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A feng shui tour of the Klang Valley #36

PANDAN TRAFFIC PANDEMONIUM

Pandan Jaya is a township in Kuala Lumpur that used to be a little difficult to access. One needed to travel to the Kampung Pandan roundabout, go along Jalan Kampung Pandan and make a right turn to Jalan Perkasa which joins Jalan Pandan 1.

There used to be massive traffic jams at this traffic light junction and the roundabout from the sheer volume of traffic from all directions: from Kampung Pandan, Pandan Jaya and the roundabout!

Back then, the Middle Ring Road II was not built, so this was the main artery – and a choked one at that. If it were human, it would have suffered a heart attack or stroke! Of course, things are different today with the ring road and upgrades to the Kampung Pandan roundabout, where the Smart tunnel and Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya highway begin.

Before that, the only other road into Pandan Jaya was via Taman Maluri’s Jalan Jejaka. Even then, this road was also very congested: Jalan Jejaka is joined to Jalan Cheras which is perennially terribly jammed to this day.

It did not help that people who wanted to travel from Taman Maluri to Taman Shamelin Perkasa had no direct access between the two townships. Both townships have commercial districts and Shamelin Perkasa even has an industrial district. Surely there is synergy to be found!

   NO BRIDGE
Alas to this day, there is no bridge built across the Kerayong River to connect them. Apparently, the respective developers could not agree on it. Instead, one would have to travel via Jalan Cheras, or drive through Pandan Jaya, adding to the traffic woes!

As we toured Taman Maluri’s Jejaka area, we noted that businesses that face the river tend to do very well, compared to those with their backs to it. We also pointed out an anomaly, which is the row of shophouses along Jalan Jejaka that faces the river.

We argued that one of the factors affecting these shophouses could be their close proximity to high-tension power cables that run alongside the river. Electromagnetism emanating from these cables could cause the energy nearby to be unstable and dangerous.

Thus over the long term, this instability affects the wellbeing of individuals and businesses. As people continue to be exposed to it, or infuse it into shops and homes, the stability of businesses and individuals deteriorate. Businesses could flounder and people could fall ill over time. Yet here, we find buildings that are practically next door to the power lines, never mind the 33-foot setback requirement by Tenaga Nasional.

This is also compounded by the presence of the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) which runs parallel to the Kerayong River that separates Maluri and Shamelin. For the benefit of newcomers to this column, trains – be they monorails, LRT, KTM Komuter or otherwise – are usually not good for feng shui, especially properties that are too close to these fast moving forces be it in front or at the back.

   WIND TUNNEL
As trains dash along, they create a wind tunnel of sorts that suck up the air around them. This disperses the homogenous pool of energy nearby. Without this energy, a place becomes dull and lifeless.

Does this combination of energy destabiliser (high-tension power cables) and disperser (the LRT) cancel each other out, or does it exacerbate the condition? My bet would be the latter.

Coming from Jalan Cheras, Jalan Jejaka curves to the left after the intersection with Jalan Perkasa 1. This path roughly follows the boundary of the high-tension cables but diverges from the river and LRT.

That means, houses along Jalan Perkasa 2 to 6 have a north-south orientation. Homes that face south are at a roughly 45-degree angle to the Kerayong River and follow the flow of the river. This is a relatively better direction than those facing north, which is an away-facing angle to the river and against the river’s flow.

Jalan Jejaka intersects with Jalan Perkasa and Jalan Pandan 1. Across the road, we find the rest of Taman Maluri which goes all the way north until Jalan Kampung Pandan. This main road originates from the Kampung Pandan roundabout and hugs the southern boundary of the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

   NO LONGER IDYLLIC
From the roundabout, we can find bungalow houses converted into retail buildings. This is hardly surprising as Jalan Kampung Pandan is no longer an idyllic road. It is almost perpetually congested all day!

These bungalows have the right orientation (south) with regards to the Kerayong River. However, they are also close to Ampang River up north and their backs are towards that river. On top of that, there are a few mini-lakes and water hazards in the golf course behind them which can also influence the flow of energy.

