Narmandah


Basic information
Interviewee ID: 990906
Name: Narmandah
Parent's name: [blank]
Ovog: [blank]
Sex: f
Year of Birth: 1966
Ethnicity: [unknown]

Additional Information
Education: [unknown]
Notes on education:
Work:
Belief:
Born in: sum, aimag
Lives in: sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession:
Father's profession:


Themes for this interview are:
(Please click on a theme to see more interviews on that topic)


Alternative keywords suggested by readers for this interview are: (Please click on a keyword to see more interviews, if any, on that topic)



Click here to submit your own keywords for this interview

Please click to read an English summary of this interview

Please click to read the Mongolian transcription of this interview

Translation:



The Oral History of Twentieth Century Mongolia

Byambajav -

I thank you very much for accepting my invitation and coming to participate in this interview. Aa, before starting the interview I would like to ask and clarify two issues from you. Firstly, all the information and facts contained in your interview will be used …. as reference by researches of history, TV and radio as well as by newspapers and journals. So would you give us the permission to use it in this manner?

Narmandah -

I allow, allow

Byambajav -

Well thank you. Аа.. one other thing is if you wish I can keep your name in secret.

Narmandah -

Mm..hn

Byambajav -

You also may not conceal it. Which one will you choose?

Narmandah -

I’ll say my name in talking, yeah.

Byambajav -

Aa….well now in the interview please introduce yourself well, and will you present a brief introduction to your life?

Narmandah -

Mm…hn…well I am called Narmandakh, I was born мм… four of us were born from my father and mother, yes, and I am the eldest daughter.

Byambajav -

You were born in which year?

Narmandah -

I was born in 1966, then the brother below me now… I have 2 more younger siblings, one of them a girl, so four of us….

Byambajav -

When did you finish the 10 year school?

Narmandah -

I was enrolled in the 1st grade in 1974 and finished the 10th grade in 1984.

Byambajav -

Are there any events that are embeded in your memory until now from the time of your student days in 10 year school?

Narmandah -

Until 6th grade of 10 year school I attended school No.21, then after studying in School No. 21, from 6 to 10th grade I attended school No. 40 until I finished ….the 10th grade. When we were small at that time various events happened, it was wonderful time, a time full joy. Yeah?

Byambajav -

Yes, of course life in 10 year school is generally an unforgettable span in person’s life, if you have any recollections of that please tell me?

Narmandah -

Our school No.21 was situated before, now that the bridge with (stone) lion, to the south of it. That time we were living in Tsagaan Khuaran and from there I walked to my school.

Byambajav -

Were you brought up by your grand parents at your kindergarten age?

Narmandah -

Yes, I did not attend the kindergarten at all, I spent my childhood in the care of my mother’s mother and father’s father.

Byambajav -

Aan ha, did your grand parents scold you very much?

Narmandah -

Well of course, I was scolded (Laughs) What can I say.

Byambajav -

Were your grandpa and grandma alive when you graduated the 10th grade?

Narmandah -

No, they were not. My grandpa and grandma, wait… died when I was in either 4 or 5th grade.

Byambajav -

It was probably hard for you when they passed away since you were brought up by them.

Narmandah -

Well, we were living together. We lived in one enclosure, in separate gers, though the ger was separate I spent most of the time with the two of them.

Byambajav -

Did your younger siblings cause a lot of trouble for you when you were young? Did you chide them a lot?

Narmandah -

No, my younger siblings did not cause me that much trouble. We used to play together a lot.

Byambajav -

How do you play?

Narmandah -

Generally, we were very playful children. When I was young I was a child who ran around, bounce and hop a lot, running whither and thither all the time.

Byambajav -

Unruly

Narmandah -

Yes, I was a girl just like a boy running and kicking football, generally, one that may be called as a very boyish type of girl. I was running just like a boy, playing football.

Byambajav -

What was the game that children played at that time?

