RU

RU Centennial (1)

Update : June 16, 2020
(Updates are shown in bold italics.)

Introduction

  • The group was formed by Dr. Nyi Thet Lwin on September 11, 2019 with 14 founding members (including his elder brother U Aung Mon).
  • His father Saya Dr. Soe Win (Retired Rector, YUFL) invited me to join the group.
  • After contributing a few posts, Dr. Nyi Thet Lwin asked me to be a Moderator.
  • For a couple of months I provided overview of the posts.
  • I also created Albums and Photo Essays.
    
  • I visited Singapore in late October 2019 to have a reunion with former colleagues and students.
  • I visited Myanmar from November 2019 to mid-January 2020.
  • I attended the 5th Irrawaddy Literary Festival in Mandalay in November 2019.
  • I attended the 6th Acariya Pu Zaw Pwe of ICST and UCSY, the Golden Jubilee of Graduation of RIT69ers, the RUBC/YUBC Annual Regatta, the “Yar Pyay Ah Kyo” events and several mini-gatherings (including dinner by Hazel Kyaw Zaw, lunch for the 49th Anniversary of Saya Dr. Soe Win and Sayama Daw May Saw Lwin).
  • I was invited to join the six-city 2020 PSA Tour.
    
  • During my sabbatical, the group and the number of posts grew astronomically.
  • There are 31000+ members.
    
  • I needed to update the posts based on the feedback I received on-line and in-person.
    
  • I met face-to-face with Saya Dr. Soe Win, Sayama Daw May Saw Lwin, Ko Aung Mon, Dr. Lay May Yin, Daw Kyi Kyi May (Hazel Kyaw Zaw) — to name a few. I became friends with Dr. Nyi Thet Lwin, Saya Dr. Maung Maung Nyo, Daw Molly Mya Saw Shin, members of Professional Speakers’ Association (PSA, Myanmar), not so old Old Paulians and some not-so-old Old Members of RUBC/YUBC.
    
  • I learned that “It’s indeed a small world”.
    

Inya Saung / Inya Hall

Daw Su Su has three daughters :

  • Daw Hazel Saw Lwin (mother of Dr. Tin Tun)
  • Dr. Olive Saw Lwin
  • Daw May Saw Lwin (mother of U Aung Mon and Dr. Nyi Thet Lwin)

Daw Su Su was the first occupant of Room No. (1) at Inya Hall.

She wanted them to have experience (like her) at the Inya Hall. Per their mother’s request Daw Hazel and Daw May spent a year at Inya Hall as room mates. Daw Olive had to stay at the Hall for medical students.

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Daw Su Su danced three roles in the fund raiser for the Tekkatho Dhammayone. The director of the play was her cousin brother Saya U Lu Pe Win (Pali and Kyauksar Scholar). The rehearsal was assisted by U Nyi Pu (First male actor in a Burmese movie, Brother of A1 U Tin Nwe, U Maung Maung Soe and A1 U Tin Maung).

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Daw Su Su was honored at the Thet Kyee Pu Zaw Pwe (Paying homage to the elders) held at the Tekkatho Dhammayone. Her account was published in the Golden Jubilee Sar Saung of Inya Hall.

  • Myanmar Ah Swe Film evolved into A1 Film.
  • A1 U Tin Nwe and his extended family are known as Producers, Directors and Actors.
  • U Nyi Pu founded Maha Weikzardo Film.
  • U Maung Maung Soe founded Maung Maung Soe Film.
  • A1 U Tin Maung acted alongside May Shin and other lead female actors before becoming a Director/Actor.

Feedback

Several readers (e.g. Thit Yine, Po Shwe Kyu, Ko Ko, Myo Thaik) have provided invaluable feedback. They gently pointed out some omissions and elaborated some facts.

Thit Yine and Ko Ko shared the names of sayas (e.g. U Aung Myint, U Khin Zaw, U Ko Lay) who taught in the late 50s and early 60s.

