Jalan Imbi: Eclipsed by its starry neighbour
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Properties from a feng shui perspective: Part 11
No tour of the Golden Triangle can be complete without a look at Jalan Imbi, an area often eclipsed by the more vibrant Jalan Bukit Bintang that runs parallel to it. The road begins at the intersection of Jalan Hang Tuah and Jalan Pudu from Plaza Berjaya, and stretches up to Jalan Bukit Bintang near the Dorsett Regency hotel.
Jalan Bukit Bintang is built on a ridge which slopes down on both sides. There used to be a small river running between this road and Jalan Imbi: it is more like a natural drain formed when it rained. Over the years, this was probably turned into an underground drainage tunnel.
The monorail’s effect is reduced at the Imbi Station, since the monorail has to slow down before coming to a halt
This means Jalan Imbi is also a ridge, albeit a lower one than Jalan Bukit Bintang. From here, the landform continues to slope gently downwards into Pudu. Sometime ago, rainwater would drain into a pond somewhere in Pudu, in the vicinity of the Smart Tunnel project. This is where Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah joins Jalan Davis and curiously forms a semi-circle that surrounds … nothing. Except for shrubs and small trees, that is.
Jalan Imbi itself runs parallel to Klang/Ampang River in the north. This unique alignment means, buildings on one side of the road where Plaza Berjaya, Melia Hotel, Imbi Plaza, Wisma SPS and so forth are located, have their back to the embracing river. This is not very conducive in terms of feng shui. However, this direction also parallels the downstream flow of the Klang/Gombak River located west. This is a positive.
In such a case, it just means that the good cancels out the bad and vice versa. It also indicates that businesses here will experience ups and downs. Tilting the balance either way are additional landform factors.
HIGH GROUND, LOW GROUND
For example, buildings that sit with their rear on high ground and face a gently sloping lower ground are ideal in feng shui. The opposite applies to buildings that sit with a low back and high front. We have observed many such instances in the undulating Golden Triangle area where business is brisk but there are plenty of boom-and-bust stories.
Jalan Imbi itself runs parallel to Klang/Ampang River in the north
To the casual shopper and visitor, it may look like a vibrant area that keeps changing and never stays the same. There is always something new – a shop or restaurant – to try out. It also means one business went bust and another has taken over! When a newcomer sets up shop, he enjoys good business because of the novelty (and positive features of the location’s feng shui, perhaps?). Then, the fad passes or the excitement wanes. If he has the stamina and resources, he may last a few ups and downs over a few months or even years. Eventually, he calls it a day. Enter another newcomer and the cycle repeats.
The sceptics may put it down to human nature and frailty. I would concur that these are key factors as to why a business may not last a generation. It is a common saying among the Chinese that wealth does not go through three generations: the first struggles to create it; the second generation children appreciate the toil and work to preserve it; and the spoiled third generation squander it. Often, the wealth is squandered by the second generation.
FOOLS AND THEIR MONEY
Yet, don’t all tycoons and businessmen realise this? Don’t they take precautions to educate their children to be business-savvy and wiser with money?
Then what happened? How do some people learn their lesson and continue to expand on their parents and forefathers’ business, while some destroy it? I believe, the subtle influence of feng shui – both yin and yang – could have played a factor in their harmony and prosperity. Back to our tour of Jalan Imbi, as we can see, buildings between Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Imbi have mixed influences which may require some mitigation to increase the good or reduce the negatives. We are also concerned about the monorail which runs along this stretch of Jalan Imbi up to Imbi Plaza and Wisma SPS. A fast moving train drags the wind in its wake and this has a tendency to suck up and disperse gentle homogenous energy in its immediate vicinity.
Of course, the effect is somewhat reduced at the Imbi Station, since the monorail has to slow down before coming to a halt. So, buildings nearest the station are likely to experience a lesser impact.
