Battle at Chulia Street: Big Banks Battle Behind Closed Doors
Back then, Overseas Union Bank was acquired. Now, what’s in store for One Raffles Place?
Do you still remember the Hong Kong TV drama The Greed of Man starring Adam Cheng? Based on Hong Kong’s financial scene in the 60s to the 90s, it follows two families through two generations of love, hate, greed, envy, and retribution. The plot was filled with twists and turns, complicated relationships, and countless stock market battles that got viewers blood pumping. In this case, being an “Asian financial hub” like Hong Kong, does Singapore also see such intense business battles? We can’t say for sure, but there was a big shift in Singapore’s banking industry when Overseas Union Bank (OUB) was acquired by United Overseas Bank (UOB) in 2001. As always, we will be looking at this event from a feng shui angle.
We have mentioned before that Pearl’s Hill belongs to the “dragon head” of the “Western Dragon”, which has a “Flying Dragon Disgorging Pearls” feng shui formation. As the legend goes, this “dragon” spit out three rare pearls, and the places where the pearls landed will surely prosper. What’s more, Singapore’s world-famous Yueh Hai Ching Temple, OUB, UOB and OCBC are all located on one of the landed “pearls” with superior feng shui, as well as along Chulia Street. No wonder this place developed so quickly! Why did OUB end up being taken over? Let’s look at the feng shui behind all this.
UOB Plaza is made up of two buildings: UOB Plaza Two actually sits on the old three-story Bonham Building. When UOB built Plaza Two in 1973, their banking business was at its peak. However the good times didn’t last: when its competitor OUB Group built the 280-metre high (this was the maximum height permitted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore) OUB Centre, UOB’s revenue seemed to take a hit. Why?
The answer is quite simple. If you have seen the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, then you will understand the wonder of it all. You see, like the Bank of China Tower, OUB Centre uses “masculine” architectural features, with plenty of sharp corners that “slash” away mercilessly at UOB Plaza Two! Furthermore, OUB Centre’s main entrance faces East/West, which was highly auspicious during the seventh feng shui luck cycle (years 1984 – 2003). However, while the “masculine” design allowed OUB Centre’s business to thrive in the best of times, it also succumbed easily during less favourable times so much so that it collapsed like a house of cards.
Strangely enough, after UOB built the equally high 280-metre UOB Plaza One in 1992, the situation seemed to change. Not only was there a marked improvement in business, the company even acquired its main competitor OUB. How did this dramatic change come about? From a feng shui perspective, we have to credit UOB’s architecture that “counters force with softnes”. What do we mean by this?
UOB Plaza is not only shaped like the Petronas Twin Towers with a “yin” feng shui formation, its foundation is also shaped like a bagua, with a “stack of coins” at the top. These two towers had OUB Centre firmly stuck in between, changing UOB’s overall feng shui direction to a Northern/Southern one that gave it a natural advantage. In the end, the “yin” negated the domineering “yang”.
Today, the infamous OUB Centre is now One Raffles Place. All this may be history, but One Raffles Place is no longer as dazzling as it once was. How can we turn this situation around? Perhaps the authorities can consider changing the current main entrance to the one facing north. I believe this will help the place regain its former glory!