Odmandah


Basic information
Interviewee ID: 990907
Name: Odmandah
Parent's name: [blank]
Ovog: [blank]
Sex: f
Year of Birth: 1980
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

Byamabajav -

Well, I thank you very much for accepting my invitation and giving the interview. Before starting the interview there is one point to seek your views and advice..

Odmandah -

Aan ha.

Byamabajav -

Firstly, all information contained in your present interview will be used by historians and scholars as research material after a few years, after several hundred years. Secondly, it will be used by various means of public media TV and radio, newspapers and journals, It may be even released in a book format. Hope that you would give the permission to do so?

Odmandah -

I agree.

Byamabajav -

Well, thank you. Aan, there is one more question. If wish so you can keep your name in secret.

Odmandah -

Well.

Byamabajav -

If you wish, you can say your name so that it will be kept in history.

Odmandah -

Well, I don’t mind giving my name.

Byamabajav -

Good, good, thank you very much, so your name is?

Odmandah -

I am called Odmandah.

Byamabajav -

So shall we start the interview about your childhood, then your about family, and your mother and father?

Odmandah -

Mnh, I was born in 1980, on June 1, of 80. Then I went to and was brought up in kindergarten. Well, I was a child with very bad temperament, terribly bad character.

Byamabajav -

Are you better now?

Odmandah -

Now, bet…even now there is no change, normally I am rather bad tempered. Mother earlier told, I told you that you were such, it is true I was such a child with bad temper. My father was a doctor. Father passed away when I was still young. He made me to learn by heart a lot of Russian words, because he was a doctor, at that time I learned by heart many things in Russian language. He insisted that I learn by heart many words. At least he insisted that I should learn by heart the words beginning with the letters in my name Odmandah, I never learned those words and escaped to meet my father. Yeah. As for my mother, she was working in the District Office and came back in the evening. I used to wait for my mother listening to the Ulaanba, evening broadcast from Moscow. That was so. In10 year school I was a modest kid, it was more o less like that.

Byamabajav -

Brought up in kindergarten?

Odmandah -

Yes, in kindergarten.

Byamabajav -

Your mother told that you were short-tempered, when she barely finished combing your hair you messed it up.

Odmandah -

(Laughs) Yes, I was never pleased, it was combed carelessly so I got angry and disarranged it and combed myself before leaving. Then mother took out and left me, I, on my own, went to the kindergarten, it was very near to our house, this way, I was, apparently, rather innocent child. I don not remember much about my childhood years.

Byamabajav -

Really?

Odmandah -

Yes, it is like this.

Byamabajav -

Please recall your kindergarten years. There is always an unforgettable moment.

Odmandah -

No, I don’t remember anything outstanding.

Byamabajav -

In 10 year school?

Odmandah -

In 10 year school, No, I was one of those who just drift along, therefore, there is nothing that I remember well or I did that or this. At the given period since I was doing what was required, and there is nothing special, yeah… that is it.

Byamabajav -

In general, life of your childhood years, in other words during the socialist period in 80’s, in 87, if you compare that period with the present market economy, what do you think?

Odmandah -

When we were still small, this happened and that very coupon system was introduced, yeah? Everything was given by the coupon, every morning we went to get bread. It was far from here to come to the Bakery (Bread factory). Then you were almost crushed in the long line of queue and returned with three pieces of bread. Mother would cut them into slices and gave to us. Yes, it was a difficult time, isn’t it?

Byamabajav -

It was not easy.

Odmandah -

Yeah, it was like that. Now, it is awfully nice, yeah. 10 year school children, specially, seniors in 10 year school, among them there is no child without a mobile phone, almost all of them have mobile phones. That is it. But, also, children who earnestly study have become rare, those who study real hard. In the past, in our time, it was incredible because that what you got with difficulty tasted wonderful when we shared and ate, now when you eat something it is sometime frightening. It is different, isn’t it? At that time when we bought and ate apples, when it was brought in, the scent of the apples filled the room, the fragrance of apples.

Byamabajav -

It is true.

Odmandah -

Now, may be they are of inferior quality, yeah?

Byamabajav -

Everything has lost its quality.

Odmandah -

Yes, may be because of the abundance, and we now care less about it?

Byamabajav -

Chewing gum was an item extremely rare.

