Friday, March 21, 2014

Mongolia Brief March 20, 2014 Part II

Tony Blair meets Prime Minister Altankhuyag
March 20 ( Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, has arrived in Mongolia. During his last visit to Mongolia Mr. Blair said he would be working with the Mongolian Government helping it to deliver their reform program.
Mr. Blair, who offered technical assistance to the Cabinet Secretary for his delivery unit concept, met Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag for individual talks. Mr. Blair also has arranged talks with members of the opposition Mongolian People`s Party (MPP).
The agreement of technical assistance to the Government of Mongolia was expected to be signed during the office of the former Prime Minister S.Batbold.
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair paid a visit to Mongolia last year during the Kazakh Holiday of Nauriz.

Stock exchange news for March 20
Ulaanbaatar, March 20 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of 7,470 shares of 20 JSCs were traded costing MNT 24 million 198 thousand and 328.00.
"Moninjbar" /2,000 units/, "State Department Store" /1,329 units/, "Mongol savkhi” /1,055 units/, "Nako tulsh" /827 units/ and "Berkh Uul" /476 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"UB-BUK" (MNT 14 million and 800 thousand), "Berkh Uul" (MNT one million 739 thousand and 780), "Gazar suljmel" (MNT one million and 176 thousand), "Material impex" (MNT one million and 15 thousand) and "Mongol savkhi" (MNT one million 006 thousand and 900).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 669 billion 337 million 782 thousand and 734. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,601.01, increasing by MNT 12.36 or 0.07% against the previous day.

People of Kazakh Celebrates Their Traditional Spring Festival, Nauryz 2014
March 20 ( The people of Kazakh are celebrating its traditional spring festival Nauryz (Nauruz, Nowruz) that marks annually on March 22 and is considered as the day and night are of equal length on this day.
Within its aim to flourish and introduce their traditional festival among other Mongolian ethnic groups, the Kazakh Local Representative Council in Ulaanbaatar chaired by MP A.Bakei is organizing the second year’s cultural and promotional events in Ulaanbaatar.
The Local Council strives to involve as much as possible more attendees and in association with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Capital City Administration, Mongolian Tourism Association and Governing Administration of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag has recently organized the 2014 Eagle Festival welcoming the Nauryz.
Last year, local communities erected 5 kazakh traditional felt Gers at the Central Square of capital city welcoming all visitors and introducing its culture and customs, and treating with its traditional food.
This year on March 22, organizers are planning to perform cultural entertainments involving Dombyra ensemble, Kazakh people and western Mongolia’s style Biyelgee traditional folk dance at the Chinggis Square.
Also, as part of other cultural events, art exhibition by brothers J.Oilan and J.Toilan will be displayed these days, and concert by Kazakh bands will be staged at the UB Palace on March 22, 2014.
Moreover, tonight on March 20, 2014 at 06:00 pm, Gala Concert dedicated to the Nauryz Festival will be held at the Independence Palace organized by “Latif” Foundation, where singers S.Barkhas, L.Baizada, P.Byambakhuu, T.Amina, B.Batbayar and Z.Munkhzul, “Nation Code” band, “Khulan” Circus and Dombyra ensemble will perform in Kazakh and Mongolian languages.

Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup 2014 Runs
March 20 ( Mongolian Geological Society in association with the Ministry of Mining is organizing the 2014 Mongolia Mineral Exploration Roundup at the Russian Center of Science and Culture in Ulaanbaatar on March 20-21, 2014.
The meeting is aimed to discuss and summarize works completed in past in the sectors of Mongolian geology and mineral resources; exchange information on studies and researches, and introduce projects to implement by involving state policies and to attract investments.
During the exhibits, “Explorer” magazine in Mongolian language and “Mongolian Geoscientist” magazine in English will be presented, besides best reports will be announced.
The Roundup is opened by Minister of Mining D.Gankhuyag, where presentations will be delivered on topics such as "Preliminary studies on ore deposition and alteration in the Erdenetiin Ovoo porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit, Northern Mongolia", “Correct analytical method choice for various mineral deposits”, “Innovation and tradition in the study of the mineral resource base of uranium in the implementation strategy, Rosatom”, “Detailed exploration on Ukhaa Khudag coal deposit and its comparison to other coal deposits”, “Mongolian deposits of tungsten, studies and prospects” and “Current geo-metallurgical studies on Oyu Tolgoi deposit”.

