Double Whammy to Fung Shui Master Tony Chan

The late woman tycoon Nina Wang Kung


On 31st December 2009. I posted a blog on a Chinese Metaphor or Chengyu 賠了夫人又折兵, which literally means “losing your wife and the army”, and the related English slang “double whammy”. There is a real case in the news in Hong Kong. It is the case of the Fung Shui Master, Tony Chan, and his legal battle for the estate of Nina Wang Kung, who was recognised as the richest woman in Asia at the time, when she passed away in 2007. The estate is said to be worth US$13 billion today. On 2nd February, the High Court of Hong Kong ruled that the purported will. which is in Chan’s possession, on which he based his claim on the estate, is fake. Chan not only lost the legal battle in the civil court, but also was arrested by the Hong Kong Police and is likely to face criminal charges by the police for forging the will. Further, not only that his reputation, if any, is ruined but also likely to face jail sentences.  Please read about the case as reported by BBC in English and ABC.es in Spanish respectively.

Feng shui master denied Nina Wang fortune in Hong Kong

A court in Hong Kong has thrown out a feng shui master’s claim to the multi-billion dollar estate of Asia’s richest woman, Nina Wang.Tony Chan, who said he was Nina Wang’s lover, had argued she left him her fortune in a 2006 will. But a high court judge said the will was a fake and a 2002 will was valid which left the estate to a charitable trust run by Wang’s family.Nina Wang’s Chinachem was worth $4.2bn (£2.1bn) when she died in 2007. The fortune had been part of an earlier dispute with her father-in-law.

High Court Judge Lam Man-hon ruled: “The court finds that the 2006 will was not signed by Nina.” “The 2002 will truly reflected the long-held intention on the part of Nina to leave her estate to charity,” the ruling said.The competing 2002 document left the estate to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, which was set up by Wang and her husband and is run by members of her family. The Chinachem Charitable Foundation’s lawyer, Keith Ho, told reporters outside the High Court that the foundation was “very happy with the result”.”The main point is that the judge accepted the evidence from us that some signatures in the 2006 will are forgeries,” he said.Mr Ho said the foundation would continue to “carry out its charitable purpose”.

Mr Chan’s lawyer said his client was “extremely disappointed” by the judgment.”But he appreciates how difficult this sort of trial is to judge and that there has to be a judgment,” said Jonathan Midgley.He said Mr Chan’s position remained “the same as it has always been – namely that the will in question was given to him by Nina and accordingly it is inconceivable that that will is a forgery”.Mr Midgley said Mr Chan would appeal against the ruling.

By the time Nina Wang died of cancer in 2007, she had created a huge business empire – a conglomerate of high-rise towers and companies around the world. Her life was marked by the 1990 kidnap and disappearance of her husband, Teddy Wang Teh-huei. She wore miniskirts and her hair in pigtails into old age and was reputedly very frugal, despite her wealth, says the BBC.

Nina Wang paid half the HK$60m (US$7.7m) ransom for him early on, before proof of life had been made and, unusually, the money and most of the kidnappers were found, but never the body of Teddy Wang. When he never came back she refused to accept his death and reportedly spoke of wanting to join him. Teddy’s father later claimed his son’s fortune as his own, alleging that Teddy had been upset at an alleged affair of Nina’s.

It was the father who pressed for Teddy to be declared legally dead nine years later, prompting Nina to produce the hand-written will showing the fortune was hers. A court ruled it was a forgery in 2002 but a higher court reversed that ruling in 2005, and Nina Wang inherited the estate.

