Updated : February 26, 2019
Ko Zaw Min Nawaday (EP70) and Ko Ohn Khine (M70)
Edited by Ko Hla Min (EC69)
The Class of ‘70 comprised of the first year intake students in 1964. There were 494 registered students, of which 67 were female. Most graduated in 1970. Some took sabbatical for a year or two. A few left RIT before graduation. The GBNF (Gone But Not Forgotten) was 61 at the end of 2011. The number is growing. The Rector was U Yone Mo and the Registrar was U Soe Thein.
There were three intakes when the new education system started in 1964. They were admitted to the first ever 1st BE, 2nd BE and 3rd BE classes.
The matriculates entered the first ever 1st BE classes. The controversial ILA (Intelligence Level Aggregate) was used for the vetting of applicants. In the system, a score of 1 to 20 was assigned to “map” the marks for each subject. The ILA score (rather than the”raw” marks) was used to determine the eligibility of the students admitted to an institute.
Under the old education system, the matriculates had to attend I.Sc. (A) classes. There were restrictions on the subjects taken at Inter classes to be eligible for Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, etc. For example, one must pass the I.Sc. with at least 50 marks in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry to attend the 1st Year Engineering Classes (3rd BE in the new system).
Under the new education system, there were no restrictions on the subjects taken in Matriculation exam. As such, many students who passed Matriculation with combined Science and Arts subjects and even those with pure Arts subjects were able to attend RIT. For example, Ko Ohn Khine passed the Matric with an odd combination of Maths, Chemistry and Geography.
The first year students were divided into four sections : A,B,C and D. The majority of students of Sections A and B had passed matriculation with pure science subjects. Most of the students of Sections C & D had passed with either Science and Arts Combination or pure Arts. There were some late joiners to RIT.
Male students from districts and states were boarded in hostels, in the ground floor rooms of B, D and E Blocks and “Inlay Hall” in Thamaing.
A building named “G Hall” was assigned to board female students from districts and states. Local female students who applied were also allowed to board in G Hall.
Engineering was not considered appropriate livelihood for women hence there were only a few female students studying Engineering before our 1964 intakes. With the new system, there was an influx of girls. It was quite a pleasant feast to the seniors who were not used to seeing those many female students. So when our ‘64 intake started attending classes, it was a thrill for the senior students to watch a great number of female students strolling in the corridors, coming in and out of class rooms,in canteen, in the food shops, in the library and everywhere on the campus grounds. We were also thrilled to get in company with a lot of female classmates. (It was exciting for me to have female classmates as I [Ohn Khine] was sent to all boys school, St. Peter’s High School in Mandalay since Kindergarten till I matriculated in 1964.) It is fair to note that the girls were somewhat intimidated and somewhat amused by the loud remarks of a few rowdy students or even feeling stared at while having to move from one classroom to another. Girls spent time during breaks in an area of a corridor surrounded by shaded blinds which was known as LCR (Ladies’ Common Room) where the day students usually ate home-brought snacks and rest. Ladies residing at G Hall would have lunch at the canteen and were able to rest in their rooms. The first LCR was a little room on the third floor before a section of the corridor on the third floor was made as the LCR before the start of our 2nd year at RIT. When the bell rang for the next class, it was customary to peek through the blinds to check whether the boys had gone inside the theatre for the timid girls to come out of the LCR.
