Archive [29] : Benny Tan

Traveling through the time machine

by Benny Tan (a) Tan Yu Beng [Mech 70]

Original posting : 2000

Updated : June 14, 2019

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who attended as well as the supporters who were unable to attend the RIT Alumni “Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP)” for making the event a resounding success. I would also like to extend my special thanks to those who generously donated to the Saya Pu Zaw Pwe Fund and those who helped out with the event. Without everyone pitching in, this event could not have turned out like it did. Kudos to everyone.

I am sure everyone will agree that my co-chair Maurice Chee is one of the hardest working men we know. He deserves three cheers from us all. If either Gore or Bush had him on his team that team would surely have won with a large margin, and these candidates would not be in the position they are in today.

Like most of the attendees, it took me a long time to recover from “The Reunion” event. Maurice and I are still trying to complete all the post reunion work so that we can close the book on this very special event in our lives.

Words can hardly describe my feelings on the day of “The Reunion”. Khin Khin (Sayama Daw Kin Kin Chit Maung) said to me, “You guys are all high today,” and she was absolutely right. I felt happy, excited, exulted, and young again. It was as if I had traveled through a time machine. Like everyone there, I could hardly sit still during the event. It seemed as if everyone was talking non-stop. It was nice to see old friends, Sayagyis, and Sayas all in one place. I also noticed that hardly anyone of us could concentrate on our assigned duties. We all just wanted to shake hands, hug, and talk non-stop. It reminded me of one of the Elvis songs with the lyrics: “this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.” And, oh what a feeling!

Just imagine if this great event had taken place at RIT. I, for one, would be running into the classrooms; taking a seat; then running out of the back door just like I used to do. I guess this time Saya Allen and Saya U Aung Khin would surely recognize me and mark me absent for the roll call.

On the following Monday, I felt as if I had just completed my finals. I was walking around in a daze and could hardly do anything but think about the reunion. I am hanging on to the wonderful memories. As they say in Burmese, I am “Sa Myoant Pyan Nay Dair”.

I am happy that we had this opportunity to honor Sayas at the Saya Pu Zaw Pwe. I wish more Sayagyis and Sayas from our home country could also receive the same honors. My thoughts go out to Sayagyi U Ba Than, U Kyin Soe, U Sein Shan, U Shwe Hlaing and U Aryar. I am sure most of the organizing committee members will agree that all Sayagyis who could not make it to the Reunion as well as Saya Pu Zaw Pwe be taken care of. Perhaps we can send them gifts, memorabilia and a video tape.

Earlier in this letter, I wrote about closing the book on this special event. That was a mistake. I think it is only the beginning, the first chapter of a new book. I believe we should take advantage of this momentum and build on it. We need to convert RIT Alumni International from an informal group into a formal organization. We need to define the short term and long term goals, draw up by-laws, plan the organization structure and think of how to link with other RIT alumni groups around the world, etc.
Looking back at the group that gathered on that day, it must be the meeting of one of the most highly educated groups of people from our homeland. I think we should harness this brain power and energy. I don’t know how and I don’t know where, but we should make something good and lasting come out of this gathering.

Well, Ko Hla Min and Ko Khin Maung Zaw, it looks like the seeds you two sow had sprouted a plant with many blooms. Now that the plant is growing into a tree, we need to make sure its roots are strong so that it will last a long, long, time.

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful time. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Steve Kay (Ko Thaung Sein) for his generosity and encouragement in making this Reunion in honor of Saya Pu Zaw Pwe a great success.

Webmaster’s note:

I could not agree more with Ko Benny’s assessment on Ko Maurice Chee, the co-Chair and Treasurer extraordinaire. He made me look like I was a lazy dog, I told him he needed to slow down, so I would look better, ha! ha! ha!

Categories: Uncategorized

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