Friday, April 17, 2015

Interning for 3 weeks at the World Trade Center Towers in New York City in 1987 by Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

 Looking at last photo of WTC taken abt 8.30AM on 9/11/2001--at the 9/11 Memorial
 Present NY City skyline 2015 copyright KMKaung

With--Top Financial Institution -- "to set up a stock market in Burma."

Someone named George P. called us.  They wanted us to intern for 3 weeks in their offices in one of the WTC towers in NY.  I have forgotten which tower it was exactly, and of course I can't use the real name of the company, but it is still a very well regarded one, and has nothing whatsoever to do with "The Company" i.e. The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) not Culinary Inst of America.  Real CIA is based in Langley, VA.  Any fool shld know that.
So, it was high Summer and we went these by train.  A week later, GP asked for some papers, and I was homesick for Philadelphia, so I went back on the train on the weekend and got them.  We were paid $700 per week and housing provided.
But the very curious thing was, not before, not during the 3 weeks and not after, did anyone come to talk to us, ask for written memos, or ask us our thoughts.
We tried to prepare ourselves.
I walked over to the bookstore on Wall St and bought some books and boned up on Municipal Bonds, ratings, stock market terms etc.  I assumed my brief would be "How to set up a stock market in Burma." and my friend, who was registered at the Wharton School would prepare a paper on "Privatization in Burma".  We were contacted through our scholarship agency, Fulbright.
But all the time, up there on the tower, in the beautiful offices, actually looking down on Lady Liberty's head in the far distance, where she looked the size of a 6 inch statuette surrounding by glistening blue waters, and some boats and tugboats plying the waters, not a single person contacted us about what we were supposed to be doing there.
They all looked busy with their own thing, and did not even speak to us.  Very strange.
I think my friend Y was able to find out more.  In spite of the beige colored clothes she wears, and her severe expression, she is actually more of a people person than I am.  I really don't talk well with people I do not know.
Y. talked a lot abt Privatization under Mrs. Thatcher's govt in UK at that time.  She went upstairs and spoke to the librarian, or somebody in a supervisory position.  In Rangoon, when we were being chosen for the scholarships, we went through a battery of tests and one of them was a psychological quiz, that labeled Y an extrovert, and me an introvert, and on the WTC Tower, we did act true to type.
With--Top Financial Institution -- "to set up a stock market in Burma."

Someone named George P. called us.  They wanted us to intern for 3 weeks in their offices in one of the WTC towers in NY.  I have forgotten which tower it was exactly, and of course I can't use the real name of the company, but it is still a very well regarded one, and has nothing whatsoever to do with "The Company" i.e. The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) not Culinary Inst of America.  Real CIA is based in Langley, VA.  Any fool shld know that.
So, it was high Summer and we went these by train.  A week later, GP asked for some papers, and I was homesick for Philadelphia, so I went back on the train on the weekend and got them.  We were paid $700 per week and housing provided.
But the very curious thing was, not before, not during the 3 weeks and not after, did anyone come to talk to us, ask for written memos, or ask us our thoughts.
We tried to prepare ourselves.
I walked over to the bookstore on Wall St and bought some books and boned up on Municipal Bonds, ratings, stock market terms etc.  I assumed my brief would be "How to set up a stock market in Burma." and my friend, who was registered at the Wharton School would prepare a paper on "Privatization in Burma".  We were contacted through our scholarship agency, Fulbright.
But all the time, up there on the tower, in the beautiful offices, actually looking down on Lady Liberty's head in the far distance, where she looked the size of a 6 inch statuette surrounding by glistening blue waters, and some boats and tugboats plying the waters, not a single person contacted us about what we were supposed to be doing there.
They all looked busy with their own thing, and did not even speak to us.  Very strange.
I think my friend Y was able to find out more.  In spite of the beige colored clothes she wears, and her severe expression, she is actually more of a people person than I am.  I really don't talk well with people I do not know.
Y. talked a lot abt Privatization under Mrs. Thatcher's govt in UK at that time.  She went upstairs and spoke to the librarian, or somebody in a supervisory position. 

In Rangoon, when we were being chosen for the scholarships, we were put through a battery of tests.  One was a psychological quiz which said Y was an extrovert, and me and introvert, and yet Y never married, while I did.
Certainly, interning at the WTC Towers, we acted true to type.  We mostly spoke to each other in Burmese, standing up near the reception desk at lunch time. Y liked my white linen trouser suit.  The financial wizzes whizzed by, smiling slightly at these 2 Asian women, one in a long skirt, both abt 5 feet tall and abt 120 lbs, talking to each other.
The only other people who spoke to me were Grace King (really Kim) who was the stock officer for China, but she was very busy.
So I talked to the young American man who was also interning there, and seemed as lost as we were.

We did have some little troubles at the outset about housing.  The woman named A. seemed to wish to push us to rent in Brooklyn Heights across the river.  She took me/us? there in a taxi, but I did not want to live in a house for just 3 weeks.  Late my 2 NY cousins who worked at UN said it sounded like she was steering us to her aquaintance's house, and it certainly looked like it.
I said I/we did not want to live there, as we were concerned abt security and wished to live in a building with a 24 hour reception desk.  It was then that A turned towards me and asked "How do most people live in Burma?"  I said, "Most people live in huts."
I didn't say both Y and I lived in good neighborhoods.  At Penn we stayed at Nichols House which also had 24 hour security.

Anyway, the Murray Hill hotel suite with the kitchenette they finally arranged for each of us worked very well.  I still have the NY neighborhoods booklet that they gave me, I like Murray Hill and on weekend my son and my friend's son came to visit and we went to the Bronx Zoo.

I took my famous photo of a leopard dozing, all 4 limbs hanging down the sides of an artificial log.  I just loved that pic.

Most mornings I got lost, trying to find my way to Wall St, and the first 2 days I had to take taxis.

I also went into B. Altman's that classy dept store a lot.

I bought some cloisone ear rings and some black underwear, that I thought I would use when my husband came to visit.

A few years ago, I gave it all away to our housekeeper, who said she would give it to her daughter.

The first day at lunchtime in the office, the cleaning lady tried to use me to get some free food to take home for herself.

She brought out these order forms, and said fast, "You want this and this and this, don't you?" and she ticked everything so that a massive amount of food arrived in about 6 boxes all stacked up.  The delivery man has to peer over the boxes.

Of course, I only ate very little, and the rest--I closed the boxes and put them all in a pile in the nearest trash can, out of which I am sure the woman fished them out soon.

So that's how you work Wall St.

On subsequent days, I would just go down to the plaza, sit on the low wall surrounding the global sculpture and eat a small lunch.

I did like the surrounding small streets a great deal, esp Church St with its cemetery.

I tried to look for it the other day, but did not find it.

I think the older building, Woolworths? is the one that survived.

After 3 weeks, Y and I went back to Penn.

A few weeks later, the stock market crashed, and I knew no one would come asking me abt my ideas for Burma.

And the next year, that great watershed event, 1988, happened in Burma--

to date, no stock market still in Burma--maybe it's a dozing leopard too.

Copyright KMKaung
4-18-2015
























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