Updated on March 10, 2019
Saya Dr. Chit Swe
Still So Young And Passionate: Saya Chit
Saya Chit (Dr. Chit Swe) is 88 years young, but he still has an active mind and has a desire to payback to Myanmar.
Until a few years back, Saya was supervising Burmese students in Australia with their research and theses.
Saya studied at Mandalay University. His contemporaries include Saya Di (Dr. Maung Di) and Tekkatho Phone Naing (U Khin Maung Tint, who supposedly based his characters on his friends).
Saya did his studies at Imperial College (University of London) and the University of Liverpool in the UK.
During his studies at Imperial College, Saya U Ba Than (Retired Professor of Mechanical Engineering, RIT) was his room mate.
Saya was Head of Mathematics Department at the Institute of Economics when he proposed to the Ministry of Education to acquire a computer for research and teaching. Saya Nyi Nyi requested Saya Chit to extend the scope of his proposal to cover selected universities and institutes. The UCC project was born.
It would take several years before UNDP would approve to fund the UCC project. UNESCO would act as the Executing Agency.
Saya Chit succeeded Saya U Ba Toke as Professor of Mathematics Department at RASU. Saya recruited volunteers to help plan for the implementation of UCC. Saya received permission to use Mandalay Hall as the temporary home for UCC.
Saya Chit, Saya Paing (U Soe Paing), Saya Myo (U Myo Min), Saya Lay (U Ko Ko Lay, GBNF) and several others conducted courses on Computer Fundamentals & Programming, Systems Analysis and Design, and Numerical Methods.
Thamaing College Campus
UCC moved over to Thamaing College Campus as a neighbor to RC2 (Regional College Two). Saya Chit became the Founder and Director of UCC. Saya Paing, Saya Myo and Saya Lay became Managers in charge of Systems Division, Applications Division, and Operations Division.
Note : After reorganization, Applications Division was split into Business Applications Division and Scientific Applications Division.
Saya was a pioneer and an advocate of “Technology Transfer”, “Leapfrogging Technology”, “Knowledge Sharing”, and TOSS (Team of System Specialists).
Saya is modest. During a trip to Chauk Htat Yone (Six Storey Office), the admin would “ignore” Saya Chit and would pay respect to U Myint Oo (his student and volunteer assistant), who was well dressed and was carrying a suitcase.
Saya insisted a Component in the UCC Project Plan to invite the elite Computer Scientists and Practitioners including
(a) two Past Presidents of the prestigious ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) : Professor Harry Huskey (UCSC) and Professor Anthony Ralston (SUNY Buffalo),
(b) a future ACM Turing Award Winner (considered as the Nobel Prize for Computing) : Professor Michael Stonebraker (UCB) to UCC and jump start courses in Computer Science and Applications.
Saya thought that I had served as an Editor for a newspaper. I had written articles, poems and translations for Guardian, WPD (Working People’s Daily) newspapers and Forward Magazine.
Upon learning that I was an RIT graduate volunteering for the UCC Project Maung Thaw Ka (Bohmu Ba Thaw, Chief Editor of Forward Magazine, GBNF) suggested that I should join his staff.
In my 3rd BE, editors from NAB (News Agency Burma) headed by Tet Toe (U Ohn Pe, Chief Editor) invited me to join their staff.
My parents supported my hobbies, but they wanted to make sure that I have a good education and a decent job.
I became a writer for Saya’s projects:
- High School Mathematics Curriculum Development
- Children’s Treasury of Knowledge (CTK)
- Planning for computerization of Government Departments
- Team of System Specialists (TOSS).
Saya believed in me and gave the opportunity to take challenges.
Life After UCC
After UCC, Saya served as Rector of RASU, but his passion for his “Dream Child” and his care for his former students never diminished.
After retirement, Saya taught at Assumption University — formerly known as ABAC (Assumption Business and Accounting College) — in Bangkok, Thailand.
Saya later relocated to Sydney, Australia. Several Burmese there completed their doctorates under his supervision.
Reunion With Saya In Australia
In June 2006, I visited Sydney, Australia to attend several gatherings:
- RIT alumni gathering headed by Saya U Hla Myint (Charlie, M65) and Saya U Myo Win (Melvin, M65, GBNF)
- UCC alumni gathering at Saya Zaw’s house where we paid homage to Saya Chit and Saya Dr. Freddie Ba Hli (National Planning Adviser & Board Member of UCC)
- Old Paulians gathering at Olympic Park organized by Dr. Thann Naing (Bonnie Kywe, SPHS66, Geology70)
Saya asked me to give a lecture or seminar to interested young people in Sydney. He then presented me with his hat. I hope that Saya’s hat can “transfer” his brilliant thinking into my head.
In the past years, Saya visited Singapore and Myanmar and shared his wisdom, knowledge and experience.
He has minor health problems, but his mind is sharp as ever.
Saya Dr. Tin Maung (GBNF)
- Saya DTM (Dr. Tin Maung, GBNF) is the son of Saya Kar, who served as Minister of Education in the Caretaker Government. Saya joined the Department of Mathematics as Tutor. He went for further studies in UK. Upon his return, he was promoted to Lecturer.
