Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mongolia Brief September 18, 2014 Part IV



Tales on Horseback takes reading on the road
By Michelle Borok
September 18 (UB Post) A donated city bus from Belgium is finding a second life in Mongolia

Thanks to Go Help UK, a 1981 Jonckheere Eagle diesel city bus has been refurbished as Tales on Horseback, a traveling library and educational resource center hitting the road on September 20, National Book Day.
While Mongolia claims one the highest nationwide literacy rates of the Asia-Pacific region’s rapidly developing nations (more than 97 percent), easy access to education and reading materials and a growing digital divide are trials still facing urban and rural communities. Go Help UK’s representative office in Mongolia, led by Director O.Tseveendavaa, is launching their innovative mobile library project on National Book Day to address these challenges.
“MNS5742 standards approved in 2007, ‘Requirements for the library environment’, states that a public library should be established per 100,000 residents in each city and district. In Ulaanbaatar, there are 22 public and university libraries and information centers. However, only eight of them are operating steadily and accessible to the public. In 2012, the population of Ulaanbaatar was reported to be 1,227,000. From the standards mentioned before, we can see that number of libraries in Ulaanbaatar is not sufficient and most of them are located centrally,” said Indra Ganzorig, Go Help UK’s Education Project Coordinator, when asked why UB needs a mobile library.
Tales on Horseback will be more than a place to find books in parts of the city where quality reading material is scarce. M.Tsolmon from Karandash Co., Ltd, an interior design company based in Ulaanbaatar, designed an interior that includes computer work stations, shelves for reading and listening materials, and a reading area. Equipped with WiFi, the library will be a traveling education resource center for children and adults. There are plans to offer computer and personal development training sessions and workshops in the rear of the bus, where presentations can be conducted with an on-board projector.
The launch of Tales on Horseback will take place outside the National Amusement Park this Saturday and open with a book fair, raffle, and book swap. Mongolian author of more than 70 children’s books, J.Dashdondog will give a speech at the opening.
J.Dashdondog was the original inspiration for Tales on Horseback. The project derived its name from one of the author’s collections of nomadic folktales, published in Mongolian and English. J.Dashdondog began his own traveling library project more than twenty years ago, carrying books he’s written by horse, camel, cart and van to children in remote ger encampments, far from libraries and schools. Go Help UK has helped publish a few of J.Dashdondog’s books and has supported the expansion of his project. They are now working with him on publishing one of his latest children’s stories about humanitarian work.
The organization commissioned artwork by Martin Hsu for the exterior of the bus, which was brought to Mongolia by Team Desertlions in the 2012 Mongolia Charity Rally. The original artwork Hsu created for Tales on Horseback was donated to Go Help UK, and plays an important role in the identity of the project.
Taiwanese-American artist Martin Hsu built his career doing character design for major U.S. animation studios like Disney and Nickelodeon, illustrating children’s books, creating award winning designer vinyl toys, and showing his artwork in galleries across the U.S. and Asia.
Hsu came across a photo circulating on the social media site Tumblr, of J.Dashdondog with his library loaded on the back of a camel, and shared it on Facebook. Many months later, through his network of fans and friends, Indra Ganzorig reached out to him to create artwork for Tales on Horseback.
Hsu approached the mobile library commission with the same passion and creativity he’s applied to all of his professional projects.
“I treated this project as an animated series, where I get to design all-new characters who are empowered by books. I created a family of four, inspired by Mongolian horses. These characters have distinct personalities and are the symbols of this special project. I also had the pleasure of introducing a personal creation into this world: Dragon Boy. As a mystic creature, Dragon Boy serves as the carrier of books and messenger of fun! He leads our characters on flying books into a world of knowledge and imagination. Sky is the limit!”
Go Help has been working in Mongolia since 2009, running a number of health and education projects in and around Ulaanbaatar and offering academic scholarships to a handful of Mongolian university students. Go Help’s community health projects include ambulance donations to rural hospitals and health centers, and a recent partnership with Medics to Mongolia, a UK charity that sends current medical students on medical elective programs across Mongolia.
