Allen Htay (C58, GBNF) *

Saya Allen Htay and Daw Mu Mu Kin

Brief Bio (from SPZP-2000)

  • Born in Mandalay, attended St. Joseph English Convent and St. Peter’s Boys’ School in Mandalay and the Methodist High School in Rangoon.
  • Graduated B Sc (Eng) in Civil Engineering in 1958 from Rangoon University and joined the Faculty of Engineering as Assistant Lecturer in the same year at the invitation of Prof T Ba Hli, then Dean of Engineering.
  • Awarded the Burmese Government State Scholarship for study in the United States from 1960 to 1963, and the US Government Fulbright Travel Grant.
  • Received the degree of Master of Engineering from Harvard University in 1963, specializing in Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering.
  • Returned to Burma and joined the newly formed Rangoon Institute of Technology in Gyogon.
  • Served as Lecturer in Civil Engineering from 1964 to 1975, except from 1966 to 1968 which was spent on advanced study in Hydraulics Engineering in the Netherlands at Delft Technical University under UNESCO assistance program for Burma.
  • Immigrated to USA in 1975. Currently working at the California Department of Transportation as Project Engineer.
  • Married to Mu Mu Kin in 1971 and have two surviving children, Myo Lynn and Thuzar Kin, now studying at the University of California in San Diego and the California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo.
    Mu Mu works at TIBCO Software Inc in Palo Alto to supplement the family income.

Work Experience:

Soils Engineer: Mueser Rutledge Wentworth and Johnston, New York, NY, 1975-1978.
Washington DC Metro Subway Project. Civil Engineer: International Engineering Company, Inc, San Francisco, CA, 1978-1983.
USAID Bangladesh Fertilizer Warehouses Construction Project. Senior Staff Engineer: Morrison Knudsen Corporation, San Francisco, CA, 1984-1996.
DOE Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project. Principal Research Associate: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, 1997.
DOE Yucca Mountain High Level Radioactive Materials Repository Project.
Transportation Engineer: California Department of Transportation, Oakland, CA, 1999-. Toll Bridge Program- Project Development/Project Controls.

My dear parents gave me birth and brought me up to be a good son. My teachers taught me everything else I know. My land of birth, Myanmar, through the sweat and hard work of its citizens supported and paid for my engineering education and my studies abroad. To each and everyone I am obligated and I give my thanks. For it is narrated in Al-Hadith that one who does not thank one another in this life even for little favors is unworthy to thank the Lord for the big favor.

Some Updates

  • Saya retired twice
  • Coaxed by his former students to un-retire twice
  • Passed away before his final retirement.
  • Had four grandchildren.
    One has Allen as the first name
    Another has Allen as the middle name.
  • Founding member of RIT Alumni International and served as its President.
  • Best known for his article, “Brother, can you afford US$500?”
  • In memory of Saya, Daw Mu Mu Kin donated Sayas’ books to YTU Library.
    She also offered scholarship to eligible YTU students via NorCal RITAA.
  • His friends sometimes call him “Htay Bo Htay”
  • Enrolled at Harvard University, but also attended some courses at MIT (e.g. “SCHEME” / Lexically scoped Lisp)
  • Loves to program his calculator using Reverse Polish Notation
  • Per Saya U Tin Maung Nyunt, Saya Allen Htay is the eldest of five siblings (three brothers and two sisters)
    Youngest brother and youngest sister predeceased
    Younger brother is in Yangon
    Younger sister in the US (East Coast)

Civil 1958

  • Class photo was sent by Saya Allen Htay
  • Dr San Hla Aung helped to identify classmates
  • U Khin Maung Win (Sidney Chen, GBNF) supplied the photograph.
Class of C58
Class of Civil 58

Sitting: (1) U Pu (2) Dr. Aung Gyi (3) U Min Wun (4) U Ba Hli (5) Mr. Redpath (6) U Ngwe Thein (7) Mr. Eswara (8) Mr. Num Kock

1st Row: (1) Khin Maung (2) Than Aung (3) Htay Aung (4) Khin Maung Lwin (5) Kyaw Tin (6) Win Thein (7) Chit Pe (8) Shwe Tun Maung (9) Win Maung (10) Thein Lwin (11) Tun Yi (12) Than Pe

2nd Row: (1) V. Kumar (2) Kyaw Hoe (3) Allen Htay (4) Ba Hnin Chit (5) Kyaw Mya (6) Kyaw Din (7) Irwin Myaing (8) Chit Aye (9) Maung Maung (10) Nolan Wu (11) Morgan Singar

3rd Row: (1) Patrick George (2) Oscar Shirazee (3) Hla Shwe (4) Aung Par Thein (5) Saw Lwin (6) San Hla Aung (7) Shwe Win (8) Douglas Hoe (9) Sidney Chen


There was a mini-gathering at SPZP-2000. The attendees include

  • Mr. Num Kok (Portland, Oregon, GBNF)
  • Dr. Aung Gyi (Ottawa, Canada)
  • U Min Wun (Los Angeles, California)
  • U Allen Htay (Mountain View, California, GBNF)
  • Dr. San Hla Aung (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Mr. Oscar Shirazee (Middle East)

When Sidney Chen’s health was failing, his daughter requested us to let his classmates and friends know that he was eager to regain contact with them. Sadly, he passed away.

