Interviewee ID: 990903
Parent's name: [blank]
Year of Birth: 1943
Notes on education:
Born in: Hyargas sum, Uvs aimag
Lives in: sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
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Okay, mother was born in 1943, in the year of
Aa, daughter Narmandakh born in 66, year of
Youngest daughter Odmandakh, born in 1980, year of
Son Munkhtuvshin, born in 1970, year of Dog.
Well, I am very grateful to you all for accepting my
invitation and giving me this interview. Since it is a
family interview will you please, in turn, one by one tell
about your childhood recollections? Shall we start from the
About the childhood, about your children, their
childhood years …
Аа, about them? Well, they all have already told you
earlier about their childhood years so there is no need to
talk about it now, isn’t it so?
Memories that you cherish in your heart since their
tender ages …
Aan ha, Let me start now from my son, (All laugh) Our
Munkhtuvshin from his infancy was a very meticulous child,
very neat, he used to pick up litters on the carpet and on
the floor by hand, generally extremely clean and neat, he
cleaned his clothes very well. And he was very economically
minded child since childhood not like now, I don’t know what
is up now. In my mind this aspect of him seems to be
declining a little bit. He grew up and is abandoning some of
his childhood habits, this is what I have in mind. Well, as
for Odmandakh of ours, the youngest daughter Odmandakh,
Odmandakh since her infancy attended kindergarten. Since her
infancy she was always with me wherever I go. Even her
father used to tease me saying that I was like a lamb …no
like a “ Mare with a foal” (All laughed) That was the name
her father gave us. She used to go with me everywhere, led
by her hand. Even after she grew up and was enrolled in
school, we went together that way. Then since childhood she
was a somewhat capricious child, how should I describe,
wanted everything according to her own wish, may be not
capricious, but was a rather self-willed child.
Intelligent and pampered daughter.
She was intelligent, but rather spoiled child. Are
you, Oogii. Pampered, yes, without any distinction they were
all pampered…no distinction, we did not pay lesser attention
to anyone, our living standard allowed us to be like that,
they never lacked daily meal and other items of necessity
nor clothes. And then when they were small I used to sew
myself their clothes. I made dresses and garments for
Odmandakh, Narmandakh according to the style and fashion of
the time. Didn’t I?
Yes. Even today we keep many garments and dress which
I sewed for Naraa and OOgii. Naraa wore blouses and
sleeveless jacket I made for her when she was a student, so
my children wore clothes sewed by me since childhood.
(0-03-34) Of course, we did buy some from the stores. They
wore clothes and were dressed up to the extent of our
possibilities. As for our Naraa, Naraa had a headache since
childhood, she was still very young and we did not know what
was the cause of that illness, when she was studying in the
institutes she still had a slight headache. That is why when
the institute decided, when she was a 3rd year student, to
divide her group into groups dealing with milk, meat and
flour. When the groups were thus separated her father said
“Oh she likes milk, she has a headache and therefore she
likes to drink tea, let her go near the milk and tea.” And
advised her to take the group on milk she entered the group
on milk.(laughed) But later we thought that she should have
taken a different group other than the milk.
But until now I have not been able to work on milk
Yes, But now there are not so factories producing
milk products, there is only one milk factory. Now…
But now, there are a number of small factories that
process milk and produce dairy products as well as ice
You can run such a factory.
It is possible. Now, I made an attempt but it was not
very successful. However, it was long ago. Now, it can be
done, if I really try,
Naraa and her husband tried their hands on many
different undertakings, they made an attempt to produce milk
They had a try at producing soft drinks,
Yes, they tried producing soft drinks, at what else
did my daughter tried her hand, baking bread and pastries,
she tried doing many different things, so my dear daughter
has been experimenting on many different activities.
However, the time (Narmandakh laughs) was not opportune yet
and you can’t achieve what you wanted. And when you want to
do something availability of money(fund), in addition,
access to market and many other issues rise. Then it
requires professional knowledge, that is the situation fro
the time being. She began her business by baking pastries
(гөөхий) at home, did you? Also baked “moon cake” at home.
Odmandakh from her very young age used to go to Khailaast,
to bus station No.7. In the morning a tiny thing would get
out and went to the market (All laughed), there she helped
her elder sister, She left very early, my daughter from
childhood had been helping her elder sister, I hope her
sister appreciates it. After her lessons she went out
without rest on Saturdays and Sundays, a tiny thing went to
the market. (All laugh) I did not say any thing bad about my
daughter earlier, simply my daughter was such a pampered
child. She was the smallest and the youngest therefore we
pampered too much and spoiled. Yes, she was attending the
kindergarten and when I combed and made her hairs, she used
to say this was wrong and that was wrong now you should comb
this way.(All laugh)
Why don’t you talk about the other son? He may feel
Well, our Batmounkh (0-07-08) is a nice boy. Baagii
is really a nice peaceable and honest man. He doesn’t speak
much, a man few words. Аа, he will not enter into various
kinds of squabbles, in general.
Generally, he is quite like the people on mother’s
My father was such a man, this son of mine is very
tall, so on my side he copied my father, in the interview
earlier(Narmandakh coughs) I told you that my father was
such a tall man.
They called him Undur Tseelei…
Called Undur Tseelei…
Yes, so apparently he is like him. My father was such
a person. Actually, he doesn’t speak very much. He would
reluctantly participate in something but he says on rare
occasions very weighty words. He is so tall just as my
father, in general, apparently he is a copy of my father.
That is it, probably he is very much alike of him. Yes.
Probably elder sister and Batgaa these two almost
certainly are alike him. As for two us we are more alike
people of father’s side (laughs)
Yes, it is, true, true..
