Interviewee ID: 990307
Parent's name: Dejee
Year of Birth: 1925
Notes on education:
Born in: Otgon sum, Zavhan aimag
Lives in: Tömör Zam sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
To read a full interview with Pagma please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 090811A with Pagma by Sainbileg
I was born in 1925 in Otgon sum of Zavhan aimag. I didn’t attend any school and I spent my childhood in the countryside with the livestock. I came to the city in 1955 and I worked for 25 years as a cook at the Ulaanbaatar railway nursery and then retired.
When I was a child around the age of ten, I was told to attend the [literacy] group but my mom refused to send me. My friends who attended the bag group taught me and I copied on the paper what they told me. I memorized them and in such a way I became literate and got the literacy certificate. I had a dream to live in the city. I married an aged rich man and we had lived for quite a while and then I divorced him and came to the city. In the beginning he didn’t want me to go but at the end we divorced peacefully. He said, ”I will send you some money from the livestock in the spring. If you find difficult to live in the city, come back. I will set up a ger for you and give you some livestock.” I made him quite a lot of clothes and I came to the city. He gave me travel expense money and food and he saw me to the Bayanhongor post. Thanks to him I had the chance to see the city and I realized my dream. In 1955, when I came to the city, my acquaintance helped me to get employed and then I was trained as a cook. I was working at the Communications ministry when I met a man, and we got married in 1958. My husband died in 1985.
I heard the husband of my mother’s sister, the nobleman Luvsantserendorj, and the older brother of my father, Sorj bagsh, who had been a high-ranking lama, were arrested and killed. I saw Bat-Ayush lama be arrested. Bat-Ayush’s was a rich family with two mentally handicapped young women and one mentally handicapped old man. Two men with guns and white horses came and ransacked all his things and, having recorded them, took everything away. Ayush guai was alarmed, wiping his sweat and, putting on new gutal and a new deel, he pleaded to the people who came to arrest him, “Please consider these people of ours. Only sick and simpleminded people are left. Please leave something for these sick people!” That lama disappeared. I don’t know whether he was taken to the aimag or not. The people of his nutag said that he was killed.
Summary of Interview 090811B with Pagma by Sainbileg
We used to put the dead out in the field. The vultures would come around when we were to cast the dead and when the people went away, they ate it sharing between themselves. The vultures didn’t eat some of the dead and the people would say, “It’s a bad thing that his corpse is being wasted. Poor thing might have been a bad person.“ We read many sutras for the afterlife. Today, the living and the dead are all mixed together.
When I was a kid, the cloth material was very rare and we used to make footwear from leather and hide. I went to Arhangai and I bought a lottery ticket and I won satin for making a deel. There was a lot of talk about it. I prepared many things to go to the city and I made many clothes and even my divorced husband drove livestock to the aimag and he bought me many things. There was no leather footwear in the countryside. I asked someone who was wearing blue, sturdy box-calf shoes to sell them to me and so I purchased them and I came to the city. I made many sets of white underwear, pants and shirts. But I found out no women wore such white underwear in the city, so I was ashamed. One day I followed my older sister to the market to buy a colorful dress. Having obtained a nice dress I gave away to my older sister the white pants, shirts and the gutal. In the beginning there was only the ‘Öndör Horshoo’ [then the State Department Store, now the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum], but then later many consumer goods stores had appeared.
Through privatization I got my apartment. This apartment was given to me from my work in the 1990s. Our darga gave it to me for doing a good job. I represented my organization in sports and amateur art. I used to sing ‘long songs’ (urtny duu) when I took part in the amateur art of the railway cultural palace.