Youths to cooperate for development
Ulaanbaatar, March 20 (MONTSAME) The World Vision International NGO organized a forum themed “Youths’ participation in development” on March 17-19 in the "Chingis Khaan" hotel, Ulaanbaatar.
Brought together some 230 youths from all provinces and the city’s nine districts, the forum ran in frames of the WV’s goal for empowering the young generation within its 2013-2017 strategic plan.
At an invitation, the president of the Union of Mongolian Youths (UMY) A.Monkhbat participated in the event, delivering a report titled “Youths’ participation in development”.
The forum’s main objectives are to draw up a policy on youths’ development, to create related proposals, to carry out regular activities for youths, and to determine challenges and successes of youths based on their knowledge and experience.

South African "Sasol Mining" Expresses Its Interest to Cooperate
March 20 ( On March 19, 2014, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia D.Gankhuyag received South African delegation led by Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant, who is on working visit to Mongolia.
Mr. D.Gankhuyag said that South Africa is the main partner of Mongolia in Africa and the bridge linking to other states of the region and welcomed the intensification of bilateral cooperation in the mining industry giving start to the realization of agreements reached during the official visit of Deputy President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe to Mongolia in November 2013.
Deputy Minister Godfrey Oliphant mentioned that the South African "Sasol Mining" company is interested in cultivating cooperation with the Mongolian side and informed that he plans to meet representatives of corresponding ministries and state-owned companies to discuss cooperation issues, reports the Foreign Ministry of Mongolia.
Mongolia and the Republic of South Africa have established the diplomatic relations on May 25, 1994.

Mongolia’s First 68-Story Building to Be Erected under Management Team of Ritz-Carlton, Marriot and Nikken Sekkei
March 20 ( On March 11, 2014, Mongolia's Mon Uran LLC has signed a Letter of Agreement with Japanese architect Nikken Sekkei Group during the MIPIM international real estate show held in Cannes, France that takes place annually in March.
The document signing ceremony was attended by Chairman of Nikken Sekkei Group Mr. Mitsuo Nakamura, CEO of Mon Uran LLC Mrs. Batsukh OYUNCHIMEG and MP Mr. Batsukh NARANKHUU and the Agreement requires Nikken Sekkei to design a mixed-use ambitious project namely Tower.
In the scope of the Tower Project, Mongolia’s first ever a 68-story building will be built in the center of Ulaanbaatar city. According to project blueprint, the high raise building will be situated in 1.1 ha south to Children’s Palace with a built up area of 110,000 square meters.
The tower will reach about 250 meters over 68 floors with earthquake resistant technology and will feature Observatory Deck on top floors, Residential Area for sale, Serviced Apartments, 5-Star Hotel, Offices, Commercial Area, Indoor & Outdoor Parking to be constructed with World Standard Development under Best Management Team involving the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Marriot Executive Apartments and Nikken Sekkei Group that completed more than 20,000 projects in some 40 countries.
The Project is to start in 2014 and pledges to be completed by December 2018.
Commenting at the signing ceremony, CEO of Mon Uran LLC B.Oyunchimeg said, “We agreed that MIPIM would be an ideal international platform for us to sign our agreement and we intend to showcase the project here next year. However the actual contract execution ceremony will take place later this month in Ulaanbaatar. We choose Nikken Sekkei because this project requires high quality and vision and we believe that they have the right credentials to deliver such a design”.
Chairman of Nikken Sekkei Group M.Nakamura added: “This is not our first project in Mongolia, so we do have experience of balancing modern corporate design culture with cultural design expectations. This tower is to be a symbol of economic growth in Mongolia, so smart building technologies and sustainability will be critical to our overall design philosophy”.

Indian model raises her voice against discrimination in Mongolia   
March 20 ( Indian model and actress, Parvathy Omanakuttan, who was crowned Miss India 2008 and later became first place runner-up at Miss World 2008, arrived in Mongolia to raise her voice against gender based violence and discrimination.
Since she participated in Miss World 2008, Parvathy Omanakuttan has called for several campaigns against gender based violence and child abuse as well as environmental protection raising her voice in many countries across the world. This is the second time that the Indian model and actress has visited Mongolia.
The Miss Mongolia Tourism Association first invited Parvathy Omanakuttan to Mongolia in 2011 during the Green Ribbon campaign to promote environmental information disclosure, raise the public’s awareness and participation in environmental protection and to facilitate more scientific and impartial public decision making for environmental protection. The global Green Ribbon campaign was launched in Mongolia and toured in over 40 countries.
This time Parvathy Omanakuttan is in Mongolia to speak against gender based violence and discrimination, to meet female MPs at the decision making level to exchange opinions on the issue and talk about further actions. There will also be a fundraising event today, March 20th. The money from the event will go to activities that are campaigning against gender based violence.