And the facial features of the two of you are very similar. (Laughs)
Yes, two of us are resemble more of my father’ side,
my youngest sister and me, and my elder sister and the
younger brother next to me, my brother born after me
Batmounkh, mother was talking about him earlier, he and this
sister are very similar to the people on my mother’s side.
We are a kind of people who are very honest and if they take
up something even it is not very successful, they are very
determined and try to make it possible. (All laughed) So
they pursue that cause determinedly but not always succeed
in their undertakings. So at the end they abandon it, this
has become their habit.
Hn, why do you say such a thing.
Аа, two of us are also different. Odmandakh and me
accomplish what we wanted to do, may be it is the fruit of
that so we are determined to carry on further and
You shouldn’t say that your elder sister did not succeed. Your sister does also…
Yes, sister does…
..she works very diligently and somehow …
My sister is okay, I told about my sister, I told
also about my family. Well, I can say what I personally
think of my sister, my sister is very industrious, if she
takes up something she’ll persistently engage in it, no
matter what, whether it is successful or not, she is bent to
see the end result, that is my sister. As for my younger
brother he is exactly like my sister, my dear brother will
also persistently do that thing, if he does something
(0-09-32) it is done exactly in the way he wanted it to be
Of good quality.
He makes things of very high quality, if he wants to
make a furniture, say a shelf he makes it earnestly as
something for his own use. He does not do things casually,
even if he is making the money on the side, he would do it
as if he is doing it at home. This is the character of my
brother, my brother next to me (born after me). Well, what I
can say about my youngest sister. I would only say to her
work and work harder. She is just like me she’d say anything
she wants, if she doesn’t like something, she is extremely
She’d scold, even her elder brother. Yes, if
displeased, she’d scold her brother straight away. So I know
that she’d do that. Yes. (All laughed) I am used to it (All
laughed) all ready. Of course, I agree to what she says.
Speaking about my elder sister I can say that she is a good
person, she is determined to achieve the goal set before
her, when takes up something she does an extremely good job.
I am not praising my sister, she does everything earnestly,
does a truly good job…
She works assiduously, isn’t she?
Yes. She tries various activities.
Yes, various things, my sister works with
determination, I value that quality of her. The assistance
and help of my sister play an important part in at in that
we, our family, are living this much good and in such a
degree. I think that her part is relatively high, 70 percent
out of the 100 (0-11-09) is the fruit of the hard labour of
sister. I take advantage of this opportunity to say it to my
I told you earlier that our Bagii is extremely
meticulous. There are many things made by our Bagii, he is
always there for everything good or bad, he has skilful
hands. He can do almost anything. Specially, all the repairs
and refurbishments are done by Bagii only. He always does
the maintenance and repairs of the apartment and comes to
help in every undertakings of Naraa, visits her at home and
helps her. He went to the summer house and constructed a
house and refurbished it, that poor person works very hard
for his brother and sisters. I always feel pity for my son.
And when he was constructing the summer house for you, he
was all in dust and dirt, building your summer house….
At Maikhan tolgoi (Tent Hillock)…
Maikhan tolgoi, at first in the vicinity of that
place there was not a single house. It is a place far from
here, when the construction was about to start he did not
care at all the rain, we visited him often in the morning he
would be resting in his tent, he did not complain at all. He
was watching over the building materials, at first the
construction materials were brought to the site so he spent
there a few days. Then building workers were brought in and
together they built the house. He was intent at building a
superb house, otherwise, for him it was no good. So he even
plastered the outside of the house with putty, plastered as
the interior of the house and painted it. But, it is
impossible to plaster the exterior of the house by patty.
But when you look at it now the plaster all crumbled here
and there, softened (by rain water) it ran down. What he had
in mind was to make the house very beautiful. And he
expected that it will remain like that, the putty(0-13-25)
(Paris) plaster intact in its place. Yeah, in this manner he
tries very hard, then he would not allow strangers to touch
the apartment (for repairs). Just before he left last year
Baagii did some incomplete maintenance work in hurry, but
now our apartment needs a good repair works. If Baagii was
here he would have done it, since Baagii is not here,
probably these repairs will be done after he comes back, if
possible we would like the repairs made before that but he
never feels satisfied by others’ work.
Yes. He always wants to do things by his own hands,
until he is satisfied by the result. And it takes time to
accomplish the job. So I scold him, just before he left one
year ago he made a repair of the apartment. (0-14-10) So he
used to sit contemplating the work (what to do), he just sat
looking at it. Apparently he was thinking how he could do in
the best way. I used to nag him finish quickly it is
difficult everything is dirty, dusty and … finish the work
quickly, he used to say don’t get angry, it would be done,
it’d be done he was so calm, then…
Apparently he was developing a plan in his mind? (All laugh)
Yes, he did, in general, he does something
meticulously, our Bagii. Very meticulous. So he is such a
kind of person. As for our Moogii, well, he is not that good
poor, poor. (All laugh) Well, I can’t lie, that is
it, most importantly we are now speaking about Baagii but I
think that I can’t but mention here my
You are right my son.
Our brother-in-law is also fairly skilful, I would
like to speak about him, so many years have passed since he
joined our family. My brother-in-law is very skilful. It was
him who built for me the enclosure and even the house. Aa,
then what I would like to say is that also quite skilful
just like Baagii. He does something like him earnestly, his
work is always of high quality. As the mother told about
Batgaa, he is just like him, I don’t have anything to show
you right now in any case if he wanted he can actually make
repairs of the apartment and various other things. I think
that, in general, he is quite similar to him (Baagii). He
does everything in all honestly (0-15-58) he can fix any
problem with a car, much quicker than me, as for the
vehicles are concerned hew repair it in no time.
