Looking back at my experiences here at Albion College, it’s both sad but yet full of optimism to think of graduation. There have been so many wonderful memories that will stay within my heart forever, and as much as I don’t want to grow up, it’s a part of life everyone has to accept. It’s the most important time of the year; a year when you start figuring who you are and where you want to go.

Coming to grips with letting go is a difficult thing. I remember my first day in the U.S; everything seemed so new, people, technology, legal system, etc. With time, I got used to them and learned how to cope with the cultural differences. I don’t know exactly how, but some things just happened naturally.

Creating friendships and relationships with people were always exciting and with every new encounter, each individual taught me an aspect of myself that I never knew that even existed. However, thinking about never seeing some of these people ever again scares me and shows how cruel life is.

Being a foreign student makes it even more difficult to comprehend with since I will have to live thousands of miles away as I go about life, never to see some of my closest friends. I like to believe that people come into our lives for a reason though, otherwise how could I’ve ever discovered my strengths, weaknesses, and my ambitions? An analogy I can think of is a train ride. I am headed towards my final destination, some will leave the train at a certain point, some will enter the train at a certain point, and some might stick around throughout the whole trip. Things come and go in life. Accepting that fact and remaining optimistic about the things to come has freed me from immense grief and despair.

Sometimes enjoying your undergraduate years as a foreigner can be difficult. I used to party like crazy the first moment I got here, but sooner or later, I grew apart from it. I used to dedicate myself fully into my sports, but I never saw myself being a professional athlete. I used to hit the books studiously, but I saw my relationships with people deteriorate.

I focused all my energy onto just a single point, but I always ended up being unhappy with the consequences. Maybe it took a longer time for me to figure it out compared to other people, but now I realize there always had to be a balance between everything. Being a silly freshman to a mature senior had it’s ups and downs, but looking at the bigger picture of my life, I notice everything flows in harmony. For whatever reason, things come so easily now. From meeting new people, getting good grades, to enjoying myself. With age, I certainly believe inner wisdom and clarity come.

Graduation is coming! I am scared & yet excited! Where do I see myself 5 years from now? 10 years? I don’t know. Although I wish I knew, I don’t want to know because things always change and the Orgil I am right now will not be the same Orgil 5 or 10 years from now.

Before coming to Mongolia there are a a few things you should know before embarking on your journey to the land of the blue sky. While safety and curroption problems have significantly decreased, Mongolia is still not for the weary hearted.




Should You Travel with A Tour Agency or No?

If you will be spending a few days in Ulaanbaatar, besides the city tour, you don’t necessarily have to book a trip with a tour agency. 2-3 days is more than enough to sightsee most of Ulaanbaatar by yourself, just make sure to avoid the bad neighborhoods in Ulaanbaatar or travel in a car if you really want to see what it’s like.

For adventurous souls and backpackers, you could travel the countryside and remote places by yourself IFF you are well prepared and know what you are doing. Otherwise, most of Mongolian countryside is still underdeveloped and far from civilization.

Mongolia’s road infrastructure is still developing and you will more than likely see many dirt roads that diverge to different places. Even experienced travellers and drivers sometimes get lost. You may think of yourself as being adventurous and bold, but it’s reckless and stupid UNLESS you hire a local guide who knows the land and well provision yourself for your adventure. Mongolia is a vast country with a very small population! So be smart, otherwise you could get lost and have no one to help you out.

If you’re planning on travelling through the countryside, my recommendation is to just book 1 or 2 tours with a travel agency and not worry about safety concerns.

The Usual Weather in Mongolia

Depending on the season, the weather can be quite erratic. It could be sunny and all of a sudden start to rain only to stop after 1-2 hours. However, assuming that you book your ticket for Mongolia during the summer months (the best seasons to travel to Mongolia), the weather will be relatively hot and arid during the day and somewhat chilly during the night.

For people who are used to humid climates, it may be difficult to get used to the dryness you may experience and the big temperature difference between night and day.

