A glimpse in the thoughts of Bolod Namkhai Mukhadi

bolod

 

Click here for an explanation of "A glimpse in the thoughts of..."

Bolod was the owner of the guesthouse that I stayed at in Ulaanbataar, and, due to it being the low tourist season, also my source of transport/translation when I headed out to the Mongolian countryside. His main guesthouse was actually closed, but I stayed in his "suburban guesthouse", which was just a room in his house with his wife and kids.

He grew up in a small village in Eastern Mongolia and came to the capital when he was young for school. Coming of age when the Soviets still exerted significant control over Siberia (he is now 53 years old), he made clear his nostolgia for the good ol' days of socialist control. He also worked in the United States doing odd jobs for more than a year in the 90s after he arrived with a tourist visa and just stayed, his longest stint being at a moving company in San Francisco.

He was largely preoccupied with the problems that arose in Mongolia after the democratic revolution post-Soviet collapse, and was not happy about the chaos and corruption inherent in a developing market economy (referring to it as a "sickness"). There was a certain irony that his livelihood depended on tourism, which was not exactly a large part of the Mongolian economy during the Soviet era. He kept meticulous notes of current events and frequently bloged about problems in Mongolia, his latest pet project being a blog about announcing stops while on board public buses.

Although quite forlorn about the lack of central control in Mongolia, he nonetheless was open to the world and learning about it, having mastered English, Russian, Italian, and French besides his mother tongue Mongolian. His English was a bit quirky though, an example being his replacement of "foreigners" with "foreignese". Overall he was gracious and welcoming, and made my stay in Mongolia a comfortable one.

Now I'll let Bolod speak. This is from an email he sent me in response to the questions, and I've only made minor edits for clarification:

 

Who had the greatest influence on your life and why?

It’s my grand-mother who was actually my mother, and she died 3 years ago at age of 92.  I grew up with my grand-parents. Although she could hardly write her own name, Duri, she should be considered the highest-ranked professor of human dignity and sacrifice. She was the only person in this world who truly loved me. I have opened a blog in memory of my grand-parents.

What is the most difficult thing you have done or said?

That I was not near my mother when she passed away in my native village which was 700km away from Ulaanbaatar, where I lived with my 2 little sons for more than 5 years while my wife left us.

What has been on your mind lately, or what have you been thinking about lately?

a. Now, I recall everyday of my mother and grand-father. b. When I have any free time, I copy my thoughts into my articles which are devoted to the young and next generation of the Mongol.

If you could go back to any time in history, where would you go and what would you do?

I would only want to be again in my childhood.

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Also, this isn't particularly realted to Bolod, but this viedo is a good sample of what the Mongolian language sounds like. I decided to put it in because I assumed before getting to Mongolia that Mongolian would be similar to either Russian or Chinese, but it is actually very different. Not realizing it before, the first recorded use of a Turkic language actually originated in Mongolian. Modern Mongolian is loosely related to Turkic languages, but it is still considered in its own Mongolic language group and derived from the Middle Mongolian spoken during the time of Ghengis Khan. Listen for a minute to get the gist:

 

 

 

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