Char (sic), he knows very well, has a very good knowledge.
Yes, he is an engineer by profession, I am a mechanic
but still when I watch my brother-in-law he is very quick
grasping what has to be done, say by turning this screw this
could be done etc, I would think it over for some time
before doing, but he grasps what has to be done in no time,
he is a quick thinker, my brother-in-law, I would also like
to take this opportunity to say that I am grateful to my
We should be grateful, of course, we are grateful to
him. My son-in-law is a very calm and good person. Purevdorj
(is his name) is always there whenever something happens, my
dear son, he is, usually, everywhere and help us. By his
nature, he doesn’t keep distance from us. Except my children
I speak and consult with him whenever something crops up, we
all discuss the issue amongst us in our family, my
son-in-law and my children are all the members of our
family. Yes, aren’t they?
Yes, it is.
Yes. Therefore, whenever various good or bad things happen we all go there together …
Actually, a family is a closely-knit collective hard to find anywhere else.
Just like an organisation.
Yes, it is.
The Mother is the Director, (All laugh)
I am the Director of the home. (Laughs)
Eldest brother is the Prime Minister. (All laugh))
Eldest brother is the Prime Minister. Is he The Prime Minister? But at times he gets on my nerves.
It is natural because he has been ousted many times.
That is what I said earlier. He used to be the most
important person in our family, the most meticulous and very
serious about everything he has to deal with, but of late he
has been rather mediocre, and embracing a rather uncertain
When I now think at that time my father and mother
were receiving very good salaries, they were intellectuals
and had good salaries, each of them received 700 tögrög,
more than 700 that time.
Your father received more than 1000.
Father received more than 1000. So I thought “Well,
father receives over 1000, mother receives 700. So it makes
700, 1400 tugrug. But why my father and mother had not been
able even to buy a nice carpet.” And I expressed this idea
many times (All laughed) to my father and mother. I even
said let me try to be in charge of your money, I did not
take charge of it. Actually, since mother was there, it made
no sense for me to be in charge of the family spending and
also my father was there. When members of our family was all
present during a Saturday and Sunday I once aired this idea
to them. That 1400 our parents were receiving was a lot of
It was 700, 1700
So with that 1700 tugrug our family did not buy
anything valuable. I don’t know on what they spent the
money. What did they buy to spend it (All laughed) I was
astonished (0-19-05). And I told once to my father and
mother, I said to both of you once, not many times …
We ate it, ate and bought clothes for you all, it was only sufficient for that.
We could not buy something more than that.
Probably, it was the case during the socialist
period. There was no way of going abroad. Only in 90 the
Chinese boarder was opened, in 90 the market economy was
introduced and people began to travel to the south. Before
that there was no such thing. Aa, I remember mother once
travelled north up to Moscow. My mother went to Moscow with
500 rubles. That was a huge sum at that time. (All laughed)
The exchange rate was 3 tugrug, even if you calculate at 5
tugrug, she went with about 2500 tugrug. So what could she
bring from the journey that time? It was not possible bring
clothes and other items for sale at the market as today. So
she brought (0-20-02) plenty of fruits and vegetables. Her
hobby(he meant she liked it) was vegetable. So from
childhood following the example of my mother, as far I am
concerned I have got strong liking to, or hobby of
vegetables (liked). My father, our late father also ate
vegetable very much. He also liked fish.
Yeah, fruits, in general an inclination towards them(fruits and vegetable).
On Saturdays and Sundays we mostly ate fried fish and
steak, so I also became to like them as him …
Did you go often fishing? While you were in a rural area?
My father used to go. I did once accompany him.
Oh, he did go(fishing).
Yes, he used to go (fishing), with the Russians. At
that time there were many Russians, in the Tsagaan Khuaran…
At that period there were also many Chinese. Yes,
there were many Chinese living in our street.
In which year?
It was in 70 something, there were many of them around the year 77 or 78.
It was not in 70s, a bit earlier.
You mean when we were in Tsagaan Khuran?
Yes, yes when I was 7, 8 years old. Then the “Moon
cake” festival lasted for almost a month, it was in 70s,
that cake was wonderful. The cake Chinese made during the
month of “moon cake” holiday was very tasty, they made a lot
of it, in modern days it is a kind of cake…
Oh, they made wonderful cake, then there was
vegetable soup, my father used to visit Chinese canteens to
eat that soup. (0-21-25) He liked very much that soup and
fish. He also went on fishing trips. Then in those days,
apparently, fish was abundant. In winter they made a hole in
the ice, punched a hole in the ice and put their hooks in
it, it was then that I remember, clearly, I accompanied my
father once. I now remember that. He used to go together
with Russians. And they took the fish out, Russians like
fish very much, they fried and ate the fish, it was how they
consumed it. That time, generally, they ate very much.
When they were young we took the children on hiking
treks in mountains, it was our hobby. Even today, if
opportunities present I would like to hike outdoors, but
there is no time and possibility to do so. Actually, I like
to pick wild berries and hike in forest and mountains, We
went for picking wild berries several times. I would like to
tell you how we once went to pick berries.(Laughs) We were
at the summer camp in the mouth of the Yargait valley, then
one evening my late husband came, it was a time when there
cars were rare, he was a chairman of an organization and he
had 69 (Russian jeep) and took the car any time to any
place. So one evening without previous planning together
with our neighbours, the couple and their children as well
as we went together to pick up berries. To Sanzai…
What do you mean Sanzai valley.
No, Baga Bayan, southern slope of Baga Bayan..
Yes. We went there.
