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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

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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.

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MEHSA 2006 Reunion in L.A. by Phyllis Aung Gine

MEHSA 2006 Reunion in L.A.

by Phyllis Aung Gine
They came flying in from all over the world, halfway across the continent, and also from across the nation. They are all bound for the great 2006 Reunion, which was set for July 2 – 3, 2006. Talk has been going around for a long time now and people are getting very anxious to be there, to be present where everyone who is anyone will be there, to be seen and to see. Some will be strutting around with their new spouses, some will be coming in troves, some will come to reacquaint themselves with old friends, and some will come to make new friends, but all are coming for the great 2006 High School Reunion of Methodist English High School that we had all waited for!

In the Capitol City of Washington, D.C., Phyllis (Aung Gine) and Tommy Htay were making plans. We had a meeting to make sure that we get all the alumni in the greater Capitol Area of Metropolitan D.C. as well as the Alumni New Yorkers know about this great get together and make sure that all alumni in the East Coast will attend. In the Washington, D.C. area we got me, Tommy Htay, Esme Chan Tun, Jenny McKintosh (now Jenny Tun Aung), Bo Zaw Win & Jeannette, Marylin Smith, Glen Smith, Jean Ko Ko Gyi, Marjorie Htoon, Patricia Than Myaing, Hla Hla Myint, Douglas San Lin & Mya Dali, Kenneth Chit Myaing, Betty Than Tin, Tyrone Tha Doe, Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein, Richard Aye, Cynthia Aye & Tin Mg Thaw, Julian Taw, Clyde Ba Thein & Diana Aye and others. In New York, we have Eric Kay, Bo Lay, Johnny Yang, Brian Sein Tun, Edmund Aung Than, Michael Ohn Myint, Alexander Chu, Annette Myo Zin and still others.

At first, some alumni were like, “I haven’t seen my classmates for over thirty plus years, I don’t know if anyone will recognize me or I will recognize them” but I was able to persuade them with “look, it will really be fun to check out those people from the website and see if they still look like when they were young” and I reminisced about the wonderful time we had at the U.K. Reunion in 2001. Don’t miss out on this one, I said, this’ll be the biggest Reunion ever, and you want to be part of this! That got them, and they came, although some people didn’t make it, like they promised to…

So my own little group from my batch, class of ’66 got together and made plans and came. L.A., here we come!

I took off on Friday, June 30th, and flew straight from my office to the airport as I did not want to waste anytime. My mother, Teacher Daw Tin Tin Sein had arrived a few days earlier and was staying with my brother Derek Aung Gine, in Los Angeles. At first Poppet Than Myaing decided not to come as she had a lot of activities going on, however, as the time grew near and the Reunion fever caught on, she couldn’t resist and said, “I am coming, I’m coming!” And she bought the ticket at the last minute and made it.

The first day, I spent some time with my family, as Derek complained, “when you meet your friends you always go off with them and don’t come back,” which is true as my sister Rita also complained when I was back in Burma for the 2005 Reunion, I hardly ever stayed at home but gallivant around with all my friends that I haven’t seen for many years. This is what happens when you meet old school friends again after so many years.

The second day, Dolly Khin Mg Mg, was hosting a “Class of 66 Party” at her house, and we were all going. But some of us hadn’t arrived yet, so Dolly, in her kind heartedness, went and picked up Poppet Than Myaing & her husband Victor as well as Annette Myo Zin at the airport. On the way back she also picked up Kitty Khoo & Harry Jan, and me, and we all went happily in her SUV, singing, laughing and making fun of each other all along the way until we reached our hostess’ house. One by one they came and I was surprised to see quite a bit of us were gathered here at Dolly’s house. Class of 66 PartyWinsome Aye Mg was already there, sweating in the kitchen helping Dolly cook. I was surprised but happy to see Gerald Tin Mg, Tun Kyaw Nyein with his lovely new wife, Danny Kay, William Taw and Michael Lim with their families, Thazin Tin Mg Mg, Kitty Khoo & Harry Jan, Brian Sein Tun, Edmund Aung Than, Michael Ohn Myint, (Eric Kay and Tommy Lin (a) Bo Lay didn’t make it that night as they were busy in Vegas), my sister Julia and also Johnny Yang was arriving late that night.

