Friday, July 21, 2017

A Trip to Myingyan for One More Time

 (Prepare for the Myingyan trip)

I suddenly decided to go to Myingyan for one more time when Sunlun Sayadaw U Wara announced His Sunlun Yogis for enlisting the trip to Myingyan. Buddhists believed that if we paid respect to Sunlun Sayadaw U Kavi (whose body still lay as on the day he died sixty years ago) at Myingyan, our good deeds could share to all our loved ones especially to my mother. Buddhists always do good deed in the monastery, or in the pagodas, and share their good deed to all their loved ones.

 (At 4:00 AM, the morning view of Than-Tha-Yar-Aye Pagoda at Myingyan Sunlun Monastery.)

I bought umbrella, fan, yellow robe, and slipper to offer Sayadaw U Kavi. I remembered during the first visit, my parents asked me to go Myingyan to offer yellow robe at Sunlun Sayadaw U Kavi. Coincidently on the day I went to Myingyan, was the day my grandfather passed away 17 years ago. I was hoping my grandparents would see my good deed of merit, and say ‘well done’ with me. At that time, I was feeling fresh, and in good mood. 

 (At the Myingyan Sunlun Monastery, all the visitors were served lunch by the one who offered.)

This time was different. My mother passed away just 3 months ago, and I still was not fully calm in my mind. I was beggar cannot be chooser. I had no other choice to do good deed but I was doing meditation. After my mother passed away, I tried to do meditation at the Sunlun Monastery once per week, and did everyday at home. I believed that because of practicing meditation regularly, I could slightly control my desperate mind. I was filled with gratitude the Sunlun Sayadaw U Kavi who had shown the method of meditation which even fool like me could do. That’s why when Sayadaw U Wara – a head of Kaba Aye Sunlun Gu Kyaung Meditation Centre (7th Mile, Rangoon), and meditation master announced the trip to Myingyan to pay respect Sunlun Sayadaw U Kivi, I was seriously decided to join the group.

 (People were excited to pay respect the Sayadaw U Kivi.)

Now, I kneeled at the foot of the Sayadaw U Kivi’s body. My heart was filled with gratitude for the Sayadaw. I paid respect with my hands clasped palm to palm to Him, and I felt my eyes with full of tears for saying ‘Ah-mhya’ (come and share), and expected to my dear mother who hear it, and to say ‘tha-du’ (well done) with me.

Monday, July 17, 2017

My Life Will Go On (8)

My high school life was ease, and happy. However I failed minor tests, or did not have good marks in every subject, I did not care. I always forgot spellings, and meanings in English. I could not remember the important dates, and years in History. I could not memorize lines, and paragraphs in Geography. I still was not interested in Science. I still was clumsy in Mathematical figures. I always heard what my teachers compared my stupidity with my twin brother’s smart, and intelligence. 

(I decided to show my mother first, and she will decide what to do next.)

In 9th standard, I got zero in mathematics in one of the minor examinations. Teacher gave all the paper to all her students. It was to be returned with the parents’ signature especially from their father. I was afraid to ask for the signature on my paper to my parents. I could not face the reaction when my paper would be at their hands. I thought many reasons to give my parents. My friend, who got zero in mathematics as same as me (no more no less), suggested that I should have to tell my father that nearly the whole class got zero in this mathematics test, then maybe he would not blame me for being one of the majority. (But I already knew that he would never blame me.) She supposed that because of my father was a lecturer in mathematics, he taught me a few things. I knew I was so careless in working with figures. For example, in the problem, I knew exactly what to do – I must divide these two numbers, but I got wrong in actual manipulation. It’s the same in other problem.


(I was still as stupid as I.)
My friend said that I was better than most of them including herself, because she just read the problem and don’t know what to do, don’t even understand what it said. She encouraged me that if only the teacher gave marks for understanding the meaning of the problem and knowing what to do, I was sure I would have got something. I thought, ‘That’s just it. It is only the right answer that matters.’

Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Life Will Go On (7)

When I failed the 8th standard, I was so shocked and felt miserable. The most important thing was, my twin brother passed the exam, and he was going to attend the 9th standard. I was crying for this catastrophe. My grandparents, my parents, and my brother comforted me. I was so ashamed that if someone asked us our school age, and found that I was one year late than my brother; ‘Oh! Why your twin brother was one year ahead of you, dear little twin sister?’ 

