We are glad to see the group “Gangaw Myay (Hnit Taya Pyie Tekkatho)” grow fast both qualitatively and quantitatively.
There are close to 900 members at this time of writing.
Many have posted photos and anecdotes. Several have provided feedback.
Proud and Happy Family
Thanks to Dr. Nyi Thet Lwin (Group Admin), who was born on the Campus and wanted to learn first hand accounts about the University of Rangoon and its descendants.
“Nyi Nyi” is the proud son of Saya Dr. Soe Win who stood First in Burma in the Matriculation of 1958, and Sayama Daw May Saw Lwin.
He is the proud father of Ei Lwin, who achieved grade 9 in all of the nine subjects that she sat in the recent, 2019, GCSE exams. Following grandpa’s footsteps almost sixty years later!
U Aung Mon, his elder brother, was an organizer for EcE (Electronics Engineering) Reunion and SPZP.
At St. Paul’s High School, his grandfather Saya Sein taught Burmese to Saya U Thet Lwin (Ngwe Hlinne, Composer of “Mya Kyun Nyo Nyo Kun Yeik Kho”). The song was first recorded as a “Dat Pya” at Myanmar Ah Than (Burma Broadcasting Service). It was first sung by U Mya Thein and group. It was also sung by the RIT Ah Nu Pyinnya Shins in Singapore (fondly known as the “Pon Chan Chan Group” led by Don Min U Yu Swan).
The posts have invoked tears of joy as well as tears of sorrow.
Many were happy to see Thit Pope Pinn being recognized by the Yangon Heritage Society. The tree was there even before the founding of the University of Rangoon, and it survived Cyclone Nargis.
A few readers — notably the Old Wise man and Poet — expressed displeasure to see the wired fences and the inexplicable disappearance of landmarks.
Oke Soe Kha
Dr. Alvin Oke Soe Kha (son of Sayagyi Dr. Maung Maung Kha) had mixed emotions. He was sad to know that his former classmate and neighbor Maureen Aung Khin (daughter of Saya U Aung Khin (former Professor of ChemistrY) left this world at an early age. He was glad to hear that his best friend Robert Aung Khin is alive and well.
He also shared two sweet memories.
He experienced first hand Saya U Ba Kyi (renowned artist) sing his beautiful translation of “Hna Yauk Hte Nay Chin Dei” to the accompaniment of the violin by Saya Dr. Maung Maung Kha.
He was proud to disclose that his mother Sayama Daw Ruby Kha was National Tennis Champion of Mixed Doubles with Joe Ba Maung.
Saya Joe Ba Maung was Singles Champion and also Men’s Doubles Champion with U Than Lwin. Saya taught English at RIT before transferring as Manager to Burma Railways. Saya was in charge of the Sports Program of Burma Railways. He was one of the early casualties of 8-8-88 movement.
Many posts expressed nostalgia. Some felt rejuvenated.
Pat Tin-Win had the courage to request Sayagyi Dr. Ba Than (who was Medical Superintendent of the Japan Khit Say Yone Gyi, and later founded the Zwe Ah Nyeint at IM) to play Myamangiri on the harp, and allow the recording to be used for her friend Rosie to dance at the 1964 Chemistry Fresher Welcome.
Several yearn for the decent food (e.g. Mohinga, Nangyi thoke, Than Bu) that could be obtained at the Canteens for less than a Kyat, and the strong buying power in the good old days before indiscriminate demonetization.
Some (e.g. Saya U Khin Zaw) remember how the Collegians dressed nicely even before going to the dining hall, and much more elegantly before visiting the Ladies’ Halls.
The ladies and even the young girls (e.g. residents of Bagan Road) sported Burmese attire.
Miss University Pageant was a display of pristine form and beauty. Daw Thitsar Lwin posted beautiful photos of her mother Daw Mary Soe Yin (Miss University for 1958 – 59).
Those who chose to stay in hostels have fond memories of the various functions (e.g. by Thahaya and Sar Phutt Ah Thinn — Social and Reading Clubs), the Inter-Hall and Inter-Institute Sporting Events (e.g. at Aung San Stadium).
Per Daw Nyunt Nyunt Tin, she was a Day Scholar, but she spent a lot of time at Marlar Hall (known not just for beauties but for the excellent sports teams).
A few tried Rowing at the Rangoon University Boat Club (RUBC), but gave up.
Some remember the musical evenings and nights by Pho So Chins. Tekkatho Tun Naung (then a Dental College Student) would play mandolin in front of the Ladies’ Halls (e.g. Inya Saung). He would later co-found the Stereo Khit.
A senior alumni recalled how the Conductors on the Naga (Dragon) Line Buses were cordial.
The later buses would have Numbers instead of Pictures.
Sayama Daw May Saw Lwin remembered her days at Yankin College where Saya U Ba Toke (who was born in December 1920 as a Phwa Bet Taw of the University of Rangoon, and the First RU Students Strike) would address the students as “Ladies and Gentlemen”.
Metta and Cetana
Many are proud of their alma mater, which had produced sons and daughters who excelled not only in academia — in Burma/Myanmar and beyond — but also in Sports, Ah Nu Pyinnya and Public Service.
The not so young students appreciate the Metta and Cetana of their mentors (sayas and sayamas).
There have been Acariya Pu Zaw Pwes and Saya Pu Zaw Pwes.
One such gathering hosted by the Chemistry alumni showed the elderly sayas and sayamas (who are 70+ years young) on the Stage, and those (who are 60+ years young) in front.
I was fortunate to be an organizer for the RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwes. The first SPZP was held in San Francisco, California, USA in 2000. The Singapore alumni hosted the SPZPs in 2002, 2007 and 2010. The Myanmar alumni hosted the SPZPs in 2004, 2012 and 2016. The next SPZP will be held in 2020.
The precious memories are shared by alumni — young and old, far and near, weak and strong — via pictures, anecdotes, poems (in both Burmese and English).
Sharing is Caring
There are many Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the group. They can share their knowledge, experience and wisdom.
Several others (who may not have yet joined the group) have blogs sharing their expertise. To name a few, they include
- U Win Thein (Mathematics, SLR, Management) is writing with the pen name Padamya Win Htein)
- U Myint Thein (Geology, Underground water resources)
- Dr. Khin Maung U (Retired FDA researcher, Medical reports)
- Dr. Nyunt Wai (Retired from IM and Malaysia, Articles, poems and paintings)
- Saya U Moe Aung (Tekkatho Moe War, Poems, Articles, Electrical Safety)