Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seremban's Miracle Lake - Old Convent Site

I heard the most intriguing thing today from my aunties in Seremban. We were returning from a wonderful dinner in Taman Megaway and during the trip home, we passed through the old Seremban Convent (aka Convent of the Infant Jesus) site which is now an abandoned football pitch-sized plot filled with water. This plot has been abandoned for more than a decade.

Apparently, locals believe that the water has taken miraculous qualities ala "air zam-zam". A friend's mother who had shingles (Chinese 'snake') swabbed herself with the water from the site and the sores on her skin dried up and formed scabs, leading to quick healing afterwards. Then, another guy who had stage 3 cancer swigged this same wonder drink and later walked out from the hospital with a clean bill of health. Pretty bold claims!


The Seremban Convent was demolished and rebuilt in another location when the original piece of land it stood on was jointly purchased by 2 companies (one of them Metrojaya) to erect a 7-storey shopping centre complete with entertainment outlets, bowling alleys and restaurants. However, due to the economic crisis in 1997, all construction work stopped. Three levels below ground were completed at that time before it was discontinued. This body of water is actually 3-storeys deep!

The land was acquired based on an agreement to relocate the school and the statue of Mary. However the latter term was not adhered to and the statue was simply thrown into a rubbish pile.

Soon after that, the project site mysterious filled up with water coming from underground. No matter how much the engineers and workers tried to siphon out the water, it just kept filling up again and again! It was then when the project was abandoned and the water completely covered the 3 base levels (easily 60 feet deep) together with the water pumps and machinery.


According to Aunty, there was a man who was at the edge of the water who was trying to fill up some bottles. He slipped and fell into the water and his cries for help alerted a security guard who was stationed nearby. Apparently, the guard jumped in to help and during the dive, he claimed to have seen the Mother Mary statue at the bottom of the lake with her head still bowed in eternal prayer. I was thinking, if you could see 3 storeys deep into a lake, the water has to be super clean!

The freaky part about it, is the water level of the miracle lake does not decline or increase despite heavy torrential rain or long drawn-out droughts. It is also inhabited by tropical fishes and plant life. On a good day, you can even see waves on the surface of the water!


Some people take the miracle lake as an eyesore, while some think of it as a blessing. I take it as Nature getting back at Man. Fascinating, ain't it?


Veronica Santa Maria, ConventHIJ said...

You got that right. They should have left the Grotto and Statue of Mother Mary where it was and built around it. "Give to God what belongs to God"

Elyssa Angelica Choy said...
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Elyssa Angelica Choy said...

Thank you for this lovely information. I live in Seremban but could never really find the history of the convent online,not until I came across yours. Very interesting, if you do find more articles on this,please let me know..Thanks :))

Michelle said...

I am an ex-Convent pupil and I strongly believe that this is sacred land.My heart saddens to see what remains of the school that played an important role in my early education.Despite the numerous protests by ex-Convent pupils,the plan to demolish our much beloved school was carried out to make way for a shopping complex .I hope that this will be a lesson for developers that sacred land should be left alone.

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Anonymous said...

There is an underground spring tjat existed even during the convent times. The convent was often flooded during the rainy season too. Hence, it's not be surprising if the water fills up the land that has been dug. Obviously, the developers have messed up the path of this underground stream and water flows out to form a lake. And it wont really overflow due to vapourisation and the river outlet nearby. About cancer, well ... Seremban would be touristic Lourdes by now if it was true.

Amarjeet said...

Hi i am an ex convent girl, was reading New Straits Times paper today 26th September 2013 and was mentioned about the signing of online petition to name its former site from Dataran Seremban to Dataran Convent cos this place hold many school days memories, could anybody please sent me the link to sign the petition to my email address will really appreciate it. Thank you.

Ju-Lian said...

Here it is Amarjeet:

Raisa Rajah said...

