Friday May 29, 2009

Remembering Templer

By David Koh and Joe Choo

Properties from a feng shui perspective: Part 92

During World War 2, the Japanese Imperial Army swept across the region and essentially booted out the colonial West. When the Japanese surrendered abruptly after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was a power vacuum.

In Indonesia, the nationalists quickly declared their independence and fought hard to expel the Dutch, which itself suffered from German occupation and was severely depleted. The Netherlands finally recognised Indonesia’s independence in 1949. The Indonesian story also inspired Malayans to do the same. However, the efforts did not bear fruit as the British returned to reoccupy the land.

General Sir Gerald Templer, British High Commissioner

During the Japanese Occupation, the invaders treated the Chinese ethnic group very harshly. Many retreated into the jungles of Malaya. They joined or supported the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), which waged a guerrilla war against the Japanese.

The MPAJA was trained and supplied with arms by the British. It was formed out of the outlawed Malayan Communist Party (MCP). After the war, the MCP wanted an independent government formed, with it playing a major role. The British would have none of it.


The MCP resorted to armed conflict through its military wing, the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), adopting guerrilla tactics to expel the British, thus triggering the first Malayan Emergency in 1948. The conflict was termed an “emergency” rather than a “war” against communist insurgents as the rubber plantation and tin mining industries would not have been able to claim insurance for losses incurred had it been a war.

The conflict proved difficult to resolve as the MNLA hid in inaccessible jungles and enjoyed the sympathy of about 500,000 ethnic Chinese (from the 3.12 million in total).

When Gerald Templer took over as the British High Commissioner, following the murder of his predecessor, Sir Henry Gurney by the insurgents, he ramped up the fight against the insurgents. He is well remembered for defeating the communists although when he left Malaya in 1954, the insurgency was far from over (that only happened in 1960).

Templer was well known for his “hearts and minds” campaign: apart from military and psychological measures to combat the communists, he also won over the people’s hearts and deprived the communists of their support.

He implemented the Briggs Plan which forcefully relocated some 500,000 rural folk, including some 400,000 Chinese into guarded camps to cut off supply of information, food and recruits to the insurgents. Though resentful at first, the New Villagers eventually got used to it because of better standards of living and the offer of money and ownership of the land they lived on. The Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) played a major role to ensure the relocation was done humanely and efficiently.


Templer was conferred the title “Tun” by the government in honour of his contribution. A road in Petaling Jaya is named after him. The Royal Military College’s Main Hall is called Dewan Tun Templer.

Several property developments in the vicinity, such as The Templer Park Country Club, continue to use Templer’s name.

Up in the Main Range between Selayang and Rawang, there was once a park named in Templer’s honour, too. The park was renamed Kanching Recreation Park, after the Kanching Forest Reserve in which it is located. Some maps still call this Templer Park, though, as old habits die hard.

Interestingly enough, several property developments in the vicinity continue to use Templer’s name, due to the park’s original name. The Templer Park Country Club and Perangsang Templer Golf Club are found here, with the iconic Anak Takun hill for their backdrop. There are also Taman Bukit Templer, Templer Hills,Templer Bestari, Templer Villas, Templer Saujana, Templer Heritage and Pinggiran Templer.

The Klang Valley is formed by two mountain claws emanating from the Main Range at Bukit Tinggi. One of these claws runs between Rawang and Selayang. Templer Park is located on the south side of this claw, the same as Selayang. Therefore, it is still located within the valley although Rawang is not.


The northernmost tip of Jalan Ipoh joins with the Rawang Highway at Selayang. This used to be the main trunk road connecting Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh before the North-South Highway was built. Templer Park is located further up the hill. (For Google map reference, please log on to and search for “Kuala Lumpur”.)

There are several Templer-themed housing projects around here. Some are new and some are old. In many places, the gradient is quite steep and the terraces have to be cut to create level roads.

Earth energy is very strong as they come down from mountains, especially when the gradient is steep. This is not unlike how a river would flow. Where there are sudden drops, we find powerful waterfalls or cascades. Where the angle is steep, the river rushes.

Due to this, we do not recommend building houses on mountain or hill tops, on slopes with gradients exceeding 30 degrees, or worse, on stilts overhanging from a cliff. The energy is simply too strong and unstable.