(All my family comforted me for my broken heart.)
On the day the school opened, I could never forget the day. I sat at the previous 8th standard classroom, and was feeling so sad. I controlled my tears to flowing. Under that unhappy condition, I found my friends who also failed the 8th standard. We were suddenly meeting each other, and of same feathers, and forgot our current state. We flocked together, and prepared to welcome the juniors. We met new friends, and found that they were friendly, and sweet. Those friends I met in the 8th standard became closed friends.

Apart from the bad luck I had met in that year, I was feeling satisfied for meeting new friends. However I passed the 8th standard next year, I realized that I would never be equal level in the academic year with my twin brother.

Monday, July 10, 2017

My Life Will Go On (6)

  The Taming of a Mathematician
I was stupid through my school life. I could not get good marks in every subject. In every 3 months, 3 times per year held the minor test in school. I was included in a group who had failed three times (continuously) in one or more subjects, and was chosen to call one of their parents to meet their teacher. My twin brother had good impression on all the subjects for both his teachers, and our parents. He even got Distinctions in Mathematics, English and Science. His positions were first or second in the class when I was at the bottom. But he was also one of students who asked our parents to meet for his misadventures at school. He could not really be called mischievous, but he got into many kinds of troubles that boys used to.

(Mother met his teacher for his misadventures at school.) (Drawn by – Maung Yit.)

I was not upset, and disappointed for my stupidity at school. But I had fear on the day to show my poor paper(s!) to my parents for having the signature. Moreover, I also had fear when my teacher gave me warning to bring one of my parents to meet her/him tomorrow. At that time I wanted to run away from home. But the D-day was over, I felt comfortable, and thought about to play more.

Here, I recalled the memory …

I was very quiet and never gave trouble to anybody as my father said, but my father had to meet my teacher for my poor performance in mathematics when I was in 6th standard at school. He did not want to see my teacher. He was proud of himself as a mathematician and he was afraid if the tutors at the University found out about his daughter's poor performance in mathematics? But it was his duty to meet my teacher.

(I was afraid to show my poor paper to my parents. ‘Zero is not empty. It has value.’) (Drawn by Maung Yit.)

My teacher complained my father that it was the third time I had failed in mathematics and she told him about my carelessness. She said I was not stupid and I knew when to add or multiply but I did them wrong. She also said I had copied wrong – 25 instead of 55. She told again that I did it so badly at the beginning.

My teacher continued, 'Look how your daughter has constructed a right angle. Can you imagine anyone constructing a right angle, 45, 60, and 30 degree using protractor?’ She continued 'To construct a right angle, all you have to do is bisect a straight line segment, which measures two right angles, by using a compass and ruler, you get 45 degree. To construct….

(She continued her speech about using compass and ruler to find out 60, 30 degree and so on) My father said, 'but is it mentioned in the question that all constructions are to be done with ruler and compass?' She replied, 'Of course not. That's to be understood. The way some parents try to justify their children's doings. It's really amazing.'

(I know what my father was thinking as 'Understood? Understood indeed?)
(Drawing by – Maung Yit)

I know what my father was thinking as 'Understood? Understood indeed? That's what intuitionists say. But Pure Mathematics does not accept Intuitionism. It accepts Formalism, which means taking nothing as understood unless stated so at the beginning.'

That was what he wanted to say, but he didn't. After all, he knew that he could not teach Formalism to high school students. He thanked her for the welfare of his daughter and left.

(‘Is this right triangle, father?.’)

After that, my father called me and showed me how to instruct a right angle 45, 60 and 30 degree using a ruler and compasses. I had faced similar problems between my teachers and my father during my experiences of my school and University life. The problems which I met were not only the same as I met when I was in High School, but also were as higher as the level I reached. I had to obey the rules that my teachers made for having good marks in examinations and I had to listen the formalism of our pure mathematics of my father for having full understand the mathematics theories and problems. Luckily, I was not too young to call my father for meeting my teacher as I was a school girl. So, I myself was to be obedient between my teacher and my father until the time I would obtain my M.Sc degree.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wahso Robes on Wahso Month

         The full moon day of Wahso (July) (Wahso - the Fourth Month of the Burmese calendar) is the anniversary of the Buddha’s First Sermon. The Buddha’s First Sermon was heard 25 centuries ago. Buddhists show their remembrance as offering yellow robes to monks at the monastery in the Wahso Season. 

