For archive (Updated on March 8, 2019)
We felt we were “veteran” students when we entered the fourth year classes. After all, if we had been at RASU, that would have been the final year.
We had Sayagyi U Ba Than for “Strength of Materials”. Back in our third year, we had all been “stressed” and “strained” by this subject. After listening to Sayagyi U Ba Than give his first lecture, we knew we had nothing to be afraid of. Sayagyi U Ba Than had a unique way of teaching. He would go through the text book, word by word, and explained everything slowly and calmly in very clear terms. If I have to vote for the best lecturer at RIT during our days, Sayagyi U Ba Than has my vote. I have no doubt all the Sayas and Sayamas taught with “Cetana ‘ in their hearts. Perhaps it was due to our inattentiveness or lack of some fundamental understanding that prevented us from fully understanding what was being taught. With Sayagyi U Ba Than, for some reason, everything he taught registered in our minds.
Saya U Maung Maungg Win (M) nd Saya U Soe Paing (E) were two other Sayas that were also “excellent teachers” (in my opinion). Of course there may have been other Sayas in other disciplines that were excellent teachers but I have no way of knowing.
Years later, after I got married, I was told about the kind “Uncle Gwan” that lived next door to my wife’s house in Windermere. My wife told me her parents bought that house from “Uncle Gwan”. Imagine my surprise when I found out that “Uncle Gwan” was Sayagyi U Ba Than. Many years later, in the USA, I met and became very good friends with Sayagyi U Ba Than’s younger brothers, U Tin Htoon (A60) and U Myo Min (B.Com, Chartered Accountant, former Manager at UCC). U Myo Min is married to Sayama Daw Khin Khin Chit Mg (English), who turned out to be my wife’s classmate since Kindergarten at St John’s Convent. U Tin Htoon (A60) mentioned to me he had designed the house that my In-Laws bought from Sayagyi U Ba Than.
As mentioned before, I was the Ah Saung Athwin Ye Hmu for C and D blocks for that year. A decision was made to have a “Sa Dhu Dee Tha” for Tazaungdine. We wanted to have it done near the RASU campus in Kamayut (in order to attract students from other Institutes), but the final decision came down with the Shwe Dagon Phaya Yin Pyin Daw as the venue. Ko Tha Htay (M), Ko Aung Min (Ch) and I took care of asking for donations from the hostel students.
Ko Kyaw Win Maung (Ch) worked hard to ensure things get done in the Paun Mont Ohn Noe San preparation. I don’t know about the details so I hope Ko Kyaw Win Maung (Ch) will write about them. Ma Tin Tin Hla (A) took charge of buying the coconuts, with Ko Mg Mg Swe (M) showing the way (using the RIT truck) to the market that sells coconuts wholesale. After the Sa Dhu Dee Tha, we spent the night on the Phaya Yin Pyin and waited for the Ma Tho Thin Gan to be presented to the Sangha.
NEED ANGER MANAGEMENT ?
The next day, I did something that I regret doing to this day. I got physical with a student from the 2nd yr class. This student was putting up a cartoon critical about the behavior of some student volunteers that worked at the previous night’s event. I did something I should never have done, hitting that student with my fists. I was totally wrong to do this sort of thing. If I have the chance to redo things in my life again, this is one thing I would have liked to correct. But, unfortunately, what’s done is done and the past can never be undone. The Registrar, Saya U Hla, was very understanding, and called a meeting of both parties in his meeting room. Our 64 intake students sat down with the 66 intake students, with Saya U Hla and Sayagyi Dr Aung Gyi (C) mediating and resolving the issue. Sayagyi Dr Aung Gyi told me to count to 100 the next time I got angry so that my anger would die down. Unfortunately, that would not have worked with me. I had waited over 2 hours to get my hands on the person responsible for the cartoons. My problem being that once I set my mind to do something, I would do it regardless of the consequences, and even if I had to wait a long time to do so.
