Notalgia Posts Reflections

MEHS Hawaii “Five Oh” by Cleo Kyin Oo Appleton

MEHS Hawaii “Five Oh”

Swaying Palms2

Dear Friends,


Hawaii, the 50th state of the United States is a chain of islands, seamounts (sea mountains) in the middle of the north Pacific Ocean. It is not only a popular tourist destination for its beauty, balmy good weather and friendly folks, it is truly the crossroads of the East and the West … with a vibrant native Hawaiian culture.

Embracing the best of both worlds, this “Pacific Gateway” is an ideal setting to connect, renew and reinvigorate the friendships made from childhood in and out of school, as well as those you have made at previous reunions.

MEHS is unique in that when I mention a High School Reunion, folks think it is a reunion of one graduating class. In essence we are many graduating classes, from different years, backgrounds and language groups united in our quest for learning, as school children in a diverse and dynamic world. Even after graduation, each of us carries that MEHS spirit and brightness in our lives.

There are at least 50 reasons to visit the islands which include attending the upcoming 7th International Reunion in Honolulu. Honolulu is the capital of the island of Oahu as well as of the entire state of Hawaii. Upon invitation of Lily Chen for a look see trip, I just spent nine mostly rainy days there.

The primary mission was to check on the venue and the menu with focus on keeping prices low without sacrificing quality.

Here are my impressions and photos, since pictures speak a thousand words.

Ala Moana Hotel

Outrigger boat

Ala Moana Hotel is a world class hotel situated in Waikiki across from the beach, and connected to the main shopping mall by a land bridge from the hotel. The mall is not just for shopping, it also affords other activities such as free Hula performances to the public at Center Stage. It has a big food court, an alternative to restaurant and hotel dining. The hotel manager showed us sample rooms ranging from $145/night to a corner suite with a kitchenette and spectacular views for $265/night.

Breakfast buffet at the hotel’s Plantation Café is a set price, $16.85. [15% off for 55 years and up]. Cost of hotel parking is $20.00/day.

Visitors to the hotel lobby are greeted by an outrigger boat and a beautiful display of blooming orchids in a profusion of colors. Besides the reception area, the main floor has a tour desk, shops, a business center and the Rumours Night Club.

Hotel guests seen in the lobby include those from the airline industry. Nowadays, with the vagaries of travel, no one needs to experience a paradise turning into hell. So, it is comforting to know that their clientele includes this industry where predictability and consistency of service are critical to the performance of their jobs.

Given its location, quality and the size of rooms, this hotel is an excellent value for the price.

When booking, please check out the website for all the particulars you are seeking in your room, i.e., size, price, view, etc.

Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute

On an exceptionally sunny day, we visited Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute, the venue for the Reunion in Ko’ Olina which means a “Place of Joy.” It is a distance from Honolulu proper and is a resort area. Nearby are: Paradise Cove where Luaus are staged regularly for visitors, a Disney Resort and a Marriott Resort. There is also a golf course with condos close by.


Lanikuhonua or in Hawaiian, “Where Heaven Meets the Earth,” is a beautiful spot. A cultural site, it is popular for holding weddings and private corporate functions. It has a lovely view of a distant mountain, has a small sandy beach and a tide-pool with calm waters…but is not set up for beach combing.

The grounds have many trees, flowers and foliage that you will remember from our childhood. There is a special area sacred to the native Hawaiians for performing ceremonies. We are honored to be allowed access to this site.

The Menu: Pacific Gateway Center

Burmese food

Burmese food 2

We are fortunate to have the Pacific Gateway Center cater food at this Reunion. Why so and what is the connection with MEHS? Burmese soul food as I call it is made from hard to find vegetables, ingredients and flavors we have loved since childhood. These flavors will make their appearance at the Reunion, thanks to the innovative pioneering efforts of the Executive Director of the non-profit Pacific Gateway Center. Dr. Tin Myaing Thein (Faith Tin), an MEHS alumna herself.

Pacific Gateway Center through innovation and creativity empowers immigrants and refugees, most of them survivors of human trafficking, to become self-sufficient and economically independent. Most of them are Burmese and Thai farmers. They are transforming the rich volcanic soil into land producing chin baung and other Asian vegetables. This has transformed Honolulu’s culinary scene.

This organization provides comprehensive integrated assistance from language help and affordable housing to catering start-up companies.

What is a Reunion but a reaffirmation of ourselves as students, our youth, our enduring friendships…to honor our principal, our teachers, our parents and each other… to give thanks to the blessings of the quality education we received and coming together just to have FUN!

Cleo Kyin Oo Appleton
MEHS 7th International Reunion 2014

Posted: 3/2/2014

Notalgia Posts Reflections

All Creatures Great and Small by Mervyn Shwe Tha (Myo Thant)

All creatures great and small

We herald into this world with our parents desiring the very best for us. As such, I was enrolled way back in 1956 into Middle Kindergarten of M.E.H.S. Bid did I farewell to 5B to accompany my mother’s Foreign Office posting in London. Looking back after more than half a century, those were my best formative years where I secured a solid foothold in life. My mother believed in offering the best fundamentals in education, and that time M.E.H.S. was the finest and second to none educational establishment in then, Burma.