Outstanding athletes from our class include :
FOOTBALL/SOCCER : (1) Sai Thein Maung (C) (2) Khin Maung Lay (Mutu, M) (3) Win Zaw (A) (4) Myint Sein (Ja Pu Sein, GBNF) (5) Kenneth (Khin Maung Shwe, GBNF) (6) Htun Myint (M) (7) Hla Kyi (8) Sai Aung San (Met)
TRACK AND FIELD : (1) Sai Thein Maung (C) (2) Shein Kee Gae (GBNF) (3) Saw Mg Mg Htwe (4) Oo Myint (Mn) (5) Win Naing (6) Ma Lei Lei Chit (Ch) (7) Ma Nan Kham Ing (A) (8) Maung Maung Thaw (E)
BOXING : (1) Maung Maung Thaw (E)
BODY BUILDING AND/OR WEIGHTLIFTING : (1) Than Htike (M)
BADMINTON : (1) Tommy Shwe (2) Kyi Kyi Sein
VOLLEYBALL : (1) Kyaw Sein (M) (2) Salai Myo Myint (C)
JUDO AND AIKIDO : (1) Ko Sein Myo (C) (2) Ko Kyaw Soe Win (3) Ko Soe Aung (Auto) (4) Ko Thaung Lwin (M) (5) Ko Soe Myint (Agri) (6) Sai Loke Khan (Mn)
BASKETBALL : (1) Ko Tin Aung (E) (2) Ko Tin Aye (M) (3) Kevin Law (4) Ko Soe Aung (Auto)
SWIMMING AND/OR WATER POLO : (1) Peter Pe GNBF (2) Htein Win (M) (3) Win Aung (M) (4) Mg Mg Swe (M) (5)
Ma Tin Tin Myint (Ch)
CHINLON : (1) Soe Tint (C) (2) Mya Daung (M) GBNF
ROWING : (1) Htein Win (M) (2) Aung Lwin (Jaspar Wu) (C)
TENNIS : (1) Aung Kyaw Soe (James Than) (Ep) (2) Ko Khin Mg Shwe (Ep) (3) Ko Wai Lwin (Agri) (4) Rosie Tin Maung (Ch)
UTC MARKSMAN : Tan Yu Beng (Benny) (M) Let Pyaunk Tat Thar, twice, both UTC 1st & 2nd yr.
AH NU PYINNYA SHINS : (1) Ko Myint Swe Win (M) Mandolin virtuoso, vocalist. Participated in every concert.and pwe (2) Ma Mo Mo Yi (E) Announcer (3) Ma Tin Tin Myint (Emma Myint) (Ch) Myanmar Dance (4) Ma Tin Myint Oo (Rosie Tin Maung) (Ch) acted as “Tha Gyar Min” in the musical performance of the song “Sanda Kein Da Yi”. Vocalist and instrument (Don Minn) by
Ko Yu Swan (M 68). (5) George Ko Ko Gyi (Ch) played the part of Ten Headed Ogre (Dat Tha Gi Ri) in the short opera of Chasing the Deer (Rammayana play) (6) Ko Win (Milton Win Pe) (M) Myanmar Drum (Chauk Lone Putt) (7) Ko Than Myint (M) Vocalist & All-round instrument player (8) Ko Soe Aung (Auto) Clarinet (9) Ko Tin Win (Texile) Burmese Harp (Don Minn) (10)
Ko Aung Myint (a) “Thaman Kyar” Ko Myint (Mn) co-starred in the movie “Thaman Kyar” (11) Ko Than Win (Tex), spouse of Ko Myint’s cousin, wrote the script of “Thaman Kyar”.
OUTSTANDING STUDENTS (LU YE CHUNS)
Ko Zaw Min (First Year Roll No.1) was chosen as “Lu Ye Chun” in the first year. He went to Inlay camp in the summer holidays along with Ko Sein Shwe (4th BE), Ko Hla Min (2nd BE) and Ma Khin Than Myint Tin (2nd BE).
Ko Kyaw Win Maung (Ch) was chosen as “Lu Ye Chun” in the second year and went to Ngapali camp.
There was only one Lu Ye Chun chosen per year from our class. Ko Win Thein (GBNF) and Ko Win Aung (M) were Lu Ye Chuns in Matric class (before they entered RIT) and had gone to Ngapali for the first ever Lu Ye Chun camp.There may be others that were Lu Ye Chuns before they came to RIT.
HIKING 300+ MILES
Ko Zaw Min, Ko Sein Win and Ko Han Thar Myint went hiking to Rakhine Division in September 1967. The news appeared in the “Loke Thar” newspaper dated 13/9/67. The following is the translation.
600 Miles Hiking Journey (12 September)
Three RIT students started the 600 over miles hiking journey to Rakhine Division”Than Twe”, Yan Bye Kyun”districts to learn about the cultural and geographical knowledge. They left Rangoon at 4AM today. The students are third year Electrical Engineering students of Rangoon Institute of Technology. They are Ko Zaw Min, Ko Sein Win and Ko Han Thar Myint who had just finished sitting the final examination on the 9th of this month. The journey started from Rangoon to Prome, to Padaung, Taung Koke and Yan Bye Kyun. Return from Yan Bye Kyun to Than Twe, Pathein to Rangoon. The total mileage is over 600 miles.
