Klang Valley Feng Shui Series: Article 5: KUALA LUMPUR’S GOLDEN TRIANGLE


A feng shui tour of the Klang Valley: #5

The Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur is one of the busiest and most highly valued prime properties in the Klang Valley. Despite the perception that anything constructed in this area will automatically flourish, we beg to differ. You can still find failed projects. Some failed to live to their promises and have become eyesores.
It is possible that the sky-high rentals could be a factor that led to many a business closing shop and relocating. It is also possible that traffic congestion prompted businesses to move to the outskirts or nearby Petaling Jaya. Maybe it is the poor infrastructure – erratic public transport, limited (and expensive!) parking, a lack of sheltered walkways – that contributed to some properties being poorly patronised.
Modern shopping malls in Hong Kong and Singapore are connected by elevated pedestrian bridges. Workers and shoppers can walk from one building to another without risking their lives in traffic or baking under the hot sun.
Architecture and feng shui are closely connected because they both deal with living spaces. Their goals are similar: to create a conducive and harmonious living space, be it a dwelling or business premise. The best architectural work, in my opinion, learns from nature, adapts to it and blends with it. These buildings are usually very aesthetically pleasing as well.
To the west of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre along Jalan Ampang is called the Golden Triangle (don’t worry, we will come to Jalan Bukit Bintang eventually!) This expanse covers the entire length of Jalan Ampang from KLCC, into Jalan Gereja, connecting with Jalan Raja Chulan and finally, Jalan P. Ramlee.

Sitting in the middle of this is the Bukit Nanas Recreational Park. This is a considerable landform that radiates some energy. This energy rebounds off Klang River which runs somewhat parallel to Jalan Ampang until it joins Gombak River. Hence, buildings located between the hill and the concave side of the river, should benefit enormously from a pool of homogenous gentle energy that is collected here.
However, this only happens if the building’s entrance faces the river to receive it. Buildings facing away from the river are “shunning” this energy. At best, they will not enjoy roaring good business; at worst, it could have a deleterious effect on business.
Let us take a look at buildings sandwiched in such a fashion. At the junction of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang up to Jalan Dang Wangi, there are Menara Safuan, Wisma Denmark and the in-limbo, uncompleted Grand Hyatt hotel. Beside the Dang Wangi station, there is also the Kyrgyz International Airlines building situated nicely in a concave of the river.
Alas, none of these buildings face the river. It may be logical to face the road and Bukit Nanas to capture some of the fresh cool air, but in business, air has very little financial value! The Grand Hyatt site sits at a busy intersection, which forms a confluence of sorts. If I were the developer and plan to revive the project, I would probably realign my entrances to face either this junction, or the very opposite end, which is the concave side of the river, where the Kyrgyz building is.
Better yet, I would extend the property northwards and position my entrance at the mini-confluence found behind Wisma Denmark. If this little confluence could exert enough influence on the Renaissance hotel and Mandarin Oriental, what an impact it would have to this development!

Across Jalan Ampang, we find the Convent Bukit Nanas girl schools (primary and secondary). These buildings face the hill with their backs to the river. Nearby is the St John’s Institution, which overlooks and faces Ampang River. Not surprisingly, it is known as a premier secondary school. However, the St John primary school, with its back to the river, is not as well renowned.
It bears mentioning however, that one of the original goals or objectives of feng shui is to create scholars. In ancient China, the highest office in the provinces was the magistrate. The term is diluted today: in Malaysia’s judiciary system, the magistrate is a lower court official. A magistrate in ancient China is known to be all-powerful. They act as judge, jury and executioner. They are the governor of the land and oversee everything from administration, taxation, law enforcement and customs. Acting as representatives of the emperor, they were virtually mini-emperors!
There were only two ways to become a magistrate: study hard and pass the imperial exams; or learn kung fu and pass the imperial exams. Those who excelled got to become generals or ministers while those who fell short were given lower ranking positions.
Scholars were therefore highly valued and respected in the social strata – boys were encouraged to excel academically. This was followed by the farmer since they toiled the land and produced foodstuff, and the labourer whose hard work made things happen. The businessman was ranked the lowest! They were often considered to be crooks and profiteers. The business fraternity eventually became more important as they began to influence and manipulate politicians. Funny how things have changed – or haven’t – over the centuries!
Anyway, wealth and success in ancient China comes from administration, not business. Thus, one of the purposes of feng shui is to create generations of successful scholars. Feng shui is for harmony, peace and longevity, not just the blind pursuit of wealth or super windfalls!
When we are in harmony, wealth will follow. Without wisdom, we cannot keep our money; without peace, our wealth is temporary; without health, our wealth is pointless.

