Friday, June 27, 2014

Mongolia Brief June 27, 2014 Part II



5 Billion Financial Support with 5 % interest rate for SME’s

June 27 (Mongolian Economy) SME, small- and medium-sized enterprises held their first big forum today to discuss policies being implemented regarding the function of SMEs. The city government talked with representatives to ask for their opinion reflecting on a SME supporting program they hope to establish. Currently, there are over 26,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises in the city who sent 350 representatives to partake in today’s event. 

The city hall has budgeted 5 billion MNT to support these businesses. The biggest problem they face is interest rates, thus the government decided to keep interest rates under 5%. S. Baatar, an SME owner, said, “The biggest problem for us is to receive financial support. I’ve written three to four projects and submitted them in order to receive financial assistance with lower interest rates.” 
S. Baatar runs a salon for tailoring with four disabled men. He is in need of financial support to expand the operation of his business, which has become a pressing issue for him. The tender process is not clear, making financial aid even more important.
The Director of the SME Support Center, B. Odgerel, said “It’s common for Mongolian SMEs to run only one type of business. For example, many of them resort to tailoring. If we want to advance this process, small- and medium-sized enterprises should get together and integrate in order to become bigger.” 
The city government is aiming to supply more financial support to these projects discussed during today’s forum. They are taking the guarantee upon themselves and establishing no limits on loans taken by these SMEs. 

International Monetary Fund Warns Mongolia to Face

Economic Crisis, if Monetary Policy Interest Rate Not Increased

June 27 (infomongolia.com) On June 27, 2014, the Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD received in his office the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Director of Asia and Pacific Department at IMS, Mr. Markus Rodlauer and other accompanying delegates. 
At the beginning of meeting, Speaker Z.Enkhbold emphasized that the supreme legal body, the Parliament of Mongolia is focusing to amend some laws and regulations that aim to create favorable environment regarding the Government’s 100 Days Action Plan.
During the meeting, IMF Deputy Managing Director N.Shinohara warned that in order to overcome the short-term economic challenges facing the economy, Mongolia should need to tighten its expansionary monetary and fiscal policies. He also added some measures should be taken such as to reduce money supply and total amount of loans in terms of raising interest rates of monetary policy, which were carried out during 2009 economic crisis faced Mongolia as well as the global economy. However, monetary policy alone cannot overcome this problem in short period, thus the monetary policy should be supported by fiscal policy, in particular, a non-budgetary investment is increasing the total supply of credit that directly impacts on the budget expansion.
IMF Deputy Managing Director also mentioned that the role of Development Bank of Mongolia is great, but needs to be monitored and it is required to include in the state budget the foreign loans and supplies accounted in the Bank. Moreover, Mongolia immediately should reduce budget expenditure to overcome short-term problems. 
In turn, Speaker Z.Enkhbold responded expressing his gratitude for evaluating the actual conditions and said if the country to increase its interest policy rate it would affect weightily to individuals and entities that would follow-up with bank loan declining and in order not to collide the economy entirely, the Parliament, Government and other affiliated organs will consider on issues forwarded.
Afterwards, IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara once reminded that if the monetary policy interest rate is not increased at policy level, Mongolia is likely to face economic crisis.
Mongolia’s current monetary policy interest rate is at 10.5% announced by Central Bank and is followed since June 24, 2013.

“Flower Center” Junction Operational As 4-Way Intersection

June 27 (infomongolia.com) In the frameworks of the "Street" Project financed by Chinggis Bond under Government Action Plan, high congestion junctions in Ulaanbaatar city are being converted into 4-ways since last year and a total of 18 junctions were renewed in 2013, so this year it is planned to renew another 12 intersections.
As part of “Street” Project, the first job of this year is accomplished by renewing a 3-way junction known as “Flower Center” into 4-way further connecting with Seoul street and opening of new intersection was held today on June 27, where Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar and other officials involving executors were also present.
The new stretched road goes through Presidential Winter Palace, which is a state protective zone and was shared for public use that enables to reduce traffic at certain level.
In his opening remarks, Premier N.Altankhuyag noted, “The Street Project will be implemented in those roads where civilians facing traffic jam and losing their time. Next week, 4-road intersections will be operational at “100 Ail” and “Enebish Avenue” junctions”.
The blueprint for “Flower Center” 4-way junction was developed by “AIB” LLC and executed by “Express Road” LLC, where Japanese “CTI Engineering International” worked as advisory company and about 2 billion MNT (Tugrug) was spent for this project.