Mr. Oscar and U Aye Win Hlaing used to work in Iran many years ago. Mr. Oscar’s spouse is the sister of U Ngwe Zoe (Peter, SPHS57, GBNF).

Due to schedule conflicts, Saya Dr. San Hla Aung could not attend some SPZPs. Saya retired at the age of 80. He is now free to attend many SPZPs.

Saya Dr. Win Thein succeeded Saya U Min Wun as Professor and Head of the Department. Except for a warning sign from an early Medical check up, Saya is healthy.

Brother, can you afford Five Hundred Dollars?

And many weekends spent away from your family as well? If you can then you probably are a member of the RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe organizing committee.

It all began one day several months ago when we met over lunch at Benny Tan’s home in Hillsborough. Ko Hla Min and Ko Khin Maung Zaw among the lunch party had started the RIT Alumni website and were receiving enthusiastic responses. Hearing that the duo were carrying on the project all by themselves we decided to throw in our moral and financial support to assure its survival, realizing that it was providing a needed service for the RIT alumni to locate and communicate with each other. Every one present, ten of us at that time, took out our checkbooks and wrote out one hundred dollars each, with promises of more as needed. We informally called ourselves the RIT Alumni Bay Area Group. I was asked to be the group leader.

After that fateful event we continue to have regular meetings, hosted in turn at the homes of some among group members: Ko Hla Min, Maurice Chee, Ko Myat Htoo, Ko Thein Aung, and most recently Dr Nyo Win. Did I leave out any one? Ah yes! Ko Myint Swe and San San Swe. All the while the membership continues to grow and our objective keeps on changing from support of the website to some vague dream of a future RIT alumni organization on a global scale and finally settled on a plan for RIT Alumni Grand Reunion at the beginning of the 21st Century. Ko Hla Min broached the idea to include Saya Pu Zaw Pwe as part of the Grand Reunion in keeping with the Myanmar custom of honoring one’s teachers. As our plan jelled we got carried away by our own excitement and started talking about holding the reunion before the end of the Year 2000. After all, ending one millennium successfully augers well for success in the next millennium.

Before we fully realized what we were up to we have found an ideal site, the Embassy Suites Hotel conference hall near the San Francisco International Airport, and found ourselves making a commitment for a definite date, 28 October 2000 and a attendance fee of fifty dollars, a modest amount to encourage maximum number of Alumni to participate. The minimum capacity of the conference hall is 200 seats and we were required to make down payment and sign a rental and service agreement based on 200 seats. Our most optimistic estimate at the time was 100 attendees. If the attendance is low that means the Bay Area Group, as the Organizing Committee was not in force at the time, will have to make up the short fall. Which could amount to as much as five thousand dollars, or five hundred dollar from each group member. We hesitated a moment to reflect on what that means to us individually in terms of diminished spending power. But, in the end our attachment to RIT and the engineering profession, our sincere desire to meet the Sayas and class mates from whom we were separated for long over came us. We will accept the risks.

Thus was born the preparations in full swing for the Grand RIT Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe. Others must tell the rest of the story – of struggles, compromises, and elations along the way and from participants themselves what it means to be present at the defining moment in the history of RIT Alumni.

Allen Htay,
RIT Alumni International – Bay Area Group
RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe Organizing Committee

Appreciation of SPZP-2000

Hello All:

Thanks and Congratulations for a well organized and well executed event. I believe we all went to bed early Sunday night irrespective of the change back to Standard Time (from Daylight Savings Time according to the rule “Spring forward, Fall back”) , and no doubt slept soundly and very happy, knowing full well what happened during the past three days is more than what we dared to dream. I for one took the Monday off and forgot lunch because I woke up so late. But what is one missed lunch!

Allen Htay


Dear Ko Maung Maung Than (M79):

Thanks for your note of appreciation for the RIT Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe. Everybody chipped in: the sayas, organizers, committee members, helpers, supporters like you which we were very fortunate to have, the alumni and general guests and well-wishers. We won’t be able to host an event of this magnitude and importance if any of the components were missing.

Success belongs to everyone.

Thanks again for your generous support

Allen Htay

Remembering Saya Allen Htay

From Saya U Thit

Dear Colleagues and students

I am very sad to hear that Allen Htay passed away.