Odmandah -

Yes, in coupon [ration card - check, CK] there was a chewing gum of black colour, a bubble gum of black colour, when blown it made a big ball. We were happy if we could chew that gum. Yeah. I also…. my father was a chairman in Batsumber state farm, in welfare centre. He was there 1-2 years and I spent my summer holiday with my father. Yeah, so...

Byamabajav -

What did you do on holiday, how did you spend it?

Odmandah -

Since I was young spent the time playing. My father had serious cramp of legs, when tired he had muscle spasm. So when he called me Oogii, I got up and massaged his legs. Yeah. That is it. What else…

Byamabajav -

Your mother told that on week ends you strolled in the Park. Do you have any memories of that?

Odmandah -

Well, on the eve of the June 1, all the clothes were washed, we wore white panty hose and went (to the Park). Sometimes the clothes would be still wet, so we had a lot of hustle and bustle. (0-07-44) Then my mother brought me to the Park and let me play for the whole day. There was Jargalan Café to the south side of our apartment, a very beautiful ice cream was sold there. I was happy in expectation to eat that (ice cream). That is it, what else.

Byamabajav -

From your friends of 10 year school is there any one with whom you until now are good friends?

Odmandah -

Of those in 10 year school ? There is one. But she is studying in the South. Right now we don’t have much contacts. She is studying in south medicine. There is one such friend, there is no words from her lately.

Byamabajav -

What are you doing now?

Odmandah -

Now I am serving as an accountant in Medical University, in Financial department.

Byamabajav -

From which year did you start?

Odmandah -

From 2000... and 4, from [200]4, exactly 2 yeas have passed.

Byamabajav -

If you will speak about your job?

Odmandah -

My job?

Byamabajav -

What was your first impression? Was it difficult to get that job?

Odmandah -

Getting the job was not that very difficult... was not difficult. Or may be?

Byamabajav -

Wasn’t it difficult?

Odmandah -

No, not difficult, yeah. Actually, when you are enlisted for the first time to work, it is hard for you. You encounter a lot of unknown things. We have 5, 6 accountants, yes. Then when I attended 10 year school I did not often venture out , our home was near to the school, came back did my home work lessons and next morning left for school. And when for the first time you go looking for job and visit various organizations I had an uneasy feeling. Those people, the bosses are intimidating and they speak with you as your superior, that was terrifying and I thought it was difficult. When I went along the corridors, it was very interesting. It was awfully huge and somewhat terrifying but now I have been there for 2 years.

Byamabajav -

In particular, finance is a difficult job.

Odmandah -

Yes, at the beginning I did not know the simplest thing, now it is much better. Now, I even act almost as a mentor, I teach the new comers, yes, I do. Yes, that is it.

Byamabajav -

Since your mother was a very busy person, as the youngest daughter did you miss a lot your mother?

Odmandah -

My mother? Of course, I did.

Byamabajav -

That was in 80’s and it was the prime years of socialism.

Odmandah -

Yes.

Byamabajav -

Did you miss your mother a lot and cry?

Odmandah -

Mother did that, when there was no one to look after me she usually left me with our neighbours in the southern side.

Byamabajav -

together?

Odmandah -

Yes. There was a grandma in that family. There was also her niece. So I spent hours playing with her. So I was expecting the Russian radio broadcast and waiting when my mother would come back. Any way, I was an obedient child. Probably, my brothers and the sister was doing the same thing. Such an obedient child, no matter what happened I remained there.

Byamabajav -

Did your mother bring nice candies when she came back fro her job?

Odmandah -

Of course, I always looked into her bag.

Byamabajav -

At that time there was nice candy called Banka. .

Odmandah -

Yes.

Byamabajav -

With beautiful paper wrappings.

Odmandah -

Yes.

Byamabajav -

I am a from country side so I don’t know well. In the city, probably, there were plenty of nice, nice things.

Odmandah -

Now, I remember that apples vividly. Apples, jujube and the like were available.

Byamabajav -

During the Children’s holiday, even the children in the country side received big presents. There were many wonderful things in the present, as now I recall….