This incident came back to haunt me 3 years later when I was about to get married. My wife’s father, a retired Dy. I. G. of Police, asked for a police report on me from his former colleagues in the police force. This incident was mentioned in that report. My wife’s mother, after reading the police report, asked her daughter to call off the wedding. Luckily (or unfortunately), my wife had the habit of doing the exact opposite of what her mother wished, and went through with her wedding plans.
MAKE RIT BEAUTIFUL
I had another of my Kauk Yoe Mee projects that year. Using my position as Ah Saung Ahtwin Ye Hmu for C and D blocks, I initiated a “make RIT beautiful” drive. With Ko Phone Thwin (Mn), Ko Aung Min (Ch) and others, we started by cleaning up the grass near the pedestrian entrance to RIT from the BPI bus stop. Saya U Myo Win (Agri) came with his tractor and cut down the heavy foliage all the way to the sheds, L1 to L4. Sayagyi U Yone Moe came out to talk to us and mentioned he did not like the way the cactuses that were already growing in the big lawn in front of the Hostels had been planted, since they were not planted uniformly.
Here, I made a mistake. Ko Aung Min (Ch) advised that we should think about planting more cactuses rather than remove the ones that seemed to be planted oddly out of place. I did not take his good advice and tried to remove a cactus tree. I found out the hard way why these plants grow even in desert conditions. It was next to impossible to remove them. So, instead of making RIT beautiful, I created an eye sore by mutilating one of the cactuses.
PARDON MY MEMORY
I do not remember whether the following took place during our fourth year or fifth year. The Inter Institute football tournament was held to include Institutes, Universities and Colleges from the whole country. RIT faced RASU in the semi finals. This competition was held during the summer recess so that not many students were aware of the games.The semi final game was held in Aung San stadium. RIT was the better team, with Ko Khin Mg Shwe on the front left wing, Ko Win Zaw (A), right blender, Sai Thein Maung (C) the goalkeeper and Ko Myint Sein (M), outer right back. Ko Win Zaw thrilled the crowd with his runs down the center of the field. He looked exciting as he ran with the ball, dribbling past opposing players. At times, it seemed no one could stop him. I have no doubt Ko Win Zaw would have been a great Universities selected player had he gone and practiced at the Universities football field under the Universities coach Saya U Nyein. But in his heart, I believe Ko Win Zaw only wanted to play for RIT and did not go. The score was tied 2-2 at full time and the outcome was decided by tossing the coin. Unfortunately, RIT lost the toss and RASU advanced to the finals. In addition, Ko Khin Mg Shwe got a broken rib when a RASU player jumped up and “Knee-ed” him during the match. Going back to RIT, Sayagyi U Maung Maung Than kindly allowed us to ride with the football team on the Hino bus (Sin Phyu Daw Hmee, Kyan Sote).
Ko La Min (EP) was the secretary of the Electrical association that year. I was an EC member. One day, Ko La Min told me he had been asked by Saya U Moe Aung to publish the Electrical magazine. He asked me to speak out against doing the publication. At the meeting, I argued against publishing the magazine. Saya U Sein Win and Saya U Moe Aung spoke for publishing the magazine. A vote was called for. Only I and Ko Ye Myint (EP) 65 intake were against it. We lost the vote.
A couple of months later, I asked Ko La Min when the magazine will come out. He said “Never” and told me what he did. He insisted on having his room number as the place where articles can be submitted on the announcement, in addition to Saya U Moe Aung’s room. He put away all, but two of the articles, under his bed. When Saya U Moe Aung asked him for the submitted articles, he showed Saya U Moe Aung only the two he did not throw away under his bed. You cannot publish a magazine with two articles only so that was the end of the Electrical magazine.
For summer training in our fourth year at RIT, I went to the small appliance manufacture and repair departments. of the small scale industries. Ko La Min (EP) was with me. At the assembly plant of “Sein” radio in Pazundaung, we were asked to solder the circuit boards for the radios.
For the second part of the training program, we were assigned to the small appliance repair shop located on either Merchant St or Anawratha St, near 38th street. Here, we were shown how to test the electric irons that were sent there for repairs. After a week, the supervisor there told us that although he appreciated our work, he wished we would never get posted to his department after we graduate, since we “worked too hard”.
