A feng shui tour of the Klang Valley #28

Back when Kuala Lumpur was a small mining town, one of the tin mining areas was in Kampung Batu, located near Batu Caves. This was such a prominent area that a river was named after it, and the road that links this village to town was called Batu Road.

Due to the heavy movement of people and traffic along this road, rapid development soon overtook the village. By the 1930s, swamp, rice fields and coconut estates all made way for shops and traders, as Batu Road experienced boom-time. Textile companies, carpet traders and clothing shops began to take root, and some of them exist to this day.
Ask any of the elder folks where Batu Road is, and they’ll have no trouble telling you. Youngsters, however, only know this road as “Jalan TAR”. Certainly the road surface is tarred, but it is actually an acronym for Tuanku Abdul Rahman, our country’s first Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

HRH Colonel Paduka Seri Sir Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad was the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan. His face adorns all Ringgit notes printed since 1967. At his installation, he used a Negri Sembilan-fashioned headdress called Dendam Tak Sudah, which is featured on the reverse of the MyKad.

Thus, it was only fitting that one of the most prominent roads of Kuala Lumpur then (and now) be renamed after him. Batu Road became Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in 1960, the year in which he also passed away.

Jalan TAR, as it is popularly abbreviated, is currently a one-way street as one of the measures to reduce massive traffic jams that constantly plagued the area. The road brings traffic from up north (the end of Ipoh Road) down south to Jalan Raja where Dataran Merdeka is located.
Northbound traffic go along Jalan Raja Laut, which parallels Jalan TAR. This was formerly Broadrick Road. Although Raja Laut literally means King of the Seas, this road is actually named after one of Sultan Muhammad of Selangor’s sons.

Sultan Muhammad died in 1857 without appointing an heir. This led to an internal power tussle. This eventually led to the Selangor Civil War and allowed the British to gain a foothold in the state. At the time of the Sultan’s death, his only legitimate heir, Raja Mahmud, was too young to claim the throne.
His elder sons, Raja Laut and Raja Sulaiman were sons of concubines and thus ineligible for the throne. His sons-in-law, Raja Jumaat and Raja Abdullah were also ineligible. The only candidate with a strong claim was Raja Abdul Samad, who eventually became the next Sultan, thanks to the backing of Raja Jumaat and Raja Abdullah who thought they could control and his decisions.

Instead, Sultan Abdul Samad, by then an old man, decided to spend his days in retirement in Ulu Langat, leaving the rest to tussle for control of taxes. In 1866, Raja Abdullah got into a row with Raja Mahdi in Klang, and this led to open fighting and the civil war, which spread throughout Selangor, damaged the mines and almost caused the demise of Kuala Lumpur. Raja Laut was also an active participant during the war.

Anyway, that is how Jalan Raja Laut got its name from a pre-colonialisation member of the Selangor royal family. This road also runs parallel to the Gombak River, which gives certain implications on the flow and collection of homogenous, gentle earth energy.
Furthermore, the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) also runs alongside the river. As regular readers will remember, trains that move rapidly create a suction effect that draws air from the surroundings. This wind tunnel effect disperses energy and therefore drains its surroundings of energy.
The very term “feng shui” is derived from the words wind (feng) and water (shui). The only time this term was used in texts by Guo Pu, the founder of Chinese geomancy, is to describe the behaviour of energy: it is blocked and deflected by water, and is dispersed by wind. By understanding this principle, we can build homes and towns that are harmonious with nature and conducive to health, prosperity and harmony.

The full effects of trains may take years to see but in some cases, as we have observed in our tour, it does not take very long. It would be interesting, though, to see the impact of trains that run along the river. Would the pool of energy be big enough to overcome the draining effects and create a net positive effect? Would the winds be stronger and create a net negative effect? Or would the two cancel themselves out and give a zero effect, like a null zone?

Kuala Lumpur City Hall or DBKL (Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur) has its headquarters right at the beginning of Jalan Raja Laut. The complex – it is joined to Wisma PKNS and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) was located here before it moved into its own building – is sandwiched between the road and the river. In such a position, the building should face the river. However, the main entrance of the building faces Jalan Raja Laut and this is not very conducive.

It could explain the troubles faced by DBKL. It was the first and only local government to be sued and have its premises sealed in a legal dispute. Anyway, DBKL recently made some modifications and converted its rear entrance into a main entrance. This used to be a small entrance for paying traffic fines.

This change in orientation will probably mitigate DBKL’s fortunes somewhat, but I am still concerned about the effects of the LRT lines that run right “in front” of the building now.