Besides bringing appropriate clothes, sunscreen is a must if you don’t get a lot of sun in your home country. Mongolia is mostly sunny all year around, so unless you don’t want to get a sunburn, buy a good amount of sunscreen protection, especially if you will be touring the countryside.



Safety in Mongolia

Compared to 5-10 years ago, Mongolia has greatly improved in safety and decreased small petty crimes, mostly due to an improving and growing economy. This does not necessarily mean you should be reckless and lose all your common sense. Avoid the bad neighborhoods towards north and Northeast part of Ulaanbaatar.

There are still pickpockets in touristy areas, so be sure to take note of your personal belongings and also avoid getting scammed by taxi drivers and independent vendors for higher fares. Usually it’s ₮ 1000 for 1km drive in Taxis, and also if you want to be sure to pay the retail amount for souvenirs and goods, just buy from a well established stores.

The Mongolian Culture

The culture of Mongolia is a mix of Central Asian and Eastern Asian influences; and Western until very recently. It’s pretty evident while strolling through Ulaanbaatar as you will see different styles of buildings here and there.

Mongolian people are cold and rude on the exterior, but once you gain their trust or get them to open up, Mongolians are one of the most honest and kindest people in the world. Big cities tend to make the average person a bit colder and aloof, but nomads should make you feel welcome from the onset.

Why are Nomads and City People SO Different?

Bigger cities such as Erdenet, Darkhan, and Ulaanbaatar will have paler people with usually Northeast looking appearance. Sedentary Mongolians are not exposed to the extreme climate as much and have access to luxuries of modern life.

The farther you go outside the capital city, you’ll notice people tend to look darker and tanned (unless you go west and meet Kazakh and other minority Mongolians). Nomads have a rough exterior due to the harsh climate and tasks that require to be out in the sun for longer periods of time.

For detailed article on different types of look Mongolian people can have, check here.

Besides appearance, you’ll also notice the major difference in their attitudes. City people, especially in Ulaanbaatar, are more reserved and tend to live stressful lives, whereas nomads have a simpler lifestyle.

Since nomads don’t get as much guests and rarely come across foreigners, they will provide you with warm hospitality and will try to converse with you with great interest.

The Religion is not what you Think

Mongolians are predominantly Buddhists due to heavy influence from Tibet beginning in the 15th century. While, the majority of Mongolians are Buddhists, they don’t necessarily practice it according to the official books. It’s more of a tradition or culture that has stuck around and most people just follow along certain Buddhist practices just because of tradition.

However, while 90% or so Mongolians proclaim they are Buddhists, you will realize that there are plenty of other religions or practices that are different from each other. There are local “religions” depending on the village, and some families might have Shamans whom they consult from time to time.

If you’re travelling through the countryside, you might even hear whispers about the local “religion” and how you should not offend the river, forest, or mountain gods etc.

Not only that, towards the West, you have a significant population of Mongolians who are muslim. About 5% or so of Mongolians are muslim, majority of them being of Kazakh ethnicity.

Since the founding the Mongolian Empire, Mongolia has always been tolerant of different religions and cultural practices, so as you learn more about Mongolian history, it’s not a big surprise.

A Meat Lover’s Paradise

If you love hardy protein rich foods and are looking to try simple but yet delicious foods, then Mongolian food will be a major treat.

mongolian man cooking food

Mongolians love their meat and are good at producing quality organic meat. Since most of Mongolian livestock are free to graze the open countryside and live a pretty healthy life, there is no other competition when it comes to quality beef, steak, etc.

Traditional Mongolian foods are simple, easy to make, but are DELICIOUS. Mongolian traditional foods are mix of Central Asian, Russian and Chinese. From buuz, khuushuur, to plov, khorkhog, boodog etc, you won’t be getting hungry at all with such calorie and nutrient dense foods.

mongolian cooking pot
Photo: caak.mn

The Sky Kisses The Ground

Mongolia is know as the land of the eternal blue sky. If you ever travel to Mongolia, you will know why by firsthand experience.

The sky and the clouds seem to be almost kissing the ground, and if you climb certain hills and mountains, you could even watch fluffy clouds float beneath you.