Summer time also meant attending the “Research Congress” held in the RASU campus. Not that we were interested in any engineering research. Our main interest were the papers presented by well known writers of that era, like Thetkatho Phone Naing.
Don’t even think for a minute that we had any literary interests. Our attention was on the large number of the fairer sex that were listening at those meetings.
SAYAS’ FOOTBALL TEAM
We also had a football match between the Ah Zaung Thar Yar Ye Athin and the Saya’s team. I did not tend the goal for this match and played in midfield instead. I did something I was not proud of in this game. Sayagyi Dr Aung Gyi and I were running for the ball. Sayagyi was surprisingly swift and beat me to the ball. My animal instincts took over and I pushed Sayagyi to the ground and took the ball away. Sorry, Sayagyi. I know I shouldn’t have done that. I acted really bad that time.
The winning goal was scored by Ko Aung Min (Ch) from a ball I pushed forward. To the onlooker from a distance, it might seem that I passed forward for Ko Aung Min to score. In actual fact, I was taking a shot at goal, the ball fell short and got stuck in the mud. Ko Aung Min was nearby to take advantage of the situation and kicked in the winning goal.
Another activity I was involved was as secretary of the Maths Association. The only thing we did was to have a Hoa Pyor Pwe. I don’t remember who the guest speaker was. The only thing I remember is that I had to go and get the Zee Pyaw Ye concentrate and ice for the attendees.
RUSSIAN LANGUAGE CLASS
During summer training, I don’t remember whether it was in our fourth year or fifth year, Ko Myo Khin (C) one year senior in 64, and I took lessons in Russian language at the Leik Khone in the evenings. Mrs Marinsky was the instructor. Except for a few words of Russian, I don’t remember much except for the song “Sol Nich Nay Druk”.
AFTER THE FINALS
After the final exams in our 4th year, I took the “Ah Myan” train back to Mandalay. The train started out from Yangon Central Station at 6am and arrived in Mandalay at 6pm. It was like traveling in an RIT train, since a lot of our fellow RIT students were on it. I had the habit of never letting my parents know when I was coming back. I was prepared to find my way around when I got to Mandalay. Since I did not tell my father I was coming, when I went to his Say Gan on 84th st (Zeygyo) near 32nd St, I found the door locked from the outside. It was about 6.30pm and starting to get dark so I decided to go and spent the night at Ko Ye Myint’s (EP) (65 intake) parents’ house in the Mandalay University compound. I jumped into a “Side Car” for the ride to the Mandalay University compound that cost me 3 Kyats. Ko Ye Myint was not at home when I got to his house, but Sayagadaw Aunty Khin warmly welcomed me and made me feel at home. The next day, I took my brother’s car that was in my father’s Say Gan garage and drove to Maymyo.
After the fourth year, it was decision time for us again. We could either take Electrical Communications (EC) or Electrical Power (EP).
My heart said Communications but my brain decided for Power. Employment opportunities for communications graduates were limited so I decided to do what should be done, rather than what I wanted to do. I had to wait another 12 years before I could do what I wanted to do, take Electronics when I continued my studies in the USA.
I was surprised to learn that someone else did the opposite. I met Ko Henry Khoo (EC 7) while attending the mini reunion hosted by Ko Thaung Sein (EC), (Steeve Kay), in December 2011. He had taken the opposite path. He took Electrical Communications at RIT and changed to Electrical Power when he came to USA.
When the fifth year started, I decided not to get too involved in activities at RIT. Still, I remained as the Secretary of Maths Association at the request of Saya U Sein Shan (GBNF).
