RIT Days (1965 -1970)
by Ko Zaw Min and Ko Ohn Khine
Edited by Ko Hla Min
- Ko Zaw Min (EP70) matriculated from St, Albert’s High School, Maymyo in 1964.
- Had a very high ILA (Intelligence Level Aggregate) and was admitted to the first ever 1st BE as Roll Number One.
- Selected RIT Luyechun for the 1965 Summer Camp at Inlay.
- His outspoken remarks about the Camp drew the ire of higher authorities.
- Graduated with EP (Electrical Power) in 1970.
- After working in the industry, he moved to the USA.
- Studied Electronics in the USA
- Added “Nawaday” to his name.
- Several years ago, he shared his memories of RIT to the Google group of “the Combined Intake of 1st BE for 1964 and 1965”.
- Ko Ohn Khine (M70) matriculated from St. Peter’s High School, Mandalay in 1964.
- Took a combination of Science and Arts subjects and had good ILA score to be admitted to RIT.
- Graduated with Mechanical Engineering in 1970
- Worked for HI (Heavy Industries).
- Created and maintained the the Google group of “the Combined Intake of 1st BE for 1964 and 1965”.
- Volunteered for SPZP-2012 and SPZP-2016, HMEE-2012 and HMEE-2018, Swel Daw Yeik Foundation and several RIT-related activities.
- Gave me rides during my visits to Yangon.
- Filled the “missing pieces” in Ko Zaw Min’s accounts.
- I (Ko Hla Min) matriculated from St. Paul’s High School
- Received Collegiate Scholarship for standing 7th in the whole of Burma.
- After finishing top in the Science Option of I.Sc.(A) examination, I was admitted to the first ever 2nd BE in November 1964 as Roll Number One.
- Selected Luyechun for the Inlay Khaung Daing Camp.
- Graduated with Electrical Communications in 1969.
- Started the “RIT Alumni International Newsletter” in 1989 and have maintained it for 21 years.
- Currently, I am Administrator or Moderator of selected Facebook pages.
- I also maintain two web sites
- Had the honor to edit the draft versions “Memories by Ko Zaw Min Nawaday (EP70) and Ko Ohn Khine (M70)”, which was first posted as Google Docs for the Combined 1st BE Intake of 64 and 65.
- Published the edited document as a series of articles in “RIT Alumni International Newsletter and Updates”.
Three Intakes in 1964
There were three intakes at the Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT) when the new education system started in 1964. Eligible students were admitted to the first ever 1st BE, 2nd BE and 3rd BE classes. They are also known as
- the Class of ’70 (1st BE Intake in 1964)
Matriculates were admitted using the ILA
- the Class of ’69 (2nd BE Intake in 1964)
Those who had passed I.Sc.(A) with Science Option were admitted in order of merit
- the Class of ’68 (rd BE Intake in 1964)
Those who had passed I.Sc.(B) with Science Option were admitted in order of merit
The RIT Rector was U Yone Mo and the Registrar was U Soe Thein.
The Class of ’70
The Class of ‘70 comprised of the first year intake students in 1964. There were 494 registered students, of which 67 were female. Most graduated in 1970. Some took sabbatical for a year or two. A few left RIT before graduation. The GBNF (Gone But Not Forgotten) reached 61 at the end of 2011. The number is growing towards 100.
The matriculates entered the first ever 1st BE classes. The controversial ILA (Intelligence Level Aggregate) was used for the vetting of applicants. In the system, a score of 1 to 20 was assigned to “map” the marks for each subject. The ILA score (rather than the”raw” marks) was used to determine the eligibility of the students admitted to an institute.
Under the old education system, the matriculates had to attend I.Sc. (A) classes. There were restrictions on the subjects taken at Inter classes to be eligible for Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, etc. For example, one must pass the I.Sc. with at least 50 marks in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry to attend the 1st Year Engineering Classes (3rd BE in the new system).
Under the new education system, there were no restrictions on the subjects taken in Matriculation exam. As such, many students who passed Matriculation with combined Science and Arts subjects and even those with pure Arts subjects were able to attend RIT. For example, Ko Ohn Khine passed the Matriculation examination with an odd combination of Mathematics, Chemistry and Geography.
1st BE (1964 -65)
by Ko Ohn Khine and Ko Zaw Min Nawaday
The first year students were divided into four sections : A,B,C and D. The majority of students of Sections A and B had passed matriculation with pure science subjects. Most of the students of Sections C & D had passed with either Science and Arts Combination or pure Arts. There were some late joiners to RIT.
Male students from districts and states were boarded in hostels, in the ground floor rooms of B, D and E Blocks and “Inlay Hall” in Thamaing.