When we joined RIT, there were various activities to participate besides our main studies. They include: UTC (University Training Corps), SPARK, Weight Lifting and body building, Myanmar Thaing, Judo, Tennis, Badminton, Volleyball, Basketball, Chinlon,
Swimming and Water Polo (at Universities’ Swimming Pool, RASU), Burmese traditional instruments (Harp, Donmin, Mandolin), Kabya Lut dance, Karen tradational dance (Don Yein) & Karen Language classes. Had to go to Main Recreation Center.
What I vividly remember were those volunteer works for the RIT Swimming Pool project on Sundays. I could not recall how long this work continued but there was no such swimming pool till today. These volunteer works were always accompanied by “Doe Bat Waing” which we enjoyed so much shouting “Than Gyats”.
Following added by Ko Zaw Min (Zaw Nawaday)
(a) Daw Tin Tin Myint (Emma) (Ch) bravely competed in the inter-institute swimming meet. I believe she also practiced throwing the Javelin and played volleyball.
(b) Sai Thein Maung (C), was not only a great RIT goalkeeper for 6 years. He also won gold medals in 100 meters and Hop Step and Jump in the Inter Institute track and field competition almost every year.
(c) Ko Khin Mg Shwe (Ep), won the”Novice” tennis competition at RIT. He represented RIT in the 2nd year and we cheered him as he played a nationally known played from RASU (at the courts across from the Universities football field) during our 2nd yr at RIT.
(d) My good friend Tan Yu Beng (Benny)(M), who took the best marksman trophy at both 1st and 2nd yr UTC camps, having competed against not only RIT but, RASU, Inst of Medicine, Inst.of Economics UTC students.
(e) Ko Hla Kyi (nickname Sut Kaw) played center right back for RIT selected football team. Most RIT students that watched the game between RIT and Loke Thar during our first year will remember the flying kick he took at the head of the left winger of Loke Thar when Ko Myint Sein (M) GBNF and that left winger got into a fracas. The Universities team coach Saya Nyein, who was the referee for this game, promptly told Ko Hla Kyi to leave the field.
(f) There were also the forgotten heroes. The RIT B football team. I did not know about them until the third year, when Sai Aung San, my room mate for that year, told me about it. He was the goalkeeper, Ko Yan Shin played in the back line and Ko Kyaw Min Aung was the reserve goalkeeper.
There were nine of us initially in B block during our first year, myself, Tommy Shwe, Ko Cho Aye (M), Ko Htun Myint (M), Salai Myo Myint (C), Ko Than Htike (M), Ko Win Maung (M) Ko Mg Mg (M) and Ko Myo Myint (M). Later, someone else whose name I had forgotten came in as my room mate in place of a 2nd yr student who had moved to RASU. I had always thought this new person’s name was Min Kyu or Min Lwin (Met), but I couldn’t find his name on the listing of 1st yr students.Since there were only 9 of us at B block, we did most things together. We challenged D block which had 48, 1st yr students to a football match. Of course we had to borrow 2, 1st yr students from another block to make the 11 men team, or the other team had to agree to 9 a side. We had one such match the morning of the day when RIT was playing another Institute for the semi finals in badminton. Ko Khin Mg Nyo, (3rd yr) almost got a heart attack when he heard Tommy Shwe played football that morning. Fortunately, Tommy won both singles matches he played that evening and RIT moved on to the finals against RASU.
In the second half of our 1st year at RIT, Ko Thaung Htike (EC) moved into a room on the 3rd floor of C block, directly across from our rooms at B block. His room mate was Ko Henry (C67) (I don’t know his full name). Having Ko Thaung Htike in C block gave me one more person to hang out with. Ko Thaung Htike and myself were classmates at St Peters when we were in 3rd std and we spent long hours together in the evening, talking as we walked to the corner of the Vet. Inst. along Insein road.
In the second half of our first year, Ko Thaung Htike and I attended the RIT Thaing course on the first day of its opening. Like most activities I started, that was the first and last day of Thaing training for me. Another activity that I started and dropped was the Judo course at UTC. I went and participated for about a month and when UTC decided to open a branch at RIT, for some reason, I stopped attending. As my mother used to say to me, that was another of my “Kauk Yoe Mee”. (When straws are burned, flames would shoot up right away and then die very quickly).