Odmandah -

Yes. Old Man Winter [in effect, Santa Claus] used to visit us at our home. Yes, Old Man Winter from mother’s office would come and give presents to my elder brother and me. If mother was at work, two of us decorated the Yolk [the New Year's tree, like a Christmas tree). We have an old photo, where the tree was tilted to the side as if it was falling down. Two of us stood with the presents in our hands, a photo taken together with the old man of the winter Yeah.

Byamabajav -

In 10 year [school] when you received (A) marks in the second quarter you received special prizes from Old Man Winter.

Odmandah -

Yes.

Byamabajav -

Did you receive them?

Odmandah -

No, I did not receive that many presents. I was earning mostly good (B) marks and did not receive the present. My handwriting was dreadful so I did not receive that many presents. But my father and mother sometimes brought us to that. That very Palace (for new year celebration). In that Palace we received present. Do you remember that there was such a special event.

Byamabajav -

Your father and mother were both at managerial posts and were good officers you, understandably, received plenty of beautiful presents. (0-13-36)

Odmandah -

Yes. We did receive from time to time. Father used to travel to Russia on assignments and brought back terribly big present, large apples, that filled my palm. He brought apples, extremely tasty and very red in colour and it was distributed among us.

Byamabajav -

Did he go frequently?

Odmandah -

Aan?

Byamabajav -

Did he, generally, go frequently?

Odmandah -

Generally, he did travel a lot, traveled to Irkuu (Irkutsk) and Ulan Ude. And on Saturday and Sunday together with my father we visited out Grand mother. It was difficult at that time, my mother’s younger brother was living with her. She had a stroke, did my mother tell you?

Byamabajav -

She said

Odmandah -

He was working in what was it, may be the Meat factory. He was working there. Yes. Then at that time food products were terribly scarce, but that family had a lot of tasty foods. So three of us, including my mother would go in evening to eat nice food over there. Then we went out, father had plenty of acquaintances, going out he would greet someone and stood talking.

Byamabajav -

He would not go.

Odmandah -

Yes. After a few steps he would meet another acquaintance and stand talking with him. And we also gathered at Grandma’s home to make the booz (meat dumplings) of the Tsagaan sar (Lunar new year) and made the boozes over there. We also steamed and ate nice booz. It was awfully hot in the ger. So they made booz for the whole night. Living together with Grandma was a wonderful time. Yeas. Now when you go out there is no such an ail (household)to visit after the death of my Grandma. Yeas, it was wonderful. There I played basketball with children who lived in the same street. It was fantastic. I was highly admired as child from the city, (Laughed) A girl from the city, who had beautiful white face.

Byamabajav -

(Laughs)

Odmandah -

So we played basketball until exhaustion. I hated to loose. So in order not to loose I pressed myself very hard at times even scratching others. My boy friend and me attended kindergarten together.

Byamabajav -

Oh, yes.

Odmandah -

But I don’t remember it very well. Actually. I don’t remember anything about the kindergarten. I had a colourful garment and belt. Once I had dropped the belt. He picked it up and gave to me when I came the next morning. But they say I slapped him in his face saying what a thief he was.(Laughed) Now he recalls it often, my boy friend. I attended also the 10 year school together with my boy friend. After 10 year school, we became students and were separated and went to different institutes. Yeah, but now we are together.

Byamabajav -

You are a couple who met each other at a tender age. (Laughs)

Odmandah -

Yes.

Byamabajav -

Does he remember that with complaint? That he was slapped.

Odmandah -

She was ... an awfully bad tempered girl, she was bad tempered since childhood he says. She slapped me in face when I found what she lost and gave it to her, he says often.

Byamabajav -

Did he say that you had not changed until now?

Odmandah -

Yes. She was so bad tempered since young age he says.

Byamabajav -

I think in 80’s only people in the countryside celebrated Tsagaan sar as the new year, didn’t they?

Odmandah -

I was told so.

Byamabajav -

The new year was celebrated during the New Year. People from the country side ...

Odmandah -

During New Year?

Byamabajav -

Yeah.

Odmandah -

Mmm.

Byamabajav -

Don’t you remember?

Odmandah -

I don’t know that well ...

Byamabajav -

Actually, what celebration is the Tsgaan sar? What kind of celebration is it for you?

