By U Maung Maung Win (M61)
During those years from 1962 to 1980, I made true and genuine friendship with four colleagues : Dr. Tin Win [M62], U Win [M63], U Myo Win [M/Ag65] and Dr. Tin Hlaing [M63]. I call them my “Awesome Foursome“. Even to this day, we have with constant correspondence.
The students came from different parts of the country. Those from Rangoon attended their classes from home using bus. Those from out of town applied for accommodation. Most got except a few unfortunate ones. Those who did not get accommodation lived in nearby houses with families paying for food and lodging. Having worked for several years with students as hall tutor and warden, I learned many things about their nature, habit and character.
Some students were expelled from hostels for not observing rules and regulation. I overheard that those who got kicked out of the hostels were like getting bonus because they did not have to pay any hostel fees but they could even take refuge with their mates and come down and eat with them after buying a dish from nearby food court serving all sorts of food — Burmese, Chinese and Indian. Rice was served freely for them without any restriction as most of the wardens and hall tutors gave a blind eye. U Chit’s Moke-Hin-Gha and Ma Tin Aye’s food stalls were very popular. If dishes at the hostel dinning hall were not too good or we had to spend only 25 pyas or so, to buy a decent dish of fried sausage or egg even mixed with tomatoes from the wives of butlers who set up a make-shift stall just outside the dining hall. There were many food stalls all along near the dinning halls so that if they found tasteless and lost appetite it is within their reach. We could sometimes invite our day-students friends to join us for a lunch at RIT dining hall.
Electrical clocks installed at RIT were maintained by Ko Khin Mg Yin (tall and a bit skinny but friendly and helpful guy). U Ba Lin was the buyer and U Aung Than was U Thet Lwin’s assistant for any odd jobs. Hostel fees are 57 Kyats a month only. Monthly scholarship/stipend allowance was 75 kyats a month.
I remember G-Block was meant for single-man teachers and staff from 1961 to 1964 but with the introduction of the new Education system about 30% of the student population was woman students. To help reduce stress and pressure of finding accommodation the administration arranged in such away that man-teachers were given notice to leave the block for woman students for convenience. Since then G-Block became woman students’ hostel for a long time under woman warden Dr. Daw Thaung Khin.
I also remember the time when we were sent to regional areas a couple of times to supervise the final exam when all the universities and institutes were closed down because of student unrest.
We have also annual sports celebrated for student recreation for dual progress in health, friendship and wisdom and many students participated and staff and employees supervised and helped to successful event and victory. It’s difficult to know and acknowledge all for their participation and/or successes in RIT sports.
Many of my superiors and other friends and family, comrades and colleagues welcome us and extend as their invitation stands until we make it happen. That shows that our RIT comradeship and friendship is still alive and well with generosity, hospitality and sincerity. I don’t think I can find such genuine friendship in other institutes and universities. We are very cohesive like adhesive as we deem friends like priceless diamond that we can confide whatever and a warm shoulder to lean and cry our heart-out and it is a very rare commodity to find.
Allow me to express my gratitude to the “awesome foursome” for their sincerity, hospitality and honesty that I learned through our genuine friendship. I was holidaying in Queensland along Surfers Paradise in July98, and on our return journey we stopped a couple days in Wagga Wagga, U Myo Win’s town. He showed his hospitality with open arms in his residence. He also took us to many interesting places. Earlier he and his wife visited our place a couple of times when he passed through Melbourne on his trips. Dr Tin Win and his siblings, nephews and nieces about 9 while visiting many towns and cities in their Australian tour, he tried his best to come and see me and had a wonderful time together over lunch. Dr Tin Win has a very sentimental value about Melbourne because he got his doctorate from Melbourne University. U Myo Win and wife also tried to be with us from Wagga Wagga which is about 650KM from us.
Dr Tin Win, his sisters and siblings came all the way down to Australia in July 2001. He made his effort to see me after more than 20 years. As we had not seen each other after we left the Institute, we spent the whole afternoon over lunch together with U Myo Win and his spouse who came all the way from Wagga Wagga, NSW about 650KM in a different State.
I went to the Dec02 Ex-RIT Reunion for several reasons. Firstly, I am filled with gratitude and appreciation to someone’s Cetana and Myitta even for a small morsel of food. Secondly, I had not seen my awesome foursome together in one place after we left RIT some 30 years ago.
In April 07 one of my old students John Rao from Singapore invited into his family home for a week while we were attending the Ex-RIT reunion. U Aung Myint and his wife invited both families of me and Dr Tin Win to visit their home in Auckland, New Zealand in Mar08 for a week. Dr Tin Win could not make it because of his neck surgery. U Aung Myint and his wife took us to many places in North Island and we really enjoyed the trip for which we thanked them from the bottom of our hearts.
Sometime in March 09 U San Tun [M 59] and wife and other about 20 in a group of tourists from the USA were traveling to New Zealand and Australia. As I had not seen him for more than 40 years since he left RIT in Aug 68, I tried and organised many of my mates to help him. U Henry Thet Tun [M 75] in Sydney, U Myo Win in Canberra and U Myint Lwin in Auckland, New Zealand complied. U San Tun came to Melbourne also to meet me and we had a wonderful time together over lunch after a long break more than 40 years.
In Sept 10 Dr Tin Win and Lily invited us to LA for a couple of weeks, taking us to Universal Studios, Hollywood Boulevard, … Las Vegas and San Francisco. I think it was the best trip ever because it gave us opportunity to meet many old students in Los Angeles and San Francisco and their spouses showing their genuine hospitality and generosity. This is because of our unique tradition of love and respect to our elders and teachers. In San Francisco, I met U San Tun again and another mate U Tin Maung Nyunt that I had not seen for more than 40 years. I would like to acknowledge with sincere appreciation to Dr Tin Win and Lily for their hospitality and generosity that such quality and qualification of respect and attachment is very hard to find as it is really a rare commodity.