UCC Memories

UCC Founder Saya Chit

Update : January 17, 2022

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  • Saya Chit (Dr. Chit Swe) is a Computing Pioneer in Burma.
  • He is a proponent of Life Long Learning, Knowledge and Technology Transfer, Leapfrogging Technology, Team of System Specialists (TOSS) to name a few
  • Sadly, Saya passed away in Sydney, Australia in November 2019
  • He had medical problems in his late 80s, but still had an active mind.
  • Until a few years ago, Saya was still “supervising” Burmese students in Australia with their research and theses.
  • Saya is an Alumnus of Mandalay University, Imperial College (University of London), University of Glasgow and University of Liverpool.
  • His contemporaries include Dr. Maung Di and U Khin Maung Tint (Tekkatho Phone Naing , who supposedly based his characters on his friends).
  • Saya U Ba Than (Retired Professor of Mechanical Engineering) was his room mate when he they were studying at Imperial College.
  • Saya was Head of Mathematics Department at the Institute of Economics when he proposed to the Ministry of Education to acquire a computer for research and teaching.
  • Dr. Nyi Nyi requested Saya Chit to extend the scope of his proposal to cover selected universities and institutes.
  • The UCC project was born.
  • It would take several years before UNDP (United Nations Development Program) approved to fund the project. UNESCO would act as the Executing Agency.
  • Saya Chit succeeded U Ba Toke as Professor of Mathematics Department.
    Saya U Ba Toke was promoted as Rector of MASU.
  • Saya recruited volunteers to help plan for the implementation of UCC.
  • Saya received permission to use an upper floor of Mandalay Hall as the “temporary home” for UCC.
  • Saya Chit, Saya Paing, Saya Myo, Saya Lay and several others (U Shwe Hlaing, Dr. Kyaw Nyunt) conducted courses on Computer Fundamentals & Programming, Systems Analysis and Design, …
  • UCC moved over to Thamaing College Campus as a neighbor to Regional College Two (RC2).
  • Saya Chit became the Founder/Director.
  • Saya Paing, Saya Myo and Saya Lay became Managers in charge of Computer Systems, Computer Applications, and Computer Operations.
  • Saya is modest.
    During a trip to Chauk Htut Yone, the admin would ignore Saya Chit and would pay respect to Ko Myint Oo (later Phaung Gyi), who was well dressed and carrying a suit case).
  • Sayagadaw inivited Ko Myint Oo and me to join Saya at the Yahan Khan in Sagaing Hills.
    The Preceptor took more than two hours exhorting the three Donlabas (after learning that Saya was a prominent Professor).
  • Saya Chit insisted a component to invite the elite Computer Scientists and Practitioners to UCC and jump start courses in Computer Science and Applications.
    The list includes :
    Harry D. Huskey and Anthony Ralston (two Past Presidents of the prestigious ACM),
    Peter Wegner (expert in Programming Languages and Systems),
    Michael Stonebraker (Expert in Relational Database Technology).
  • Saya thought that I had served as an Editor for a newspaper.
    I had written articles, poems and translations for Guardian, WPD (Working People’s Daily) and Forward Magazine.
    Maung Thaw Ka (Bohmu Ba Thaw) “suggested” me to join his staff (upon learning that I was then a volunteer (“Loke Arr Pay”) for the UCC Project).
    In my 3rd BE, editors from NAB (News Agency Burma) “invited” me to join their staff.
    My parents supported my hobbies, but they wanted to make sure that I have a good education and a decent job. I became a writer (real and ghost) for Saya’s numerous projects: High School Mathematics Curriculum Development, CTK (Children’s Treasury of Knowledge), PERT …
  • Saya served as Rector of RASU, but his passion for UCC and his care for his former students never dimmed.
  • Saya taught at ABAC before moving to Sydney, Australia.
    Several Burmese there completed their doctorates under his supervision.
  • In June 2006, I attended mini-gatherings in Sydney:
    (a) RIT Alumni Dinner Gathering (co-chaired by Saya U Myo Win (GBNF) and Saya U Hla Myint
    (b) UCC alumni gathering at Saya U Aung Zaw’s house
    (c) Old Paulians Lunch Gathering at Olympic Park (organized by Dr. Thann Naing / Bonnie Kywe)
  • We paid homage to Saya Chit and Saya Dr. Freddie Ba Hli (National Planning Adviser & Board Member of UCC).
  • Saya later asked me to give a lecture or seminar for interested youths.
    He then presented me with his hat.
    I hope that Saya’s hat can “transfer” his brilliant thinking into my head.
  • Saya visited Singapore and Myanmar and shared his wisdom, knowledge and experience.
  • I managed to call Saya Chit a few months before he passed away.
    He told me that in the early 70s, both UCC and most Australian Universities were using ICL Computers. He said Burma should make strides in Computer Science and Applications like other countries in general and Australia in particular.
  • Saya’s Biography (provided by his family)
  • Pioneers
  • Memories of UCC (series)
  • Articles by U Soe Paing, U Aung Zaw …

Categories: UCC Memories

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