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Mrauk U

This article is from the Borders of Adventures web site. The site has articles on interesting places around the world.

The article was forwarded by Cho Set to Alan De Santos who sent it to us.

I am not even aware of the existence of this region until Alan sent it. I thought I would post it just to let other alumni know about this very interesting region. Wish I have the adventurous spirit to travel there.



This article is a guest post from Natalie from the Myanmar Travel Blog. Check it out for more information and a guide on Mrauk U, its temples and details of the long bus journey, plus more advice and stories about Myanmar. You can also follow her adventures on Instagram. For now, she describes her journey into this relatively untouched area of the country…

Having only opened it’s doors to tourists in 2012, Myanmar is still relatively new on the South East Asian travel route. Places such as Mrauk U in the western Rakhine State are a long and uncomfortable bus journey from the country’s major city hubs, making them less appealing to visitors who often prefer the easy infrastructure of the golden triangle: Bagan – Inle Lake – Yangon. It’s a tough 20+ hour local bus ride from any of these hotspots to Mrauk U, with checkpoints and regular bus break downs. However, the adventure is worth it.

Mrauk U. The Other Bagan?

Similar to the tourist hotspot of Bagan, Mrauk U was once a capital city in an imperial Myanmar from the early 15th to the late 18th century, leaving it full to the brim with old temples and Pagodas. These old structures are even more part of the scenery than they are in Bagan, with nature having been allowed to start reclaiming some of the older ones. You will find trees growing out of the temple floors and goats jumping from pagoda to pagoda like a climbing frame. Locals have also made their homes around some of the temples, with kids playing atop some of the bigger ones and women hanging the laundry all around them.

Instead of just being tourist attractions, many of the temples here are still very much in use; I stumbled upon a recently built temple that I named the ‘disco temple’ due to its disco style strobe lighting. It was here where I found locals, as well as monks, praying to Buddha with not another tourist in sight.

That’s Not All – Mrauk U is More Than Temples

A big difference between Mrauk U and Bagan is that the landscape is more hilly than flat and the climate tropical rather than dry. The hills make for some excellent views via a short hike up a densely jungled hill, where many climb to Mruak U’s highest point – Shwetaung Paya – which looks out of the hills and river. Here, at sunrise, a mysterious fog can be seen that blankets the town, where only the temples atop of the hills can be seen and it is like they are floating on clouds. It’s really rather magical.

Another draw card for Mrauk U is to visit the remote tribal Chin Villages along the river.  It’s worth getting a guide for the day to take you out to meet the infamous ‘tattooed face women’ of the Chin villages. There are only a handful of these women left who have a spider-web design tattooed on their faces – a tradition that died out around 60 years ago when the practice, of what is said to tribal identification, was made illegal. It was fascinating to hear their stories and drink tea with them.

There is plenty to see in and around Mrauk U, and after such a long journey to get there it would be a shame not to stay for more than a couple of days. I managed to fill four days and could have probably stayed another one had I not disliked the accommodation we were staying at. Sadly, with lack of any tourism infrastructure, most of the budget accommodation options in Mrauk U are the same – damp, overpriced, with bucket showers and without electricity for most of the day and night. Higher range options are better and some do have generators and proper showers, but they will set you back about $55+ a night per room.

Mruak U is Worth the Journey

Even with two years worth of Asian bus travel experience under my belt, the bus rides to and from Mrauk U are still hands down the most challenging I have ever endured. 24 hours+ crammed into a bus that was falling apart, with livestock and travel sick passengers, and nature’s own air con (i.e. the window) which meant a face full of vomit from the said travel sick passengers in the seat in front. It was tough, yet the hardships of getting to this pretty town in the lesser-known Rakhine State of Myanmar were worth it for the visual rewards and distinct culture that still thrives here.

Mrauk U is too often overlooked by those travelling in Myanmar, as it is so far from everywhere else and requires more effort and planning. But that is really part of the charm of this little town; the authenticity of it is a rare find, especially in South East Asia.

Things to Know:

  • With a bicycle and a bit of know-how of what you want to see, it is easy to get around and to enjoy this different part of Myanmar. There is a scatting of shops where you can rent a bicycle for a day and get local advice. Double-check the tyre pressure and that the seat is secured properly before handing over your Kyat.
  • You can get to Mrauk U via local bus from Yangon or Mandalay. Prices vary but start at around 3,000 Kyat. Be prepared for a long journey; take snacks, and a head torch for when you need the toilet.
  • There are guides in Mrauk U, however it’s not always clear where to find them. There is no tourist office or visitor centre. The best way is to ask at the reception of a few guesthouses along the main road who they recommend.
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Great Quotes from Great Leaders

These are some of the quotes from a book Great Quotes from Great Leaders written by Peggy Anderson.