Later, we called up Thomas Ong (in Hong Kong), who wanted to come but couldn’t make it, as he is now taking his third round of chemotherapy. We all told him how much we missed him and wished he were here, and took turns speaking to him, laughing, joking, and encouraging him until Danny Kay’s phone card ran out.

As Dolly is a good cook, the food was great, but the company was greater still, so we ate, made jokes at each other, sang some MEHS songs that most of us know by heart and had so much fun, until midnight suddenly arrived. The party broke up after midnight, tired but very happy, thanks to our kind hostess Dolly, we all had a wonderful time.

The next day was the Reunion Day! After Dolly’s party I went off with Winsome Aye Mg to stay at her lovely house in Thousand Oaks. That day, before the party, Winsome and I met the group from Dolly’s house, and went out to Long Beach, had lunch, then went around some more and came back to change and get ready for the Reunion.

The Reunion was a great one, with almost 300 students attending, and the casual setting at the Country Club at Mesa Verde was wonderful, thanks to the California group of the MEHSA planning committee.

Originally, we invited 14 teachers, who had wanted to come, but only 8 teachers made it, since some teachers were too old or not too well to make this long trip to the U.S. Those teachers who made it were: Daw Khin Khin Thein, Daw Myint Myint Sein, Daw Aye Than, Daw Tin Tin Sein (Mrs. Aung Gine), Dr. Bob Fuller, Ms. Elaine Quinn, Mr. George Teoh and Daw Khin Thein Chit (a) Gloria Hengshoon. All the teachers received a gift of $500 each, and the Organizing Committee in California decided that the surplus of the donation from the alumni, in the amount of $6,000 will be held for the Donation Fund to be distributed to the surviving teachers in Yangon in the near future.

We all started arriving around 4:30 pm, and each Alumni gets a name badge with the color sticker of the House they belonged to, (e.g. green for Judson, yellow for Carey and so on). Alumnis also received a memento mug in maroon and gold, with the school logo displayed in the front and the motto at the back. Raffle tickets were sold at the entrance for prizes such as tickets for two, a flower arrangement gift, wine bottles and so on…

The air was thick with conversations and shrieks of recognition as alumni after alumni arrived and more hugs and kisses followed. Then we had a social hour of getting together with friends, with some refreshments and hors d’oeuvres served. At 6:00 pm Benny Yeap gave a welcoming speech, he made an introduction of teachers and honored and thanked the teachers for coming. During this time, we were entertained with some Indian dances by Sheila Patail’s beautiful daughters and then the Burmese Candle Dance performed by Jannette Kamdar’s lovely daughter, followed with a belly dance, by another daughter. Then our guest speaker Dr. Robert Fuller made a speech. During dinner, Tommy Htay and Gloria Winthein made an honorable mention of the MEHSA Website contribution to Kenny Teoh for his tireless work of setting up and updating our official website. Kenny was awarded with a Crystal Plaque and a gift certificate for all the good work he has done.

The dinner lasted with talks and the taking of the numerous photographs, and still more talks. Then we had some group sing-a-long led by Gloria Hengshoon singing songs that we all know by heart, such as Sarasponda, Vive L’Amour, and Zum Gali Gali, to be ended by our own Methodist English School Song, to which everyone stood up and sang with all their hearts.

While dinner was going on, there was always music playing in the background, and pictures of the reunions in England and Burma, and school class photos as well as some memorable photos were displayed on a big screen behind the podium for all to enjoy and reminisce. Edwin Tin Htut and wife Tammy donated the beautiful MEHS banner which we displayed proudly behind the podium.

When dinner was over, the dance music started to play and couples started to dance. We got some group pictures taken and before too long, it was 12:00 am, midnight!

Edwin made a closing speech with the exciting announcement that the next 2008 Reunion will be held in Bangkok. We all went home, tired, but very, very, happy to be there with all the long lost friends.

The next day, at the Mesa Verde Country Club, there was a brunch planned, and a lot of people showed up, but some took off for Las Vegas, and others took off in their own groups to savour the short time that we had left together, before heading back home.

All in all, I believe the 2006 Reunion was a great success! Thanks to the organizing committee, we had a student participation of over 280, with a representation of alumni from countries such as Australia, Austria, Burma, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Cyprus, India, Malaysia, Malta, Thailand, United Kingdom and of course the good old USA.

