Friday, July 25, 2014

Mongolia Brief July 24, 2014 Part V

Kh.Oyunchimeg: Competition sharpens my skills and leads me to success
July 24 (UB Post) In this year’s Naadam Archery Competition, over 360 archers competed to excel with their precise archery skills. The winner of the women’s archery competition was a talented archer of the World Academy of Chinggis Khaan, Kh.Oyunchimeg of Zuunmod soum of Tuv Province, a native of Dadal soum of Khentii Province.
This was her fourth consecutive win. Once again, she was able to prove her excellent archery skills and advance her title of Archer of Distinguished Precision (Gots Mergen) to State Archer of Exceptional Precision (Mongol Ulsiin Garamgai Mergen).
Congratulations on becoming a four-time champion of the National Naadam Festival and gaining the title of State Archer of Exceptional Precision. How do you feel?
Thank you. I’d like to pass on greetings from the Naadam Festival to the people of Mongolia, and the locals of Tuv and Khentii provinces. I’m extremely happy about competing in the National Archery Competition of Naadam Festival and getting my fourth consecutive win.  Since the competition continues for three days, the level of motivation depends greatly on the weather. Shooting arrows requires an archer’s wisdom, as we have to adjust to natural phenomenon and the moods of the people. As the days for Naadam approached, my inner-voice constantly reminded me that I have no right to lose, and at one point, it became very stressful.
This year, sunny and rainy days alternated and made it difficult to shoot arrows, as the direction of the winds shifted. Last year’s Naadam Festival truly challenged my patience and willpower. The same applied for this year. But with faith and motivation, I was able to confirm my previous achievements and gained the State Archer of Exceptional Precision title.
Tovkh (traditional bow and arrow) archery draws a lot attention from the audience. State Archer D.Norjmaa tied with you in terms of scores and competed against you in tovkh archery. You seem like an archer who becomes calmer and more stable the stronger your opponent is.
On most occasions, I don’t get frustrated or lose my concentration. Tovkh archery is the most exciting part of archery. Many people find the wonders of many types of archery in tovkh archery. When I was shooting my last arrow, I thought to myself that I mustn’t lose. Archer D.Norjmaa is a very strong competitor of mine. She’s an experienced archer who’s been training in archery for many years. Having a strong competitor is a great opportunity to develop one’s self. My competitors sharpen my skills and lead me to success. I learn many things from them.
In the history of the National Archery Competition, there haven’t been any archers who’ve advanced to Archer of Exceptional Precision from the title of Archer of Precision. I’m happy that I was able to get four consecutive wins and become the first person to do this. However, above me is Darkhan Mergen (wise sharpshooter or marksman) Ch.Munkhtsetseg, who won six times, and Dayar Duursakh Mergen Kh.Davaajargal, who won five times.
I revere my fellow archers. Dayar Duursakh Mergen Kh.Davaajargal, State Champion Archers D.Erdenetuya and L.Tsengel, and State Archers S.Enkhtungalag and D.Tsetseg are very humble. I’m proud of their achievements and am inspired by their motivation to not disappoint others, as well as their sincerity.
Your son S.Ulziisaikhan came in third place in the men’s category and came closer to achieving a State Archer title. Can you comment on this?
My son has a daughter. Both of them are sports masters. We’re a family of national archers. At this exact moment, I’m very proud of my son. When I won, my husband was happier and more excited than I was. He’s the best supporter and encourager of mine. I was thrilled when my granddaughter won in this year’s children’s archery competition for children under the age of eight, and when my student earned the title of Usukh Ider Mergen. Archery has become the most interesting topic discussed within the family. Days we don’t mention archery are quite rare. We’re competing in this sport with the same passion and objectives.
A student’s success depends deeply on their mentor. People said that State Archer B.Batjargal warmly welcomed you when you set foot in archery sports. Is this true?