A building named “G Hall” was assigned to board female students from districts and states. Local female students who applied were also allowed to board in G Hall.
Engineering was not considered appropriate livelihood for women hence there were only a few female students studying Engineering before our 1964 intakes. With the new system, there was an influx of girls. It was quite a pleasant feast to the seniors who were not used to seeing those many female students. So when our ‘64 intake started attending classes, it was a thrill for the senior students to watch a great number of female students strolling in the corridors, coming in and out of class rooms,in canteen, in the food shops, in the library and everywhere on the campus grounds. We were also thrilled to get in company with a lot of female classmates. (It was exciting for me to have female classmates as I [Ohn Khine] was sent to all boys school, St. Peter’s High School in Mandalay since Kindergarten till I matriculated in 1964.) It is fair to note that the girls were somewhat intimidated and somewhat amused by the loud remarks of a few rowdy students or even feeling stared at while having to move from one classroom to another. Girls spent time during breaks in an area of a corridor surrounded by shaded blinds which was known as LCR (Ladies’ Common Room) where the day students usually ate home-brought snacks and rest. Ladies residing at G Hall would have lunch at the canteen and were able to rest in their rooms. The first LCR was a little room on the third floor before a section of the corridor on the third floor was made as the LCR before the start of our 2nd year at RIT. When the bell rang for the next class, it was customary to peek through the blinds to check whether the boys had gone inside the theatre for the timid girls to come out of the LCR.
Outstanding athletes from our class
The list was compiled by Ko Ohn Khine.
Comments are provided by Ko Zaw Min Nawaday.
Organization / presentation (with corrections) was done by Ko Hla Min
- Tommy Shwe
- Kyi Kyi Sein
- Ko Tin Aung (E)
- Ko Tin Aye (M)
- Kevin Law
- Ko Soe Aung (Auto)
Body Building / Weightlifting
- Than Htike (M)
- Maung Maung Thaw (E)
- Soe Tint (C)
- Mya Daung (M) GBNF
Football / Soccer
- Sai Thein Maung (C)
- Khin Maung Lay (Mutu, M)
- Win Zaw (A)
- Myint Sein (Ja Pu Sein, GBNF)
- Kenneth (Khin Maung Shwe, GBNF)
- Htun Myint (M)
- Hla Kyi
- Sai Aung San (Met)
Judo / Aikido
- Ko Sein Myo (C)
- Ko Kyaw Soe Win
- Ko Soe Aung (Auto)
- Ko Thaung Lwin (M)
- Ko Soe Myint (Agri)
- Sai Loke Khan (Mn)
- Htein Win (M)
- Aung Lwin (Jaspar Wu) (C)
Swimming / Water Polo
- Peter Pe GNBF
- Htein Win (M)
- Win Aung (M)
- Mg Mg Swe (M) (5)
- Ma Tin Tin Myint (Ch)
- Aung Kyaw Soe (James Than) (Ep)
- Ko Khin Mg Shwe (Ep)
- Ko Wai Lwin (Agri)
- Rosie Tin Maung (Ch)
Track and Field
- Sai Thein Maung (C)
- Shein Kee Gae (GBNF)
- Saw Mg Mg Htwe
- Oo Myint (Mn)
- Win Naing
- Ma Lei Lei Chit (Ch)
- Ma Nan Kham Ing (A)
- Maung Maung Thaw (E)
- Tan Yu Beng (Benny) (M) Let Pyaunk Tat Thar, twice, both UTC 1st & 2nd yr.
- Kyaw Sein (M)
- Salai Myo Myint (C)
Additional Information by Ko Zaw Min Nawaday
Sai Thein Maung (C), was a great RIT goalkeeper for 6 years. He also won gold medals in 100 meters and Hop Step and Jump in the Inter Institute track and field competition almost every year.
Daw Tin Tin Myint (Emma) (Ch) bravely competed in the inter-institute swimming meet. I believe she also practiced throwing the Javelin and played volleyball.
Ko Khin Mg Shwe (Ep), won the”Novice” tennis competition at RIT. He represented RIT in the 2nd year and we cheered him as he played a nationally known played from RASU (at the courts across from the Universities football field) during our 2nd yr at RIT.
My good friend Tan Yu Beng (Benny, M) took the best marksman trophy at both 1st and 2nd yr UTC camps. He competed against not only RIT but UTC students from RASU, Institute of Medicine, and Institute of Economics.
Ko Hla Kyi (nickname Sut Kaw) played center right back for RIT selected football team. Most RIT students that watched the game between RIT and Loke Thar during our first year will remember the flying kick he took at the head of the left winger of Loke Thar when Ko Myint Sein (M) GBNF and that left winger got into a fracas. The Universities team coach Saya Nyein, who was the referee for this game, promptly told Ko Hla Kyi to leave the field.
