Interviewee ID: 990564
Parent's name: Tserevee
Year of Birth: 1946
Education: tusgai dund
Notes on education: elementary school teacher
Born in: Türgen Böhmörön sum, Uvs aimag
Lives in: Ulaangom sum (or part of UB), Uvs aimag
Mother's profession: herder, milker
Father's profession: herder
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education / cultural production; work; NGOs; family; authority;
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Summary of Interview 100919A with Sürenjav
Ts. Sürenjav worked all her life as an elementary school teacher until she retired. She was born in Uvs aimag, Türgen sum as the only child of the family. Upon graduating from 7th grade of 1st secondary school in the city of Ulaangom she entered in 1964 a pedagogical college for preparing teachers in Hovd aimag and graduated in 1967. She worked in Türgen sum until 1971 and from then on she worked in Uvs aimag’s 1st secondary school as an elementary class teacher, teacher of Mongolian and a principal of the elementary grades up until her retirement. When she was growing up children used to wear Mongolian boots, carry a backpack made of cotton and ride horses to school. In 1967 she married Baasan Darjaa and together they had five children. Her husband worked as an assistant physician of obstetrics until 1973 when he started working as a trainer in the aimag’s administration and from 1976 he started working for citizen’s passport division in the police administration where he grew to become a lieutenant colonel. His last name Darjaa came to be replaced with the word passport as he became known for his occupation.
According to her there is no one who doesn’t benefit from livestock. Therefore caring for one’s environment is important in leading a healthy and peaceful life with one’s livestock. Tears are forming when I think about it, she says. Rivers and freshwater are being depleted. In places called Ereen hargai and Ulaan nachin they dug the land to the point we can’t even walk. They say gold is a solder for ground. In other words they disjoined the solder. Therefore, I think that when solder is removed wind enters where it’s not supposed to leading to moisture escaping and grass to stop growing. Now everywhere there are all sorts of ill activities against the environment and ecology. They are cutting down trees everywhere and in large amounts. Often young trees are being cut. My native land is a fertile hangai zone but now it’s getting desertified. I see stones where there were no stones. This means that the fertile surface land is disappearing and the stones are surfacing. Stones do not grow like that. We need to learn how to handle our ecology. We need to learn from our elders about history of one’s land and not to be left behind. Our younger generation doesn’t know anything. We should keep track of our ancestry so that our children can inherit it. There are a lot of cases of inbreeding. As a consequence there are many unhealthy children born. It’s not their fault. Their ancestors and older generation did not explain well and did not keep ancestral diaries. When two people from same sum marry they are often relatives. I see sometimes relatives being married to each other. From third and fourth generation many children are born with disabilities.
The present day educational system is bad, the quality of the education went down and there is little involvement from parents. During socialism there were no beggars and people living in the sewers, none. If there was such a person everyone would help him to build his own place, assist him in getting a job and if it that didn’t help we would take him to special place where he could receive care and benefit. It wasn’t like today there were no homeless people. Today I see many drunken people lying on the streets and many beggars. Young people should work. Today people are very lazy. They say that there are no jobs and that it’s impossible to find jobs. There are many job advertisements but no one wants to apply. Everyone is too proud for these jobs. They say they completed this university or that college but when it comes to work they don’t do well and yet are too proud for the job. She thinks that because of unemployment there are social problems. During socialism the appointed officials had power and the party was powerful. The party responsibility was big. If certain thing needs to be done then it had to get done. Those who had authority were not different from us in a sense that they didn’t eat, drink, wear or rode cars any different from us. They had principles and demanded us to be responsible. Those who had power served as role models to others.
Religion was prohibited. In 1985 I lost my 5 year old son during heart surgery. At that time I was an atheist. However, in 1999 my husband had a stroke and fell unconscious for 20 days and underwent a surgery. Then I learned to worship. I even learned how to give a bribe. In order to save his life I ordered for reading of sutras and started worshipping. I worshipped hospitals. I gave bribes to hospital doctors. I made offerings to monks. Nowadays various religious activities have become widespread phenomena. We should work on developing Mongolia, work on making the citizens healthy, and make them responsible and dedicated workers. We should work on protecting our ecological balance and improve the sustainability.