In addition to preparing for the launch of Tales on Horseback, Indra Ganzorig has been working hard on the Nalaikh district’s Book House, a free library service that also offers English and IT lessons to area children and their parents.
Tales on Horseback is not receiving any state support and has been made possible entirely by donations, Go Help funding, and with support from different Mongolian publishing companies, including Empathy Press and Blue Strawberry LLC. The library will be staffed by Go Help staff and volunteers during its trial run.
This Saturday Tales on Horseback will be making a tour of UB. After the opening ceremony at the National Amusement Park, it will journey to stops in Zaisan and in front of the State Circus. Its regular route after National Book Day will take the library to Nalaikh, Terelj, southwest of the airport past Bio Kombinat, and to the outlying khoroos and districts of Ulaanbaatar.
To follow Tales on Horseback on its journey, or to find out how you can support Go Help and its community projects, visit facebook.com/GoHelpMongolia.
The agenda of the Tales on Horseback Takes Reading on the Road can be seen on page 8.

N.Tsagaannokhoi: I got to understand what homeland is, after going to South Sudan
September 18 (UB Post) Thousands of Sudan citizens are fleeing from home due to an ongoing conflict in South Sudan, between forces of the government and oppositions. The South Sudanese Civil War began on the evening of December 15, 2013.
Some 51 Mongolian peace keepers departed to South Sudan as part of the third shift of Mongolian troop for the UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Below is an interview with one of the brave Mongolian peacekeepers, Auto base doctor of the General Police Department of Mongolia and Police Captain P.Tsagaannokhoi about his mission and other related issues. He delivered three babies during his peacekeeping mission.
What was going through your mind at the war zone?
We need to be proud of having been born in this beautiful land and country. I got to understand the values of a homeland after going to South Sudan. I instinctively thought about how wonderful and amazing Mongolia is as a country and was proud of my homeland and parents. I walked with pride of being a Mongolian. Sudanese people are born to a much more difficult environment and condition with poor livelihood and high probability of diseases and infection. When there was a conflict, local people desperately sought our help. Before returning, we took 47,000 people under our protection. Our battalion exerted a lot of hard work and effort to protect those people.
It must’ve been difficult to endure Sudan’s heat for nine months while carrying heavy weapons. How did you protect yourself from tropical diseases?
To protect ourselves from communicable and non-communicable diseases that we may get infected with in Sudan, peacekeepers were vaccinated, which prevent five different types of diseases, before departing to South Sudan. The Mongolian troop consisted of 51 members. Misleading information about our troops getting infected with Ebola virus disease (EVD) was spread around. There isn’t a single officer who was infected with EVD among our peacekeepers. South Sudan is a humid, land-locked country located in West Africa. EVD breaks out in East African countries which are open to the ocean.
Generally, our troops quickly adapted to operations and the time difference, and completed our tasks well. Thinking and adapting skills of Mongolians were proven to be exceptional during the mission. Our third shift, led by Colonel B.Erdenebat, returned to Mongolia after successfully completing our mission.
How many of the 51 peacekeepers were for medical support service?
The medical support team had 25 people. Mongolian peacekeepers were allocated to four different bases and fulfilled our duties separately. Our tasks were different too. A doctor must be loyal to their oaths and be thorough and careful whenever providing first aid. Despite the fact that the situation worsened during our mission in Sudan, the medical team was unwearied and successfully fulfilled our duties.
You’re a doctor but worked as the head nurse at the base. Are nurses permitted to fulfill a doctor’s duty in Sudan?
[Medical troops] go as remote patrollers. Nurses are given a doctor’s authorities during a patrol. A doctor or a nurse must be part of a patrol team. Our longest journey, 800 km over muddy and dusty road, took seven to eight days. On this occasion, a doctor is responsible for 20 to 30 people, and during this period, the doctor has to make the bravest decisions and be very responsible. I worked as a doctor for over 80 of this sort of journey. The Mongolian UN missionaries and peacekeepers assisted local residents without delay with medical support services.
