on Feng Shui
on Feng Shui

Article FS16/sep2
Adverse Feng Shui of Saigon Independence Palace which doomed French and Saigon governments!

Prof. Dr.Ong Hean-Tatt 28th September 2016

An excellent field case study of how landform Feng Shui reigns supreme to affect the duration of leaders and governments!

Kingdoms rise and fall, empires wax and wane. Who has the Feng Shui to be a lasting king?

Quest for Kingship Feng Shui

In ancient times, rulers were careful to site their capitals, for they knew that the landform Feng Shui would affect the durations of their thrones and governments. This is a warning to modern leaders not to neglect the Feng Shui of their seat of governance. We have previously written on this subject of kingship Feng Shui:

The above and below research represent the most analytical investigation of the kingship Feng Shui of sites and kingdoms. It is only possible through good understanding of history and the ancient texts.

Recently, we returned from a tour of Ho Chi Minh city, alias Saigon, in South Vietnam. A special visit was made to the Independence Palace which was the seat of the governments of the French and then the Saigon governments. The French and eventually the Saigon leaders took beatings from the forces of North Vietnam, which finally conquered South Vietnam.

The visit reveals several Feng Shui features of the Saigon Independence Palace. Some of them were specially considered in the initial construction of the palace. All these throw interesting light on the question of how landform Feng Shui controls the duration of rulers and their dynasties.


Ancient capitals were carefully sited trying to use Feng Shui to enhance the throne and the dynasty. Modern capitals ignore the ancient guidelines to their perils.

Historical Background to the Saigon Palace

Independence Palace (Dinh Doc Lap), also known as Reunification Palace (Dinh Thong Nhat), built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The complex covered an area of 12 hectares, including a palace with an 80-meter-wide façade, a guest-chamber capable of accommodating 800 people, with spacious gardens covered by green trees and a lawn. Most of the building materials were imported from France. Owing to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, construction fell behind schedule and was not completed until 1873.

It was originally an old wooden palace built in 1863.

In 1858, France launched an attack on Danang, starting its invasion of Vietnam. In 1867, France completed its conquest of southern Vietnam (Cochinchina), comprising the provinces of Biên Ḥa, Gia Đinh, Đinh Tung, Vinh Long, An Giang, and Hà Tiên. To consolidate the newly established colony, on 23 February 1868, Lagrandière, Governor of Cochinchina, held a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of a new palace to replace the old wooden palace built in 1863.

The new palace was designed by Charles Hermite. The first cubic stone, measuring 50 cm along each edge, with indentations containing French gold and silver coins bearing Napoleon III's effigy, came from Biên Ḥa. The palace was named Norodom Palace after the then king of Cambodia, Norodom (1834–1904). The avenue in front of the palace bore the same name. From 1871 to 1887, the palace was used by the French Governor of Cochinchina (Gouverneur de la Cochinchine); therefore, it was referred to as the Governor's Palace. From 1887 to 1945, all Governors-General of French Indochina used the palace as their residence and office. The office of the Cochinchinese Governors was relocated to a nearby villa.

On May 7, 1954, France surrendered to the Viet Minh after its defeat at the Battle of Dien Biên Phu. France agreed to sign the Geneva Accords and withdrew its troops from Vietnam. According to the accords, Vietnam would be divided pending general elections. The 17th Parallel would act as the temporary border until a vote based on universal suffrage was held to establish a unified Vietnamese government. North Vietnam was under the control of the Viet Minh communists, while South Vietnam was under the anti-Communist State of Vietnam. On 7 September 1954, Norodom Palace was handed over to the prime minister of the State of Vietnam, Ngô Đ́nh Diem by a representative of the French presence in Vietnam, General Paul Ély.

In 1955, Diem defeated former Emperor Bao Dai, the chief of state of the State of Vietnam, in a referendum. Ngô Đ́nh Diem declared himself president of the newly proclaimed Republic of Vietnam and renamed the building the Independence Palace.

The palace had been the official residence of the former presidents of South Vietnam, vis Ngo Dinh Diem and the last Saigon president Nugyen Van Thieu. It was also the site of the cabinet meetings of the South Vietnam government and official reception site. The presidential family stayed in the third floor, which is below the top and fourth floor. The basement was the chief military command center.


Many palaces have bad Feng Shui features, causing perpetual problems and eventual disasters for the residing rulers.

