The writer wishes to pay tribute to his Alma Mata Yangon University with a series of articles on his life, learnings, and cultural educational and social experiences of everlasting values.
On the auspicious occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Yangon University, the writer eye-witnessed all celebrations from his house, 33 Chancellor Road leading to the Convocation Hall. Facing all important buildings such as central men’s hostels, stadium and Yangon University Students Union (TekathoKyaungthamyaThamagga).
The writer’s series of tribute articles would begin with Men’s Hostel Sagaing Hall (Hostel). To be literally correct, Hall means a large room. Hostel means Residential Building. In his days hostel was used and Men’s Hostels bore Hostel on the front gate. Now halls replaced hostels.
There are five central hostels for men students on the right side of the Chancellor Road, namely Inwa Hostel (Hall), Sagaing Hostel (Hall), and Pinya Hostel (Hall). Pegu (Bago) Hostel, and Thaton Hostel, and Women’s hostels were Inya Hostel (Hall) and Benton Hostel (Hall) of Judson College. Later two women hostels were added, namely Marlar Hostel (Hall) and Thiri Hostel (Hall).
As resident and staff of Sagaing Hostel (Hall), the writer wishes to begin with Sagaing Hostel (hall).
The writer was a resident as well as a staff of Sagaing Hall. After his first B.A degree from Mandalay University College, he joined Yangon University as Tutor in English Department. Later, thanks to the advice of U Myo Min, Professor of English Department, he was transferred to the Department of Modern History and Political Science. With the advice of Professor, he became a hall tutor of Sagaing Hostel. All central men’s hostels are 3 storeyed building, red brick and fenced by Ponnayeik plants with red or pink blooms all the year round.
The first (ground) floor was for the fresher students; the second floor for the sophomores (second year students) and third or top floor for Honours or postgraduates.
The writer became hall tutor of the second floor. Here the writer would like to say that university student’s life is not complete unless he is a residential (hostel) student. He would like to appreciate and support British style of residential university. But after the Yangon University Students Boycott 2/1920, the British Colonial Government allowed day scholars (non-residential students) to attend.
The writer would like to say that only residential students can get a full life of university. Students learn not only education but also everyday social and cultural life of students of ethnic multi-nationalities across the country and etiquette and stable manners of educated English, style of dress and smartness very useful especially for foreign service.
His Sagaing Hostel was one of great fame. The writer wishes to boast. The following are the reasons :
(1) a variety of good and bad resident students came out.
(2) Among good students were soldiers, those who became professors, ambassadors, international service men, singers, actors, film stars, ZatMinthas, comedian, cartoonists, writers, footballers, sportsmen, even monks.
(3) Among bad students were insurgents, rebels, pimps, dacoits, and thieves.
To mention but a few good students, the writer would like to start with Poe Pyone Cho.
Firstly the writer wishes to mention Poe Pyone Cho (not his real name) but we nicknamed him popular film comedian of the time. He was an all round young student. He could mimic, sing songs both classical and popular hits of the times, copy gait, manners and voice of his men and women professors and teachers. He could compose extempore amazing songs on the tune of popular hits. He could dance traditional and modern dance aping Great Poe Sein, Shwe Man Tin Maung and Sein Aung Min. Without him no social function be complete. Day trip excursions to Bago, Thanlyin and Twante, we had to pay for his share Kyats 3 or 5. The whole excursion was lively. He could make everyone laugh. At annual dinner of the hostel, he would dance and make jokes. Even the real dancers and comedians could not beat him.
We used to sing in front of ladies’ Hostel, Inya Hostel. He yelled out ………. (Inya girls sleeping with knees exposed). Hall Warden Daw Thein Nyunt came out and yelled at him: “Stop that nasty voice! Study bell has been rung. Go back to your room.” “Yes, Sayamagyi. We go” in the tone of her voice.
As we passed the gate of Dr Htin Aung, he would wish Dr Htin Aung:
“Long, long, long. Long life, Sayagyi.”
Dr Htin Aung was short in body height twisting his longevity of life and also long height of his body.
Sayagyi Dr Htin Aung came out and spoke words of appreciation to him.
The writer must turn to other prominent residents. They included good students and bad students: cartoonists, writes, actors, insurgents, scholars, ozi, dohbat leaders, musicians, etc. One Student was Ko Kyaw San (ကဆ), cartoonist from Tavoy. One poet was Chit Da Lee, a Rakhine student. Two Mawlamyine brothers were from wealthy big family. One became medical doctor and his younger became a good player and singer. These brothers were very handsome. One handsome student from Kyauktan.
Joined Myanmar Tatmadaw, he became one of top 3 in M.I.S. (Military Intelligence Service). He never fails to join Sagaing Hall functions and paid the writer his respect by paying homage.
One top junior student became Professor of Pali. One Anglo-Indian student, a Roman Catholic, became a Buddhist monk after years of teaching English at Buddhist schools.
One History student from Yenangyaung Ko Tin Hla, nickname Yenangyaung Ko Pe Kan Kaung became Director-General of General Administration Department. He died at the entrance gate of Sagaing Hall as he came to attend the Golden Jubilee of Yangon University because he slipped and hit his head and died in hospital. One Psychology student later became Rector of Yangon University.
There was one naughty student who wanted to puja me in a very naughty way. He was an I.T.O, Income Tax Officer. He got distinctions in Political Science because the writer taught him that subject at night in the hall tutor’s room.
The very naughty way his thanks to the writer was that he booked a room at a private hotel and a young comfort girl for the writer to enjoy. The writer shouted him out, telling him never to see me again. Yet he did appear at the writer’s wedding with a big present.
When the writer won the state scholarship to join London University all the Sagaing Hostel students gave him a good sendoff to Lewis street jetty from where the writer boarded S.S. Salween Ship of Henderson Line. The writer dropped an article “On S.S Salween “ to the annual magazine of Yangon University, which is the first of a Series.
The writer would like to express thanks to the Global New Light of Myanmar for giving place on the pages of this highly esteemed daily.