Narmandah -

Children of our generation mostly played football. Then we make a small hole on the ground and send into it stoppers (of soft drink or beer) by finger filliping and scoring that was one game we played. Then rope jumping, footing shuttlecock into air these were the kinds of games we played.

Byambajav -

What kind of ball was available then, probably the ball was very expensive.

Narmandah -

There was a ball that cost 5 tugrug. By its size it was not big, a ball of medium size.

Byambajav -

Then where did you get the money to buy the ball, did your mother and father give you?

Narmandah -

Yeah, it doesn’t really matter. Actually we did not bother very much our mother and father and they would buy, otherwise for what can we buy that.

Byambajav -

Was your mother very busy at her job? уу?

Narmandah -

Yes, in general, my mother works very much, my father was also a workaholic, they are both very industrious.

Byambajav -

Where there instances when you missed your mother and father and wished that they soon come back from their office?

Narmandah -

While young I did not really pay much attention to it but later I would be hoping that mother would come home soon, father would come home soon. My father was an extremely hard worker, very persistent, very honest and upright person. So when I was young father mainly insisted that I make my lessons thoroughly, mother did the same, so I was a child devoted to books, who coped on her own with her studies. My father was a person of strict principles. He was also very demanding, he was such a person.

Byambajav -

He reprimanded you.

Narmandah -

Yes, he was very strict on this account, for example, in evening, he would check my note books, after checking it he would dictate and I would write, he would say only one time a passage with 5 sentences,…a sentence with 5 words and if I could not write it down right way (0-08-20) he’d beat me.(Laughed) My father was such a very strict person, I don’t know how to describe it, may be very rigid in a sense, but he coddled me I was a spoiled child. And my teachers of the 10 year school often said to me “Why don’t you come to the class in company of your father”. Apparently at that time I was a spoiled child who always walked in the company of my father and our teachers constantly scolded me for that. That teacher of mine, in the first grade was a teacher with that title of the best teacher, that was the reason I was given in his class, in the 1st grade. So that teacher of mine whose name is Small Dorjsuren, that dear man is still alive and well, it was he who told me to bring my father to the class in order to learn, apparently I was, to such an extent, spoiled child. He was a very strict teacher, bent to teach the children some education, he gave the students a very profound knowledge, he used to lock up us in our classroom for whole day….

Byambajav -

Wow…

Narmandah -

Locked us in the class room and the teacher used to leave.

Byambajav -

So it was a punishment.

Narmandah -

Yes, the entire class was locked up. May be there are such very strict teachers, who knows, yeah?

Byambajav -

When you were in 10 year school what was your most favourite subject?

Narmandah -

Well, from the beginning I had a liking of the social disciplines.

Byambajav -

Then you probably followed your mother.

Narmandah -

Aan, I liked very much social disciplines, in 10th grade we studied social sciences something of that kind, and how should I describe something as philosophy which seeks to comprehend the essence of matters, I was in love with such disciplines in 10 year school. I finished 10th grade of school No. 40, the teacher of social sciences of my class was one called Gan-Ochir, he was a victim of repression, he was repressed when we were in the 1st grade. At that time he was working in the Ministry of Education some years ago after being repressed he wrote a book. He was repressed in connection with the case of, ….wait a minute what was it, now Lookhov (Lookhuuz), Surmaajav (the so called anti-party group) and others who were repressed. He wrote why and how they were persecuted and repressed. He himself was dismissed from his post and made a teacher. So he taught social disciplines and was lecturing social sciences in our class.

Byambajav -

He is apparently a man from the period of so called “Disorientation of Intelligentsia”.

Narmandah -

Is he, Teacher Gan-Ochir? It could be possible, I did not stay long enough in that school and don’t know well. He was a teacher who taught in our class all the disciplines related to social sciences and a very intelligent person who had the ability to make judgment about children just looking at them and that poor man told us later about his past experience. Probably he is now no longer alive, he told us that he had serious heart problem he might have gone because of that problem, he was a very intelligent teacher.

Byambajav -

You celebrated the children’s day... very extensively.

Narmandah -

Yes.