Seems to be an excellent book.


The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”

Abraham Lincoln


“Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward.”

Henry Ford


“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

Mother Teresa


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill


“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

Nelson Mandela


“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal which is worthwhile.”

Vince Lombardi


“Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”

George Washington


“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

Mahatma Gandhi


“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty, and truth.”

Albert Einstein


“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

Franklin Roosevelt


“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”

Albert Schweitzer


“I believe the unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.


“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Helen Keller


Blogs Notalgia Posts Reflections Uncategorized

The Foundaions laid by Our Respected Principal Mrs. Doreen Logie’s by Cecil Wagstaff

The Foundaions laid by Our Respected Principal Mrs. Doreen Logie’s 

Another  True Story in The Life & Times of this Reprobate …………….only there was a break of several Years in between the related events:

In the year 1975/77,  I was working with an  Airline at Bombay Airport

A certain First Officer on one of our flights made an innocent mistake which led to some pretty serious consequences and could have required our Flight to be seriously delayed 

The issue involved a breach of Customs Regulations, and could have also cost my Airline hundred of thousands of Dollars with passengers Costs, due Missed Connections etc.

I offered to pay the maximum penalty which could have been applied, personally guaranteing this with My Personal Cheque,  only for this F/O to be not held  in Custody, pending resolution of the issue and provided a Personal Financial Guarantee that he would return to BOM  to face any charges,  by depositing my Personal  Cheque to cover this and Customs released him to Operate the Flight

  • Fast forward to…………….. SEPTEMBER 2008 
  • I am at Frankfurt Frankfurt/Rhein Main Airport a Now Long Retired from ALL Airlines,  with which I had worked in Australia but still travelling as a PAD (Retired Ailine Staff on a Discounted Saff Ticket – Subject to Load)  (Airline Mates can relate to this)
  • I had resigned  in 1977 to emigrate to Australia, in that year ….. and this was NOT a LH Retired Staff Ticket
  • Trying to get  seat on board a connecting Heavily Booked Lufthansa Flight , after attending my School Reunion (Lasallian Schools in Rome SEP 2008 – I was a student at St. Paul’s High School, between stints at MEHS
  • I had chatted with the Check-in Staff, even telling them I had been with LH, but no longer was , and this probabl they had been born (they were very young ladies who also later  advised me that I had very Little chance of a seat, but that they would notify the Cockpit Crewe and seek appoval to offer the Spare Crew Seat, or Jump Seat  to me
  • This I  also expected to  become  a NON-Option as I was not in Possession of an ASIC Identification Card Airport Identity Security Card, which is now Mandatory, for Cockpit Travellers Crew & Staff), with Security Measures being tightened 
  • I later went and sat in the Standby Staff Area, w.a.i.t.i.n.g.
  1. I saw the Commander of the Flight come in and he  started  discussing ’something’ with the Traffic Counter Staff…..who were pointing to me while this was in progress
  2. The Commander (‘a pretty stern 6 foot 2inch  or so, tall German’) strode towards me and I thought I would be in b.i.g. Trouble for  me seeking this Jump Seat, and that Ishould have known better
  3. He said, ” are you Cecil Wagstaff. I concurred, sheepishly . “YESIR”
  4. He then said,  Cecil Wagstaff, Cecil Wagstaff, do you know who I am? – to which I again responds sheepishly – “NOSIR” 
  5. I am Captain —— -, but when we first met I was Only a First Officer, and if you had not got me out of a F@*&#**@ Mess, caused by my stupidity,   I may not even have been a F/O…needless to say and never made it to Flight Commander. I could have lost my job
  6. He then related what I had done …..for him in 1976…I had not at first remembered,  as one does NOT keep ‘Favours Done” in Memory Banks………and it all came back to me, in a Flash

A Favour repaid as:

His next words were”…….. “Of course you can travel in My Aircraft’s Cockpit. Bugger the Rules……….I know I can trust you,  JUST  AS YOU TRUSTED ME ALL THOSE YEARS AGO……”???

