bad luck and took the feng shui master to court. "Although feng shui is a Chinese custom and there is not a fixed price for having a feng shui service," said his counsel, "there is still a reasonable range for fees. This case is obviously a swindle."
Presumably Mr Chen knew the outcome of the case in advance and has made suitable dispositions.
Love is blind
A couple of Serbian veterans of the Second World War say Slobodan Milosevic should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"World War Two veterans of the [Serb village of] Jadar are convinced that progressive and peace loving forces of the world will nominate President Milosevic for a Nobel Peace Prize for all he has done to preserve peace," they said.
Perhaps they haven't been out of their village since the 1940s and have only Adolf Hitler to compare him with, but I don't suppose the UN War Crimes Tribunal will be supporting the nomination.
A newspaper in Nigeria proudly wrote last week that the country had joined the economies of Britain and the United States in issuing currency with three figure denominations. The difference is that the new 100 naira note - the biggest denomination in the land - is worth about 60p.
You might think the new note would be welcomed on the streets. After all, traders will waste less time counting out thousands of notes and shoppers will be less burdened by bulky wads of smelly cash. But its introduction - to be followed next year by 200 (pounds 1.20) and 500 (pounds 3) notes - is controversial because most Nigerians believe that large denominations cause inflation. The Central Bank is running an expensive campaign rebutting this.
And the note has found some supporters among people who want to flash the new notes at naming ceremonies, weddings and other events where it is essential to display your wealth. Such was the demand that, for a while, the N100 note was being sold for N120.
Check in, chill out
A Dutch brothel chain hopes to open a branch at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to cater for stressed travellers.
"Passengers will be treated to a luxury welcome with champagne and caviar and can opt for a relaxing massage," a spokesman said. The club would target those in transit between planes, or early arrivals looking to unwind after a stressful flight: "They could pop in before going home to the lady wife."
Don't get too excited, though. The airport says it is not against the idea in principle but will be unable to make space available for at least three years.
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