Penang Pearl of the Orient (Part 1)
The northern state of Penang has always been a focal point of settlers and with each wave of influx, the state has progressively grown wealthier and more dynamic. It is reckoned as one of the most affluent states in Malaysia, with strong economic performance reflecting the confidence of investors both local and foreign in its market, including the property sector. In this series, Prof Joe Choo analyses the success of this state.
The history of modern Penang, originally part of the Malay Sultanate of Kedah, began when the island was leased to Captain Francis Light, an English trader-adventurer. We was working for the Madras-based firm, Jourdain Sullivan and de Souza and the East India Company, in exchange for military protection from Siamese and Burmese armies who were threatening Kedah. For Light, Penang was a convenient magazine for trade and an ideal location to curtail French expansion in Indochina and Dutch foothold in Sumatra.
Then & Now
On 11 August 1786, Francis Light landed on Penang at what is later called Fort Cornwallis and took formal possession of the island in the name of His Britannic Majesty, King George III and the Honourable East India Company, and renamed the island Prince of Wales Island in honour of the heir to the British throne. However the name never caught on and in Malaysian history, the occasion marked the beginning of more than a century of British involvement in Malaya.
Highly urbanised and industrialised Penang is one of the most developed and economically important states in the country, as well as a thriving tourist destination. With all the vibrant developments going on, especially with the upcoming second bridge to link up the main land and Penang; there is much speculation on the island. Let’s saunter around the island to see the potential of it.
A Free Turtle
Penang is generally called the Pearl of the Orient, but the shape of the island is very identical to a turtle exerting the right front and back limbs to move forward. Before the Penang Bridge was built, it swam freely and enjoyed all the benefits of a free port. In 1985, when Penang Bridge was officially opened to traffic; it also served as the channel to transfer the earth energy from the island to the nearby area of where the end of the bridge was on the main land. Since then, a place called Chai Leng Park, which was never heard of before suddenly boomed and the property price went up unexpectedly. This situation is similar to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Island or Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, without the bridge, Hong Kong Island and Singapore would not be flying sky high.
The capital of Penang – George Town, the historic commercial centre was segmented into the banking and trading areas related to port activities which included shipping companies, the import and export trade, and the wholesalers who continue to dominate the southern section of Beach Street until now. It is one the best cities to live in Asia according to the survey done by Employment Conditions Abroad Limited (ECA International). George Town is backed by a high landmass which we call the arms like the left and right arms of a human being. These arms are the source of the earth energy; this pool of energy bounces back and collected at the round tip. Therefore it will still flourish endlessly until the highland mass is levelled.
Back to Basics
In feng shui, we always emphasize the basic fundamental which is highland on the back, a matter of different rigidity such as river, sea or lake in the front and lastly the concavity of rivers or roads. Land masses have energy. We know this through our understanding of gravitational effect, the higher and bigger the mountain, the greater the force it exerts downwards and sideways. This exertion of energy is inexhaustible, continuous and cumulative. As it pushes downwards and sideways, the energy is transferred through solid matter in the mountain. This energy transfer is conducted through a matter of similar rigidity and according to one of the Laws of Thermodynamics – from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. The live energy will stop/disperse when it meets a matter of different rigidity such as water.
Besides the continuous supply of the earth energy from the high landmass to George Town, there is an additional factor from the feng shui perspective. In feng shui, it is mentioned that the shape of an object reflects the form of energy. Penang reflects the shape of a turtle with the right front and back limbs readily to move forward, hence the energy is collected at these two limbs. George Town is located at the right front limb, the right back limb is Batu Maung where it is the connecting point of the Penang Second Bridge between Penang Island and the mainland.
Prof Joe Choo was elected the President of the Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Sciences (“MINGS”) in 2008, a post which she currently holds. She was recently awarded a professorship by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. She acts as consultant to various development projects and is frequently invited as speaker at many government and private property functions. Joe also conducts classes for the Persatuan Architect Malaysia (“PAM”) and the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (“MIEA”).