There were also unsung heroes (e.g. The RIT B football team). I did not know about them until the third year, when Sai Aung San, my room mate for that year, told me about it. He was the goalkeeper, Ko Yan Shin played in the back line and Ko Kyaw Min Aung was the reserve goalkeeper.
Ah Nu Pyinnya Shins from our class
- Ko Myint Swe Win (M) Mandolin virtuoso, vocalist. Participated in every concert.and pwe
- Ma Mo Mo Yi (E) Announcer
- Ma Tin Tin Myint (Emma Myint) (Ch) Myanmar Dance
- Ma Tin Myint Oo (Rosie Tin Maung) (Ch) acted as “Tha Gyar Min” in the musical performance of the song “Sanda Kein Da Yi”. Vocalist and instrument (Don Minn) by Ko Yu Swan (M 68).
- George Ko Ko Gyi (Ch) played the part of Ten Headed Ogre (Dat Tha Gi Ri) in the short opera of Chasing the Deer (Rammayana play)
- Ko Win (Milton Win Pe) (M) Myanmar Drum (Chauk Lone Putt)
- Ko Than Myint (M) Vocalist & All-round instrument player
- Ko Soe Aung (Auto) Clarinet
- Ko Tin Win (Texile) Burmese Harp (Don Minn)
- Ko Aung Myint (a) “Thaman Kyar” Ko Myint (Mn) co-starred in the movie “Thaman Kyar”
- Ko Than Win (Tex), spouse of Ko Myint’s cousin, wrote the script of “Thaman Kyar”.
UTC (Universities’ Training Corps)
- Some of us entered the UTC.
- We had two camps the first year we were at RIT :
- Summer camp at KyeDaw, Toungoo
- October camp at Meikthila.
First UTC Camp
At the Toungoo camp, our platoon was the only RIT platoon stationed with RASU students. So we were 30 or so RIT students among 500 plus RASU students at the 10th Buregt. The main body of RIT students were at a little school. They were the lucky ones. They had the instructors from UTC in charge while we at the 10th Buregt. were assigned a grouchy sadistic corporal from the regular infantry to drive us. He has a mustache so we nicknamed him “Nga Khu”. Ko Win Htut (C), Ko Khin Mg Lay (M), Ahmed Soorma (Ch), Ko Kyaw Min Aung, John Krasu, Ko Htwe Myint (C), Ko Htain Win (M, Chauk Pe) were among those in this platoon.
It was here that Ko Htwe Myint got his nickname “Bo Hmu” because of the military bags he had on him.
We slept on a long bamboo platform, next to each other. We had to stand guard duty at night, one hour each and sign off on the duty sheet. If our duty hour fell on 8pm-9pm, it was great. If it were from 1pm to 2pm, it was the graveyard hour. One time, my duty was from 1pm to 2pm, Ko Khin Mg Lay (M), who slept next to me was from 12-1pm. He tried to wake me up to give the duty sheet but I refused to get up since I was so sleepy. He finally said “Min Tar Wun You Mea So Yin Ngar Ate Pi”. I finally got up and took over the duty sheet. Standing guard duty during graveyard hours had its benefits. I saw the Big Dipper, Khun Na Sin Kyea, turn and point its tail upwards. (Khun Na Sin Kyea Pyong ah mee thoung, than goun chain tho youk.)
We had to get up at 5pm and run PT, guzzle a cup of tea and swallow down bein moun at 6.30am. At 7am, we were on the parade ground doing marching drills. One time, our sadistic corporal made us run for 45 minutes with our rifles in our hands because he was unhappy with our performance. That event also brought out the best in the RASU students. When the whistle blew for a 10 minute break, in a rare display of camaraderie, some RASU students came over with water for us to drink.
Lunch was a little meat dish and great Pe Hin.
In the afternoons, we had to go to a Phone Gyi Kyaung about half a mile away so that we can sit in the shade while we were taught small arms. We were not allowed to use the water in the well at the Kyaung, so four persons from each platoon had to take 2 Ye Oes full of water. Although it meant carrying the heavy Ye Oe, in addition to my rifle, I always volunteered for that duty since we got to leave about 20 minutes earlier for the Phone Gyi Kyaung. That way, we got to rest and enjoy the tranquility of the Kyaung Win before the rest of the students arrived and the lessons started. I remember laying under the trees while waiting for the rest to come over, looking at the Toddy (Htan) trees and wondering if King Tabinshwethi had one time spent his days near this place drinking Htan Ye .
