Raising the red lantern: A worker adjusts a lantern at Hian Thian Siang Tee temple in Palmerah, Jakarta, on Friday in preparations for a Mass on Chinese New Year, which falls on Sunday. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)
Singer Tina Toon, 20, is one of the residents of Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, who has become accustomed to bracing floods in the coastal area.
During the widespread flood that began on Jan. 17, Tina stayed at a Central Jakarta hotel for a couple of days because she could not reach home from her campus, while her younger brother evacuated to an apartment in Kelapa Gading to escape the 1-meter deep water flooding their house.
The annual occurrence, however, has not convinced the family to move.
“People say that the feng shui of the Gading area is good. It’s either the head or the tail of the dragon,” she told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Feng shui, the Chinese art of arranging objects and choosing dates to enhance luck, plays a big role in decisions made by many Jakartans when it comes to building premises in which to live or do business, even if the areas are prone to flooding.
And the location believed to lay in the path of the dragon — the only mythical animal in Chinese zodiac representing power, health and energy — plays a major role in such decisions.
Some believe that the head of the dragon, the best position in which to do business, lays in Pluit or Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta, while others believe that the dragon moves around, forever changing the center of economic development.
Feng shui master Jenie Kumala Dewi, who administer www.jeniefengshuionline.com, says the northern parts of Jakarta are not the only lucky locations in the city.
“The Luo Pan [feng shui compass] element in north is water. Sometimes in feng shui, people assume that water brings luck. However, luck actually depends on the angle of the main door of every building or house,” she said.
For those considering relocation, the Year of Water Snake, which starts on Feb. 10, could be the best time to do so.
The masters say that this year shows signs of good luck to develop property and road construction in the city, but they warn of misfortune related to fire and conflict.
Jenie says that the property business, such as roads and buildings, will continue to grow this year, but those with a water element — including transportation and oil — could have problems for a few years. She suggests that decisions related to transportation commence in good months, such as January or September.
Another feng shui expert, Xiang Yi, says this year is a good time for businesspeople or government to develop property projects such as bridges and high-rise buildings, but they have to be aware of fire to ensure that the projects run smoothly.
“The snake has a fire element. Water that goes with the snake this year will help fan the fire. There will be some negative or shocking news related to fire accidents,” he said.
He related the forecast to the fire that gutted dozens of stores in Glodok Ruko Jaya commercial area in West Jakarta on Jan. 7.
He says that the winding trail of a slithering snake represents a road, so it would be good to make decisions related to road construction, but he also warns of possible argument and rivalry that may arise in such projects.
Xiang Yi also warns of bloody traffic accidents, crimes using sharp weapons and possible scandals related to corruption that may happen as the Year of the Water Snake slithers past. He says it is a good time to make decisions or start construction for modes of transportation such as the monorail and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).