Byambajav -

How did your family celebrate it? Do you remember anything concerning your young age?

Narmandah -

In those days during children’s day …

Byambajav -

It must have been wonderful, yeah?

Narmandah -

Yes, all the organizations observed this holiday. The place of work of our father and mother presented us a lot of prizes, children who passed their exams with excellent marks were awarded. Various contests were organized during the holiday, I don’t know the contests were apparently organized at their office, they took with them many paintings drawn by us on the occasion of the children’s day and afterwards awards were presented to us. Since our home was located near the Park we frequently visited the Park, the children’s park when we were young.

Byambajav -

Did you now, occasionally visit the Park ?

Narmandah -

Aan. Not now and then I don’t have that much time to go over there

Byambajav -

Do you know whether the games in the Park have been renovated now? Has the number of games decreased. It was very nice before but now they are not that much beautiful.

Narmandah -

Now I don’t know how it has been renovated in comparison with the previous days, two, three new games were, probably, installed anew. The rest were the same old ones. I graduated from Technical University in 1989 and had my wedding, from 1990 just after graduation market economy was introduced and I could not work in public office though I wanted to. It was the Factory of children’s food but I could not get a job there. So I started private business…since 1990 I have been in private business. From 90 to 96 I worked mostly at my house, I was running my business from my home, it was from 90, oh no, from 96 up to 2000. So from 2000 as a result of my many years hard work, of almost 4 years work, let’s say it was the fruit of my labour since 92 to 2000 almost 8 years of tireless labour. So in 2000 I created for myself a work place, from 2000 I started a small economic entity and got a seal and letterhead. From 2000 I run a grocery shop for almost 3 years, I had operated a tea house for 3 years, in all I have been private business for 10 years without interruption.

Byambajav -

You said you were working at your home what exactly did you do at that time.

Narmandah -

Oh, at home I produced small items, generally, various foods.

Byambajav -

For example what kind of food?

Narmandah -

For example mostly various kind of cookies and pastries.

Byambajav -

Wow, and did you yourself bake them?

Narmandah -

I did them myself, I used various materials to do that using what ever capacity I had, because I am a person who have some skill in food manufacturing.

Byambajav -

You worked along the line of your profession.

Narmandah -

I intended to engage in something related food production but to do that I needed money, that is why I am moving ahead in stages. So stage by stage I am implementing a project on production and service sector, I am geared on making something mainly on service. Eventually, I think of building a production facility, a small enterprise. So we recently became owners of a work place of 300 square meters. So we are planning to open small enterprise in that place capable of producing various food items. As of now we are encountering some problems, we built the house but we could not get the heating and work was stalled but when it gets warmer work will be resumed.

Byambajav -

Generally, it is very difficult to start something new in environment of market economy.

Narmandah -

Yes, so in private business no matter whether it is big or small, it requires from the owner knowledge of different profiles, it is a such an activity. Only when you have all round knowledge you can succeed in small private business.

Byambajav -

For example. You need knowledge in accounting.

Narmandah -

Yes, accounting is one of the first thing, then knowledge in electricity, heating and, in general, knowledge in engineering is required in private business. It doesn’t really matter, we are exerting all our efforts to the undertaking, our project is not a big one, it will suit our need, so I am doing this now.

Byambajav -

So when one is using one’s own capacity and doing what he or she can do best, it means

Narmandah -

Yes, now even if we wanted to work in public organizations, in the first place they will not employ us saying we are somewhat old already, secondly we lack the necessary knowledge and education. Now, there are so many new highly trained youth and young people who are competing at the labour market. Therefore, it remains for us to improve what we have now and try to develop our professional skill and further educate ourselves. This is the thought I entertain. (0-19-36) Then in private business you have to work without rest through days and night, forgetting about your weariness. I have been striving hard for 14 years now. And I am thinking of building a small factory of the kind mentioned before, capable of producing various products. For example I operated a grocery shop of 8 kind of goods immediate need for 3 years. But now that shop 8 goods of 2000 has changed greatly. At that time it was simple and carefree, as well as it was not bad but now that shop which sell 8 goods of immediate needs has developed. Now the main issue that shop faces is not buying some goods from others, increase the price by a few tugrug and sell but for example the capacity to generate different products in small amount. Now as an example take meat products, you could prepare various meat products in your small shop within the compound and sell them to the clients. For example you can produce different pastry products and sell and deliver them to your customers. In my opinion, may be it has something to do with the advance market economy that things are getting more elaborate and sophisticated.