We went to Baga Bayan.
Oogii was not born.
She was not born yet.
She was not born. Baagii was very small.
Including Baagii, three of you.
Yes, three of us were.
Was elder sister Naraa there?
Of course, she was there, three of them.
I was there. (0-23-03)
Yes, these three were there.
Then, over there we, most importantly, find that
Oogii was not born.
Yes, Oogii was not born.
Yes, we were camped in the mouth of Yargait.
That was when we were in Ulaan khuaran of October district …
I used to play chess when I was 5 years old. If I
tell somebody, probably, he would not believe and think that
I am lying.
No, not October but it was the summer camp of
Sühbaatar district. In summer camp, so suddenly one evening
from the summer camp we went Baga Bayan so we reached in
evening a very wet rather swampy spot. It was beautiful, the
mountain was in blue haze jus like that…
Yes, red bilberry and such...
Not bilberry but blueberry,
It was a very flat, indeed a very nice spot, it was
mouth watering that evening we picked just a little bit and
ate, the children were small, and we arrived to spend the
night there. That evening we put out tent, that we took with
So you took your tent with you
So we erected the tent, the children were playing
noisily, we cooked and ate our evening meal so we were about
to go to bed, then suddenly the child of our friend started
vomiting, it was a small child and swallowed back the
vomitus and began to choke, vomitus apparently blocked the
windpipe, so the child was in a terrible situation so we
forgot about the berries and swiftly dismantled the tent and
came back. Then the child was taken directly to a hospital,
I don’t know how they removed that blockage, my husband was
a doctor, so….
You did not go…
Of course, I went.
I doubt that you went to town.
No, we went altogether, of course you remained at
home, that baby got well and I took my children and went
again to the same location I told my husband to take me
after 3 days, (0-24-53) come after me in 3 days, my husband
took me over there, we put the tent up, my late husband went
back with the car. He said he would come back after 3 days
to take us home. We went out...
Then we could not find water.
We went out in search of water but there was not water,
Oh, Hiudii [swearing, literally: oh baggy, Oh, shit]
So we took water from the muddy water of tracks left
by the vehicle and boiled to prepare tea.
So we put aside picking berries and searched for
water for the whole day, till night, when there is no water
there is no life. Then we went to sleep everyone was afraid,
an old man accompanied us, he was coughing badly through out
the night, when he started coughing we were all awakened,
then here and there birds and other animals made strange
sounds, it was very unpleasant.
In the forest it is not very pleasant, when look around,
So we spent somehow three nights there until he came
back to take us away. Well, we had not picked up that much
berries, when we came back after 3 days that spot was almost
stripped off the berries, it was picked almost bare.
At that time, it was not like today, now there are no
berries. Yes, that time we went to that place 2-3 km deep
(and picked berries), no such thing today.
Now, some of the trees are broken and the rest are cut thus the forest has been ruined…
At the present the trees are almost gone…
Well, this is how we once went to pick berries,
besides when my late husband was working in that hospital,
the hospital of Airag treatment he was the doctor on duty
one night, so when he was on duty I came to him and on
Sunday, went to pick wild berries. I arrived there and
together with Baagii and others went further. I usually took
with me two of them Baagii, not really Bagii but this girl,
Naraa also accompanied me once or twice, don’t you think so?
Yes. You were with me.
Yes, we went Eastward once.
So I decided to visit him while he was on duty and go
out to pick some berries, and spend a night there that poor
Uranchimeg was accompanying me. And when we were picking
berries, thunder was rumbling. It was thundering loudly, we
were picking berries in the forest and did not pay any
attention to rain or storm nor to anything happening around
us, we did not even look up, we fully applied ourselves to
gathering berries. Then suddenly hail storm poured down on
the mountain, in no time it was covered by the hails and
turned white just like being covered by snow. Our clothes
were fully soaked, the hail started melting and water was
running down everywhere, when we started to descend that
ice, that ice of hails were too slippery and it was almost
impossible to walk down. We had climbed very higher and it
was very hard to come down and we almost perished there. So
we descended and barely reached the hospital of airag
treatment, the hospital of your late father if your father
was not there we could have frozen to death. So as soon we
came in our clothes were stripped off and we were wrapped in
quilts, so that was how two of us went to pick berries, when
I used to go to pick berries we mostly went together…
Our mother did not care about it.
Discouraged. No. Generally, If there is the
opportunity I would like very much to go. This summer I
wanted to get out once but could not.
Elder sister Naraa, if you remember could you tell your story of picking berries?
That time we went to that very East and picked the black currant, that of black currant….
Yes. We brought black currants (0-28-04),
Yes. Black currant..
Yeah, so we picked a lot berries, mother used to
disappear, at one moment I’d be beside the mother and next
moment she’d be gone, she was just like mountain goat… (all
laughed) and suddenly appeared on the top of the mountain
like mountain goat, my husband says our mother is so agile
that if you two were to race you, obviously, can not catch
up with her. My mother is very good at climbing and walking
in mountain, in general, in earlier days we used to trek a
When the father was alive we trekked a lot, in
Gachuurt once I trekked and came across a spot with berries,
we used to trek very much. I, since my childhood used to
walk a lot.
Trekking in mountains is very nice, you feel refreshed and in high spirits,
Last time I also went to pick berries when your
father was at that place, at that very place, I went after
him it was a month before, your father fell ill, just one
month before. We are such stange people,
At Airag treatment hospital or that very Welfare centre in Batsumber aimag …
When he was the chairman of the Welfare Centre, my
poor late husband was feeling not well, in general, he was
in rather low spirit and physically weak. Your father
visited Doctor in September, so it was 2 months before it, 2
months before, may be one month before, we, from that very…
went further on horse back.