"Let’s live a happy life in Mongolia” campaign
March 20 ( The “Day of Happiness” is being observed today with the theme of “Let`s live a happy life in Mongolia”. In 2012, the United Nations (UN) declared March 20th to be observed as the International Day of Happiness.
Marking this global celebration, countries all over the world coordinate campaigns and series of events on March 20th. In Mongolia to celebrate the "Day of happiness", “Az Jargalin Zam” (Road to Happiness) NGO, along with “Advertising news” newspaper are conduct targeted events for the day.
There are several campaigns being organized with the cooperation of the Metropolitan police, and the Capital Improvements Office of the City for the day such as “No car alarms in Ulaanbaatar City” to allow good quality of life, “Love the City and don’t litter”, “Happy smile” and “Family dinner".

Ethnosphere art project kicks off next month
March 20 (UB Post) An art project titled “Ethnosphere” will commence next month.
The project will encapsulate efforts by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Arts Council of Mongolia, professional composers, musicians, fashion designers and painters, who will create complex artworks on a professional level.
Ethnosphere will be a complex creation of national music compositions, fashion shows and paintings with modern trends. The purpose of the project is to promote Mongolia to the world.
The USA-headquartered Universal Music Mastering Studio, a part of the Universal Music Group family, will work with Mongolia to implement the project.
Musical compositions of the Ethnosphere project will be protected by Broadcast Music Inc. global intellectual property organization.

Border points under new management starting April 1
March 20 (UB Post) The Cabinet Office organized a “Reforms in Border Checkpoints” consultative meeting on Wednesday.
At the meeting, the government’s actions to eliminate bureaucracy at the checkpoints were presented and ways to correlate actions of the affiliated agencies were explored.
In his opening speech, Chairman of the Cabinet Office Ch.Saikhanbileg read a letter sent from a citizen who experienced a great burden while importing goods through one of these ports. In order to pass freight priced at 14 thousand USD through the port, the importer spent six thousand USD, a quarter of which went to the pockets of corrupt officers, the letter says.
In order to change practices and abolish this kind of corruption, the government has been making great efforts, Saikhanbileg noted. Cooperation treaties were recently concluded with the relevant authorities of neighboring countries, and technological advancements were introduced to the dry port’s main export gates, he said.
Ch.Saikhanbileg announced that the border checkpoint authorities will shift into a new organizational structure on April 1, reported Montsame News Agency.

Road projects worth 74 billion MNT planned for 2014
March 20 (UB Post) In 2014, 40.4 km of roads will be built, 54.9 km of roads will be expanded, and 243.2 meters of bridges will be renovated. In addition, nine water drainage pipes and two overpasses will be built, while 1.84 km of new roads made of natural stones will become available at the cost of 74.1 billion MNT, reported Chief of the Ulaanbaatar City Auto Road Authority (UCARA) D.Nanzaddorj on March 17.
The UCARA paved a 280 meter stone road on the east side of the Music and Dance College last year. The stone road doesn’t require relocation of underground engineering pipelines and is well-known for its good quality and efficient water drainage system in Europe.
This year, eight stone roads will be built in the city.
Stone roads are more expensive than regular asphalt roads. Only 380 meters of stone roads costs 700 million MNT.
In 2013, a tender was announced for the construction of six overpasses for pedestrians in Ulaanbaatar. However, only three were approved for construction due to financial reasons. The first of the overpasses became operational on the road adjacent to Bumbugur trade center.
This year, the remaining two overpasses will be constructed.
In addition, five taxi stations will be established along the Peace Avenue and nine bus stops will be relocated this year. Ten taxi stations opened last year.
Road constructions will start on April 1 and major road construction projects that have started in 2013 as well as major road repairs will end by July 5. A working group in charge of inspecting road projects will impose legal actions on companies that built below standard works from this year.
Below is a brief interview with Chief of the UCARA D.Nanzaddorj about the road projects that will be completed in 2014.
-How much of the road construction that will finish this year has started in 2013?
-Over 60 percent of all road constructions started last year.
-How much does it cost to pave a km of road? Did the cost rise this year compared to 2013?
-Bitumen price has risen due to unstable USD against MNT rate. We have studied this and found that a km of road that is 15 meters wide costs 1.2 billion MNT to construct.
-There are quite a lot of car parks that charge. Where does the fee go?
-We have 12 contracted car parks that charge in the city. According to our contract, the owners of the car park take all the fees for the first three months. From the fourth month, the company has to transfer 60 percent of the collected fees to the Ulaanbaatar City Road Budget. However, no company has given their 60 percent of collected fees to the fund so far. The companies reported that car parks cost a lot to run.
Therefore, we are planning to submit a proposal to our managing board to start a division at the UCARA in charge of managing car park operations.
In the city, there are 16 car parks currently operating without a permit.