Byambajav -

It is progress, isn’t it?

Narmandah -

Yes, now for example if one simply buys some goods at the market and try to sell them the seller will hardly find any buyers, people will not buy them, because so many big stores are in operation. Then knowledgeable importers are different kind of people. As for us, we have to think a kind activity mentioned before which is more suitable to us.

Byambajav -

To go along the time

Narmandah -

Yes, since things are changing within a day, in a month not speaking of the year, you have to keep pace with these changes otherwise you will go into bankruptcy, people are bankrupt. (Laughed) I think they call it bankruptcy.

Byambajav -

How many children do you have?

Narmandah -

I have two children. The eldest one is finishing the 10th grade this year, the other one is in the 4th grade, I have 2 children. (0-22-08)

Byambajav -

Please tell me about your own family, your family?

Narmandah -

My husband graduated also from the Polytechnic Institute as auto engineer. He has the profession of auto-engineer. So two us graduated from the institute, after graduation of the school my husband got a an interesting job by distribution in auto-(repair) factory, in those days there was the practice to assign by distribution. He gradated one year earlier before me so according the established practice he got that assignment by distribution, we were given appointment and told well, now you should go that organization, but when I graduated that assignment was no longer there. So he worked over two years in that factory as repair man (auto mechanic), it was the usual practice to begin your career as auto mechanic (repairman), as for us we were supposed to begin our work as an ordinary worker who has certain quota or norms to fulfill. As for my husband he was in something which had very good perspective, but may be it was not very opportune time, I don’t know why, if that undertaking was developed it was very interesting profession. They were producing TV antenna and plastic chairs for children and plastic utensils and various other goods. It was probably in 90 or 80 something he graduated one year earlier than me. At that time several engineers of the auto repair factory while working in that factory apparently had the intention to start a private business it was what were talking about. And actually they themselves made the necessary equipments. For example, they had to prepare the mold of the antenna and they did it and all the rest what was required. But it was the time when market economy was just making the beginning, they could not find buyers for the product and the production was stalled. So two of us are now engaged in private enterprise together. The main thing is that if they continued their production of plastic good (it had future) but now others probably do it. (0-24-52) But at that time there were no such products. And those poor men had to abandon that venture.

Byambajav -

Your father died in 94, yeah .

Narmandah -

Yeah.

Byambajav -

As the eldest child of the family it should have been very difficult for you…

Narmandah -

Yeah, of course, it was actually difficult, my father was a man if he had the opportunity could have achieved a lot, my father was extremely industrious, so I loved my father very much, I think that I loved my father more than my mom. My father managed to accomplish very much, in later days he was sent to many places so that he could improve and boost up the activities many different organizations, he was told to do that in many places. He was a workaholic. He generated plenty of new ideas. If he was given the opportunity, what I could say….

Byambajav -

(If he) had the chance?

Narmandah -

Yes, if we had been a little bit more thoughtful… not to mention about we did not really thought of anything. Now people do a lot of things devoted to their father and mother, for example they write book or do various other things. I apparently at that time used to sleep a lot or something else and my father used to reproach me saying “A waning man drinks and eats very much " (уруудах хүний унтах идэх нь их гэдэг) and it provoked and angered me so much that afterwards I began to sit long hours learning my lessons. When I was in 8, 9th grade of ten year school and in the institute , I continued to study my lessons, mostly, until well after 3 o’clock.

Byambajav -

Until after 3 a.m.?

