On July 13, 2011, at 1 pm, I went to lunch organised by one of my realtor classmates to celebrate our passing of the first REA (Real Estate Agency) examination conducted by the CEA (Council for Estate Agencies) and to thank our old lecturer. This class mate initiated the celebration as the rest would not be bothered to make contacts.
Yet, networking is a very important part of real estate work and in life and yet most of all are inert. It was an excellent Korean BBQ lunch at a restaurant opposite Novena Church.
"Did the prettiest girl in our class pass?" I asked my classmates.
"You can phone her," my male classmate wanted to give me her phone number.
"I better not," I said. "Her name does not seem to appear in the 41 names of persons to collect the REA certificate, in the list at Informatics. Besides, she has a Caucasian male friend. I may be bashed up! I had only spoken around 10 words to her during the whole 3 months of class."
"No, no, he is not her boyfriend," my class mate volunteered to give me her phone number and to recruit her as my salesperson.
I said to the lecturer who had told me that all ladies in the class are pretty when I enquired by e-mail whether she had passed: "You were the one who scolded her for coming to class one hour or more late."
"I did not do that," he protested. "I just said 'good morning'" He was correct. He did not really scold her or shut her out for being late at most times.
She was one of the few classmates who just sauntered into class late and interrupted his lessons. No apologies. No greeting of 'good morning to the lecturer'. In fact, all my classmates don't say that to my lecturer except for me.
All eyes had to focus on the pretty young thing as she looked for a spare seat.
Probably in her late 20s. Slim or I would say, thin. A clear fair face, bright friendly eyes that talk to you, good clothing sense, possibly high heels and a steady cat walk. She exudes confidence. A Singapore Rose. Just as Princess Diana was the English Rose.
"Who is the prettiest girl?" another male classmate asked. "Is she the one with the long hair and dresses up in designer clothes and carry designer handbags?"
"Most of the younger lady classmates have long hair," I said. It is a pity that my 40 classmates did not socialise much as we rushed back from lectures three times a week for 3 months from 10 am to 1 pm and discarded our lecture notes immediately to earn our living.
There were two lady classmates sitting opposite me and I asked them who was the prettiest girl and why. I wanted the female point of view. They gave me the same name as the one I mentioned. Why? She is young. She is good-looking.
Well, I was not the only one who spotted a pretty woman. Beauty always command attention. If beauty is combined with brains, the combination is just killing. I mentioned her as part of communications during our lunch. No ulterior motives of recruiting her as I am sure she has many offers. Of realtor jobs I mean.
It is good to celebrate small successes in life. My male classmate sitting next to me complained that the police phoned me to ask whether he had taken home the REA examination paper 1. He scolded the policeman. "The policeman is doing his job," I said. "I also got a phone call from the police and I asked the policeman why he is doing this loss of an examination paper when there are so many more important murders and cheating cases to do?"
"I know who took the paper," my lady classmate said to me.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Well, she was sitting next to me during the examination. However, the policeman did not ask whether I know of anyone who took the paper and so I did not say."
Another classmate who was scolding the Informatics girl who would not give him any extra piece of writing paper when requested had been called up by the CEA for an interview, probably on a complaint from Informatics for swearing.
"You were the first suspect," I said. He had used the "F" word when the Informatics staff came rushing out to a group of us loitering after the end of Paper 1 examination and simply asked: "Did you take out the examination question paper 1?" So, he said: "F... you" and got to be on the top list of suspect.
"Actually two examination papers of Paper 1 were taken home," one lady classmate told me. "Informatics staff phoned everybody." The policeman phoned subsequently. However, the papers were recovered. For Paper 2 and Paper 3, no examination candidate was allowed to leave till all examination question papers were collected.
It was a time of laughter and joy for the group and the lecturer who said that the Batch 2 and 3 classes were quiet and did not ask many probing questions. My classmates were more vocal. "It is the Korean classmate," I said. "He asked too many questions about investments."
I said to the lecturer: "You did not lecture about stray cats and rats. We had a question on how he should handle a complaint of the restaurant who created smoke, had stray cats and rats. I was forced to answer this question as the other questions were harder."
"Well, you are a vet and should know," the lecturer replied.
"But what is the right answer? Just contact the AVA? The police? The NEA?"
There was another examination question which we do not know what is the right answer too. It referred to land acquisition and asked which "3 persons" are interested parties. "3 person" in quotes. Two of my male classmates at the lunch said it was the owner, landlord and somebody. My female classmate said it was government departments. I had replied: "Singapore Land Authority, HDB and National Heritage Board." Why National Heritage Board? Preservation and conservation of buildings in land being acquired.
We don't know the correct answer and I suspect our lecturer does not. We can't expect our lecturer to know everything when examination questions are so tricky. "Well, they still can pass when they write landlord, owner and tenant," my serious lady classmate who avoided this question said to me. She was sure that the "3 persons" in quotes refer to institutions rather than living souls.
It was one of those lunches full of laughter and noise for two hours and the staff must be waiting impatiently for us to get going as the place closed after lunch. It is good to celebrate little successes in life. We will have set backs in life and I hope the Singapore Rose will re-take the examination and pass.
Greeting the lecturer is good manners but this does not seem to be part of the Singaporean culture. Definitely the lecturer remembers you better when you pay respect to his position. You can't expect him to know every subject in the syllabus. You just have to do your own reading and research to pass the REA examination comfortably. There was an examination question on "Professional Etiquette" which I don't know much as it was not in the lectures. However, I had to answer this question. Maybe, "good morning" should be part of the answer.
It is best not to be rude to service staff as they are just doing their duty. Rudeness resulted in a record in the CEA files for this classmate of mine, I would think so since he was called up by the CEA.
For examiners, each examination question paper should be written with the candidate's reference number. Therefore any missing examination question paper can be traced to the candidate, my classmate who is a lecturer in China said to me. In Informatics, no candidate is allowed to leave the class till everybody has handed in their examination question papers and they are accounted for.