Weather in UB

Thursday, April 24, 2008

No vacation from speaking Mongolian

Today I rode my bike up to Marshalls with my mom to pick up some new clothes. I had tons of stuff to try on and I went into the dressing room. I was trying on a shirt when I realized that the 2 ladies next to me were speaking Mongolian. At first, it didn't register because it seemed normal. Then I remembered that I was on the north side of Chicago. I walked out, looked at one of the ladies and said "Ta mongoloor yirdig uu?" (Do you speak Mongolian). She looked at me blankly and called to her friend saying in Mongolian "I can't understand this persons English, can you come and help me." I looked at her and said "yassen ve?" (what?) and then it hit her, I wasn't speaking English, I was in fact speaking Mongolian. Both women were in shock. To be honest, so was I . We chatted and made some plans. It was so random and bizarre.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mongolia New Highlights

My hiatus was interrupted with juicy news updates! Firstly, a person protesting Chinese aggression in Tibet was arrested in Mongolia. Read this
Secondly, The Children's Park is only going to be 1/3 the park it used to be. I think this a REAL lose for here
And lastly, rising food prices are affecting Mongolians. I cannot believe that 20,000 people gathered to protest. I'm sure that was something to see. Read this
Thanks to my friends who are one the scene to keep me in touch with what it going on.
If you really are interested in news about Mongolia and don't speak Mongolian, there is a link to the UB Post on the side here, check it out!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Short Hiatus

Greetings people who read my blog. I'll be taking a short 2 1/2 week break from working and blogging to go home, be in my friends wedding, and defend my thesis. When I get back I promise some great summer posts and pics from Mongolia!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Children's Park/Development

Stark contrasts between old and new (These 2 pics taken in the 13th district, not far from Children's Park)

The UB Hilton
Children's Park
The wooden statues that once stood are now being removed...
I wrote an email to the editor of the UB Post asking him to do some investigative reporting on what is going on with Children's Park. For those of you who don't know what Children's Park is, it was an amusement park built during the socialist period in the middle of downtown UB. I've heard (and this is just rumor) that some portions are privately owned and some are state controlled. In the last year a wall was erected so that you cannot see inside the park. When I was walking my friends dog, we went nearly every day to play in the park (sadly, we went in illegally. I say sadly because it's a beautiful public space that EVERYONE should be allow to use). It's one of the last tree filled spaces in UB!!! It looks to me like some buildings are going to be built on the corners of the park. Just last week, I noticed workmen taking apart the sidewalks inside the park. I hope they are renovating the park and not dismantling it to sell to private investors.
This is one of the last open spaces in the city and if it's developed Mongolians would be losing green space and a piece of culture. Last week I took a picture of the intricate wood sculptures that are being taking out of the ground. I think the wall around the park has blocked peoples vision so that they can't see what's happening. Hopefully whoever owns that poverty is thinking about the future and the environment. It could be a little "Central Park" in UB. Please feel free to comment if you know anything about the park.

Mongolia and Tibet

I was reading the UB Post today and there is an opinion piece written by R. Dulmaa. This opinion column echoed some of the same things that I had been talking with my friends here about. For your information, Mongolia officially supports the "One China" policy. It's just a little food for thought...
A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed- R. Dulmaa
Thursday, April 03, 2008.
Being the “spiritual brothers and sisters” of Tibetan people and sharing history of faith in Tibetan Buddhism, one cannot but notice how unusually quiet has Mongolia been in response to the recent overwhelming wave of pro-Tibetan protests around world.Theoretically, it is not hard for Mongolians to resonate with anger and frustrations of Tibetans having ourselves tasted the bitterness of political oppression on religious rights during Communism. Moreover, the “cultural genocide” that Dalai Lama sees taking place in Tibet has in a lesser form once appeared in Mongolia as well, when Russian military, schools, shops were ubiquitous. In this period, Buddhist temples were emptied, monks prisoned or killed and the general message was “Buddhism is bad for you.”The recent years nevertheless saw some form of religious revival from the Mongolian side. The Dalai Lama, on the other side, has expressed much faith in the future of Buddhism in Mongolia. In fact, he said that Buddhist teachings can truly flourish in a democratic country—Mongolia being referred. His faith in Mongolians is supported by his numerous visits to Mongolia in the last few years. Even in his public talks in America, he calls out for Mongolians in the audience.

During his Mongolia visits, thousands flock to receive a blessing from him and equally many rush to monasteries on special occasions such as the Tsagaan Sar celebrations. Mongolia’s political figures are also seen there flaunting their best deels, showing off khadags and offerings.
And yet even when non-Buddhist heads from Europe and America are admonishing China, where have all the devoted Mongolians gone? Where are the outspoken parliament members? Where are temple heads? Where is the media? Ironically, even the Chinese community in Mongolia has issued a statement supporting the Tibet crackdown.
As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend in need.
The Dalai Lama perhaps has put too early and too much hope on Mongolia’s political maturity. R.Dulmaa is a graduate student at the Center for Buddhist Studies, University of California at Berkeley.