M.E.H.S. was the only school where their sibling male and or females, can be educated together under a single roof, offering stellar knowledge the country could offer. The records spoke for themselves. No argument on that.

I was grouped together with the class of 1966, where all journeyed on to greener pastures doing their own things. All became creatures great and small in their own right. In the shipping industry where I served for more than forty years, for example, we noticed people like Donald MacIntosh (Khin Maung), Michael Yaw Hlaing (Tin Bo Hlaing), Edwin Tut (Aye Tut) Ship’s Masters, Steven Yone Mo (Than Moe) Radio and Supply Officer, Victor Lin Bin Fitter, Richard Pyo Nyein (Maung Maung Nyein), Gerry Win Pe (Win Pe) Managing Directors and myself Mervyn Shwe Tha (Myo Thant) reaching the post of Deputy General Manager of Operations, all in our national line of Burma (Myanma) Five Star Line. In the Myanma Port Authority, Cho Than Maung became its Managing Director. While some may be gone, but we are still here ensuring the lamp still burns bright. All are alumni of M.E.H.S. There must be many more where our paths did not cross.

Friends told me that they could tell which school we attended, just by listening at the way we spoke. Something similar of an English stiff upper lip, if you like. They may say what they wish and possibly might be some truth in it too. After all, we attended M.E.H.S. and were in a class of our own high above the rest. A very rare breed indeed.

Proud to be a M.E.H.S. alumni.


Mervyn Shwe Tha (Myo Thant)

Posted: 7/20/2014


7th MEHSA Reunion in Hawaii by Phyllis Aung Gine

7th MEHSA Reunion in Hawaii

By Phyllis Aung Gine

Aloooo-haaaa Hawaiiii-eeeee!!! Here we come!!!

With this cry, we, the alumni of MEHS descended on the beautiful island of Hawaii, from all over the world. Hawaii officially became the fiftieth state of the United States, on August 21, 1959. It is one of the smallest states, and it is the only state made up entirely of islands. The islands are the tops of volcanoes, some of them still active. What a better way to celebrate the 7th Reunion of MEHS on this exotic island!

We came in droves, some of us came all the way from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the UK and mainland United States.

Many of us stayed at the Ala Moana Hotel, but some stayed at the Ko’Olina, a luxurious condominium resort which is located close to the venue at the Lanikuhonua (“where heaven meets the earth”). Lily had arranged for the Ala Moana Hotel to give us a group discount and the hotel is located in the downtown area where there is a walking bridge that connected the Ala Moana to the Shopping Center next door. Thus we can always go there for our last minute shopping for our immediate needs such as water bottles, snacks and gifts, and in my case, a Hawaiian dress for the occasion.

I arrived on the 3rd of September, but our flights were delayed and we arrived at the Ala Moana late at night. The next morning, after breakfast, I went across the bridge to the shopping center to find the things I needed. I was delighted to find that there are many wonderful stores where we can find our basic commodities to the High End Stores. I found my island dress at one of the little stores and some gifts to take home as well. Lunchtime came and I joined my cousin Jimmy WinThein and Ma Ma Gloria for lunch and they later took me on a tour to see the Dole plantation.

The next day, I joined my classmate Bryan Sein Tun and his wife Theingi for another shopping tour. In the evening, I met Lily Chen and Family as well as Sheila Patail and husband Alfred, plus Sally Joseph, Lillian Wu, William Chen and Kandy Douglas for dinner. These are the volunteers who helped with the setup of the Reunion place.

Originally, William Taw has invited us to his home for dinner on Friday night. But his back went out and he was in great pain and had to be hospitalized. Of course the dinner at his house was canceled. We all pray that William will be much better now.

On Saturday, William, Kandy and I walked down to the beach and had breakfast and went over to the Lanikuhonua (“where heaven meets the earth”) to set up the tables and chairs. Sheila Patail did some wonderful flower arrangements for the tables. I volunteered to help put up the tablecloths and the balloons and also to put up the oil lamps for the night. Gloria kindly brought some rice and fish curry and balachaung which the volunteers enjoyed.

Later that afternoon, alumni started to arrive, and I sat at the Registration desk for alumni to come and register themselves and to give them their name tags. After that, I told them to move to the other end of the table to get themselves lei’ed. People looked surprised, but were quite happy to be lei’ed and receive a small gift.

After registration, we stood around in groups as the Traditional Opening Ceremony was about to start. Faith Tin has arranged for the professional Kumus (“the Source”) to do the welcome chant and also to bless the event. This ceremony is performed by Aukai Reynolds (one of the 3 kumus), dressed in ceremonial attire and blowing on the conch shell to start the event. After the chanting and the blessings were done, all of us went inside the tent to be seated. The Tahitian dancers came next. They were arranged by Lily and William to perform for us and they very graciously performed both days.

