Moe is now a senior IP lawyer in our Yangon office, but when he was just two and a half years old, he was ordained as a little monk at a Buddhist ordination and novitiation ceremony, the Shin Pyu. He is still the youngest monk to have been ordained at the Monastery.
Growing up in Yangon as an only child meant being alone for much of his childhood, and Moe developed a deep love of reading, which has never left him. He was already reading the encyclopedia at the age of nine, as well as biographies of some of his favourite people including Myanmar’s national hero General Aung San. Today he says his three greatest heroes are his mother, General Aung San and Abraham Lincoln.
When he wasn’t reading he was creating things. He remembers showing relatives and friends the small bottles he had filled with two colour acrylic liquid - at the time there were no acrylic liquid products of this kind in Myanmar - and when he was 10 years old, he made a Secret Alarm for doors. Then, in 1998 he used a computer for the first time and dreamed of becoming a Computer Programmer and of creating a 3D movie. This dream came to an end when, a year later, Walt Disney launched the first 3D movie, ‘Sinbad and Seven Seas’.
Still, he kept studying and several years later both his mother and his grandfather, a well-known Police Commissioner in Myanmar and also a Director of the Attorney-General’s Office, encouraged him to do Law. During his time at University, he had less money than any of his friends and his shoulder bag was old and worn. His parents were divorced and his mother worked as a Clerk at the Law Office so he knew he couldn’t have everything he wanted since the age of seven. From the age of twelve, he told her that he should cease his education so that she wouldn’t have to work so hard. But she wanted him to become a lawyer and a leader, and was willing to make whatever sacrifices were necessary.
When he attended the law faculty in Yangon University, 90% of his pocket money was used for the purchase of books and use of internet cafés and foreign libraries including the American, British Council, and UN libraries. In 2004, he was one of five students from the whole of Myanmar who passed the entrance exam into the LL.M programme at Yangon University. There he specialized in international law and began providing lectures to the junior LL.M students in an attempt to fill the gap between teachers and students. Eventually, the Law Faculty became aware of his activities and in 2005 recognised him as a volunteer lecturer.
After graduation, Moe commenced work as a Legal Executive at the famous Myanmar Brewery Limited, working on a wide range of intellectual property and legal matters. One day, his mentor, Ms. Tin Ohnmar Tun, who is now the President of AIPA, called him in to her office and told him that the international IP firm Rouse would soon be opening an office in Myanmar and was looking for a good local lawyer. She said she had thought of recommending him and arranging a meeting with Fabrice Mattei, who Moe already knew from AIPA and other IP workshops. Moe now says that as soon as he’d spoken with Fabrice, he knew that the next page of his history had been written. He was convinced it was the right time to start an IP law firm in Myanmar, and that Rouse was the obvious firm to do it.
For Moe’s mother, all the sacrifice has been worthwhile. She is very proud of her son. Moe’s relatives and law teachers including his mentor are proud of him too.
But we’re pleased to report that life hasn’t been all work for Moe – he is looking forward to marrying his fiancé, Hla Waddy Poe, an Account Supervisor at Ooredoo Myanmar, on 2 March 2015. We wish him well!