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The Ladies Take Away 2011 Reunion By Storm


By Tommy Htay
For the first time in history, the ladies of the MEHSA took over the wheel and fielded the Fifth International Reunion with such feminine flair and aplomb that the menfolk there soaked in the tender loving care of the sisterhood of pantsuits, skirts and htameins like the veritable kids that they all became in spite of their greying and receding hairlines. What a crowning achievement for the principal players Lily Chen, Sally Joseph, Sheila Patail and, of course, our “Honorable” Mr. Treasurer William Chen!

First, the ladies steered us to a hotbed of fairyland called ‘the Strip’ and turned it into a New York New York wielding their magic wand of charm, grace and ingenuity. The heat indices in Las Vegas during the two days of sultry July (18 and 19) seemed to have melted cooperatively as well, along with the willing hearts of some 140 alumni and 60 some guests, mostly spouses or significant others who were in attendance.

Come to think of it, this success of the ladies is a no brainer. After all, the whole idea of MEHSA was hatched and brought to fruition by an illustrious alumna the late Juliet Teoh who was longingly given a fitting tribute for her exemplary dedication and drive at the opening ceremony.

And, talk about tributes! The word tribute, in terms of the alumni of the Methodist English High School, is synonymous with the Teohs, a family of consummate civility and civic-mindedness from its dean and doyen Cecil Teoh, our President Emeritus of both Methodist English Old Students’ Association (MEOSA) and Methodist English High School Alumni Association (MEHSA), and Kenny, our unique Webmaster, down the line … to what alphabet? So loving and charming were the Teohs in our exclusive world of the MEHS alumni that everybody who spoke even for a minute in Vegas would glorify the clan by claiming himself to be a Teoh as well.

The ladies of the Organizing Committee of 2011 had also seen to it that no stone was left unturned as far as giving thanks and tribute: Our alma mater, the volunteers, our teachers, Edwin Tut (who, for the last five years, true to his profession as a maritime captain, took us on a symbolic cruise of our school reunions’ fun and frolic), Harry Taw (who headed the Third and Fourth reunions in Thailand with a flourish), the MEHS Foundation, and the entire alumni that kept it going and who also made our international reunions enjoyable, meaningful and, at least momentarily, to be kids once more again – to go through “a rejuvenation process” – as one comely alumna put it, in an elevator on our way out.

We all have heard about what is disparagingly said by menfolk such as “the wily ways of women”, right? Well, here I want to use it in the context of a tribute to our lady organizers of the 2011 reunion. They made this same expression good, I mean in a good sense, in making the 2011 venue “the Strip” somewhat realistically true by staging Mra Tun as an Elvis Impersonator. There was Mra, standing tall in a white embroidered outfit with an Elvis hairdo, slightly open-chested baring all that he could – sans chest hair and drooping male “boobs” – belting out staple Elvis songs making everyone feel and enjoy as if Elvis himself was there performing live. Bravo, Mra, with boobs and all!

And, as if they sensed that we might conservatively feel that Mra was a bit on a sultry, saucy and seamy side (although we knew it was not even close, experienced as we all are), the ladies next attempted to “soft-soap” us with a beautiful rendition of traditional Burmese dance by one of them – a lovely Sheila Patail. How did we take it? Like suckers, we fell to their “wily ways” with a beaming smile by everyone present, of course! No offence, Sheila, my childhood friend Marianne’s little sister, you simply did great!

“Reunion Experience” 1 minute talk by the alumni. That was what was to follow after Sheila’s cultural performance, according to the program printout. And, what did we get? Stuff like “when Mrs. Logie stood tall, a cup of tea could sit well on her behinds”; “a Chinese worker’s sexcapade with his boss’s wife to relieve himself of stress”; and “how a stolen kiss from a boy to a girl in a class in MEHS landed her with a punishment of standing up on a chair and how his indiscreet act of trying to look up her skirt from below again landed her with a double punishment” and “how an alumna tried to pull a ‘take that’ stunt on an uppity-up female foreign student by teaching her a dirty Burmese word when all that she wanted to tell her male teacher who she so admired was ‘I love you'”. It was a most enjoyable moment of “kids going wild”!