No, no, from the Welfare Centre we rode on back of
horse and we reached a place with plenty of berries picked
them and came back. When I came my friends who were to come
from the city had already arrived there. So your poor father
cooked meat and was busy hosting them. So my dear friends
told me: “What shall we do he is very weak”. At that time he
had lost weight and was very feeble.(0-30-13) So I arrived
at the spot on horse back, then since I had not ridden horse
for long time, when I arrived on horse I could not dismount
it. (Laughed) My legs were numb, I rode quite long distance.
I covered a very long distance since I left early in the
morning, it was 5 or 6 o’clock of the morning. So I didn’t
know exactly what time it was we reached a spot with berries
and when I wanted to dismount from the horse I was unable
dismount, the place was full of berries, looking at them I
can’t but had dismount. (Laughs) So my friends actually
lifted me off the horse so I somehow dismounted and for
while was kneeling down then seeing the berries I forgot
about my legs, got up and started picking the
berries(Laughs) thus we gathered berries. That was
inevitable because I had not ride horse for many years, I
like very much wild berries, if possible I would like to go
pick them up, unfortunately, it is not possible. (Laughs)
Why poor little darling of her Mother (small yellow
kid-meaning the youngest and ) is keeping silent. Please
speak something, about your mother…
It is because when she was not yet born … when you we were picking berries …
No, well, let’s now put aside the berries, speak
about something else (Laughs) Put aside the berries, when
we picked berries we encountered a lot of adventures.
Various things happened.
I think I once went for berries, do you?
Where did you go?
I went to pick bird cherry [moilon].
Oh, yes. We went to pick up bird cherry.
We went on horse drawn cart.
Aan, yes, we went on a horse cart, the spot of bird
berries were not far, it was not far from the Welfare
centre. So we sat on a rather poor horse drawn cart, we also
went on sleigh…
No, we rode on horse cart. I was keeping the reign and guiding the horse.
Oh, did you really do?
Was it you?
And guiding the horse? (Laughs)
We arrived from here and took that horse cart to proceed further.
Yes, since your father was there and he was the
chairman, the staff would mobilize whatever possibilities
they had and took us and proceeded further to the spot, so
those dear men (laughs)
Yes, it was. In earlier days there were not too many
cars, so my poor father rode on a 69 (Russian jeep) with a
sign tjat said “Keep your distance” on its side, yeah?
Well, he received that 69 when he was in the hospital for treatment by Airag, aa…
In hospital for transport workers…
[check this:] I was presented when first Hospital for Transport
Workers was constructed, the 69 was given as a present from
the Auto-transport operation depot No.5. In the beginning it
was a nice new car but later after being driving for long
time it became rather old, but still in reasonably good
Anyway, there were not so many cars.
Vehicles were very rare. There were not many different types of vehicles. (0-32-51)
There were no private, no private cars.
Almost none, there were almost no private cars.
Yes, almost none.
Then only later from 90’s privately owned cars
appeared, before that only 24 (Russian car Volga 24) and 69
(Jeep) were seen … (Spoke simultaneously)
And Zil – 130 were seen.
Generally, the number of cars grew very rapidly.
After 90’s …
That is how the period of market relations came in...
(0-33-24) different vehicles were brought in, from many
Well, that is how we are living, now we doing okay,
in fact we all doing fine, my children all have their own
independent life and job. I now assume that I have nothing
to worry about. Since my children are now able to pursue
their own livelihood, I have accomplished my job, I raised
my children, they all got education. And I am confident that
they will be helping their mother. And anyway now they are
telling me, now mother you should not work, you should be
sitting (resting) at home, we’ll arrange everything for you,
send you to rest home (0-34-16) bring your food, medicine
and injections, there is no need for you to work. However,
it is not very convenient all the day to sit alone at home.
I would like to do some work. As of now I feel fairly
healthy, I have no chronic illness, my hands and legs are
good, therefore sitting idle at home is not good for me.
That is why I am thinking of doing some job suitable for me
if such an opportunity is available.
Do you want that your mother works?
Sometimes I do think that it may be better. (All
laugh) Mother now often falls ill, when you often fall ill
it is better for you to have some collective (people of
shared interest). When you are working, at least, when some
holiday occurs, you will not be sitting alone at home,
therefore it is better to be among some people with whom you
share common interest.
Yes, it is.
Actually, I am thinking of finding some job for my mother.
Your mother has already found her job. (All laugh)
For anyone who worked for the whole life sitting at home without any job…
It is very difficult.
Yes, when you return home in the evening mother says
I have some pain here or I am feeling not very well,
something is wrong…
Yes, when you sit at home like this, at least, your
blood pressure goes up and you fall ill often when sit at
home without doing anything you contact illness frequently,
if you are busily engaged in work you don’t pay any
attention to minor illness. But now fall …
Salary is not important, if she works that is fine. Yes.
Yes, I found a job today, from tomorrow I shall start working.
Where? (All laugh) what job?
In any case, the wife your brother Byambaa found for
me a job, two of them.
Yes, from tomorrow on your mother will start learning
now that… Now when I am over 60 (All laugh) will start
learning. (All laugh)
It is good, good.
