A feng shui tour of the Klang Valley #22

Lebuh Ampang in Kuala Lumpur used to be the border to the Old Market Square at the heart of old Kuala Lumpur. It joined the market to Jalan Ampang, which leads to Ampang Town up north.
There are a number of old buildings along these roads, including some very old banks. The HSBC Building (formerly Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) sits here, facing the square.

I find it remarkable that Jalan Benteng can be found here: an actual road running between the Klang River and the building. As we have seen throughout our tour so far, many buildings beside the river do not have any roads between them. Perhaps the muddy river was considered an eyesore and convenient rubbish dumping ground, not quite prime riverfront property.

However, I think it is good to build roads beside river as this will give buildings the opportunity to face the river and enjoy the full benefit of harmonious energy. An ideal configuration would be to convert riverbanks into public parks, for the enjoyment of everyone. The parks would deter the presence of squatter houses and act as buffers in case of flood. Next to these parks, we can have roads, followed by buildings.

Doing so would ensure that the buildings or residences have a river-facing orientation and a park view, to boot. Will that not create better value for the property and turn it into a coveted popular asset? Unfortunately, town planners do not do this.

Sadly, the HSBC building does not have a main entrance at Jalan Benteng. The proprietors were probably worried that such an entrance would make them lose out on customers as it would seem like the entrance is found in a back lane! What a pity, as the view here is quite nice, with the courts and Masjid Jamek here.

In any case, the HSBC building manages to choose the next best option: its entrance parallels the river in a downstream direction instead of a conventional entrance that opens into Lebuh Ampang.
Still, we maintain our position that a river-facing building would prosper better. Thus, Wisma Hamzah and Wisma MBSB are actually well positioned in this regard.

Lebuh Ampang runs parallel with Jalan Tun H.S. Lee and Jalan Hang Lekiu. Therefore, buildings on one side – facing the river – are likely to do well, too. This area remains a busy place and well known for its Indian textile and jewellery wholesalers.
These three roads are linked by Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin (formerly Cross Street, later Jalan Silang) which runs perpendicular to the Klang River. This again presents an interesting dilemma: buildings on both sides are parallel to the river, but one side faces downstream while the other, upstream. So, one side will likely do better while the other would experience mental disturbances – does “stress” ring any bells?

Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin got its name quite recently. It was renamed in 2003 after the former Minister of Finance. This road cuts across several other roads before it ends at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. As you drive down this one-way street, you may notice that buildings on the left tend to do well as their entrances follow the river’s flow.

Jalan Tun Perak is a major road that forms part of the old town’s golden triangle. It was a major thoroughfare leading to Foch Avenue (now Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) and Jalan Pudu. In the old days, the Robinsons department store here was considered “the” place to go for British high street fashion

Started by an Australian in Singapore in 1858, Robinsons became synonymous with British goods. Its founder, Philllip Robinson, employed travelling salesmen to canvas sales and many Malay rulers and even King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) were his customers.

During World War II, when the Allied troops were unable to find supplies, the manager of the Kuala Lumpur branch got camp beds for them. The store was looted during the final days of the war but apparently its collection of silver and other valuables were spared because no one could open the vault!
As this was also the central business district, we can find several office buildings here, such as Lee Yan Lian and Lin Ho buildings. I remember at the corner of Lin Ho building, there used to be a very popular coffee house called Rendezvous. It was the “in” place to be for young crowds. Alas, it no longer exists. Could it be a coincidence that it happens to parallel the river facing upstream?

Jalan Tun Perak was named after the famous bendahara or prime minister of the Malacca Sultanate. He served under four sultans. This street was originally called Java Street, possibly due to the large community of Javanese living here. It was later turned into a main road and renamed Mountbatten Road, in honour of Louis Mountbatten.

Mountbatten was a British admiral and uncle of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He was the last Viceroy of India and its first Governor-General after independence. Lord Mountbatten was killed by the Irish Republican Army who planted a bomb in his boat.
It is ironic then, that the street named after Lord Mountbatten also experienced an unfortunate tragedy. The third Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim was assassinated here on 7 June 1974 by communists. He was gunned down when his car stopped at the junction of the Lee Yan Lian Building and Jalan Raja Chulan.
Jalan Tun Perak was also the site of the post-election parades in 1969 that eventually led to the May 13 riots.