Continual Bad Luck for Occupants of Independence Palace

On 27 February 1962, two pilots of Diem's Vietnam Air Force, Nguyen Van Cu and Pham Phú Quoc, rebelled and flew two A-1 Skyraider (A-1D/AD-6 variant) aircraft towards the palace and bombed it, instead of going on a raid against the Viet Cong. As a result, almost the entire left wing was destroyed. However, Diem and his family escaped the assassination attempt. As it was almost impossible to restore the palace, Diem ordered it demolished and commissioned a new building in its place. The new palace was constructed according to a design by Ngô Viet Thu, a Vietnamese architect who won the First Grand Prize of Rome (Grand Prix de Rome) in 1955, the highest recognition of the Beaux-Arts school in Paris. He was also a laureate of the Rome Architecture Award.

The construction of the new Independence Palace started on 1 July 1962. Meanwhile, Diem and his ruling family moved to Gia Long Palace (today the Ho Chi Minh City Museum). However, Diem did not see the completed hall as he and his brother and chief adviser Ngô Đ́nh Nhu were assassinated after a coup d'état led by General Duong Van Minh in November 1963.

The completed hall was inaugurated on 31 October 1966 [28 October 1966 was a lunar eclipse] by the chairman of the National Leadership Committee, General Nguyen Van Thieu, who was then the head of a military junta. The Independence Hall served as Thieu's home and office from October 1967 to 21 April 1975, when he fled the country as communist North Vietnamese forces swept southwards in the decisive Ho Chi Minh Campaign.

  • The continual bad luck of government after government which fell is an indication something was wrong with the Saigon Independence Palace.


The designers of the Independence Palace tried to use symbolic features like "Ji" for "fortune" to produce good Feng Shui. But, these symbolic features were helpless against the bad physical landform Feng Shui.

The top is the palace frontage along the North. The bottom square is the banquet hall. The cabinet hall lies on one side of the long perpendicular line to the central axis.

Preliminary Evaluations of Feng Shui

Let us look first for auspicious Feng Shui features. The palace is a large spacious imposing multi-storey modern concrete building nested in the center of a wooded ground. It is basically a modern Westernised building.

  • It has a wide frontage which is auspicious.
  • Tall trees surrounded the main building. There is a water fountain in front ground of the site.
  • There are attempts to incorporate auspicious symbols into the layout of the palace. For example, the palace grounds were divided to have eight petals of a flower, with the main building in the center. This was an attempt to incorporate the auspicious Bagua and Lou Shu nine-squares designs.
  • The ground floor plan of the palace was designed by architect Ngo Viet Tu after the auspicious Chinese character "ji" for "good fortune". In the word "ji", the rear subcharacter is "kou" for mouth and covers the area of the banquet hall. The word "shih" (character for 10) is frontal (i.e. facing the front or Northeast) and its arms form the cabinet hall to the West and the dining hall to the East.

There are also attempts to incorporate other auspicious symbolism in the palace layout, vis:

  • On its front, balconies on the 2nd & 3rd floors combine with the main entrance porch & two wood-paneled columns to create the character "Xing" meaning prosperity.
  • According to Fengshui belief, this palace is located in a dragon's head therefore it was also referred to as Dragon's Head Palace. The intricate designs of the dragon can be seen on the exterior part of the building along with other carved out features.

If you examine the terrain of Vietnam you will find many rivers flowing East from the mountains at the West into the floodplains. The floodplains are quite flat and the rivers meander along, forming many ox-bow curves. Like some of the other cities in Vietnam, Saigon is located in near to Saigon river, between two tributaries flowing into Saigon river. This should be the auspicious "land sandwiched between two rivers".

All these should have been auspicious. It should be noted that this location within the "land sandwiched between two rivers" will not give advantage to Saigon over communist Hanoi. This is because Hanoi is also located in the "land between two rivers."


Windy cionditions are warning signals of bad Feng Shui

The tradition that Independence Palace is sited over the "Dragon Head" is warning of an ill-comprehended underlying faultline or water vein danger.

Ominuous Feng Shui Signs

However, ominous is that the facing of the palace is to the Northeast, an inauspicious facing. This facing is not good, especially as it is evident that site is windy, another ominous inauspicious feature.

The arrangement of the cabinet hall as a side feature to the main axis of the palace is inauspicious. In ancient palaces, the ruler would sit at the rear of the axial hall facing South. That is, the leader is seated at the rear of the axial axis, not at the side. The ruler must sit facing South.