The lower floor of C block had the common room and a hair dressing saloon. Sundays, we would run across to the common room as soon as we saw the newspapers being delivered. Out of the 9, 1st yr students, Tommy Shwe was RIT selected badminton player, Ko Tun Myint (M) played for B block that year and later in either the 5th or 6th yr, became RIT selected football player. Saline Myo Myint (C) was RIT volleyball selected for 6 years. He played the role of “lifter”, whose task was to set the ball up for another player to smash across the net. Ko Than Htike (M) took up weight lifting and starred in many weight lifting and Maung Yway Pwes. Since I did not attend these events, I cannot write about what awards he won.
I did something I shouldn’t have done. I tried to become a goalkeeper. I had never played in that position before I got to RIT. In fact, I had never been known to be athletic. In 1st std. at St Alberts, I was sick most of the time. My father, an army doctor, was away in the Shan States where there was a big offensive against the KMT. He came home one day and saw me lying on the bed and he prescribed antibiotics for me. The very day he came back, a messenger came with a message for him to return to his unit immediately, so he left again. My mother misread the dosage and gave me a double dose of antibiotics..That double dose did not kill me but it made me become fat. From 2nd std to 8th std, I was the “Fatty” of the class. 4th and 5th stds, I did play football with Saw Mg Mg Htwe and Ko Myint Thein (?) 65 intake, near our house in Maymyo. 7th and 8th stds, I took up tennis but I wasn’t any good. 9th std, Saw Mg Mg Htwe got me interested in running. That changed my life. I became slimmer. But I did not persevere. 10th std, I played football for Yellow house at St Albert’s as right half. I was not known for my skills but for being an “Ah Yan Kan”.
It was a mistake trying to be a goalkeeper. I had poor eyesight and could not see the ball clearly until it came close. A long ball had the same chance of getting past me as a shot from close by,since I could not see the ball to judge my catches until it got close. The one thing I had was my ability to cut the shooting angle so that most of the time the ball would hit me or come close enough to be caught.
As in the song “Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be”, fate had a reason for me to take up goalkeeping. Many years later, November 2003, I fell down 16 steps of stairs at Shin Ju Ku station in Tokyo. Perhaps due to the years of goalkeeping at RIT, my body instinctively straightened out after the first tumble so that I rolled down the steps. If I had continued to tumble, my neck would have been broken. I did lose consciousness when my head hit the granite floor at the bottom of the steps since I was rolling down very fast. Gravity was pulling me down so that I had no control over how fast I rolled down. Fortunately, except for a bump on my forehead that I have to this day, I came out OK.
Getting back to what the 9 of us used to do, we would walk together to Insein La Ha Pyin Zay at night to eat. If some of us had “Blacksmith” workshop the next day, we would go and eat at U Chit’s Mohinga stall outside the RIT gate at night.. We would guzzle up the Mohinga soup first, and then ask for a little more soup. U Chit knew what we were up to and would grumble “Ah ye tway ah yin touk pyit tae”, but he would still put more mohinga soup into our plates. Next, we would say “ah kyaw nae hin ye”. Lastly, we reminded U Chit “Saya Chit, remember we came to eat”. He knew right away we would be in his blacksmith shop the next day.
One time, there was great excitement when a thief was caught at RIT Hostels. U Soe Thein (Registrar) prevented the students from harming the thief and some students from the 3rd floor of A block began yelling “Soe Thein, chee bu, a kyee sar”.
U Soe Thein was a much vilified person while we were at RIT. Later, I found out that in his heart, he really cared for the students and had a lot of sympathy for the aspirations and feelings of the students. I believe his background, which included working for 12 years as a student activist at the Tat Oo student organization shaped his thoughts. After U Soe Thein moved to the Universities Administrative offices to take a new position, we saw him at the tennis match between Ko Khin Mg Shwe (E) and the nationally known player from RASU. The player from RASU was offended by our loud cheering for Ko Khin Mg Shwe and complained. U Soe Thein stepped in and said we were within our rights to cheer for our player.
The first 4 months at RIT was like being in a whirlwind. There were so many activities going on. Every Sunday, Ko Win Thein (M67, GBNF) from 4th yr would organize some fun and games. There would be a Doe Bat Waing with Ma Myint Myint Sein (M), performing Myanmar Dance. Ma Kyi Kyi Sein (T) nickname Bae Oo, Ma Lei Lei Chit (Ch) and Nan Kham Ing (A) were some of the participants in the running events.