Well, now I have something to tell my
children.(coughs) We are now doing fine but we should
advance ahead little by little. We can’t be complacent with
the thought our family is doing satisfactory. You should
make good use of your free time and study foreign language
without knowing some foreign language it is now very
difficult to achieve something. In my view you should
according to your own abilities learn more, educate and
enrich yourselves, this is the imperative. Now, take Muugii
he is, no more than a driver(0-36-52) but now drivers are
everywhere, everyone who has some job to do has mastered the
profession of driver. You should acquire another skill
except this one, if you stop driving car then how will you
earn your bread, so you should obtain one more skill of
living, this is a thought that I keep in my mind. Well, now
if possible I think of sending him abroad (for work) but we
don’t have influential acquaintances who could solve this
issue for us, so I only entertain the hope to send him
abroad, in addition to it, now to do anything you have to
spend a lot of money, say if someone helps as go between in
that travel abroad, you need the money they say. If he were
to go then it is a different matter, but, in any case, we
can not just sit like this at home all the time we should
educate ourselves, and at least one should learn a foreign
language then it would be easier to get various kinds of job
here or there. Then if you don’t take up physical or manual
work then knowledge of foreign language can earn living for
you, now people talk a lot about this year as the year of
tourism. So every passing year is different, it has its own
peculiarity. There is the opportunity to take advantage of
these peculiarities and find job. I would like to say to
Munguu learn foreign language good. (0-38-13) I don’t know
whether he is learning language or not, he says he studying
the language, true or not how I would know. Aa , then about
Oogii, Oogii is very busy, work till night, her work load is
heavy. However, I think she also should educate herself.
Now, since there is the computer, probably, she has already
became very skilful on it. But she should study a foreign
language, you are still young, after learning language you
should go abroad to work, you should not spend your life
walking between the office and your home. Learning a foreign
language is wonderful, I would only say this to my children.
There is no exception for Naraa. She can’t go far with that
private business, yeah, so you should think it over
carefully, you have two children, this year the eldest son
is finishing the 10 year school. Right now she is very busy.
So you should seriously reflect over how to live better than
you are today, and what to do, and how to work.
What would you like to say to your younger siblings?
Hn, not that …aa our father and mother had raised
good and brought up us very good. I find out about it, while
speaking to outsiders here and there and I also think that
our parents did not let us feel short of anything, they did
not let us feel short of education and brought up and made
equals with the rest of men. So, now, I will say to my
younger brothers and sisters that as the saying goes “If the
master and determined the fate will follow the lead.”,
therefore, you should develop and educate yourselves
thoroughly, you should not think that you are getting old or
at present we are in such a (sad) state when people who are
60, 70 years old, talk about living much longer as if they
would almost live almost up to 100 years, so these people
are very optimistic and enjoy life fully. But we young
people are inclined to think that well, what shall we do, we
are getting old. I wanted to say this should not be the
But you are doing fine, look at her. (Laughs) She really work hard, learns to…
And generate ideas…
I’ll expand further my present business and then I’ll
pay more attention to my education and training, otherwise
it is getting difficult me for. All what I had learned
before, had been used up, the in private business you go out
in the morning and come back during the night only to get up
the next morning and work, so this is a monotonous life. But
In general, private business seems to distance you
from the collective [hamt olon] ...
It seems to be the case. In public and various
organizations on state budget, where there is a collective,
the situation is different. In small private business you
employ a few people. Of course(0-41-23) if you employ many
people then probably a collective will be formed, when there
are only a few people there is no collective. Our
Narmandakh, since her graduation from the institute, was
engaged exclusively in private business.
Now, we are-children-who graduated from institutes. However, we don’t have good contacts,
Then our Naraa and her husband, both of them are no
different, no different, these two are too modest, they
don’t go to various places, meet and discuss business with
different people as many capable people do, be hither and
thither and establish contacts with various people. There is
nothing of this sort with them, they silently pursue their
Shall I say they lack acumen and shrewdness,
We lack that brightness and perceptiveness of character…
Too much of that is not necessary,
That is an unnecessary character.
It may be unnecessary but now you should give some
thought to it as well. Yes, it is. Now, I think of
Odmandakh, she is also too modest, this Odmandakh of ours.
At glance she is looks as if a very angry person but really
she is very modest. At her work she will do anything the
people over there told her to do.
She can’t but do it.
No, no, it does not matter, but at the same time she
should display a certain acumen and perceptiveness. At
Hn, that is how she is like our mother.
Why, that is what I am saying. I am a person in my
decline, my time has passed, now you …
But, in any case, I am bright… (Laughed) that is why
I think that I am more like the people on father’s side. I
am like my father, and not very bad. I can establish contact
Originally, you have been not very bad,
unfortunately, now, you are not making use that good
character of yours, this Munkhoo of ours . Yes, he is not
making any use of it. Otherwise, if you are really like your
father, you must have been able to make your living much
Well, well, I doing not too bad at all.
He never admits his shortcomings,(Laughed) never admits. When we say something…
He never admits but argues back that he is right.
It is true.
That is why what he is now,
There were two or three younger brothers of my late
husband. Those poor boys are all gone now. Of the younger…
brother was a driver, yes, apparently, he imitated him to a
great extent. This Moogii, yeah,
Yes, he resembles that who...
Since his childhood he followed his example very much
and always teased and mocked some one and made the person to
get angry …
Made people to resent…
He always prevailed over someone. Always he come over someone verbally. (0-44-16)
Yes, it is. For example, if Oogii and me were to play
he is delighted only after mocking and getting on her
nerves. (Laughed) It is an ugly behavour, a habit of him,
should I say inherited. (Laughed), there was such a fellow
and he tried to be like him…
…That is the genes in my blood and that is why I am just like him. (Laughs)
Actually, on my side there is no such thing. He,
apparently, looks and acts more the people on his father’s
This one, this shit is also the same (Laughs), she is
ridiculing others while she is exactly the same. She
ridicules someone little by little and gets over that one
and then a lot of anger (Laughs) delighted only after
ridiculing our youngsters. If you look, generally, we are
all the same …
Well, do you have anything more…?