If there are any buildings to be constructed, they should all face downhill. This way, the back will bear the brunt of the force and shield the front. This usually means the buildings must sit between the hill and access road.

Some houses here, especially those on the lower levels and which do not command majestic views are built that way, which is good. However, there are also houses that perch over the edge of the hill on the outer side of the road. This is not very conducive as strong earth energy will flood into the house and overwhelm the inhabitants. In a well-planned and environology-compliant town, the hill or mountain top would be reserved for places of worship.

On the slope would be government or administrative buildings. Location-wise, the Gombak District Land Office and Selayang Court have got it right. Located along Persiaran Pegawai (off Persiaran 1), they are both on high ground. This section is a pocket valley with land on the north, east and south. Therefore, the ideal location for the main entrance is south-west.

Persiaran 1 runs east from Jalan Ipoh and curls south to go around a small hill. To its east is the National Examinations Council, situated at a foothill. Although its back is to the hill (good), the entire building is located on the outer elbow of the road (not-so-good).

The road then reaches a low plateau and continues south-east to a roundabout in Taman Selayang Segar.


Pinggiran Templer and Puncak Templer are found on the west of Persiaran 1. These townships are constructed around a central hill, ringed by Persiaran 3 and embraced by the Rawang Highway.

Pinggiran Templer is located on the north face of this hill. The ideal orientation would be north, with the hill at the back and a valley in front, and the embrace of Persiaran 1, to boot.

To the east, there are several hillside bungalows. A few of them are located on the inner embrace of the road, which also gives them a high back and low front. This side is certainly more conducive than houses on the opposite side: these are on the outer elbow of the road, and have a high front, low back.

At the south-east and south quadrants of the hill, there is SK Bandar Baru Selayang and several condominiums. These are technically good as they are located within the embrace of the Rawang Highway. However, to prosper from it, the front must be facing a downhill slope.

Homes in the east quadrant would do well to face east (downhill). However, the road layout is such that houses only face north and south. Thus, the sector that is highest will benefit the corresponding family member based on I Ching principles.

Low-cost flats tend to attract a lot of bad hats.

Generally, the high area would be north-west, which corresponds to the father or eldest male breadwinner of the family.


The Selayang Municipal Council and its sports stadium are located in a small bowl valley in Bandar Baru Selayang. In this valley, there are also some low-cost flats. A bowl valley basically collects and pools earth energy, making it attractive to life. Therefore, the stadium is well located as people tend to congregate there.

One of the unsavoury side effects of energy pools such as this is the tendency to attract vice activities. Somehow, drugs, prostitution and gambling tend to rear their ugly heads and these in turn, lead to a rise in gangsterism and extortion rackets. With the stadium there, the congregation of people is more likely to be for the healthy purpose of sports, but of course, there could also be a dark side to this.

On the other hand, low-cost flats may not be very helpful. As we have seen in our tour so far, low-cost flats tend to attract a lot of bad hats. The lepak culture, gangsterism, vandalism and so forth, seem to be prevalent. Perhaps cramped living conditions lead to the young becoming restless. Perhaps their actions are the result of their seeking an outlet for their frustration.

And it so happens, as with the other low-cost flats we’ve seen, the flats here are also located in a bowl valley. Is this a coincidence or a consequence? We are not very familiar with the social status of Bandar Baru Selayang and therefore cannot confirm this hypothesis. Perhaps long-term residents of Selayang can enlighten us on this.

On the southern rim of this valley, the land rises to form a ridge. Then it slopes downhill again towards the Rawang Highway. Within this area is the Selayang Baru Industrial Park. This is one of the familiar facades of Selayang.

As the land here slopes southward, the ideal facing direction for factories here is south, towards the highway.

Unfortunately, not all factories have this orientation and their owners or operators may find it difficult to prosper, even in good times. A good thing about factories is that they can easily be re-oriented to any side of the building.

*This series on feng shui and real estate properties appear courtesy of the Malaysia Institute of Geomancy Sciences (MINGS). You can send in your queries on feng shui and properties via our feedback link at the bottom of the page. David Koh is the founder of MINGS and has been a feng shui master and teacher for the past 35 years.

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