We started off the procession by the President of the Alumni Association, Gloria Winthein, carrying the MEHS School Flag, followed by the four House flags, with Sheila Patail carrying the Yellow Flag for Carey, Phyllis Aung Gine, carrying the Green flag for Judson and Hazel Kyaw Zaw, carrying the Blue Flag for Livingstone and Beauty Myo Min, carrying the Red flag for Wesley. All of us were wearing the grass skirts to set the island mood.

Later, Mra Tun’s band started to play and we sang the popular songs such as, The Happy Wanderer, My Banjo and the MEHS Hawaiin Reunion Song to the music of the Hawaiian wedding song, composed by Lily Chen and Lin Herbert.

After that introductions were made by our Alumni President Gloria WinThein, with Lucy Chen acting as MC. Then the Te Ori Tahitian dancers entertained us with their native dances. You have to be there to enjoy the full impact of the dances. For those who are not present, you can still enjoy the dances by buying the CD for this event. While we were clicking away with our cameras, the sun was setting and it was a beautiful sight.

Dinner was soon announced and we all trooped over to the tent where all kinds of Burmese food were prepared for us. There were a delicious array of Burmese food such as Let-Hpet-thoke, Gyin thoke and Nan-gyi thoke. There were also Ma-Gyee Hpyaw Ye, tea, coffee and other drinks. After dinner, since all of us were wearing island attire, there was a competition for the best Aloha shirt worn by the men. So the men happily paraded up and down and we all voted. Then people started to dance on the dance floor and as the night grew to an end, we all took off for the night.

The next morning, my roommate, Kandy and I got up early in the morning to go to the big Flea market at the Stadium. We found all kinds of wonderful gifts to take home. Hawaiian shirts, dresses, and those wonderful island quilts, which were so expensive at the stores, but we got them at a bargain price. Then we went off to help with the event at 10:00am.

This time brunch was like heaven. We had, Nan-Bya and Pe-byoke, Kauk Hnyin–Baung and Hnan Htaung there was Mohinga (My friend declared he will have 3 bowls of Mohinga), there was Bein Mont (made by Gloria WinThein) and tea and coffee. We all gorged ourselves like hungry children.

Then the MC announced the Tribute and recognitions. After that Mra Tun’s band started play. Then we had a games competition for the 4 Houses. We played the Maharajah game and our House, Judson won. Wesley also won the next game.

Later, we had some more snacks and there was group dancing. Then the Auction Items were announced. Next we had a 1 minute talk about ourselves and the school, some people were so enthusiastic they went over their 1 min, but no one minded.

During this talk, my roommate Kandy and I quietly sneaked away back to our hotel and enjoyed our nice swim in the sea. We were back at the event in one hour and I hope nobody noticed us missing for an hour. After the 1 minutes, we took our group pictures. I am so sorry to see that our class of ’66 had only 6 people.

Soon, dinner was announced, and once again, we had some wonderful Dan-bauk Hta-min, which we all enjoyed. Dessert was also great as there was Mont-let hsaung, among others.

After dinner, the results of the Aloha shirt contest was announced. Lin Aung Thet won the 1st Prize, followed by Tommy Htay, Ted Chen and Mra Tun. The Judson and Wesley Houses that won the game also got the chocolate covered macadamias nuts. Then the Juliet Teoh Award was presented to Tommy Htay, Gloria WinThein and Cecil Teoh.
During dinner time Mra Tun’s band was playing and numerous popular songs were sung by Mra Tun, Michael Tin Hla with our female vocalist, Winsome Aye Mg. Suddenly, as the event was coming to an end, there was a loud explosion and all of us looked towards the sky to see colorful bursts of fireworks in the sky. We cannot help but think it was a wonderful end to our beautiful event and that God is watching over us. Then came the time to end our Reunion, so we sang our beloved MEHS song, thinking of Mrs. Logie and the wonderful years we all had at our school and then with tears in our eyes and waving the candle lights, we sang Auld Lang Syne with our heartfelt voices and our Reunion came to an end. We also sang “Aloha ‘Oe” (until we met again) written by the last queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani where Tin Myaing Thein (Faith Tin) danced to the song. We don’t know when the next Reunion will be, but wherever it is, I invite all the alumni to come and enjoy themselves, just as we had enjoyed ourselves this time. If you also have suggestions for our next reunion event please feel free to email the Alumni association.

My grateful thanks to the organizers of the 7th Reunion event and the President of the Alumni Association, Gloria WinThein, with the group Lily Chen, Lucy Chen, Sheila Patail, Sally Joseph and other volunteers, plus Faith Tin, who lives on the island, and who made this wonderful event happen.

Blogs Posts Reflections Uncategorized

7th Heaven in Aloha Land by Tommy Htay

Savoir-Faire and Savoir-Vivre!

Who would have imagined that, one day, members of this elite community called the Methodist English High School Alumni (MEHSA) would be celebrating their international reunion event in Lani-ku-ho-nua (“where heaven meets the earth”) with waves roaring passionately towards the beautiful white sandy beach with a kiss of aloha, swaying palms dancing with the soothing breeze coming across the expanse of the Pacific Ocean and the mountain peak jutting in all its majesty towards the azure sky?