Mongolia to modernize payment systems through a 20 million USD loan from ADB
March 20 (UB Post) The Ministry of Economic Development and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed to implement a “Payment System Modernization” project in Mongolia, after signing an agreement for a 20 million USD loan for the project last week.
The project will run for two years to address issues such as the development of a non-cash payment system and advancement of inspection on monetary policies realization through controlling monetary flow.
Under the agreement, the ADB will issue a 20 million USD loan with a term of 15 years, while the Mongolian government allocates an additional 2.5 million USD.
Mongolia will pay a commitment charge of 0.15 percent per annum for the loan. Interest and other charges on the loan will be paid twice a year in February and August from 2019 to 2033.
The project is expected to strengthen interbank payment system infrastructure for interbank payments and transactions, enhance the requisite legal and regulatory framework to prevent money laundering, financing of terrorism and systemic settlement failure.

D.Oyuntsetseg: Politicians ruined journalism
March 20 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Senior Officer of the Public Relations and Communication Division of the Office of the President of Mongolia, D.Oyuntsetseg, who worked for many years in the parliament’s public relations department.
The interview highlights her professional views about the development of countries and modern Mongolian journalism.
-Everyone sees the development of countries differently. They think within their profession. For a journalist, how is the development of a country defined?
-I think that if one moves, they strive for their country. That is, if they are employed and work, this somehow helps society. Striving for your country doesn’t mean you have to have a big business and develop big projects. Although it is work that develops a country.
As long as one is doing something for society on a daily basis, they are contributing to the development of the country. Blending with normal citizens, meeting and talking with people of the parliament who are working to develop the country are contributions us journalists provide to develop the country by advertising good works done for the country and giving warnings about wrong works. Journalists must work ahead of society. I believe that we must always work ahead of time.
Before, society used to follow journalists. Now, with rapid advancements in society, journalists seem to follow the times. Contributions made by journalists for the country notifies society. For instance, they find out what sorts of careless moves MPs are about to make, ahead of time. We need to receive warnings from the media.
The people who are supposed to contribute to the development of a country are actually journalists.
-From the perspective of a journalist, how well is the country developing?
-It’s developing well. There are some who say it’s not developing. In my opinion, it’s developing well. Since when has Mongolia had so many cars driving on the streets of Ulaanbaatar? Since when did it have such tall buildings?
Development of the country lies behind all of this. Nowadays, there’s hardly anyone who wants to sit at home doing nothing. Everyone’s doing their work with all of their might and developing the country very efficiently. Due to poor decisions made by politicians, there are times when we get off track and lean the wrong way. Aside from that, I think that the overall mass is developing.
-Freedom of the press is said to be restricted. How exactly is it being restricted? How will we expand restricted freedom?
-Politicians got a hold of the press. It’s false to say only one politician or business man is behind this. Journalists should have different perspectives and actions. They need to reveal the wrong and praise the good as much as possible.
There are good and bad in both the Democratic Party and Mongolian People’s Party. With courage, faults need to be criticized and achievements need to be praised. Even if it was one politician pulling the strings, he’s neither good nor bad.
As long as he’s human, he’ll have his good and bad sides. Therefore, both good and bad aspects need to brought to light.
When the Mongolian People’s Party pulls some strings, the entire Democratic Party is written about as being bad in the media and when the Democratic Party pulls some strings, the Mongolian People’s Party is written up as bad. This situation has ruined journalism significantly.
-Does this mean that journalism has become a big obstacle for development?
-Exactly. If journalists had done exactly like the Golden Generation of the 1990s, criticizing the wrong and praising the right, the development of journalism would have been completely different from today’s.
Journalists are the critics of society but now they aren’t hunting their prey. If they leave their prey on the side and hunt others, the one’s they excuse will keep on with wrongdoings. If journalists criticize without discriminating, society will naturally develop. Nevertheless, journalists who are supposed to be doctors of society are unable to do their work as critics.