That,  Mates is true, as it happened to me, and exactly as I related it to you

A FAVOUR REPAID More than 32 years Later

MEHS Notalgia Posts Reflections Teachers Uncategorized

Let the Lamp Keep Burning by Selwyn Saw Win

Let the Lamp Keep Burning is a reprint from the booklet Fond Memories.

Blogs Notalgia Posts Reflections Teachers Uncategorized

MEHS History As Told by Frank E. Manton and Karis B. Manton

  by Thomas B. Manton


 In the beginning…

Frank Ernest Manton was born on Sept. 4, 1901 in East Liverpool, Ohio to Thomas C. Manton, Sr. and Fanny Manton. He was a graduate of East Liverpool High School and then worked in the steel mills, which were a part of the City along the Ohio River. After several years of working, Frank enrolled, along with his older brother Albert, in Ohio Wesleyan University in the famous Class of 1927. He and Albert were very active in sports and music, and both of them were members of the famous Ohio Wesleyan Men’s Glee Club that toured Europe in the summer of 1927 after they graduated from college in June of that year.

Karis Elizabeth Brewster was born on April 12, 1903 in Hinghwa, Fukien Province (now known as Putian, Fujian Province) China during the waning years of the Empire of China. Her mother was Elizabeth Fisher Brewster who arrived in China as a missionary teacher in 1884 and married her husband in 1890. Karis was first educated in Hinghwa and then went at a very early age to the newly opened school in Shanghai called the Shanghai American School. In 1916 her father, the Rev. Dr. William N. Brewster, died while enroute to the General Conference of the Methodist Church where he was to be named Bishop of the Methodist Church. Thirteen year old Karis was called in by one of the missionaries resident in Shanghai to be told that her father had died in Chicago. Karis was very close to her father and for several years after that traumatic experience, she talked to her father. Karis graduated from Shanghai American School in 1922 and immediately went on to Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU). Her father, Dr. William N. Brewster, was a graduate of the OWU’s Class of 1883 and her two grandfathers also attended OWU in the 1840s just after its founding. Karis’ brothers and sister also graduated from OWU. She was right at home. Karis was a very active student leader in college and was Vice President of the Senior Class while Dr. Frank Stanton was the class President. Dr. Stanton went on to be President and Vice Chairman of CBS.

In the end of April 1926 one of Frank’s classmates came home from a date and said to Frank, “I went out with a lovely girl tonight who is not right for me but would be perfect for you – Frank.” Frank had a date with Karis and within five weeks of their first date they were engaged to be married.

Karis then left to teach in China for nearly 4 years. When she arrived in 1926 she taught at the Girls School in Hinghwa and then later she taught at Hua Nan College (for girls) in Fuzhou – the capital of Fujian Province – just 65 miles north of Hinghwa. In the late 1920s, however, those 65 miles took them two days traveling time. Today it takes two hours.

Frank, after completing his senior year at OWU and the above-mentioned historic tour of Europe with his brother Albert, become the Director of the YMCA in North Canton, Ohio for the next three years.

After being apart nearly four years and writing back and forth – not on the Internet – but where a letter would take 30 days from the U.S. to China one way – Karis returned to Vancouver, B.C. Canada by ship from China on the Canadian Pacific steamer. She took a train across the country to Ohio and with Frank drove to New York City where they were married two weeks after setting foot on North American soil in the chapel at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Thus started a life together of 57 years of wedded bliss and great adventure.

New Jersey Years

Frank started as a student at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey while Karis was both a teacher in the school system in northern New Jersey and did social work. Frank and Karis served churches in Paterson and Fort Lee, New Jersey. Those days were very tough since those were the darkest days of the Depression in the United States. Karis always wanted to go back to Asia as a missionary and it seems like Frank was very anxious to do the same. The chance came after the birth of their first child, Karis Elizabeth Manton, on October 9, 1936. In 1937 the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church sent them out to Burma to be the Minister of the Methodist English Church in Rangoon. They undertook this voyage when Karis was less than one year old.

The pre-War Years in Burma

The small Manton family (Frank, Karis and Karis Beth, as she was called) settled into a large wooden house behind the Methodist English School, which was just next to the Methodist English Church of which Frank had been, appointed the new pastor. Those were very happy years. Frank and Karis we getting used to living in British-ruled Burma when the war clouds gathered over Europe. In 1939, just before Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Thomas Brewster Manton was born on August 12, 1939 in Dufferin Hospital in Rangoon. He was always smiling and had a very happy disposition and therefore Grandmother Brewster who was still in China would ask by letter is “Sunny” still sunny? So the first two of the children’s nicknames were formed. Sissy for Karis Beth and Sunny for Thomas. On September 2, 1941 David Frank Manton was born also in Dufferin Hospital in Rangoon and due to his lovely light brown hair was called Sandy.