Odmandah -

Tsagaan sar?, as far I am concerned, lately, it has become an awfully meaningless affair. It creates huge problem. In my view people do their best to prepare presents thus it creates a lot of difficulties. However, it happens once a year and people don’t mind it. It is the only occasion when all the relatives meet. On other occasions they almost don’t recognize each other, particularly the youngsters, yeah?

Byamabajav -

Almost forget, yeah.

Odmandah -

Even they meet they don’t greet each other with such respect. Then Tsgaan sar also bring together relatives living far apart. That is the good thing. However, financial aspect of it is a problem, yeah? I think it creates difficulties.

Byamabajav -



Odmandah -

It is a real problem for some, for many. They save their salaries for two, three months in order to observe the Tsagaan sar, aren’t they now?

Byamabajav -

There are instances when the salaries of two, three months are not sufficient to cover the expense.

Odmandah -

Yes, yes. They buy something extra to express their gratitude to their relatives who help them. This has become a custom. (0-12-47)

Byamabajav -

Then for me one aspect that is to my liking is in the city it is possible that young families do not observe the Tsagaan sar.

Odmandah -

It is possible.

Byamabajav -

Yes.

Odmandah -

Generally, it is not observed. Their father and mothers celebrate and the youth visit their relatives ...

Byamabajav -

It is not the practice in the countryside.

Odmandah -

You have to observe it?

Byamabajav -

Even if you are just married in this year...

Odmandah -

Mmm. Hn.

Byamabajav -

By all means ...

Odmandah -

Because you are married? In the city, there is no such practice at all.

Byamabajav -

They don’t observe.

Odmandah -

Yeah. You come to your mother and father for the celebration, afterwards you visit your relatives. However, aan ... you may treat them to tea and foods, that is fine. In that sense it is possible.

Byamabajav -

Do you have any memories of your student days?

Odmandah -

Of student days?

Byamabajav -

That is really the most vigorous time.

Odmandah -

I was studying in a private school. Yeah. And I would not say that our group was such a nice one. The group of my friend was wonderful one, they meet until now. The students of our group haven’t met since graduation. I graduated in 2002 but we haven’t met once until today. Only a few of us, friends meet, it was not a very nice group. But…student days are, obviously, the most memorable period, you’d have a lot to remember and talk about. As for our group there is no such thing, which is regretful. Yeah. I graduated in 2002 and in 2002 entered the MA course. I enrolled in MA of the economics institute of the University and graduated from there in 2004. Immediately. after that I started to work.

Byamabajav -

What do think about the MA training of the University?

Odmandah -

Mmm. MA course was an improvisation, created simply for granting the MA title, a training for that purpose only. The training was not adequate, they did not teach any additional subjects. Now, we expected them to give us more knowledge on financial records and accounting, we did not study reasonably good or interesting subjects. Then we had evening classes, in general, the course did not provide adequate training. I, definitely, did not acquire any additional knowledge at all. We were told to choose a theme for Diploma work. Each of us had a mentor to guide us, and we worked on that subject under his guidance for a while until we graduated from the course. MA courses are not that good. I don’t know about MA courses of other institutes. I did not like the training on economics of the Mongolian national university. It id not give us a decent training…and knowledge. Then we had to study a lot of strange economic theories, I don’t know whether we need them or not they were useless. The training was rather peculiar, I did not like it.

Byamabajav -

How many subjects were taught?

Odmandah -

Mmm.

Byamabajav -

In MA training

Odmandah -

In MA? Well, now apparently, something around 10 different subjects..

Byamabajav -

Do remember them?

Odmandah -

Yes. About 10 subjects, economy, what…. Advanced level of accounting, and then English. Theories of economics, what else… auditing, and finance. And what else did we study? Well, the rest I don’t remember well. The most useful ones were those. Oh, yeas, we studied insurance. That is it.

Byamabajav -

Were you anxious during the presentation of your dissertation?

Odmandah -

I was certainly afraid during the presentation. Shall I be able to defend what I had written or not was the thought. But I made it without much problem. I was working and it was easy for me to type the Diploma work and typed 10 papers easily at my work. It was the advantage of being an office worker, I printed out my materials. The graphs and illustration were prepared in this manner. So on this aspect I had no difficulty.(0-25-01)

Byamabajav -

Now will you tell me about your job you now do?