Most people assume Mongolia is just a flat country with open steppes, but that’s not always the case. Towards the north, you have forest dense regions, and towards the west, you will find the tallest peak in Mongolia. The Mongolian countryside offers different sceneries region to region.

So Is It Worth Visiting?

You be the judge! If you enjoy a natural landscapes that stretch to the horizon, with warm and welcoming nomads who are eager to show you their lifestyle and way of life, then Mongolia is the place for you.

For hiking/trekking enthusiasts, historians, philosophers, and geologists, Mongolia will offer plenty of things to see learn from, and marvel.

If you ever need to personally contact me for guidance, you are more than welcome to 🙂

https://facebook.com/orgilproductions

Difference between Chi & Ta: When you want to say “You” to someone, make sure it’s appropriate. They both mean you, but Chi is used when talking to someone of your own age, Ta is used when talking to someone who’s older, has higher social status, or if you just want to be polite.

To be: To be is pretty simple. Bol (бол) just means is/are. It doesn’t matter if it’s plural or singular. It stays the same. There is no feminine or masculine in the Mongolian language so it’s pretty straightforward to add any verbs.

I am – Be bol (Би бол)

You are – Chi/ta bol (Чи/та бол)

S/He is – Ter bol (Тэр бол)

We are – Bid bol (Бид бол)

They/Them are – Ted bol (Тэд бол)

They are – Ted nar bol (Тэд нар бол)





Conjugations: Present simple is also pretty easy as it always stays the same. Doesn’t matter if it’s singular or plural. Remember there is no masculine or feminine in the Mongolian language, so Present Simple verbs are constant. Let’s take the world to go as an example. In Mongolian it’s yavah or явах.

I sing – Bi duuldag (Би дуулдаг)

You sing – Chi duuldag (Чи дуулдаг)

S/he sings – Ter duuldag (Тэр дуулдаг)

We sing – Bid duuldag (Бид дуулдаг)

They/Them sing – Ted duuldag (Тэд дуулдаг)

They sing – Ted nar duuldag (Тэд нар дуулдаг)

I go – Be yavdag (Би явдаг)

You go – Chi/ta yavdag (Чи/та явдаг)

S/He goes – Ter yavdag (Тэр явдаг)

We go – Bid yavdag (Бид явдаг)

They/Them go – Ted yavdag (Тэд явдаг)

They go – Ted nar yavdag (Тэд нар явдаг)

Сайн байна уу? Sain baina uu? * Mean’s hello or hi – > Response: Сайн or Сайн сайн. Sain or sain sain. Means I am well or hi.

Сайн уу? Sain uu? * Means hi there, hello -> Response: Сайн or Сайн сайн. Sain or sain sain. Means I am well or hi.

Юу байна? Yu baina? Means what’s up? What’s going on? Response: Юмгүй ээ or Yumguie. Means not much.

Сонин хачин? Sonin hachin? Means anything new in your life? Response: Тайван or тайван тайван. Taivan or taivan taivan. Means not much.

Ажил тавлага уу? Ajil tavlag u? Means how’s work? Response: Тавлага тавлага or дажгүй ээ. Tavlaga tavlaga or dajguie. Means work is good or it’s alright.

Юу хийгээд л байна? Yu hiigeed l baina? Means what have you been up to? Response: Онц юмгүй ээ. Onts yumguie. Means nothing much.



Хаагуур яваад л байна? Haaguur yavaad l baina? Means where have you been around recently? Response: Онц юмгүй ээ. Onts yumguie. Means nothing much.

Амар тайван уу? Amar taivan uu? This is very formal and often used in festivities. Means are you at peace? Response: Амар тайван. Amar taivan. Means I am at peace.

Амар байна уу? Amar baina uu? This is very formal and often used in festivities. Means do you have peace? Response:  Амар байна уу? Amar baina u? Means yes, are you at peace as well?

