Topics *


  • First Pagoda in the USA
    Sayadaw U Thilawuntha (Dat Paung Zon Aung Min Gaung, Mon Sayadaw) built the first pagoda in the Allegheny Mountain in the USA.
    Sayadaw built pagodas in several countries (e.g. Canada, New Zealand)
  • Food for thought
    Discussions include effective listening and evaluation, netiquette
  • First RIT Alumni Web Site
    Ko Maurice Chee’s post for the donors of the now defunct web site
  • Robert Floyd
    Professor without a graduate degree but with tons of talent
  • Silicon Valley
    An overview of the birth of Silicon Valley

First Pagoda in the USA

Dat Paung Zon Aung Min Gaung Saya U Thilawunta (also fondly known as “Mon Sayadaw”) built the first pagoda in the USA on the Alleghany Mountains.

The American devotee, who permitted the pagoda to be constructed on his land, passed away.

Grapevine says that there were plans to contact the current owners to ask permission to renovate the pagoda or to relocate the pagoda.

Later pagodas include the ones at Kaba Aye Taung Pulu monastery in Boulder Creek, California.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Oldest-Pagoda-in-USA.jpg

Food For Thought

  • Listening, evaluation and feedback are important for effective communication.
  • The salutations are context and culture dependent.
  • A visiting Professor from Germany wanted to be addressed as “Professor Doctor”.
  • Saya Allen Htay told us that he could not use “Mr” during his stay in Netherlands. He was asked to use “Ingr” (based on his profession).
  • Grapevine says that the early surgeons in the UK were not necessarily doctors, and so they did not force people to address them as Dr.
  • Some overuse the “Like” button in Facebook. It is puzzling to see many Likes in an Obituary posting.
  • One should be aware of “opt-in” versus “opt-out” options.
  • Malicious software industry is responsible for losses (in down time, data corruption, identity theft, …) in the billions. The penalty of offenders is “peanuts” compared to drug dealers in most countries.
  • “To err is human. To forgive divine.” I like another version. “To err is human. To really goof, use a computer.”
  • I have made intentional and unintentional errors. Thanks to my colleagues, friends and readers for catching and correcting them.
  • Word processors also introduce some errors by correcting legal Burmese words and names. e.g. “Nwe” becomes “New” when auto-corrected. A work around is to add such words to a private dictionary for use by the word processor.
  • Without analysis of context, a program cannot decide whether you meant “goal” (objective) or “gaol” (alternative spelling for jail).
  • Inconsistencies are not easy to detect. For example, if I write about Saya U Shwe Hlaing for two posts : “Names — Shwe” and “Names — Hlaing”, the contents may not be exactly the same. I use FB for convenience (e.g. getting rapid feedback), but it is not designed for cross-referencing posts.
  • When I am not sure about an alumnus’s year of graduation or discipline, I use X for “unknown or unsure”. Most of the time, I get corrected by the readers.
  • There is no “hard and fast” rule for including or excluding names in my posts. The coverage may not be uniform for the names mentioned. My posts are not complete for “Who’s who in Burma and Myanmar?”
  • I am not consistent in tagging friends in my posts.

U Khin Maung Zaw (EC76) wrote :

One of the issues with Burmese names, is that there are more than one way to spell it in English, like Tun vs Htun. We used to have two ထြန္းေအာင္ေက်ာ္ (I left U/Ko on purpose of clarity not for the lack of respect), one of them spell his name Tun Aung Gyaw, the other Htun Aung Kyaw. Hence they are been distinguished as TAG and HAK.

I used to have a god-grandmother here in US in the early days – she passed some years back, may her soul RIP. We, myself and U Min Maung (EP68), jokingly told her to make sure she spelled our name MAUNG in her will. Khin Mg Zaw may not be the same as Khin Maung Zaw in legalese.

First RIT Alumni Website

Posted in 1999

By U Maurice Chee (Hla Myint Thein, M75)

As the Treasurer of the Bay Area RIT Alumni Group, I am pleased to announce the names of financial supporters whose donations have been helpful in taking care of the RIT Alumni web site maintenance.