Several months later war came to Burma. On December 23, 1941 the Japanese conducted their first bombing of Rangoon. Immediately, Frank volunteered as an ambulance driver to pick by the dead and wounded. The second raid on Rangoon took place on Christmas Day of 1941. The American consular authorities and the British Government of Burma then ordered foreign women and children out of the country. They gave the order one night, days after Christmas, and said we must be on the ship, which leaves at 6 o’clock the next morning. Fearing further Japanese bombing, there was a complete black out for the entire city of Rangoon. Karis used very small candles to pack one small suitcase for herself and each of her three children. When they sailed the next morning, Karis did not know when she was to see Frank again, if ever. Karis took their three children – ages 4, 2 and 3 months by ship across the Bay of Bengal and then took them by train to a hill station in northern India called Almora to wait for her husband, Frank.

Frank stayed on through continued bombing of Rangoon where he continued to volunteer as an ambulance driver until Rangoon was declared by the British government an open city – in other words, a city the British could not or would no longer defend against the Japanese invading army. Frank packed a small suitcase with his Bible, hymn book, and walking stick, and some colleagues got into his 12 horsepower Opel and started driving north of Rangoon – on the Road to Mandalay. From Mandalay he drove on to Monywa where he abandoned his car in exchange for a riverboat up the Chindwin River – fleeing before the invading Japanese armies. As soon as he arrived in Kalawa, he started, along with hundreds of thousands of fellow refugees, the long trek to India. It was on that road that at least 50,000 people died for what they called “black water fever” or malignant malaria. Frank took great 8-mm black and white movies of this trek through as dense as any jungle in the world fleeing an invading army. By the grace of God, Frank survived the horrible walk of hundreds of miles through thick Burmese jungle to finally land up in northeastern India. He was then able to cable the fact that he was alive and catch a railroad to where his family was staying in Almora. It was a very, very happy family reunion.

“Peaceful India”

After a certain rest period, Frank was assigned to be Minister of the Taylor Memorial Church in Bombay, India. The family then moved to the parsonage, which was an apartment above the church. Frank, Karis and the family welcomed many refugees who were fleeing from the Japanese war in both Burma and China. A very special visit was Karis’ younger brother’s family who had a hair raising journey across war-torn China and then flew the famous “hump” from Kunming to Assam in India. Our family was go glad to see the Harold Brewster family with Dr. Harold, Dottie, Betty, Marybelle, Priscilla and David who had survived such an ordeal. All the adults and cousins had a great time until the Harold Brewsters sailed for the United States from Bombay.

During the hot season in Bombay, Karis took the children to the hill station of Mussoorie in the foothills of the Himalayans to get out of the heat of the plains and to attend Woodstock School, which had been founded in 1854 and was by now a very international school. The youngest Manton arrived just a month after Karis’ 41st birthday. William Arthur Manton was born in Landour Community Hospital on May 23, 1944, delivered by Dr. Bethel Fleming – a great missionary doctor who when on to found Nepal’s best hospital – Shanta Bhavan in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. By that time Frank and Karis, somewhat with tongue in cheek added to the precious-given nick names of their other children – Sissy, Sunny, Sandy – and now it was Sufficient.

The now six members of the Manton family sailed from Bombay on August 12, 1944 – Thomas’ fifth birthday. That was his first memory because he got a box of dates for his birthday. The USS General A.E. Anderson was the troop ship on which the Mantons sailed back to the USA. There were mothers and 25 children (with Karis at 7 and Thomas at 5 and all the rest younger) in one cabin and then all the fathers and other men were in the hold. The ship was shadowed by Japanese subs as we left Bombay to sail down south of Australia (stopping in Melbourne overnight but not leaving the ship) and then zig zagging across the South Pacific, finally arriving in Long Beach, California — the USA where the younger half of the family had never been.