Next Lesson: Learning how to count in Mongolian

Buy Mongolian Language eBook: https://orgilproductions.com/learn-mongolian/

 

While English is not the official language in Mongolia, more and more people are opting to study English due to increased tourism and investment opportunities from Westerners.

More and more Mongolian students are opting to study in the U.S, UK, or Australia for their college degrees if they get the opportunity and chance to study abroad. However this was not the case 20-30 years ago. Most people international Mongolian students back then went to Eastern Europe for their study abroad programs, however with the increasing influence of Western culture, there is a shift.



Can You Get By With English in Mongolia?

Most schools nowadays teach some basic English; most private schools have an English curriculum in some instances, schools such as ISU, Hobby, Orchlon, British School of UB etc. People who live in the capital Ulaanbaatar, will be able to say a few things here and there, but compared to countries such as Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, etc, English is not widely spoken.

While it is advised to know some basic Mongolian phrases and grasp of the Cyrillic alphabet, you could get by in the capital Ulaanbaatar, though with some difficulty. Outside of the capital, not a lot of people can speak English and will have difficulty communicating with you.

Buy Mongolian Language eBook: https://orgilproductions.com/learn-mongolian/

A lot of people say Mongolian sounds like a mix of different languages. From something resembling Welsh to Korean, Mongolian is often mistaken for a lot of different languages for unaccustomed ears.

Reason being is that Mongolian is a mix of both soft sounding tones and harsh guttural pronunciation of certain words, thus making it very confusing for the ears.

The Vowels in Mongolian

The vowels in Mongolian can often be long and drawn out or very short depending on the words. Depending on how drawn out the vowels are, certain similar sounding words can mean completely different things. There are even vowels that sound like two vowels were mixed together.

For example: Airag, aylal, yeven etc have a very German sound to it. The ai, ya, yo, ye vowels give it a very German feel.



The Consonants

Mongolian consonants have a very guttural sounds that’s very close to Korean and Turkish. For example the letter H, has a very harsh pronunciation, and a lot of consonants have a very breathy sound to them.

Interestingly the letter R in Mongolian is rolled and the sound of H can also sound very similar to Spanish. A lot of Mongolians who learn Spanish naturally have better accents than most people, due to the shared similarity of pronunciations.

L, G, P, and H sounds do resemble Russian as well, while CH, J, SH have more resemblance to Mandarin Chinese, hence a lot of people mention Mongolian also has a lot of sound elements that are very close to those languages. However, Mongolian is in a completely different language group with its own unique roots and grammar, so the Mongolian language still remains a mystery.

We Don’t See Our Own Faults

It’s interesting how we like to look at the faults of others and judge the things around us without considering how we affect others. Most of the time, it’s always someone else who has wronged us, made us feel bad, and behaved badly without any consideration of others.

However, we often tend to overlook our own flaws and how we interact with our surroundings. You probably had friends, family, and colleagues complain about how someone wronged them one way or another. The reality is that we all behave badly and we are not the saints we may think of ourselves to be.

I’ve had drivers complain about someone else’s terrible and aggressive driving whilst doing exactly the same thing himself. We truly are our worst critic since we lack the perspective to look at ourselves without bias. Selfishness is a funnily a paradox. As long as we benefit from our selfishness it’s not considered selfishness in our own eyes, however as soon as it’s in the interest of someone else to not bend to our will, it’s considered “selfish”.

You Are Responsible For Your Own Happiness

Ever had people believe a favour or a gesture of goodwill was mandatory or something that was expected of them? Perhaps your spouse got mad at you for being too busy with work to clean the house, or perhaps your friend said you were “selfish” for not giving him a lift to the store because you had other important priorities. In truth, you could argue your spouse or friend were the selfish ones for not being considerate of your time and your personal life.

People form unhealthy dependency on others for their own autonomy and happiness, as if we owe them something. It’s something we have to be mindful of in order to avoid becoming dependent on someone else for our own happiness and well-being, and to also avoid situations where someone might become unhealthily dependent on you for their own happiness and well being.

