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A feng shui tour of the Klang Valley #31

OLD HEART OF KUALA LUMPUR

Before the Bukit Bintang shopping district rose in prominence, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) was the Golden Mile. It was a natural choice as it was a major road that connected the heart of Kuala Lumpur to the north. A number of traders set up shop along this road and flourished for a number of years.

In our previous article, we observed how buildings on the left side of the road – that face Gombak River – seem to thrive while their opposite number seems to fare more poorly. Hence, we find establishments such as Batu Road Supermarket still in business to this day.

A little further down, we find the Cititel Hotel. This sits on the left side, too, and should do well generally. However in the hospitality business, particularly hotels, such buildings should have a holding area or driveway in front. It should form a welcoming embrace.

We do not even need feng shui to tell you that. It’s only logical. How else would guests stop and disembark to check in with so much traffic in the way? Should they enter through the back alley then?

This is a commonsense reality that city planners do not seem to recognise. They are so preoccupied with preventing traffic jams that they end up hurting businesses that are supposed to thrive on that traffic.

DISCOURAGING FACTORS

By turning the roadsides into a no-waiting and no-parking zone, people are forced to park much further away, assuming there is parking available. Taxis and buses are not allowed to stop either except at designated stops. These are factors that discourage people from patronising the shops.

Eventually, poor business forces these establishments to shutter up and go out of business. This, in turn, creates a ghost town like atmosphere which in turn discourages people even more. It is a vicious cycle that may eventually create inner city slums. Our local planners are not the only ones making this mistake as such cases can be seen in older cities elsewhere in the world. It’s just sad that they have not learnt from these examples.

The city planners also opted to reduce traffic jams by introducing the KL Monorail into Jalan TAR: with more people using the trains, there will be fewer cars and motorbikes clogging the road. The efficacy is debatable. After all, the monorail stations are spread quite far apart and we’re back to this long walk scenario.

We often voiced our concerns over the impact of trains, regardless of whether they are the KTM Komuter, KL Monorail or Light Rapid Transit. In terms of public convenience, we are all for them. Without these services, our streets would be even more severely choked up than they are now. They are wonderfully helpful in moving massive numbers of people about.

Yet, from a feng shui perspective, there is a concern over the impact of fast-moving trains on their immediate surroundings. As a train speeds along, it displaces air and creates a vacuum in its wake. This wind tunnel disperses energy in its vicinity. Therefore, fast-moving trains may prevent gentle, homogenous energy from collecting; it may even drain the area of any energy that may pool during the off-service period.

MONORAIL
The monorail line runs along the right side of the road. The “five-foot-way” is much wider than five feet to accommodate the track and pillars. It is ideal for traders to set up stalls and do business here. However, not many do, possibly because they found that business is a little slow on this side.

Again, it could simply be commonsense: who wants to loiter near and below a train line? What happens if things, like a spare wheel, fall off and land on someone?

In any case, this still backs up our observation that trains may adversely affect the prosperity of homes and businesses in their immediate vicinity. The right side does not do very well. If anything, the trains may actually amplify that effect.

Buildings on the left side of Jalan TAR may not have much to cheer about either. As we have seen elsewhere in the city, the train’s impact may have a wider range. Therefore, we are also concerned that over time, even the older establishments could succumb to these winds of change.

Further down the road, we can find Medan Tuanku on the left. This little pocket of shop-offices generally has buildings that run perpendicularly to Jalan TAR and Gombak River. As such, those facing south and following the river’s flow are likely to do well.

POOR JUDGEMENT

On the other hand, those facing north may find their occupants going through more difficult times and mental problems. By this, we don’t mean schizophrenia or anything as severe as that (although we would not be surprised if there are some isolated cases like that!). Mental problems could also mean not having a clear frame of mind, making many errors of judgement or having a tendency to make stupid mistakes.

Further down Jalan TAR, we come to the intersection with Jalan Sultan Ismail. Here, the characteristic of Jalan TAR dramatically changes. The street is bustling with people and it seems to be a busy, busy place.
This hive of activity comes from the presence of Maju Junction, MARA complex, Pertama Complex and the former Odeon Cinema, among other landmarks.

Maju Junction has an unusual architecture. It is wedge-shaped like a slice of cake and adds a stylish touch of modernity to the area. It has two main entrances, facing east and north.

From a feng shui perspective, the building does not have an ideal orientation. It has its back to the Gombak River and cannot tap into the energy pool here. At the same time, the north entrance goes against the flow of the river. Business operators may struggle to do well. To determine if this observation is true, one could ask the tenants or find out the turnover of tenants.

WEDGED BUILDING

A wedge is also not a very conducive shape for a building. Furthermore, the car park is only accessible via tight and narrow back lanes. Even without feng shui, there are already other factors that can discourage people from visiting. Of course, a poorly planned car park is no reason for a building to fail or do poorly.

There are so many pedestrians here who use public transport, so the impact should be negligible from a logical point of view. Perhaps feng shui may have a subtle but powerful effect after all.

Pertama Complex and Maju Junction may have a mitigating factor – due to their location, they also face the Klang River further to the east. Since it is further away, the impact is not as great. If anything, businesses here would remain viable for low-end products and cannot move upmarket, not like how Bukit Bintang, Mid-Valley or 1-Utama are doing.

Pertama Complex also faces away from the river. Both Campbell Complex and Wilayah Complex nearby have entrances that go against the river flow. It would appear that most of the shopping complexes here are wrongly oriented!

This is a red-hot prime commercial area. How else can you explain the troubled times these malls seem to be going through? Some are even in a state of disrepair. Blame it on economic downturns? Then why do other properties do so well?

Could it be poor management? Can’t they hire better staff? How about wrong demographics? Are you serious? This used to be a prime shopping area with establishments like Globe Silk Store, P. Lal Store, Mun Loong, Chotirmall and the Emporium giving it a respectable reputation.

LONGEVITY

P. Lal Store has the reputation for being the oldest established store in Kuala Lumpur. Founded in 1929 by Prabhulal G. Doshi who hailed from India, P. Lal is run by the third generation today.

Unfortunately, Globe Silk Store which started in Segamat in 1930 (it moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1947) by Tirathdas Jethanand, did not fare as well. The Globe was a popular textile and clothing store which did very well in the 1970s and 1980s. It closed in 2005 after being in business for 75 years.

This whole area is sandwiched by the Gombak River and Klang River. As such, the best facing direction is south where the two rivers meet. East-West facing buildings are torn between two rivers – if they face one river, they have their back to the other. Such an orientation would lead to a split of fortunes. A family-run business, for example, would be split apart by feuding siblings or relatives and not last.

Of all the old guards here, P. Lal is probably the most entrenched. Mun Loong shifted to Bangsar Village, and its present site is taken over by Kamdar. SSF Home Deco took over from the Emporium, which is no longer in business.
Running parallel to Jalan TAR here is Jalan Masjid India. This is the other Little India in town, apart from Brickfields. Textile, clothing and jewellery stores abound, as well as petty traders. This road runs parallel to the Klang River (Jalan Ampang is located across the river).

This is actually the outer convex side of the river. That means, earth energy is deflected in a diffused pattern can does not collect on this side. Therefore, buildings facing the river on this side do not necessarily benefit. However, they may feel the impact of having their backs to Gombak River.
Again, the most ideal direction is south towards the confluence at Masjid Jamek, rather than directly toward the river.

 
 
 
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