There were also some concerts on weekend nights. The concerts were on a makeshift Zat Khone in the football field. I remember some students (Tobias Kittum Ku, (A), one yr senior, was among them) from Kawthoolay singing “Kawthoolay Ga Lar”, which was very nice to listen to. There was also a boxing tournament. Ko Win Naing (we called him Kachin Win Naing) won one of the bouts, and the most memorable event of the night was Ko Mg Mg Thaw (E) beating Ko Myo Aung (4th yr student) in the bloodiest fight of the night.
As Ko Ohn Khine mentioned below, the fight between Ko Min Kyi and Ko Zaw Win (both M67), was hilarious. They were just clowning around without throwing any real punches.Ko Zaw Win, (M67) always used to walk around with a cheerful smile on his face and I remember him to be very friendly.
Ko Cho Aye (M) and I participated in the mass walk organized by the National Chay Lyin Taung Tet Athin [Hiking & Mountaineering Association], and we walked about 15 miles. I believe our names were mentioned in the Set Hmu Thadin Zin.
The Myanmar Sar dept. organized a Kya Ban Sa Kar Pyor Pwe, and we had a great time laughing and cheering. As we all know, Kya Ban is where you had to draw lots and speak the topic you drew. They had to speak off hand on topics like”Po Ya, Pan Ya, Kyun Naw Ba Wa”, “Than Ma Ni Ah Thae Hna Lone”. Ko Phone Thwin (Mn) and Ko Han Kyu Pe (A)GBNF, spoke about these. I am not sure who spoke about which but one thing I remember is that the whole theater was cheering when Ko Phone Thwin talked about the subject he got. The best speakers were chosen for the Sa Ka Ye Lu Pwe, and included, Ko Nyunt Shwe, Ko Phone Thwin (Mn), Ma Tin May Soe (Ch), Ma Aye Myint (T) and Ma Nilar Mya Aung. Ko Han Kyu Pe (A) might have been one of the participants.
In the second half of the year, the English dept had their Debate, which was between 1st and 2nd yr. students. Ahmed Soomar, Walter Tan (M) and I spoke for the 1st year. Ko Khin Maung Win (Roland Thein, Ep) and Ko Myo Tun (Bobby, A) led the team for the 2nd year. 1st year students won the debate.
There were many sections for English class. I was in Saya Desmond Rodgers’ class. I remember that Ko Win Htut (C) and Ma Min Thet Mon (Pamela) (A), were in that class. One day, Saya Des asked me since I was from Maymyo, whether I knew Monty and Willy, the sons of Lt. Col Min Han. I told him they were my brothers. He asked me why I did not say so before that I knew him. Actually, I was young when Saya Des came up from Mandalay with his brothers to our house in Maymyo and I remembered him as a tall person. So even though the name was identical, he did not look tall to me at RIT and I was reluctant to ask whether he was the same Desmond Rodgers from Mandalay.
FIRST TERM EXAMS
The first term exams were held in February, 15 days earlier that originally scheduled because U Yone Moe was worried the students would be very hot in the sheds (L1-L4) if the exams were held in March.
There was one incident involving some of our 1st yr students just before the exams. Ko Win Htut (C) became very sick and Dr Lu Lu Shein, the beloved RIT medical doctor, arranged for him to stay at the RIT Say Gan. Ko Win Htut got better and one night, myself, Ko Khin Mg Shwe (Ep), Ko Lay Myint (C), Ko Ant Maw (C) were talking to Ko Win Htut in front of the Say Gan. Ko Win Htut let out a yell and the three hall tutors, who just came out after dinner, arrived at the scene. Saya U Tin Hlaing (Byte), demanded to know who the sick person that was supposed to be there was. I remember him saying to Ko Win Htut “Min Lar Phya Tae Lu?” when told the sick person was Ko Win Htut. Saya U Thein Dan, who went to the same high school (St Alberts) as myself, Ko Win Htut and Ko Khin Mg Shwe, stepped in and defused the situation by saying exams are near so we should just go and study quietly.
Note: Saya U Thein Dan (C) was my brother’s classmate at St Alberts. Dr Lu Lu Shein was my eldest sister’s classmate in Medical school.
Since our exams were over by March 1st, Tommy Shwe and I decided to participate in the Peasants day rally. We were taken by the good truck to Kamayut circle around 9pm, and we were in the mass of humanity that slowly moved to the Kyaikasan grounds. By the morning of March 2nd, all of us were in Kyaikasan. We listened to the speeches, which were thankfully short and we were taken back to RIT by truck. A photo of us underneath the banner “Yangon Set Hmu Tekktho” appeared in either the Loke Thar or Shay Tho, as a news photo of the Peasants day rally, but I failed to keep a copy.