Thus, a careful audit is needed to determine the actual effect on such properties: there is a mix of good and bad elements from the landform feng shui perspective, and mitigation is probably required to ensure that the good is accentuated and the bad is minimised.

Jalan Kampung Pandan serves as a boundary to Taman Maluri. This township comprises the Wira roads, Wirawati, Pria and Pertiwi roads, plus a few others. There are quite a number of schools and sports facilities here, such as the Kampung Pandan Sports Complex and the Badminton Academy. The Badminton Association of Malaysia was previously headquartered here before it moved to Bukit Kiara.

We do not really have the space to cover each section and road in detail. Suffice to say, this area is affected by Ampang River (north), the Kerayong River (south) and “tai sui hum” (west, where the Smart tunnel headquarters is located in Pudu). The most ideal orientation would be facing west-southwest to follow the flow of both rivers.

   GHETTO IN THE CITY?
As we leave Taman Maluri and enter Pandan Jaya via Jalan Pandan 1, we come across a very dilapidated looking town. If we did not know better, we would have thought we drove into a slum or ghetto on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Far from it, this is actually the low-cost housing section of Pandan Jaya, built to conform to requirements set in its building permit, perhaps.

The developer opted to line the main road with low-cost flats and walk-up apartments, which also happen to be near high-tension power lines and an oxidation pond. Obviously, the higher-end properties are located further away from the noisy, dusty and busy main road.

These “proper” homes are located north of Jalan Pandan 1. Those that face south-southwest are the most conducive for harmony and success as they face the river or follow its flow.

Back on Jalan Pandan 1, even the shop-offices further down the road fail to dispel the slum-like appearance of Pandan Jaya created by the low-cost flats. Apart from a few big electrical stores and supermarkets, the area appears rundown and menacing, especially at night.

Low-cost flats are normally very cramped living spaces with just a single main area that serves as living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom all rolled into one. There is only one bathroom/toilet and possibly one “master” bedroom. The “higher end” ones may have an additional bedroom.

   LEPAK KAKI
The near-claustrophobic conditions lead many youths to stay away from home as much as possible. The studious ones will engage themselves in educational activities, improve their lot in life and move out at the first opportunity. The slacker-types would lounge about in shopping malls, snooker centres, night clubs, arcades, pubs and such, to while away the time. This is one reason the lepak culture is prevalent among youths, especially those from the lower income group.

Is it any surprise then that under such conditions many youngsters develop bad habits and turn to fights, gangsterism, drug abuse and other social ills? Pandan Jaya somehow seems to attract gangsters and fights. Coincidentally or otherwise, this problematic area lies between Jalan Pandan 1 and the Kerayong River (and the LRT running parallel to it).

Developments that are too close to the river tend to run this risk. A river blocks and deflects energy. This usually results in a pooling of homogenous gentle energy that attracts living beings – animals and humans alike. It needs properly planning and management so that it is not over-congested turned into a squalid area.

Is the situation observed in Pandan Jaya due to geomancy or poor town planning and design? We think it is a mixture of both. One can find a perfectly ideal location in terms of feng shui and still mess it up with poor orientation and design of buildings and living spaces. One can also build a perfectly ideal home in a poor location and still experience poor or even disastrous results in his life.

We believe town planners should think long and hard about the social ramifications of poor living conditions. When a township is built, developers are obliged to build low-cost houses, to be sold to previous occupants of the land (usually squatters, estate workers and such) and those living in squatter settlements elsewhere.
This is part of the state government’s plans to eradicate squatter problems. It also puts squatter land to good use.

   SQUATTER-FREE STATE
As an aside, I wonder if it is efficacious: squatter homes are normally found on no man’s land, often left idle for good reasons – tendency to flood, poor location, unfavourable feng shui and so on. Unless these factors are mitigated, what good would it do to bulldoze these homes and construct flats, houses, condos or shopping malls?
In any case, we laud the Selangor government’s intention to make the state squatter-free – it means everyone gets a proper home – and are heartened by the new administration’s intention to continue that agenda.

However, we urge caution and better planning. Sometimes for the sake of expediency, the problem is considered solved by simply cramming this low-income group into barebones “housing”. This may cause bigger social problems down the road.

 
 
 
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