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My Trip to MEHS Reunion 2005 by Phyllis Aung Gine

My Trip to MEHS Reunion 2005
by Phyllis Aung Gine
I left the United States on January 4th, 2005 to travel to Burma to attend the MEHS Reunion, 2005 event in Rangoon, Burma on January 8th.

My mother Teacher Tin Tin Sein @ Mrs. Aung Gine, came with me and we arrived Burma on Jan 6th. Patricia Than Myaing and her husband Victor Zaw Oo also arrived late that day. We touched base that evening and got in touch with some other friends such as Peggy Kyin, and Teddy Saing who were both in the Reunion Committee.

On the morning of the 8th, we went early to our old school, MEHS, now State High School, No. 1, Dagon. Upon arrival we were greeted by members of the Reunion Team, such as Tin May Lwin, Clement Tin Htut, Rosalyn Wun, Teddy Saing, Harry Saing, Alan Khin Mg Gale, etc. I met Rosebud Ho, Victor Chit, Ruby Kyaw Sein, Peggy Kyin, Ruby Sein, Susan Aye, Pyone Cho Myint and many others. We even had Peggy’s and Alan’s daughters helping out with the event. Many thanks to both of them.

The ceremony started with the opening speech by Dr. Clement Tin Htut and the paying of obeisance to all the teachers. It was sad to note that only 12 of the MEHS teachers were present since many of the old teachers have passed away. There were over 20 of the new Dagon 1 teachers of course. All the teachers were awarded the donations given by the alumni. Alan was the Master of Ceremonies and the members of the Reunion Team worked hard to accomplish this event. My kudos to all of them!

After the ceremony the teachers were served with food and other offerings, the rest of the students had a chance to get together and reminisce about old times, exchange e-mails, phone numbers addresses and take pictures. Cameras flashed and camcorders recorded.

Later that evening, the gala dinner was held at the fabulous Sedona Hotel. I am glad to say that so many people turned up, including the celebrity actress, Wa Wa Win Shwe aka Alice Tun Shwe. The majority of the students attending were from the class of ’66 and I am proud to note that among our group we have many famous vocalists such as Victor Khin Nyo, Warner Chit Ko Ko (from Norway), Clement Tin Htut, Teddy Saing, Harry Gyan from our class of ’66 and other well known singers like Edwin Tin Htut (from Thailand) and Yu Seng (from the U.S.)

After all the food and drinks were taken there were prizes given out, such as a trip for two to Pagan, (won by Poppet Than Myaing and others) and other prizes such as a shampoo and hair setting at Ruby’s Salon (won by Phyllis, Warner and others). We all had a lot of fun and the party finally broke up around 11:30 pm.

The next day, we had another get together at the “Shwe Shan Gan Restaurant”, given by Dolly Khin Mg Mg and Winsome Aye Mg (both from California). As usual most attendees were from the class of ’66 and we had a really nice time getting to know old friends and exchanging addresses and phone numbers. Here, Harry Gyan sang some of his favourite songs and later, Phyllis and Florrie did a duet together.

The following day some of the girls like Pamela Mg Mg and Sandra Chit (from Australia) and others went off to Pagan. Still others took off for Pegu on a road trip.

Then on the 13th Sonny Swe gave a barbecue dinner for our group and we all trekked over to Sonny’s house around 6:30 pm that afternoon. He had his garden lit up in lights and round tables were set up in his front yard and we all listened to good music, enjoyed the great food and altogether had great fun. There we met Ronnie Khoo who was in a monk’s robes and everyone gathered around him to pay repects to the monk and also make jokes. Around 11:00 pm, our party broke up and we all went home, tired but happy and needed to rejuvenate for the next day’s events.

During our get together at the Shwe Shan Gan Restaurant, I told Peggy that I would like to give one party like the others had done before us. (Earlier, before our arrival, four of the MEHS girls had given a January Birthday party and it turned out to be a great event with Warner Chit Ko Ko’s band playing Cliff Richard’s songs). So Peggy suggested that we give a pre-Birthday party for the girls born in February. So a party was formed and given at Peggy’s place by Phyllis, Peggy and Florrie (Hpone Myint) on the 14th.

Once again, most of the crowd was from the class of ’66 and we had a marvelous party with Victor Khin Nyo and Warner Chit Ko Ko singing and Florrie and I joined them at times and Tyrone Tha Toe also playing the back up guitar. Then the party broke up around 11:00 pm as we have to attend another big party the next day and needed to get some rest.

On the 15th, the greatest party was given by Nay Oke (St. Paul) and his wife Wai Wai Kan Oo. Although he is a Paulian, many of our MEHS girls are married to Paulians (including Poppet Than Myaing and Marjorie Htoon) and he is a good friend of the MEHS alumni. I must say Nay Oke put out a lot of funds and effort to make this party great! Once again we gathered at his house for the big event and this time, everyone came. He had his garden all lit up with lights and had hired a band to play for us. This was “The Big Event” and no one was going to miss this one!

Most of the guests were MEHS alumni including, Sandra Chit, Pamela Mg Mg, Yu Seng and Nuela, Kitty Khoo & Harry Gyan, Ruby Sein, Ruby Kyaw Sein, Susan Aye, Diana Aw, Poppet Than Myaing & hubby Victor Zaw Oo, Tyrone Tha Toe and brother Sonny, Warner Chit Ko Ko, Victor Khin Nyo, Rosebud Ho, Alan Khin Mg Gale and wife Ruby, Victor Chit, Winsome Sein Tun, Pandora Aung Gyi and hubby Albert, Tony Hundley, among others. Even Douglas San Lin and wife Mya Dali dropped by.

