Article

Observations

Kindness

  • My father volunteered at a “Bain Phut Ah Thin” for rehabilitating opium addicts.
  • He gave to rehabilitated addict the return fare and pocket money.
  • During the Second World War, my parents and his siblings decided to take refuge at Neikbeinda Hills in Prome.
    My father sent his assistant ahead of him.
    The assistant encountered a group of bandits.
    He pleaded them not to take away his saya’s possessions.
    When the bandit leader learned of my father’s possessions, he decided to guard the assistant all the way to the Neikbeinda Hills.
    The leader offered a gift — a box of condensed milk — for my father.

Observation :

Random acts of kindness can be reciprocated even by seemingly bad people.

U Lokananatha

Italian Buddhist Monk

  • Mr. Salvitore was working as a Chemist in the US
  • He received a book present from his supervisor for Christmas.
  • One of the chapters was “Dhammapada”.
    After reading the chapter, Samvegha (sense of urgency) crept in.
    Quit his job
    Left for Burma to be ordained as a Buddhist monk.
    Became “U Lokanatha”.
  • Wrote “I became a Buddhist. My supervisor remained a Christian.”
  • Was from a devout Catholic family.
    Elder brother was a Priest.
  • My paternal grand mother offered a monastery for U Lokanatha in Bawdigone (Windermere), Rangoon.
  • Sayadaw practiced Dhutanga.
    Preached
    Made Dhamma Dhuta missions to India and Ceylon.
  • Passed away in Maymyo in 1966.

Observation :

It amazes us that a book chapter can change a person’s life.

Uzin Bobby Myo Tun (A69) wrote :

Wonders never cease!

Luck can change

  • The 17-man Revolutionary Council staged Coup d’etat on March 2, 1962.
  • The Council and its government made changes in the Education System and the policies.
  • Most Burmese state scholars were selected to study in socialist and communist countries.
  • One day, a group of state scholars (who had been chosen to do their Diplom and Candidate of Science) were surprised and delighted to learn that they will have to do their Masters and Doctorates in the UK.
  • What happened?
    Grapevine says that four Burmese state scholars in German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) formed a political association.
    They organized protests in front of the Burmese Embassy claiming that the “Burmese Way to Socialism” is weak.
    The student leaders were routed back to Burma via the Moscow (in the USSR).
  • The higher authorities decided to send less scholars to the socialist and communist countries to prevent or minimize hard-core cadres.

Observation :

One’s luck can change unexpectedly.

Saya U Thein Tan (C64) wrote :

U Hla Min, it is not only cause for diverting state scholars to UK and Canada. We engineers and Physics graduates and forestry graduates were chosen to study in USSR. We had our passport in hand and applied for visa. There was no reply for about a month. They gave back our passports. Later on I learnt that our government had denounced the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw group as illegal. After some time we and Physics graduates were sent to UK. Forestry graduates were sent to Canada instead of USSR.

Ashin Ananda

Latvian monk

Fled Communist Rule

  • Rev. Friedrich V. Lustig’s mentor was the Buddhist Archbishop of Latvia and Lithuania.
    When the Communists invaded their country, they sought refuge in Burma.
    The government provided them a monastery in the “Ah Le Pyit Sa Yan” of Shwe Dagon Pagoda.

Moke Seit

  • Known as “Moke Seit Phone Gyi” for his beard.
    Came to our parent’s house in Windermere Road for alms.
  • After his mentor’s demise, he became the Buddhist Archbishop of Latvia and Lithuania.

Ashin Ananda

  • Shaved his beard and was ordained as a Theravada monk with the title “Ashin Ananda”.
  • Laureate Poet and Translator.
    Wrote poems in English.
    Translated selected Burmese poems into English.
  • In July 1969, he gave my poem “Men on the Moon” to Mr. Hall (USIS) to be forwarded to Apollo 11 astronauts.
    Gave a copy to the Guardian newspaper for publication.

Observation :

It is a golden opportunity to learn from two non-native Buddhist monks : U Lokanantha and Ashin Ananda

Dr. Nyunt Wai (Victor, SPHS) wrote :

One of my friends became friends with Ashin Ananda and asked me to draw a picture (very conventional) for the cover of his book (a collection of translated poems).

Decline of CGI

  • Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) was a top company selling $10,000+ work stations.
  • Customers include the movie companies doing computer animation.
  • When PCs offered graphics and animations, SGI folded.
  • Computer History Museum (CHM) bought a SGI building on Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View, California.
  • Google bought most of the remaining SGI buildings and created its GooglePlex.

Observation :

Even top companies should take note of competitors and innovators.

Collegian Nay Win

RU First Eleven

  • In 1951, Ko Tint Lwin, Ko Tun Kyi, Ko Kenneth Shein and Ko Nay Win became RU First Eleven.
    The team played at Aung San Stadium.
  • Their coach was Saya Nyein (alumnus of Dio).

