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Lasallian Spirit for all alumni to emulate Print E-mail

ImageThe alumni of the six La Salle Schools in Myanmar came together in Yangon on November 13th to celebrate in grand style the Sesqui Centennial Anniversary of the arrival of the La Salle Brothers in their country. It was with some difficulties and restrictions that Dr. Robin Chan secured the presence of the Brother Superior General, Br. Alvaro Rodriguez Echieverria who was the Guest-of-Honour for the occasion. Also present was Bro. David Hawke, General Councillor for region PARC.

Their effort in organizing this event is all the more commendable considering the fact that all the six La Salle schools in Myanmar had been nationalized by the military junta in 1965 and the youngest “Old Boy” is now 54 years of age! This alone speaks highly of their commitment, and loyalty to the Lasallian Cause.

The event was strongly supported by the alumni who came from most corners of the land with many flying in from overseas to participate in the programmes. Last-minute registrations caused the attendance figure to far exceed the organizing committee’s expectation. One could hardly visualize the spirit, the joy and the camaraderie experienced by all who participated in the celebrations. It’s best therefore to hear directly from Captain Win Than Oo, who played a great part in making the Sesqui Centennial celebrations a huge success.

The great event was over but the spirit still marches on.

May I start the morning of November 13 where nobody would believe how a Catholic Church came to be filled with people of all faith?

From the morning 8 o’clock the organizers comprising members of the Board of Old Boys (BOBs) and their handy persons, the students from La Salle training center and the Church’s resident organizers are busy with preparing to receive the guests, setting down the souvenirs happily.


          Committeee members hard at work                               Ko Kyaw Lin and U Soe Nyunt

However, we had a big headache as we were short of dinner tickets. Everyone who didn’t have one was yelling, shouting and reciting their birth right to get one. We had booked and printed only 400; and only two days before, we increased the number to 450.  As you all know, the organizers, with the help of our donors, subsidized heavily for that 7,000 kyats as the actual cost was USD15.  We finally agreed that 20 junior committee members would have  to renounce their tickets in order to appease the angry BOBs some of whom had been away from the country for two decades and came back to attend the ceremony without prior notice. Also, I had to ‘beg’ the Hotel to provide some kind of food for those 20 committee members - even fried rice and plain soup would do. The Chef, though grumbling, was kind enough to serve the same menu but would not respond to a further request when we asked for another twenty pax.


         Bro. Lawrence Goh read at the Mass                      Bros. Alvaro, Hawke and Murphy at the Mass

Richard Khin Maung Oo, a regular organizer of St. Mary’s Cathedral came to me scratching his head saying that he was told by Father Gordon to prepare simple food to feed 500 after the Mass. On seeing the situation, we ordered another 200 pax to feed 700 people.

But he now reckoned the number of attendees had swelled to more than 1,000 and the restaurant refused to deliver more as there was not sufficient time to prepare and said that their cooks were not magicians.

Brother Superior arrived, guests arrived. Handshakes and greetings took place and finally all were invited to attend the mass. Few of us remained outside as there was no apparent empty bench left. Besides we have to deal with the souvenirs and the preparation for the dinner.

After the mass, the attendees were handed fried vermicelli in take-away packages. But many just sat down on the lawn or nearest place available to have delicious food served to them. Students from La Salle Center distributed the flyers printed with the crests of our De La Salle schools of Myanmar. It was a beautiful, very beautiful day!

ImageWe were at the Chatrium Hotel since 2 pm and started combing the required spots and all arrangement as we couldn’t effort to have anything not in order. By 4.00 pm the beautiful staff members of Royal Rose arrived at the registration table wearing the traditional dresses of Chin, Kachin, Shan and Karen. At the same time, the Beer Station of Sein Hlyan was rigged and erected displaying a placard which read:  DONATION OF EVERY 1,000 KYATS SHALL BE REWARDED WITH A GLASS OF BEER. We were not selling. Were we?