Narmandah -

Yes, until 3 a.m., I was such a hyperactive person, however, I don’t see the benefit of it till now. Then my father was a very demanding person, he used to prod everyone into action and he always said the truth, in general, it was such time when the managers always demanded and gave at times strange commands, that is why people were resentful and some people did not like such managers, apparently it was the case with him as well. (0-28-06)

Byambajav -

It was the time of administrative method of management.

Narmandah -

Aan, yes, my father was such type of person, he himself was a very industrious and principled and wanted others to be like him, he was like that at his work as well as at home …

Byambajav -

Such person, a person on whom one can rely, if he were alive today, …do you think in this way? If he was alive it would have so and so, do you think along this line?

Narmandah -

Oh, yes, I do. I remember my father a lot, I can’t express my myself well in words, even though I want to speak very many nice things. But I lack the ability to speak and it is difficult to me. I make notes at everything which happened to be at hand and I hope eventually to have, to make a kind of book of remembrance out of those notes but to do that I also lack experience (of writing).

Byambajav -

Was your youngest sister Odmandakh a rather spoiled child? The youngest one?

Narmandah -

My sister is rather spoiled child but she is a very honest and straightforward person compared to me she is good at talking (Laughs) I am the most reserved and taciturn one from among the 4 children, I was , in general, one of the most tacit and silent child in our grade, my classmates, fellow students of institute all remember that I was always such a uncommunicative person before and I am still the same now, it is very funny, you don’t change at all they say.

Byambajav -

Your younger brother Munkhtuvshin was saying that you are very intelligent and also very reliable.

Narmandah -

(Laughs) Poor Muugii, that is what he thinks of me.

Byambajav -

He said that your husband had built the house for him.

Narmandah -

Yes..

Byambajav -

In which year did he build it?

Narmandah -

It was in 90 something, I think in 93

Byambajav -

It was long ago, yeah?

Narmandah -

Yes, quite a few years ago.

Byambajav -

Was it in 93 or in 2003?

Narmandah -

Aan, it was in 93

Byambajav -

More than 10 years ago?

Narmandah -

Yes.

Byambajav -

Did your younger sister sell goods at the market?

Narmandah -

Aan, she did this during her summer vacation, during summer holiday, my family lived in Khailaast, I think we lived there almost 4, 5 years, then that very what, the flee market was situated very near, so I did not let them to sit idle and almost by force brought Oogii and Moogii during their holidays to the market. (Laughs)

Byambajav -

Compared to the time when you were engaged in trade at the market, now in Mongolia doing private business has become much more sophisticated but are there still too many (outside) pressure and burdens?

Narmandah -

Pressures are there but not that much, in any case they(authorities) do not pressure too much, originally, it was not very much then may be since I have been in this business for many years and used to it, at the beginning it was so but now I don’t mind it, it is tolerable.

Byambajav -

How much do you pay now (in tax)?

Narmandah -

We don’t pay much, it is about 30 thousand and something in a quarter, 30 thousand in three months. At the beginning in 2000 we did pay fairly large sum, now it is much less may be, it is because at first we were doing rather good, now we are making less and earning less therefore, we are paying less as well.

Byambajav -

What are you planning to do in future, how are you going to make living together with your younger brothers and sister, what do you think?

Narmandah -

Now first and foremost one has to do something himself one has to strive very hard, otherwise no matter what and how much assistance you receive from outside, it is difficult to succeed, in my view if you don’t try hard you don’t succeed. As for the two of us we are able to earn our livelihood and, of course, we pay attention to our relatives. And I want to provide them with work and help to obtain their own homes I keep this thought in mind. And at the same time I have to think of my own business how not let it down, I am thinking all these as an old woman. (Laughs)

Byambajav -

You were operating a tea house (canteen), weren’t you?

Narmandah -

Аа, yes,

Byambajav -

I heard about it.

Narmandah -

I kept it running for 3 years

Byambajav -

Will you please tell me about it?

Narmandah -

Well, that…

Byambajav -

Did your mother also work there, didn’t she?