Today, Jalan Tun Perak looks very different. The traffic jams are still there but now, there is a Light Rapid Transit (LRT) station running atop it. By now, regular readers will know our misgivings about train lines. Fast moving trains exert push and pull forces on their surroundings. They displace volumes of air and create a suction effect that follows their wake. This in turn draws away energy – the term “feng shui” comes from the understanding that energy is stopped and reflected by water; dispersed by wind.

Attractive billboard columns and cool shade notwithstanding, we are concerned about the long-term effects of the LRT lines on businesses and residences here. Those with good feng shui orientation, such as Menara OCBC, may have their good fortunes dampened. As a consolation, the Masjid Jamek station is located very close by and this slows down the trains. So, buildings nearer the station may experience a lesser effect of the energy dispersal.
As you drive down Jalan Tun Perak from City Hall to Jalan Pudu, you will see there are many shops on the left that do well (or previously did). That is because they parallel the river and face downstream. They also have a “dragon” backing them – Bukit Nanas.
On the right side, there are very few buildings facing Jalan Tun Perak. This is actually a good idea, as it is not conducive at all to face a hill and against the river flow. Among the handful of shops that do, businesses will find the going tough – many have changed hands over the years, too. Did I forget to mention the Rendezvous?

As Jalan Tun Perak is almost parallel to Jalan Silang or Tun Tan Siew Sin, the roads that cut across the latter also criss-cross with Jalan Tun Perak. Remember Jalan Hang Lekiu, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Lebuh Ampang? Buildings that face the river would enjoy very conducive energy while those with their backs to it may experience detrimental effects.
This principle applies to all buildings along these roads and the tiny Jalan Melaka, which parallels them. Furthermore, one must be careful to observe the exact orientation. Even on the “good” side of the road, the entrances may actually be at an angle that makes them slightly facing upstream, which could translate in bad news.

In our earlier articles on Bukit Nanas and Jalan Raja Chulan, we already examined the feng shui implications of the landform in this vicinity. Jalan Ampang curves around the hill and becomes Jalan Gereja after the intersection with Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. Buildings on the inner embrace of this curved road enjoy tremendously good energy: their backs are higher thanks to the hill (the “dragon”); they face the river or follow its flow; they are located at the embracing concave side of the river.
There is an unusual cluster of buildings near the river that we have not discussed yet. The AmanahRaya building, Takaful Nasional (Bangunan Dato Zainal) and Menara Bank Muamalat (formerly Bank Bumiputra) are located along Jalan Melaka near the river. Their natural orientation would be to face Jalan Melaka and Jalan Ampang.

These buildings are in the embrace of the river (good) but the outer convex of Jalan Ampang (not so good). By facing Jalan Melaka and Jalan Ampang, they also do not enjoy the energy pools by the river. In fact, the effects of backing the river may even be harmful. Such is the unusual dilemma of this parcel of land: it has the potential for abundant beneficial energy but done wrongly can also be detrimental to harmony and prosperity.

If a road was constructed between the river and these buildings, then the buildings’ main entrances would get the chance to face the river. I notice that only the AmanahRaya building has changed the main entrance’s orientation to follow the river flow.

The original front is still used by Standard Chartered Bank which formerly occupied the entire building – it was even called Bangunan Standard Chartered before AmanahRaya bought it.
What AmanahRaya did is not a bad idea – and necessary, since as a public trustee, it also deals with public funds. As a mitigating factor, these buildings would do well if they adjusted their entrances to follow the river. Just a simple shift, really, but it could make all the difference.

Across Jalan Melaka from these buildings are Wisma Lee Rubber, Moccis and Wisma Tas. Although they do face the river, the angle is more towards the upstream. They may benefit more if their entrances are realigned to the southwest, to follow the river flow.

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