Balmy weather, serene settings, consummate natural beauty, Hawaiian welcome chant and dances, prancing verve and wriggling moves of the Tahitian dancers and the energy and will of the alumni to have the most fun and our own band with Mra Tun as our maestro set the tone and tenor and the sights and sounds of the Seventh International Reunion of MEHSA (September 6-7, 2014) in blue Hawaii.

Whenever people ask me about my alma mater, I always say with chin up and chest out that the products of our school have a distinctive DNA which I spell out with these words: “Quality is our terra firma and Capability is our forte”. From now on, after all the reunion events that have taken place so far, I would add this third ingredient: “Camaraderie is our life blood”. In technical language, MEHSA DNA would be QCC1. In plain English we are topnotch on every count.

For starters, look at this beautiful program cover that depicts a Hawaiian designer shirt. Open it and you will find the two-day programs printed on paper in purple and the words of the songs alumni will sing printed on paper in yellow. It’s so very relevant and everyone showered praises on Lily Chen, the prime mover.

The Program a la Hawaii
The Program a la Hawaii

The curtain raiser for the festivities on the Hawaiian island of Oahu was the Hawaiian welcome chant and dances. It was very local, cultural and traditional. Feeling blessed with the best wishes for the success of the reunion event, we all sat down in the big tent to watch the beautiful and alluring moves of male and female Tahitian dancers to the beat of their exotic Polynesian music.

Hawaiian dancers swaying in concert with the palms
Hawaiian dancers swaying in concert with the palms

Gloria Win Thein, president of the Reunion Planning Committee, went through the rituals of carrying the MEHS flag followed by a parade of House Flag carriers: Sheila Patail (Carey), Phyllis Khaing (Judson), Hazel Kyaw Zaw (Livingston) and Beauty Swe (Wesley). The MC for this two-day event was the eloquent Lucy Chen (Lin Herbert), Chief Financial Officer of the MEHS Memorial Foundation. How she smoothly segued from one program to the next was a delight to all and a tough act to follow for the up and coming MCs of our alumni community.

Following her welcoming speech, Gloria Win Thein, led one and all with the MEHS School song and the usual school Assembly Hall fare of The Happy Wanderer and My Banjo to the accompaniment of Mra Tun, the maestro, with his bandmates Michael Myo Thant, Kwai Lum Fong, John Green and Roy Kusardy going full swing. Lin, Lily and Mra then sang the MEHS Hawaii Reunion Song, written by David Law (class of ’69) and Lily Chen (class of ’65), with the assembly joining them. The song, intrinsically, would mean Noblesse Oblige, which defines the Hawaiian Reunion of 2014. Musically, it goes by the strains of Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii.

“This is the moment
we’ve waited for
where “heaven meets the earth”
at Lani-ku-ho-nua” ….
…. “Luau and Aloha
we will dance the hula
Blue Skies of Hawaii smile
On our Reunion Day
We do – love you – M E H S !”

After enjoying the performance of the Te Ori Tahiti dancers, we all had a sumptuous dinner catered by the Pacific Gateway Center Organization headed by our very own Faith Tin (Dr. Tin Myaing Thein).

A human Wikipedia of sorts, Lucy Chen, then tossed at us trivia questions on anything and everything MEHS. The raucous alumni crowd scored more misses than hits. Advantage Lucy with loads of fun all the way.

A special feature of Competition for Best Aloha Shirt Parade was the highlight of the evening of September 6 and it was a wonderful performance of male alumni and spouses of the female alumni, donned in fancy Hawaiian shirts of all designs and colors, letting their vanity out for the prize. At the awards ceremony on the 7th evening, the alumni’s choice of the best looking Aloha Shirt with all the swagger the wearer exhibited the night before went to Lyn Aung Thet, who is universally acknowledged as the brainiest, bar none. The second prize winners were Mra Tun, Ted Chen and Tommy Htay.

On the second day, September 7, alumna Faith Tin (Dr. Tin Myaing Thein) talked about the Pacific Gateway Center of which she is the Executive Director. The Center “through innovation and creativity empowers immigrants and refugees, most of them survivors of human trafficking, to become self-sufficient and economically independent. Most of them are Burmese and Thai farmers.” Now in its 40th year, it is expanding into many areas like job training and catering start-up companies to translation and interpretation services in close to 35 languages. The Pacific Gateway Center Organization was the caterer for the 7th MEHSA Reunion in Hawaii providing us with Burmese soul food that “we have loved since childhood”, to quote my friend Cleo Kyin Oo Appleton in her article, MEHS Hawaii “Five Oh”.

Then tributes and recognition followed, to the awe and delight of everyone present.

Games and Competition of Houses, commandeered by the bubbly and bouncy Beauty Myo Min (Beauty Swe), summoning what the “Maharani” Lily Chen wanted and all the members of Wesley, Carey, Judson and Livingston Houses clamored to provide amidst all the hustle and bustle that was part of the joy in the game engineered by the “Maharani” herself, next took the stage. The Judson House, headed by Phyllis Khaing, came out tops and, in accordance with the rules of the game, all members of the other houses had to oblige what the winner asked them to do, awkward and embarrassing notwithstanding. But, all in all, everyone agreed that Michael Lim, who is the “Commander-in-Chief” of this fun session, was the real winner, although he belongs to the Livingston House. He very calmly and energetically took the liberty of giving passionate smooches to all the ladies from all the Houses who participated in the game, much to the delight of the ladies themselves, I might add. Another game was won by Wesley, thanks to Roland Liu’s ability and adroitness.

