For archive (Updated on February 28, 2019)
Trivia (158) : Saya Dr. Nyo Win (M65) co-chair, Steering Committee Reunion and SPZP-2000
After the Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pu (SPZP), I feel like most of us still excited but completely deflated. I just have enough energy left to think about it and talk about it, but not enough to write about it. But with Ko Hla Min’s call for the end of the post reunion article at number 36, I want to catch this last chance to write a few words before the close of the book, so to say.
First, as the one of the co-chairmen of the Steering Committee, I’d like to add a few words to U Myat Htoo’s article on the apology and thanks to the all the sayagyis, sayas, and fellow alumni. We’d planned and tried to make the Reunion and SPZP a success. I agree with U Myat Htoo that there were areas of deficiencies that we overlooked and were unable to cover. Let me mention a few that we could have done better to run the program more smoothly. It may also be helpful hindsight to pass on to 2002 reunion team.
The reception area was too crowded. We expected 300 plus people would be converging on to the narrow aisle at about 5 O’clock. We tried to arrange two tables in parallel to allow more people to check-in, sign the book, receive the gifts and be directed to the appropriate tables. The crowd was larger than expected. Our seating plan didn’t help. It was designed to group people according to their requests of having close friends together. Unfortunately, the attendees’ names were not listed in alphabetical order with table number assigned. It was very time consuming to locate the table number for the guest. This resulted in people congregating in the check-in area in spite of the ushers’ effort to help.
We under estimated the time for picture taking. It turned out it was the most exciting event. We had group photos of every combination one could imagine. Getting everyone to follow the program for the number of pictures taken was not possible. It ended up a half hour photo session was three times longer. The good thing was, everyone liked it and everyone wanted it. In order to keep the program moving in a reasonable time, our MC U Myat Htoo had to exercise some crowd control. I hope everyone share U Myat Htoo’s difficulty for so doing.
The program was overloaded. Our program called for speeches from sayagyis, sayas, and the alums; opportunity for the audience to contribute to fun, entertainments, singing and jokes. Everyone appeared to be so happy and excited. All of us had so much to talk about, so much fun to have and so much joy to share that hardly anyone could concentrate and follow the program allocated time. But, isn’t that the expectation everyone had of the reunion and SPZP?
We did not allocate sufficient time to meet and thank everybody. Of course, it was not easy to walk around and talk to everybody throughout the event. Again, in hindsight, one possibility would have been to have Organizing Committee representatives go around the tables during dinner time to meet and thank everybody.
I want to reiterate, like everyone else, that this great event was a resounding success in spite of a few glitches. The success was due to the support given to the event from all those who attended and from those who were unable to attend but whole-heartedly supporting and encouraging us. The success was due to those who generously donated to the SPZP Fund so that we could make the best use of it for the event. The success was due to those who helped out with the event, and most of all, due to the hard working Executive Committee members under the leadership of Co-chairmen Benny Tan and Maurice Chee.
I would like to give a couple of examples of how dedicated the two co-chairs, Benny and Maurice, were. In the morning on the day of the Reunion, I was at Benny’s house. Benny showed me the 25-foot RIT Reunion and SPZP banner undergoing the final touch. I learned from Benny that the contractor was unable to deliver the banner on time as promised. But we must have it for the great event! Benny, with the help of his nephew, decided to make one themselves just the night before the Grand Reunion. They bought the canvas, the paint, and the brush; they designed the RIT logo and the characters; they rolled up their sleeves and succeeded in finishing the banner in time for the great event.
In the afternoon when I was at the Embassy Suite making the final arrangement for the arrival of the guests, I got a call from Maurice. He told me that he would be a little late coming to the hotel. I learned from him that, not being able to get a print shop to do the job on time and as desired, he was printing the name tags for the guests with his own computer.
This very special event brought us excitement and great emotion. We shared the joy and the happy moment. But I would think that the feelings of each of us must be different and unique. For me, at time I felt that I was back in the good old days of teaching at RIT. I saw Rector Dr. Aung Gyi, Mechanical Engineering Department Head Saya U Aung Khin, Chemical Engineering Department Head [and Rector] U Khin Aung Kyi, Saya U Nam Kock, other sayas, colleagues and students. At time I felt that I was still one of the students attending the classes.
My most memorable year at RIT was actually the first and the only BIT year, 1962. We had very few students in First Year. In fact, there weren’t that many engineering students altogether at BIT that year. Among my contemporaries were U Kyaw Aye (Shakoor), who is still in Burma and U Hla Myint (Charlie), who is now in Australia. We were the lucky ones who survived First Year Heat Engine taught by Saya U Aung Khin. I can assure you for those who’d never taken Heat Engine from Saya U Aung Khin how low the yield was from that class. Decades later, in the mid of this great reunion, seeing all the sayagyis, former colleagues, former students and new RIT graduates whom I had never met, I felt like I was in a dream.
Now that the great event is over, we are looking forward to meeting again in Singapore, Year 2002. I agree with Saya U Aung Khin, and let me quote from his article, that “we keep up with the changing situation in our home country regarding secondary technical education and decide on how inclusive we should be so that continuity can be maintained by embracing an expanding fraternity of engineers.” We all witnessed the group with exceptional talent gathering at the night of the reunion. Benny Tan in his article suggested the idea of harnessing the brainpower and energy of the group. I would think that the Year 2000 reunion was reminiscing of the past and sharing of the present, the Year 2002 reunion should in large part be the bridging of the present and the future. As to how, let’s start tapping on our talent pool now.
Fremont, California December 3, 2000