Update : October 15, 2021
- Men on the Moon
- SAYA PUZAW PWE
- To the Fallen Warrior
- The Phaungdaw-u Festival
- The Ngapali Beach
- Our Unity
- The Great Gandhiji
- The United Nations
- Till We Meet Again
- To My Alma Mater
Men on the Moon
The Space Race
- During our younger days, there was a Race to Space between the Soviet Union and the United States.
- The Soviet Union was the first to send both the male and female cosmonauts into Orbital Flight.
- The United States desired to leap frog by dominating the Race to the Moon.
- John F. Kennedy (President of the United States of America) announced : “Before the decade is out, we will send Men on the Moon and bring them back safely to Earth”.
- The United States did not have the technology at that time to send Men on the Moon, but with the Presidential Dream and funding, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was able to implement the difficult feat.
- In December 1968, the Apollo 8 crew with Frank Borman, James Lovell and Bill Anders orbited the Moon and returned safely to the earth.
- The Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 crews tested the Lunar Module and the crucial parts needed for a successful Moon Landing.
In July 1969, we did not have TV in Burma. We listened to the radio. We heard
“The Eagle (code for the Lunar Module) had landed (in Tranquility Bay on the Moon).”
- The Apollo 11 mission had Neil Armstrong as Mission Commander, Michael Collins as Command Module Pilot and Buzz Aldrin as Lunar Module Pilot.
- Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon and proclaimed, “A small step for men. A giant leap for mankind.”
- He was followed by Buzz Aldrin.
- They set up the US Flag and then collected rocks.
- I wrote a poem honoring the landing of men on the moon.
- I showed it to Ashin Ananda (Reverend F Lutvig, Buddhist Archbishop of Latvia), who regularly came to our parent’s house for alms round.
- Ashin Ananda gave a copy of my poem to Mr. Hall, Information Officer of USIS to forward it to NASA and the Astronauts. Mr. Hall put my name on the USIS mailing list. I received “Lin Yaung Chi” and several translations.
- Ashin Ananda also gave a copy to the Guardian Daily Newspaper. It was published on July 25, 1969.
SAYA PUZAW PWE
- In April 1999, I started the “RIT Alumni International Newsletter”.
- At the request of Saya U Soe Paing, U Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EC76) designed and implemented the first RIT web site : http://www.ex-rit.org. I served as the Content Provider and Editor.
- Saya Allen Htay and several alumni — Benny Tan (m70), Maurice Chee (M75) … — decided to support our noble task.
- At one of the meetings at Ko Benny’s house, the San Francisco Bay Area Alumni Group decided to establish “RIT Alumni International” with Saya Allen as President and Ko Maurice as Treasurer.
- At another meeting, Saya U Aung Khin (who was visiting the San Francisco Bay Area from Canada) gave the Go-ahead for planning the First RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe.
- Since the sayas and alumni profess different religions, we chose the term “Saya Pu Zaw Pwe” over “Saya Ga Daw Pwe” (which has a religious connotation).
- The primary objective of the Saya Pu Zaw Pwe is to repay the metta and cetana of our mentors.
- It allows several core sponsors and organizers to safely participate in SPZP-2000.
- The First RIT Grand Reunion and SPZP (aka SPZP-2000) was held in San Francisco in October 2000.
- It was a two-day event.
- The main event was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel. There was a nominal fee to attend the Reunion Dinner and SPZP.
- The follow-up event was an optional Brunch Gathering (where the sayas and alumni can bring their families and friends).
- There were official and volunteer videographers and photographers.
- A three-hour VHS tape was offered for a nominal fee to interested sayas and alumni. A few years back, the VHS tape was converted into a two-set DVD.
Organizers and Sponsors
- The core volunteers were willing to hold the event at all costs.
- “U Nyo Win Act” said that the core volunteers will have to chip in if there are not enough paid attendees.
- Saya Allen Htay wrote an article, “Brother, can you afford US$500 and more?” for my Newsletter and the web site.
- A young alumni Sarina Tan (Htay Htay Than) relayed the news to U Thaung Sein (Steeve Kay, EC70). Steeve is a close friend of Sarina’s father. Steeve has also provided help while Sarina was pursuing her graduate studies.
- Steeve contacted Ko Benny and also sent checks for SPZP-2000.
- Ko Benny used Steeve’s seed money to design and order commemorative T-shirts, mugs and calendar clocks. Some mementos were offered to the attending sayas and the core volunteers. The rest were put on sale for “Fund Raising”.
- Ko Benny later visited Yangon to organize a mini-SPZP for the sayas and sayamas who could not attend SPZP-2000.