Mongolia’s flourishing football fan base

June 27 (UB Post) Why ‘World Cup Fever’ may not end at the final whistle
It is impossible to have missed the fervor surrounding the FIFA World Cup in Mongolia, however this is not simply a one-off frenzy. From the numbers of young people sporting Manchester United jerseys around Ulaanbaatar, to the growing memberships of Mongolian fan clubs of Bayern Munich or Chelsea, it is clear that football is a growing cultural influence on the lives of many Mongolians.
Football leagues from across the world, but predominantly European leagues such as Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, and Germany’s Bundesliga, have a substantial and rapidly growing Mongolian fan base. Over 7,400 people like the Mongolian Chelsea FC Fans page on Facebook, which claims to be the country’s largest fan club, while nearly 4,000 Mongolians like a page for Manchester United supporters, and Real Madrid FC Mongolia boasts over 5,000 fans.
The extent of these fans’ allegiance is substantial: for them, 3 a.m. trips to the pub to watch a game is not just a novelty experience every four years, but a way of life. T.Zorigtsaikhan, a member of the Mongolian fan club for Italian side AC Milan, describes how dozens of fellow fans meet “mostly every weekend” to watch live games during the club season. “Most of the games are [at] 3:45 in the morning, and most of them are on Sunday, so in the morning you are screwed!”
Zorigtsaikhan talks with pride about the AC Milan football jerseys that he owns, and praises the history and the culture of sporting loyalty of his adopted club. His dedication is not unique; more than 50 Mongolian football fans travelled to China in 2011 with the local AC Milan and Inter Milan fan clubs when the two teams played for the Super Cup in Beijing. For many Mongolians, it seems, “football fever” is not a temporary malaise during the World Cup, but a life-long affliction. The story of how Mongolians came to acquire such strong passions for a particular football club several thousand kilometers away is unique and touching. In many cases, children were bought a team jersey by their parents when Chinese-made football shirts flooded the clothing market in the early 2000s. As soon as they were old enough to read the name Beckham, Ronaldo, or Kak√° on their back, their allegiances were set.
According to Zorigtsaikhan, Mongolian football fever started during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was held jointly by Japan and South Korea. The excitement surrounding Asia’s first hosting of the World Cup swept the continent, and watching football on television became “fashionable” for all Mongolians, whereas it had previously been simply an indulgence of those already involved in playing the sport locally. However, the remarkable fact is that this widespread support was maintained after the World Cup left Asia and live matches returned to unsociable hours in the middle of the night. The mass appeal of this year’s World Cup in Brazil will no doubt boost the popular reach of football once again, and if the example from 2002 is anything to go by, then this groundswell of interest will be sustained in the future.
Football’s popularity is not confined to Ulaanbaatar’s cosmopolitan population. The Football Fans in Dornod Facebook group has 350 active members who meet up regularly to watch games together, as well as playing the sport themselves and organizing games for youngsters. Sh.Urgoo, a secondary school teacher who manages the organization, suggests that football is increasingly important in young children’s lives, who play at school, and talk about their favorite players and teams in English language lessons.
Targeting children has been a major policy of the Mongolian Football Federation (MFF), whose grassroots program has sought to promote football through physical education at schools. Their project to build artificial pitches, train coaches, and organize competitions at schools has so far covered seven of Mongolia’s 21 provinces. When complete, they hope to have introduced 200,000 children to football in over 800 secondary schools. Additionally, the MFF has been organizing a grassroots coaching session at the National Stadium every Children’s Day since 2002, the latest of which reached maximum capacity attendance of 300 people.
D.Ganbat, general secretary of the MFF, suggests that, as these children grow older, there will also naturally evolve opportunities for young adults to play, to increase the size and competitiveness of Mongolia’s national amateur and semi-professional leagues. However, Zorigtsaikhan, who—in addition to being an AC Milan fan—plays as a goalkeeper at the amateur Oasis Football Club, suggests that these programs are long overdue, claiming that there are still not enough opportunities for young adults who demonstrate their love of football by supporting European teams to play themselves.
Zorigtsaikhan argues that this is largely due to the poor condition of fields across the country, although the artificial pitches being built in conjunction with the MFF are slowly solving this problem, rejuvenating the country’s crumbling sports infrastructure.
The appeal of football to Mongolians, therefore, seems to precede interest in getting out on the pitch themselves. Both Zorigtsaikhan and D.Ganbat emphasize how football’s increasing popularity comes from the social dimension of being able to watch, enjoy, and discuss games with their friends. There is substantial opportunity to translate this widespread passion into mass-participation sport—an opportunity that is, slowly but surely, being taken.