  • Saya U Nyo Win (a) Kim Chen (M65) US$ 120
  • Saya Allen Htay (C58) US$ 120
  • Saya U Myat Htoo (C68) US$ 120
  • Saya U Thein Aung (a) James Wu (Met72) US$ 120
  • U Benny Tan (M70) US$ 120
  • U Maurice Chee (M75) US$ 120
  • U Gordon Kaung (M83) US$120
  • Saya K. C. Chiu (a) Dr. Tin Aung (ChE63) US$ 120
  • Saya George Chan (a) U Maung Maung (ChE66) US$ 120
  • U Hla Min (EC69) US$ 120
  • U Daniel Tint Lwin (M69, Singapore) US$ 100
  • U Ivan Lee (a) U Khin Maung Oo (M69, New Jersey) US$ 360
  • Saya U Soe Paing (EE,), Daw Saw Yu Tint (T69) US$ 120

Note: –

Saya U K. C. Chiu’s donation included U Htin Paw (EE58), Mr. Patrick Chin (M70), and U Kyi Kong Tham (C63)

U Hla Min’s donation included S$50 donated by Saya U Aung Myint (M69, Singapore Polytechnic)

Webmaster’s Note :

The hard cost of hosting the RIT Alumni website with a hosting company is US24.95 per month. This costs does not include time and efforts put in by various people. The initial set up and programming effort took about five to six weekends, remember we do have day jobs. It takes an average of three to ten hours a week for routine content maintenance and program enhancements.

Editor’s Note:

U Khin Maung Zaw (EC76) designed and maintained the web site. He was then working four 10-hour days and spent nights and weekends to get the sayas and alumni connected virtually and later physically at SPZP-2000. He was one of the eligible bachelors. He was then employed by Microsoft. He also found his true love and set up a loving family. It was a loss for RIT Alumni International.

He is now retired and is providing feedback on my posts.

Robert Floyd

Professor Robert W (Bob) Floyd
(June 8, 1936 – September 25, 2001)

He received his BA at the age of 17, and another BS in 1958 (working and studying part time) from the University of Chicago.

He taught and researched at two prestigious universities : Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Stanford University.

He was recommended to by Professor Donald Ervin Knuth (winner of Grace Murray Hopper Award, and ACM Turing Award) to become the Chairman, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University.

Knuth said, “any of the papers he had written could be taken as a doctoral dissertation “. Floyd’s pioneering papers included graph algorithms, compiling techniques, tree data structures, and proof of program correctness.

He supervised several doctoral students.

He was also awarded the prestigious ACM Turing Award, which is considered the Nobel Prize in Computing.

His biography, citation for the ACM Turing Award and the Award Lecture can be read from the ACM web site.

Silicon Valley

In the early days of computing, manufacturers of magnetic devices (core memory, tapes, disks and drums) than silicon [dioxide based] devices. Some said that “Magnetic Valley” might be a more appropriated name than “Silicon Valley”.

Several factors are attributed to the birth and the culture of Silicon Valley.

Professor [later Dean] Frederick Terman joined Stanford University instead of the more established ones in the East because of his health. He is known for (a) encouraging his students such as Hewlett, Packard and the Varian brothers to become entrepreneurs (b) leasing land owned by the University to the fledgling companies (c) making agreements with the companies to hire his students and/or send employees to attend courses at the University.

The oft-told story is about William Shockley (Nobel Prize winner for co-inventing the transistor) and his decision to set up “Shockley Labs”. He was brilliant but not so good at nurturing his employees. This led the “Traitorous Eight (including Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore)” to join Fairchild semiconductors. Noyce and Moore later co-founded Intel (Integrated Electronics) with Andy Grove.  The ability to move around companies is a good aspect of the Silicon Valley culture.

The entrepreneurship (initiated by Professor Terman) lives on. Yahoo, Google and several other companies were founded by Stanford alumni.

Some pointed out Harvard, MIT, and Cornell produced early computers (e.g. Mark I) and disciplines (e.g. Time sharing system, AI Lab, Computer Graphics, Machine Vision).  Their alumni also founded computer companies (e.g. DEC).

So, what [really] defines “Silicon Valley”?

Categories: S T U

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