At the end of the day, no one owes us anything. No one has wronged us nor has the obligation to comply with our expectations. While you should have expectations for yourself to become the best you can be, expectations placed upon others and expectations placed upon life can bring you great misery and dissatisfaction.

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Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

People look at most wealthy people with disdain, and with a negative point of view. However, I would like to challenge you guys to look at that them from a different perspective.

Now I know money is not the answer to everything and that money does not necessarily make you any happier, and there are some superficial rich people who are not good role models, but we can learn so much from people who’ve dedicated themselves into their passion to be where they are at.

Most Wealthy People Are Not EVIL!

Successful people and wealthy people create the opportunity for us to have jobs, education, and healthcare etc. Without people who have a vision, such things would not exist, and we wouldn’t have many of the comforts and the innovations we have today. Their determination to succeed has brought so much boon for advancement of society in general.

Thomas Edison, sure he was an asshole, but he allowed us to enjoy electricity. Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P Morgan etc, they all were rich people who lived extravagant lifestyles, but they built the U.S nation that we know of today. They sacrificed many things in their lives to achieve success so that we could benefit from their works.

People can argue rich people are evil, corrupted, and pose harm. I don’t doubt there have been affluent people who abused their wealth and power, but that’s a possibility we can’t avoid if we want to advance as a society and a race. Just like everything in the world, there are the good & bad.



Wealth is A Product Of The Value We Provide

People assume success is a product of climbing up the social ladder over the years, and for some, it is, but for individuals such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Obama, Ed Sheeran etc, they had to bust their asses day and night without the promises of certainty that they’ll succeed. They probably failed more than you can think, but they had the tenacity to believe in themselves to continue.

They probably couldn’t care less about money; it’s not that important to them. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates wanted to make our lives easier with computers; they wanted to connect people from all around the world with technology, and it was their passion to make the best fucking product out there that people could enjoy.

Many successful people have charities and donor organizations that support education, social advancement, and environmental sustainability, etc. The average Joe does not even come close to the amount of good deeds they perform every year. Us average people are selfish with our time, money, and attention, myself included.

Why Do You Desire To Be Wealthy?

I personally want to be wealthy, not because to live an extravagant wasteful lifestyle of cocaine, sex, and luxury (although some do; it’s their choice), but so that I can provide people with more opportunities for their growth, so that one day they can provide the same to others.

The more wealth I have and the more wealth I create for myself, the more I can share with people who are not as fortunate as me, and the more I can help with making the world a better & safer place for our generations to come.

Money & Wealth is not the problem, but it is our actions and choices in how we choose to look at Money & Wealth that determine whether it is good or bad.

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Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Misconception About The Writing System in Mongolia

Most people who are not aware of Mongolian culture would assume the writing system in Mongolia is either Mandarin or somewhat related to other East Asian languages. It is an understandable misconception as Mongolia was a former colony of Manchuria until 1921 and is a neighbor of China, however it still is a misconception as Mongolia today uses the Mongolian Cyrillic for its writing system.

Do Mongolians use “Russian Letters”?

Mongolian Cyrillic, while very similar to other Slavic writing systems, has 2 extra letters and is actually a language that’s completely different from Eastern European and Eastern Asian languages. The root of the Mongolian Language is believed to have originated in either Siberia or Central Asia.



The Cyrillic Alphabet itself was introduced by Cyril, an orthodox missionary and philosopher, who migrated from Greece to Moscow during the reign of Byzantine Empire. Slowly over the years his teachings spread throughout Eastern Europe and his writing system came to be the most popular. For more in-depth history of Cyril specifically, you can read at Blazing Bulgaria.

Mongolians previously used The Traditional Mongolian Script, Tibetan Sanscript, and even Latin at one point as an official writing system. However due to Soviet influence during the 1940s it made more economical sense to change to Cyrillic. As a close ally and trading partner of USSR, it allowed for improved political relationship and economic growth over the decades. With the aid and help of the Soviets during the 19 hundreds, Mongolia industrialized from the feudal ages to a modern country.

What about Inner Mongolia?

Inner Mongolia, a province of China, still uses the Mongolian Traditional Script as an official writing system.