Programs moved seamlessly thanks to the beautiful and articulate May Tha-Hla as MC, Marina Gaudoin and Roland Liu as Game Masters and their very fair and upright team and Bo Zaw-Win as an up to the mark professional auctioneer for the goodies that fetched a tidy sum for the MEHS Foundation.

The traditional fare of MEHS School song and the Assembly Hall favorites Viva La Compagnie, The Happy Wanderer, Kookaburra, Kuckoo and Sarasponda floated the air of New York New York’s Staten Island Room. And Bingo (won by Jon Twe Maung and Betty Teoh), Pinata Competition (won by the Judson House) and Hula Hoop (won by Michael Lim and Co.) and performances, either singing or dancing, by each class – new features – were icings on the cake for the 2011 reunion.

Class pictures (1947 through 1972), group picture, dancing, singing, games, jokes, and heart-to-heart chit-chat and reminiscences among classmates and schoolmates despite all manners and sizes of waistlines, hairlines and facial lines – the whole package — made the two-day event in the Casino-land a memorable experience.

A memorable experience? Surely, all of our alumni must have many a memorable moment throughout their school career at MEHS. And, our wise President Emeritus Cecil Teoh broached this matter and requested all attendees, both teachers and old students and MEHS alumni the world over who could not make it to the Las Vegas reunion to write down all about their memorable experiences and send them over to me (Tommy Htay) by e-mail (km****@co*****.net) for editing and compilation with an idea of putting them out in book form for posterity. I feel honored to serve as the Project Manager, as Cecil anointed me there and then.

The funny lyrics, forwarded by Sally Joseph to Lily Chen, lauding the beauty and frailities of our advancing age, rendered beautifully by our band’s ace singer to the tune of “Are You Lonesome Tonight” still lingering in my mind and silently savoring it …, I venture to think that if the 2011 MEHSA International Reunion in Las Vegas has left all of us with an indelible message this is what it is: when it comes to food (Pan Asian Pacific and Hampton Beach buffets), pure fun and admirable finesse, just leave it to the ladies and they will take us on a grand, grand ride – Viva La Compagnie!

(With due apologies to Edwin Tin Tut, Cecil Wagstaff and William Chen (who kept the accounts balanced, worked on the slide presentation with May Tha-Hla (the MC), songs for juke box and other miscellaneous too many to mention) for my somewhat biased appreciation of the ladies’ efforts although, by admission of Cecil, they all “worked their butts off” as well.)

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5th MEHSA Reunion in Las Vegas by Myat (Phyllis) Khaing

5th MEHSA Reunion in Las Vegas

By Myat (Phyllis) Khaing
It’s here, it’s here, it’s here at last!!!

The 5th MEHSA International Reunion is here at last! This is the much awaited, long anticipated reunion, which is held in Las Vegas, in the heart of all the bright lights and casinos. What a better way to celebrate the celebrities of dear old MEHS!

We came in droves, some of us came all the way from the UK, and some from Burma, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Germany, Greece , Italy and Canada and some of us came as far away as Australia. Those of us in the United States came from all over the states such as New York, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas and Arizona. Those of us from California, who are close to Las Vegas, took the road and drove for 3 – 4 hours in the Nevada desert, braving the hot burning sun of 108 degrees heat and higher, just to be with our classmates, just to be back in the time of our lives, when we are at the happiest time of all, together with our teachers, friends, class mates and admirers. We could not ask for more. Hence the crowd totaled about 137 alumni and about 60 guests.

Most of us stayed at the New York New York Hotel, where the Reunion is going to be held. Most of us arrived on the 17th, just to get ready and be prepared for the 2 big days, the 18th and the 19th. As we registered at the New York, New York, you could hear screams of friends seeing friends after a long time, shouts of recognition, and peals of laughter when best friends get together and joked around while waiting in line to register. It was just like being back in high school, with guys eyeing gals, who are older now, but still very attractive, and best of all, getting acquainted together once again. I met my old friend Cleo who sat with me in my 4th standard class, and also Brian Sein Tun, who sat with me in my 2nd Standard classroom.