Policies containing solutions

June 27 (UB Post) The parliament is discussing a draft resolution submitted by the government about some measures to include in railway policy implementation. According to the resolution, new 1,435 mm narrow gauge track will be laid for routes from Tavantolgoi to Gashuunsukhait, Sainshand to Zamiin-Uud, and Khoot to Bichigt, and new 1,520 mm broad gauge track for routes from Arts Suuri to Erdenet, the Tavantolgoi-Sainshand-Baruun-Urt – Khoot-Choibalsan route, and from Khoot to Nomrog.
This became a big issue on social media. The dispute about using mixed track gauges has continued for around six years. Despite the general resolution to include broad gauge track in the railway policy, the government made an amendment specifying that the government must present the parliament with a proposal to change the width of gauges on railway routes from mineral processing plants to border points.
A coalition government of the DP and MPP was established from 2008 to 2012. The broad gauge decision was one of the biggest joint decisions they made. When the policy was first approved, a 1,100 km track from Tavantolgoi to Choibalsan was to be built, for starters, followed by a 45.5 km track from Nariin Sukhait mine to Shiveekh uren border point, 267 km track from Ukhaakhudag to Gashuunsukhait border point, 380 km track for the Khoot-Tamsagbulag-Numrug route, and a 200 km track from Khuut to Bichigt. The boast to build the first 1,100 km track within two years became an empty promise. As a result of the constant disagreement over the last six years, they haven’t built even one meter of track. They’re planning to finish the 267 km track from Ukhaakhudag to Gashuunsukhait this year, and the technical blueprints for the Tavantolgoi-Sainshand-Khuut-Choibalsan-Ereentsav route and Khoot to Bichigt route are at 85 percent completion. This is how our railway projects are progressing.
Commotion, not gauge width, will affect national security
Mongolian viewers watched a television program where the Former Minister of Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development, Kh.Battulga, and other industry representatives explained why narrow gauges are safer and more beneficial. The televised discussion lasted for several days. Viewers mainly got the message that Mongolia would be taken over by China if a railway track with narrow gauge was built in the south. It’s reported that the majority of the public took this poorly, as independence is the most valuable aspect of a country. Also, it triggered nationalists and started a huge commotion among the people. The show gave people the impression that narrow gauge threatens national security. Some people think it’s naive to think that Chinese people will come flooding in to Mongolia and take over the country as soon as the railway is erected. Contrarily, the public commotion may threaten national security instead of the railway issue.
The main market for Mongolian coal exportation is China. The government calculated that Mongolia will save on transshipment facility costs and profit if a narrow gauge for direct coal exportation to China from mines is built. Also, narrow gauge is consistent with international standards, meaning that Mongolia can utilize it to connect with other countries. As soon as the TV show aired and began debate among the people, the government issued a statement saying, “We’re officially announcing that we’re taking decisive measures to address law enforcement agencies regarding this matter, since this show had content that may harm Mongolia’s relations with our two neighboring countries, economic independence, and the national security of Mongolia.”
Let’s stop the commotion and get to work
The government submitted a draft resolution within the frameworks of the policy approved by the parliament. Despite all the criticism it brought, the draft resolution was still included in the policy. If Mongolia didn’t have the tradition of public dispute surrounding gauge issues for the last six years, we would’ve already built the railway and seen its economic benefits. Therefore, some people are supporting the idea to stop the dispute and start encouraging the implementation of the railway policy approved by the parliament in 2010. It’s time to persuade people to execute domestic projects and stop the provocation. Neither an individual nor a political party’s interest is more valuable than the prosperity of the country. It’s prudent to pay more attention to providing more opportunities for the government to work and improve security.
Source: Unuudur http://www.mongolnews.mn/p/53097