Yes, I take pride in having him as my mentor. He generously shares all of his knowledge and skills with me. In 2003, I became a student of State Archer D.Ulziibat of Bayanjargalan soum of Tuv Province, and learned the basics of archery from him. Later, when I entered competition archery, State Archers B.Batjargal, D.Tsetseg and P.Garamdorj warmly welcomed me to the archery family. Instructor B.Batjargal used to take me to competitions and make me compete in every competition without skipping a single one. Although instructor D.Ulziibat passed away, I believe that he’s happily watching over me from heaven.  As soon as I was awarded, I could feel the warm passion and energy of everyone who was supporting me. In that moment, when I heard everyone’s cheers, I was so proud of the history and culture that our ancestors passed on to us. I even achieved my long time dream of seeing the results of my dedication to the National Archery Competition.
This year, whose bow did you shoot with?
I first challenged my precision and skills in 2005’s National Naadam Festival. I’m very thankful to Sports Master Z.Baatar of Dulaankhan soum of Selenge Province. For many years, I’ve shot arrows with the bows he made, and even received the Archer of Exceptional Precision title. Z.Baatar passed away just before Naadam Festival. However, he’s still alive in my heart. I’m sure he saw me when I gained this success and got this title. I used to respect and love him as if he were my father. Each year he would encourage me and tell me to become a state archer. I was able to achieve this success without disappointing him.
How much did your husband influence you in setting foot in national archery?
My husband’s name is L.Sukhbat and he’s a sports master. My husband was the one who suggested I should learn archery, and so, we trained together. He drew me into archery and taught me how amazing archery is. We’ve trained in archery for many years. I made the decision to set foot in archery five years after my husband first suggested that we should start training in national archery since we’re Mongolians. During a trade fair of central provinces in 2003, State Archer O.Sukhbaatar of Dulaankhan soum of Selenge Province came with a bow and arrow. We bought his bow and arrows and started training.
I’m glad I became attracted to archery, motivated myself to reach the top, met great archers and received their kindness. I’m a lucky archer who got to shoot arrows with State Archer O.Sukhbaatar’s bow, learn the “recipe” of archery from State Archer D.Ulziibat, and was introduced by State Archer P.Garamdorj in my first competition. At the time, I listened to advice from state archers and believed that I could become a state archer someday. Now, thanks to their help, I was able to grab from the tip of their achievements.
There were many special occasions for archers this year. It seems that archers received a lot of courage, energy, and motivation when State Archer of Exceptional Precision (Ulsiin Garamgai Mergen) A.Tseveen was bestowed with the title of Hero of Labor.
Indeed. The people of Mongolia are proud of this person. He contributed significantly to national archery. Thanks to archery, he’s able to keep his body and mind healthy even though all of his hair is now grey. He is a famous archer who won four times at Naadam Festival and came in second eight times. With this achievement, he became the first State Archer of Exceptional Precision. His son Ts.Khuderchuluun won with 39 hits out of 40 shots during 2012’s National Naadam Festival and made many people happy by getting the same title as his father.
Lately, the government has been valuing the efforts of archers and increased the variety of titles. Mongolian national archery is the pride and heritage of our Mongolian ancestors, which we have to continue. Our ancestors passed on this great history, culture, and knowledge. We need to pass this on to future generations.
During last year’s Naadam Festival, you said you would advance your achievements and earn the title of Archer of Exceptional Precision. You were able to keep your word. This time, can you promise to win next year and earn the title Dayar Duursakh Mergen?
The archery competition has blessed me for many years. I’m sure it’ll continue to bless me in the future. Next year, I will try my best to get the title of Dayar Duursakh Mergen. I’ll work hard and put in effort to fulfill my purpose. I can’t imagine myself without archery. I will gain success through training rather than a promise.
Source: Unuudur,

Mongol-American Naadam: creating new culture
July 24 (UB Post) Naadam festivals in the United States feature an American touch
Borders haven’t kept Mongol-Americans from eating khuushuur and drinking airag.
Mongol-American communities thrive from San Francisco to Washington D.C, where Mongolians paid homage to their roots during Naadam Festival celebrations in early July. But the 15,000 people of Mongolian descent living in the United States are adopting a new culture while preserving an old one, celebrating as both Mongolians and Americans.
Traditional horse racing competitions have been largely replaced by children’s wood horse racing or competitive running in most festivals in San Francisco; Denver, Colorado; Arlington, Virginia; Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago, where over two thousand people of Mongolian origin make up their respective populations.