-Wasn’t it because there wasn’t any other choice for journalism? Wasn’t it because there weren’t any wealthy journalists with funds to overcome the expenses of publishing a newspaper?
-There weren’t any journalists or anyone in the journalism sector with that much money, which is why we ended up with the current state. If it didn’t cost that much money to publish a newspaper and if they had printing machines and paper, it would have been clean. Since it wasn’t possible, politicians naturally got a hold of the press starting from 2000 and split it in two.
-Now, digital journalism is advancing rapidly. Is this big leverage to get out of the grasp of politicians?
-It has to be leverage. However, politicians are trying to get their hands on it. When you try to disclose information about one side, it’s soon blocked, right? No matter if it’s good or bad, news in newspapers is still kept on it.
Later, whether it’s corrected or given tolerance, it still passes by. The digital world develops one exceptional publishing freedom: comments inform you of the social atmosphere. Through comments, you can find out about social psychology and how people are referring to issues.
The government is blocking some comments. What’s wrong with typing South Korea? This is absolutely wrong. This is a democratic society. Nowadays, citizens are able to give feedback to the media. It’s not just leaving after reading. We’re getting a good reading of the social atmosphere. When the Prime Minister discusses an issue, through comments, we are able to show how society is viewing the matter and whether it’s correct or wrong.
Everyone expresses their thoughts. This is one huge device that will surveil social psychology. For these reasons, digital journalism is contributing massively to social development. If politicians are smart enough, instead of blocking comments, they will analyze the atmosphere of society through the comments citizens leave.
-The chances of working in risky conditions with restrictions seem rather low for Mongolian journalists. How exactly is the freedom of journalists being violated?
-Freedom isn’t about catching us and imprisoning, beating or abusing journalists. Media rights is measured on our rights to access information and how open it is for us. Today, if you go to any ministry or office and make an inquiry, they won’t give you information.
When you go to connected ministries for clarification of serious issues, they don’t say anything. They keep on transferring you to someone else, and before you know it, the issue dies out. This is what’s restricting the freedom of the media.
If information that isn’t a threat to national security and unrelated to secrets of the state is open, it means that the freedom of the media is provided. If you look at it from this perspective, freedom of the media is insufficient, especially at the state and ministry levels. It’s different for normal organizations and citizens.
The fact that employees dodge your questions and answer you very politely, saying that they don’t know and to ask another person – or that they’ll inform you later when they are about to find a weak spot in places that are causing the most confusion and complications – clearly shows that there’s no freedom in the media. Although the doors of the ministry and government offices are open, officials will not open their mouths.
-During most of your time working in journalism, you were a journalist covering parliament. How competent are journalists in the political field today?
-A long time ago, media organizations used to pick the best journalist for politics. This means the most educated journalists with the best analytical capabilities, who wouldn’t wimp out in front of politician, were able to work and interview politicians.
You can continue working in politics. If you are incapable of doing your work, you’re fired straight away. Penalties were a very fussy department. Now, a young man may disappear after working for a few months in politics. What happens is that he becomes an official. Another young man shows up and after two months he disappears. He also becomes the head of an  office. Now, promotions are given very quickly and it doesn’t last long. Regulations are lost this way. A child who’s just found the rhythm to do things disappears. They actually need to work for at least a year to get the hang of things.
Becoming a department head after two months means that he is being promoted when he just got the hang of things. Thus, political journalists have worsened. While one is interviewing someone, another comes and takes the interview over altogether, with no manners. Only a few are actually getting clarifications and interviews, the rest are all the same.
-Regarding the degrading capability of journalists, isn’t it connected to too many new newspapers, televisions and websites?
-Well, it’s only a matter of time. There were many yellow newspapers in the 1990s, right? Everyone used to read yellow newspapers. Only a few are still remaining. Currently, there’s a flood of daily newspapers, websites and television stations. As time goes by, it’ll automatically decrease. Our leaders are shutting down television stations and websites, which is completely unnecessary. In time, those losing in the market will close down.