I remember the incident about Ko Win Htut being punished harshly one time. I don’t remember exactly what it was about. We all know that Ko Win Htut liked to have fun and his happy go lucky come attitude got him into trouble with our party pooper instructor Nga Khu. He was ordered to jump from a squatting position while having his rifle held above his head until he fell exhausted. After 3 weeks, training was ending and we decided to give the Corporal a longyi as present and all of us Ka Daw to him. For the first time, tears rolled down this tough Corporal’s cheeks.
The next day was the graduation parade. It was a proud moment for all RIT students when Tan Yu Beng (Benny) (M), stepped up to receive the award for Let Pyaunt Tat Thar, standing first in marksmanship among 800 UTC students from all Institutes and RASU.
Second UTC Camp
To attend the second UTC camp, we left for Meikthila on the 3rd week of September. The train travel ed at night, but we had trouble sleeping on the train. We were sent to the 3rd BATD. Beautiful barracks with wood flooring. But horror of horrors. Hundreds of bed bugs came out from between the wooden planks. That night, there was no way I could sleep with the bugs biting me. so, even though there was a slight drizzle of rain falling, I decided to sleep on the ground outside. Since I did not get any sleep the night before, I slept through the morning PT before waking up. Ko Khin Mg Lay told me that the instructor came to kick me while I was sleeping in the morning, but I just kept on sleeping. The instructor was overheard saying something like “Mway Pauk Tay Mae” before walking away. My official place in the barracks was next to Ko Sein Win (EC). Ko Sein Win was very neat and had the best prepped bed for daily inspection. Next to him, mine looked like crap. Points were given daily for how good you had prepared your bed. Ko Sein Win always got the best comments and mine was in the pits. Actually I did not sleep a single night in my bed place. I used my blanket as a cot by tying it to two posts out in the veranda and slept there.
Life at Meikthila camp was more pleasant than Toungoo camp. For one thing, all of us RIT 1st year students were in one company. We had our share of funny incidents. One day, the RSM of UTC chided all of us for soiling the side of the toilet holes in the outhouses. His words were, “Nya Kya Ah Pauk Te Te Ko Min Doe Win Aung Htet Naing Dae. De Louk Ah Pauk Gyi Kya Win Aung Ma Par Naing Bu.”
As it happened, that evening, the RSM was kicking the ball to the goal and it went wide. Bohmu Htwe Myint shouted “De Louk Gyi Dae Ah Pouk Win Aung Ma Kan Naing Bu Lar?” The RSM walked away with his head bowed.
Sometimes, we drove the instructors hopping mad. One time the instructor told us “Ngar So Dar Lite So”. In one voice, we all shouted “Ngar So Dar Lite So”.
After two weeks, we were told to give our kit bags to be taken by truck to Taung Pulu, while we would have to march 18 miles to that place the next day. Without a kit bag, no blanket to make my cot, I spent the night just walking around in the veranda since it was raining outside and there was no way I could sleep inside with the bed bugs. The next day we marched to Taung Pulu, carrying our rifles. It was tough for me since I did not sleep a wink the night before. The sun was beating down on us the whole day. Where was the rain when we needed it? Worse was the rocky road made of Gawoon rocks. It made the nails in my boots hurt my feet. I must have pulled out over half a dozen nails from each boot.
We finally made it to Taung Pulu in the evening. We were given rice to cook for ourselves and were assigned 4 persons to a tent. That night, there was a tremendous storm. Water gushed into the tents. The next day, someone told me that everyone was sitting in their tents except me. He said I was asleep with my head in the mud. I did remember waking up during the storm, looking up at my tent mates who were sitting, and going back to sleep.The next day, we were told to move into a Zayat on a hill. It was so crowded in the Zayat, I refused to sleep there. Instead, I went up the Phaya Yin Pyin and slept alone on the brickwork with a blanket tucked around my body to prevent the winds from blowing it away.
Time came for graduation and our Tan Yu Beng (Benny, M) again got the Let Pyaunk Tat Tar award.
Ko Win Htut, I and others that I don’t remember, took a bus to Mandalay from Meikthila. We arrived in Mandalay, near 33rd and Zeygyo (84th) around 6 pm. Ko Win Htut was home since his house was around the corner. For myself and a couple of others, we just kept on walking towards the direction of the clock tower, hoping we would run into something. It was seeming more and more likely we might have to sleep on someone else’S doorstep.
Then, we saw a jeep come down 84th street and stop. It was a MMTA taxi with Saw Mg Mg Htwe sitting in the front seat! (MMTA stood for Maymyo-Mandalay Taxi Association).
He told us that he figured there might still be some UTC students that wanted to go to Maymyo coming this way and had asked the taxi driver to drive along 84th street before turning towards “A” road to take the car out of Mandalay to the Maymyo road.