That is, the facings of the palace and the leader in the Saigon Presidential Palace have inauspicious landform Luan Tuo Feng Shui features.

Basically, the design of the ancient Chinese palaces tend to be patterned after the Chinese character "Wang" for "king". In such a pattern the cabinet hall will be at the rear and the leader will sit facing South to receive visitors coming from the South.

"Wang" for "King" will be more appropriate to rulership and government than "Ji" for "good fortune" as in the case of the Saigon Presidential Palace.

But, whether it is "Wang" or "Ji", there is one thing about the ancient buildings. Seldom is the ancient buildings more than one level. This ancient design will never have any other floor above the throne hall. If there is anything inauspicious going on at the upper floor the auspiciousness will filtered down to the lower floor.

This is what happened in the Saigon Presidential Palace. The cabinet hall, the officials dining hall and the banquet hall are all topped by other rooms along the upper floors. These upper rooms include the Presidential bedrooms.

What should have been done is that those rooms connected with leadership should be separated and not overshadowed by other upper rooms. The leadership rooms should be prominent, and easily and directly accessed from the frontage. Other rooms should be placed at the rear or sides.

  • President Nguyen Van Thieu decided to build Turtle Lake in 1967. It seems that a Feng Shui master told President Nguyen Van Thieu that there was a dragon underground of Saigon. The dragon's head was under Independence Palace and its tail was at the location of Turtle Lake today northwest of Independence Palace. The Feng Shui master advised that to maintain the peace for this country and the greater development of President Thieu, there must be a huge turtle to hold the dragon's tail.

    The main pillar there looks like a sword that has been pitched into the lake to hold the dragon's tail for a long time. The shape of this lake was designed follow the Bagua structure, which can be easy to recognize when you see it from the high places. Some other said that the whole Turtle Lake looks like a huge turtle and it will hold the dragon's tail forever.

    Well, it was the wrong Feng Shui measures, as it did not prevent the fall of President Thieu. One thing was that the location for the Turtle Lake was at the wrong place.


In comparison to the Saigon Independence Palace, Hanoi Presidential Palace lies within a large loop of Red River. The palace has a Southeast frontage (in contrast to the Northeast frontage of Saigon Palace). It can be accesed at the Southeast, but is more usually accessed through a road from the South (P Ong Ich Kiem). Tall trees form a wall behind the palace. Ho Chi Minh at first lived in the servants' quarters behind the palace.

Then, in 1975, a stilted two storey wooden house was built on the grounds south-west of the Presidential Palace and served as his new residence and office. One proceeds south from the Presidential Palace through an area with a carp pond to the stilted home of Ho Chi Minh. Both the Presidential Palace and the stilt house have a combined entrance at the south at P Ong Ich Kiem. So, Ho Chi Minh home also has a south frontage and there is a carp pond which all make very good Feng Shui.

Of Positive Ions Clouds and Ill-Fated Military Command Centers

There is no doubt that the fundamental Feng Shui or geomancy approach was wrongly applied in the case of the Saigon Presidential Palace.

What is that saying? That, "When troubles come they come in battalions". The Feng Shui features so far evaluated are fundamental features. They also hide many other features which cause further inauspiciousness in the palace.

Let us consider the command centers. The cabinet is one command center whose Feng Shui status was inauspicious. Other command centers include the presidential office, the military command center n the palace. The presidential office is located on the West wing at the 2nd floor. This may not be so critical, as the Chinese emperors also used to have small rooms at the sides of the main palace complex.

What probably are of concern is the meditation hall at the very top or 4h floor of the palace and the military command center which is located at the basement floor.

Geomancy experts, especially Western telluric geomancy experts, will recognise at once that the basement as the military center is highly inauspicious for the military command. Feng Shui has always regarded the basement as inauspicious. Modern scientific studies show that the basement is a major collector of positive ions which are harmful to human health and mental capacity. The military leaders were all the time bathed in harmful positive ions, which impair their health and mess up their mental capacities. It is not surprising that the Saigon military strategies were most of the time screwed up.

Even more dangerous was the meditation hall. Positive ions climb heights and will be highest at this top floor of the presidential palace. In haunting, the most haunted areas include the basements, the top floors and the staircases. They reflect presence of disturbing electromagnetic radiation.

