Dr. M Shaw Loo

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The First Myanmar Medical Doctor graduated in USA. Dr. M Shaw Loo has to be the first medical doctor from Myanmar. He was the son of U Shwe Thet and Daw Phwar. They descendants of Mon race and were Christians. It was the time when the First British-Myanmar war was going on, in 1824. Young Shaw Loo lived in Mawlamyine, Mon State with his parents.  

He was a young boy who wanted to learn western knowledge and medicine. He was a good friend of Prof Judson, who was an important person with the British at the time of making the contract of Yandabo Agreement.

One day, Prof Judson was sick and had to go to India for treatment, since there was no Physicians in Mawlamyine. It was a long journey to India and Prof Judson passed away on the way to India. When young Shaw Loo heard about the sad news, his feelings of wanting to become a Physician became larger.

The war ended at 1852. So, at the age of 17, young Shaw Loo left Myanmar and went to Calcutta, India to study medicine. After studying for some months in Calcutta, there were riots and strikes in India against the British government. And most of the students went back to their home land. But he never gave up. He did not go back to Mawlamyine but went to the port where he saw a ship going to America and he went on it, without letting anyone know. On the ship, luckily, he met a nun from Thonesel called Ms. Marian Inga. He told her about his hopes to become a physician. So, the nun asked the Captian of the ship to let the boy come along with them. The Captain let him come along to America, but he had to work as a waiter in the dinner room. It took about 4 months on the way to America.

Once he got to America, there was no way of his survival in a strange land. So, the nun helped him out again. She introduced him to a merchant. Later on, in 1859, he was enrolled in the Saint Louis Burg University. He studied Greek, Latin, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Philosophy, Geology, Politics, Economics and also about America.

He had to work at a Professor's home to get 10 cent per hour for his tuition fees. And during the holidays, he went to many parts of America and told about his homeland. He was a talented person and he was rewarded with money which helped his studies.

He studied at Saint Louis Burg University for 5 years and got the B.A degree. Then he moved to Kleeve Land Medical College in Ohio State. He then studied medicine for 3 years and in 1867, he got the medical M.B degree. At the same year, he was awarded the M.A degree from Saint Louis Burg University. He has finally became Dr. Shaw Loo.

After studying for 8 years in America, and as his hopes have been completed to become a physician, he wanted to go back to Myanmar. Before leaving America, he went to greet the 17th President of the United States of America, Mr. Andrew Johnson. The President welcomed the first student of Myanmar and wrote a recommendation letter to King Mindon about Dr. Shaw Loo.

Dr. Shaw Loo came back to Myanmar and went to the Royal Palace in Mandalay and went to pay respect to King Mindon. The King got the recommendation from the President and appointed Dr. Shaw Loo as a Prince. But Dr. Shaw Loo only stayed in the palace for about 20 days and asked permission to leave, to complete his tasks for the poor. He went to Yangon and applied as a Physician, but the British denied because they thought he was a threat to them.

Then he went back to Mawlamyine, and became a teacher for 10 years. He then went to Thonese, Ms Marian Inga's School. He wanted to pay back her kindness by teaching the children in that region and so he spent 3 years in Thonese. He then went to Yangon, and became a teacher again in a government school for a year. The British government came to know his true intention so granted him a place in the Education sector, but he asked for a place in the Medical sector, but the British denied.

He was married to Ms Louisia Prela, a British woman and had 7 children. But he got divorced and after 2 years he met a Myanmar woman called Daw Shwe Pwint and had 3 children. Dr. Shaw Loo died at the age of 91 in 10 October 1929.


Please see: http://www.bucknell.edu/BurmaBowl for The Burma-Bucknell Connection




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