RU

Rangoon University (40)

1960s

  • In 1960 the Caretaker Government finally held Elections.
  • Pyidaung Su Party led by U Nu won by a land slide.
  • The victory would be short lived.
  • Burma hosted the Second SEAP Games in December 1961.
  • Burma dominated most events and placed first.
  • About 20 RU students represented Burma.
    See the post of SEAP Games.
  • Most of the events described below took place in 1962.
  • The major change in Education System took place in November 1964.
  • The decline of the economy became noticeable around 1965.
  • Closure of schools citing security became the new norm.
  • Mahn Win Maung, who served as the third President, was detained on March 2, 1962 when a 17-member Revolutionary Council staged a Coup d’etat.
  • Sama Duwa Sinwa Naung (President-elect) did not become President.
  • Per Kyemon U Thaung, seven Council members were not aware of the major decisions.
  • Brigadier General T. Clift (Air Force) resigned.
    He was succeeded by Brigadier General Thaung Dan.
    Several senior officers were sent as Military Attaches.
  • Commodore Than Pe (Navy) passed away.
    He was Ta Wun Gan (Minister) for Health and Education.
    He is Past Captain and President of RUBC.
    RUBC has bronze statues of Sir Arthur Eggar (Founder, Life President) and Commodore Than Pe on the promontory.
    Commodore Thaung Tin (who had jump promotions) succeeded him as Chief of Navy.
    Colonel Hla Han succeeded him as Minister for Health and Education.
  • Colonel Chit Myaing was the last of the original Revolutionary Council members to pass away. He served as Ambassador to Yugoslavia and UK before moving to USA. He was a supporter of U Kelasa (one of the two sayadaws left behind by Mahasi Sayadaw during his visit to US in 1979).
  • Ko Tin Maung Thant (son of UNSG U Thant) passed away unexpectedly during his visit to Burma. The motorcade at his last journey was longer than that of Commodore Than Pe.

  • Coup d’etat by the 17-man Revolutionary Council took place on March 2, 1962.
  • Brigadier T. Clift (Burma Air Force) resigned from the Revolutionary Council.
    Colonel Thaung Dan became Chief of Burma Air Force and Brigadier.
    Several senior Air Force personnel were appointed as Ambassadors or Military Attaches to pave the way for the rise of younger officers.
  • Commodore Than Pe (Minister of Health and Education) passed away.
    Commander Thaung Tin became Chief of the Burma Navy and Commodore.
  • Colonel Hla Han became the “Tar Wun Khan” (later renamed back to Minister) of Health and Education.
  • U Tin Maung Thant, son of UNSG U Thant, passed away.
    The funeral cortege was larger than that of Commodore Than Pe.
  • After detaining prominent members of the Pyidaung Su (formerly known as Clean AFPFL) and the “new” AFPFL (formerly known as Stable AFPFL), the Revolutionary Council and its government decided to seek help from mostly left-wing Gurus (e.g. U Chit Hlaing who threw in Buddhist terms into the “Burmese Way to Socialism” and U Ba Nyein who proposed indiscriminate Nationalization).
  • The Burma Socialist Program Party (BSPP) was formed with core cadres.
    It later opened up membership for Ah Yan Party Win (Associate member).
    Party membership became an implicit requirement for non-trivial positions.

  • The Free Economy was replaced by rations (e.g. half a can of Condensed Milk per family) using the “Si Sar Oke”. It created a Black Market and the rising cost of living.
  • The Demonetization crippled the Industry and even had ripple effect on University students.
    Hostel students, whose money had been demonetized, were allowed “free rides” back home.
  • Per Dr. Nyan Taw (SPHS63) :
    Both my father U Hla Taw (retired Chief of UMP/ DIG) and my mother Daw Marie Hla Taw together with Col Chit Yaing, Chief Justice U Myint Thein, DIG U Tin Maung Maung and DIG U Khin Maung Maung were taken away by MI (Mi;itary Intelligence) in 1964.
    My parents were released in 1967.
  • Changes in Education System
  • 1962 – 1963 was the last batch for the General Honors Program.
  • The private schools were nationalized.
    SPHS became No. (6) Botathaung State High School.
    Most students can attend schools in their area.
  • The 3 NRC rule was enforced.
    It resulted in several bright students including Bernard Khaw (First in Burma in the Matriculation of 1965) and Chu Pu Thein (who scored the highest marks in Physics in the first ever HSF Only examination in 1962) to study abroad (e.g. Canada, USA, Italy).
    Many had to study in RASU.
    Chemistry was believed to have students with very high marks and/or ILA.

    One medical student was “expelled” after he was “found out to be not 3 NRC.”

    On the other hand, a few students who had been admitted to RASU because of 3 NRC were allowed to study medicine. They lost a year, but not their dreams.

  • There was discrimination against students having foreign names.
    They were cousins. Those who retained non-Burmese names were admitted to RASU, while those with Burmese names were allowed to study professional degrees.
  • Security Concerns
  • The shortage of rice (never heard before in the “Rice Bowl of Asia”) was transformed into “Tayoke Bamar Ah Yay Ah Khin“.
    Grapevine says that a lorry strategically placed “Beggars” around Rangoon.
  • Burma hosted the Fifth SEAP Games in 1969.
    There were riots in the Thamaing College Campus which held some events (e.g. Boxing).
  • News and Censorship
  • Nation newspaper was the first to be closed (by orders of the higher authorities).
    U Law Yone was detained. He would later move to Thailand and publish the “Nation”. He would eventually move to the USA.
  • Eventually, there would only be four English and two Burmese newspapers. They could only choose to select the news (vetted and/or translated by News Agency Burma).
    The two new newspapers were Loketha Pyithu Nay Zin and Working Peoples’ Daily (WPD).
  • The then Number One chose Shwe Oo Daung and U Khin Maung Latt to be the Chief Editors of “Loketha Pyithu Nay Zin” and Working People’s Daily (WPD) and promised them full authority.
    Some time later, U Khin Maung Latt was asked, “Do you want to be an Ambassador?” Daw Khin Myo Chit stepped in and said, “Ko Latt will go back teaching at his school”.
  • Selection of Sayas and State Scholars
  • In the days of our teachers, the Dean (e.g. U Ba Hli) and the Professors had the say to select and appoint assistant lecturers, and to select bright students to apply for State Scholarship to study at the prestigious universities in the USA and UK.
  • Later, the Public Service Commission (PSC) was established to vet candidates for most positions.
    Several engineers and architects had to join government departments as “Work Charge” while waiting to get “permanent” positions (approved by PSC).
  • Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.
  • My poem “Men on the Moon” was forwarded by Mr. Hall (USIS) to NASA.
  • The poem was also published in the Guardian daily newspaper
  • In 1969, those who transferred to the first ever 2nd BE (after passing the last ever I.Sc.(A) exam) graduated.
    Most of them were Guinea Pigs of the Education System.
    They had to take the last ever 7th Standard Government Examination in 1960.
    They had to take the first HSF Only Examination in March 1962 (during the Coup d’etat).
    Those from the Rangoon Division had to retake the HSF Only Examination in August 1962 (because the results of the first examination was nullified).
    They had to take the Matriculation Examination in May 1963.
    Earlier, the students had to take the combined HSF and Matriculation Examination.

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