Interviewee ID: 990028
Parent's name: Baldorj
Year of Birth: 1931
Notes on education:
Born in: Dadal sum, Hentii aimag
Lives in: Sühbaatar sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: [blank]
Father's profession: [blank]
To read a full interview with Tsedendash please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 080607A with Tsedendash by Oyuntungalag
Tserendash was the oldest of five children in his family. When his father was arrested in 1937 and their livestock confiscated, his mother had to give the other four children up for adoption. At the age of nine Tserendash went to elementary school in his native Dadal sum. After finishing the fourth grade, he went to Binder sum of Hentii aimag to study in the fifth grade. Having spent two years at home, he resumed his school from the sixth grade in Bayan-Uul sum of Dornod aimag. The seventh and eighth grades he studied in a teacher training school attached to the Pedagogical Institute in Ulaanbaatar. After finishing school, he worked as a secondary school teacher in Bayan-Ölgii aimag and then in Hövsgöl aimag. During that time he attended a Russian language course in Ulaanbaatar, and was later sent to Dornod aimag to teach Russian in a local secondary school. In 1958, Tserendash enrolled in an English language course in Ulaanbaatar, which he finished in 1960. He managed to find a job at the Press Censorship Bureau where he spent sixteen years as a translator of English. In 1976, Tserendash returned to Dadal sum to work in various jobs: He was in charge of a dairy farm, then worked as a beekeeper, a photographer, a doorkeeper, and finally as a forest warden. In 1991, at the age of sixty he retired and moved to Ulaanbaatar. For nearly ten years he worked with the Mongolian Biblical Association and translated religious books into Buryat. He is married to a woman from Chita, Russia, and has two sons.
Tserendash discusses a variety of topics, including the repression, his childhood, collectivisation, beekeeping, the Press Censorship Bureau, and his other jobs. He describes the socialist regime as a time when everything was forced on people. Personally, he thinks that as a child he was forced to go to school, in his adult life as a teacher he was continuously sent from one place to another. Social programs such as privatization were also carried out by force. Tserendash’s recollection of his job at the Press Censorship Bureau is interesting. The Bureau, staffed with about twenty people, was in charge of censoring the press, television and radio broadcasts. As nothing could be published or aired without preliminary approval by the Bureau, news were never new. His job description was to keep an eye on English publications on Mongolia in the foreign press. While working there, he had the opportunity to attend a language course at Leeds University. In the UK he visited many places, including Cambridge.
On his return to Mongolia, Tserendash became critical of his job. He recalls that the reason for that was what he had seen in the UK: the English respect towards the plurality of opinions. No wonder then that he supported the democratic movement in Mongolia. According to him, democracy brought many benefits to Mongolian society, such as the freedom of speech and the possibility to own property and livestock.
Summary of Interview 080607B with Tsedendash by Oyuntungalag
In this interview Tserendash tells about some negative aspects of socialism: collectivisation, urbanisation, squandering in his dairy farm, shortage of vodka, and the press censorship. In the dairy farm in Dadal sum where he used to work, there was a practice of pouring out large quantities of milk on the pretext that there was not enough space in the storage facility, despite the fact that ordinary herders were forced to fulfil their milk quota. In the 1970s the shortage of vodka created what is known today as ‘shag’ (vodka sold illegally at a higher price than it actually costs). Tserendash’s story about the press censorship is also interesting. Even books approved for publication could be revised later and banned. For example, a book titled ‘A Millenium Callendar’ by the famous Mongolian writer Damdisüren had to be confiscated from the book shops, for the book was later found out to be promoting feudalist values. Tserendash also tells how collectivisation is connected with urbanisation. During the collectivisation, many herders who donated their livestock to the state left the country-side for Ulaanbaatar and Darhan.
Tserendash also tells that collective farms, apart from possessing livestock, also had large sums in their bank accounts. During the privatisation, ordinary herders received only livestock, whilst managers embezzled the money.