Berjaya Times Square
On the opposite side, we find the massive Berjaya Times Square. This project boasts of being the world’s largest building ever constructed in a single phase, with 7.5mil sq ft (0.6mil sq m) of built-up floor area. It comprises a shopping mall, hotel, cineplex, an Imax cinema and a theme park. Most projects are usually built in stages to ease financing pressures, but the developer of Berjaya Times Square was optimistic.
Thus, when the Asian economic crisis hit during the building’s construction, he went through a difficult phase. It required a lot of perseverance, sacrifice and creative strategies to finally complete the project, an amazing achievement in itself.
The complex sits facing the Klang/Ampang River in the north, which is good. However, this parallels the Klang/Gombak River facing upstream. Again, we have conflicting influences here. The front is also higher than the rear which slopes downwards. It is interesting to note that Berjaya Times Square was first designed to face Pudu Prison. Then the entrance was redesigned to face Jalan Imbi where the monorail station is located.
In such a situation, a “reverse orientation” whereby the entrance opens to the De Vegas nightclub could be a better choice. It may not be ideal aesthetically but doing so would mean that the building technically sits on Jalan Pudu and faces the same direction as Sungei Wang Plaza. There is a little stream in the Conlay area that creates a confluence of positive energy which the building (and its occupants) can tap into.
The gradient between Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Imbi is seen more clearly after the Jalan Sultan Ismail intersection. Jalan Gading, between Menara Berjaya and Star Hill Gallery, is a downhill slope. This is where Jalan and Lorong Walter Grenier, Jalan Padang and Jalan Palmer are also located. Therefore, buildings in this area that sit with Bukit Bintang at their rear and face Jalan Imbi face lowland, which is good, but not the Klang River. However, further ahead in front of these buildings, there used to be a river somewhere between Imbi and Pudu, before Pudu Plaza. It was known as “tai sui hum” to the Chinese and is probably an underground drain now.
This is why businesses along this row, such as Overseas Restaurant, are doing roaring business. It is generally a good direction with the exception of a few spots at traffic junctions where some shops sit at the convex or outer arm of the curve.
On the other hand, buildings facing the other way have mixed influences. They face the embracing Klang/Ampang River (good) but face high ground. These businesses and occupants will have a bit of a struggle and may enjoy single-generational prosperity. This stretch of road curves north-east as it approaches Jalan Bukit Bintang near Bangunan LTAT. Buildings that sit on the embracing or concave side of this curve benefit from this, but this is reduced by having their backs turned against the river.
Buildings that face the river on the opposite side suffer from the convex or outer curve of the road. This makes Jalan Imbi quite a tricky proposition from a feng shui perspective as every good has an opposing bad, though the proportion may differ along the road.
It is interesting to note here that the posh Ritz Carlton hotel has one good thing going for it. Instead of having the “logical” entrance opening into Jalan Imbi, it chose to have its entrance facing Jalan Yap Tai Chi, essentially a side exit road from the Star Hill Gallery. This has several good points: it avoids turning its back to the embracing river and it faces the same little known river in the Conlay area that Sungei Wang Plaza faces.
With the conflicting forces of nature at work here, is it any surprise that Jalan Imbi, despite its prime location and importance as a main road, remains eclipsed by the glitzier Bukit Bintang? Despite efforts to ease jams by rerouting traffic flows into Medan Imbi, and the establishment of wet markets such as the relocated Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang and Pasar Rakyat, the Imbi area remains relatively undeveloped though there is certainly no lack of traffic.
Clearly, this gives credence to the influence of nature on man’s success. Thus far the development of Kuala Lumpur has been haphazard, which explains why roads twist and turn in the strangest ways, unlike some cities that are built in grids or spokes emanating from a centre.
As city dwellers and businesses take up residence, they are affected unwittingly by the natural forces and energies at work here. The lucky ones enjoy tremendous success while the hapless ones make way for others to fill their shoes.
While it is necessary in many cases to mitigate unfavourable feng shui factors, isn’t it better to design the buildings correctly in the first place or better yet, redesign the city to conform to these principles?
As parts of the city grow old and require redevelopment, tear down the old buildings and start anew. Hong Kong is doing that. Why not us?