Sunday, October 16, 2011

Feng Shui: ‘SS’ prefix in PJ

Sungai Way started as a New Village but now makes up part of Petaling Jaya. - Filepic

Properties from a Feng Shui perspective: Part 210
By David Koh and Joe Choo | October 14, 2011

When Petaling Jaya was first started, the road naming convention was simple. Just assign a prefix number to indicate the section followed by the road number. All roads in one direction will adopt an even numbered sequence while those perpendicular to that would be odd-numbered. If the roads are through-roads, they are “Jalan” while dead-end roads are usually “Lorong” or lane.

As the township grew and more suburban centres emerged, it became impractical for the authorities to use increasingly bigger numbers for sections. Worse, if one were to omit the “Taman” or “Bandar” in the address or mistake one for the other, it would be nigh impossible for the postman to deliver a letter to Jalan 12/1, for example.Today, roads in townships are given prefixes which is usually the abbreviation of the town’s name or a variation. We are unclear when this started but we probably are not far wrong if our guess is “SS” in Petaling Jaya.

The use of the prefix indicated a break from Petaling Jaya’s road nomenclature and it was given to a swath of new developments at the western boundaries of the then-municipality. The earliest of these was SS1 which was located close to the Sungai Way New Village. The village itself has been given a new name, Seri Setia but locals still use the old name.

The Sunway Group – which grew from a small tin-mining company into a conglomerate involved in property development, hospitality, retail, leisure, construction, healthcare and education, among others – derived its name from Sungai Way, where it first started. Given its high-profile and branding, it is unlikely for the term “Sungai Way” to fade into obscurity.

Not Seri Setia

Now, the prefix “SS” does not stand for Seri Setia, which came later. When SS1 was developed, it was located very close to the Sungai Way New Village and Kampung Subang, which as we all know, gave its name to the former Subang International Airport and the Subang Jaya township.

Thus, “SS” is an abbreviation for Sungai Way-Subang.

There is a current storm in a teacup brewing over Malaysia’s past status as a former colony or a mere British protectorate and whether the Communists were really freedom fighters or guerrilla terrorists. Historians, academicians and politicians have weighed in with their views but we shall refrain from wading in.

We are more interested in one related social phenomenon that happened after World War II. The British returned to run Malaya and rebuffed the Communist Party’s demands for a place in government. The latter had fought against the Japanese during the war (while the British surrendered) and felt it earned this “right” for a place in government.

Inspired by independence movements in Indonesia which did not accept the return of its Dutch rulers, they decided to evict the British through armed struggle. Overnight, they turned from war heroes to terrorists. Thus, the 12-year Emergency Period began in June 1948.

One of the strategies used by the British was to cut off the guerrillas’ supplies of food, recruits and information. They did so by forcibly resettling about 500,000 people into guarded camps called “New Villages” so that Communist sympathisers could not help them, and the guerrillas could not intimidate the innocent for help.

To assuage these new villagers and win their support, the British provided electricity and water supply, schools and clinics within these villages.

Urban sprawl

Today, these villages have become a part of the urban sprawl. Sungai Way, for example, started as a New Village but now makes up part of Petaling Jaya. It was also affixed the prefix of SS9A. (For Google map reference, log on to and search for “Kuala Lumpur”.)

Sungai Way (the River Way) was also called “Dai Gong” or big river, in Chinese. Obviously, it was named after a large river which no longer exists. The nearest semblance of a river in the area today is Sungai Penchala. The others are just large monsoon drains and ditches.

Houses in the original New Village can still be seen – these are single storey timber houses with zinc roofing. Over the years, some of the more prosperous owners tore down their homes and rebuilt them as double-storey bungalows to provide a more comfortable home and to accommodate more family members.

The main street is Jalan SS 9A/1, accessible via the Kuala Lumpur-bound Federal Highway. It is hard to miss thanks to Plaza Seri Setia acting as a landmark and a very visible signage of a bank. The off-ramp is rather steep and reveals the hilly undulating terrain of this area.

To the left and right are shop-houses until the intersection with Jalan 9A/14. Properties on the left (west side) face high ground and are likely to fare poorer than those on the opposite side, which have a high back and low front. One notable casualty is an old cinema that has long since closed down.

Top of the hill

This little hill crests at several shop-houses along Jalan 9A/15 and then plunges downhill again. By virtue of being on top of the hill, these shop-houses do not benefit from any earth energy. Instead they contribute their energy to the land below. Jalan SS 9A/14 continues to Jalan 225 which we covered very recently.

The Sungai Way police station also sits on the east side of SS 9A/1 and it has a rather good orientation, facing west and downhill. Likewise, the Sungai Way Chinese Primary School has a very good orientation.

Beyond this are wooden shop-houses and more houses arrayed in a grid. Most of them have either an east or west orientation, with just a few facing north or south. Due to the undulating terrain, it is very difficult for us to discuss this area street-by-street.

In general, west and south are good directions to face in relation to the river. Thus, properties with these directions will normally perform better than their opposite neighbours. However, there will be exceptions. If these properties face uphill, they are likely to fare worse.

Those with a sideways slope will encounter mixed fortunes. In such a situation, we look at which sector of the property is raised highest, and which sector is the lowest. According to the Ba gua, each sector corresponds to a specific member of the family or organisation. The person corresponding to the highest sector will do very well while the one linked to the lowest sector will likely fare poorly.
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