The National Land Code actually stipulates that there should be no buildings within 33-feet of a river. This set-back buffer zone should be used as public space, and is a sensible allowance for floods which could happen during monsoon storms.
Beyond this zone, a main road can be built, so that buildings here can be constructed to face the river and park. Perhaps, architects, engineers and town planners these days believe they can control the forces of nature or harness it for use. Perhaps they think, by building concrete embankments and regular dredging to deepen the river (and now, even build a SMART tunnel to drain away excess water) floods are a thing of the past.
Time will tell. Even if floods can be mitigated, the effects of earth energy must still be considered.

Anyway, across Jalan Raja Laut, there are a few buildings, namely Menara Tun Razak, the EPF building and Menara UOB. This area is sandwiched by Gombak River on the west and Klang River on the right. Therefore, the best angle is actually south, to take advantage of the downstream flow of both rivers.

The next best thing is to face west towards Gombak River. The influence of this river will be stronger than Klang River due to its proximity to the buildings.
However, if there are also additional entrances that face away from the river (east) or upstream (north), the occupants may struggle in business and harmony. Even if they experience success, it will be temporary or for a single generation. East is pretty bad, since it also faces upstream of Klang River.
Further up the road, we find Sogo, Pertama Complex and Medan MARA. Again, these building are likely to fare well if their entrances face the river and Jalan Raja Laut. However, here is where the dilemma lies. All three buildings are also joined to Jalan TAR. Given a choice between the higher traffic Jalan TAR or the quieter Jalan Raja Laut, what would you choose?
The logical choice would be Jalan TAR, which would not be good from the landform geomancy perspective. There should be entrances on the west or south. The Sogo complex has several entrances, leading west and south (good) and east (not so good). Therefore, it is likely it will experience mixed fortunes.

Incidentally, this Sogo is actually a franchise in partnership with Pernas. The parent company, Sogo group in Japan, collapsed in 2000 under US$17 billion in debt, due to its former chairman’s massive investments in Japanese real estate which crashed since the mid 1980s. Sogo is now a subsidiary of Millennium Retailing.

Many shopping complexes here are facing the wrong way. Despite heavy pedestrian and automobile traffic in this area, businesses seem unable to go high-end or cater to upmarket clientele. Shoplots would also change hands frequently.
Of course, sceptics could adopt a different position that this area has established its on reputation for bargains or low-end products and thus perpetuates that myth. However, keep in mind that Sogo was supposed to dispel that reputation and raise the standards.
Pertama Complex has certain parts – those that face south and west – that are alright. However, there are also factors that are not conducive, such as its east facing main entrance. Thus, it is neither here nor there, from a geomantic view. Furthermore, it sits on the outer convex of Jalan TAR. As such, businesses are also likely to struggle, despite its prime location and heavy pedestrian traffic. It used to be a favourite haunt of kaki lepak and so-called boh sia girls. I leave it to you, dear readers, to verify if that is still the case.

Medan MARA happens to get it right, with a main entrance opening on the west side to face the river. Perhaps it is a happenstance, or a deliberate design for convenient access to the LRT station near Sogo. Of course, all this is moot if the effect of the LRT is particularly strong, especially when it is located some distance away from the station where the trains can get up to full speed.

Beside Medan MARA, there is Wisma Tun Ismail Mohd Ali which roughly faces the river on its west. However, the angle is slightly upstream and this may not be helpful. Upstream facing buildings attract mental problems. If the angle is not that acute, perhaps the effects will be just as muted but it is less than ideal. A more ideal location for its entrance would be south, in this case.

Across the road from Medan MARA is Wisma Bumiraya and beside it, Quality Hotel, E-Box Karaoke and Bangunan LPPKN (National Population and Family Development Board). These buildings are located between the river and the road. Thus the logical orientation is to face east, away from the river, which is far from ideal. Wisma Bumiraya is built right next to the river with no space for a road, leaving it with very few options. I wish it the best of luck.

Quality Hotel, on the other hand, has Jalan Merpati going round the back leading to SRJK (C) Chung Kwok, SRJK (I) Appar. The hotel is likely to do better if its entrance faces this road or south instead. As for the other two buildings, it could help them if the orientation faces south.

As the road reaches the intersection with Jalan Sultan Ismail, we come to some very old schools. Batu Road School was opened in 1930. After the Japanese Occupation, the school played temporary host to students from Victoria Institution, as their own school in Shaw Road (now Jalan Hang Tuah) was occupied by the British Military Administration.

The association continued, as students from this school (and those from Pasar Road School) were sent to Victoria Institution for secondary studies. Across the road was the Batu Road Girls School which has since been renamed Raja Laut Girls School.
Part of the Batu Road School premises has been converted to the Batu Road Special Education Primary School, catering to children with special needs and visual impairment.

By comparison, the girls school has better feng shui as it faces the river. The original Batu Road School (now the special education school) itself had its back to the river, which is not very conducive. The school may experience a number of problematic children.


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