One day, Ko Win Zaw (A) reminded me to attend the meeting for the formation of the RIT football association for that year. At the meeting, both Ko Win Zaw (A) and Sai Thein Maung (C) urged me the to be the secretary. The only thing I remember doing as secretary of the RIT football association for our 5th year at RIT was to go around the hostels, asking for donations. RIT had opted to participate in the Insein Township football competition and money was needed to provided transportation for the students to Ywama Stadium from RIT Hostels. Since there was an important game, we had to solicit donations from the students and rented 6 Dodge Jeeps from the Insein-Danyingone Bus Line. After the game, we found that there were only 4 Dodge Jeeps waiting at Ywama Stadium to take us back to RIT. I don’t remember what team RIT played against. I can only recall that RIT lost.
I started two other activities that took me outside RIT. One was to go to the University swimming pool in Kamayut a couple of times a week, with Ko Win Thein (EP) GBNF, Ko Tin Win (EP) and Ko Than Lwin (EP).
WATER POLO MATCH
We also watched RIT play against the Inst. of Medicine 1 in the Water Polo competition. We were loud and boisterous as usual, filling the air with derogatory comments about the Inst. of Medicine. Ko Htein Win (M), nickname Chauk Pe, tended goal for RIT at the shallow end. Ko Win Aung (M) played in the forward position. After RIT scored the first goal, Ko Myo Khin (C), one year senior in 64, jumped into the swimming pool fully clothed. (He was told to get out of the water immediately). But our joy was short lived. At the change of ends after 15 minutes of play, Aung Tun Oo (a) George Htoon Pay (M) 65 intake, took over as deep end goalkeeper for RIT. Inst. of Medicine scored 7 goals against RIT in a space of 15 minutes, Since RIT was losing badly, we stopped yelling bad things about the Inst. of Medicine, but we did not totally shut up. Ko Myo Khin (C) noticed the Saya U Hlaing, the sports- in – charge from the Inst. of Education, was sitting improperly across that pool and his private part was showing. Ko Myo Khin (C) told us to yell “Ha Bac Ko Aing Luu, Ah Htaw Ma Tine, Gor Pwae”. U Hlaing got the message after we had shouted out twice.
Another activity that I undertook was to go to the University Boat club. The RIT Rowing Association had Saya U Thein Dan (C) as President and Ko Aung Lwin (C) , (Jasper Wu), as the Secretary. Saya U Thein Aung (a) Mickey Tan (Physics), RASU, took care of most things at the Boat club. We formed a novice crew. Ko La Min (EP) was our cox. I was in the Stroke position, Ko Zaw Win (Ch) was No 2, Ko Yit Moe (C) 65 intake, was No 3 and Ko Than Htun Aung (Ch) was in the Bow position. Ko Aung Lwin guided all of us through the steps at the Boat club. As novices, we were only allowed to row wooden tubs. The only race we won was by default when the other crew did not have enough men to compete in the heats for the annual Regatta. We lost the semi final race against a team from RASU and did not get the chance to participate on Regatta day.
On Regatta day, George Htoon Pay (M) 65 intake, won the single sculls competition. Ko Aung Lwin (C) and another person won the coxless pairs competition. There was also a female novice crew from RIT. Ma Myint Myint Sein’s (M) younger sister, Aye Aye Than, nickname Pauk Pauk, headed that crew of 66 intake students. We used to travel together from RIT to the Boat Club and back.
Ma Pauk Pauk and her daughter stayed overnight at our house in New York (around 1998) when they came for a visit from England, (where they were living). Actually, they visited Washington DC first, and Ma Lei Lei Myaing (T), my wife’s classmate from St John’s convent, brought them to our house when they visited New York city.
CROSS LAKE SWIMMING
Going to the RUBC almost daily meant I was around when the 2000 meter cross lake swimming eet was held. About 30 to 40 swimmers from RIT took part. Saya U Charlie Hla Myint (M) as President of the RIT Swimming Association, was the organizer and supervisor of the event. Non-participants like us, took to the water in flat bottom paddle boats and rowed on the sides of the swimmers, ready to give aid if needed. I was with Ko Win Thein (EP) GBNF and another person for the event held in our 5th year. We followed the swimmers to Dubern beach and paddled back.
