September 11, 2013 was an eventful day for me as regards the interesting characters I saw again at Khin Khin's office in the afternoon.
1. Felix. The businessman with multiple coronary bypass. He should be around 70 years old, 7 years older than me. I had written about his survival of 3 coronary heart attacks. I was surprised to see him at Khin Khin's office when I went there. Khin Khin had a good contact who has a piece of land to build a 12-storey hotel and a 6-storey building to build offices, with 3 floors being given to the Ministry. He has interested Singaporean developers and so he could earn commission from the deal, together with Khin Khin.
I am a licensed Singapore realtor and a real estate agency owner and so Khin Khin asked me to help out. Some details were given in the email but Felix wanted more information.
"Who will own the hotel and? Why is the land valued at US$20 million? Where's the title deeds? Who is the actual owner?"
"The info is already in the email," I said.
"What's the plot ratio? What's the plot ratio? Let me talk directly to the Myanmar agent or type in the request via email."
"The Myanmar agent is not a realtor," I said. "He will not understand what you mean by 'plot ratio'. Even Singaporeans who are well educated will not know what it means. In any case, he had said that it is up to the Singaporean developer to design and plan on what to do, provided 12 storeys are for the hotel and 6-storeys are for the office building, with the land area given. In any case, much depends on the size of the hotel rooms and offices.
The other party could not understand what "plot ratio" meant and stated the valuation of the land. He was a very keen agent wanting to close the deal.
I spoke to the other agent and asked: "How many hotel rooms and offices are permitted to be built by the Government?"
"It is up to the Singaporean investor," he said.
"How many car parks must be provided?"
"I will check for you."
Felix then left the office to contact his side.
2. Renouncing Singapore's permanent residency. The Myanmar father had kidney cancer some 10 years ago and now has lung cancer. Both parents are now in their 70s and so would like their son to return back to Singapore to take care of them. The two daughters had married and were overseas.
"It appears that your son renounced his Singapore PR to avoid National Service," I said.
"No, no," the mother said. "He had to go back to Yangon to sort out the family properties."
"He has no University degree but he is fortunate to get an "S" pass."
The son is now in his mid 30s and had a job. He stayed one year managing over 200 shipyard workers. "Very tough job," he said. "The Blangadeshi workers just would not bother to clock in their cards for various jobs."
"How about the Myanmar workers?" I asked him.
He quitted after one year and got a job delivering supplies to the ships docked in Singapore. He fell on his back one day and so the company sacked him as he was on medical leave. "My boss would not put up a case for me," he had told me the day before when I met him. A gentleman who had started his own business in Myanmar but had to close them for some reasons. In Myanmar, the authorities keep changing policies, much more than in Singapore and I guess this adversely affected his restaurant and billiard business. The sharp increase in rentals is much higher than in Singapore nowadays due to great demand. His boss did not recommend him although he worked long hours, because the company was acquired and the new company demanded a level of profitability as part of the sale.
Now he is looking for another job or he would have to go back to Myanmar. Decisions made by parents to renounce Singapore permanent residency while the parents are Singapore citizens may be for the good of the child in the early years. When parents age and are sick, the child can't stay in Singapore.
3. The other maid agent. As Khin Khin speaks the Myanmar language and works full time in this area of employment agency, she has lots of Myanmar nationals looking for jobs. Trust is built when both parties are able to communicate. The Singapore maid agent will look to her for prospective applicant. I met one of them today. "Have you reached the top level?" I asked as he had convinced a mentor to coach him to success by payment of commissions on cases closed.
"What do you mean?" he was perplexed. He would drop by to ask for Myanmar maids as he had good employers who want quality maids and his good services. He wanted to be in the niche market of supplying good quality maids and that means higher fees.
"You said the mentor can transform a person to Level 3 from Level 5. It is like the stages in Buddhism. Have you got to the Nirvana level? You said he was pretty rough when you volunteer to be his disciple and he said you were obnoxious." He also stereotyped that all Raffles Institution graduates have that type of "don't waste my time" behaviour as this person has a $20 million turrnover in his recruitment business.
"He is a nice guy when I met him," Verge said to me. "I am grossing $12,000/month after his training. To manage 2-3 agents is not a problem, according to him. More than 8 is a challenge."
"Is the Caucasian guy still asking you for a loan?" I asked as he had told me one agent would introduce him to contacts aa he had the network.
"He paid me back the $1,000 loan after much chasing," he reported.
"He will ask for more loans," I said. "Paying you back is to give you confidence."
There are all sorts of people in this world.