After registration, we looked around to see what we could do for the next two days. I was very tired so I went off with my good friend Cleo and her husband to Maggiono’s. The food was cooked to perfection, so it was great, and there was musicians going around playing your requested music. Cleo asked for some Hungarian music and the musicians played three songs beautifully. After dinner, we thought we would walk around, but the Nevada heat was too much, like a blast from the boiler, so we went back to our hotel to rest for the next day.

On the morning of the 18th, we all trickled down to the Staten Island room where registration was taking place. Again, we had a lovely time with friends meeting friends, and classmates who haven’t seen each other for a long time, shaking hands and talking non-stop. Lunch was supposed to be at 12:00noon, so I joined my friend Winsome and Brian to check out a few shops for souvenirs as well as find out about the numerous shows that Las Vegas has. Even in the morning time, the sun is burning hot , so after a couple of shops and a few souvenirs later, we were sweating and exhausted, so went back to our rooms to shower and prepare to go downstairs for our lunch. We were already late coming into the Staten Island room, as most people were already seated and I found some more friends, Gerald Tin Maung, Michael Lim, Peter Kyaw Tun, Zan Tha and their families. I was so happy to see my long lost friend Pamela Aung. It has been a very long time that I have seen or talked to Pamela, but as soon as we saw each other, the years fell apart and it was just like yesterday and soon we were chit chatting away just like before.

The ceremony was opened by Mrs. E. Quinn and the organizers marched into the hall bearing the Flags of our Houses, Judson, Carey, Livingstone and Wesley, with the school flag carried by the President of the Alumni Association, Gloria Hengshoon (WinThein). Next we all sang the MEHS School song, lead by Gloria and Mra Tun. We also sang those popular songs such as “Viva La Compangnie”, “The Happy Wanderer,” “kookaburra,” “Kuckoo” and “Sarasponda”, songs that nobody can sing like the true alumni, as we had sung these songs day in and day out, in our morning assembly time. Then the introductions were made by Lily Chen, and with May Tha Hla performing the MC duties, the whole event started. Marina Gaudoin spoke about the MEHS Foundation, then a Tribute of Silence was paid to our dear friend Juliet Teoh, who founded and planned the first Reunion, and who had passed away, as well as those alumni who passed away. After that, recognition was paid to the Teoh family and to Kenny Teoh, our Webmaster, who has done such an excellent job of putting up the website, updating and keeping all the alumni together from all over the world. The Alumni awarded Kenny with an Amazon gift card. Then recognition was given to the teachers who attended. Teacher Daw Aye Than, Daw Khin Khin Thein, Daw Gloria Hengshoon, Dr. Robert Fuller, Mrs. Quinn, Ms. Johnson, & Mrs. Lonsdale.

Lunch came and we had a lovely array of Pan Asian Pacific Buffet. Later, after lunch, we had a series of games competed by different Houses, games of Bingo, Pinata Competition and the Hula Hoop. My friend Winsome and I stole away to get some tickets for the show that afternoon. Out we went into the searing hot sun again to get our tickets for the show that night. By the time, we got our tickets and came back to the New York, New York, we are soaking in sweat and tired, so we went for a quick shower and joined the others for the afternoon tea. High Tea was offered as “Death by Chocolate,” with tons of chocolate cake and a selection of tea, coffee and an assortment of soft drinks. We stayed for a short while, then went back to our rooms to get some rest and get ready for the evening activities. Earlier during the day, Pamela Aung was so excited to see friends from our class of ’66, so we decided that we would have a private dinner with our class of ’66. We decided to go to a Chinese Restaurant called Emperor’s Garden which has spicy food, in Chinatown to chill out and chat with our friends. Michael and family, Pamela and husband, Winsome and husband, as well as Peter and Brian joined our group. We ate, laughed and talked till late into the night, then decided to go back to the hotel. But not before we had ye-ge-thoke, which I hadn’t had for a long, long, time so we were all very happy, tired and went back to our hotel, but Brian, Winsome and I to went and saw our show so onward we went to Bally’s for our show, then went back to our hotel, tired, but very happy. The next day, we had the morning and the whole afternoon free, so after breakfast, I did some last piece of shopping for souvenirs, then went off with my friends to the Hoover Dam, which is majestic and a wondrous piece of engineering work. Then we went back to New York, New York again to shower and dress up for the evening. I was very tired so rested a few minutes and thus missed the fabulous show put on by Mra Tun in his Elvis look alike costume. Later on, our alumni from DC, Bo Zaw Win, and Michael Tin Hla put on a few songs of their own, although our DJ, Ko Khin Maung Win of the “Gatuq Band” put on a fabulous show with hit songs from the oldies, which we all knew.