Tug of war now takes place alongside archery in a San Francisco Bay Naadam celebration and Chicago’s Mongolian community holds volleyball and basketball (an important sport for Chicago’s history) competitions in addition to traditional games. Deel (Mongolian traditional clothing) competitions award the most skilled designer or wearer in New York’s Central Park and the Mongolian Children’s festival in Arlington, Virginia holds a children’s singing and Morin Khuur competition every year.
“I am trying not to recreate Naadam as I knew it before,” said Enkh Starr, a resident of Chicago who emigrated in 2004, “With my husband and friends, I make it a cultural learning experience by teaching them how to make khuushuur and learn the history of the games, but I am not afraid to make it our own little celebration. For example, this year we made khuushuur burgers. It is also for me, because I become accustomed to a new culture while remembering my old one.”
Naadam, observed from July 11-13 in Mongolia prior to a Parliamentary decision to expand the holiday to five days, also takes place on various dates throughout July for most organizations in the United States.
The Mongolian School of Colorado, which holds a community-wide Naadam celebration in the Denver area, describes their celebration.
“We pick the second weekend, Saturday or Sunday, of July to celebrate Naadam, and almost everyone in the community participates. It is like a year-waited traditional celebration for Mongolians in Colorado. They do have the archery and the men’s three games like wrestling, but horse racing is not actual horses but kids participating riding a wooden horse, and playing knuckle bones and Dembee,” the School told the UB Post.
If Mongolian Naadam customs are adapting little by little to their new environment, wrestling seems to remain unchangingly the center of festivals in the United States. Considered by many as the spirit of the Mongolian national festivities, it is unsurprising that every Naadam festival sees wrestlers take to the arena. Naadam celebrations in the United States are still part of an effort to preserve the legacy of Chinggis Khan and Mongolian history, by organizations such as the Mongol American Cultural association, who have taken part in making Naadam possible in many cities of the U.S.
“If I was born here, I wouldn’t want to forget English,” said 12-year-old Ganbayar Bayarsaihan to the Denver Post, articulating a fear of many families raising children away from their home country.
Will the Mongolian in Mongolian-America survive?
With only a couple thousand Mongolian residents, the Los Angeles Mongolian community has seen difficulty in supporting the infrastructures necessary to bridge the gap between the old and new world. Mongolian restaurants and specialized food stores are nonexistent, and efforts to have the “Little Mongolia” cultural enclave recognized by the Los Angeles City Council have yet to succeed.
Except in areas like Arlington, where Mongolian is one of the most spoken languages in public school, Mongol-Americans remain a minority, making it hard to keep the language and traditions of the homeland alive. Second generation Mongolian-Americans are becoming less inclined to study and participate in the country’s heritage, a phenomena which challenges most ethnic communities in the United States.
“When I came to America, I felt that it wasn’t cool to speak Hindi and wear Punjab (traditional India dress). My parents provided every opportunity for me to, but that’s not what I wanted. I felt that in order to have better opportunities in life I had to act and talk like an American, so the Indian in me kind of faded. We see white people as superior. The same goes for the color of the skin,” said Aditi Gupta, an Indian-American who lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
While Mongol-Americans are attempting to bolster a sense of community in any way they can, such as holding gatherings like Naadam, the Mongolian identity in America faces the risk of dying out.
Mongolia makes waves in the U.S
Mongolian settlement in the U.S. isn’t a new phenomenon: the first emigrant was the Living Buddha in 1949, followed by many other Lamas escaping the Soviet purges that began in the 1930s. The United States, whose political opposition towards the Communist regime was growing stronger, was a good country of asylum for those who had been persecuted by Stalin and his allies. These political refugees were followed by a large wave of Kalmyk Mongolians in 1951-1952, who had already migrated from Western Mongolia to Southeast Europe. After having spent five years in refugee camps all over Europe, fleeing political persecution from the Soviets, the Kalmyks were granted the right to immigrate as Europeans to the United States by a U.S Congressional law. It is approximated that 570 Kalmyks immigrated in the first year following the adoption of the law, with families and individuals adding to the number in later years.
