The Feng Shui of Trinity College
Our Malaysian Ambassador and Business, Economics and Social Studies student at Trinity College, Alicia Imok Fong, enlightens us on the Chinese practice of Feng Shui and how it has helped the historical buildings of Trinity College to stand strong.
Feng Shui, is also known as Chinese geomancy, it is a mysterious yet somehow logical practice of harmonising the energy between an individual and the environment. Some people say that it is total nonsense, but those who believe in it will find it useful. Living outside of Asia for almost two years, I have found that there are actually a lot of westerners who believe in Feng Shui, or at least understand the “theory” or principles behind it.
I do not claim to be a master of Feng Shui and many people will have their own interpretation and their own approach to the practice. However, I do have a little bit of knowledge about it that I would like to share with you. Some examples include the positioning of houses — those that are built facing a main road are believed to be bad to live in. Generally, these houses bring misfortune such as accidents or illness upon the homeowners. It is also believed that the positioning of plants within a household can affect the wealth of those who reside within.
So, how does this all relate to Trinity College in Dublin, you may be wondering? Trinity is the oldest and most prestigious college in Ireland, with nearly 500 years of history behind it and still standing strong today. When looking at the college, its position in the city centre is exactly like that of an undesirable house, facing onto the busy and traffic heavy College Green. Why does this work for a college and not for a house?
Anyone who has been to Trinity College knows that the outside area is fenced, so coming into the college will give you a feeling of getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life, even though the college itself is located in the heart of the city centre. Unlike households, a college is a public place where people come and go, therefore, facing the main road is necessary in order to “invite” people coming in to visit. However, we should note that the front door is not usually wide-open — the entry consists of just a small arched doorway for people to go in and out. This can be seen as a way to filter those who enter.
Beyond the archway, visitors will reach the front square which is spacious and bright. This means that for those who attend the college they will have the space to unleash their potential, where they will not feel restrained and become who they wanted to be. The Campanile serves as a landmark, at the centre and the main focus of the college.The Regent House, the main building facing College Green, is the shield of the college where the six pillars stand strong, marking how the college will remain stable for a long time.
Of course, you could say that it is all nonsense, but I do hope this is convincing enough to explain why the college remains one of the most famous colleges in the world. I have an interest in Feng Shui and these are just some of the things that I have observed while studying here in Ireland. It could all just be coincidence, but there is no denying the success stories that come from these buildings. So, if you are a student here, or a Dubliner, have you noticed this too? Leave me a comment below and let me know.