Tint Lwin

  • Dr. Tint Lwin tended goal.
    Spouse : Daw Myint Kyi (sister of Myint Sein (M69, RIT Badminton).
  • After retirement, he and his family migrated to the US.
  • Volunteer at Kusalakari monastery, Fremont.
    Usually have a “Su Paung Soon Kyway” on Tuesdays.

Tun Kyi and Kenneth Shein

  • U Tun Kyi graduated as a Mechanical engineer.
    Joined Burma Railways.
    Represented Burma and Railways in soccer.
  • U Kenneth Shein joined Burma Railways.
    Represented Burma and Railways in soccer.
    Daughter : Pearl (Pale Shein, UCC).

Nay Win

  • U Nay Win was in the Navy before he attended Rangoon University.
    Wanted to join his two soccer team mates at Burma Railways.
    However he was having fun time with his Saya Nyein, who took him in.
  • One day, Saya Nyein was approached by U Chin Sein (Shwe Nyar Maung, Actor / Director) the team planning to make the movie “Collegian” partly based on the novel by Zawana (U Thein).
    Saya Nyein recommended U Nay Win, who turned out to be a natural actor.
    He was listed in the movie credits as Nay Win (B.A.) — to differentiate from Tekkatho Nay Win and British Burma Nay Win — but the audience named him Collegian Nay Win.
    Won Academy awards.

Observation :

One never knows for sure what the future holds.

Decline of Kyat

1960s

  • In 1963, ten from our class from St. Paul’s High School (SPHS) received the Collegiate Scholarship of 75 Kyats per month.
  • After paying 15 Kyats for the school fees, those who attend Rangoon University (and later Institutes) as day scholars have 60 Kyats left to spend.
  • Dr. Myo San (Freddie Ba San) and U Aung Thu Yein (Brownie Way) are GBNF.

1970s

  • Met BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) alumni from 1973.
  • He said, “I received a monthly stipend of 75 Kyats. I paid 57 Kyats for the hostel fees, and 15 Kyats for the school fees. I use the remaining 3 Kyats for riding buses. The short trips cost five or ten pyas.”

2018

  • Scholarships and stipends are being awarded by various organizations to YTU students.
  • NorCal RITAA awarded US $1000 to four YTU students, and US $500 to three YTU students.

Observation :

The value of Kyat has declined drastically over the years.
Thanks to the Ko Htu’s and Ko Hta’s for helping selected students with the scholarships
.

All You Can Eat

During our younger days, many food shops and food stalls offer “Ah Wa Sar” (All You Can Eat).

  • My father took his assistants to an “Ah Wa Sar” shop during a trip to Upper Burma.
  • The cost was about one kyat per person.
  • On the return trip, the shop had “Closed for today” sign.
  • It might be due to the fact that my father’s assistants ate four or more bowls of rice, several helpings of “Toe Sa Ya” before finishing one or more bowls with the meat.

Observation

Most of my elderly friends in the US have stopped going to “Ah Wa Sar” restaurants because of a seemingly Lose-Lose situation.

  • If you do not eat a lot, then you lose your money’s worth.
  • If you eat a lot, you might not feel good for a few days. You may incur health problems.m

Calamity

  • Caused by diseases (e.g. Epidemic, Pandemic)
  • Caused by hunger / starvation (e.g. loss of crops)
  • Caused by weapons (e.g. war)
  • Some recite Protective Verses to lessen the impact of Calamities
  • COVID-19 has killed more people than in 9/11 and some wars.

Observation


Heath is important.
Money cannot always buy things (especially during a Pandemic)

Communication

  • Listening, evaluation and feedback are important for effective communication.
  • We have one mouth [to speak] and two ears [for attentive listening].

Observation

It is important to be a good listener.
Respond. Do not react.

Facebook Pages

  • One for my relatives and close friends
  • One for my general friends
  • RIT Updates
  • Life Long Learning

I am a member of selected pages.

Observation

Some people indiscriminately send messages and share (not so useful) information.

Like

  • Before Facebook introduced emojis, some users overused the “Like” button.
  • I was puzzled to see Likes in an Obituary posting.
    Shouldn’t one be sad?
  • Are some users clicking “Like” without reading if the posting is current or old, and if the contents are really likeable.

Observation

Malware

  • Malicious software industry is responsible for losses (in down time, data corruption, identity theft) in the billions.
  • According to one report, the industry is more profitable and safer than the drug dealing.
  • The penalty of offenders for malicious software is “peanuts” (e.g. little or no jail time) compared to drug dealers (e.g. life imprisonment and death penalty) in most countries.

Observation

Some people are being scammed and phished.

Many do not read “fine print

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