Sojourn in the United States

The Manton family then crossed the continent by train and bought a house in Tenafly, New Jersey where Frank’s oldest brother lived. He bought the house on Hickory Avenue for a princely sum of $6,000 and less than 18 months later – with the post-war boom in full swing – sold the same house for $14,000. To this missionary family, it was a fortune. The War was now over and it was time to return to Asia. We took the long way. First we traveled to Lakeside, Ohio – a Methodist campground on Lake Eire where we stayed for nearly 6 months. Then it was off to the west coast to take our ship to Asia. But sea transportation was still very limited and we ended up living with very generous relatives in Oroville, California for several months. Finally in March 1947 we sailed on the American President Lines’ SS Marine Adder back to Asia.

Back to India

While stopping in Manila we were told there were no accommodations for families in Rangoon since 12,000 permanent buildings has been destroyed in the city during the War. Therefore, Frank disembarked at Madras enroute to Rangoon. Karis and the rest of the family (aged 10, 7, 5 and 3) when on to Bombay and then took the train up to Woodstock School. The family was in India – “Present at the Creation” of independent India and Pakistan during August 1947. We were somewhat sheltered from the riots and partition that followed since we were up in the hills. Yet we were very aware of the incredible turmoil that was going on all around us where millions were killed while many Muslims fled to newly-created Pakistan, and Hindus fled from Pakistan back to the independent India. War broke out that year in Jammu and Kashmir between these two newly-independent former British colonies. War has never ceased since then.

At the beginning of December, the Manton family returned to Rangoon – by train to crowded Calcutta and then on to Rangoon by ship with as much war surplus food as we could manage to buy and carry from Calcutta. The big item was #10 tins of peanut butter by the case.

Return to Burma

Having seen the independence of India and Pakistan and the turmoil that brought, we were now going to see the birth of the other large British colony that was being given its independence.

A bit of wartime background might be useful at this point in the story.

A Note on inside wartime Burma

The student movement against the British during the late 1930s and the 1940s was critical to the independence of Burma from the British. The thirty “comrades” of this movement left secretly to be trained in Japan – the one Asian country that could help other Asians “throw off the yoke of British colonialism”. The leader of that group was a very young 25 year old man called Aung San. Another one of those comrades was 30 year old Ne Win. To the Burmese nationalist’s the invading armies were liberating the country from British colonial rule. Finally in 1943 the Japanese permitted these “comrades” to form a government with the much older Dr. Ba Maw as Prime Minister and the under 30 Aung San as Minister of Defense and Commander of the Burmese Army. Thirteen years after that I had the fascinating opportunity of interviewing Dr. Ba Maw.

At the end of 1943 and early 1944 this same Burmese leadership came to the conclusion that they were really a puppet government under the Japanese military Command. At that time, secretly, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) was formed by Aung San and others. The AFPFL then became the leading post-war political party in Burma led by Thakin Nu who was Burma’s first Prime Minister.

Aung San and his colleagues (including Ne Win) were continuing to train the Burmese army to oppose the now re-invading British and allied army coming from India. Finally as the Allied army reached central Burma and passed Toungoo on its march southward, with huge fanfare, the Burma National Army departed Rangoon to allegedly fight along side their Asian brethren, the Japanese. The Japanese army was retreating southward as the Allied forces were pushing them very hard. The Burma National Army then came up from the south and trapped substantial number of Japanese troops in a pincer movement – a plan that Aung San conceived and implemented with great secrecy and effectiveness. Thus Aung San became a hero to many persons on the allied side.

Yet all were not at all happy with his long term collaboration with the then-hated Japanese military. Some of the important tribal groups, like the Shans and the Karens, just to mention two, were very loyal to the British during the entire war and in turn were promised independence after the war. Yet because Aung San represented the majority Burmans, the British had to deal with Aung San and didn’t want the country to be dismembered into many smaller states. Yet there were people in the British military that still thought of Aung San as a traitor to the allied cause and wanted to kill him. It is being charge now that some of those English elements collaborated with U Saw, a rival to Aung San as Burma’s first independent Prime Minister, to kill Aung San. Just on this trip to Burma I saw for the first time the actual room where the cabinet was meeting and where half of them were killed on July 19, 1947 including Boyoke Aung San. His daughter, Ma Suu Kyi, was two years old at the time.

This struggle between the majority Burmans and the various minority groups has continued to this day and has had a profound affect on Burma’s political life.

Now back to the main story…

Return to Burma

When the Manton family returned to Rangoon by ship during the early part of December – Burma was still reeling under the shock of half the Cabinet being assassinated. The bodies of the fallen heroes of the country were still laying-in-state in the Jubilee Hall – named after the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Thomas remembers being taken by his parents to pay our respects to Boyoke Aung San who was laid out in a glass enclosed coffin. He had never seen a dead person before and therefore along with the soldiers “barking” orders, he was very scared but it is indelibly printed in his memory.

