Malaysia, with its various traditional cultures and religions, is a country ruled by superstition. It doesn’t take long for rumours of a vacated house being haunted or that of ‘crying’ trees that possess unexplained powers, to spread among the local community.
Since the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Seremban was demolished, life has never been the same for some residents of the small town. The 90-year old historical building was supposed to make way for new development. Locals never approved the demolition, and according to a post on local blog steemKR, the original piece of land was jointly purchased by two companies to make way for the construction of a seven-storey shopping complex in the ’90s.
The Rakyat Post, in a 2014 article, reported that locals considered the lake an eyesore, and that the shopping mall project was stalled during the economic recession in 1997, leading the Negeri Sembilan government to pump water into the site to keep the building structure from collapsing (although there are conflicting reports of the site flooding with water coming from underground when the new construction started laying its foundation). The lake at Dataran Seremban has since turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes [apart from being gazette as a place for locals to bersantai (relax and hangout)].
Since its abandonment in 1995, the site has become known as the Seremban Miracle Lake. There was talk in 2013 for the shopping mall project to be revived but the site remains the same til today–filled with 3-storey deep murky waters.
So after 24 years, why is this prime piece of real estate still left abandoned by developers? Well, are you ready for something seram..?
Cursed Land and Mother Mary
Some locals believe the project was stalled because the land is cursed by God due to the demolition of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus that was set up by missionaries ages ago.
In a post by another blog, Steemit, locals were said to be unhappy about the school’s demolition. The old convent was strategically located in the town centre, nearby the Seremban Bus Terminal and KTM station. It was demolished in 1994, despite disapproval from the Parents and Teachers Association of the convent.
There was a huge statue of the Mother Mary inside the school. The agreement was that the school would be relocated together with the statue, but the latter was rumoured to be destroyed with the rest of the building’s structure, and that’s when the project drowned.
The new schools were renamed Sekolah Kebangsaan Puteri Seremban and SMK Puteri Seremban and they were relocated 5km away from the original site, forcing the schools to face massive traffic congestion.
As mentioned before, the project was abandoned due to the economic recession, however, there are conflicting explanations for the flooding of the site. In the same article by The Rakyat Post, local Sunny Wong said, “Construction was stopped  years ago when they accidentally struck an underground natural spring causing the flood until today. And if the construction were to be carried out, the surrounding buildings will be unstable…” which is in contrast to the explanation that the state government flooded the site to keep the new construction afloat. One thing’s for sure, no matter how much the project’s engineers tried to get the water out later on, it just kept filling up.
There are a lot of crazy stories about the lake. In a blog post by Ju-Lian, locals believe the water has taken up miraculous qualities, kinda like the equivalent of air zam-zam. She heard that a guy who had stage 3 cancer took a swig from the water and later walked out from the hospital, feeling completely fine.
In the same post, Ju-Lian says the freaky part about the lake is that no matter how much rain falls or how sweltering temperatures get during dry season, the water level of the lake doesn’t seem to decline or increase. There are even tropical fishes and plant life in the lake.
Another story of the wonder water is about a man who accidentally fell into the lake and cried for a help. A security guard nearby heard his cry and jumped into the lake to save the man. The guard claimed to have seen the statue of Mother Mary at the bottom of the lake, praying hands and all. Although this claim remains dubious due to the poor visibility of the murky waters, many believe these instances to hold some significance.
Although it’s fun to think that the land is cursed, many have tried to dispel the notion like former-Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who wanted to revive the construction of the 4-storey shopping complex with alfresco dining outlets amongst lush greenery, in October 2013. He even claimed that plans were already under way.
But the locals resented the construction of another mall as Seremban already has four major shopping complexes. The project was never revived.
Whether or not you believe that the Seremban Miracle Lake has miraculous healing powers or that land is cursed to devour any new developments, the story here is more a reminder of how insensitive and arrogant the authorities can get in the name of profit and progress. Just because it was sitting on prime land, the relocation of the convent was done in haste and without much care, reminiscent of how land deals can go sour in Malaysia, especially if it’s land where sentimental or religious structures stand on.
However, if there’s one thing the locals have agreed on, is that someone should do something about it–even if it’s not by building something new over it, then by maintaining and beautifying the lake so its not such an eyesore. As one former alumni of the demolished convent commented, “I wish the government could have left it as a Heritage building.”
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