Po Shwe Kyu wrote :

Credit to Saya Hla Min as being the most prolific writer in this group, and his archives and chronicles will be of greatest help to coming generations. Drs. Hla Shwe & Tin Maung returned to Burma around 1962-63. I don’t know Dr Hla Shwe but Dr. Tin Maung also resided at the Chummery during my short stay there. Chummery is a “Saya Lu Pyo Saung”.


First in Burma

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I knew that George Chapman (SPHS51), Dr. Nyunt Tin (SPHS52), Koon Yin Chu (SPHS54), Dr. Soe Win (SPHS58), Dr. Frankie Ohn (SPHS59), Dr. Khin Maung U (SPHS63) and Bernard Khaw (SPHS65) stood First in Burma in the Matriculation. I was aware that some other schools (e.g. St. Peter’s, MEHS, St. John’s Convent, Yegyaw Methodist, Sacred Heart) also scored Top in the other years.

The updated list of Top Matriculates from 1951 – 1965 can be found in “An Overview of RU Centennial Post (20).” Additional iformation was provided by Saya Dr. Soe Win, Sayama Daw May Saw Lwin, Sayama Daw Tin Tin Maw, Dr. Tin Wa and Dr. Swe Khin Tun.

Thit Yine (alumnus of Yegyaw Methodist) wrote :

Dr. Hla Shwe (Boon Chiong) stood First in the Matriculation examination of 1953 from Yegyaw Methodist, and that his class mate Ohn Khin stood Second. Yegyaw Methodist was well known before the Nationalization of schools.

Myo Thaik wrote :

Dr. Hla Shwe is Emeritus Professor, East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvannia, and then moved to California (possibly UC Davis or its vicinity).

The younger Chiong brothers attended St. Paul’s High School and were Top students. At least two have doctorates.

Dr. Aung Win Chiong, a cousin of Dr. Hla Shwe, received the second highest marks (after Dr. Cherry Hlaing and Dr. Lyn Aung Thet) and a perfect ILA score of 50 in the Matriculation examination of 1964. He was admitted as Roll Number One (in order of merit) to IM(2).

Myo Thaik wrote that Sayama Daw Khin Aye passed away last year. His cousin uncle Dr. Myint Thein won a Gold Medal for scoring highest marks in Chemistry in the I.Sc. examination, and later became the first Myanmar to received Ph.D in Nuclear Chemistry in the USA. He is currently staying with his son in Texas. He also wrote about “A Che A Nay Kaung” and “Ma Khan Chin Seik” that led him and his uncle cousin Dr. Win Naing to pursue their dreams to have doctorates.

GBNF and Tone Kyaw

I have to be very careful in specifying persons as GBNF (Gone But Not Forgotten).

There are at least three Tone Kyaw (person believed to have died) including me.

When my name sake CO U Hla Min (Chief Operator at UCC, who appeared healthier than me) passed away in his mid-30s, two Training Departments (from Co-op and Trade) inquired UCC where they could send a “Lwan Thu Pann Kway” (wreath) for me. My former class mate Moe Hein (Ajala with an extremely loud voice) was surprised when he saw me at the Kyandaw Cemetery. He said, “I have taken a day off to come here. I wondered why your brother did not tell that you had passed away.” I became a Tone Kyaw.

U Han Sein (C69, Ah Pho Gyi) was sentenced to 20 years for his alleged involvement in 8-8-88. His classmates, who were organizing the 30th Reunion of Graduation, inadvertently listed him as GBNF. He became a Tone Kyaw. He was released after 16 years (with the Amnesty Proclamation), but sadly, his family had been broken. He recently celebrated his 10 years of regained freedom.

When Dr. Tin Hlaing (Marine Technology) passed away in Singapore, some RIT inadvertently sent condolences to Saya Dr. Tin Hlaing (M63), who became a Tone Kyaw.

December 1920

Three events took place in December 1920.

  1. After years of yearning for an independent University in Burma, the Rangoon University Act of 1920 resulted in the establishment of the University of Rangoon with Rangoon College and Judson College as the constituent colleges.
    