It was wonderful to have the whole family together again for the first time in Burma for Christmas. We lived with another missionary family in a three-story building where at first all six of us shared one large room partitioned off by cupboards and curtains. It was luxury when the older other couple moved to another residence and we had two rooms for the six of us.

Towards the end of 1947 we were told that independence would arrive at 4:20 AM on January 4th, 1948 – a time set as auspicious by the astrologers. Consequently we all got up at 4 AM on that date, lite our candles which occupied each window of this three story building and at 4:20 AM heard the 21 gun salute sounded by the guns of the HMS Birmingham as the last British Governor went up the light crusier’s gangway and the Union of Burma was born.

Burma was independent! The British were gone. Then the various ethnic groups in Burma tried to assert their independence towards the government of the Union of Burma. Revolt abounded by all kinds of groups, both ethnic and political.

During those days Karis became very good friends of many of the Burmese women leaders starting with Daw Khin Kyi, the widow of the fallen founder of modern Burma – Aung San. Daw Khin Kyi asked Karis to join the newly created National Council of Woman of Burma (NCWB). Karis was the only non-Burmese Daw Khin Kyi asked to join that premiere group of the woman leaders of Burma. NCWB undertook many social welfare projects throughout the country. Karis remained a member of that all-Burmese national woman organization until she left Burma in 1966. Karis was President of NCWB for one or more terms – a very high honor given to no other foreigner. Karis was fully accepted as a Burmese woman leader.

Methodist English School and its refounding

Frank had arrived in Rangoon in April 1947 and started to rebuild the Methodist institutions from the moment he arrived. The Methodist English Church was not destroyed since it was the Burma headquarters of the Indian National Army led by Subbas Chandra Bose. The Methodist English School was destroyed by British bombing and fighting in Rangoon as the war ended in Burma. It had to be completely rebuilt. That was Frank’s task.

The 33-year old Doreen Logie had been a teacher in the Methodist English School before the War and now had returned from India with her Scots husband, George, who was the Burma representative of the Valvoline Oil Company and their 5 year old daughter, Gillian. Frank, as the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees of a destroyed school, asked Doreen to be the Principal of the new school. So many people said that there was not enough money for the school to be rebuilt and education was now the tasks of the soon to be independent government of Burma. Frank was stubborn and adamant that the school must be re-started and rebuilt! Frank found from the Crusade Fund, which had been formed by American Methodists over US$1,000,000 to start the rebuilding process. Today that one million would be closer to one hundred million.

Thus started a partnership between Chairman Frank Manton and Principal Doreen Logie that made history in Burma.

The school was started in the church of which Frank was minister and Doreen was organist. They expected 30 students – 40 showed up. By the end of the first term there were 90 students. Then Frank, with money from American Methodists, started rebuilding the school – room by room. The school had over one hundred students when some classes we moved from the church to the school. Major building was done during 1948. Frank was in charge of the reconstruction and sometimes acted as the construction overseer, and Doreen ran the school as Principal. By 1949 the major reconstruction was completed and the Logies had an apartment at the top floor of one end of the school and the Mantons had an apartment at the end of the school next to the church. Soon the Mantons’ apartment was needed for more school classrooms and therefore Frank designed a U-shaped home that was built behind the church and the Mantons moved into that house. The Logie family remained in their apartment atop the school.

The Methodist English School was known as MEHS and still is referred to as MEHS by everyone.

When Thomas taught physical education there in the year between high school and going away to college (1956-7), there where 5,400 students attending MEHS in both the morning school and the afternoon school. Thomas received Ks. 150 per month or at that exchange rate US$30 per month. The current exchange rate for Ks. 150 is 30 US cents.

In September of 1998, a Minister of Burma’s cabinet called MEHS “the best school in Burma.” So many would agree. It has educated several generations of leaders in Burma from all walks of life. All of Ne Win’s six children went to MEHS their entire schooling. Aung San Suu Kyi was a student there before her mother, Daw Khin Kyi, was named as Burma’s Ambassador to India and Nepal. The wives of many of Burma’s current generals were students of MEHS. An overwhelming number of the leaders of the National League for Democracy are MEHS students and graduates.

