Update : November 15, 2022
By Ba Thein (Atlanta)
Thank you very much to all of you (Organizing members and the participants) for the unforgettable grand event “SPZP and RIT Reunion 2000” at San Francisco.
Let me express the most exciting moment for me at the event. Earlier, I have learned from your “Countdown to the Reunion” articles that there were some questions about the agenda, especially about the Saya Ga Daw Pwe which is a tradition/practice for the Buddhists. Later the organizing committee members arranged it as an optional for the attendees.
On that great evening of October 28, I arrived just in time from the other hall into the main hall to participate in my most anticipated moment. I jumped into the event from behind the other participants. For a few seconds, all of us struggled willingly with joy for a tiny spot to pay homage to our Sayagyis. Each of us did it successfully in a thrilling moment. To pay homage all my Sayagyis together in this place and time was an extraordinary opportunity for all of us. It does not matter for me – their religion – whether they directly taught me, indirectly, or did not – whether I have seen them before or not. Sayas are Sayas. Whoever they were/are. There is no problem. Our Sayas and Sayamas have done a grand – unparalleled accomplishments to our Mother “Rangoon Institute of Technology”, to our Mother Country , and to our lives.
One more special excitement for me was, I noticed that there were non-Buddhists not only on the stage among the Sayas but also on the floor among the engineers who were proudly paying homage with strong eagerness to our Sayagyis. Immediately after we paid homage, I saw many of us ‘Great Engineers’, some with tears of joy, bowing their heads, rushed to the Sayagyis sitting on the stage, touched, and held their Saya’s hands with excitement. I guessed that some of these fore-rushers were in their 60’s and trembling with exultation. I learned that SPZP is not only for young engineers.
The event was very enthusiastic and swift. [Let me say,] it was also a little chaotic and informal. However, this kind of chaotic atmosphere was the real unforgettable “Unique Essence” of our once-in-a-life-time SPZP and Reunion, 2000.
With Respect, Ba Thein, Atlanta
On the eve, we had an informal gathering at an “all you can Japanese, Korean and Chinese buffet”. There we saw some of our Sayagyis revering their Sayas. At the Reunion dinner, the main event, and the picnic the following day, we saw more instances. Sayagyi U Khin Aung Kyi paying respect to his Sayas — Sayagyi U Ba Toke (Maths) and Sayagyi U Num Kok (Civil) — is awesome and inspiring.
Earlier I received e-mails telling me the difference of Asian and Western cultures, e.g. how one calls one’s professors by their first name, and hinting that “it would be awkward for non-Asian spouses to witness/understand the SPZP”. Fortunately, we did not hear any complaints at the event.