  2. Several students were unhappy with the restrictions and decided to hold a boycott (strike) on December 7, 1920. Someone leaked the news, so the protests started on December 5, 1920. The strike resulted in the establishment of Ah Myo Tha Kyaung (National Schools) and Ah Myo Than Kaw Leik (National College). The event is celebrated at Ah Myo Tha Aung Pwe Nay.

    The Burmese date (10th Waning day of Tazaungmon) is used for the Celebration.
    
  3. Saya U Ba Toke was born as a Phwa Bet Taw of RU and the First RU Student Strike. He had a glorious career as a scholar, administrator and athlete. He is the saya of most sayas and early engineering students (including Saya Dr. Aung Gyi). He was an outstanding footballer and later managed the RU and Burma Olympic Teams. Saya Dr. Khin Maung Swe (Maung Thin Char) interviewed Sayagyi and recorded six audio tapes. Sayama Daw Myint Myint Khaing (daughter of Arzani Mahn Ba Khaing) transcribed the tapes. Saya added information about the early RU and Sayagyi’s contemporaries in the book (presented to Sayagyi as the 80+ birthday present from the RU Thin Char Ah Thinn). Sayagyi gave me an autographed copy of the book during one of my visits to pay Garawa to him.

    Saya Dr. Khin Maung Swe passed away on June 7, 2020.

Proud and Happy Family

Some like Dr. Nyi Thet Lwin (Group Admin) are blessed to grow up on the Main Campus. He created the site because he wanted to learn first hand accounts about the University of Rangoon and its descendants — RASU, Institute of Medicine, Institute of Economics, Institute of Education, and Engineering School (which include BOC College, Faculty of Engineering, BIT, RIT, YIT and YTU).

“Nyi Nyi” is the younger son of Saya Dr. Soe Win who stood First in Burma in the Matriculation of 1958, and Sayama Daw May Saw Lwin. Saya and Sayama are among the honored to call the Campus their home. Nyi Nyi 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.The family photo was taken at the Diamond Jubilee in 1995.

At that time, Dr. Soe Win was Principal / Rector at YUFL, Daw May Saw Lwin was teaching Chemistry at RASU U Aung Mon was attending RIT. Nyi Nyi was attending IM(1). Four family members were affiliated with four institutions.

At St. Paul’s High School, Saya Sein (father of Dr Soe Win) taught us Burmese.

His former students include 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).
    The song was first sung by U Mya Thein and group.
    Saya received 100 Kyats for his composition, and he treated his fellow Ah Nu Pyinnya Shins.
  • In a TV interview, Saya played the song.
  • The song has been sung in many events including the SPZPs (Saya Pu Zaw Pwe) of RIT Alumni.
  • The Singapore “Pon Chan Chan Group” led by Don Min U Yu Swan recorded the song.
    
  • The song was also sung at the Ceremony on December 1, 2019 to kick off the RU Centennial.
  • The various versions can be listened from the Facebook Posts and You Tube.

Tears of Joy and Sorrow

The posts have invoked tears of joy as well as tears of sorrow.

Land marks

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 Shwe Pho Kyu, the Old Wise man and Poet — expressed displeasure to see the wired fences and the inexplicable disappearance of landmarks.

The Convocation Hall is another land mark. Eons ago, the Prime Minister of the Union of Burma served as Chancellor of the University of Rangoon, and also delivered “Commencement Speech” at the graduation.

I posted the program of the 1958 Convocation which listed about 30 prize winners (Gold Medals, Silver Medals and Books).

Saya U Soe Paing, my mentor at RIT and UCC, received two Gold medals (after paying 150 Kyats for each Gold Medal, because the original endowments no longer covered the “rising cost” of Gold for the Medals). He had the highest score for I.Sc. (A) and (B) combined. He had the highest score for Mathematics for I.Sc. examinations — with two other students.

In 1962, Dr. Myint Tun (Henry Cho Tun) won the Gold Medal for the highest score for I.Sc.(A) and (B) combined. U Myat Thwin (ChE66) beat him by one point for the highest score in Mathematics for I.Sc.(A) and (B) combined.