Mongolian hockey team takes second win at Challenge Cup 2014
March 20 (UB Post) The Mongolian national ice hockey team is currently competing in the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Challenge Cup being held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from March 16 to 22.
The Mongolian ice hockey team won its second victory in the games against the Kuwait team with 3:1.
Mongolia had previously won against the Hong Kong team, and lost to Taiwan.
As of press time, Mongolia will face off against Thailand and United Arab Emirates next on March 22.
The top six teams of Asia, including Mongolia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Hong Kong will compete in round robin system at the seventh edition of the International Ice Hockey Federation Challenge Cup in Abu Dhabi until March 22.
The Mongolian national hockey team made its international debut at the 1999 Asian Winter Games. The team did not participate in any International Ice Hockey Federation tournaments until the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship Division III tournament. Mongolia is currently ranked 46th in the International Ice Hockey Federation world ranking.

Nauryz festival to run at Chinggis Square
March 20 (UB Post) Nauryz, a Kazakh traditional spring festival o, will be held at the Chinggis Square today, March 21.
The Bayan-Ulgii Province Council in Ulaanbaatar, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Ulaanbaatar City Governor’s Office decided to celebrate this festival with a series of cultural activities promoting Kazakh traditions, customs and arts.
Within the festival, Kazakh artist brothers J.Oilan and J.Tolgan will display their exhibition at the Chinggis Square.
Furthermore, a wrestling tournament for 120 young wrestlers will be held today at the Mongolian Wrestling Palace.

Renter’s woes
March 20 (UB Post) Generally, students and young single people have some of the same troubles in the real world. Leaving the nest can be a difficult experience.
My major was in journalism, and after graduating from university, I was able to find a new job. I lived with a distant relative, he had a Mongolian style dwelling with four walls, but more children than the number of walls. Every night was very noisy and it was difficult to read a book, and nearly impossible to write articles at home. So, I decided to move out and put an advertisement looking for a room to rent in the newspaper and online.
The next day, a man called me at the newsroom. Why the newsroom? Because when I was at my relative’s home, I was changing a light bulb and received an electric shock. All the electric appliances broke during the process, including my cell phone. All the nearby homes also lost power because of my electrical mishap.
I told the first man who called me that I was a single journalist. Then he asked me, “Do you have a boyfriend or husband who you are waiting for? Please, tell me frankly.” He sounded very straightforward. I told him that in two years my boyfriend would graduate from university and come to Mongolia. After that, the conversation died out.
Ten minutes later, the phone rang again and a woman asked me, “Are you the one who is asking for a room to rent? Can you teach English to my daughter?” I told her I couldn’t speak English, but that I knew Spanish. She said, “Oh my daughter knows English a little bit, I am just looking for someone who can teach English.” I said, “How about teaching Spanish, is that possible?” She said no, it was unnecessary.
Common questions and answers in conversations with landlords:
Q: Do you drink vodka?
A: No, never. No smoking. I’m a person who only writes and reads.
Q: Do you snore?
A: No, I sleep like the dead and don’t make any noise.
Q: Can you wash the floor and cook?
A: When I was student I did these things regularly, as my daily routine. Please rent your room to me. I am a serious and well behaved person.
I spoke at length with a woman who answered my inquiry. She asked if I was interested in renting three rooms and that she and her daughter would be living in one room. I asked, “What, are you a single?” She replied, “Why don’t you understand such simple things? It’s just the two of us, my daughter and I.” It seemed promising so I asked how we could meet. “Our home is located in the 9th district,” then the woman stopped and said, “Don’t dream of criticizing our laundry service, friend. You can live in our women’s clothes changing room.”
That afternoon, a man who sounded drunk called me.
“Are you the one who is looking to rent a room?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
“I have one extra room that is 10 square meters. Tell me the truth, you won’t just bring some guys over and throw parties with loud music and drink, will you?”
“Don’t worry, brother. I’ll lock myself in my room and read a book.”
“Do you have some relatives who live in the countryside or abroad?”
“I have one brother who works as a driver in the province center. That’s all.”
“Forget about foreign countries. Does your brother send you some meat or dairy products when winter comes?”
“No, nothing.”
He went on to find out if I knew bank loan managers or shop owners, or if I had any friends who did. I told him I did not. Then he asked if I had any close friends who were government or state employees.
Again, I answered no. He wanted me to give him my 1072 share certificate provided by the government, which was not a problem. One month’s rent for his room was 500,000 MNT.
When I told my friends how much he was asking, they said it was crazy and the same price for one month in a three room apartment. They said that guy was such a cheater, and instead I should just save my money and buy an apartment. But they didn’t know my current living conditions, that every day after work, I went to my relative’s house and spent more than one hour walking along dark streets full of waste water. Sometimes I slept in chairs at work. How could they know my tough situation?
Another man called me, and asked if I worked as journalist at a newspaper.
“Did you find a room to rent?”
“No, do you have an extra room for rent?”
“A long time ago, I was working as a high ranking official, but I was never interviewed for the newspaper or any other press. All my co-workers were written about in the newspaper, and others took special pension systems. How is your writing skill? Can you write about me?”
“I’m pretty good. I can write about you.”
“What party do you belong to? Are you a democratic party member?”
“No. I am not a member of the republican or democratic party.”
He decided not to take me in as a renter.
The office phone rang all day like a reception desk. The chief editor’s face looked like it was turning red and getting angry. Some of my co-workers left to work outside of the office. I stayed alone after work to work overtime. Unfortunately, the phone did not ring after everyone left. Suddenly, the phone rang. I was so happy to hear this woman’s voice.
“Are you really single and without a home? Don’t you have some belongings?”
“Exactly. My property is several books and one computer.”
“How tall are you?”
“How tall am I? I’m 160 cm.”
“You are shorter than me, and younger than me?”
“I’ll just live in your room. But if you want something done by someone tall, I can stand on top of a chair and do things.”
“No, honey. How much do you weigh?”
“Over 70 kg.”
“Aww, you are so short but so fat?”
“Sorry, I did not put out an advertisement in the “find a soul mate” section, I am looking for a room for rent.”
“I know, but a single young person who is looking for a room for rent is looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend. Bye.”
Over the next several days, I become the toy of others, knocking on doors in the dark frozen winter and making people angry. People lied to me and then got angry and said I shouldn’t place an advertisement looking for a room. Fortunately, winter is over and spring begins. Sometimes, I go to my relative’s home or I sleep at work. When summer begins, families will go out of town for vacations. I’ll put another newspaper advertisement out looking for a room for rent. Maybe there’s a family looking for someone who can take care of seniors and children. Until I find a home, I’ll just keep living and writing.