The Colorado School of Mines opened its doors to Mongolian students in the 1980s, forming the second wave of Mongolian-Americans in the Denver area, now considered to be Ulaanbaatar’s U.S. sister city. The largest immigration wave came at the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformation of the Mongolian communist one-party government into a democratic one.
Thousands of new Mongol-Americans fled the wreckage left behind by the economic transition from planned-economy to free market, but didn’t settle in a single locality. Mongolian-Americans have since formed a series of communities all over the country.
Naadam celebrations in the United States for 2014 have concluded.

Mining and petroleum activities updates
July 24 (UB Post) The Ministry of Mining held the monthly Transparent Mining press conference on July 23. Deputy Minister of Mining O.Erdenebulgan and other officials attended the press conference and provided updates on the nation’s mining and petroleum activities.
O.Erdenebulgan said, “Draft bills to make amendments to the Minerals and Petroleum Law were approved on July 2, thus, the five-year moratorium on minerals exploration licenses was lifted. Issuing mineral exploration licenses in the areas approved by the government will boost investment and minerals reserves. The government will determine areas available for mining and exploration and transparently publish the findings in daily newspapers and on websites. The Ministry is planning to establish a system for receiving license applications online this year.”
Mining companies have started sending requests to the Ministry of Mining to acquire exploration and exploitation licenses. Currently, the Ministry has received proposals for fifteen open-pit mining, two underground mining and two processing plant projects. These projects will cost 550 billion MNT to carry out. The Ministry expects 1.5 billion USD in investments from exploration and exploitation licenses this year. More than 35 percent of Mongolia’s land has been made available for mining and 7.3 percent will be licensed through tenders. Exploration and exploitation licenses will be granted in 106 areas previously prohibited for mining through a tendering process. The tender price threshold for each area will be set based on the cost of earlier geology and research. In addition, mineral reserves assessment methodologies have been specified, thus, further mineral reserves will be estimated in accordance with JORC standards.
The Ministry of Mining plans to establish a minerals exchange to implement its minerals industry state policy, which states that Mongolia must have a minerals exchange in order to trade mineral products on domestic and international markets transparently and profitably, to set fair prices, develop the domestic capital market, and to regulate trade under export policy. The Government of Mongolia and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) signed an MoU on establishing the minerals market.
As of the first half of 2014, the Mongolian mining industry has exploited 479,900 tons of copper concentrates, 11.7 million tons of coal, three tons of gold, 159,500 tons of fluorite concentrates, 2.7 million tons of iron ore, 46,800 tons of zinc concentrates, and 3.6 million barrels of petroleum. As of July 22, Mongolia had a 20-day supply of A-80 gasoline reserves, a 34-day supply of AI-92 gasoline reserves, 41 days of diesel fuel reserves, and a 20-day reserve of TS-1 gasoline.

Mine safety in question as 20-year-old worker dies of suffocation
July 24 (UB Post) Issues about occupational safety in mines has been raised once again, following an accident where a 20-year-old worker died of suffocation at a micro-mine located in Nalaikh District on Tuesday. Another worker, aged 40, was also found dead due to lack of air in a mine at the same district last year in May.
The Mine Rescue Service of Mongolia (MRSM) received a report about the accident at 10:10 a.m. and the victim was pulled out from under 100 meters below the ground.
The mine is located in Orosiin Nuur, Nalaikh, and is owned by a man called Zoljargal. Nalaikh District’s inspectors and the police worked at the accident scene and discovered that the opencast mine’s power was cut off. The shaft of the underground mine was covered to prevent further accidents, after the investigation.
Ulaanbaatar City Governor E.Bat-Uul issued an ordinance in May 2013 to close all micro-mines in Nalaikh District in order to decrease rising number of casualties in mining accidents in the area. A total of 55.6 million MNT was spent from the city budget to cover pits of all micro-mines in Nalaikh.
The ordinance is still effective despite Nalaikh District residents’ oppositions. There have been several reports that illegal miners are still extracting coal from micro-mines in Nalaikh despite the ordinance.