Saya Kha’s Family

Saya Dr. Maung Maung Kha, Saya Dr. Tha Hla and Saya Dr. Hla Myint were some of the early Burmese State Scholars sent to the UK for their Doctorates in Meteorological Physics, Geology and Economics. The sayas served as Professors and as Rector of the University of Rangoon.

Saya Kha attended the Regattas at Rangoon University Boat Club and presented the trophies to the winning teams. I was a Master of Ceremonies at several regattas. I am a Life Member of RUBC, and the last Executive Committee member to be democratically elected at the General Meeting. I served as Honorary Treasurer and Vice Captain, but the higher authorities changed the rules and prevented me from becoming Captain.

Dr. Oke Soe Kha (Alvin) is the son of Sayagyi Dr. Maung Maung Kha. He was selected for the first Lu Ye Chun Camp in the summer of 1964. In the following year, the Lu Ye Chun Program was extended to the students of Universities and Institutes. The Program ended in 1988. A few years back, an association was formed for the Lu Ye Chuns from 1964 to 1988. There have been formal and informal Reunions of the Lu Ye Chuns.

Some Lu Ye Chuns are GBNF. They include Dr. Kyaw Sein Koe, Daw Khin Aye Than, Dr. Htay Lwin Nyo (EE) and H.E. U Myint Thaung.

Alvin had mixed emotions after reading the posts of Dr. Jillian Phyu Maung, grand daughter of Saya U Aung Khin (former Professor of Chemistry, who succeeded Saya U Po Tha). Alvin was sad to learn that his former classmate and neighbor Maureen Aung Khin (Jillian’s mother) eft this world at an early age. He was glad to hear that his best friend Robert Aung Khin (Jillian’s uncle) is alive and well.

Alvin 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 his father. He proudly disclosed that his mother Sayama Daw Ruby Kha was National Tennis Champion for Mixed Doubles with Joe Ba Maung (National Champion for Singles and Men’s Doubles).

Saya Joe taught English at RIT before transferring as Manager to Burma Railways. He managed the Sports Program of Burma Railways. Sadly, he was one of the early casualties of 8-8-88 movement. Saya Joe is GBNF.

Other outstanding Tennis players include Tin Si, Khin Si, Mu Mu Khin (Daphne), Maung Maung Lay (Ah Pu Lay), Than Htut.

Nostalgia

Many posts expressed nostalgia. Some felt rejuvenated.

Autograph

Ma Chit Swe (Hazel Kyaw Zaw’s mother) was a Junior I.A. (Intermediate of Arts) student in 1936. Hazel has posted her mother’s autograph.

Daw Hla Myint, a close friend of Hazel’s mom, wrote a lovely poem. Many were unaware of her talent. She had to leave the University before graduation to get married to U Tu Maung. Saya U Tu Myint (Winston Tu Maung) was our saya at RIT and later taught at Singapore Polytechnic until retirement. Dr. Hla Maung (Ronald Tu Maung, MEHS65) moved to the UK. Her siblings include Dr. Pe Nyun (Pediatric Surgeon, who led the operation of conjoined twins Ma Nan Soe and Ma Nan San), Dr. Pe Thein (Professor and Retired Minister), Daw Ivy San Pe and Daw Flora San Pe.

Fresher Welcome

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.

Per Saya Dr. Maung Maung Nyo, Colonel Min Sein and Major Shwe Zan (later Lt. Col) were Commissioned by the British. Dr. Ba Than refused the British to evacuate and then headed the RGH during the Occupation. After the war, Dr. Ba Than had to appear before the British Officers and tell about his “commitment to the country and itscitizens”. The Officers dropped the case.

Dr. Ba Than seerved as Rector of Institute of Medicine (1).

Food

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.

The later posts list the food prices of the various periods. They were still reasonable before the steep decline of the purchasing power of the Kyat. During one of my visits to Myanmar, some toll booths gave back a candy (as the equivalent of K100 change).

Dress

Saya U Khin Zaw remembers 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).

Missteps

A few shared their “Top Secret — Bottom Open” moments (e.g. Male students entering a Ladies’ Toilet / Rest room, attending a class for another Section, signaling to fellow hostel students the presence/absence of Hall Tutors and Wardens).