- Thanks in part to Saya Allen’s article, five Golden Sponsors and Donors — large and small — U Nyo Win’s Act was not enacted.
We thank the Golden Sponsors
- U Thaung Sein (Steeve Kay, EC70)
- Tan Yu Beng (Benny Tan, M70)
- U Tin Myint (David Ko, M67)
- U Khin Maung Oo (Ivan Lee, M69)
- U Maung Maung Than (M79)
and donors — large and small, young and old, near and far .
SPZP-2000 proved that the RIT Spirit was alive and well all over the world. SPZP-2000 defied the belief that RIT was a dying breed.
My poem “SAYA PUZAW PWE”
S eems like it was only yesterday
A t our alma mater in a land far away
Y ou taught us to work, play, laugh, even cry
A nd coaxed us, forced us to aim for the sky
P roblems in real life, lab, computation, survey
U nderstand concepts, design, display, …
Z eal, zest, ardor, grit, passion to make it “our day”
A rchitects, engineers, we’ve come here to say
W e honor your metta, your cetana — we fully can’t repay
P resently we meet, alum from five decades we greet
W ith memories true, fond, sweet
E cstatic yet sad that the GBNF could not join this memorable fete
- My poem was published in the commemorative issue of RIT Alumni International Newsletter and on the web site http://www.ex-rit.org
- The poem was reprinted on the back cover of the commemorative issue of Swel Daw Yeik Sar Saung for SPZP-2002 hosted by the Singapore alumni and chaired by Saya U Moe Aung )(Tekkatho Moe War).
- The poem has been reprinted in several RIT-related magazines.
Seven world wide SPZPs
- SPZP-2000 (California, USA)
- SPZP-2002 (Singapore)
- SPZP-2004 (Yangon)
- SPZP-2007 (Singapore)
- SPZP-2010 (Singapore)
- SPZP-2012 (Yangon) : first true Home Coming
- SPZP-2016 (Yangon) : hosted by RITAA; free food and entertainment
- Kudos to the sayas and colleagues for keeping the RIT spirit alive and well.
- We hope to meet again at SPZP-2020.
- Thanks to my wonderful family members for letting me spend 20 years as a volunteer Editor of “RIT Alumni International Newsletter”.
To the Fallen Warrior
Independence Movement and the Warriors
- “Taw Hlan Yay Nay” (Resistance Day) is celebrated in March. The resistance officially started on March 27, 1945.
- Bohmu Ba Htoo had started the resistance earlier, but it was made to look like a random sporadic act of defiance. The town which housed the early military training school was named “Ba Htoo Myo”.
- “Lut Latt Yay Nay” (Independence Day) is celebrated in January.
- The Union Jack was lowered and the Union Flag was flown on January 4, 1948.
- The time 4:20 AM may have been suggested some experts in Astrology.
- Many civilians and armed personnel put their lives on the line in their support for a Democratic and Independent Union of Burma.
- Some believed that the “pen is mightier than the sword.”
- My poem “To the fallen warrior” was published in Forward Magazine.
- Bohmu Ba Thaw (Maung Thaw Ka) was the Chief Editor. He joking asked me if I would like to join his staff.
- U Sein Hla was the Assistant Editor.
- I received Fifteen Kyats for my poem.
- The artist who illustrated my poem received Fifty Kyats.
The Phaundaw-u Festival
- Many years ago, I wrote a poem “The Phaungdaw-u Festival”
- for the Thadinkyut Supplement of Working People’s Daily (WPD).
- I visited Inlay Lake three times.
- My first visit was in the summer of 1965. I was selected as Tekkatho Luyechun for the Inlay Khaung Daing Camp.
- My second visit was in October, 1965. I accompanied Ko Aung Kyaw (Peter Pe, SPHS, Movie Star) and Ko Maung Maung Aye (SPHS, IM1, GBNF) to Inlay and Taunggyi. Peter’s cousins (including a medical doctor) live in In Paw Khone in Inlay. Peter’s uncle U Maung Maung Latt was Ah Mat Choke in Taunggyi. We saw first hand the famous Phaungdaw-u Festival.
- My third visit was made a few years back. We took a tour package (air travel to He Ho airport, hotel, car and boat) to Inlay. We stayed at a hotel in Inlay and then visited selected places in a chartered boat. We were sad to see the declining state of Inlay (e.g. water level). We also spent some time in Taunggyi and the nearby cave in Ho Pone.
The Ngapali Beach
My poem “The Ngapali Beach” was published in the Forward Magazine on March 2, 1970.
I received fifteen kyats for my poem.
The illustrator received fifty kyats.