The MRSM’s squad chief D.Purevsuren reported, “Brick factories buy coal from micro-mines in Nalaikh all year round, so illegal miners do not cease extraction despite low coal demand in warm seasons.”
On average, ten to 17 people died in Nalaikh mines every year, with a total reported number of 125 deaths and 287 injuries between, 2004 and 2009. In total, 61 miners died in micro-mines in Nalaikh from 2010 to 2013.
Majority of the victims were young people aged between 15 and 35. Most common reason for accidents was either soil collapse at underground mines or lack of air provision.
This year, two miners have died, including the recent death of the 20-year-old miner in Nalaikh, and 27 miners have been rescued by the MRSM so far.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird visits Mongolia
July 24 (UB Post) On July 24, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird visited Mongolia at the invitation of Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold. This is the first official visit of a Canadian Foreign Minister to Mongolia.
Within the framework of the visit, the two ministers had a private meeting and an official discussion exchanging opinions on a wide range of issues on regional and international cooperation and the bilateral relations of Mongolia and Canada. During the meeting, Minister L.Bold noted that Canada holds an important position in Mongolia’s foreign policy and proposed working together to further the 40 years of bilateral relations, increase cooperation in different areas, and strengthen comprehensive partnerships in the mining, legal, agriculture, health, and education sectors.
Minister Baird noted that the Canadian government places great importance on the relations it’s developing with Mongolia and demonstrated its commitment by designating Mongolia as one of the 25 Countries of Focus for development assistance from 2014 to 2019. He also reaffirmed Canada’s intention to intensify cooperation in public service, rural and urban development, judicial reform and policing, and particularly in broadening cooperation in the defense sector. Furthermore, the Canadian side offered their support in helping Mongolia join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
During the visit, Minister Baird will pay a visit to Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj, Deputy Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament M.Enkhbold, and meet with Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar. He’s also participating in a meeting of Mongolian and Canadian business people.

Mongolia and Japan wrap up free trade deal
July 24 (UB Post) Mongolia and Japan signed an Economic Partnership Agreement on Tuesday, as Mongolia hopes to diversify its trade partners and maintain its fast-paced growth.
The agreement was announced by Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a joint statement.
Within the agreement, all Mongolian exports to Japan, including meat and raw minerals, and 96 percent of Japanese exports to Mongolia will be exempt from tariffs in the coming decade.
President Elbegdorj said, “Thanks to the relentless efforts and cooperation of our governments, we have reached an agreement in principle on establishing the Economic Partnership Agreement. I do share [Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s] confidence that the Economic Partnership Agreement will create a favorable business and investment environment and establish a stable legal framework. I do believe that our two parties can sign and ratify the agreement in the first quarter of 2015.”
Prime Minister Abe stressed the significance of strengthening mutually beneficial, mutually complementary, strategic partnership with Mongolia and said, “The Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement shall mark the 15th EPA for Japan after the one recently signed with Australia. It is the first Economic Partnership Agreement for Mongolia, and it is a very important one to elevate our economic relations to higher levels, promoting mutually complementary cooperation. In the near term, we shall work together to expedite the signing and ratification of the Japan-Mongolia EPA.”
Experts and international analysts say that mining products will account for a large amount of the overall trade between the nations, as the agreement includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause, which makes it possible for firms to seek compensation if government policy hurts their investments.
In 2013, Japanese exports to Mongolia were worth 288 million USD, compared to the 21 million USD in products it imported from Mongolia. The balance is expected to shift should raw material prices rise in the coming years.
The agreement is expected to increase investment in Mongolia, and lessen dependence on China, where most of Mongolia’s exports are shipped.
For Japan, the agreement can greatly benefit the export of automobiles and give the nation access to Mongolia’s vast mineral reserves.
The agreement is also expected to strengthen regional peace and stability, as Mongolia is one of the few countries that has diplomatic relations with North Korea. Given Japan’s bumpy relationship with North Korea, Mongolia could serve as a bridge for both nations, especially in regards to resolving the ongoing case of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s.
“We shared the view that the president and I will jointly contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region and the global community,” Abe told reporters.
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