The world of Haruki Murakami expands for Mongolia with ‘1Q84’

June 27 (UB Post) The Mongolian translation of the three volume book “1Q84”, by Haruki Murakami, was released on June 26 at Internom Bookstore. Haruki Murakami is a famous Japanese novelist whose books have been translated in 50 different languages and sold millions of copies across the world. His works are classified as surreal, nihilistic and contemporary. Murakami has won numerous awards including the World Fantasy Award (2006), the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). He has been said to be one of the greatest living novelists. He has also translated many famous western books into Japanese, such as “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the complete works of Raymond Carver.
“1Q84” was first released in 2009 in Japan, and the novel quickly become a sensation worldwide. The first printing in Japan sold out on its release day.
Translator O.Jargalsaikhan officially translated two of the three volumes of “1Q84”. Monsudar Press chose Jargalsaikhan to translate “1Q84” and hopes for her to translate the third volume soon. I asked her about the difficulties she faced during her translation, and she said, “It was quite hard to translate what he means exactly. When you first read [his work] you understand it in one way, and when you read it another time it transforms into something else. So I worked very hard to ascertain what he really meant behind his words.” She also warned Mongolian translators that translation is a direct thing, texts should not be filtered through the translator’s perspective, but should only be concentrated on how to put the writer’s ideas into another language.
Translator Tegshzaya said a few words during the book release. Before reading Murakami’s books, she remembered asking herself, “He is not a mystery writer, he is not an adventure writer, and he is not an erotic writer. Then what kind of writing could be that interesting and addictive?” However, after reading his books, she concluded that Murakami’s readers get connected to his world as he allows them to experience the story from the protagonist’s perspective, which takes place in our modern world.
Previously, Murakami’s short story “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning” was translated from English by Ayurzana. And B.Gerel translated his most renowned book, “Norwegian Wood” into Mongolian.
In “1Q84”, “Q” signifies the number nine (nine is “kyu” in Japanese). It takes place in the year 1984 in Tokyo, where a young woman exits an emergency staircase on an elevated highway, just to enter a parallel universe where the very nature of reality is changed. The book is a combination of two different stories occurring simultaneously, and at the end, intertwining. Murakami is used to this writing style, as he wrote in a similar manner for “Kafka on the Shore” and “After Dark”. The revolutionary book “1984”, by George Orwell, inspired the name of Murakami’s novel. Interestingly, Murakami often names his books after his favorite songs, for example, “Norwegian Wood” (after the Beatles song) and “Dance, Dance, Dance” (after the Beach Boys song).
Murakami was born in Kyoto, in 1949. His childhood and teenage years were spent immersed in the rich literature of western books by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Franz Kafka, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens and so on. That is why his writing style differs significantly from those of his Japanese contemporaries. He graduated from Waseda University with a major in drama. Just like other young people at the time, he did not know what to choose as his profession, he only knew that he wanted to read. During his university years he met his wife Yoko, which inspired his fiction novel “Norwegian Wood”.
Murakami started writing when he was 29 and the idea to write came upon him when he was watching a baseball game. Whether the baseball game inspired him to start writing, or the time just came for him to write, is still debatable for him. Before that, he used to own a jazz bar, therefore his writing is greatly influenced by music, especially jazz, classical and rock and roll. His first novel, “Hear the Wind Sing”, received a youth literary prize. It is really rare for a writer to win a renowned prize for their first novel. Generally, writers have peak and low times in their literary careers but Murakami is an exception, his readers cherish all of his books equally.
He writes novels that are both surreal and real at the same time. Some people even say that his short stories are even better than his novels, but he considers himself a novelist, because a novel takes much effort and perseverance. He usually writes about loneliness, alienation, cats, women’s ears, music, books and the simplest things in a meditative way. His writing style flows like a river, with the use of simple words and precise logic. His books usually contain surreal, unrealistic occurrences happening to the most ordinary people. His imagination is very original, in that it will fully satisfy your intellectual need for magic and philosophical contemplation at just the right amount.
Behind his wild imagination lies a very highly regimented life. He wakes up every day at 4 a.m., goes running or swimming, and starts to work on his writing for five to six hours. The rest of the day is spent listening to music and reading. His non-fiction book “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”, is a personal memoir on running. He said writing honestly about running and writing honestly about himself is the same thing. He is a marathon runner, and he also started entering triathlons. The reason behind his running tendencies is his will to move his body to balance his imagination and reality. He once said, no matter how simple and boring one action may seem, keep at it long enough. It can become a contemplative, even a meditative act, which explains his preference for monotone activities.
All of his protagonists somehow resemble Murakami, taking on wild adventures and on the way, experiencing highly surrealistic events that seem very real, involving odd natured women, enigmatic cats, and philosophical but very down to earth conversations, which makes Murakami’s works memorable and unique.

