Interviewee ID: 990042
Parent's name: Batbayar
Year of Birth: 1951
Notes on education:
Born in: Lün sum, Töv aimag
Lives in: Lün sum (or part of UB), Töv aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
To read a full interview with Shiremmes please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 080711A with Shiremmes by Oyuntungalag
Shiremmes was born in Lün sum. She grew up in the country-side helping her parents with livestock breeding. In 1959, when she was eight, Shiremmes was sent to Ulaanbaatar to study in secondary school. After finishing school in 1969, she took up the job of telephonist at the Central Post Office in Ulaanbaatar where she worked for seven years. In 1978, she passed the entrance examinations and was admitted to the Agricultural Institute to study agronomy. Her first job assignment as an agronomist was in Bayan-Delger sum in Töv aimag where she worked for 2 years. Then she moved to Lün sum to work as a manager in a small food factory. At the time of the interview she was running a small vegetable farm and kept few livestock.
She discusses the following topics in detail: her childhood in the country-side, the cultural campaign, and her school years in Ulaanbaatar. The first school she went to was an old wooden building, with oven-heating, on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. Apart from dress (she as a girl from the country-side wore a deel, whereas the city children wore uniforms), there was no much difference between the rural and urban schoolchildren. All rules applied to all children equally. For example, no schoolgirl was allowed to wear ear-rings or to have her hair unbound. In socialist schools, each class had several dargas done by schoolchildren themselves: one darga was in charge of the whole class, one in charge of hygiene, one in charge of each row, etc. The responsibility of dargas was to keep school children quite, ensure that they participate in classroom activities and make them behave properly. Shiremmes herself was the darga in charge of hygiene. Another vivid memory from her childhood is connected with the cultural campaign which was carried out both in rural and urban areas alike. Households everywhere were inspected for cleanliness and hygiene.
Shiremmes thinks of herself as a religious person, for she performs all the required ceremonies during Tsagan sar, gives offerings to Buddha, and so on. Her name Shiremmes which means a ‘knife made of steel’ was given to her by a lama.
Summary of Interview 080711B with Shiremmes by Oyuntungalag
In this interview Shiremmes discusses the following topics: the Ulaanbaatar of her childhood, her job as a telephonist, democracy, and desertification. She recalls that when she first came to Ulaanbaatar there was not much traffic, apart from official cars and red commuter busses. Trolleybuses appeared only later. The State Department Store was housed in what is today the Museum of Art. She saw many new houses and districts rise in Ulaanbaatar. Shiremmes does not like today’s Ulaanbaatar though, for she finds the city too crowded, with terrible air pollution. Her account of her job at the Central Post Office in the 1970s is interesting. She says that the telephonists had access to secret government conversations. In terms of service priority telephone calls coming from dargas were graded as the most important. ‘Urgent calls’ and ‘ordinary calls’ were dealt with later.
Shiremmes thinks that desertification spreads because people treat nature wrongly: they cut trees and bushes, which renders the soil less fertile. As a result the level of underground water drops. Another contributor to the desertification is the mining companies. Shiremmes says that democracy has both positive and negative sides. Democracy gave a lot to people (livestock was given to herders, people became property owners), but at the same destroyed many industries. She thinks that privatisation was carried out too early.