Interviewee ID: 990430
Parent's name: Aldar
Year of Birth: 1941
Notes on education:
Born in: Sergelen sum, Dornod aimag
Lives in: Bayangol sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
Themes for this interview, suggested by the interview team, are:
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work; education / cultural production; literature; urban issues; democracy;
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work employment criteria; collective; art worker; childhood; schoolchildren's life; movies; plays; city life; democracy;
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Summary of Interview 090933A with Yondon
I was born in 1941. I came to Ulaanbaatar in 1959 to study and the same year we visited schools and the vocational schools to enroll dancers at the National Song and Dance Ensemble. At the age of 19 I was enrolled to the Ensemble and became the student of Sevjid and we had worked together for twenty-something years and I retired. I’m still working as a dance teacher.
During the socialist period, we had to train with someone for some time in order to work. At that time the art profession was very rare therefore we apprenticed for 2-3 years and got the salary with a professional certificate. The Soviet specialists used to teach us the classic dance exercises. The classic dance girls and boys were sent to study to the Soviet Union and in this way the Opera and Dance Theater was developed. There were high criteria for getting employed and questions like: Will you be absent at work without excuse? Are you married? What have you been doing before? Have you graduated from any school? Do you drink alcohol? Do you smoke? The party organization decided whether to send that person abroad to a school or not, whether he was good at work or not. The management was strict and the people were very obedient. At that time we worked for 13, 14 hours and we worked till dawn when we worked on a new art production. Our dancers went to the countryside brigade for at least for 45 days to help with the income targets. The women went to work in 45 days after childbirth and they gave their children to a kindergarten. We used to be very busy with meetings and councils, the newspaper readings in the morning but somehow we managed it all. I’m proud of my vocation. There were few arts workers and we were highly valued. We produced quality artwork. If I finished the teacher’s school that I first entered, I would have been retired as an old teacher. But since I had become a dancer I still teach children to dance though I’m 70.
I hadn’t participated in the democratic process. It was said that people glued notices on the buildings announcing about meetings to be held and calling on the Central Committee to resign. I saw people doing a sit-in strike on TV and it was frightening. The students who studied abroad talked to each other, saying that Mongolia wasn’t developing at all and that we had to have freedom, the young would change Mongolia. I knew Tsogtsaikhan of the group ‘Honh’. Some young people prepared some glue at our friend Tsogtsaikhan’s and hung many notices at. Later I heard the police caught them, saying, “You can put up (notices), but please be orderly!” and let them go. Before the democracy we ‘didn’t eat twice and didn’t go to sleep hungry’. After the democracy our living standard has increased. Unfortunately we lacked market knowledge therefore we couldn’t taste the fruits of privatization. Since the society has been changed, the people’s mindset has been changed, too. Slightly old people began to be edged out from their work. At this time the men began to drink, getting depressed. There are many men who have gone to the street. The wives did their work holding their children in their hands, and they also did trading. That’s why it was a hard time for the women. Thanks to the democratic effect we became aware of the value of the things and money.