Read PM Bayar and PM Putin's statements here.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Read PM Bayar and PM Putin's statements here.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
This is a follow-up to the post about Baabar's talk at Cafe Amsterdam. It's some time late. Like two weeks, I believe.
Baabar didn't come to Cafe Amsterdam with any speeches prepared, instead chose to take questions from the crowd. In my opinion, it was a good idea. I don't know if a lot of people came expecting a talk on a specific topic. While the result had little structure, I think to an extent it provided some spontaneous conversation. There were some very interesting points raised during his talk and a lot of it revolved around Mongolian politics and culture, as expected. What was this nomadic mentality that Mongolians seem almost proud of, yet blame the many failings of today's urban life on including the traffic jams and insane drivers? In a lot of other societies, people were specialized in different areas and could, therefore, barter their produce. In Mongolia, everyone produced the same thing, therefore there was no room for goods exchange or cooperation, there was only room for competition or in Baabar's words it was a case of "my neighbour is my worst enemy". He didn't discuss further on the topic, as you could write a "a book on this topic".
A friend of mine once mentioned that when the Mongolians needed silk or other materials that they didn't produce, they invaded neighbouring countries that did, which could be the main reason why the Chinese built the Great Wall. He was actually using this argument to illustrate the fact that Mongolians historically have probably never really experienced famine (I don't know if this is true). There were always farmer neighbours to invade for supplies as a last resort.
Apart from his point on the nomadic mentality, he also touched a little on the political system and the mentality of the current politicians. He jokingly said that things will only really change once the current generation of politicians die out. Grains of truth in it, I believe. Not necessarily die out, but retire and leave the political arena to give way to a younger generation of politicians who hopefully were born post-Communism. Moving on to discuss himself, Baabar said "It also applies to me. I am also very communist inside". What does it mean for my generation, I wonder. We, who were thrown into a sudden transition in the political and economic system, no more Lenin and Sukhbaatar that we spent our primary school years worshipping like gods. Which also makes me wonder how our next generation sees things. Those who were born during or after the transition period.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Two Malaysian police officers have been sentenced to death by the Malaysian court for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian national who was brutally murdered in Shah Alam suburbs near Kuala Lumpur in October 2006. These are the first convictions in the the trial which has been going on for the past 159 days.
Abdul Razak Baginda, a high-profile political analyst and a former advisor to then-Deputy and now Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, was found not guilty of abetting in the murder and acquitted in October, 2008. He was romantically involved with the Mongolian national and claims Altantuya was in Kuala Lumpur to blackmail him. She was abducted by the policemen from in front of Abdul Razak's home, taken to a secluded area in Shah Alam and murdered.
The media in SouthEast Asia have been publishing erroneous and confusing accounts of the case. Many tabloids and newspapers initially published photos of a Korean actress as Altantuya's photos, and many continue to refer to her as the "Mongolian model", even after her mother pointed out in an interview that Altantuya never worked as a model. It's probably obvious to anyone that the tabloids are interested in the case because of its high-profile political connections to the current Prime Minister of Malaysia. The opponents of the PM have been using her case to hurt his political campaigns and rumours abound that the police had banned the mentioning of her name during the campaigns. More ridiculously, two men were recently arrested for selling cardboard masks of Altantuya.
The saddest truth in the case is perhaps the fact that the real culprits, those who ordered the policemen to murder, will probably never be brought to justice.
Friday, April 10, 2009
So while I procrastinate on writing about Baabar's talk at Cafe Amsterdam and the upcoming presidential election in May, here's some interesting tidbit. The latest episode (Season 5, ep 12, "Dead is dead") in the popular ABC TV series "Lost" features housing structures that are identical to the Mongol ger, except perhaps somewhat modified to fit the tropical climate of the Island. It'd be interesting to know if they bought them from the region or had them made, and whether they just thought it'd be nice to have some Mongol gers or if it's supposed to mean something. Maybe it's supposed to represent the more environmentally-friendly world-view of the group referred to as the Others, as opposed to the Dharma initiative, with whom they are in conflict, who live in wooden houses with high-tech facilities. It probably doesn't make any bit of sense if you've never watched Lost. It hardly even makes sense for some who watch it regularly. But there you go: environmentally-friendly eco-housing structures known as gers.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Tsahim Urtuu Holboo NGO, established by the global Mongolian Tsahim Urtuu network, has announced, on Monday 31st of March, the 2009-2013 scholarship programme for 2 Hazara Mongol students from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The 5-year programme will include one year of Mongolian language course, and the scholars can choose from various fields of study available at the Schools of Social Science, IT and Mongol Studies of the National University of Mongolia (MUIS).
This is probably the very first step in establishing a cultural bridge between Mongolians and the Hazaras, who are considered of ethnic Mongol origins. Wikipedia has this to say:
A Mongol element in the ancestry of the Hazara is supported by studies in genetic genealogy, which have identified a particular lineage of the Y-chromosome characteristic of people of Mongolian descent ("the Y-chromosome of Genghis Khan"). This chromosome is virtually absent outside the limits of the Mongol Empire except among the Hazara people, where it reaches its highest frequency anywhere. About two thirds of the sample Hazara males carry a Y chromosome from this lineage. [Full article here]Making up around 20% of Afghanistan's population, the Hazaras have throughout history been subject to genocides and repression, in large part due to them being Shiite Muslims in a majority Sunni region.
For more details on the Hazara people, visit Hazaranet.
For the full Tsahim Urtuu Holboo NGO's Scholarship announcement and details, visit their website.