Group dancing, auction of items, “1 minute talk” and group pictures went smoothly in sequence in the able hands of MC Lucy. And, vocalists Winsome Aye Maung, Mra Tun and Michael Myo Thant and the band gave their all to complete the entertainment phase of the evening.

Group Dancing
Group Dancing

Te Ori Tahiti Dance Troupe Striking a Pose
Te Ori Thiti Dance Troupe Striking a Pose

Tommy Htay, President of the MEHS Memorial Foundation, then presented Cecil Teoh and Gloria Win Thein with the prestigious Juliet Teoh Memorial Award for 2013 for their outstanding achievements in both MEOSA and MEHSA years. Tommy Htay himself accepted the same award from Cecil Teoh, the first President of Methodist English Old Students’ Association (MEOSA) in Rangoon, Burma. They now joined the other distinguished recipients of this 2013 award: Dr. Thaw Kaung, former MEOSA president and Harry Taw, President of MEHS Memorial Foundation (2008-2012) and the Yangon Working Committee (YWC) of the MEHS Memorial Foundation.

Lucy Chen (Lin Herbert), Chief Financial Officer of the MEHS Memorial Foundation, next talked about the work and what she had in mind about the future growth and sustenance of the Foundation.

After a delicious feast of an Asian cuisine dinner of the Pacific Gateway Center, the attendees of the Hawaii Reunion savored the charm and grace of Hawaiian culture as enunciated by our own Faith Tin (Dr. Tin Myaing Thein), Executive Director of PGC, through “Aloha ‘Oe” Lyrics (By Queen Liliuokalani) and expressed in beautiful dance moves she so naturally led the way for all to participate and enjoy and to close our Reunion meet, steeped in local culture and tradition.

Faith Leading Aloha 'Oe
Faith Leading Aloha ‘Oe

Come September, we will always remember and muse over the fun, joy and MEHS spirit of camaraderie that we had embraced in 2014 at Lanikuhonua “where heaven meets the earth”, thanks to the MEHSA 7th International Reunion planners and core workers Lily Chen, Sally Joseph and Sheila Patail of the Las Vegas Reunion fame and Gloria Win Thein, Faith Tin, Michael Myo Thant, Michael and Linda Lim, William Chen, Kenny Teoh, Cecil Wagstaff and, last but not the least our ace MC Lucy Chen (Lin Herbert).

As we brought the curtain down on our Seventh Heaven in Aloha Land with the usual fare of Auld Lang Syne, wonder of wonders, close by our venue, fireworks lit up the sky with the thunderous whoosh and booms and bangs and colorful sparks flying and sputtering all over as if to join our joyous celebration with gusto. Michael Lim shouted, “We ended our Reunion with a bang!”. Perhaps, not to let Michael outdo them, the others chimed in “Hey, Lily, we didn’t know that you could pull this kind of rabbit out of your hat”. To which the Reunion planner extraordinaire Lily Chen demurely looked around with a big grin, totally noncommittal.

Revelers Huddle Under MEHS Banner
Revelers Huddle Under MEHS Banner

Aloha, in Hawaiian, means hello, goodbye and love. Mahalo, on the other hand, means thank you.

ALOHA September 2014 Hawaiian 7th MEHS International Reunion and MAHALO to our wonderful planners!

ALOHA January 2015 8th MEHS International Reunion in Yangon, Myanmar!

Blogs Posts Reflections Uncategorized

Behind The Scenes by Lily Chen

7th MEHS International Alumni Reunion in Hawaii

What a spectacular ending to our reunion on the weekend of Sept 6 and 7, 2014. We could not have wished for a more pleasant surprise ending when we saw the fireworks light up the sky after we sang “Aloha ‘Oe” (until we meet again) written by the last Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, and Auld Lang Syne.

YES! That was our 7th MEHS Alumni reunion. The venue was at Lanikuhonua, “(where heaven meets the earth”), an open grassy flat area dotted with tall, “swaying” palm trees next to the beach and the Pacific ocean. When we first decided to have the 7th reunion in Hawaii, the thought of having it in a hotel conference room was absolutely inconceivable. When in Hawaii, we expect open air, beach, sun, balmy breeze, beautiful sunset, palm trees and lots of fun and camaraderie.

We want to share with our alumni the extensive planning spanned over 1.5 years, brainstorming possibilities to ensure a successful event. The hours and expense invested in this process were a challenge to our planners who, due to distance, lack of economy of scale, and the high cost of our venue, worked tirelessly to negotiate with all our vendors in order to keep our costs down. Initial out-of-pocket expenses were contributed by the planners since we did not have any working capital. Hawaii is one of the most expensive states in the US so costs and quality of our event were our main concern. We strove hard to keep the costs down but at the same time, refused to sacrifice quality.