(Easy to find Yellow Robes, Fan, Slippers. Umbrellas, etc at the shop everywhere in the Wahso Season.)

(Buddhists flocked to the monastery on the full moon day of Wahso.)

Buddhists planned to go to the monastery to offer yellow robes to the monks. Most of the shops in Burma sold yellow robes, slippers, fans, and umbrellas, etc in Wahso season. They were labeled as ‘Wahso Robes’. People were easy to find, and buy yellow robes there. It was a good idea seeing yellow robes everywhere in the month of July (Wahso). 

(Offering yellow robes as Wahso Robes to the monks.)

People organized the ceremony at the monastery, and altogether offered yellow robes to the monks. If one could not afford to buy a yellow robe, one could buy with cheap price at the monastery. The real price for a yellow robe might be at least one thousand kyats. At the monastery, one can buy a yellow robe with 5000 (five thousand) kyats or 3000 kyats. It meant that no one missed to offer yellow robes, and to do good deeds in Wahso season.

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Life Will Go On (5)

(We took photos of Basin after the cyclone.)
                     In the 7th July of 1975, the monstrous cyclone hit Basin while we were staying in the Basin University Campus. After storm, all the electricity was out, and water became polluted, it would shortly harm our health. My father quit his work by his parents’ wish, and prepared to return Rangoon. Difficult to have tickets for Basin-Rangoon liner, but by the help of maternal grandpa who once worked as a Chairman at I.W.T (Inland Water Transportation), we easily got tickets to back home.

The sad thing was when the Principal of Basin University, Takatho Phone Naing (famous Burmese novelist) asked my father for remaining at Basin for the sake of his long services. He took care us like our grandfather during more than 2 years of our stay. His family, and we became closed friends, and lived as families. My parents had a long talk with him, and later he accepted unwillingly for our leaving.

(Grandpa (left), and grandma (middle), Takatho Phone Naing (left hand side of grandpa), and his wife (left hand side of grandma), and their friend Russian writer. The photo was taken around 1967-68.)

When we arrived Rangoon, we were in the mid-term of the 3rd standard. Grandpa tried to ask the Principal of Teacher Training School (TTC) (Kamayut Township) to accept his grandchildren. But we were not accepted. No school accepted new students in the half-term. But a friend of grandpa who was a Principal of Saint-Augustine School, understood the recent situation, and was willing to accept us. We made new friends, and had fun there. The problem was we had no lectures, and textbook. My parents borrowed books from our new friends, and copied them all. At that time, photocopiers were not invented yet. Grandma helped us how to memorize dates, and years in History. She rewrote paragraphs into short form. By the help of our family, we passed the 3rd standard. 

(We could not think everything serious. We make new friends at new schools.)

When we were at 4th standard, although the Principal wished us to continue to study for the next years at her school, grandpa quit us from Saint Augustine School. He thanked to the Principal for accepting us in the difficult time. He gave the reason that the location of the school was very far away from home. Grandpa received an entrance for us from the TTC. TTC was very closed to our house. We met new friends again, and we forgot all the friends behind, and happy there. We attended from the 4th standard to the 10th standard at TTC for 7 years, but as for me, 8 years! 

The Answer for Quiz from last chapter;

 (I was at front, and my brother at last line by circling with yellow crayon. Are you correct?)

Friday, June 30, 2017

My Life Will Go On (4)

 My Primary School Life

(We were at TTC primary school. I was not happy, but my brother was easy.) (Quiz: Find me there, unhappy 5 years old kid!) (The answer will be seen on next chapter.)

