Article

Hla Min’s Writings (1)

Update : July 19, 2020

  • Dreams
    Jules Verne was a dreamer.
    Many of his dreams became reality.
  • Oral and Written History
    Some of our sayas have passed away.
    A few have memory loss problems.
    We should at least have Oral History.
  • Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife (Author)
    After submitting sample articles, I was accepted as a contributing author.
    The remuneration was $10 per article.
    I negotiated the agreement. I would receive a copy of the Encyclopedia if 8 of my articles were accepted.
    Nine of my articles were published.
    I received the 3-volume set and an additional $10.
  • Blog (Project)
    It referred to a “web log”.
    There are platforms (some free) for posting blogs.
    I would often write first in my web site and share it to Facebook pages.
    Sometimes, I would revise “old” Facebook pages and then archive in my web site.
  • Contributors (List)
    Several sayas, alumni and friends submitted news, photos and articles for “RIT Alumni International Newsletter” and for my web site.
    With permission, some posts (e.g. Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint, Dr. Khin Maung U, Dr. Nyunt Wai, Dr. Maung Maung Nyo, Daw May Saw Lwin, Collaborative Poetic Art members) have been re-posted in my web site

Dreams

Jules Verne

He dreamed of traveling

  • to the Moon and back
  • in a hot air balloon
  • in a submarine 20000 leagues under the sea
  • to the center of the earth
  • around the world in 80 days (a remarkable feat for his time)

He inspired people to transform most of his dreams into reality.

Apollo

In his book, Jules Verne sent three men from a Cape in Florida to orbit the moon, return safely to earth. He used a powerful cannon to achieve the velocity to escape the earth’s atmosphere.

A century later — in December 1968 — Apollo 8 with Frank Borman, James Lovell and Bill Anders made Verne’s dream a reality. The space ship was launched from Cape Canaveral (later renamed Cape Kennedy), which is within striking distance of the spot chosen by Jules Verne.

In July 1969, Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin landed in Tranquility Bay on the Moon.

  • When President John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “Before this decade is out, we will send men to the moon and then bring them back safely to earth”, there was no substantial plan to support his dream.
  • Verner von Braun, a German rocket scientist (who was captured by the Allied Forces as a Prisoner of War), and his team were given a “level of trust” to work on the NASA project.
  • It would need baby steps : Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects to have one, two and three astronauts to man the space ships.
  • For the Apollo project, it was not clear how to implement the important phase of bringing the astronauts safely back to the earth. e.g. How can a direct hit to the moon cause a safe return to earth?
  • Folklore said that one engineer scribbled on his lunch bag a “spider” landing on the moon and returning. His dream resulted in the design of the “Lunar Module”. The rest is history.

Take away

  • If you can dream, others can fulfill [your dream].

My dream two decades ago

  • I dreamed that I would be able to get the sayas and alumni get reconnected electronically and physically.
  • In 1999, we established the RIT Alumni Newsletter and the RIT web site (with the expertise of U Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EC76, web master)).
  • In October 2000, with the help of sponsors and volunteers, the First RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe was held in San Francisco, California, USA.
  • Seven SPZPs (Saya Pu Zaw Pwe’s) have been held : SPZP-2000 (in the US), SPZP-2002 (in Singapore), SPZP-2004 (in Yangon), SPZP-2007 and SPZP-2010 (in Singapore), SPZP-2012 and SPZP-2016 (in Yangon).

My recent dream

My recent dream was to get as many contributors and volunteers to compile an informal story of

  • Our beloved land
  • Our ancestors
  • Our mentors
  • Pioneers and prime movers (e.g. those who helped build the “Rice Bowl of Asia”)
  • Laggards and culprits (e.g. those who dragged Burma into the Least Developing Country status)
  • Unsung heroes (e.g. who tried to overcome the “Adhamma Era” and rebuild the nation into former glory)

U Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EC76) wrote :

Dreaming and creating inspiration for others to be able to fulfill your dreams are two different animals, if you will, by themselves.

