Curso First Certificate Exam



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ACTIVITY 156: Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art based on the belief that energy moves through buildings. Feng shui tries to encourage this energy to act in the most positive way for the people who live and work in the building.

Read this newspaper article about feng shui. Four paragraphs have been removed from the article. Choose from the paragraphs A-to-E the one which fits each gap 1-to-4. There is one extra paragraph which you do not need to use. Then check the correct answers.

A   B   C

A third collection of goldfish went into the pond. My host took it into his head to ask his wife what she'd been feeding them, and should the mixture be changed? She stared at him.


He asked the maid what was going on. She explained that although the feng shui man had approved the house, he had declared that it would not be completely satisfactory without a fishpond.


Although the building had a hill at the back to protect it from evil influences, and a view at the front to encourage its 'intake' of wealth, there were serious problems with the direction of the stairs inside.

D   E

The house across the hill, on the other hand, probably wouldn't reach its 60 million Hong Kong dollar selling price because of its poor feng shui. Of its last four owners, two had died in the house and the others, even more blameworthy, had been fired from their jobs.


This might be supposed to be the worst possible luck. Far from it. Chinese acquaintances explained that evil spirits had passed out of the house and its occupants into the fish, and so all was well. My host stocked the pond with more goldfish. They all died, too.



In the East, the luck or karma of a house is called feng shui. I suppose this is something like the household gods of the Ancient Romans, which had to be kept happy with cakes, honey, wine and incense. But in the Orient, wherever the Chinese are predominant in the business community, feng shui has a more than religious significance — it can make or break a deal.

My host in Hong Kong this weekend had extremely good feng shui because his house overlooked two forested hills curving down towards a distant view of skyscrapers. A pearl between double dragons was how his Chinese dinner guest described this view.


The Chinese chairman of my host's company had sent a feng shui man round to check out the suitability of his house, for all its wonderful location. When my host came back from his holiday in Europe he found men digging a large hole in his garden, round the corner from the swimming pool.


Fish are very good feng shui, which is why some species — koi carp for example — can command prices running into thousands of pounds. Obediently, my host let the fish pond be dug, and put goldfish in it. They swam around for a couple of weeks. Then they died.


'Well,' said his Chinese friends, shaking their heads. Clearly a whole bunch of evil spirits had been overrunning his home. A good thing the feng shui man had ordered the fish pond to be dug, or business might have gone rapidly downhill.


'I thought you were feeding the fish,' she said.


ACTIVITY 157: Do you think each of features 1-7 would create positive or negative energy for a house? After reading the article, tick your  best alternatives and then check your answers.






A straight road leads directly to the front door.


There is a hill at the back of the building.


The neighbouring houses are taller.


The house is built on a south-facing slope.


A railway line runs along the back of the building.


There is a pond in front of the house.


There is a tree or lamp-post immediately in front of the front door.


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