A.Tumenjargal: I felt the Holy Land in Tibet
March 20 (UB Post) Photographer A.Tumenjargal opened his exhibition “Tibet-Through to the Holy Land” about the nature and people of Tibet, at the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery from March 14 to 16.
A.Tumenjargal focuses on three themes: nature, portrait and city. This time he displayed the best of his travel photos. “Tibet- Through to the Holy Land” marks the first of a series projects named “Lost World”, which will continue with its next edition on Uyghur culture. A.Tumenjargal also unveiled his previous exhibition’s photos, “Mongolia- Savage Garden,” which was on display in Tianjin, China.
Professional photographers and amateurs know him as Alex. Here is a brief interview with A.Tumenjargal.
-How did you imagine Tibet for the first time? What did you feel from the first day in Tibet?
-I had studied all about Tibet, such as lifestyle, society and development, for one year before I went to Tibet. I read negative information on the internet or something like that, more so than positive. That’s why I did not imagine Tibet would be nice. But I went there and saw a really different world from what I thought. From the first day of taking photos, I realized and felt Tibet is a place of comfort for me. One thing which is awesome, is that it is possible to see four seasons at once in Tibet.
-Did you see lot of things in Tibet that were the same as in Mongolia?
-Yes, but Mongolians are seeking property and materialistic things. Mongolians are listening to too much unnecessary information. Tibetans have a closer relationship with religion. That is why Tibetans have less greed. Also, they are without gossip and unnecessary things. They feel peace from their living environment. I felt the Holy Land in Tibet. They prefer health and peace rather than property.
-You traveled around Mongolia twice and shot beautiful landscapes with your camera?
-Mongolia has the riches of natural resources. But those natural resources may become nearly extinct if we don’t protect them.

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