Continuing our feng shui tour, beside the Convent Girls School, there is the AIA Building and Wisma AIG. Both buildings face the river as it bends in an embracing fashion. This is a very good and auspicious location, no doubt seen by AIA’s longevity and prosperity: the insurance company has been in business since 1948 and the winner of Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand 2007.
The AIA building was also home to the US Embassy up until the 1970s when the Japanese Red Army raided it and took several people hostage. In the old days, they could have sailed upriver but in this incident, they walked in wearing business suits and Uzi’s.
Next, there are several other buildings that face the concaving river. These office buildings ought to do well.
On the opposite side of the road, there are Amanahraya (in the former Standard Chartered building), Takaful Nasional and Bank Muamalat (where Bank Bumiputra used to be). These are all well situated in a concave side. However, they have their backs to the river and cannot tap into the pool of energy collected there.
Standard Chartered has since relocated itself to another part of town. In the bank consolidation exercise that started in the late 1990s, Bank Bumiputra merged with Bank of Commerce and subsequently the entity was further merged with CIMB. Technically, it no longer exists.

Away from the river, on the other side of the hill, the few buildings on this side of Jalan Raja Chulan have a staid atmosphere. Indeed, there is very little traffic of the pedestrian kind. Incidentally, the road happens to convex at this stretch. The convexing side of a river deflects energy and does not allow it to collect. Likewise main roads, especially busy ones.
Activity only begins to pick up as Jalan Raja Chulan intersects with Jalan P. Ramlee.
One of the most prominent landmarks here is the Kuala Lumpur Tower. The 421-metre tower sits atop Bukit Nanas (94 metres) to reach a dizzying height of 515 metres above sea level. Its foundation is 17 metres deep without any piling done: the soil was excavated to the required depth and the foundation was built with poured concrete.
A singular tall building is similar to a single or isolated mountain. By the definition of the ancient sage, Guo Pu, this is one of the five taboos in feng shui. A building at the top of a mountain is considered a wind-dispersed force. There are strong winds blowing from various directions all the time. Energy cannot stabilise and be collected here.
Furthermore, Guo Pu wrote that a building taps into energy forces from the ground, and that energy travels from a high point to the low. Buildings at the highest peak can only contribute to the force. They draw nothing from the ground. Even if there are higher mountains nearby, the energy just passes through. The top of this not-as-high mountain still cannot contain and collect this transiting energy.
Single tall buildings are good if they are constructed as a monument for memorial purposes.

There are also a few developments squeezed into the hillside near the foot of Bukit Nanas: Plaza Atrium, Menara Pan Global back-to-back with Pacific Regency Hotel Apartment; Menara SMI, Wisma Kim Seah, Wisma Nusantara and Taipan Star.
Buildings on mountain and hill slopes with a steep incline are generally discouraged in feng shui. Not only is it unwise geologically – the instability of a slope could lead to landslides and collapses, especially if the foundation is weak – but based on feng shui principles, the energy flow is vigorous. Like rushing rapids from a mountain, it is a powerful destructive force.
Further down the road, there is UBN Tower and the Shangri-La Hotel. Away from the influence of the river, the hotel fronts the “confluence” of two busy roads: Jalan P. Ramlee and Jalan Sultan Ismail. This helps pool some of the energy from Bukit Nanas to its doorsteps.
A short distance away, the Concorde Hotel, home of the world-famous Hard Rock Café, is not ideally located vis-à-vis a river, or even a hill for that matter (it faces Bukit Nanas). Curiously however, the road concaves right in front of the hotel (perfect for the Hard Rock Café), and the Concorde’s main entrance face a “man-made confluence” created by its slip-roads into Jalan Sultan Ismail. While this mitigates matters, a more ideal configuration would be to have the entrance face Jalan Ampang, the Klang River or towards Safuan Building where a confluence exists.
Jalan P. Ramlee leads us back to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. It is a relatively straight road past some eateries and nightspots, before curving left after Jalan Pinang. Entertainment outlets can do well in areas that do not collect energy because they are high turnover businesses.

As we toured this segment of Kuala Lumpur, we discussed the plus points of facing a river, particularly a concave formation as well as the disadvantages of having the back to the river. Does this mean developments that are not “ideal” will not do well? Not necessarily.
The impact may not be felt immediately. Feng shui text states that when a building has its back to the river, the business or dweller may still prosper but it would only be for one generation. There could also be mitigating factors at work that can alleviate or buffer negative energies, which allow for that first generation to do well.
Therefore, a badly located building is not automatically jinxed or doomed to fail. In feng shui, there are rarely cases as radical or extreme as that, although some do exist. What we would say is, if consideration was given to the environment and natural forces when a building is designed, or a site is chosen, perhaps the property could do better. In other words, it could have been a great building instead of just a good one. Perhaps opportunities would come 10-fold instead of two, or the success of the family could last generations instead of one.
Isn’t that little bit of difference worth the effort?


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