Frank’s tasks and positions in Burma

Frank was also Chairman of the Trustees of Kingswood School in Kalaw, the Southern Shan States. Karis Beth and Thomas attended this school in 1948 while David and William stayed at home and attended MEHS.

Frank was the District Superintendent of the Methodist Church’s English speaking work, Tamil, Hindi and Telegu speaking work and the Chinese speaking work during the early post war era. He was later the equivalent of the Head of the Methodist work in Burma – not called a Bishop but had all the powers of a Bishop.

Frank was the long term Chairman of the Rangoon Charitable Society. He was also for a time the President of the American Association of Burma.

Further on Karis’ tasks and positions

Frank and Karis made a tremendous impact on the life of Burma, even though they were foreigners… but were they?

Karis held many positions in the YWCA including as its National President. She was very, very active in grass roots work with the church, the YWCA and her many other organizations that she was involved with.

With her sister, Mary Brewster Hollister, Karis published four editions of the famous Rangoon International Cookbook, which is still treasured by so many people in Burma and around the world. It has become a collector’s item.

The Final Years

My dad died in Urbana in Oct. 1987. In 1988 I took my mother as the guest of the Fujian Provincial Govt. to China… to Hinghwa (now called Putian) where she was born to celebrate her 85th birthday. It was an occasion that we all never forgot. It was days of feasting and remembrances and loving… a wonderful capstone to a marvelous life. The top communist in the province was also born in Hinghwa and used to attend both the church my grandparents founded as well as go to the school… like the Methodist English School and the Methodist English Church. He was a student of my mother’s mother.

My mother was treated like a Queen during that whole day. She “held court” in the morning and people came for miles around to see her. She was given a wonderful lunch by the Mayor and city government where they imported a three tier cake from 70 miles away to make sure they had the right kind so they could put on 85 candles. When they went to light the candles they made a mistake of lighting the outside tier first… smiles. We all helped them with the inside ones… very carefully.

In the afternoon was the main celebration. The Chinese had renovated a building that had been a warehouse shortly before but was built in 1936 by my mother’s mother in honor of her father and her father-in-law. Specially for this birthday occasion they turned it into a senior citizens’ center with a huge hall. When I escorted mother there I felt like I was taking the Queen to her audience. There were 1,400 people waiting to greet her from all over the area. There was a service of celebration whose highlight was mother’s speech. She started the speech in Putian dialect. She was so overcome by the moment. She said that her heart is so filled that the tears were coming out of her eyes… she said it in a most poetic way. After which she had to revert to English which then had to be interpreted to Mandarin Chinese and then again into Putian dialect. During mother’s speech there was not a dry eye in the whole house of 1,400 people.

That night the Church members gave mother a Chinese banquet and there was wonderful fellowship with them… about 200 people in the State Guest house.

As I mentioned, it was a highlight of our lives.

On Dec. 30, 1989, after suffering a heart attack, mother gathered her four children around her hospital bed and said good bye to each one of us. Then she quietly joined her husband of 57 years and her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Several days later the family and many friends joined together to celebrate the wonderful life she lived.


The impact of this remarkable couple has been vast. The results of the leadership they provided in Burma still has its impact through so many of the institutions they affected. Frank greatest achievement was the re-building and leadership in MEHS. Karis’ major contribution was the quiet yet forceful leadership she provided in NCWB and the other organizations with which she was associated.

Their children are very, very proud of them. It is hoped their grandchildren will learn more about them so they can be proud of them as well.

MEHS still is going strong with 6,500 students and is considered probably the best school in Burma by so many people in all walks of live.

Thomas Manton
March 30, 2000

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Old Students Saya Kadawpwe 2017

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Obituary on Daw Annie Tan

It is with deep regret that I have to inform all of you that Annie Tan mother of *Dr.Eng Eng (* Dr.Thein Yew) Selwyn (Nuela) Benny (*Angelina) Kwan Kwan (*Bill) Kyin Kyin (*Dr Kim Yin) Raymond (deceased) Alfred (*Kathy) 13 Grandchildren 15 Great Grandchildren Passed away peacefully on January 12, 2017 She was 93 years old. Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family in this time of sorrow. May Aunty Annie Rest In Peace. (Shared by Gloria Win Thein)

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Merry Christmas Wish from Frances Mahoney

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Mrs. Logie would be so proud to know we are continuing with her traditions and values. I still can picture her smiling face and remember listening to her piano as she played our favourite Christmas Carols during morning assemblies and at the annual Nativity Concerts.

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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!

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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 !