Well, I don’t have anything to add, I thank you for
arranging this interview. And wish great success in your
future activities. Aan, I thank you very much for taking
interview from everyone.
The interview has not yet come to an end.
(Laughs) I am going to end, (Laughs) okay, if there
is anything more to tell let them do it while we proceed,
At the moment when socialism came to the end and
democracy began you were all in the city and it probably
brought substantial changes in your life? Would you share
your impressions of that time between
It was exactly a transitional period, isn’t it?
It started from 90’s,
Yes, it was a transitory period, isn’t it?
Yes, as for us during the time of democratic
(revolution)… since it was not really so bad or dreadful, it
was not really the case and everything was going on normally
in the past we were put in rather awkward situation. So in
beginning, the democrats came to the Squire, then there was
a hunger strike, meetings and gathering were organized,
people asked each other what was happening, it was really
the situation every one had faced. Some part of the
population were at loss regarding what really had happened.
So as in that very film “In the Lair” when one was shot he
asked “Is this a nightmare”, just like that some said “is
this a dream”. A similar thing happened.
In autumn of 90 we, two of us were married and gave a
wedding party, the party was over and when we after that
visited the shelves of the stores were completely empty,
there was nothing except some pack of brown salt, it was
what happened, wasn’t it?
Then food [ration] coupons were introduced,
Yes, food coupons were introduced and afterwards food stuff had become scarce,
So people were saying that shops in suburbs were
stocked with goods and those from the centre of the city
rushed to the shops in the suburbs, then there, also, was
nothing except salt,
How it happened that great stock of goods disappeared …
There was only a 2 tögrög pack of salt…
Yes, yes, how so suddenly…
Well, people bought and did what, people hoarded the provisions,
Bought and apparently stored them.
Stored them, yeah? May be they thought that price will go up or else who knows.
Resolution No. 20 was adopted.
Yes. Resolution No.20, that resolution No. 20 caused a genuine devastation.
Those who knew bought and apparently stored. Hoarded
in stores. But during this market you can do whatever you
like, the time to do so has arrived. Originally, democracy…
Well, that is now…,
(Democracy) gave us a lot of good things.
Yeah. In market economy, it is free for any one to
engage in whatever an individual can do, it gave that
freedom. I think market economy requires the ability of a
person to take up anything that the given individual can do
and can conceive. An individual should exert his efforts to
succeed, therefore you should educate yourself and be
knowledgeable, otherwise, a weak person, no matter how hard
he tries will never succeed.
During the socialist period, most importantly,
everything was owned by the state. The state provided
everything to these numerous organizations…
Everyone wore the same clothes,
When there were state (public)organizations, if there
is a state organization, salaries, all other amenities were
provided from the state. But later, in this market economy,
most of the organisations have been privatized, most of
Mostly private, at present nearly all of them have
been privatized, since they are private organizations, in
comparison with the socialist period, their functions are
truly different, it is only natural. Since they are
privately owned, privatized, workers in such organizations
are mostly young people, being private organizations they
employ relatives and their acquaintances(of the owners),
they will not hire just any one from the street who is
looking for job.
Selection aspect has become very stringent,
Yes, so a person without job but who has no
acquaintances(0:50:21) or individuals who have a few or no
relatives are unemployed, this is the situation in my
opinion. Well, if what now this Jargalsaikhan is talking
about will be implemented then probably many young people
will get the opportunity to have a job. Apparently he is
planning to bring in many industrial enterprises, what else
did he say?
So he has become the Minister of Industry and Trade
and but now he says that he will not allow export of
cashmere from Mongolia.
He says we shall process that cashmere then export,
export after processing. In order to process that cashmere
numerous number of workers are required. Production
operation at the enterprise means that plenty of workers,
young people will get job. He said another big enterprise
which would employ 15 thousands workers will be imported,
from Italy he was saying. If that will be done the
industrial District will be populated again. At present, the
Industrial District has become almost vacant place. There
were many enterprises there, when I was working in Youth
League, those industrial enterprises were running at full
force, how wonderful it was. Now all those people crowding
in the 3rd district were working in those enterprises and
lived in that district. In those days, there was the
Worker’s district. It was teeming with the people. And now
all those enterprises had been privatized and it had,
apparently, become impossible to re-establish them. Only a
few building are still left. If now those enterprises were
opened and these industrial enterprise will start their
operation again it could solve the problem. In this manner
those who hold high offices start doing something, it will
be fine, Jargalsaikhan himself was responsible for the
operation of industrial production and knows how to do it.
Then, evidently, period of industrialization will begin, now.
Now, it will, obviously, begin, judging from what
they talk about it appears that it will begin. In any case
people will not be going abroad in search for job and
suffer, they can work here.
Well, how do you think to live in future, what role
exactly all of you are going to play in your future life,
what role that you will play will impact on your brothers
and sisters, shall we now speak about the ways to improve
your life? Well, I want this young girl who is keeping
silent to speak.
Why are you sitting silent?
Oogii please speak out your opinion, youth have probably different views.
Young woman active in service should be different, as
for me your mother is, now, finished. I can’t even speak
coherently, I am eaten by rust, in general, 2
All are going abroad to work …
Because they have good acquaintances and friends,
Do you think migrating abroad is feasible?
If you have many acquaintances and friends…
If you succeed at your post and work more creatively
you can live nicely and enjoy life.
No matter what regardless of acquaintances and
friends I hope you will find a job and migrate
Anyway acquaintances and friends…
At present, it is so.
Without them, it is impossible now.
At present, this is the situation.