For the event held in our Final year at RIT, which was won by Ko Wunna Sithu (EC71) intake, I was in the paddle boat with Ko Ye Myint (EP) and Ko Mg Latt (M) both 65 intakes. None of us knew how to steer a paddle boat, but we blushed it off as no big deal. We would somehow make it across the water to Dubern beach. Easier said than done. We found ourselves going around in circles in the middle of Inya lake, listening to the laughter and jeers of the people looking at us from the Boat club. Finally, I asked the other two not to paddle and slowly paddled and guided the boat to Dubern beach. We arrived at Dubern beach after the last swimmer had gone ashore. Luck was with us as there was a person who was taking care of getting the boats back to the other side of the lake and we gladly let him take it.
I remember meeting Daw Tin May, wife of the late Sayagyi U Ba Kyi, nationally well known artist and Saya, as we walked up Dubern beach. She was there since her house was being built there at that time. After Ko Ye Myint introduced me to her, I remember her comment “Thi Par Dae, Ah Chaw Myo Tway Bae”.
A committee was formed at RIT for the publishing of the RIT Magazine. I was in the sub committee led by Saya U Win Kyaing. Our sub committee was assigned to take care of advertisements. Saya U Win Kyaing decided we should ask for advertisements from foreign embassies. I remember going in Saya U Win Kyaing’s car into the North Korean consulate compound and being ushered out quickly.The only embassy interested in putting an advertisement was the West German embassy. We talked to their cultural secretary and he cut out a cheque for 100 Kyats as payment for the advertisement. Saya U Win Kyaing later told us that he had been instructed not to take advertisements from foreign embassies and we had to send the cheque back.
Saya U Tein Kyi asked us to come to his house (on Attia Road) on weekends so that he may give us submitted articles for us to edit. One article I edited was “Sabe Hna Pwint Hta Yan Kar”, which I found to be very well written with a great story line. That article won the best fiction article award.
When the printing started, I had to go to Pazaundaung in the evenings to check on the progress and edit sample runs of the RIT Magazine for errors. We took turns going there, and as far as I can remember, there were always two of us paired to work together. I might have been paired with Ko Kyaw Win Maung (Ch) but I am not certain.
KO CHO AYE
At the end of our 4th year at RIT, Ko Cho Aye (M) and I agreed to submit as room mates for the 5th year. When the 5th year started, we were on the 3rd floor of D block, facing C Block. Even though we were in different disciplines, Electrical for me and Mechanical for Ko Cho Aye, we still had classes in common. Advance Calculus, Industrial Management and Fluid Mechanics were common to both of us. Saya U Tin Htut taught Industrial Management and I still remember the “Critical Path Method” he taught.
For summer training in our 5th year, we went to ESB. Ko Khin Mg Shwe (EP) and Ko Pyi Soe (EP) were with me. We had to accompany the crews that were sent out on calls at first. Later, we were sent to the Ywama Power Station. At the Ywama Power Station, they had a program ready for us, detailing what we should be taught on each day.
After the summer training was over, I went back to Maymyo. Ko Phone Thwin (Mn), showed up in Maymyo as guest of Ko Win Htut (C). Since Ko Win Htut’s parents’ Maymyo house was quite near to mine, I remember spending time in the evenings, sitting on a little bridge over a stream near Ko Win Htut’s house. with Ko Phone Thwin (Mn) and Ko Win Htut (C) .
One evening, while we were sitting there, a man passed by on a bicycle and called out Ko Phone Thwin’s name. I asked Ko Phone Thwin who he was and was told that this person had been with our 64 batch at RIT and left to attend DSA after the first half of the year. Ko Phone Thwin probably remembers who that person was.
FINAL EXAMS AND AFTER THE FINALS
The final exams for the 5th year were held earlier than usual, in August. The reason being that efforts were been made to move the start of the school year to June from November.
After the finals, I went back home. Ko Aye Win Hlaing (EP) 65 intake, came to stay with me for a little while. Ko Ye Myint (EP) 65 intake, who was always with me during holidays, could not come anymore since his father, Sayagyi U Ba Toke, had transferred to RIT on his own volition from his previous position as Rector of Mandalay University.