                           We attended at the Teacher Training School (TTC) in Kamayut Township. It was situated near our house.We twins studied at the same room. I did not remember very much about my primary school life. One thing I remembered was I missed my home, and my parents when I was at school. My brother was happy-go person. He did not cry, and missed no one. I was told that my parents were sorry to left their daughter alone (even with her twin brother), because she was crying a lot when they planned to leave. Then they lied to her that they were behind the school wall, and waited until the times up. She was only a child, so she really believed that her parents were near her, and were waiting outside. She did not know her parents returned home. It was a pity that I really believed their words at that time. When I grew older, they talked about it, and I became realized that they lied to me.

                   Our primary school life in TTC was not long.

My School Life in Countyside
(I was proud to wear high-heals among the country students.)
(Illustrated by - Maung Yit.)

When my father was transferred to Basin (Delta, Southern Burma) from his work, his family (our mother, and us) moved to Basin with him. My father worked as Assistant Lecturer at the Basin University at the Mathematics Department. We stayed there for 2 years until the cyclone hit Basin in 1975. My twin brother, and I were quit from TTC, and continued our studies (1st standard) at Basin.  We sometimes went to swim at 'Three Stairs Lake' near us. I could not swim even my father, and my twin brother taught me. I could only play in the water. I was so happy there I was felling opposite of when I was at TTC in Rangoon. There were many things for both of us to play around.The lake near our house, and the school not far from home, and the never-ending field around us, make us paradise. We also heard the ghost stories from the villagers about ‘Three Stairs Lake’. Believe it or not, we were afraid to walk near that lake at night. 

(Our house at Basin. The place we lived was called ‘6 Houses Lining’.
There were 3 houses face to face with other 3. We lived at the middle of 3 on left hand side of the short road. )

(Our school life in Basin was fun. Find us!)
We went to school by foot, and our uncle took care us. He was my mother’s youngest brother, and he stayed with us, and attended at Basin University. I met friends at Basin Primary School. My mother worked as temporary teacher at the school. We had so much time to play around. My grandparents visited to us once per week, and we also visited Rangoon in our holidays. Grandma brought her non-Burmese friends, and we all together visited pagodas around. Although we missed our grandparents, and Rangoon home, we were happy to stay there. If nothing happened, we would have lived there for the rest of our life.

(Our grandparents frequently came to us. They missed us so much.)

(Grandma brought her non-Burmese friends to Basin.)

(We were county boy and country girl at the Basin countryside.)

In the July of 1975, the monstrous cyclone hit Basin. At that time my mother’s family including her parents arrived to Basin. There were 11 family members of us at Basin home. Before the cyclone began that evening, my mother went to shopping with her sisters. When they came back at their return home, they saw trees were shaking too much. The wind started to blow. But they did not afraid. Their taxi driver was even laughing for it. He said that it was natural winding at Basin. They arrived home in the evening. The wind blew harder since then. It was lucky that they were safe and sound to reach home. My mother worried about the taxi driver if he arrived his home safe!

The cyclone started at the late evening, and stopped the next day afternoon. When the windows of my parents’ room started to break, and the cracked pieces of glasses spreading on the bed, we began frightened. There was only one room left was safe. All gathered kept at home for the whole night. All the other rooms were filled with pieces of glasses, and the floors were full of water. The wind was entering into the house from the broken windows, and doors. The whirling sounds were heard around. Those sounds were from the pillars which might be lifted by the force of wind. They were flying above, and then hit to the roof of the houses. One of the pillars was breaking the root of our kitchen, and inserting upright into the floor. There was half of its length was inserted. How strong the wind must be! Under those hazardous conditions, we children were hungry. My mother, and her sisters went to the kitchen by the help of our uncles, and cooked under the rush hour. My maternal grandparents were praying for our safety. We were lucky that all the cooking materials were bought at that day. Other families around us missed their dinner, and also their meal for next day.

 (With our aunties. We looked around, and took photos of ruined houses.)

In the tomorrow afternoon, the wind became calm. We started to peep around. Our house was fully wet, and 3/4 of the roofs were gone. There was no window left except our room. Excited to see that one of the corners where the household shrine was kept was safe. Under the altar, there were eggs, and vegetables, etc were stored, and they all were fully safe. The field around us was seen like a sea. We seemed were in the island circling with water. The kitchen of our neighbor house was disappeared. It seemed that it was lifted by the wind. The whole town was ruined. We saw every field filled with water, and trees were broken, and some houses were destroyed. All the water became polluted. We know that my grandparents at Rangoon were worried so much for us. They could not contact us at that time. All the phone lines were gone, and the electricity, and all the connection was lost.