Amy Y. I am an old pupil of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. I was a boarder in the School from 1953-58. It was really something to be a student of this School then. Many days have I stood looking at the very spot which is part of the lake. That was the time we were studying after school and walking the corridors on the 1st floor, doing homework, just doing what was on the timetable for us...
Talk about competitions in anything, the Convent was sure to feature in them and carry the name
of the School.
So it broke my heart as must have so many others like me when they dimolished the School to build a grand shopping mall! Well ...God had other plans certainly! The plans collapsed when the site was cleared and foundation laid when the site became overnight lake! Something mysterious happened to the site. All efforts to pump water out was futile. It just kept filling up, and no effort to dry up the lake, has been successful. The lake remains the lake!

Now stories have emerged of mysterious things happening with people who have sworn it to be true. Though it,is not authenticated, I cannot ignore it too as I was one of those who stood at the Grotto of Our Lady on the site of the now lake.Perhaps it is a miracle that the power of Our Lady Mary and the Infant Jesus have not allowed the site to be built upon! A holy site does not lose its holiness just because the buildings have come down.
I heard recently attempts to pump out the water were made by experts who apparently could not succeed despite their advanced technology! I guess Seremban town now has its own miracle site!

Please, those of you out there, do tell us what you feel.Surely, you must have something that can tell us of the power that is in the lake.

Samantha Doray said...

sorry to burst bubbles. i am a former student at the seremban convent and i am now an architect. what is more likely is that there has always been a water table below the old convent building. it is likely that the old builders used a 'raft foundation' (that literally acts as a raft) instead of the 'pile to set' piles that we use for multi storey buildings. so when excavations works dug deep and hit the water table, voila! we have a 3 storey deep pool! commonly used methods for soil investigations would not have picked up the water table prior to construction. however, i'd like to see MPS put that pool to better use.

that said, the convent building played a significant role in my career choice. i've always loved the nooks and corners and the beautiful arches that graced the corridors.

"convent is my pride, her teachings i abide. her guiding light will shine forever through my life"


Well said....agreed. BTW, it was originally a tin mne area....the whole of Seremban town area sits on ex-tin mining area.

Michael Goh said...

I have read all your comments with interest. I'm also an old resident of Seremban and an Old Paulian. I'm in my late 70's and I'm sure that qualifies me to say what I'm going to say and besides my spouse is an old Convent girl also. First things first. We must understand the geography of Seremban town. You just have to look around you when you drive around in town and you will realise Seremban town is located in a deep valley (like at the bottom of a bowl); which accounts for the very high 'water table' in the town. This was evidence when IWK (IndahWater) undertook sewerage works in the town to lay sub-terrainean clay pipes for the town's sewerage system the engineers also encountered this problem particularly along the road between the (new) Store and the former Ban Joo Lee distilliery turning the entire stretch of road into a quagmire and causing major traffic problems in that part of town. The same situation also occurred when the dug up the backlanes for the same purpose. That is the geograhical explanation of the town's under water problem.
The Convent land which was owned by the nuns of CIJ who decided in late 70's/80's became disenchanted with the government's frequently changing education policies decided that they would have no more of the govt.'s shennanigans and pulled out of the education scene and finally sold the land to Phileo Allied Land. If you all can remember, around that time there was a Phileo Allied bank in S'ban which stood directly opposite the Convent. As a result of this move, Sekolah Putri was born.
As to claims of 'miraculous cures' from consuming the water taken from this artificial lake, I'm unable to attest to its veracity although I have heard numerous stories about this. One thing I do know is this - the MPS has found a new source of water supply to water their flowering plants around town and I must say the plants are definitely flourishing well from it.
I remember the grotto in front of the school gates well. Maybe this is one way Our Lady continues to show her favours to the town of Seremban. God bless her!

Anonymous said...

I have a question for the architect in this post. Surely a soil test would have been conducted to ascertain the load bearing capability. I am intrigued to know when the convent was actually built and how many stories was this structure. My next question would be did raft foundations exist at the time when the convent was erected and also was there any cross referencing done with regards to the foundations of the demolished convent when the new multi storey building was planned?