Drinking water and food are distributed to refugees. In what sort of conditions do refugees live in? Is the food enough to subdue hunger?
Special force assigned by the UN distributes food to refugees and Mongolian soldiers have to ensure their safety. Food is distributed by kg to refugees at camp and ink is applied on their finger. People who received food can’t get more. It seemed that they give a week’s worth of food on each distribution.
Have you thought of wanting to help out somebody? Was there any shocking or unthinkable event?
Soon after we arrived in South Sudan, the situation worsened. When the medical team arrived at the second check point to provide medical service to the injured, something very shocking that we’ve never seen before in Mongolia was awaiting us. I felt uneasy while sewing wounds and treating people who were shot in the head and leg, or injured their joints and organs.
Prior on our journey to the check point, the Local People’s Liberation Army soldiers incurred mines ID (radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED)) and was caught in an explosion. We provided first aid to 12 survivors of the explosion and sent them to the next level hospital. There were many sudden attacks that don’t happen in Mongolia. At the beginning, I was very frightened but soon I realized it was our mission and worked hard to gift these people with faith and confidence to live and give the opportunity to live since I’m a doctor.
Can you tell us about your family?
I have five siblings. One of my older sisters is in Ulaanbaatar and my older brother, other older sister and younger sibling is living in the countryside. I have two sons and a daughter. The eldest recently entered elementary school.
Were you able to help out with your son’s school preparations?
I managed to do so on August 30 and 31.
Do you wish to raise one of your sons as a soldier?
No. I will make them complete their military services but I won’t ask them to be a soldier.
Although you have experience delivering babies, was it difficult to deliver a baby in field conditions?
I graduated from the Medical Science University of Gobi-Altai Province as a doctor and worked in my home town, Tsetseg soum of Khovd Province, from 2008 to 2010. I delivered the first baby [during the peacekeeping mission] at 1 a.m. on December 22, 2013, at the refugee camp. At the time, doctors at the IDT base (refugee camp) were given orders to go on patrol due to insufficient manpower. During the patrol, I helped a pregnant woman deliver her baby in a difficult condition at the patrol site.
The baby and mother were healthy and fine. The second baby was delivered in January at Khubilai base and the third baby in July. The three babies are growing healthily at the IDT base with their mothers sand family members under the protection and security of our soldiers.
Were the babies of healthy weights?
They were fully developed newborns. They weighed around 2,900 g. A newborn over 2,800 g is considered fully developed. Their general body condition is good. One of the mothers had her baby at the age of 16 and the other two were 19 and 21 years old.
The mothers are very young. At what age are people considered adults in South Sudan?
I’m not sure. They seem to give birth from the age of 14 and 15.
Did you name the babies?
I named only one of them. One of the three bases where Mongolian battalion serves is Arvai base in Pariang County, South Sudan. Since the baby was born during a war, I named him Arvaibaatar (“baatar” is a hero or a warrior in Mongolian).
The parents seem to face difficulty in pronouncing as the name is long. I’m sure they’ll give a different name.
Is there a citizen registration service at the refugee camp?
No.
Do you have any messages you wish to pass onto future peacekeepers?
Since Mongolian soldiers’ skills have reached global levels, all workers and officers of the Mongolian Armed Forces and other national security organizations should participate in peacekeeping missions. I think it’s best to test yourself at least once at something. I’d like to express my gratitude to the General Police Department, Auto Base superiors and all the staff for supporting the Mongolian 51 troops and other military officers that took part in the peacekeeping operation. Please remember that Mongolian police officers are recognized globally.
Source: Unuudur

Highest literature prize awarded to G.Mend-Ooyo
By B. Dulguun
September 18 (UB Post) Mongolian novelist G.Mend-Ooyo won the highest prize of the International Literature Festival, which took place in Craiova, Romania.
The event was organized by the International Academy Mihai Eminescu at the Craiova Art Museum from September 15 to 19.