Narmandah -

To keep a tea house you have to wok tirelessly regardless of fatigue only this way you can earn the money for your own food but you should not deceive your clients or work carelessly, though it was a small business I thought that it was necessary to have a specialist of public catering, because I am only a specialist in dairy production. Then there were suggestions that since I had run that tea house for several years perhaps I could turn it into a bar. But I had the experience of operation of a shop of 8 goods of immediate needs and it had something to do with the sale of vodka I was reluctant and abandoned the idea. Running a canteen requires a lot of efforts and labour. You have to put a lot effort into it, in order to run a canteen you will have employ ten, but a bar can be operated by only one person, this is just an example. This is the actual situation I found out. One can not always shirk from the difficulties, I believe that the main thing is to do something worthwhile for the good of people. Though the price of meat went up the income did not grow, for example you make a profit of 30 tugrug from one booz if you work really hard then from the sheer number of sold booz the profit will increase. Then I believe that if you can feed as many people as possible then you will, gradually, also have to pay more attention to the health aspects of the food. Our people today eat almost anything(0-37-21) even if you feed them something full of fat they will consume with greed, this is yet another example. And because people are buying and consuming the food you prepare, I assume that you have to think about producing food which takes into account health aspects of the costumers. I always go for the good of people without paying much attention to myself, I bring my workers mostly from the country side. Children from the country side are hard working and loyal, children from the city can not stand a day’s hard work. So I bring them from country side, I now have around 20, 30 girls. I want to send at least one of them to a school, to help at least one of them to stand on her feet. Looking at these children you can clearly see for this one, it is better to go to such a school, for the other one it is more suitable to attend such a school etc. This is what I always keep in my mind. And then I scold them very much and repeatedly tell them that you will be able to earn your living on your own only if you will work tirelessly.

Byambajav -

Of course.

Narmandah -

Yeah, in order to be able to stand on your feet you have to work tirelessly. Then as I look around most of those of us who graduated from the institute are now living abroad, almost none of them is working in this city. If you take those who graduated from the Polytechnic institute most of them emigrated abroad, probably to work there, only two of us remained here clinging to our business.(Laughs)

Byambajav -

About your younger siblings… does sister Nanzai discuss and confer with you about them?

Narmandah -

An

Byambajav -

Your mother?

Narmandah -

... aan My mother? She discusses with two of us, me and my husband in general.

Byambajav -

What is the main issue?

Narmandah -

Well, now we are in better position than it was some time ago, my younger brother can make his own living independently. The next one who is working in Korea is actually not bad, he is very helpful, he helps others a lot, he always does something to help others. As for my youngest sister, if we can assist her just a little bit, and if we could help her to get her own home (house), a car and give her good education then it will be good enough, this is what I have mind and of course we have to improve further what we have now.

Byambajav -

Probably you are always very busy, are you?

Narmandah -

Actually I have very little spare time, rarely stay at home I spend most of time outside home and come home only to sleep and sleep. Now it is very convenient for us since we have built a house, we are there all the time, in the morning and during the evening hours. After enlargement it has become far more convenient, when it was still small in size we almost lived there all the time….

Byambajav -

Where did you built and what kind of house?

Narmandah -

Aan, at end of the apartment district

Byambajav -

Where exactly?

Narmandah -

Do you know Elba centre? It is adjacent to it, our house is small in size, but if we can use fully there are 4-5 rooms.

Byambajav -

Then is the cost of heating and electricity very high?

Narmandah -

Oh, that expense is quite high, we spend almost 5, 6 hundred thousand monthly, it is the expense for running a small tea house, but that is very high cost for us (Laughed) who are making the money with difficulty, however, if we can solve the heating this year, it will be less, until now since we had no central heating we had to use electricity for heating the hall, the rest of the rooms have not been used.

Back to top

Interviews, transcriptions and translations provided by The Oral History of Twentieth Century Mongolia, University of Cambridge. Please acknowledge the source of materials in any publications or presentations that use them.