3.000 millones de euros encuentran heredero en China

Un “playboy” buscavidas metido a maestro de “feng shui”, una multimillonaria excéntrica famosa por sus coletas y sus gustos frugales y una fortuna valorada en 4.200 millones de dólares (3.010 millones de euros), pero que en realidad podría ser hasta tres veces mayor.
Estos son los protagonistas del último “culebrón” judicial que ha mantenido en vilo a la opulenta ciudad de Hong Kong, donde se acaba de dictar sentencia en el juicio por la herencia de la millonaria Nina Wang, una de las mujeres más ricas de Asia según la revista “Forbes”.
A sus 69 años, la presidenta del potente grupo empresarial Chinachem falleció en abril de 2007 de un cáncer. Atrás dejaba a su desconsolada familia y a Tony Chan, un maestro de “feng shui” 20 años más joven que ella que se había convertido en su adivino personal y con quien, además, mantenía una relación sentimental.

Al parecer, Tony, que antes de vidente había sido camarero, vendedor de maquinaría, técnico de marketing y hasta exportador de piezas informáticas, había encandilado a Nina Wang con sus cualidades más humanas que espirituales. Por ese motivo, a su muerte esgrimió un testamento supuestamente firmado por la millonaria el 16 de octubre de 2006 donde le dejaba como único heredero de su patrimonio.

En el primer testamento destinaba la herencia a su fundación benéfica

El problema es que la familia de Nina Wang tenía otra última voluntad, fechada el 28 de julio de 2002, donde destinaba su herencia a la fundación benéfica de su empresa, que ella había creado junto a su difunto marido, el magnate Teddy Wang. Curiosamente, la “Pequeña Dulce”, como era conocida la mujer por su parecido con un cómic japonés, también tuvo que pleitear por la fortuna de su esposo, ya que Teddy Wang fue secuestrado en 1990 y, a pesar de que se pagó un rescate de 33 millones de dólares (23,6 millones de euros), su cuerpo nunca fue hallado.

Nueve años después, fue oficialmente declarado muerto, pero Nina Wang, nacida en 1937 en Shanghai bajo el nombre Kung Yusum, tuvo que acudir a los tribunales para batallar por su herencia frente a su suegro, Wang Dinshin. Aunque el juez falló a favor de la viuda sólo dos años antes de su muerte, ya le había dado tiempo a multiplicar la fortuna de su difunto marido, pues convirtió a su empresa, Chinachem, en una de las inmobiliarias más potentes del mundo al construir 300 rascacielos durante los últimos años.

Igual de accidentada ha sido la herencia de Nina Wang, que un juez del Alto Tribunal de Hong Kong, Lam Man-hon, ha otorgado a sus familiares al considerar que el testamento de 2006 esgrimido por su amante era falso. “Su firma ha sido falsificada con mucha pericia, pero el tribunal no cree que la relación fuera tal que Nina estuviera preparada para donarle todo su patrimonio sin tener en cuenta sus otros compromisos y responsabilidades”, recoge el fallo judicial.

Sexo, dinero y “feng shui”

En un caso que ha enganchado a la opinión pública hongkonesa por mezclar sexo, dinero y “feng shui”, la popular filosofía oriental que estudia la disposición de los objetos para aprovechar su máxima energía natural, la sentencia aclara que “darle regalos a Tony Chan e incluso grandes sumas de dinero en vida de Nina cuando éste la hacía feliz es una cosa. Convertirle en el único heredero de toda su fortuna es otra muy diferente, ya que ella situó sus obligaciones caritativas por encima de Chan y habría querido que su relación secreta fuera enterrada con ella tras su muerte”.

Tras ver cómo las intimidades de la multimillonaria eran destapadas en el juicio, donde su amante llegó a decir que tenía dos de sus coletas y que hacían el amor incluso cuando su esposa estaba embarazada, la familia de Nina Wang aplaudió satisfecha la resolución judicial. “Hemos ganado. Hay justicia en el mundo”, se congratuló su hermano, Kung Yan-sum.