The meditation hall has 3 Benker lines running from West to East, including one through the center of the hall. If the president had sat along the central axis he could have a scenic look out into the courtyard adjoining East of the meditation hall. Thisway he would be meditating over a Benker line and this would be very inauspicious.

Actually, the rivers in Vietnam tend to flow from West to East. This major underground water veins are likely to run from West to East.

Hence, both the leader and his military strategists were all adversely affected by the high levels of positive ions in the basement and the top meditation hall. When Nugyen Van Theiu became president he converted the meditation hall into an extra entertainment area. But the military command center remained at the basement.

What we are seeing is a whole chain of command centers, from the cabinet room to the military command and the presidential meditation hall, located in inauspicious areas. It is no wonder that Saigon had to fall.

Positive ions permeated everywhere throughout the Saigon Presidential Palace. In fact, as we walked throughout the palace we could feel electromagnetic vibrations. One can easily feel this when one walked up and down the stairs.

The presidential bedrooms and living quarters are all located along the 3d floor. This is below the 4th floor which has only one hall, vis that of the ill-fated meditation center.

However, the 3rd floor along with the 4h floor will tend to have high levels of positive ions. Usually, as discovered in some of our scientific field Feng Shui audits, the top floor and the floor immediately below tend to be haunted, owing to the presence of positive ions.

Hence, the Saigon Presidential Palace will have similar high levels of positive ions at the 3rd and 4th floors which are the private quarters of the Saigon president and his family.


The emperors reserved for themselves certain secrets without which the common people would be using deviated forms of Feng Shui and astrology. Do modern practitioners really know what is the real imperial Feng Shui?
The Wind Never Reads

Ho Chi Minh city (previously known as Saigon) is located in the flood plain of the Saigon river, which flows from West to East into the Indo-China or South China sea. Further South of Ho Chi Minh city, the great Mekong river flows, also from West to East into the Indo-China Sea or South China Sea.

Vietnam is essentially a country formed by the floodplains to the Western mountain ridge. In this southeast part of Vietnam the rivers meander along the flat flood plains. The many curves and ox-bow formations along the rivers should make good auspicious sites for settlements.

There is only one major danger, which is that flat flood plains are exposed to winds, especially from the NorthEast. Actually the whole of Vietnam tend to be affected by the winds coming from the NorthEast. These winds will meet and smash against the Western mountain ridges.

The Feng Shui of the flood plain is described by the Tang dynasty Feng Shui master Yang Yun-Sung in his Han Lung Jing (Arousing Dragon Classics) as that of the ninth mountain or "ninth Dragon". Yang Yun Sung warned that in this last "ninth Dragon" landform the great danger is winds. A site must be protected from the winds, by some landform features like the small "Yu Pih" mountain.

The "Yu Pih" hill is a small hillock small and low mountain. It is a hillock which looks like a turtle shell. It can block the winds to some extent in a small area south of the hill. Hence, the auspicious site would be to the south of the hill.

The Saigon Presidential Palace faces Northeast. There is even the wide avenue running from Northeast to Southwest which creates a wind funnel path towards the palace. Due to the winds, there are both positive ions blown towards the palace as well as the vortex creating electromagnetic fluctuations at the palace. All these are very inauspicious for the palace.

The Saigon Presidential Palace should have faced the South, towards the river. Its north rear should have large trees planted to ward off the wind. Saigon is destroyed by the failure to recognise the Feng Shui danger of the winds from the NorthEast

  • The counter to this dangerous landform Feng Shui is the Yu Pih or "9th Dragon" of Yang Yun Sung's Han Lung Jing!

    Those who built Independence Palace did not know enough of Feng Shui to prevent the fall of Saigon. The Saigon Independence Palace is a good illustration of the lethal danger of the "Demon Gate" formation, which most practitioners do not understand.

A parting advice. Even the Americans Freemasons worked auspicious physical geomancy features for the White House in Washington. The river formation is especially auspicious. They also augment the effect by astrologically timing the important dates of the presidential activities. No seat of government can do without the physical landform Feng Shui!


Read startling findings on Zi Wei Dou Shu, including how the emperor faked current Zi Wei Dou Shu! Some faked aspects also affect the Ba Zi Eight Characters, Qi Men Dun Jia, Liu Ren, Tai Yi, which are actually inferior astrology systems extracted from a small part of Zi Wei Dou Shu.

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