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Fifth BE (1968 – 69)

By Ko Zaw Min and Ko Ohn Khine

After the fourth year, it was decision time for us again. We could either take Electrical Communications (EC) or Electrical Power (EP).

My heart said Communications but my brain decided for Power. Employment opportunities for communications graduates were limited so I decided to do what should be done, rather than what I wanted to do. I had to wait another 12 years before I could do what I wanted to do, take Electronics when I continued my studies in the USA.

I was surprised to learn that someone else did the opposite. I met Ko Henry Khoo (EC 67) while attending the mini reunion hosted by Ko Thaung Sein (Steeve Kay, EC70), in December 2011. He had taken the opposite path. He took Electrical Communications at RIT and changed to Electrical Power when he came to USA.

Activities

When the fifth year started, I decided not to get too involved in activities at RIT. Still, I remained as the Secretary of Maths Association at the request of Saya U Sein Shan (GBNF).

One day, Ko Win Zaw (A) reminded me to attend the meeting for the formation of the RIT football association for that year. At the meeting, both Ko Win Zaw (A) and Sai Thein Maung (C) urged me the to be the secretary. The only thing I remember doing as secretary of the RIT football association for our 5th year at RIT was to go around the hostels, asking for donations. RIT had opted to participate in the Insein Township football competition and money was needed to provided transportation for the students to Ywama Stadium from RIT Hostels. Since there was an important game, we had to solicit donations from the students and rented ixs Dodge Jeeps from the Insein-Danyingone Bus Line. After the game, we found that there were only four Dodge Jeeps waiting at Ywama Stadium to take us back to RIT. I don’t remember what team RIT played against. I can only recall that RIT lost.

I started two other activities that took me outside RIT. One was to go to the University swimming pool in Kamayut a couple of times a week, with Ko Win Thein (EP) GBNF, Ko Tin Win (EP) and Ko Than Lwin (EP).

Water Polo Match

We also watched RIT play against the Inst. of Medicine 1 in the Water Polo competition. We were loud and boisterous as usual, filling the air with derogatory comments about the Inst. of Medicine. Ko Htein Win (M, nickname Chauk Pe), tended goal for RIT at the shallow end. Ko Win Aung (M) played in the forward position. After RIT scored the first goal, Ko Myo Khin (C, one year senior in 64), jumped into the swimming pool fully clothed. (He was told to get out of the water immediately). But our joy was short lived. At the change of ends after 15 minutes of play, Aung Tun Oo (George Htoon Pay, M, 65 intake), took over as deep end goalkeeper for RIT. Inst. of Medicine scored seven goals against RIT in a space of 15 minutes, Since RIT was losing badly, we stopped yelling bad things about the Inst. of Medicine, but we did not totally shut up. Ko Myo Khin (C) noticed the Saya U Hlaing, the sports- in – charge from the Inst. of Education, was sitting improperly across that pool and his private part was showing. Ko Myo Khin (C) told us to yell “Ha Bac Ko Aing Luu, Ah Htaw Ma Tine, Gor Pwae”. U Hlaing got the message after we had shouted out twice.

Rowing

Another activity that I undertook was to go to the University Boat club. The RIT Rowing Association had Saya U Thein Tan (C) as President and Ko Aung Lwin (Jasper Wu, C), as the Secretary. Saya U Thein Aung (Mickey Tan, Physics, RASU), took care of most things at the Boat club. We formed a novice crew. Ko La Min (EP) was our cox. I was in the Stroke position, Ko Zaw Win (Ch) was No 2, Ko Yit Moe (C, 65 intake), was No 3 and Ko Than Htun Aung (Ch) was in the Bow position. Ko Aung Lwin guided all of us through the steps at the Boat club. As novices, we were only allowed to row wooden tubs. The only race we won was by default when the other crew did not have enough men to compete in the heats for the annual Regatta. We lost the semi-final race against a team from RASU and did not get the chance to participate on Regatta day.

On Regatta day, George Htoon Pay (M, 65 intake), won the single sculls competition. Ko Aung Lwin (C) and another person won the coxless pairs competition. There was also a female novice crew from RIT. Ma Myint Myint Sein’s (M) younger sister, Aye Aye Than (nickname Pauk Pauk) headed that crew of 66 intake students. We used to travel together from RIT to the Boat Club and back.

Ma Pauk Pauk and her daughter stayed overnight at our house in New York (around 1998) when they came for a visit from England (where they were living). Actually, they visited Washington DC first, and Ma Lei Lei Myaing (T, my wife’s classmate from St John’s convent), brought them to our house when they visited New York city.