After receiving his prize, novelist G.Mend-Ooyo said, “I see this award granted to me at the center of Europe, Craiova, as a clear indication of how highly Mongolian literature, as well as our national poetry is valued in Europe, which cultivates ancient cultures. No matter how much time changes people’s satisfaction and enjoyment, a sincere novel will not be affected and preserve its value and continue to accumulate intellectual treasures.”
The second prize was bestowed to French poet and novelist Nicole Brossard and the special prize to Senegalese poet, Amodu Laminye Sall.
At the opening ceremony of the festival, President of the International Academy Mihai Eminescu Ion Deaconescu and Mayor of Craiova Lia Olguta Vasilescu presented the awards, which included a trophy and prize money.
“The fact that a Mongolian novelist is being awarded with the highest prize of literature of this festival from over 50 famous participating novelists, recognized throughout the world, shows that Mongolian novels are taking up their befitting place in the literature treasury of human kind,” stated the Ion Deaconescu, President of the International Academy Mihai Eminescu.
A special thing about the festival was that the one of the world’s greatest sculptors of the 21st century, Vincent Bianchi, sculpted the trophies and presented them himself, while famous artist Constantin Mihalache presented his own art works to the novelists.

Fake diploma holders infiltrate civil service
September 18 (UB Post) Making and using fake diplomas has become popular in Mongolia. Would you believe that holders of these fake diplomas have been recruited for civil service? It’s an unfortunate recent development and the people who generate fake diplomas always seem to escape responsibility.
Based on information discovered by Unuudur, it is clear that more than one fake diploma holder works at the Independent Authority for Corruption (IAAC) and the General Council of Courts (GCC), which are authorities with some of the greatest responsibility in the state.
The IAAC aims to fight corruption and work towards the improvement and development of public and private services. Having an inspector with a falsified diploma negatively impacts the credibility of this organization.
In the scope of legal reforms, the Investigation Department under the State General Prosecutor’s Office was disbanded and inspection work was transferred to the IAAC and GCC. Some employees of the Investigation Department became prosecutors and investigators. Investigator Sodbayar Battur was included among them.
B.Sodbayar worked as a software engineer and internal officer at the General Authority for Executing Court Decisions.
The State Specialized Inspection Authority’s inspections in 2009 and 2010 revealed that Sodbayar used a fake diploma to be recruited for his position. An official document signed by N.Gansukh, specialist of the State Specialized Inspection Authority, mentioned him clearly.
The official document noted, “According to the invitation of the General Police Department and the General Authority for Executing Court Decisions, during the inspection of education certificates of civil servants, employee of the General Authority for Executing Court Decisions B.Sodbayar’s diploma from Mongolian University of Science and Technology was determined to be a fake diploma. The relevant materials were transmitted to the IAAC. Interestingly, he was also registered in the database as having graduated from the Law School at National University of Mongolia in 1998.”
Even though his case was transferred to the Police Department of Chingeltei District, he used his real diploma from National University of Mongolia and transferred to the Investigation Department under the State General Prosecutor’s Office. Thus, the window for pursuing the case closed and he escaped criminal liability.
Being an investigator is a highly responsible job which greatly impacts people’s lives, determining whether or not people under investigation are guilty or not and studying official documents in detail.
How could lawyers and investigators make fake documents and be recruited by a state organization?
If they generate fake documents, how can they be qualified to investigate the work of others?
A similar incident has recently occurred at the General Council of the Court.
The council was established recently and many new officials were recruited. But one civil servant in a high position at the Council is believed to have used a fake diploma. It seems the council is suppressing this case to protect their name. Anyhow, it still remains suspicious.
How many skillful and talented people with potential could be put to work, instead of fake diploma holders, to improve the state’s development?
How much money have taxpayers spent paying for the salaries of these frauds?
Many people, including our country itself, are suffering a loss because Mongolia does not have a legal environment that provides the opportunity for these financial losses to be recovered.
Source: Unuudur
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