Venue: Lily flew to Oahu on 2 separate occasions (April 2013 and Feb 2014) to inspect three different venues that might be most suitable for our event. None fit the requirements. Then Dr. Tin Myaing Thein (Faith Tin) suggested that Lily look into Lanikuhonua (a privately owned property) in Ko’Olina. This was her last option and she wanted to find a “perfect” venue for our perfect reunion. Ma Ma Faith promised that when Lily walked into the grounds, she would gasp at the sheer beauty of the place. It was truly a beautiful and magnificent piece of land.

Our next gasp was the cost of leasing the property for our event! It was exorbitant for 1.5 days and full of conditions and we would have to pay the out-of-state rate. Lily knew she had found THEplace to hold our event and reached out to Ma Ma Faith who suggested that by using her organization, Pacific Gateway Center, we might get the “kama’aina” (resident) rate. Then Lily’s brother, Ted, told her that he knew the GM of this property and offered to write him. The GM gave us a further 15% discount.

Hotels: Lily visited several hotels and decided on the Ala Moana Hotel due to its location, which is at the gateway to Waikiki and is centrally located to sites and shops. The hotel’s Sales Manager offered a group rate for our attendees.

Tent/tables/chairs: We then looked into 3 tent rental agencies and decided on Accel Party Rental who turned out to be very amiable and helpful and also gave us a 15% discount because of our association with Pacific Gateway Center.

Food. Pacific Gateway caters Asian/Ethnic food. They were absolutely agreeable to our suggestions and Lily worked with Ma Ma Faith on the menu that would be compatible to different diets and finally 2 weeks before the event, a menu was set up. We thank them for the scrumptious food and cordial helpers. There was enough food to feed an army. One of the popular drinks was “pwau yee” (tamarind/jackary drink) and there were no stomach repercussions! Bottled water, “Hawaii2O”, was donated by Ted for our event.

Our Band: Mra Tun (and his crew, Myo Thant [our treasurer], John Green, Kwai Lam Fong, Roy Kusardy and singer, Winsome Aye Mg) took care of renting musical equipment from several vendors in order to save money. Mra spent countless hours calling musical equipment shops in Honolulu to get the best possible rate. The team practiced several times to put on a well-rehearsed show. After the equipment was picked up, where do we store them as the venue would not be responsible if left on the premises. Lily’s brother, Ted, who has a place ½ mile from the venue offered to have the carload of musical equipment stored in his garage both Saturday, and Sunday evening after the event.

Transportation: Some of our attendees wished to be transported from hotel to venue and Sally worked tirelessly on transportation with two organizations that provided van and/or bus services. Hiring a 12- or 25-seater bus was out of the question as the committee could not afford it and we would have to charge the attendees too much money which would be ludicrous. Finally, after some maneuvering and help from attending alumni, Sally was able to arrange rides for everyone (almost). Thank you Sally.

Flowers: Sheila’s talent in floral arrangement further reduced the cost of using outside services. She took over the floral arrangements for each table and adorned each table fabulously. She spent the whole afternoon and evening before the event to arrange 11 centerpieces all by herself. Sheila also donated the flowers for our hair. She cut each orchid bloom from the stem and attached the hair clip and pin to the back of flower. Thank you Sheila.

Funds: We had a few attendees from the UK, the Netherlands and Australia. May Tha Hla offered to collect the registration fees and through her connection with Forex, was able to wire the money to our account without incurring any fees. Thanks to May.

Auction: Many of our attendees donated items of value to be auctioned in order to raise funds for the memorial foundation. Thanks to all of you for your donations.

After the major vendors were contracted, we moved to the small details, like, setting our agenda, what to include in our program, competition of house games, the fresh leis, flowers for our tables, programs, prizes, balloons, table cloths, table cloth clips, grass skirts for the house flag bearers, tiki torches, flag poles, small gifts for the women and the men, MC, volunteers, flags of our houses, and more. The concept of “the devil is in the details” was important to our planning. Fresh leis and flowers and last minute details were done 2 days prior our event in order to keep our flowers fresh in the warm weather.

Lily had the idea of using Hawaiian print fabric to represent our houses. The color of the background that has a predominant color would represent the color of our house, to keep in line with the Hawaiian spirit. The idea of the Aloha Shirt Card to be used as our program cover surfaced after hours of searching on the net.

To achieve great deals and constantly mindful of keeping our costs to a minimum, we spent countless hours at the computer to research and compare prices.

The tradition of Hawaii before an event is to have Kumu (“the Source”) does the welcome chant to welcome the guests and bless our event. Ma Ma Faith’s son, Robert (Aukai), is a Kumu and he was accompanied by 2 Kumus who performed dances after the chant. We were truly blessed as the “stars were in total alignment” that weekend and we could not have picked a more perfect weekend.

MC: Lucy flew in to HI on the morning of our event. She was delayed 2 days but made it in the nick of time. Thanks for a fine MC job.