Mientras tanto, sus abogados aseguraron que Tony Chan estaba “decepcionado”, pero que recurriría la sentencia. A su frustración se suma ahora la posibilidad de que sea acusado de haber falsificado el testamento de Nina Wang, unos cargos por lo que, en caso de ser declarado culpable, puede ser condenado a 14 años de prisión.
Compuesto y sin herencia, el adivino necesitará algo más que el buen rollito del “feng shui” para superar que los 3.000 millones de euros de Nina Wang han encontrado, por fin, un heredero. Y no ha sido él.

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Losing your wife and the army 賠了夫人又折兵


This proverb was originated from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, which is a Chinese historical novel based upon events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of China, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.

It is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, with a grand total of 800,000 words, nearly a thousand characters, most of them historical, in 120 chapters.

Background

The background of this proverb is rather complicated which involves one chapter of the novel. In a nutshell, the person at the centre stage was Liu Bei, a governor of one of the provinces of China at the late Eastern Han Dynasty. On the other side was Sun Quan, who had an uneasy alliance with Liu. Sun enticed Liu to marry his sister intending to kill Liu at his territory. However, that did not work. Liu married Sun’s sister and decided to flee without letting Sun know. Sun sent an army to chase the couples, who were saved by boats waiting for them at the shore. Just as the boats were sailing away, the general of the army overhead from the boat these words “賠了夫人又折兵” which literally means losing the wife (although it was Sun’s sister) and the army returned empty handed. However, it is commonly accepted as meaning “losing your wife and the army”

Meaning

A double whammy. Making double losses in a deal or losing on both sides of it.

Examples

  • Tiger Woods’ alleged extra-marital affair is likely to cause him to lose his wife and on top of that millions of dollars of commercial endorsements.
  • A woman gave her first love to a man and loaned him money and got dumped by him, or vice versa.

Sleep On Brushwood and Taste Gall 卧薪尝胆

Background

卧薪尝胆 (wò xīn cháng dǎn) litrally means “Sleep On Brushwood and Taste Gall”

During the Spring and Autumn period (770-476BC), the State of Wu launched an attack against the State of Yue. The King of Wu was seriously wounded and soon died. His son Fu Chai became the new King. Fu was determined to get revenge. He drilled his army rigidly until it was a perfect fighting force. Three years later, he led his army against the State of Yue and caught its king Gou Jian. Fu took him to the State of Wu.

In order to avenge his father’s death, Fu let him live in a shabby stone house by his father’s tomb and ordered him to raise horses for him. Gou pretended to be loyal to Fu but he never forgot his humiliation. Many years later, he was set free. Gou secretly accumulated a military force after he went back to his own state. In order to make himself tougher he slept on firewood and ate a gall-bladder before having dinner and going to bed every night. At the same time he administered his state carefully, developing agriculture and educating the people. After a few years, his country became strong. Then Gou seized a favorable opportunity to wipe out the State of Wu.

Later, people use it to describe one who endures self-imposed hardships to strengthen one’s resolve to realize one’s ambition.

Example

  • The Kuomintang of Taiwan lost its control of the Parliament of Taiwan, which it had retained until 2000, but in the meantime it laid low and worked to re-build the foundation of the party and regained control of the Parliament in the recent election in 2008.

 

The regain of power of the Kuomintang in Taiwan

Tuesday, 20th May 2008 marked the inauguration of Ma ying-jeou (Ma) as the President of Taiwan, or as Beijing called him the leader of Taiwan. The date also marked the return of power of the Kuomintang (KMT) of Taiwan, the founding party of Taiwan, which was founded by the famous Generlismimo Chiang Kai Shek, who fled Mainland China, when the Communist party took over China in 1949. KMT lost control of the Parliament of Taiwan for eight years (2000 to 2008), during which time, Taiwan was under the ruling of Chen Shui Bian (Chen) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). 

The change of helm also signifies that the people of Taiwan are against an adversary stance vis-a-vis Mainland China. Ma of KMT, in his inaugural speech, announced that he would resume the dialogue with Mainland China, which was put on hold due to the adversay stance taken by DPP. It is clear that the people of Taiwan, or should we say the businessmen of Taiwan, want to have a closer tie with the mainland as they stand to benefit therefrom economically. The attractions of Mainland China to Taiwan are the former’s huge domestic market and abundant supply of cheap, but productive, labour force. What Chen of DPP advocated in the past for an independent Taiwan did not work.

