Update : February 29, 2020

Dr. Tha Hla

  • Saya studied for his Ph.D. in Geology in UK about the same time as Dr. Maung Maung Kha (Meteorological Physics) and Dr. Hla Myint (Economics).
  • He was the first native Professor at the Department of Geology. His students included Dr. Nyi Nyi.
  • He served as Interim Dean of Engineering.
  • He served as Rector, Rangoon University.
  • He retired after serving as UN Advisor.
  • He found jobs for several Burmese expatriates in Thailand.
  • He is known for his discipline and integrity.
  • U Thadu, famous writer & director, tried to get “concession” from the Film Censor Board. Saya refused. U Thadu had to resubmit the film. U Thadu was surprised to learn that his movie received the Academy award (with the “blessing” of Saya). Saya told U Thadu that the two incidents are different, and that he had no grudge or bias.
  • Saya gave lessons on drinking.
    He told his guests, “You can choose whiskey, beer or any drink from the cabinets, but don’t let ‘Ah Yet’ become your master. Don’t add water/soda in the whiskey if you want good taste.”
  • Saya led by example.
    Saya’s jeep drove to meet the rowdy students trying to follow Ajala, the Nigerian agitator and was able to calm them.
  • Saya fought for his colleagues and students.
    When a Minister (in charge of the State Scholar Board) tried to “blacklist” a young geologist for his leftist political views, Saya offered to resign if his student was “punished”. During the minister’s trip overseas, the State Scholar Board selected the then young geologist.

Dr. Maung Thein

  • He informed his students (including Ko Soe Myint) about the Computer Science degree courses being offered at UCC (under the aegis of RU Mathematics Department) and encouraged them to study Computer Science and Applications.
  • He transferred to Mandalay University. He asked Ko Soe Myint and me to give lectures for his staff (during the summer vacation). We overheard some young sayas thinking out loud, “Why is Saya Thein asking the two UCC guys to waste our free time?”
  • He became Professor at RASU. He asked UCC to conduct a short course at Mandalay Hall. Ko Soe Myint, I and a few others ran the course. Rumors spread that a young Minthamee from UCC would be teaching. Wonder what the reaction was when Pale Shein (Pearl), daughter of soccer star Kenneth Shein, showed up.

U Ba Maw

  • We met Saya U Ba Maw, a lecturer, during our short course conducted at MASU.
  • We learned that U Ba Maw was being chastised by the higher authorities for collaborating research with foreigners. U Ba Maw and his students came cross ancient fossils (of Ramapiticus …) during their survey trip near Kyaukse. A US researcher, who heard the news, flew in to Burma, took photos and published about U Ba Maw’s findings. The news broke to US magazines (Time and/or Newsweek).

U Ba Than Haq

  • He served as Professor.
  • He retired as Pro-Rector.


  • Dr. Nyi Nyi retired as Minister and worked for UNICEF.
  • Geology offered “Gems” specialization.
    Khin Maung Lay (GBNF) was an early graduate with the specialization.
  • Geology Department offered Diploma in Applied Geology (DAG) in the Thamaing Campus.
  • U Soe Myint (UCC) and Daw Win Win Than (UCC) studied Geology and Computer Science.

RIT aspect

  • According to U Aw Taik Moh (C54), the Civil Engineering students (living in Prome Hall) had to go to the main Campus to take Geology. Since the students were late and did not pay attention, most of them ended up with C or C-
  • RIT had Geology as a supporting department.
  • U Ngwe Thein was Head of Geology.
  • I had a micro-reunion with Saya [Maung] San (who supposedly shopped at the Junior section at a Departmental Store in London during his studies in the UK) at SPZP-2012. He worked at RIT and in Bangkok.

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