You may migrate but you don’t have acquaintances
there, then you are trapped there.
It is the case. It is impossible, there are too many stages..
It is important that we should educate ourselves very well.
Yes, it is true, predicament begins from the lowest
level (of administration), according to one report at one
place with gold deposit, I don’t remember where, the
chairman of the sub-district had more power than his
superiors. Now the Governor of the district...
Yes, it is. Actually, it is…
Everything is blocked at the lowest level, so, in
general, obstacles are created at the lowest level,
officials at lowest level yield so much power which is
almost equal that of the Prime Minister. The anchor of the
TV broadcast “Journey with backpack” said that in order to
build a small storage on his compound one he had to receive
permission of the chairman of the sub-district,
Yes, it is so.
Permission from the sub-district, no, we will not do
that. Building a storage or something else in my own fence
is not the business of others. We can build on our own money
anything we like, this is in our country, but there, it is
said that in order to repaint your fence or house in white
or green colour you have to receive the permission to do so.
Where? Aan, in that foreign country?
Yes, in what country it was …
Well, it means the administrative unit, the primary unit has such high responsibility…
Such a responsibility …
… It means that they can decide certain issues at the
level of such lower administrative unit, that is something
we don’t have today in our country.
Yes, things start moving from the lower level, it
goes and goes and until it reaches the top level and dropped
there, regardless how good and optimistic undertaking it
was, how much endeavour and effort that person put into it,
it is killed just by one person up there.
This is the mid level…
… this is exactly what happens. As far as the
acquaintances and friends are concerned, this is what I have
told you, you have to get the signatures starting from the
chairman of sub-district, and if you don’t have an
acquaintance there he will not give his signature, it is
exactly the same thing.
Well, tell me. He is asking how are you going to work in future.
May be I’ll migrate abroad to work, but I’ll also study,
Even if I were to die I’ll never migrate abroad. The
sole firm thought I have is I’ll never migrate, this is what
I think, in future…
I intended to send him abroad but this shit is not going there.
Oh, no, I’ll not go. It is unreliable, extremely unreliable.
But your sister Alimaa wants to send you to Japan,
If I were to go there, I’ll go.
Then, isn’t that a foreign country? What a strange person.
Actually, if you could go abroad get some education, see it (the country)and come back …
Actually the main thing is to see a foreign country,
I’ll be not so bent to make a lot of money and come back.
I’ll work. (0-56-47) At the same time I would see that
country, if I could do that it is enough.
Well, you could earn some money…
My paternal aunt…if my paternal aunt could send me, my eldest paternal aunt…
So you will migrate abroad…
If my paternal aunt can, I’ll go.
May be you will be building a factory. Yeah.
Any way I don’t understand, now China makes very good
shoes and export to Mongolia, Mongols export a hide and
import one pair of shoes for it. A braggart would say they
(Chinese)make numerous shoes by that single hide and export
to Mongolia, as mother mentioned earlier Jargalsaikhan …
Did you forget what I just told you. It is said that
they are going to import a shoe making factory from Italy.
Yes, it is.
Then we would process here (the raw materials) and make finished products in our country.
That is it, if we could do exactly that instead of
exporting the hides to China, we could buy the hides here
exactly by the same price as the Chinese do and produce
here. Chinese are buying the hide but the imported shoes
cost as much as the hide.
Let’s finish this discussion, this doesn’t matter for
us. We are talking about our private life, what can we do to
improve our livelihood.
Well, as for me, I’ll…
Well, actually, as a result of every one’s initiative
the country will advance and develop. It is true that the
endeavour and determination of every one contribute towards
the end. However, what shall we ourselves will do? Shall we
continue as now, and one by one mind our own business?
As for me, if paternal aunt succeeds I’ll go. I would
see (foreign) country, learn its language and culture, as
mother said I’ll perfect my clean habit and come back. Our
home is very clean. Mönhoo picks up even if there is a
match stick. (Laughs)
He is making a lot of what I have said earlier as a praise.
Well, now, in a year or two I would like to build up
my business and put it firmly on its feet because this is
only at the beginning. It is at a very early stage I intend
to upgrade and expand it. While I’ll be engaged in it after
two, three years we can figure out what to do next. Yeah.
This, I had, recently, built a two storey house
expanding the earlier tea house. Then that house as of
Gradually, we can enlarge that house and make it 4, 5 storey.
Yes, upgrade it a little bit (0-59-09) and spend the winter there …
If I would put it firmly on its feet, expand and
improve. Then the opportunity to study and educate myself
will come, isn’t it?
When you have a workplace, you can work out what to do next.
Elder sister should make that house 4, 5 storey, it will be the future of my sister.
I am going to say that it will, probably, be the future.
Yes, yes, it is. In general, the main thing is to do that.
Actually if you were to add new storey, this would
mean that there is development in Mongolia, and at least a
house would go up.
Then our Bagii will listen to this broadcast when he comes back, Baagii…,
You mean this interview?
Yes, interview, so I want to say that I am very grateful to my (brother)Baagii
Then this Dash…
Our Bagii is really a person with golden hands (with
touch of magic), I want to say your sister is very grateful
to you. (Laughs)
You may add that to your sister's words.
He will listen this interview of ours, isn’t he?
Of course, he will listen, he said he will give us the recording. Well, now Odmandakh…
Well, what I have achieved and what I have now,
graduated from two Universities, I did thanks to the
generous assistance of my family and their help and I want
to say that I am always very grateful for that.
Well, as for me I would like to say thank you very much to my brother-in-law.
You said it before how often you have to say it.
Well, I thank you all for the sparing so much of your
time and giving me this interview from the bottom of your
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.