William, Lily’s brother, knew his niece was a Tahitian dancer and he contacted her organization, Te Ori Tahiti Here, to see if they would perform for us on a small budget. The group was very gracious and performed for us both days. Lucy (Lin) collected tips from our attendees who appreciated and enjoyed the performance put on by the dancers. She collected $350 for the performers. The head of the group was very much touched and very glad to be a part of our reunion. They even got to taste the Burmese food.

Photographers: Lilian Wu, Alfred Patail and William. The 3 of them took over 1,000 pictures and William is editing the pictures to make a “story in pictures”.

Wine/Beer: Michael and Linda Lim, 2 of our committee members, donated the wine and beer for our occasion and also served as our “driver” to transport some of our alumni from hotel to venue. Thanks to them.

As you all know, we worked on a shoestring budget but we managed to get what we wanted for the reunion without having to cut back to achieve the results we wished for the reunion. Our goal was to maintain the quality of our event and we achieved the goal. The success of the event was our attendees’ participation.

“Methodist Hawaii Reunion” song: Lily thought a Hawaii reunion song would be appropriate for our event and solicited David Law (class ’69) to write lyrics to melody of “Hawaiian Wedding Song”. Lily edited and refined the lyrics and the words to the song, sung to the tune of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii”, appear below.

As Beauty Swe put it quite aptly, “it is the quality and not the quantity” that made the difference. How true!

We thank all the volunteers who cheerfully and willingly helped when called upon.

Last but not least, our profound thanks to our webmaster, Kenny Teoh, who has over the years maintained, updated our website which is a priceless resource to our alumni, Thank you Kenny.

Our reunion committee consisted of: Gloria Winthein (Pres. of Alumni Assoc), Dr. Tin Myaing Thein (Pacific Gateway Center), Cecil Wagstaff, Michael Lim, Linda Lim, William Chen (Photographer), Michael Myo Thant (Treasurer), Kenny Teoh (Webmaster), Sally Joseph, and Lily Chen. Thank you for your support throughout our planning, at times very challenging, and your constructive input.

As we said to our attendees, we started the chain of events and you continued and ended the reunion on a perfect note.

Aloha ‘Oe, Until we meet again.


MEHS ReUnion Song
Words by David Law (class ’69) and Lily Chen (class’65)
(Sung to the tune of Hawaiian Wedding Song)

This is the moment
we’ve waited for
where “heaven meets the earth”
at Lani-ku-ho-nua

This is the moment
Our School ReUnion
When we meet and spend our time with classmates
What a special day for us to celebrate

Come Sep-tem-ber
Ha-waii beckons you here
Ca-ma-ra-de-rie and picture taking
This will be the history in the making

Luau and Aloha
we will dance the hula
Blue Skies of Hawaii smile
On our ReUnion Day
We do – love you – M E H S !

Blogs Posts Reflections Teachers

My Heartfelt Appreciation for Our Teachers by Cecil L.W. Wagstaff

Now you know why I proudly, but humbly state, that MEHS, its Teachers & Staff, shaped and moulded my Life, and helped and guided me into my Future as an adult

My Late Mum for loving me and giving me her Love of Travel
Mrs. Doreen.A.Logie: For accepting me as a Student at MEHS.
Mrs. Elsie A. Evans: For Her mentoring, and instilling in me a Love of Literature & Poetry, also including encouraging me to Follow My Dreams
Daw Lily Hein Tin: To see and appreciate Our Wonderful World, and e.n.j.o.y. its awesome Natural wonders
Daw Dahlia Myat San: For instilling in me an appreciation of the World of Mathematics
Mr. N. Craen: For instilling in me an appreciation of the World of Mathematics, and instilling in me the fact that to be Honest is always the best and highest degree to hold
Mrs. May Rogers: For forgiving me for NOT taking up History and telling me that one Day I would appreciate its True Value. Her Quote: You cannot know where you are going if you do not know where you came from? true and I really only understood what this meant when I was Project Director for the many WW1 & WW2 Pilgrimages to many Theatres of War.
Miss Rita Johnson (now Mrs. Lonsdale) for her warm and engaging Science lessons, which taught us so much…..and with whom I am still in contact
Dr. Ms. Rhoda Linton: For instilling in me a love of Theatre and Acting
Mrs. Constance Medd: For teaching me French, which ultimately got me my job in Air France,?.and also giving me the opportunity to actually t.e.a.c.h. French, albeit for three months only, at M.E.H.S., when Mr. Bachoe took ill, thereby welcoming this Reprobate into the Respected Ranks of an M.E.H.S. Teacher
Nurse Daw Julie: For literally,?. and NOT just figuratively, saving me Life after a Softball Accident?..if she had not I would not be writing this
Dr. Mr. Robert Fuller: For teaching me German, which ultimately got me my job in Lufthansa German Airlines.
Mr. Kan Goon: For instilling in me, a Lifelong Love of Sport
……… and all my other MEHS Teachers …… too numerous to mention ……… FOR EVERYTHING ……… THANK YOU.
May God Bless You All
Now you will know and understand how T.r.u.l.y. Grateful I am to our Dear Ole MEHS. Where would I have been without this?