Later on, we took pictures of the class of ’41, 51, and so on and so forth. Our class, the Class of ’66 has the highest turnout with 16 classmates altogether. Then came karaoke time and all our fabulous singers went on the stage and belted out their hearts. Then each of the classes sang a few songs of their choice. This went on for a while and later on, Sheila Patail gave us a marvelous performance of Burmese dancing, Hta-ma-thein and all. She also performed an Indian dance by herself. Sheila is such a talented person and a beautiful one as well. Then May Tha Hla said she wanted to do an auction to get some contributions to the small school that they were building in the outskirts of Rangoon. Ms. Johnson gave a Thai silk shawl for auction, and it went up from the first offering of $50 all the way to $200. Then a jade bead necklace, which was paraded around by Winsome Sein Tun, was also auctioned off and reached a sum of $125. After that jokes about the school and some other jokes about Mrs. Logie and the classmates were told and we were cracking our sides with laughter. Tommy Htay said he will collect our experiences of funny jokes or anecdotes and will put it up on the website for all to enjoy, so please send in your articles to Ko Tommy Htay. Cecil said, if there are 150 alumni, we should send in 150 jokes, so I do hope all of us can take some time to send it in. Only alumni who had experienced time and attendance at MEHS could do this. Those of us who wanted to dance went on the dance floor after that. Then some alumni wanted to do the line dance and they practiced and did it well on the dance floor.

Then, much later, the lights were dimmed and alumni all got together, held hands and with the lights blazing on our hands, we all waved to each other and sang the “Auld Lang Syne.” We sang it over and over and over again, with such a sense of deep feeling and emotion and a sense of togetherness, to be together once again, back in the time of dear old MEHS, where the sense of friendship, brotherhood and that feeling of being together once more, can never be compared with anything else in life. This was the time that we felt happiest, we had our dreams and aspirations and I felt that the memories we’ll cherish deep within our hearts will never cease to fade. It was a great feeling that the event went very well, with no disturbances nor intrusions of any kind.

My grateful thanks to the organizers of the 5th Reunion event and the President of the Alumni Association, Kenny, the webmaster and the performers who entertained like no other, as well as all the friends and classmates who took the time and made the effort. We will all look forward to our next Reunion in January of 2013, which will be held, back in our MEHS in Rangoon, Burma.

Blogs Notalgia Posts Reflections

Three’s An Awesome Company or Hail to the MEHS by Tommy Htay


by Tommy Htay

“We used to rule the airwaves, didn’t we?”, she chirped demurely, her glassy eyes dancing with glee longingly wandering deep into the past. She gave me a questioning look, her smile sweet and captivating.

And, without much moving away from her focus on my impending response, with a suaveness like that of a Hollywood movie star, she sipped the coffee from a cup she held in one hand and with the other handed me another cup of coffee as if I needed to perk myself up to come up with the answer she so wanted to hear.

I looked at Hazel Kyaw Zaw aka Daw Kyi Kyi May intently and slowly soaked in the dream world she had elected to be in at that moment. Her girlish charm and demeanor certainly betrayed her stature as a retired head of a premier broadcaster in Burmese, the British Broadcasting Corporation in London, United Kingdom. She was the first among the three of us to have enjoyed this exalted position.

As I was toying with the cup of coffee she handed me, a tall, dark and handsome hunk of a man ambled towards us. She looked him up and, in a heartbeat, beamed a hearty smile and greeted with all alacrity: “Hi, U Soe Thin, I was gloating over our former roles in three different world-class broadcasting institutions and sharing my thoughts with U Khin Maung Htay. Just imagine, all the three of us, at one time, were heading those departments and we happen to be, wonder of wonders, products of the same school — the great MEHS!”

