Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIT Ah Lwan

RIT, RIT, I was admitted in 1972 and I left RIT in 1982 after nine years as a student and one year as a tutor in Mechanical Engineering Department. I never looked back and remembered RIT while I was looking around the world for a greener pasture till I hit 50. 

After matriculation, RIT wasn’t my choice at all. Back then my dream was DSA. My father was an ex-army and I basically grew up in an army boarding school called Aung San Thuria Hla Thaung School in Mingaladon. It was a horrible place run by a very short fused Major as the Principal and a violent, sadistic Regiment Sergeant Major as the boarders-master. It became so notorious the army abolished the battalion in late seventies and now it is State High School No.2 Mingaladon.

Most of my 30 odd classmates ended up in DSA and almost all of them were killed during late seventies and eighties fighting the CPB and Kayins and Kachins. A couple of survivors are now generals and in the SPDC. (I have no contacts with them even one came to my brothers’ house in Rangoon and asked for my address in Sydney.)

As a bad boy I was caned quite often as punishment in that cadet school for five years and one day I snapped and ambushed the hated RSM with a jin-ga-lee. I almost killed him as I was a very violent boy then. And they kicked me out of the school at the beginning of year 10.   

But my father managed to enroll me in Central Boys High, SHS-1 Latha, and I finished my year 10 there in Class 10-A. My father was a good friend with the Principal Daw Hla Nu’s Colonel husband and she put me in the best class taught by the best teachers. So I passed with 4 D and got a real good mark.

I wanted to apply for DSA but my father wouldn’t let me and he even filled my university admission form himself with MC and Dental as first and second choice as we were allowed only two professional universities then. My soldier father was so uneducated he didn’t even know RIT exist. Unfortunately, I was just two marks short for MC and ended up in Dental as number one.

My bad luck didn’t stop there. At my interview the rector Dr Aung Than ordered me to sit in a dentist chair and asked me how many teeth I had in my mouth. I answered 32 and he forced open my mouth and counted 28. I didn’t know that at the age of 15 I was too young to have 4 molars. He kicked me out of Dental and I ended up in Forestry or Geology I didn’t remember now. I had to walk 20 miles as a fitness test. But I stayed in RASU only a month.

Somehow my father managed to pull the strings and as my matriculation mark was higher than the cut-off mark for RIT they sent me to RIT and I ended up in RIT as the last student in the last section, Section D. My roll number was 551 or 552, I forgot now. I had to sit in the last row by the windows in 1-3-2 and 1-3-16, that two large theatres on the top floor, and what I still remember was the memorable vista all the way to the bookshop at the end of that long, wide driveway from the main building to the arch gate.

Swe-daws and Sein-bans fenced the road and whenever a car drove along the red and purple flowers and the green leaves on the ground jumped and followed the car for a while then dropped down and lie there as if they were waiting another car for their free surf. 

Now I am missing RIT.