MSMEs welcome the new year with prosperity rituals

By Myrna Rodriguez Co

This article was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 7, 2018.

Start something well and you’re likely to finish it well. This is true in sports, in training and education, in business, in jobs and careers, in love and marriage, and most other spheres of human activity.

Pilar Lee, Golden Triblock
Pilar Lee, Golden Triblock

Business owners, especially, take care to begin their operations right, with carefully thought out business plans and models. The business is closely monitored through its roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. No matter how well or poorly the business has fared so far, the owner sees every new year as a a fresh start, a chance to ring out past blunders and old ways of doing things that no longer work and, at the same time, ring in innovation, appropriate technology, and modern systems. It is always hoped that each new year is an improvement over the old.

To ensure a good year, many entrepreneurs practice New Year good luck rituals, including those prescribed by feng shui laws.

Literally translated as “wind-water” in English, Feng Shui is a Chinese school of thought that seeks harmony between man and his surrounding environment. It is designing a space that will attract good health, well-being, and good fortune for people inhabiting it. Feng Shui practitioners believe that how a building is oriented, what items are placed in it, and how these are placed or positioned will influence the balance of flow of energy in a living or workplace.

Pilar Lee, who, with husband Enrique and sister Liza, manages Golden Triblock, Inc., franchise owner of Dunkin’ Donuts for Rizal province, elaborates on Feng Shui practices her business follows: “When we choose a new Dunkin Donut outlet, we see to it that the main door faces west or south (no store should face north). On the other hand, if the store is mall-based, it is the cash register that matters—where it is positioned and where the cashier sits. Same with the office tables and the cash vault.”

If some architectural aspects of a store are found to be noncompliant of Feng Shui prescriptions, there is no need to rebuild, she says. “There is always a pangontra or antidote.” This can be in the form of old coins or a bagua (a convex or concave mirror, available in most Chinese souvenir shops, believed to reflect back negative feng shui energy).

“As the new year is ushered in, we see to it that we have plenty of fruits,” Lee adds. At the stroke of midnight, we open windows, doors, drawers and closets in the belief good luck will more readily enter.”

Luz Arquero (extreme right) with family on New Year’s eve
Luz Arquero (extreme right) with family on New Year’s eve

Rufina Soriano, owner of RBPS IMPEX in Caloocan City, makes sure she welcomes the New Year in a squeaky-clean and clutter-free workplace. “After the clean-up, we fix all rejected items in our inventory. Then, on New Year’s eve, we toss coins and bits of cotton from the lobby to the innermost areas of our office and factory.”

Asked about the significance of cotton, she explains: “Cotton is light and fluffy and can be wind-blown inward. Thus, prosperity is brought inward, too.”

Tomas Ranada of Uptrend Marketing discloses that it is his wife, Benilda, who takes charge of annual rituals: putting together 12 or 13 round fruits in a bowl, opening cabinets to bring in good luck, and wearing clothes with polka dots, the dots signifying money.

Luz Arquero, co-owner of Adonais Star Travel and Tours, wears red during the New Year because this is a happy and lucky color. But more importantly, she maintains a cheerful demeanor by thinking positive thoughts all throughout the day. “Irritability and negativity have no place on New Year’s day.”

Dr. Herminia Fajardo, Trustee of the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation, urges entrepreneurs to do what makes them comfortable, confident and happy. “Whether or not you believe New Year’s prosperity rituals will flourish your business in the months to come, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try.” — CONTRIBUTED

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