Her boundless enthusiasm ostensibly caught U Soe Thin aka Po Soe Nyunt by surprise and he could only eke out a sheepish smile, almost a neutral response. The former head of the Burmese Service of Radio Free Asia in Washington D.C, USA, instantly tried to balance his composure by throwing a quick smile in my direction before he sipped coffee from his cup. A one-time diplomat U Soe Thin was the second alumnus of MEHS, among the three of us, to captain the ship of RFA Burmese programs.

We were all at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand – the venue of the Third Methodist English High School Alumni International Reunion in 2008 — when this conversation took place. In the midst of old friends, classmates and schoolmates, the atmosphere was one of fun and salubriousness.

Tommy Htay, Hazel Kyaw Zaw and Po Soe Nyunt

I looked around and what I saw among the revelers — the once-upon-a-time school kids of the best school in the nation of our time and, perhaps, in the whole of Southeast Asia – a certain bond of lineage and pride that derived from the quality of education they had had at the Methodist English High School of Rangoon, Burma — made me understand peerlessly the girlish burst of enthusiasm from Daw Kyi Kyi May of the BBC and the sheepish smile from U Soe Thin of RFA.

Between sips of coffee, I gave a fitting unspoken salute to these two stalwarts of broadcast journalism with a humbling acceptance of the obvious as someone who took their “mantle”, so to speak, as the last alumnus of MEHS to take over the helm of Burmese Service at the Voice of America.

In due defiance to the hackneyed saying, I’m sure my professional partners will agree with me that “Three’s An Awesome Company” for Hazel, Po Soe and Tommy, what with all that we have amply achieved.

Hail to thee, good old MEHS!

Blogs Posts Reflections

Essence Rides High at the Sixth by Tommy Htay

 by Tommy Htay
The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. The essence of the 6th International Reunion of the Methodist English High School Alumni in Yangon, Myanmar (January 5-6, 2013) was history unchained.

Back again in the womb of our alma mater, MEHS, where we had had our wonderful formative years, elation was one of a seismic proportion with every heartbeat as we sang our school song and other songs in the Assembly Hall, our old habitat.

As Julia Win and Nyunt Nyunt, our comely Masters of Ceremonies, steered us through the January 5th morning programs, I looked around and the faces of the alumni in attendance spoke volubly that Life is Good.

The theme song of the Reunion “Let the Lamp Keep Burning” written by Salwyn Saw Wynn to the melody of Pola Bali, set the tone for the day. The words “Remember the days we stayed hand in hand. We played the games together, Methodist spirit will be in our hearts, Let’s keep our lamp burn eternal” resonated in with the heart-strings of the entire assembly.

Traditional and contemporary dances by the boys and girls of the Dagon State High School (1) in colorful dresses thrilled us all. It was good to know that the Reunion Organizing Committee had a big hand in providing those dresses of the dancers as well as a cash donation of Kyat One Million handed to Dr. Aung Ko Ko, the school’s principal.

Trustee Johnny Saing showcased the academically deserving and needy students, children of the alumni, who are pursuing higher education thanks to the scholarship funds they received from the Methodist English High School Memorial Foundation. It was a noble undertaking and the students looked promising too.

Then came a virtual bomb blast. Combative but joyous House Cheering by old students of the Wesley, Carey, Judson and Livingstone houses on the stage was at once raucous and riveting with a hearty participation of the audience below. It was all déjà vu once again to every alumnus in the crowd.

Group photo sessions by class and year – another big must for everyone to participate and to cherish and hold dear – were a humbling but clear reminder that we are all getting on in years but still enjoying life in the company of old friends.

And the Church Service at Methodist Church was solemn and soulful as well.

Refreshments served at the School Canteen, all Burmese delicacies, were plentiful and tasty and enough for everyone who partook of them to give a rousing cheering at the Htoke See Htoe game, a new feature in the programs. It was a truly traditional Burmese game that requires both tact and energy for the participants to make the edge.

The evening of the 6th of January, 2013 – the second day of our historic homecoming Reunion festivities in Yangon – began with all the symbolism that entails reflecting the new dawn of the on-going reforms in the country.

Sparks flew, cheers and applause went through the roof and cameras flashed like lightning when the evening’s guest of honor and the most distinguished alumnus of MEHS Daw Aung San Suu Kyi slowly walked into the Royal Garden Restaurant at Kandawgyi Park. The serene atmosphere of the lake surroundings simply glowed with sanctified splendor.