I, like many others, have dreams but we do not have your dedication. perseverance and drive to inspire others.

As I have said many times here, my hats off to you, I am very proud to be considered your friend, and informal pupil.

And to your significant other to take care of you/look after you and your sons while you would be deep into these projects. Please convey my regards to Ma Sein Yie.

Oral and Written History

  • There were three Sayas that were over 90. Of them, Saya H Num Kok (C) and Saya U Soe Khaw (Mining) have passed away. Saya U Ba Toke was an athlete in his younger days, but he now have medical problems.
  • Several of our sayas are over 80. For example, Saya U Tin U (C) is 89 years old, and his younger brother Saya U Ba Than (M) is 88 years old.
  • Many of our sayas are in their late 70s.
  • While they still have high energy and keen memory, we need volunteers to either formally interview them or to record the conversations.
  • They can become the artifacts of the Oral History section of an engineering library (preferably the YTU Library).
  • There can also be a section to archive the Written History.

H Num Kok (GBNF)

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Saya H Num Kok
  • Saya U Num Kok taught Engineering Drawing to Saya Dr. Aung Gyi and Saya U Min Wun.
  • He taught Soil Mechanics to the younger Sayas.
  • He served as President of the RIT Track and Field Association with U Khin Maung Lay (Henry, T68) as Secretary and U Myo Nyunt (C69) as Joint Secretary.
  • He served as Line Judge at the RUBC Regattas along with Saya U Sein Win (GBNF) and Saya Dr. San Hla Aung. Saya was loved by his former students. They showed up at the Welcome Party in Yangon for Saya a few years ago. Saya took home the banner of the event to his home in Portland, Oregon, USA.
  • Saya worked full-time until he turned 80.
  • Saya was reasonably healthy in his early 90s.
  • Saya passed away at the tender age of 98.

U Soe Khaw (GBNF)

  • Saya U Soe Khaw (Mining) taught part-time in Mining in the early days at BOC College.
  • He was Head of the Department. Saya U Soon Sein succeeded him as full-time saya and Head of the Department.
  • He worked for the Ministry of Mining before heading out for overseas assignment.
  • After retirement from the United Nations, he migrated to the USA.
  • He was actively involved in selected monasteries in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Saya Allen Htay (C58, GBNF), Saya Dr. San Lin (C62) and I had a Lunch gathering with Saya U Soe Khaw. The gathering ended near to a Dinner gathering. The three sayas shared their memories.
  • Saya was healthy physically and mentally before his beloved spouse’s demise.
  • A few years later, Saya passed away.
  • Saya is a cousin of Dr. Htut Saing (Harry, Past Captain and Gold of RUBC, GBNF).

U Ba Toke

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Saya U Ba Toke
  • Saya U Ba Toke is a Phwa Bet Taw of the University of Rangoon and the First RU Students’ Strike in December 1920.
  • Saya’s life journey had been recorded and published by his former student Saya Dr. Khin Maung Swe (Maung Thin Char) with the help of Sayama Daw Myint Myint Khine (daughter of Arzani Mahn Ba Khine).
  • During my visits to Yangon, I paid respect to Saya. He gave me autographed copy of the book.
  • Saya was an athlete. He played soccer in his younger days. He headed the Burmese team to Olympics.
  • He used to walk every weekend with his younger Dhamma friends to Shwe Dagon Pagoda.
  • At the subsequent visits, I found the decline of Saya’s health but not his mental acumen.
  • Hope Saya will stay healthy to celebrate the Centennial of his birth and Rangoon University.

U Tin U

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Saya U Tin U
  • Saya U Tin U provided an interview for HMEE-2012 Project.
  • When the Rangoon University reopened in 1946 (after the war), he attended RU along with Dr. Pe Nyun, Dr. Pe Thein and Saya U Sein Hlaing.
  • Most of his former classmates are GBNF.
  • He is Past Captain and Gold of RUBC. He represented RUBC in the 1948 Independence Day Regatta at Kandawgyi along with Dr. Pe Nyun and Dr. Pe Thein.
  • He is Past Captain of Rangoon Golf Club. He played golf until his early 80s.
  • He still enjoys the evenings sitting in the lawn and enjoying Scotch Whiskey.