Extracurricular Activities

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), and picnics (for students of a Town or District).

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).

Some tried Rowing at the Rangoon University Boat Club (RUBC), but a few gave up.

RUBC was founded by Sir Arthur Eggar (Law Professor) in 1923. Details of RUBC can be found in the 90th Anniversary Issue (published in 2013). RUBC allowed female members in the mid 1960s. Pioneer female members were mostly from Institute of Economics (e.g. Ma Khin Mya), RASU (e.g. Jill Gaudoin /Aye) and some from other institutes.

Some remember the musical evenings and nights by Pho So Chins.

Tekkatho Tun Naung (then a student of Dental College, Luyechun for 1st BDS) would play mandolin in front of the Ladies’ Halls (e.g. Inya Saung). He would later co-found the Stereo Khit.

Etiquette

Saya U Khin Nyo recalled how the Conductors on the Naga (Dragon) Line Buses were cordial.

The later buses would have Numbers instead of Pictures. Some believe that the change of the Bus Signs is one of the Yadayas of the higher authorities. Other Yadayas include the printing of non-standard denomination notes (e.g. K15, K35, K45, K75, K90) and abruptly changing to “Nyar Lann Maung” (without changes to the cars and streets).

Sayama Daw May Saw Lwin remembered her days at Yankin College where Saya U Ba Toke 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).

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the status of large gatherings such as SPZP-2020 is uncertain.

Sharing is Caring

There are many Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the group. They can share their knowledge, experience and wisdom.

There are 30000+ members. Most members are active posting news, photos and memories.

Comments

Nyi Thet Lwin : I don’t know what to say but thank you so much.

Hla Min : I am just paying back to my old schools and my teachers.

————–

Noreen Win (Sayama Daw Nu Nu Yee, Australia) : Most interesting. Reading this made me feel nostalgic for my under graduate years and later on teaching ( Department of English 1968 -1979 ) at Rangoon Arts and Science University.

Hla Min : I love history and story telling. I am just a messenger and a life long learner.

Noreen Win : We need story tellers like you to disseminate the information you have gathered. Thank you.

Note : Sayama’s spouse Saya U Myo Win (Melvyn, M/Ag65, GBNF) taught Agricultural Engineering at RIT and in Australia. Sayama is the sister of H.E> U Nyi Nyi Than (Former Ambassador, GBNF) and U Tin Aung Win (Australia).

—–

Ashin Pannagavesaka (Errol ThanTun, Bobby, U Myo Tun, A69) : A great read, indeed, on a brief account of the beloved RU’s alumni and teachers!

Hla Min : Ashin won the essay contest organized by Daw Lay’s Circle of the Guardian newspaper, and later helped P Aung Khin with the Scrabble tournament and the Daw Lay section. Ashin served as Dhamma Librarian, Interpreter and Editor after retirement as Chief Architect at PWD. Need collaboration with SME such as Ashin.

Hazel Kyaw Zaw : I had attended an evening party organized by the Dawlay Circle group of the Guardian at Uncle Tim Marshall’s place in Baukhtaw when I was twelve or thirteen. I remembered meeting the late MaMa Tina Ohn with a big beehive and high heels and was at awe with other MaMas as well.

Ashin Pannagavesaka : I was there, too. It was unfortunate that Tina lived a short life. I can still picture her driving over to the DFC functions in her Volkswagen Beetle!

Hazel Kyaw Zaw : Yes, Ashin phayar. MaMa Tina Ohn’s mother was one of my mum’s friends as well. It was so sad that she passed away young. I’m still in touch with her nephew who lives in London. The Guardian party was the only time I got a chance to attend. When young, we were not allowed to go out at night. Someone from the family had to accompany us. Thus, I remembered that happy rare occasion, with writers and journalists, very well till now.
—–

Jenny Khin (Jenny Su, Daw Khin Thet Hta, Australia) : Well done. A remarkable overview of the posts.
Khin Thet Hta 1959-63 aka Jennie Su at MEHS

You would be a few years junior to me. Keep up the good work.

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Categories: RU

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