As usual, food and drinks were in abundance and the company was great! The band was playing all the big Oldies that we grew up with so once again our popular singers such as Victor Khin Nyo, Tony Hundley, Harry Gyan, Yu Seng, Teddy Saing and Victor Chit sang. Warner Chit Ko Ko did his special Cliff Richard numbers and the famous Burmese singer, Nwe Yin Win aka Joyce Win sang as well. Even Victor Zaw Oo (Poppet Than Myaing’s husband) sang two of Elvis’ songs. (Victor Zaw Oo is known in the East coast as the Burmese Elvis and he was once featured in the Burmese section of the VOA). It was the greatest party, but like all good parties, it had to come to an end and we all gave our thanks to Nay Oak, who promised to give another big party next year, providing that we all come. Naturally everyone said Yes!

I thought this was the end to all the partying we would be having. Little did I know that Alan Khin Mg Gale, not to be outdone, also had planned another private party at his place in Ta-Nyin. So once again, we all drove up to Ta-Nyin where his wife Ruby cooked a lovely Fish Biryani lunch. Someone brought some lovely Mandarin oranges and others brought some zee candy and we all exchanged gifts and addresses again. Later, we took a group photo in his lovely garden and we dutifully thanked our gracious host and hostess and went home.

Tyrone Tha Toe wanted to give us dinner the next day, but by this time some of us were getting sick and exhausted and so the party was cancelled. My trip to Burma was over anyway, as I had to leave the next day. One thing I want to mention is that no matter how many years have passed by and how far we have grown apart, or lived apart, once our MEHS students get together it is just like old times again and I learnt that old friends are never really far apart. Just like that line in our MEHS song, “when our school days are finished and we’re far apart, memories we’ll cherish deep within our hearts”, I will always remember the good times, the great friends and the gracious hospitality of our old friends from MEHS, which though times will pass, will never, ever, diminish either from my memory nor from my heart.

With this short article I give my grateful thanks to all my MEHS friends in Burma for their friendship, their kind hospitality and their graciousness that I will always keep with me forever. If, by any chance, anyone of you can come to the states, we, the alumni of the MEHS in the United States, hope to be able to return the same hospitality and kindness.

In case I have missed out some alumni who was there, or some event that I should have mentioned, I hope ya’ll can forgive my inadvertent mistake.

Blogs Notalgia Posts Reflections

Myanmar Names by Edwin Aye Tut

Myanmar Names

by Edwin Aye Tut

Talking about names, I too have many Myanmar names since birth. Started with “Ni Tut” at birth and Mother’s given name became Khin Maung Aye. And about the same time, I was also called Maung Maung Aye which is better, so I was told, both being written in Myanmar alphabets, “above a line” as per astrological terms and beliefs. The family also call me “Edwin Tut” as my Father’s name was Tin Tut.

When I started school at MEHS in 1950, Edwin Tut was the name of the day and into life till this day, among friends who knew me by that name. I added to make it better.. as “Edwin Tin Tut”. Many asked if Clement Tin Tut and I are brothers. By the time the National Registration Cards programme started, I officially declared myself as “Aye Tut”. Taking my Sunday born name “Aye” with my Father’s name “Tut”.

I started my Merchant Ship sea going career in January 1963 as a Cadet and throughout this profession I have people who knew me as “Aye Tut” as well as another group of people, School friends, of course, who only knew me as “Edwin Tut”. I led two lives. Many knew me too as “Edwin Aye Tut” I led three lives. Myanmar will use the word “Maung” or “Ko” or “U (Oo)” in front of your Myanmar name, depending on age or position/rank. By the time I became an Officer, “U” stood in front of “Aye Tut”. Many addressed me as “U Aye Tut”, yet my Maritime seniors will still call me “Maung Aye Tut” and friends call me “Ko Aye Tut”. (Many older seamen have also “U” in front of their names).

My passport was issued as “U Aye Tut” and “U” became part of my name. First name became “U Aye” on Immigration cards or driving license or Certificates. At one time, in 1968, 24 of us Ship Officers and seamen were on a flight to join ship. At Rome Airport, the Immigration officer asked me if all of us are relatives as many of us have “U” in our names!! Took some time to explain to him, but anyway caught the flight on time to Tripoli, Libya!

When I became Master of the Ship, one can use the term “Captain” together with my name, like Doctors, so finally, I became “Captain U Aye Tut” to many around the world, and to my seniors and juniors and friends. (Only a few years back, Myanmar passports new applicants were issued without “U” but just the name.)

Last year, I met a childhood friend after 50 years, a British Doctor now, with a British accent and all. She called me “Maung Maung Aye” and hugged me. It was great to have that Childhood feeling. A good reflection for having to hear a name long lost and forgotten.

Many elderly relatives still call me as “Ni Tut” and I to myself as “Ni Tut” to them. These are the good values of life being a Myanmar. In western society, relations in business or work is always better when you address one another in first name terms. Every country I visited during my sailing days as Master of a ship or now, as a Shore based Marine Surveyor cum Consultant, I called foreigners at work, whom I have to deal with, in their first names. And not to make it difficult for them to pronounce my Myanmar name “U Aye Tut”, a Burman to live up in the ever challenging western world, I told them to call me by my first name. My first name is “Captain”.

“Not for School,but for life do we learn”. Proud to be an Alumni.