Article

U Thein Han’s stories

by U Thein Han (Maryland)

Former Systems Engineer, IBM Burma

  • Long Journey
  • A True Story
  • I believe in Luck
  • My Barber
  • My Honeymoon

Long Journey

From March 1, 1929

It’s been a long journey. 91 years is long and I made it. I’ve reached the aged barrier 90 and from now on everyday is a bonus for me. My health is the same, no problem. Blood tests results are good. Memory is still sharp. I can drive my car for grocery shopping. I think I will be with you all this year.

I’m living proof that Exercise and Healthy food will keep you in good health and prolong your life. I’ve been doing exercise since I retired in 1994 after I joined HP Senior Center using the Physical Equipment and having lunch at the center. I use light weights (30, 40 lbs) for arm, leg, thigh exercise and walk fast for 1/2 mile (10 minutes) on a Treadmill.

At night before I go to bed, I do Balance exercise 3 times a week given to me by my Physical Therapist.

So Folks, “It’s your life, Exercise, Eat Healthy Food, No Smoking and Drinking, Travel and Enjoy your good life”.

A True Story

When I was working at Montgomery County, Division Of Parking, during my lunch break I took a cab to go to a Chinese Restaurant in Silver Spring [Maryland, USA]. The driver was an African-American from Jamaica. On the way I had a conversation with him and came to know he had a daughter studying at Howard University (African-American University) to be a Lawyer. It happened that my wife was working as a Librarian at Howard University at Washington D.C. so I had a good chat with him. When we arrived at the restaurant I asked him if he had his lunch. He said, “No”. I invited him to have lunch with me. He accepted. I had a long talk with him about Jamaica. After lunch he dropped me at my work.

A few days later while I was walking back from lunch in Silver Spring, it rained heavily. I did not have an umbrella. All of a sudden a car stopped beside me. It was James the Taxi driver that I gave lunch. He told me to hop in and took me to my office. When I asked him, “What is the fare?”, he said, “It’s on the house. No problem”.

I believe in luck

It was in 1948 during my Rangoon University days I did Nation Newspaper Crossword Puzzle and won 2000 Kyats. At that time the value of Kyat was very good. With the money I won I bought a Jeep costing 3000 Kyats.

My next luck was also during my University days when I went to a movie with my friend Ko Sein Lwin. On the return while I was driving my Jeep with my friend beside me, at the corner of Prome Road and Medical College I, we picked up 800 Kyats which was lying on the Road.

When I arrived in Maryland (USA), I went to Safeway Grocery to buy bread. When I took the bread from the shelf I found $20 on the shelf. It was a great help to me when I was penniless.

Another time was when I was walking on Wheaton Avenue with my son, we found $40 on the street.

During our Burmese Christmas Party I won the door prize which was a Television.

At the Thai King’s Birthday party given by our Thai friend, I won Thai Airways luggage for the door prize.

At our Senior Center I won a Cup as a door prize.

While working at Montgomery County, in 1977, I won 2nd prize of the Maryland Lottery which was $2000, because I hit five numbers out of six numbers. At that time $2000 was a lot of money. The 2nd prize is now one million Dollars.

The 1st prize then was one million Dollars. On 25 August 2018 the 1st prize went up to 522 Million and it was won by 11 employees of a bank because they were lucky.

The 13 Thai Cave Footballers survived because of their luck.

My University friend Billy Wu From Maymyo went back home during a holiday, the UBA Dakota plane crashed due to bad weather, but he was lucky and he survived.

Everyone has luck, but we don’t know when we will be lucky.

My Barber

Ko Aye Pe has been my barber since my University days in 1947 till 1971. He also cut the hair of my two sons. He worked at Varsity Hair Dressing Salon in Bogyoke Aung San Market. We were friends till I left for USA in 1971. He was a kind and obliging person and whenever I travel abroad I brought a shirt for him.

On my first visit back to Myanmar in 2005 I wanted to see him and asked my friend U Hla Soe if he knew Ko Aye Pe’s whereabouts. U Hla Soe told me that he has retired and cuts people hair at his home and gave me his address.

Ko San Aung (Sydney Tin, Ko Pyu) and I took a taxi and went to search for him. We found him living in an apartment near the Old Central Jail behind Medical College 1. He was very happy to see me. He told me he’s retired and he’s working at home and the barber chair that I’m sitting on was given by U Hla Soe. I had a long chat with him and returned back to Winner Inn Hotel.

On my next visit to Myanmar two years later, we went to his apartment but was told by his neighbor that he had moved to Ahlone and gave us the address. We went there and found him living with his niece’s family. When we met him he was BLIND. His niece told him there’s someone to see him but did not tell who we were. I sat down next to him and asked him if he knew who I was. He touched my face with his hand to find out who I was. I then told him that I was Ko Charlie and came back to Myanmar for a visit. When he touched my face with his hand my eyes became wet and I was very sad to see him blind, he must be about 75 years then.

It must have been Cataract which could have been treated and cured, maybe no one told him to see an Eye Doctor or that he may not have the cash for the surgery.

Before we left I gave him Kyats 100,000 for being a good friend who was always willing to cut hair for my kids at home. We then said goodbye to him and returned back to Winner Inn Hotel.

Ko Aye Pe was kind to me when I needed his services and his METTA to me. In return I was able to share what I can with him when he needed it.

My Honeymoon

April 23, 1958

It is on this day 23rd April 1958 that I got married to my wife Khin Khin Htway (Flora) at the Strand Hotel. We stayed two nights with her parents and left for our honeymoon to Tokyo, Japan.

April 25, 1958

We arrived Tokyo 0n the 25th and was met at the airport by Mr Fonseka, Ceylon (now Siri Lanka) Ambassador to Japan. He was was a friend of my wife father when he was Ceylon Ambassador to Burma. He took us to a restaurant for lunch and later dropped us at a Hotel near the Imperial Palace.

April 26, 2958

The next day we took the high speed bullet train to Osaka to visit Mr Fukutomi who is a friend and was once an IBM Engineer in Burma. He lived in Takarazuka, a suburb of Osaka. He took us to see the famous Takarazuka Kabuki show performed by women artists only, the men parts were also performed by ladies and not a single men was involved in it.

Trips

We stayed one night in Osaka and then left for our trip to Kyoto, Nara,Yokohama, and Kamakura where there is a Huge BUDDHA sitting statue, it is also a popular beach resort and returned to Tokyo.

Back to Tokyo

In Tokyo we saw a modern topless show at Asakusa Theatre, did some shopping at Diamaru Department store and took a stroll on GINZA street.

We left Japan after three weeks of our memorable honeymoon in Japan.

Hong Kong

From Tokyo we flew to Hong Kong, we stayed at at the famous Peninsular Hotel on Kowloon side where the airport is.

One day while shopping in Hong Kong we met four Burmese gentlemen on the street and they were Executive Members of Rangoon Turf Club, they were in Hong Kong at the invitation of Hong Kong Turf Club. One of them, U Chit Khaing saw my wife in her longyi and came to talk to us, he then invited us for a cruise on the Hong Kong Harbour which the Hong Kong Turf Club had arranged for them in the evening. The cruise was during sunset and it was a beautiful ride relaxing on the boat, breathing the fresh air of Hong Kong Harbour and watching the colored lights of Skyscrapers opened one by one, twinkling on the hill. We returned to Rangoon the next day.

Blessed to be together for 62 years

It is now 62 years since our honeymoon in Japan and we are fortunate to be still together and is able to take care of each other.

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