ImageWe also had a volunteer service from a media firm to take down the addresses of all attendees and a free-on-site digital photo print out service.  At 4:30 pm four very beautiful models from the Talent and Model Agency arrived with their smiles ready to do TAP AT THE CHEST on arrival. The BOBs started registering and some got there to obtain the 22 reserved dinner tickets to sell to the late arrivals. Except four reserved tables for the Brothers and senior most guests, attendees were sitting together regardless of their schools and batches.

ImageAt 6:30 pm the Master of Ceremony declared that the ceremony had commenced and invited the Chairman of the Working Committee, Han Tun Maung to deliver a warm, short welcome speech.

The MC then invited Dr. Robin Chan to take the podium after a short introduction by way of a brief biography.  Robin’s first speech was about a young Brother who devoted his life to the education of De La Salle Myanmar and then went on to be the pillar of St. Paul’s and other schools he was assigned to. That young German was none other than Brother Felix who recently reunited with his creator in August 2010.

With permission of the Brother Superior, Dr. Chan requested all to stand up to keep a one-minute silence in honour of the late Brother Felix. With the aid of LCD projection, Dr. Chan went on to give a brief history of the La Salle Generalate and Provincialate and how the De La Salle Brothers provided education throughout 89 countries with 8,000 Brothers supported by 70,000 lay men and with a student population close to a million.  He further recounted how we did the first BOB world-wide reunion in Rome in 2008. He did this with the photos and much humour.


    Bros David Hawke, Alvaro and U Soe Nyunt                                     The Myanmese Brothers

By the time people started laughing, Brother Superior-General included. Br. Alvaro was candidly asked to give more support to Myanmar Provincialate so he doesn’t need to work so hard to raise funds for repairing the roof, the rest rooms of the boarding house at Ady Road.

ImageAt a signal from Dr. Chan, some BOBs started singing Thanks Hymn or Rhyme what-so-ever you may call it like “ KYAY ZU TIN BAR DEI BROTHER HAWKE…… MYITAR PO BAR DEI….KYAY ZU TIN BAR DEI BROTHER ALVARO “  All of you must heard this hymn at Christmas carol singing.  He then continued on with his usual humour. Towards the end of his presentation, he signalled for the Choir to begin singing Victory March with the lyrics and musical notes projected onto the screen. The pool side of Chatrium turned to be a WoodStock-like concert when everybody stood up and sang.

When Dr. Chan concluded his part, the MC then invited the Brother Superior-General, Alvaro Rodriguez to accept the souvenir presented by the Committee Chairman, Han Tun Maung.


    Souvenir from Chairman UTTM to Bro. Alvaro                 Pansy & Dr. Robin present to Bro. Alvaro

After this, more souvenir presentations followed:

1, Eric Aung Win, (Committee Vice Chairman) to Brother David Hawke
2. Albertian Tom Maung Maung Gyi (Nikon International Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner) to the Brother Superior General.
3. Robin and Pancy to the Brother Superior General and
4. Soe Nyunt to Dr. Robin Chan.

Of course, the souvenirs were handled by the beautiful young ladies so much so that the audience’s attention was not focused on the presenters and presentees but on these ladies!

Then the poor MC who stood on the stage longer than anyone else again took to the podium to invite the attendees to go up the stage by turns to get the group photos taken. Only the first call for the Brothers and the working committee was orderly. As for the other groups, the attendees came to the stage on their own and disorderliness crept in. The MC had to leave the stage to avoid being overrun by the crowd.  All one could hear was hooray hooray and rah rah.

Dinner was served at about 7:30 during the photo sessions. It was difficult to say how and when the ceremony ended as the microphone was free to everybody.  All I remembered was waving to the Brothers who left by a coach and some high spirited BOBs moved to Royal Rose Restaurant to continue singing. ..... while her loyal sons are marching onwards to victory RA …  RA … RA.

I want to specially thank the donors for, without their contributions the ceremony would not be successful.  I further requested Dr. Robin Chan to upload the photos to the site because, our internet connection was still restricted ... Unquote

With Metta to all
Win Than Oo

Acknowledgement with thanks:
Captain Win Than Oo
Dr. Robin Chan
La Salle alumni associations, Myanmar

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