Odmandah -

About my job. As soon as I got the job I became the accountant authorized to put the second signature (second endorsement). My school has 6 faculties. I make the accounting of (инжэн сургууль, инжэн сургааль-I think it is “emchiin” –doctor’s) the Doctors faculty, and the accounting of materials, made the accounting of spent materials. So when you have to make the second endorsement this means that you have an added responsibility. Recently, should I say that I have been promoted. Now I am also responsible for Faculty of Dentists. Yeah. Generally speaking my job fine. When I had to work with the students, my elder colleagues say it is impossible to distinguish me from the students. They say that when I am not looking at them it is impossible to distinguish me among from the students. At the beginning it was hard to me to work with students, they did not take seriously what I said, I was speaking to them as one of them on equal footing. Now things are slightly better(different) in working with students. Slightly….

Byamabajav -

Learned how to address ...

Odmandah -

Yes ... should I say that I adopted a bit administrative type of attitude. That is it. As for my job, I produce monthly statements and report. Then I produce quarterly (financial) statement.

Byamabajav -

When you now recall back were there any instances when you were scolded by your father or else praised by your father? If you were scolded or praised then are there moments now when you think I must have done this or that at that time?

Odmandah -

My father ... father though coddled me, did not really praised me a lot. He rarely saw me doing my lessons. He pressed me to learn by heart as many words as possible and scolded me for not doing it. Now I regret very much why did I not learned those words by heart. I think that if I learned those words by heart who knows by now I could have become a doctor. I like very much the profession of a doctor. Doctor is a wonderful profession. Sometimes, I even think of studying again. Yeas, I should have learned those words by heart. I also think that if my father was alive, who knows, I might have been enrolled in Medical institute. That is my great regret. Now if I were to study (medicine) anew, it will take now 6 years in medical institute, at least. Yeah.

Byamabajav -

You respect highly your father’s profession, aren’t you?

Odmandah -

Yes. Now there is a name sake of my father, this Doctor Goosh… have you heard about him? (0-28-36) He is also a man of my father’s generation. So when I say Gosshiin Odmandah, people say, hey, are you daughter of Doctor Goosh. I tell some of them yes, I am, to some no, I am not. Then, it is interesting that almost all the people know my father. When told he was working there, they would say oh, the poor man and express sorrow. That is why, I think that my father was a truly good man. I also…

Byamabajav -

Was it very difficult when your father died?

Odmandah -

Aan, of course, It was very difficult.

Byamabajav -

Was it like the mountain falling down?

Odmandah -

Yes. My father was … ours is three room apartment. Father’s corpse was kept in the larger room until the burial. The corpse was put…in the coffin. Therefore, it was very difficult… and to keep it longer large amount of perfume … and other incense were sprayed and sprinkled. And until now that odor is unpleasant to me.

Byamabajav -

Your mother told me. This ... your sister Narmandakh gave her first birth with complications.

Odmandah -

The first one.

Byamabajav -

Her second birth was less painful. Generally, what do you think about your sister Narmandakh, what is your impression?

Odmandah -

Mmm, how about the sister? Aan, when she was about to give the second child the following happened. My brother-in-law said pregnant woman gives birth without complication if bear fat was applied (to abdomen). And send me to bring it from her sister’s home. I came to the fence and knocked the fence, knocked at the door but no one appeared. So I entered the fence then two dogs came running towards me and it happened that I was bitten by the dogs. After that my sister had a less painful birth. So my sister says that I took the pain on her behalf.

Byamabajav -

It may well be.

Odmandah -

Yes. I ran myself (into the fence), it is funny what pushed me. And was bitten by two dogs

Byamabajav -

And didn’t cause a lot of pain?

Odmandah -

Tolerable. Yeas. So my sister and me, since I was in the 7th grade of 10 year school, with my sister we were engaged in commercial activities at the (flea) market. My sister was pregnant, she had an awfully big tummy. Even so she was carrying on her tummy over one hundred forty soaps, one box contained over one hundred forty pieces of soaps, at that time her home was in the ger district. So we climbed the hill, in the cold carrying that box of soap to the open market. In those days the market, the goods market, was at the Denjiin Myanga (the Hill of thousand households). We arrived there and sold the stuff. There was no pavilion as today, you had to find a place. So sellers found each a place to stand, then we sold our product sometimes we were driven out from the place. At times my sister had to leave me and I would stand alone, if the soap was not bought, hoping they would be sold out soon. Because if I could not sell them I had to carry them back, but it was too heavy for me carry, thus we experienced quite a bit if difficulties.