I have known Allen Htay since the early 1950s when we were both students at Methodist High School, Yegyaw, East Yangon. He was one year junior to me.

We were together again in the late 1950s when we were both Assistant Lecturers at B.O.C. Engineering College. During that time he and I together with Saya Num Kock and Saya U Aung Khin went for an excursion to visit Lawpita Hydroelectric Plant construction site near Loikaw, in Kayah State.

While I was living on the R.I.T. campus in the early 1960s he moved to a house just across the street from us.

I will always remember him coming to our house many times in the evenings for a chat with my family.

The last time I saw him was at the 2004 Saya Puzawpwe in Yangon.

He will be sadly missed by many of his friends and students.

May his soul rest in Peace.

Maung Thit (Metallurgy)
Melbourne, Australia

From the alumni in Australia

By Ko “Henry” Thet Tun

Our sincere and deepest condolences to Saya U Allen Htay & family for the demise of Saya.

From the RIT Alumni Australia & Myanmar Engineering Association of Australia Inc.

From Saya Dr. Tin Win (M62) and Daw Lily (T72)

Dear Ko Hla Min,

We are very much saddened by the departure of Saya Allen Htay. Please convey our heartfelt condolences to Daw Mu Mu and family. His good nature and kind demeanor will always live in our memory and that of those who loved him.

While we will all miss Saya Allen very much, I hope all his loved ones can find some slight comfort in knowing that his suffering has ended.

Very Sincerely,
Tin Win and Lily.

From Ko Kyaw Thu (Dennis Mackey)

Dear Ko Hla Min,

Without the RIT Alumnu Updates, I would not have known about the passing of our (me and George Peters) final year thesis supervisor Saya U Allen Htay.

Thank you for your regular as well as supplement updates.

Please convey our deepest condolences to Daw Mu Mu and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time of great loss and sadness.

Best regards,
Dennis (Kyaw Thu) (C73) and Alice U

Editor’s Notes:
Dennis and Alice have relocated to Canada.

From Saya U Soe Paing and Daw Saw Yu Tint

My friend Allen Htay (GBNF)

Some years ago I wrote an article for the about my saya friends at RIT which included Allen Htay.

I met Allen Htay when I joined the 1st Year BSc (Engg) class at the Faculty of Engineering at Leikkhone in 1958 .Ko San Hla Aung was our drawing instructor for the main majors (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical), and Allen Htay was the instructor for the rest.

In December1958, I went on State Scholarship to Stanford University. When I returned home after completing my studies, I found myself on the same ship S S Warickshire from Liverpool to Yangon with Allen Htay, Ko Tin Maung Nyunt (Agri Eng) and Ko Ko Lay (UCC). There was also another Myanmar Ko Than Pe, a Chartered Accountant, on the ship. Those days it was customary for the Government to send the returning scholars by ship.

We normally had our meals together seated at the Chief engineer’s table. After dinner we would play bridge to spend the time. Ko Ko Lay partnered with Ko Tin Maung Nyunt and Allen Htay and Ko Than Pe took turns as my partner against them. We played almost every night after dinner and all of us became very good friends.

We got back to Yangon in October 1963. Allen Htay rejoined RIT. I was posted to RIT in January 1964 and Ko Tin Maung Nyunt in March 1964 and so we were together again. When I got married and moved into the RIT staff quarters I was at 16F, Allen Htay at 16E and Ko Tin Maung at 16D. We visited each others house very often. We also became friendly with Allen Htay’s brothers and sisters.

I have attached a photo taken during Thingyan 1966 with Allen Htay (2nd from left) and his youngest brother (extreme right).

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I left RIT for UCC and the UN, and Allen Htay and Ko Tin Maung Nyunt went to the United States. All of us met gain in the Bay Area in 1985, 2001 and 2010. I saw Allen Htay at the RIT reunions in 2004 (Yangon), 2007 and 2010 (Singapore).

He could not make it to the 2012 reunion in Yangon because of his health. He was a mild mannered soft spoken gentleman and we will all miss him. May he rest in peace.

From Daw Mu Mu Khin (Saya’s Spouse)

“Let me count the ways [to love]” by Elizabeth Browning is a poem present by Ma Ma Mu to Saya Allen.

Donations in Saya Allen’s Memory

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In memory of Saya, Daw Mu Mu Kin

  • donated Saya’s books to YTU Library
  • provided cabinets for Saya’s books
  • sponsored scholarships for eligible YTU students

Ko Maurice Chee (M75) coordinated the donation of books.

NorCal RITAA and some volunteer alumni from Yangon coordinated the selection of scholarship recipients.

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Daw Mu Mu Kin (Saya’s spouse)
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Categories: GBNF

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