- He succeeded Saya Dr. Chit Swe as Director of UCC. During his tenure, DCS (Department of Computer Science) was established with Saya Lay as Professor and Saya TAG as Associate Professor.
- In 1987, ICST (Institute of Computer Science and Technology) with Saya as Rector. There were four Departments : (a) Hardware Technology (b) Software Technology (c) Information Systems (d) Computational Mathematics. Saya U Ko Ko Lay was Professor of Information Systems. Saya Dr. Tun Aung Gyaw was Associate Professor for Hardware Technology. I was Associative Professor of Software Technology. Bachelor degree courses in CS and CT were given. In the first batch, there were 30 CS and 15 CT students.
- Saya Dr. Tin Maung continued to implement the Vision and Mission set by the UCC Founders, and managed to go further.
- Saya did not live long enough to see 26 batches (from ICST and UCSY) host the 5th Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe on January 14, 2018. San Yin Myint (Samanta, cousin of Ko Maurice Chee) and her friends posted a “Live” Facebook session of the Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe. Saya Dr. Kyaw Thein, Saya Dr. Maung Maung Htay, Saya U Myint Swe, Sayama Daw Nwe Nwe Win (judy) and I gave short speeches at the Pu Zaw Pwe.
Saya U Ko Ko Lay (GBNF)
- Saya U Ko Ko Lay matriculated from SPHS in 1956 along with Saya U Soe Paing), U Win Htein, Bohmu Percy Maung Maung, Saya U Ba Min and U Than Se (Richard, ChE62).
- He is the elder brother of U Than Htut (M67, RUBC Gold) and Zaw (RUBC Gold, GBNF).
- He studied BSCE and MSCE at Stanford University in the US.
- He joined PWD as Assistant Engineer.
- He was recruited by his friend Saya Soe Paing to help with the UCC Project in general and the design and implementation of UCC Building in particular.
- He transferred to UCC as Operations Division Manager.
- Served as Scientific Applications Division Manager
- Studied Systems Engineering at the University of Lancaster in the UK.
- Professor at the Department of Computer Science (DCS)
- Professor of Information Systems (IS) at the Institute of Computer Science and Technology (ICST)
- He enjoyed playing tennis, soccer and volleyball.
- He has an excellent command of English
- He passed away in the early 1990s.
Dr. San Tint and U Shein Soe Myint
Saya Dr. San Tint (EE61) was my saya at RIT. Saya served as External Examiner for Computer Science students at UCC and DCS.
Saya U Shein Soe Myint (EC83) is a classmate of U Thaung Tin (KMD, former Minister) and my cousin nephew U Thar Hlaing. He joined UCC, DCS and ICST as a graduate student, engineer and later saya. He was studying for his doctorate at NUS when he unexpectedly passed away.
The picture was taken at a mini-reunion of RIT & UCC alumni during my visit to Singapore.
Dr. Freddie Ba Hli (GBNF)
Saya Dr Freddie Ba Hli (GBNF) received Sc.D. (Doctor of Science) from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). At MIT, Saya helped “fresh” scholars including Saya Dr. Aung Gyi and Saya U Min Wun acclimatize with the environment and studies.
Saya served as DG (Director General) of UBARI (Union of Burma Applied Research Institute) and Advisor for the Ministry of National Planning. Saya was a supporter of UCC Project and served as a member of the Board of Directors and as an External Examiner for the Computer Science graduates.
Daw Myint Thwe (Saya’s spouse) is the sister of Saya U Tin U (C), Saya U Ba Than (M), Dr. Daw Win Hlaing, Dr Myo Tint, U Tin Htoon (A60), Saya U Myo Min (UCC), U Thaung Lwin (EC66) and Daw Cho Cho Hlaing.
Saya’s children — Ma Tin Tin Hlaing and Ko Tha Hlaing (EC83) — are UCC alumni.
During my visit to Sydney (Australia) in 2006, Saya U Aung Zaw hosted a UCC reunion and mini-PZP (Pu Zaw Pwe) for Saya Dr. F Ba Hli and Saya Dr. Chit Swe. Saya Chit gave me his hat. Ko Tha Hlaing gave me a book “This is Sydney”.
Ko Htay Aung (Victor, EC80) is a nephew of Saya U Sein Hlaing. He is the spouse of Ma Tin Tin Hlaing (Saya FBH’s daughter). Ko Htay Aung and team “programmed” a PROM (Programmable Read Only Memory) to print Burmese characters on the Cromemco System Three micro-computer. He worked on Burmese Word Processing for Wang Computers. He migrated to Australia. For the past few years, he came back to Yangon to volunteer as an interpreter for the “10-day Mediation Retreat for Foreign Yogis” at the Mahasi Sasana Yeik Tha.
Robert Win Boh (EC69) wrote :
- I used to visit Dr FBH & his dear wife (RIT Saya U Ba Than’s sister) who are Ma TTH’s parents – to pay homage regularly before Saya Dr FBH passed away.
- Saya was fond of my present bought for them from Canberra Return Trip with Ko Aye Win Hlaing (EE) and Ma Phyu Phyu Latt (A71). It is a small woolen blanket hand woven by aged people and sold for charity at the Mid Way Market from Canberra.
- Sayar always put the blanket on his lap when he watched TV news.