Cecil L.W. Wagstaff
G.C.E. Class of 1961/2

Blogs Posts Reflections

Those Vintage Years by Mervyn Shwe Tha (Myo Thant)

I live in the northern part of Yangon in an area under the name of Parami; It is a reasonably well to do district, however not in the same league as Golden Valley or Inya Road. Being in my golden years, every few months, it entails me to drive to downtown and draw my pension at Commercial Bank no.3, situated on the top of Sule Pagoda Road near the Port area. The drive used to be under half an hour from my house, however regretfully, with the high or more correctly ultra extensive congestion, making it in about an hour must fall in the category of ‘lucky’. To be fair, the drive downtown has always been reasonably congested as far as I can recall. However, today it is even worst: heavy build up of vehicles commencing from the old War Office for about half a mile in the direction of downtown. Should the four wheelers be moving or trying to crawl, I could reluctantly forgive and understand; Much to my dismay, cars are unceremoniously parked not only on both side of the road, but worst they are stationed at times three abreast starting from the old ENT Hospital (Eyes, Nose and Throat) or the once renowned The American Hospital, right up to the President Cinema: while a single file of cars sat idly by on the opposite side also. Traffic snails to a single or where possible maximum double files, but only in a few places with the poor traffic policemen sweating it out, trying to direct the onslaught of traffic come rain or shine in vain. This uncontrollable mayhem of vehicles is due to the Basic Education High School no.1 Dagon Township, BEHS no.1 Dagon for short, being situated on the one-way Southbound Sule Pagoda Road; there, the hurdle and bubble of picking up and sending of pupils and students to the school on time congregate: at times their portable meals, lunches or dinners on laptops, galore. This school today is arguably the best educational establishment for children from Kindergarten up to the Matriculation standards in Yangon (Rangoon): thus the rush by parents to ensure their siblings secure a sound foundation and jump the threshold of Matriculation Examination with flying colours, to make the grade for entry to the top universities in the country. This is of course in keeping with the old tradition of the previous school management, which they religiously followed. The BEHS no.1 (Dagon) was born on 14th April, 1965 when it was nationalized by then, New Burmese Government. Prior that, it was known as the Methodist English High School (MEHS) and the Principal was Mrs. Logie, who nurtured all her charge to be well groomed educational wise and no need bother to enquire which school stood first in the country. It’s students securing the prestigious first position in Burma (Myanmar) in the fearlessly contested yearly Matriculation Examination, and the pass rates were second to none also for General Certificate of Education ‘O Level’ set by the University of London: Some years we did stood second, but a rarity to be sure. Since those bygone-era our school was a beacon of stellar education, gestetnering top nosh students in Burma (Myanmar) who also turned out to be a member of a very selective well-refined brigade, a cut above the rest, one might say. Most of its alumni holding positions of prominence in business and Governmental bureaucracies: also doing well for those who are abroad too, believe it or not, till this very day, of which I am rather proud to admit. Our MEHS had excellent well-qualified teachers, they were renowned for being well versed in respective subjects they taught and be able to put across the educational message to their pupils and students in classes: The teachers and the prefects were fine tooth combed selected and high degree of discipline ruled over the school, maintaining motivation, discipline, calm and order. Even till this very day, should one enquire which school we attended, the mention of MEHS was worth its weight in gold: no doubt about that. The school excelled not only in educational results but also in sports such as football and basketball plus the parents and teachers dialogs were complimentary to the hilt. We also had a small medical clinic run by a very professional doctor and a well trained and kind nurse; however, there were a few ‘over ripened apples’ and I was regretfully one, a few of the times only mind you: this will become abundantly clear at the end of this article. There are numerous entries into town, but as the distance, petrol consumption and time would roughly be the same or a wee bit more, thus no alternative but to take the well-trodden route and satisfy my reminiscences at the same time. When I was younger during those vintage years, the Sule Pagoda Road was known as Alanpya Payar Road and it was two-way: our school stood herald, mighty and proud, as it is up till this very day. Each time I passes-by, I cannot but steal a glance and admire our old MEHS building; still holding its granular prominence, dominance, charm and attraction. The Methodist English Church is still there on the left of the school building and according to my best friend Peter Mo Kyaw, who with his brother Marcus also attended the same school, though a few years junior to me: believe the old parsonage is still standing there between the school and the church, which their family attended way back since sixty years ago. I can still see the tennis courts in front, as it is nearest to the road. The gymnasium, (cum) sheltered playground is still standing tall annexed to the main building on the right, entry by way of Sandwich Road (Nawaday Road) and understand the football pitch behind the school is still very solid there. I also do recall the old Indian Bayar Kyaw (fried chick peas fritters) peddler by the platform, selling his wares sitting in front of the tennis courts railings come rain or shine, with his make-shift small stove, frying pan, cut fresh green onions and chilies with small pieces of lime, which we were forbidden to buy and consume by the school, being a health hazard. My pocket money was too minimal to indulge in such culinary pleasures after school, while waiting for my ride back home in the afternoons. To let you into my little secret, I did support the old Indian man once in a blue moon when I could spare a few pyas. Not too often though. Mervyn Shwe Tha (Myo Thant) Posted: 3/7/2015