Speaking of RIT trucks, there was also a truck we called “Wet Tin Te Car”. After Inter-Institute football games, if we were late, which was usually the case, we were stuck with climbing on to the “Wet Tin Te Car”, which had no hand rails. It was ok if we were going straight, but when we turned, we felt as if we were going to be thrown to the ground. Like that song popular during our college days, “Those were the days my friends, those were the days my friends, those were the days we thought would never end.” We thought the good times would last forever. But all good things must come to an end and here we are, nearly five decades later, much older but not necessarily wiser.
In the second half of our first year, the Inter Institute Badminton championship was held at the badminton hall at RIT. The ladies tournament was won by RASU, and we had fun yelling “EEEEE” every time one particular female player from RASU hit the shuttlecock. In the men’s competition, RIT beat RASU. Sai Khan Pan, 2nd yr, was the star RIT player. Tommy Shwe unfortunately lost but wins by Sai Khan Pan and the doubles team (Ko Khin Mg Nyo, 3rd yr, was one of the doubles players) allowed RIT to come out on top.
INTER-INSTITUTE PING PONG
The Inter Institute Ping Pong (Table Tennis) championships were held in RASU Recreation center. I am not sure whether this happened during our first or second year at RIT. RIT beat RASU in the finals. Wa Lone and the student we called Sin Gyi were the RIT stars. They were 4th or 5th year students. The RASU students would yell “Chee pike pauk kone pyi” and we would retort “Sar Like Sar Like”. We would then shout “B, A, Seit Thar Kin”. Tensions ran high, and as we were leaving, someone threw a stone at us. I remember one student got an injury to the head.
INTER-INSTITUTE FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
The Inter-Institute football tournament was held in the second half of our first year at RIT. Our first year class mates, Sai Thein Mg (C), Ko Myint Sein (M), Ko Hla Kyi, Ko Win Zaw (A), Ko Khin Mg Shwe (Kenneth) were in the starting lineup with Ko Khin Mg Lay (M) in the reserves. Having 5 first year students among the eleven players in the starting lineup, that was an impressive achievement. The next class, 65 intake, had only “Charlie” (M), in the starting lineup. (Charlie was also from my 3rd std class at St Peters) Ko Than Hla (C) 65 intake, was the RIT reserve goalkeeper.
WHY I JOINED RIT
When we took the matriculation exam, all we thought about was entering college as ISc. students and having a ton of fun. For myself, I wanted to take “Pure Science”. The reason is that when I was about to enter 7th std, UTC was in Maymyo for summer camp, Frankie Ohn (1st in Burma 1959) came to our house with my brothers from UTC camp, and instantly he became someone I looked up to. Frankie was taking pure science and graduating with Physics Honours was his goal, which became my ambition too.
When we matriculated in June of 1964, since the new system was to be implemented, taking Physics Major meant attending Mandalay University. That was a big no-no. So was applying to Medical school. I could not take the chance of being sent to Mandalay, where my father had a Say Gan at that time. I had no idea what engineering was all about when I applied with RIT as my first choice. I took my brother’s words for granted that taking Electrical Engineering was like taking Physics.
DECLINE OF OUTSTANDING ATHLETES ?
For the following freshmen class, the 65 intake students, they already knew they needed to study if they wanted to get into the professional Institutes. Since athletes tend to be weaker academically since they had less time to study, the number of outstanding athletes entering RIT dropped. This is not to say that there were no outstanding athletes from the 65 class. There were “Swei Sone” students like Charlie (M71), Ko Than Hla (C) and Ko Wunna Sithu (E71) RUBC gold, to name a few. There were probably many more and I hope someone from the 65 batch writes about them.
AH SAUNG AH THWIN YE HMU
During our 4th year in RIT, Ko Thar Htay (M) was Ah Saung Ah Thwin Ye Hmu for A and B blocks, and I was in the same position for C and D blocks. I believe Ko Aung Min (Ch) was Ah Thwin Ye Hmu for E, F but I am not certain. Since the Annual dinners were not permitted, we concocted a plan to force U Yone Moe’s hand. We proposed to have 3 or 4 weekends of Loke Ar Pay for the swimming pool project (which was near and dear to U Yone Moe’s heart), and in return, we would celebrate the successful Loke Ar Pay by holding a grand dinner. (Not as Annual Grand dinner but under the guise of celebrating successful loke Ar Pay.) We did our part of the bargain and U Yone Moe had to finally give his ok for the annual grand dinner. That dinner was capped with a concert, in which the hit performance was a play by Ko Aung Min (Ch), Ko Myint Than (C), Ko Win Thein (Ep), etc group (don’t know whether Ko Ohn Khine was in the cast) where Ko Aung Min’s (Ch) part was that of a mein ma shar.