As a matter of fact the election won by Chen back in 2004 was quite a controversial one. On March 19, 2004, the day before the then presidential election, Chen and his running mate, Lu Hsiu-lien, were shot and wounded while riding in a jeep campaigning through the streets of downtown Tainan. Given the extremely close nature of the then election, the shooting was interpreted by some people as a political manipulation by DPP for the re-election. 

The KMT could have made a big issue out of such controversy, but it did not. Instead KMT had laid low and worked hard to re-build the foundation of the party for the eventual success in the latest election. One of the Hong Kong newspaper used the Chinese proverb “Sleep On Brushwood and Taste Gall 卧薪尝胆” to describe the hardship experienced by KMT during the period of its loss of power.

Ask a tiger for its skin 与虎谋皮

This proverb is an example of a borrowed metaphor, which borrows the object, a tiger, to convey a message. This proverb can be used widely in situations involving power struggle, in politics and businesses.  This applies in situations for asking someone of evil characters for something impossible as tigers in Chinese history represented something evil, fearful or tyrannical.

Background

与虎谋皮 (yǔ hǔ móu pí) literally means persuading a tiger to give up its skin

The history of this proverb dated back to the Spring and Autumn period of the Chinese history of around 400 BC. History has it that the Emperor of the state of Lu wanted to ask the great philosopher, Confucius, to take up certain post under his reign. The emperor consulted his advisor as to whether he should consult another officer, who was of  shady characters, on the matter. The advisor told the emperor that Confucius was a person of virtue, if he were to take up that post, that officer would definitely be let go. The advisor intended to mean that if the emperor were to ask that officer for his opinion,  it was like asking a tiger for its skin.

Meaning

Asking someone of evil characters for a favour, which was against his interest

Examples

  • In current affairs (the French president tried to negotiate with FARC rebels of Colombia for the release of Ingrid Betancourt)
  • In real life (1. a distressed homeowner asked his bank not to foreclose his home 2. an employee asked his mean boss for a raise in salary)

Fight between a snipe and a clam 鹬蚌相争

It is an example of a borrowed metaphor, which uses objects, in this case, of a snipe and a clam, to convey a subtle message. You may be asking yourself how could a bird and  a clam fight with each other.  The history of this proverb was little known, but it is a story learned by almost every Chinese at a very young age.

This proverb is followed by by another set of four words phrase 渔人得利 (the fisherman benefits), whch is known as 歇后语 (literally means words after a pause) and is understood without saying it .

Background

鹬蚌相争 渔人得利 (yù bàng xiāng zhēng,yú rén dé lì) literally means a snipe and a clam fought with each other, but the fisherman benefitted.

A clam was sitting out in the sun when suddenly a snipe flew down to peck at the clam. Suddenly the clam slammed the shell shut, gripping the snipe’s beak in between. The snipe said, “If it doesn’t rain today, and it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I shall see a dead clam on the beach.” The clam said, “If I don’t open today, and I don’t open up tomorrow, I shall see a dead snipe on the beach.” While they were still grappling with each other, a fisherman passed by and netted them both.

Meaning

This proverb is about the loggerhead competition between two parties, both end up as losers and a third party becomes a winner.

Examples

  • In business (Microsoft’s bid for the shares of Yahoo!, which was expected to be turn hostile. Analysts expected that both ended up losers, if Yahoo! fell into the hands of Google at a lower price (but it was announced today that Microsoft withdrew the bid))
  • In current affairs (the fight between the drug kingpins in Colombia, the Munera twins. and the killing of one brother of the other led to the police arresting the surviving brother and breaking up of the drug cartel ran by the brothers)