Cross Lake Swimming

Going to the RUBC almost daily meant I was around when the 2000 meter cross lake swimming eet was held. About 30 to 40 swimmers from RIT took part. Saya U Hla Myint (Charlie, M65) as President of the RIT Swimming Association, was the organizer and supervisor of the event. Non-participants like us, took to the water in flat bottom paddle boats and rowed on the sides of the swimmers, ready to give aid if needed. I was with Ko Win Thein (EP, GBNF) and another person for the event held in our 5th year. We followed the swimmers to Dubern beach and paddled back.

Cross Lake in Final Year

For the event held in our Final year at RIT, which was won by Ko Wunna Sithu (EC71), I was in the paddle boat with Ko Ye Myint (EP) and Ko Mg Latt (M) both 65 intakes. None of us knew how to steer a paddle boat, but we blushed it off as no big deal. We would somehow make it across the water to Dubern beach. Easier said than done. We found ourselves going around in circles in the middle of Inya lake, listening to the laughter and jeers of the people looking at us from the Boat club. Finally, I asked the other two not to paddle and slowly paddled and guided the boat to Dubern beach. We arrived at Dubern beach after the last swimmer had gone ashore. Luck was with us as there was a person who was taking care of getting the boats back to the other side of the lake and we gladly let him take it.

I remember meeting Daw Tin May, wife of the late Sayagyi U Ba Kyi, nationally well known artist and Saya, as we walked up Dubern beach. She was there since her house was being built there at that time. After Ko Ye Myint introduced me to her, I remember her comment “Thi Par Dae, Ah Chaw Myo Tway Bae”.

RIT Magazine

A committee was formed at RIT for the publishing of the RIT Magazine. I was in the sub committee led by Saya U Win Kyaing. Our sub committee was assigned to take care of advertisements. Saya U Win Kyaing decided we should ask for advertisements from foreign embassies. I remember going in Saya U Win Kyaing’s car into the North Korean consulate compound and being ushered out quickly.The only embassy interested in putting an advertisement was the West German embassy. We talked to their cultural secretary and he cut out a cheque for 100 Kyats as payment for the advertisement. Saya U Win Kyaing later told us that he had been instructed not to take advertisements from foreign embassies and we had to send the cheque back.

Saya U Tein Kyi asked us to come to his house (on Attia Road) on weekends so that he may give us submitted articles for us to edit. One article I edited was “Sabe Hna Pwint Hta Yan Kar”, which I found to be very well written with a great story line. That article won the best fiction article award.

When the printing started, I had to go to Pazaundaung in the evenings to check on the progress and edit sample runs of the RIT Magazine for errors. We took turns going there, and as far as I can remember, there were always two of us paired to work together. I might have been paired with Ko Kyaw Win Maung (Ch) but I am not certain.

Ko Cho Aye

At the end of our 4th year at RIT, Ko Cho Aye (M, GBNF) and I agreed to submit as room mates for the 5th year. When the 5th year started, we were on the 3rd floor of D block, facing C Block. Even though we were in different disciplines, Electrical for me and Mechanical for Ko Cho Aye, we still had classes in common. Advance Calculus, Industrial Management and Fluid Mechanics were common to both of us. Saya U Tin Htut taught Industrial Management and I still remember the “Critical Path Method” he taught.

Summer Training

For summer training in our 5th year, we went to ESB. Ko Khin Mg Shwe (EP) and Ko Pyi Soe (EP) were with me. We had to accompany the crews that were sent out on calls at first. Later, we were sent to the Ywama Power Station. At the Ywama Power Station, they had a program ready for us, detailing what we should be taught on each day.

Maymyo

After the summer training was over, I went back to Maymyo. Ko Phone Thwin (Mn), showed up in Maymyo as guest of Ko Win Htut (C). Since Ko Win Htut’s parents’ Maymyo house was quite near to mine, I remember spending time in the evenings, sitting on a little bridge over a stream near Ko Win Htut’s house. with Ko Phone Thwin (Mn) and Ko Win Htut (C) .

One evening, while we were sitting there, a man passed by on a bicycle and called out Ko Phone Thwin’s name. I asked Ko Phone Thwin who he was and was told that this person had been with our 64 batch at RIT and left to attend DSA after the first half of the year. Ko Phone Thwin probably remembers who that person was.

Final Exams and After the Finals

The final exams for the 5th year were held earlier than usual, in August. The reason being that efforts were been made to move the start of the school year to June from November.

After the finals, I went back home. Ko Aye Win Hlaing (EP, 65 intake), came to stay with me for a little while. Ko Ye Myint (EP, 65 intake), who was always with me during holidays, could not come anymore since his father, Sayagyi U Ba Toke, had transferred to RIT on his own volition from his previous position as Rector of Mandalay University.

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