One incident I remember is, Ko Thar Htay one time went to see U Yone Moe. He was told “Sayagyi ah nar you nay dae.” To which Ko Thar Htay replied, “Ah nar you dae so dar ate thar ko pyor dar lar?”
Sayagyi U Yone Moe was a father figure to the students at RIT. My parents were good friends of the Sayagyi and Sayagadaw Daw Elizabeth. In our 5th year, Sayagyi U Yone Moe was visiting Maymyo and I used my brother’s car to drive the Sayagyi and his son Philip Yone Moe (M 72) to places he wanted to go. I remember Sayagyi treating me to a delicious lunch at Charlie Khauk Swe Sain, the best in Maymyo at that time.
THE 600 MILE HIKE WAS REALLY 300+
With regard to that trip that I took with Ko Sein Win and Ko Han Thar Myint, it did not happen as the newspapers printed. We had to take the train between Taikkyi and Paungde since Ko Han Thar Myint’s father, U Thein Pe Myint, advised his son to do so since the BCP was very active in that area at that time. I remember staying at a Phongyi Kyaung in Hmawbi, also sleeping under a bench at Paungde train station. We also slept in a little Phaya outside a village near Shwe Daung since the village headman would not let us into his village. In the morning we found dozens of Say Paw Leik butts, probably left by the men the village headman sent to watch over us during the night. Then, as we left, I happened to read the inscription on the Phaya. I saw an inscription that this Phaya was in memory of Sayagyi Thakin Kodaw Hmaing, who was born there.
The next day, near Shwe Daung, we went to a Phaya (I forgot the name). There, we overheard a couple of men holding a newspaper and talking about 3 students walking 600 miles. We quickly left the area before they guessed it was us.
The best part of the trip was climbing the Rakhine Yomas. It was very tiring but the view looking back at the Irrawaddy was breath taking. Continuing the trip, we found places called, Yat Thaw Mu, Su Pyit. I realized this must the route that the EinShaeMin ThaDoe MinSaw Maung Yit took when he brought back the Maha Myat Muni Phaya from Rakhine.
Note: ThaDoe MinSaw Mg Yit,a very capable man, was the son of Badon Min U Shwe Wien (aka U Louk and later called BoDaw Paya). He died before becoming king.
Yat Thaw Mu probably stood for the place the Maha Myat Muni was rested for a while. Su Pyit probably stood for the place where the men had to shoot at some dangerous animals together. Another place of interest was on Yan Byea island (Ramree), at a village about 11 miles south of Kyauk Pyu, a large rock stood out in the ocean, and was used as an outpost by the Japanese during WW2. Also found out there were Chin villages on that island. We spent a few wonderful days at Ko San Tun Kyaw’s (Ep) house in Yan Byea town before taking a motor boat to cross back to Taunggup. Coming down from Taunggup to ThanDwei, was the most exciting part for me. We passed through Kin Maw village, where my father went to school in the 1920s, and Thande village, where my father, grandfather and great grandfather were born. That village was also the place of refuge for my great grandmother’s parents when they fled their lands near Wetwun (about 15 miles north of present day Maymyo) to escape the wrath of the Burmese king.
We missed the ferry to ThanDwei since I spent too much time asking around at my ancestors’ birthplace, and we had to ask a fisherman to take us across to ThanDwei. This was the most frightening moment of the entire trip. The little Laung Hle was weighed down with our weight and stuff, and the waters were almost lapping over the edge of the boat. A little squall in the water and we would have capsized, Then we noticed Ko Han Thar Myint had his bags still slung over his body. He would not have been able to swim had the boat capsized. After what seemed like an eternity,we reached the ThanDwei side.
We walked to Ngapali from ThanDwei the next day and decided to fly back to Yangon from Ngapali since we were told a KNU guerrilla unit was operating in the Nga Thaing Gyaung area, which we must pass through if we walked to Pathein (Bassein)
So, all in all, it was not 600 miles. It was more like 300 miles covered in 12 walking days.