The dark side of some Asian businesses
Updated Thursday, August 22nd 2013 at 20:11 GMT +3
A state of art shopping mall, which was completed a few years ago, could not be launched for months as the owner insisted he was still looking for an owl’s egg to carry out some ‘important’ good luck rituals. The owner, a businessman of Asian origin, was willing to pay as much as Sh1 million to those he sent to hunt for the egg.
The mall was eventually opened after the dark rituals were secretly done at night. This is apparently not an isolated incident. Investigations by The Nairobian show such superstitious practices are commonplace among some in the city-based Asian business community. Some apparently believe multi-million deals are facilitated by such ritualsSex, too, it seems it also part of good luck as believed by some Asian businessmen.
A driver, who has been working for an Asian for the past eight years says when things aren’t going on well in the office, the man will order the driver to take him home so that he can release the bad energy by having sex with his wife.
“After fifteen minutes with his wife, he will come back to his car smiling, and tell me, ‘Things are now going to be okay, lets go back to the office’,” says the driver who reveals that after sex, the man isn’t supposed to wash himself, and the woman too, shouldn’t wash herself until the hubby closes the business.
In another strange incident,five workers died in a period of one year during construction of a building along Ngong road. The Asian owner paid Sh 1.2 million for each death. “The workers only died after every major stage, like when foundation was done, when the wall had been finished” said a former labourer who believes, the deaths were sacrifices.
An employee of a defunct bus company that was owned by an Asian family says every new bus that was added to the fleet, had to be taken to Machakos cemetery.
“A brand new bus had to be first taken to the cemetery where it was driven round the cemetery three times by one family member, the rest would says chants and ‘bless’ the bus before it was put on the road for business” says a former clerk at the bus company.
He reveals that one bus, which was out on the road without being taken to the cemetery, was involved in a grisly road accident on the very first day it carried passengers.
Many Nairobians also have the belief that if you are the first customer in an Asians shop, he will sell you whatever you want at a cheap price.
According to Martin Odada who once worked for a shop owned by an Asian, in the morning, all workers would wait outside the door as the owner and his family got into the shop and chanted incantations to bless the day.
“It would be a five minute affair. He would touch his wallet with some foul smelling oil, and anoint all the cash he has; and one his business cards before allowing us to enter.” Says Odada.
An Asian businessman who owns a company situated along Dar es Salaam road says he uses ancient coins, which have been blesses by a fortuneteller for wealth and prosperity. The coins, which her shows The Nairobian, have holes in the middle and are tied together with a red thick string. The coins are then tied next to the cash register.
“This will attract a lot of customer who will spend heavily. Anyone can steal anything but not these three coins. Never ever. At the end of the day, I go with them home and keep them safely. In the morning, I tie them next to the cash register,” he says.
He reveals that many Asian businessmen are so conscious about the flow of water around their business premises or residence.
“Fountains or taps should be in front of the house. If is it behind the house, it represents missed opportunities” adds the businessman.
He adds that the nature of business should also correspond with one of the five elements, fire, water, earth, metal, and wood. Many Asian restaurants will have warm colours like yellow and orange because the restaurant is equated to fire. Construction business is equated to earth.
“If you look at the logos of many Asian companies, you will notice they are designed to suit an element,” he says.
Whether or not these rituals work seems like a matter of belief.