A feng shui tour of the Klang Valley #25

The North-South Expressway dramatically shortens the travelling time between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. The old trunk roads would stretch the journey to five hours or longer, depending on the time and traffic. The roads passed through small towns such as Kampar, Tapah, Slim River and Tanjung Malim, which thrived from the business brought by the travellers.

Back in the old days, trunk roads were named after their destinations. Jalan Ipoh naturally meant that the road would lead to Ipoh. It’s strange, though, that it is not called Jalan Rawang, which was the first destination out of town. Anyway, a drive along Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur would reveal that it runs through an old part of town and was a main traffic artery until Jalan Kuching bypassed this congested road and turned it into a link to the Segambut area.

Our tour this week begins at the 3rd Mile of Jalan Ipoh where it meets Jalan Segambut, near the Duta Interchange. This is an interesting point because there is a river confluence here, formed by Sungai Keruh from Segambut Bahagia and Sungai Batu from Batu Caves.

A river confluence represents very conducive good feng shui as gentle energy from the mountains gathers here. Alas, in the immediate area at this particular confluence, there are no buildings, residential or commercial. Instead, criss-crossing highways and flyovers dominate the landscape in an effort to relieve traffic congestion.

Looking at the bigger picture, the entire Segambut area is located at the confluence and buildings that face southeast towards the confluence would do well. There are a few roads that permit such an orientation but we will not cover them today as our tour takes us back in the direction of the city centre.

As we drive from Jalan Segambut into Jalan Ipoh, we come to a banana-shaped “island” comprising an office block, which is occupied by some banks and a hospital. On this island, the side that faces southwest towards the river is very ideal for success. The building faces two embracing concaves – one from Jalan Ipoh itself, and the other from Sungai Batu.

However, properties across the road, between this block and the river, do not enjoy such a conducive atmosphere. They are located on the convex side of the road and have their backs against the river. If I’m not mistaken a lot of land here belong to the Low Yat Group. Here, there is a night club and several auto dealerships. There is also a Muslim cemetery here.

Around the “banana”, we come back to Jalan Ipoh with one-way traffic headed towards Kuala Lumpur. On the left, there is Taman Million. Most of the roads here parallel Jalan Ipoh which roughly parallels Sungai Batu.

Therefore, properties here that face the river, generally a southwest direction, are more likely to prosper compared to those facing away from the river or in a northeast direction. Along Jalan Pipit, Jalan Puyuh, Jalan Berkok, Jalan Kedidi and Jalan Terkukur, one would probably notice that the occupants of houses on one side of the road seem to do better than their neighbours across.
Furthermore, there are a few roads that are perpendicular to the river. This means, some homes along this road would have entrances that follow the river flow, which is very good, while others will go against the river, which is very bad as it induces mental disturbances.

Is it not interesting then, that landforms play such a powerful part in the feng shui of homes and offices, that occupants of buildings on the “wrong” side tend to suffer? And it would appear that so-called feng shui cures, such as placing trinkets here and there or images of such-and-such, cannot counteract the effects of less-than-ideal landforms.

To be honest, such cures are mostly hocus-pocus that pander to the superstitious and have nothing to do with geomancy or feng shui. There is nothing in the ancient feng shui texts that prescribed putting up objects as cures! Yet, misconceptions about feng shui continue to mislead many people into misunderstanding and scepticism.

When faced with poor orientation, it is better to change the entrance of the home or move to a new and more conducive location. Of course, if architects and town planners were to incorporate such principles at the planning stage, such problems won’t even occur.

It is strange that there is so much resistance to understanding some basic principles of geomancy. It is not just feng shui, mind you, but ancient practices from different cultures formulated over centuries from the observation of nature.
This is not some occult art that sprang from a communion with dark forces and designed to corrupt souls. It is a science that culminated from lifetimes of observation, formulating thesis and testing their accuracy.

Ancient astronomers observed the skies and plotted the movement of the constellations in relation to location, times and seasons. With their limited technologies, they were able to make predictions which proved useful to the agrarian society, telling them when to sow and harvest.

The astronomers had no idea what stars were, how the earth orbits and so on. They just observed, tested and applied knowledge from their observations. In fact, when Galileo Galilei pushed forward Copernicus’ idea that the earth orbits the sun, rather than the other way round, he was roundly condemned as a heretic by the Christian church. Yet today, it is widely conceded that the planets do orbit the sun and the church backed down from its stand that such a view was “false and altogether opposed to Holy Scripture”.

Ancient sages were no different with geomancy than the astronomers with planets and stars. They just observed how nature works to create harmonious living environments, recorded them, and tested their hypothesis over a long period of time. Some of their observations had agricultural applications and were incorporated into almanacs.
However, a large part of feng shui knowledge was kept for the exclusive use of the emperors who wanted to extend their rule and power. Understandably, they do not want the knowledge to be readily known and applied to their detriment!

Perhaps it is this limited application and shroud of secrecy that created the impression that feng shui or geomancy is all hocus pocus. It does not help when charlatans ply the trade for the seemingly easy money and muddle up the water for true practitioners.

Anyway, let us not digress too far. Whether architects or town planners believe in geomancy or otherwise, the fact remains that property buyers are influenced by it. They make buying decisions based on the perceived good feng shui, and avoid properties that have perceived bad feng shui (because they expect problems selling the property in future). We deliberately use the word “perceive” because what their understanding may actually be erroneous.
It makes sense then for architects and planners to take geomancy into consideration when developing their projects. It is a win-win situation. At present, the property market is going strong and property developers probably see no reason for taking the extra step while they are raking in the profits.

In the long term, though, it would be in their favour to incorporate geomantic principles in their projects. If their projects are all successful, their reputation gets enhanced and they will enjoy strong support for subsequent launches. On the other hand, failed projects or those that deteriorate into slums will smear their reputation.
Let’s get back to the tour. As we enter Jalan Ipoh and drive toward Kuala Lumpur city centre, you will see that the left side is doing brisk business. These establishments would have been here for years because of their conducive river-facing location.
Buildings and businesses across the road on the right, are relatively newer. A sceptic would argue that the feng shui cannot be bad since there is new development here. Think about it: such buildings were made possible because the previous owners sold out

One would think that this is a more prosperous location since there is new development and better facilities. We are inclined to think otherwise. Such buildings were possible because the previous owners sold out. If business had been good, why would they do so?

I am sure such owners made a tidy profit from the sale, nonetheless, which may balance out their past losses. After all, property valuers would put a high price tag on the land, after dubbing it as prime property. Whether that assumption will stand the test of time or not remains to be seen.

On the right side of Jalan Ipoh is Kampung Kasipillay. This site is mired with controversy over the eviction of residents and demolition of their homes recently. The homes were built on private land owned by an Indian family who collected rent from the residents for nearly 50 years. The last of the owners returned to India in the 1970s and eventually the land was sold to a local company for redevelopment. A legal tussle ensued over compensation and eviction.

In this vicinity, there are also a number of houses, apartments and temple. Sungai Batu cuts through this area. For buildings here, the ideal facing direction would be towards the river or following its flow. Houses on one side of Jalan Kasipillay have this orientation, as are those on Jalan and Lorong Mangga, and Jalan Rambai. Those on the other side are not likely to do well.

We are also concerned by the northbound railway tracks that run between Jalan Kuching and Jalan Ismail Ghaney/Jalan Duku. Fast moving trains affect pools of energy: the suction effect creates strong wind tunnels which disperse energy. Buildings near train tracks tend to fare poorly. Of course, one can blame it on noise and air pollution, too. Whatever the case may be, the end result is the same.

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