Byamabajav -

It was difficult at that time.

Odmandah -

Yes. Yes. Dalamal company for the first time imported those products of cosmetics. We received products… from the company. My elder sister works extremely hard and with determination to make a living, that was probably evident from what she told. Yeah. Two of us were engaged in commerce from very young age. Then we made pastries at home, counted them and I took them to the front of the shop and sold there. Hence I was a student of 10 year school I was terribly ashamed if I saw children from our class, at that time children shied from trading. I was exactly in the same position. So whenever I saw children from my class turned my face away, I felt awful shame. Certainly, I was afraid that they would call me a trader at the market and was awfully ashamed. Now this is not such an embarrassment, yeah? Hence, now he who is in commerce and making benefit, he lives better than the others.

Byamabajav -

They are doing better.

Odmandah -

Yeah. Even what they wear or use are of better quality, yeah.

Byamabajav -

So at that time a certain socialist mentality was still alive and well.

Odmandah -

Mmm Hn.

Byamabajav -

At that time when you were in trade for the first time, but now no one will care ....

Odmandah -

Now, there is nothing to be ashamed of, yeah.

Byamabajav -

That is a common phenomena.

Odmandah -

Yes.

Byamabajav -

Mentality of the society is changing very rapidly, yes?

Odmandah -

Mmm Hn.

Byamabajav -

Who is your best friend in your family ...

Odmandah -

Mmm hn.

Byamabajav -

Who is your closest friend in your family?

Odmandah -

Mmm. Mother, my mother. Now I tell everything that happened at my job to my mother. Just after I come in … I can’t keep anything to myself, come and tell them all. It did this or it happened etc. Just as some girls would talk…with their girl friends in her class. Some say that while in 10 year school they never talked to their mother much. But I do speak a lot. As soon as come back…yes.

Byamabajav -

Then, there is something which only your mother would know, especially for girls ...

Odmandah -

Mmm hn

Byamabajav -

In coordinating your life, but not squander it ...

Odmandah -

You mean facilitate? It is possible, generally I think that I’ll be a good wife, I have confidence in me that I’ll be not bad, but quite a reasonable wife.

Byamabajav -

There are many good characters of a wife which one you mean?

Odmandah -

I think I will not be inferior than others in caring for my husband and bringing up my children. (0-35-59) There are some women, when my friends and me meet, friends from 10 year school, and looking at them I compare myself with them. For example, what advantages I have over them and on that basis I have complete confidence in myself.

Byamabajav -

Generally looking at your friends or those younger than you as well students of the Medical university can you see any distinction between those who really take care of their husbands and who do not? Now among those married, among married women?

Odmandah -

Those in medical university?

Byamabajav -

Yes. Simply when you compare them, among the students?

Odmandah -

I don’t know that well the students.

Byamabajav -

Or among your friends and women of the same generation?

Odmandah -

At present ... I did not quite understood.

Byamabajav -

Mmm, Generally, the women of today…

Odmandah -

Mmm... hnn....

Byamabajav -

What is their common understanding relating to the issue of the respect of their husbands? Do they speak of equality and the gender issue, what is their attitude towards the traditional approach of respect and esteem of man?

Odmandah -

Yes. Well, this has seized to be that much an issue in today’s environment, (I mean) the issue of respect of each other. Yeah. If you do this why don’t I do that is the attitude. So our women started to drink awfully lot (of vodka) and smoke cigarettes. And wives of my friends have become, should I say awful showgirls or pretend to be like them, they pretend that they don’t drink at all, or almost don’t smile and now walks almost without a single friend. This is the situation. A very modest person, who is unable to do anything, including drinking vodka. I encounter a similar problem as well. Recently, among our friends we had a dispute. And this came up as an issue.