The Masters of Ceremonies for the evening Cyril Ba Than and Sheila Lao flexed every ounce of their diplomatic and intellectual muscles to keep the house in order. But the sheer volume of monumental welcome and expression of jubilation of the 700-strong alumni and guests was beyond human control and comprehension.

Perhaps, Cyril’s eloquent introduction of the guest of honor when she was finally seated at the VIP table vocalized the sentiment of the one and all. And, I quote, inter alia:

“To her friends she is known as “Suu Suu”; her admirers “Amay Suu”, “Aunty Suu”, “Daw Suu” or “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”. But, to the international community she is a democratic icon, a symbol of freedom, human rights, justice and the rule of law. To us here in this country, a national leader, President of the National League for Democracy and a member of Parliament – Pyithu Hluttaw.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has all the accolades to her credit. She is internationally renowned for her sacrifice, singularity and sterling leadership – the first national of our beloved country to have received the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, 2008 US Congressional Gold Medal, 2012 Global Citizenship Award and 2012 Global Vision Award, to name a few.

“Recently, I am proud to share with all of you that the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine of the United States of America has ranked Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as NUMBER ONE along with President U Thein Sein in its selection of the 100 Top Global Thinkers for 2012. What an honor! What an incredible achievement!

“What more could I add to this except the fact that she is one of us – the most distinguished alumnus of our beloved educational institution – the best in the country of the period, I might add, my Fellow Alumni and Ladies and Gentlemen – the great Methodist English High School!”.

Harry Taw, President of the Methodist English High School Memorial Foundation, on behalf of the alumni of MEHS, then presented the “Most Distinguished MEHS Alumnus Award” plaque to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Whistles, cheers and applause erupted ranting the air with abandon.

Aung San Suu Kyi showing to audience her award plaque
Aung San Suu Kyi showing to audience her award plaque

In her acceptance speech, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi extolled the greatness of the Methodist English High School which she said might have been “the best school in the whole of Southeast Asia region” at the time. And, as the privileged community that had received first class education from MEHS, she exhorted the alumni to try to help as much as possible to the underprivileged many in the country because education alone is the viable driving force for the country to move forward politically, socially and economically. Her oratory was unique and the inspiration was universal.

Edwin Tin Tut, Secretary of the Foundation, while endorsing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s concept of the importance of education postulated the challenges that we could face citing his experience in trying to raise funding for the Foundation’s noble work.

Dance performances by the school girls, Burmese and Western oldies by Victor Khin Nyo and his band and a lively performance in tribute to teachers of MEHS by our late beloved teacher Mrs. Hein Tin’s second and third generation kith and kin headed by Delphine lent an air of joy and relaxation for the evening along with good food, good cheer and good company.

If auctioneering is an art, then art and artifacts that are mostly related to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in terms of theme and import, changed hands with a good inflow of funding for the Foundation. The highest bidders Kyi Kyi Han and her husband Byron Law Yone (On the right with a Shan bag in photo) took away a lovely painting of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for US$600.

Kyi Kyi Han and Byron Law Yone with the painting
Kyi Kyi Han and Byron Law Yone with the painting

The Htoke See Htoe game winners and the golf tournament winners also had their fair share of kudos and prizes.

And, Dr. U Thaw Kaung, former President of the Methodist English Old Students’ Association (MEOSA) and the Yangon Organizing Committee of the 6th MEHSA International Reunion each received a prestigious Juliet Teoh Memorial Award plaque for their illustrious efforts to keep the MEHSA movement alive. The award is named, for the first time by the Foundation, in honor of the late Juliet Teoh, founder and organizer extraordinaire of MEHSA. More distinguished alumni will receive this award in the forthcoming Reunion.

As a movement, MEHSA has made great strides and notched many an achievement thanks solely to the MEHS spirit of camaraderie we embrace and cherish. After all, for us MEHS alumni, “Quality is our terra firma and Capability is our forte”, as I always say. We also believe in the concept of Unity in Diversity. Let us move ahead with the undying will of unity and continuity to keep the lamp burning ad infinitum.

And, as for the next Reunions, in terms of location, unity in diversity reigns supreme. Cheer on, folks!

Hello HONOLULU for 2014!!!

Hello YANGON for 2015!!!


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


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!