U Ba Than


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Saya U Ba Than
  • Saya U Ba Than celebrated his 88th birthday in October, 2018.
  • His elder brother Saya U Tin U celebrated his 89th birthday in August, 2018.
  • Some thought that their longevity is due to their genes. Sadly, their father passed away in his 50s after raising nine successful sons and daughters.
  • Saya U Ba Than knows most of his former students well.
  • Several students have seen Saya’s photo albums. Many photos were given to MES for display and to HMEE-2012 (History of University Engineering Education in Burma/Myanmar) for display in the book and the supplemental CD.
  • Saya is a proud sponsor of the History project along with Saya U Soe Paing and Saya U Thaw Kaung (former Chief Librarian of the Rangoon University Central Library).
  • Saya donated almost all of the Garawa money that he received from the SPZPs and his former students.

U Aung Khin

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Saya U Aung Khin
  • Saya stays fit by playing Tennis and Golf.
  • Saya does not want to fly long distances.
  • Saya is spending quality time with his children and grand children.

Dr. Aung Gyi, U Min Wun and U Maung Maung Than

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Saya U Min Wun and Saya Dr. Aung Gyi
  • Saya Dr. Aung Gyi is healthy except for some hearing loss.
  • Saya attended most SPZPs and Reunions held in the USA, Singapore and Myanmar.
  • Saya wrote several articles for the RIT Alumni International Newsletter.
  • Saya Dr. Aung Gyi, Saya U Min Wun and Saya U Maung Maung Than from the initial group of Engineering students sent to study at the prestigious Universities in the USA under the “Twinning Program”.
  • Saya U Min Wun is healthy, but he cannot travel far as he has to take care of his beloved spouse with some health problems.
  • His former students from Myanmar paid respect to Saya U Min Wun in Los Angeles. They also brought Garawa money from the various Civil gatherings in Myanmar.
  • Saya U Maung Maung Than (GBNF) served as Chair of the RIT Sports Council during our days. He played Chinlon. He is also a musician.

Other Sayas

  • Saya U Khin Aung Kyi has some memory loss.
  • Some younger sayas (e.g. U Kyaw Sein, U Ohn Maung) have medical problems that warrant the yearly financial support from Swel Daw Yeik Foundation

HMEE Projects

For the HMEE-2012 Project, we requested the former Heads of the Engineering Departments to write about the history of their departments.

There is the HMEE-2018 Project to revise the book published by HMEE-2012 and to provide additional material for the planned two-volume book.

Sense of urgency

  • Several of our sayas have passed away and some sayas have declining physical and mental heath.
  • We sense that the window for having a comprehensive Written History and Oral History is shrinking.
  • There is still some time to learn from our sayas and their contemporary Senior Engineers about the different facets of University Engineering Education in Burma/Myanmar.
  • Their stories can become gems for the Archives.
  • MEC, MES and RIT Alumni Association can help with the project.

Written History

Several sayas wrote articles and/or notes for

  • “RIT Alumni International Newsletter” and updates
  • Commemorative issues of Swel Daw Yeik Sar Sarsaung for SPZP-2002, SPZP-2007 and SPZP-2010
  • Commemorative issues of Swel Daw Yei Magazine for SPZP-2012 and SPZP-2016
  • RIT Annual Magazines
  • RUESU Annual Magazines
  • Departmental Magazines (Mechanical, Electrical …)
  • Set Hmu Thadinzin
  • Trivia posts
  • Blogs by Sayas and Alumni

The articles can become artifacts of the Written History section of an engineering library (preferably the YTU Library).

Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife

  • Nine of my articles appear in the Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife (AAFF).
  • The three-volume book was published by ABC-CLIO in 2011.
    The book was sold for $275.
  • I received a book (for completing eight articles according to the agreement) and $10 (for the additional article).
  • Burmese Americans are covered in Pages 127 to 178 of Volume One.
  • The Editors decided to merge two of my articles with other authors.
  • Unfortunately, an error introduced by my co-author. On page 150, he mentioned July 22 (instead of July 19) as Martyrs’ Day. The merged article unfortunately was not sent to me for review. The Editors promise to correct the error in subsequent editions.
  • Folk tales (as told by Saya Dr. Htin Aung and Ludu U Hla) are part of the Folklore.
  • To read my articles on-line, you should go to “Google Books” and then search “Hla Min“.
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Blog

Diary, journal, log, and blog (web log) are ways and means to record one’s experience and thoughts.

Blogging is fun. One can just write down one’s thoughts without caring for academic integrity or historical precision. One does not have to write comprehensive reports. Several readers (mostly SMEs or Subject Matter Experts) point out errors (typos, discrepancies).

Not all media and social media are created equal. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, Facebook is a great way to get connected and reconnected (with long lost friends), but it requires time and energy to navigate the “rolling” and “revolving” posts.

I blog in my Facebook page and then share it with one or more FB pages (mainly “RIT Update”). As time and energy permit, I archive the posts along with the relevant feedback to

hlamin.com (my paid web site)

lifelonglearning140.wordpress.com (free web site)

One does not need an account to read my posts on the web sites.

If you search “Hla Min” on the web, it will return (a) a former colonel (b) a former minister (c) an educator (d) some medical tests & results on HLA (e) some of my works

If you specify “RIT” or “TBSA”, the search engine will return my writings in the Newsletters.

If you go to “Google Books”, then you can find my articles for “Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife”.

On the long run, I hope to post “more complete treatment” of topics. As Dr. Nyunt Wai commented, it is a necessary, important and time consuming step to transform my raw materials into a form presentable as an e-book or printed book. I need volunteers to realize my dream and wishes (of an amateur historian, story teller and life long learner) before my reasonably good memory starts to fade away.

Contributors

  • Saya U Aung Khin
  • Saya U Ba Than
  • Saya Dr. Aung Gyi
  • Saya U Min Wun
  • U Aw Taik Maw (C54)
  • Saya Allen Htay (C58, GBNF)
  • Saya Dr. San Hla Aung (C58)
  • Saya U Htin Paw (EE58, GBNF)
  • Saya U Myo Myint Sein (A58)
  • U Tin Htoon (A60)
  • Saya U Maung Maung Win (M61)
  • Saya Mao Toon Siong (M62)
  • Saya U Soe Paing (EE/UCC)
  • Saya U Moe Aung (EE63)
  • U Myint Khine (Norman, C 63)
  • Saya Des Rodgers
  • Saya U Khin
  • Sayama Daw Khin Saw Tint
  • Saya U Nyo Win (M65)
  • Saya Dr. Koung Nyunt (A67, GBNF)
  • U Myo Myint (EC67)
  • Saya U Myat Htoo (C68)
  • U Hla Min (EC69)
  • U Aung Min (M69)
  • U Tint Lwin (Daniel, M69)
  • Benny Tan (M70)
  • U Ohn Khine (M70)
  • U Zaw Min Nawaday (EP70)
  • Daw Than Yi (EP70)
  • Daw Mai Khin Nyunt (ChE71)
  • Saya U Aung Myaing (ChE72)
  • Saya U Thein Aung (Met72)
  • U Wynn Htain Oo (M72)
  • U Myint Pe (M72)
  • Dr. Myint Thein (M73)
  • U Myo Myint (M73)
  • Saya U Nyunt Htay (Met73)
  • U Myint Thein (M74)
  • Maurice Chee (M75)
  • U Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EP76)
  • U Htay Aung (Victor, EE 80)
  • Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint (SPHS60)
  • Dr. Khin Maung U (SPHS63)
  • Dr. Nyunt Wai (SPHS63)

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