In April and May of 1999, I received a series of e-mails from Saya U Soe Paing, my mentor at both RIT and UCC (Universities’ Computer Center), and Alice (Saw Yu Tint, T69), a.k.a. Mrs Soe Paing, about the mini-reunions in Yangon and Singapore. I created an informal newsletter and passed on the news to several ex-faculty and alumni. They, in turn, forwarded the e-mail newsletter to their sayas, friends, and colleagues. The mailing list soon numbered 200+.
In my e-mails, I recounted my dreams:
• to have the sayas, alumni and associates connected
• to have mini-reunions, reunions, and eventually a Grand Union
Thanks to Ko Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EC76), our web master, we were able to reach out to faculty, alumni and associates in 30+ countries. They number 800+. The Guest Book entries, now 160+, express surprise, delight, nostalgia, pride, camaraderie, etc. In short, one of my dreams has been fulfilled.
Several mini-reunions and reunions have taken place. Some are documented in the “Photo Gallery” section.
• ’69 Grads
• ’64 Intakes
• Alumni in Australia
• Alumni in New Zealand
• Alumni in UK
• Alumni in Singapore
• Alumni in Canada
• Dinners in honor of Sayas U Num Kock, Dr. Aung Gyi, U Aung Khin, etc.
The idea of a “Grand Union” was accepted from the start, but the question of logistics was a crucial factor. Have we reached a critical mass? How easily can we reach out to faculty, alumni and associates from all over the world about such an event? How can we raise enough money to sponsor the event?
The idea was discussed in somewhat more detail during Saya U Aung Khin’s visit to the Bay Area. October 28-29 weekend was tentatively chosen to have a “Reunion and Homage”. Later, during the discussion between the Northern California alumni and Southern California alumni, the term “Saya Pu Zaw Pwe” (meaning “honoring all sayas”) was chosen over “Saya Ga Daw Pwe” (which has religious connotations). “Saya Ga Daw Pwe” remains an optional event.
In the subsequent meetings, the Steering Committee, Working (aka Executive) Committee, and subcommittees were formed. Finally, several members showed commitment by purchasing tickets. The money was used as non refundable deposit for reserving “Embassy Suites Hotel” rooms for the main event.
Several alumni and associates have also donated money and presents to the “Saya Pu Zaw Pwe” fund. Amounts, big or small, are welcome. We sincerely hope that the forthcoming “Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe” will be a resounding success.