Friday, April 27, 2007

"Genghis" Khan is Mongolia's new business symbol

Malaysia's "The Star" published an article on how a certain "Genghis" Khan has become some kinda business gimmick in Mongolia.
Khan's reputation in the West is of a blood-thirsty conqueror, but the Mongolians are raised to believe that he was a wise and just ruler who created an empire.

"In my opinion he was a unique and exceptional man. Unlike many people, I don't admire him for his military deeds. I admire him for his personality and I think that he was a genius," said 14-year-old Battulga Sainbuyuan.
I think first of all, they shouldn't be interviewing 14-year-olds about this. Because only 14-year-olds admire the personality of a man who lived 800 years ago and of whose personality not a single documentation exists. He could have been a manic depressive, or he could've been an archetype of one of the Enneagram personalities.

The fact that Mongolians got nothing to fall back on except Chinggis is no secret. We got nothing else going on for us. We don't have celebrities famous enough to market, and our artists are drunkards. Well, we're all drunkards come to think of it, but our artists are more so. 20th century is a blur, a period of amnesia for us. Whatever happened from 1690's and onwards until 20th century is something we'd rather forget. The Mongol empire falling apart, as the princes and Khans and courtesans bickered and fought, while the Manchurians nibbled away the Mongol empire to its knees.

So that leaves us with Chinggis, Ugudei, Khubilai and so on, until shit hit the fan. Speaking of which, Chinggis = Genghis. Though Genghis sounds like a name for some pet rodent. How Chinggis came to be distorted as Genghis is a comedic genius to me. It's the way my name gets distorted by Singaporeans, from its perfectly normal Bilguun, it magically transfoms into Bill Gunn, Dill Goon, Biljoon, Dilgunn. What's eve more hilarious is watching, hearing or reading scholars discussing, with all seriousness and scholarly importance, one "Genghis" Khan, which sort of brings to my mind an image of a bunch of kids in class discussing Thanta Clauth, a result of a lisping teacher introducing Santa as such. Genghis, eh. Genghis the Gerbil and Thanta Clauth.

But I have accepted the fact that Chinggis Khaan's name is now irredeemable. The guy who "compiled" the second largest land Empire, will forever be erroneously referred to as Genghis, and for no reason at all. So on a second thought, why not. Let us exploit this new brand name, and sell our vodka and beer away. After all, Genghis isn't even a proper word in Mongolian. We will not respect a charlatan. We are the descendants of Chinggis Khaan, not this Genghis Khan born from the mouths of the same people who named Native Americans "Indians", who are now called Injuns, as I hear.

Just like the popular Mongolian BBQ, it is some random foreign invention. We oughta suppress our laughter and sell the Genghis brand to those who invented it in the first place.