Mongolia’s ‘contortion sisters’ awe ‘America’s Got Talent’

June 27 (UB Post) America’s Got Talent reality television series’ season nine is taking place in Las Vegas, USA currently.
Mongolian contortionist sister G.Erdenesuvd and G.Buyankhishig are participating in the show. The sisters have been working in America for 12 years.
In the first round of the show, judges admired their flexibility and unique contortion performance, and passed them to the next round.
On June 25, Unuudur newspaper spoke to G.Erdenesuvd about the show and their performance.
I saw a video of your performance on YouTube and it was amazing. Thank you for showing the world what Mongolian contortionism is.
Thank you. The audiences accepted us well. It was great that we were announced as “Mongolian gorgeous women” on stage.
When was the last time you came to Mongolia?
It has been ten years. I go to Mongolia in August and will be kissed by my mom and grandmother. My grandmother asks me always “When will you come back?”. I can’t wait to go back to Mongolia.
Where are you working now?
We have a contract with Cirque Dream Show. This show travels around the USA to perform.
Which state do you live?
We live in Orlando city of Florida State. We have settled here since 2006. But we did not stay at home for a long time until 2011. We stayed at home two weeks a year. Now our job is quite flexible.
Why did you decide to participate in America’s Got Talent?
It was a chance to promote Mongolian contortionism to the world.
There is picture of you and your sister teaching contortionism on Facebook. Do you teach contortionism to foreigners?
Yes, we do. We teach contortionism on our free time. We taught contortionism to 10 Mongolian girls. Now they are working in various circuses and theaters in the USA.
Do you perform aerial silk performances?
Our performance is called, “Aerial Sphere”. Audiences like it. Previously we performed one called “Four aerial cube”. Aerial silk is different from contortionism. Five girls of the above mentioned 10 girls performed aerial silk performances with us before.
Are you connected with Mongolian contortionists and teachers?
Yes. We are connected with our first teacher D.Majigsuren and State Honored Artist and contortionist B.Norovsambuu.
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