Byamabajav -

Exactly what was the topic? (0-38-30)

Odmandah -

Well, nothing particular, why should you not go along with others as one of us, why couldn’t you drink and smoke they told me. Now you should smoke etc. So in this manner they were coercing one another. It is so. I don’t like, frankly, the wives of my friends. They behave themselves in a very crazy manner. And they drink when there is a child besides them. Yeah. Then the child was rolling in the bed unable to sleep, the room was full of cigarette smoke. But…wife and husband, father and mother were both drinking. And I did not like it. When my MA group meet. now it is really wonderful. We talk about our job, we now have such a computer program, what program do you have and we discuss the advantage of them etc. very interesting issues. Evidently level of one’s education is very important, isn’t it? They are, after all, graduates of the Technical University. I think Technical University is very good institute, it has many students and therefore, and in my view the atmosphere over there is very free. Most of the students are boys. In my opinion the graduates of such an institute are somewhat different (from others).

Byamabajav -

Did your elder brother Munkhoo scold you very much? Tell me about your brother Munkhoo.

Odmandah -

Of course, I was scolded. Our Muugii, my brother Muugii was very neat and clean. When he was attending the technical school he also played music. He finished the nearby school No.28. He used to sing playing on guitar and had a small group. He had very clean habit and used to wear very white suits or outfits of light pale colour. And he scolded me very much that I hadn’t swept clean the home. I was reproached quite bit because I did not swept the home properly. At that time we used to sweep the floor by grass broom so I was scolded a lot for raising dust and dirt. And then brother played on guitar and I sang. We once made a recording but now it had been lost. We both sang, recorded the song on a tape-recorder. It was a wonderful time. Now on the contrary from the scolded I turned into the scolder. Did my brother tell you about his private ventures? He used to drive passengers to the market on a mini-bus. He was a driver of mini-bus. Not long ago… recently he stopped doing it, he has, apparently, become fond of drinking, by and large, that is what he has become.

Byamabajav -

It is too bad!

Odmandah -

Yeah.

Byamabajav -

Do you miss a lot your brother who is in Korea?

Odmandah -

My brother?

Byamabajav -

yeah.

Odmandah -

Of course I do. He calls sometimes and it is evident that he misses his home very much. In the beginning it was difficult but now it is better. I miss him very much I am worried about him, how he is doing, what food he is eating etc. When he was here he had no idea about the value of money. So in the morning he used to ask mother to give him bus fee, a hundred or two hundred tugrug, give him money to buy cigarette, that is how he was here. Now judging by the way he is talking on phone, mmm, apparently, he spends money more economically and had changed his attitude to money. Apparently, he is getting better. He had, really, no idea about the value of money before.

Byamabajav -

Did he torment very much your mother?

Odmandah -

He was a tormentor of my mother. Actually, he had become an alcoholic. He drank very much. Even now he apparently drinks. However, I think he now drinks moderately. I hope when comes back he will be a different person. Who knows what will come.

Byamabajav -

There is little difference of age between two of you, so is he the elder brother with whom you played a lot and spent long hours together at home?

Odmandah -

There is a difference of 6 years in our ages, yeah, a difference of 6 years. We did not play together very much. But I did ask a lot for his help in doing my lessons, I asked his help in Russian language lessons. A girl from my brother’s class lived at the 2 floor of this house. When he wanted to ask something from her and went to 2 floor he usually took me with him, he was afraid to go alone, he was such a fainthearted (child).

Byamabajav -

(laughs)

Odmandah -

And probably mother told you, once our family climbed the Zaisan hill, he was there and was unable to descend frightened from the height. They say it happened.

Byamabajav -

Aan, they had to cover his eyes to descend.

Odmandah -

Yes. His eyes were covered when they descended. He is, apparently, very fainthearted. And recently, he left for Korea, it was difficult for us. He has never been before so far away from home. But, we thought let him open his eyes and see (a foreign country).

Byamabajav -

You were operating a fast service point [a type of street kiosk], yeah.

Odmandah -

Yes, together with my elder sister. As for me compared to other children I entered the market economy very early.

Byamabajav -

It is so, I heard about it.

Odmandah -

Yes. Very early when in 6 and 7th grade I started it. Commercial activities at the market were just beginning. It was our advantage that we started from that time. And I think that so far we have succeeded this much has, probably, some connection with what we did then.

Byamabajav -

It must be so.