Bohmu Ba Thaw (Maung Thaw Kha) was Chief Editor of the Forward Magazine. He jokingly asked me if I would be interested to join his staff.
U Sein Hla was Assistant Editor of the Forward Magazine.
My first visit was during my student days. My cousin and friends stayed at the Bungalow owned by U Tha Gyaw Wai and managed by my uncle. At a nearby bungalow was a movie crew by Amyotha Yoke Shin with U San Maung (Gerald, RUBC Gold and Coach). Ko Gerald asked me if I would be interested to join them on the way back via Taung Goke. We were hosted by the cinema owner. He offered the movie audience a free show if they could translate the Burmese titles into English. One submission was “Fly away bitter bird” (Pyan Lay dei Nget Khar).
My second visit was with my beloved spouse and two young sons. We stayed at the Bungalow owned by Amyotha Yoke Shin and managed by U Mya Maung (GBNF, younger brother of U Sein Tin and elder brother of Saya U Tin Htut).
My third visit was as a Guest Lecturer for the Ngapali Luyechun Camp. I spent some time chatting with other Guest Lecturers including Saya U Kyaw Myint (Director of Higher Education, former Professor of Physics at Mandalay).
Hantha Aye Nylon — the parents of Daw Than Than Yee (T71, GBNF) and U Sann Aung (M74) — also owned a Bungalow.
The Hotel and Tourist Corporation built the first hotel in Ngapali.
I know a few people (U Aung Win) who have taken [almost] yearly trips to Ngapali.
- My poem “Our Unity” was published in WPD (Working People’s Daily) for Pyidaung Su Nay (Union Day). It was written as a dream.
- Hlaing Phyo is one of my pen names.
- I received fifteen kyats for my poem.
- G Ko Lay (RUBC Gold) was Chief Editor of WPD. His spouse is Sayama Daw Nyunt Nyunt Win (Physics, Registrar of RASU).
- Former Chief Editors of WPD include U Khin Maung Latt (father of Saya Dr. Khin Maung Win, grand father of Maung Yit and Junior Win) and U Than Saw (grand father of KMZ’s spouse).
Tekkatho Moe War wrote : This is really an amazing verse to read, especially for a poetry lover, be it in any language, so to speak.
The Great Gandhiji
- He was born as Mohandas K. Gandhi.
- He was an Indian lawyer.
- He returned from overseas to lead non-violent boycotts.
- He was subsequently known as Mahatma, Gandhiji and the Apostle of Non-violence.
- He was assassinated by a Hindu Extremist, who did not like Gandhi’s tolerance for non-Hindus.
- The movie “Nine Hours to Rama” did not fare well in the Box Office.
- The movie “Gandhi” won an Oscar for Ben Kingsley for his portrayal as Gandhi.
- I wrote a poem for the Centennial of his birthday.
- The poem was published in the Working People’s Daily (WPD) on October 1, 1969.
The Great Gandhiji
A man of true principle
With spirit invincible
He sacrificed his pleasures
Faith and freedom were his treasures
No arms did he carry
No threats made him tarry
No torture or prison
Could change his decision
He led all protests
Despite threats and arrests
All races and creeds
Revered his deeds
He could not see his dreams come true
The whole world grieves his loss too
Though he cared not for fame
His name will indeed remain
In history, O Great Gandhiji
The United Nations
My poem “The United Nations” was published in the Forward Magazine on November 1, 1969. The UN Day is celebrated in October.
I received fifteen kyats for my poem.
U Thant served as the 3rd Secretary General of the United Nations. He is the first Asian to be elected UNSG. U Thant succeeded Daj Hammerjold, who perished in a plane crash.
U Thant earlier served as the Permanent Representative of Burma to the UN. He was preceded and succeeded by James Barrington (ICS, RUBC Gold).
Till We Meet Again
- My poem “Till we meet again” was published in the Forward Magazine on December 15, 1969.
- I received fifteen kyats for my poem.
- Burma was host of SEAP Games for the second time.
The first time was in 1961.
- Myint Aung won six Gold medals in Gymnastics.
- Jimmy Crampton won Gold in 800 m and 1500 m.
- Shimbwegan succeeded Mee Tung Naw as the Marathon Champion.
Tekkatho Moe War wrote : Well, Maung Hla Min, this is indeed one of the unexpected from your expected works. Congrats!
To My Alma Mater
- In our younger days, there is a section “Translations from Burmese Modern Poetry” in the Working People’s Daily.
- I translated a poem “To my alma mater” from Burmese to English for publication in Working People’s Daily (WPD).
- I received Fifteen Kyats for my translation.
- Maung Hlaing Phyo is one of my pen names.
Categories: Hla Min