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A feng shui tour of the Klang Valley #9

DERAILED BY TRAINS?

As a city grows, traffic woes become a norm. Every major city in the world grapples with traffic jams and attempts to implement ways to reduce congestion. These could be through legislation, such as prohibiting single-occupant vehicles from entering the city at certain times, imposing extra charges for entering the central business districts.
Another way to reduce congestion is to improve on public transportation, such as bus networks. Kuala Lumpur went through different phases with bus companies, including the frightful mini-bus era where people crammed into buses like sardines (“Masuk, masuk! Masuk dalam lagi!” was a common phrase) and these flying furies would race each other to the next bus-stop, which happened to be anywhere along the road.
As bus services consolidated, a new form of transport was introduced, the Light Rail Transit (LRT). As an adjunct to this system, the KL Monorail was later added.
While such efforts are commendable and serve a public function, we must add a word caution on the effects of such structures vis-à-vis feng shui. Take it with a pinch of salt if you must, or better yet take appropriate precautions.

WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR
We are merely offering a perspective without fear or favour; we cite evidence to support our observations and there are no hidden motives or agenda. Perhaps our observations of so-called evidence may be deemed coincidental or even nonsensical. That, we leave to you, dear readers, to make your own decision.
According to Guo Pu’s ancient texts, energy moves from mountains to the lowlands, taking on different shapes and forms as it passes through different composition of terrain. Energy is stopped and deflected by bodies of water such as rivers, lakes and the sea. Energy is dispersed by winds. Hence, the term “feng shui” was coined, literally meaning wind and water.
Interestingly, this term is not used elsewhere again in any of the other texts on geomancy. It is funny how these two words become synonymous with geomancy and very few people actually try to understand the impact of wind and water.
On our tour of Kuala Lumpur, we have thus far looked at the impact of the river. Today, let us look at the wind. Winds are unpredictable. The weather system affects the wind’s direction and strength. Terrain also has an effect: wide open spaces normally have strong winds.
In feng shui, a slow meandering breeze is preferable to strong gusts as the latter disperses pools of energy. A gentle breeze may make a naked flame flicker but a strong wind extinguishes it.

NEW TRANSPORT
When the principles of feng shui were recorded thousands of years ago, the main modes of transportation were on water (river and sea) and on animals (horses and bulls) although many simply walked on foot.
There was no such thing as an automobile or trains. Thus, their impact was not foreseen or taken into account. We have to extrapolate on the principles and see if they hold true. Do note that this is the same practice applied to high-rise buildings and condominiums.
Any object moving in air creates aerodynamic forces. These are lift, drag and weight. An airplane can fly when air moving across the fins (the “plane” in “airplane”) creates an upward lift. On a slower, yet still fast scale, so does a train.
A fast moving train creates a suction effect around its sides and the rear. We are always cautioned to stand clear of the tracks as a train approaches because the suction effect may cause use to fall towards the train or track. A train also creates a vacuum in its wake, forcing air to rush in to fill the space.
Thus, in a train system – be it KTM, LRT or KL Monorail – we have a man-made wind system following a set direction and creating a virtual wind tunnel. This has the effect of sucking in air from both sides. Imagine as a train careens forward, wind from both sides sweeps in and is pulled away in its wake. Can you picture this wind acting as a scouring pad or a vacuum cleaner drawing away land energy?

TRAIN DRAIN
This is why I am personally not in favour of locating buildings too near a train track. I know that would defeat the whole purpose of having the train track in the first place. Who wants to stop far away from their destination? Given a choice, they would have preferred the train station to be right in front of their office.
Strangely enough, I would wager that no one would want such a station directly in front of their homes. Everyone would complain about the noise and pollution that comes along with the train service.
In our previous articles, we focused on the Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur. Still within this locality, we can find the KL Monorail. The monorail comes along Jalan Imbi (from Jalan Hang Tuah) and curves to Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Commencing service only a short time ago in 2003, the monorail runs 8.6 km from KL Sentral to Titiwangsa in about 19 minutes. As a straddle-type system, the monorail runs at very low noise and vibration levels, so it does not cause too much disturbance within the city centre. By comparison, the LRT system runs underground within the city to achieve the same effect. Above ground however, the trains make a fair bit of noise.
Anyway, getting back to the point, trains running in the midst of the Golden Triangle may be a great idea in terms of public convenience, but could they also have a detrimental effect on the prosperity of buildings nearby?

INNER RING ROAD
Jalan Sultan Ismail was named after the fourth Yang DiPertuan Agong, Almarhum Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III. It is part of the city’s inner ring road and a busy one at that. Incidentally, Johor also had a Sultan Ismail, namely Almarhum Sultan Sir Ismail Al-Khalidi ibni Almarhum Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al-Masyhur.
Jalan Sultan Ismail was formerly called Treacher Road, named after William Hood Treacher who was a British Resident during Malaya’s colonial days.
The stretch of this road starting from Klang/Ampang River to Jalan Imbi is known for its string of five-star hotels and vibrant night life. We have Renaissance, New World, Concorde, Shangri-La, Equatorial, Crowne Plaza Mutiara (originally the first Kuala Lumpur Hilton), Istana and Park Royal hotels. Quite a luminary presence, not counting other hotels located just off this road.
This area is also busy by day, as office towers are also aplenty. There are Menara Haw Par, UBN Tower, Wisma KFC, Wisma SPK, Kenanga International, Kompleks Antarabangsa, Bangunan MAS, Menara Dion, Menara Promet, Menara Standard Chartered, Central Plaza, Wisma Jerneh, Menara Genesis and Bangunan Bintang, among others. Jalan Sultan Ismail is actually a main business district.
By landform, this stretch of land is not too bad, particular on the side where the Bangunan MAS is located. This side has a higher back, faces a gradual slope and is on the embracing or concave side of the road. It is no surprise that businesses did well in this area. Again, this area is located in the concave or embracing side of the river, all good and conducive factors for prosperity.

UPS AND DOWNS
However, these buildings have the back to the Klang/Gombak River on the west, and their entrances are parallel but face upstream to Klang/Ampang River. In such a circumstance, business will have ups and downs, or possibly be single-generational success.
We are also concerned about the impact of the monorail that runs on top of Jalan Sultan Ismail. As mentioned, fast moving trains create a vacuum that draws wind away from both sides in a tunnel-like effect. This intermittent pull of wind and energy from the track’s immediate surroundings may have a detrimental effect on businesses and occupants located nearby.
After all, our national carrier, Malaysia Airlines, was one of the best rated airlines in the world. It was going strong until suddenly, its fortunes were reversed. Business analysts would point to mismanagement, political intrigue, poor response to competition from the likes of AirAsia, global uncertainties and wars, rising oil prices, security issues and so on. No doubt, these factors contributed to the airlines’ woes. It even had to sell and leaseback Bangunan MAS. Was it a coincidence?
What about the opposite side of the road? From a landform perspective, it is the reverse. Buildings here sit on low ground and face high land, some of which are on the convex side of thee road: not very conducive factors. On the plus side, build