68 Year Old Man Still Competitive in the Chin Lone Ring
Yangon Soul is a new column run by the MYANMORE editorial team that aims to capture snippets of the characters that make Myanmar what it is. Whether it is a profile of neighborhood personality or a look into the holdovers from the era of isolation, Yangon Soul is a chance to shed light on those who are noticed but not known.
U Own Myint is an elderly man who plays the young man’s game of Chin Lone. The MYANMORE interns caught up with him at his usual playing spot the Myay Ne Gone overpass….
UOM: “I love every sport there is, and I got hooked on sports when I was working as a part time typist in Yangon University Library” said short and stout 68 years old U Own Myint as he parked his bike under the overhead bridge of Myay Ne Gone. “Before that, I was an orphan, living with relatives, happy being an urchin on the street. Then, I join the army in 9th grade because I did not want to study anymore, but I got kicked out by a colonel since I was too young and weak and of course he thought I needed to go to school.”
MYANMORE: “What kind of sports have you played?”
UOM: “I like football. I used to be an official referee back in the days for a short period. I have played badminton, a little bit of football, table tennis, and now Chin lone.”
MYANMORE: “How did you start playing Chin Lone?” “Why Chin Lone?”
UOM: “I used to go play with this Karen Bible study group near my house, it was quite convenient for me to do so. Even though, I was an only devoted Buddhist, they were okay with it. There’s no difference once you are in the match, you are just a player. What I like about Chin Lone is that I can apply what I learnt from other sports into Chin Lone as. For example, table tennis paddles have anti-topspin which can stop and also activate the spinning ball. I apply that method to my Chin lone shoes by adding a rubber layer with pores on it. I had my shoes custom made at a shoemaker in 8 miles. With these shoes, I can make or stop powerful spins during the serves”
Our conversation ended once the other, younger, Chin Lone players finally arrived to start the daily match.
MYANMORE: “Can we join these matches?”
UOM: “Sure you can! If you are good enough, you are welcome, but you are terrible at it, we are going to curse you for sure, hahaha!”
You can find U Own Myint and the Chin Lone gang under the flyover bridge of Myay Ni Gone, in front of Dagon Centre 2 at around 5 in the evening everyday.