Odmandah -

Yes. I think this had some bearing on us. The fast service point(FSP) was situated just below our house. The TUTS (Fast service point). So I did not really celebrate or observe holidays, I spent my hours at the FSP. I would send my sister home and remained in the FSP, spent night in it selling the stuff. Early in the morning I opened and closed FSP late in the night. Then after I started working things became more or less better for. Otherwise, I was engaged in trading at FSP and in grocery shop. We had a FSP and then my brother-n-law and the sister opened a grocery shop. So I worked for some time in that shop.

Byamabajav -

When you were in TÜTs [the kiosk] were you ashamed to see your future husband?

Odmandah -

Oh, of course, I was embarrassed. I looked through small service window … and when I saw him would sit down and hide myself, ashamed. I felt very ashamed. When I saw children from our 10 year school I was ashamed. If there was another person I would ask him to stand and took cover, that was what I did. Yeah. My relatives also had a canteen. Recently, just after graduation I also worked for a while in the canteen in 2002 (0-47-03) after the graduation. During the summer… before being enrolled in the MA course, then I also felt ashamed to that work there thinking that I did not graduate from the institute to do this kind of job in this canteen. So with a sister who was a relative of ours and two of us prepared the dish in the back room. We made 1000 booz in a day. I used to kneed the dough. In beginning I was awfully discouraged and quarreled with the sister and she drove me out. I was wearing shoes on high heels, and while walking and weeping I slipped and fall down from a small dam. But returned back and continued to work there. Because my mother came and reproached the sister for driving me out. Though I was discouraged to do it I worked there for sometime.

Byamabajav -

Tell me about your mother. What do you talk with your mother about the life? What advice does your mother give you concerning your life?

Odmandah -

Mother? What mother wants from us is if we are harmonious to display it, and if we are in disagreement to tell about it to her. What she wants is our wellbeing and prosperity. Yes, it is. What else can I say?

Byamabajav -

What is the most vital quality of your mother which you respect and wish to adopt yourself? What is that quality?

Odmandah -

Of my mother? My mother is a very intelligent person. She is highly intelligent, and in my opinion she displays her intelligence in her life. My mother and myself, especially my mother is a person of a few words. However, my mother manages to coordinate everything. Mother knows too well how to accommodate the differing views of two persons, what to speak with whom, I value highly this ability of her.

Byamabajav -

Which of the natural qualities of your elder sister do you like the most?

Odmandah -

My sister is extremely determined, and hard working. She exerts every effort to improve her livelihood, no matter how tired she is she never complains about it to any one. She tells to no one, pulls the burden and copes with problems. For example, on commerce she constantly seeks the opportunity to make benefit. In general, in my view she is far better than her husband, on real life. My sister is very good. In general, she really good…

Byamabajav -

What in your opinion is the good quality of your brother Munhoo?

Odmandah -

As for my brother, of late whenever we meet there is a tendency that we argue, that is the situation, so ...

Byamabajav -

Well, the interview is coming to an end, well now, about your family...

Odmandah -

Mmm Hn.

Byamabajav -

You spoke a lot, now in future together with your brothers and sister, what will be the best course to follow in your life to make it even better and beautiful? In your family relations, for example, what is the best option for your mother? What option is best for your sister Naraa? Aan, then for your two brothers ...

Odmandah -

Mmm hn.

Byamabajav -

What do you wish? If you were to speak out your views as an advice?

Odmandah -

Well, I wish that my brothers were able to carry on their livelihood separately and on their own. The same for my sister. ... Now her son has grown up, this eldest son is finishing 10 year school this year, I wish him to study diligently and be able to take care of his father and mother, and stand firmly on his feet. As for my mother, I wish her to be healthy. Now any way, for her the time to work has become a thing of past. It is the time for us to feed her in return. The main thing for her is to stay in good health. Yeah. That is it, aan as for me, I have the intention to be a good hostess of this house, to move ahead on my work post. I think everything will be fine if all of us could live happily, on our own…

Byamabajav -

Frankly speaking what is the most prominent shortcoming of you? In other words, what you could point out before your brother and sister, that this is my shortcoming or this is my advantage?

Odmandah -

Shortcomings? My weakness is ….I am quick tempered, as a result I tend to argue. That is one. As for the good ... character, I always keep in my mind all of them. I always wish them wellbeing, peace not squabbles in their home. This is what I wish them. Should I say I have the right intentions? Something of this kind, that is it.

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.