Shortly after the storm, we survived under this for a little period of time. The consequences of pollution would come in a short time. Maternal grandpa decided that all of us to return Rangoon as soon as possible especially for the children’s sake. Later we had received a contact with our grandparents at Rangoon. They made a decision that my father had to quit his work, and back to Rangoon. My father obeyed his parents’s decision.

(My father stood before the Basin University after the cyclone.)

(In the front of our house. The family with wet books which were scattered on the ground to be dried at hot sun.)

Before we were leaving, we bid farewell to our Basin school friends. We could not reach to all. But friends we met last time were not happy for our leaving. Their families also became part of our family too. They were kind, sincere, and honest. But we had to leave them all. The natives we met around said that the cyclone we had met now was they had never seen in their life before. We took photos around near our place including the Basin University which roofs were absolutely gone.

(Aftermath, girls' hostel was flat.)

It was the time the University opened. Some students arrived, and stayed at hostel. Luckily, the girls did not arrive at their hostel yet, and their hostel was absolutely flat. The University students whose towns and countries were away from the cyclone, and they did not know about the cyclone news. They arrived to Basin University, and found that all the rooms were ruined, and they even had no food to eat. At that time, hundreds of candles arrived from government. It was for the University students to continue their studies. It seemed that the government did not wish or announce to close the Basin University. But all the arriving students packed their things, and returned to their home. The Basin University was closed for the reason that there was no student come. At that time my grandma in Rangoon sent raincoats which were given from her non-Burmese friends. My parents brought those raincoats to the cyclone victims as far as they could reach. The victims were surprised to accept the presents, and said ‘It’s all are to return to you after taking photos?’ My parents laughed, and said, ‘No, they all are for you. We are not taking back.’ 

(They were happy for raincoats. No need to give it back!)
(Cartoon by - Maung Yit - my twin brother.)

Yes! Those things above were beyond my knowledge for the 7 years old kid! But when I grew old enough to understand the adults’ words, I recalled the old memories as it happened yesterday. Shortly to say that, we all returned to Rangoon, and we continued our study at the new school at half term.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Life Will Go On (3)

                     (We were born as twins, a boy and a girl.)
                  We twins were born in the 14th March of 1968. The same date that the famous Scientist Albert Einstein was born. I do not know we shall become genius as Albert Einstein or we brought good fortune to our family. I was sure that Albert Einstein would be unhappy for my stupidity at my school life if he knew I was born on the same date that he was born. But he would surely be happy again for my twin brother’s intelligence that could honor his name. 
(With our grandmother, Khin Myo Chit (writer).)
                     Let’s hear what would happen in the family in the year we were born. Our mother missed her last day of the final examination of the B.Com 2nd Year Degree in the year of 1968, because she was at the hospital giving birth to us. She always recalled the memory that she sat her final test at the hospital before giving birth. If she, I mean we, could wait for one day, she would pass the examination. At that time, grandpa, and grandma still worked at The Working People’s Daily (WPD) as Chief editor, and assistant editor respectively. When they saw the unfair relation between the powerful politicians and the others, grandma wrote about it in one of her articles called ‘Dandruff in my Halo’. In the meantime, grandpa had a meeting with the government medias about the freedom of press, and conflict between the chief members. Before long grandpa and grandma decided to quit from their posts. It all happened in the year 1968.

In spite of those happenings which seemed misfortune to the family, our father was sent to France in the July of 1968 to get his Ph.D from a French University in Mathematics for two years, and mother continued her final economics at Rangoon Institute of Economics. My father obtained the Ph.D (Mathematics) in France in 1970, and worked as an assistant lecturer at Mathematics department in the Rangoon University. Mother got her B.Com in 1969. She always said that she preferred staying at home and looked after her twins. She took care us since we were born, and also to her in-laws as her parents for the rest of her life. I later understood that to take care the children when they were born was the difficult decision for a woman of her young age. 

 (Our mother took care us since we were born.)

Thank you, mother. I always remember for your kind, and big regards. I miss you always.