In Geylang? Pay Attention to These “Three Plenties”
Why is prostitution rife here? Because “chickens like to eat centipedes”!
The revolutionary martial artist Wong Fei-hung has been my hero since childhood, and I enjoy the portrayals of him by Kwan Tak-hing and Jet Li. Last Hero in China (or Iron Rooster vs. Centipede), starring Jet Li, is related to this instalment of the “50 feng shui wonders” that I have been sharing with you: the “centipede land”, Geylang.
Geylang may be small, but its reputation is huge. There are “three plenties” here: plenty of food stalls, plenty of temples and altars, and plenty of prostitution. Why so? I believe it’s due to the area’s geography and feng shui environment.
If you observe it carefully, Geylang belongs to the “centipede land”feng shui formation. Check it out on Google Maps: from Geylang Lorong 1, Geylang Serai to Changi Road, the roads’ lanes and alleys on both sides number in the hundreds; these sectioned roads resemble centipede’s legs with the head close to Kallang River. “Centipede land” can be categorized into different types: some live on hills (such as “hilltop centipede”, “flying centipede ); others make home near rivers and seas. Because Geylang is close to rivers with loose soil, we can infer that this is a “water centipede” formation. From above, this “huge centipede” in Geylang looks like its playing in Kallang River’s waters, comfortable in its habitat.
Unfortunately, this “centipede” playing here meets the “five enormous snakes” and “crocodile” at Kallang River. Kallang River is one of Singapore’s “water dragons” (the other being Singapore River). Kallang River and its four tributaries: Rochor River, Whampoa River, Geylang River and Pelton Canal, form the “five snakes gatherd” feng shui formation. Among these, the main Kallang River’s qi is most prosperous, with undercurrents and fast-flowing waters. Because the mouth of the river is shaped like a “crocodile’s mouth”, this is also known as a “five snakes fighting a white crocodile”feng shui formation.
When the pugnacious “centipede” and “five snakes”(five rivers) meet, fighting inevitably erupts and destroys the land’s qi. Hence, Geylang saw plenty of bloodshed in the olden days, with rival secret societies frequently clashing here. Various gangs also used Geylang as their base, leading to serious safety issues in this area. Looks like this area’s feng shui and geographical environment is responsible! Thankfully, following the government’s development of this area and the diversion of the river, the geographical environment of this place, its feng shui, and its security have all improved
Because this “water centipede” is close to water and water represents wealth, this area is good for business. Have you wondered at the inordinately high number of nightlife establishments here? Well, “water centipede” are nocturnal, so they easily attract “birds of a feather”. As such, Geylang has become a playground for nightlife enthusiasts. Over time, restaurants and food stalls followed suit to cater to the nightlife crowd; most of the owners operate until the wee hours of the morning.
As we all know, Geylang is Singapore’s most famous red-light district and a number of salacious joints operate in this area. What’s up with that? I once joked with my students: “chicken” (slang for prostitutes) like to eat “centipede”, so a “centipede land” would attract “chicken”. While we say this in jest, water centipedes do in fact appear at night, and naturally a variety of nightlife workers would come here to grow their business – prostitution and nightclubs are just a few. With that, temples and altars promising salvation are also aplenty.
Next time you are at Geylang, don’t forget to check out the “three plenties”…