This is probably the root of the confusion or the misconception that most people seem to have. While Inner Mongolia and Mongolia used to be one country during the Mongolian Empire, series of inner strife as well as the independence movement in 1921 led to their separation.

Ethnically and culturally Inner Mongolians and Mongolians share many similarities however due to political reasons, Mongolia is becoming more Westernized while Inner Mongolia more Sinicized. While they both share similar cultural roots, with time the differences will become more apparent.

Why doesn’t Mongolia change back to Traditional Script?

  • Changing back to traditional script is a very implausible scenario for Mongolia. Not only would it require almost every building, road sign, and educational book to be replaced with enormous costs, but logically there is no benefit to changing the writing system back to the traditional script.
  • There are about 10 million people who speak some version or language similar to Mongolian, and only 5 million or so Mongolians use traditional script. However, there are over 300 million people who use some form of the Cyrillic alphabet. Traditional Mongolian script also poses a lot of problems when it comes to use of computers and font support on the internet since it’s written vertically rather than horizontally. There are many filler words and in general traditional script takes up more space than Cyrillic.
  • However, most importantly, the Cyrillic alphabet is a symbol of Mongolian sovereignty from Manchuria’s 300 years of rule, present day China. Reverting back to traditional script in way would signify Mongolia giving up their sovereignty and undoing the hundreds of years of independence movement efforts. Mongolia and China relationship is still a touchy subject for most modern day Mongolians.

Do Mongolians use or learn the traditional script though?

Most middle schools teach the traditional script for a few years and a lot of people would be able to make out the general idea when reading in Mongolian script. Traditional script is still a part of Mongolia’s cultural identity and history, denying it would be a sacrilege to Mongolian ancestors. During holidays, festivals, and exhibitions you will also come across Mongolian script for cultural and aesthetic reasons.

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself.

How many of you find yourself repeating the same old same old only to ask yourself at the end of the day, “what did I do today exactly?”

It’s not a lie, we are getting older and we are being controlled by our habits and routines. If you have been caught up in “life” for some while, it’s hard to get out of that vortex of mediocrity.

Sometimes you even start questioning your existence, what you are here to do? what’s the point of it all? Those are some scary existential questions that might depress you. To be honest, sometimes I myself don’t even know what the fuck we are doing here; though as much as I try to have faith in God and my lifelong mission, sometimes I just find myself drifting and getting caught up in the mundane.



But I think that’s normal. Although we are the same person at heart with certain ideals, we change over time and we evolve to be someone different.

Which is why sometimes you just need to lose yourself over and over, to find yourself again and again.

There is something beautiful about getting lost. Lost in a different culture, country, far away from home, far from what you are used to. You are truly free to rediscover yourself and find a different you.

While good and bad memories of your ex-lovers, friends, and family still linger your thoughts, you learn to forgive, to let go, to appreciate the moments you’ve shared with them. You no longer are bound by who you think you are, but you become who you really are.

Because in our everyday lives we build certain walls, we put on different masks in order to fit in with our culture, social circle, and expectations of others. As much as we may try not to conform, on a subconscious level, we become a byproduct of our usual surroundings.

But we are more than that! Ever since the dawn of man-kind, we have created, we have discovered, and pushed the limits of what we call “reality” “life”. We are ever-changing beings with the power to evolve beyond our expectations. Sometimes we just need to get a little…. Lost….

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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The Uggs Trend in Mongolia

Although most people have their own sense of style and identity when it comes to shoes, during 2008-2009, the Uggs were a major trend among Mongolians, specifically teenagers. Perhaps it was the look or maybe it was comfortable and warm, but men and women alike wore them during the winter. I remember one of my best friends buying Uggs and rocking it with a pair of blue jeans.

What Kind of Shoes Do Mongolians Usually Wear

Mongolians mostly wear all kinds of shoes and boots. We can be quite trendy and fashionable, so your average Mongolian living in a major city can have varying styles depending on age. Most teenagers wear converse or stylish shoes while most professionals wear some form of dress shoes.

During the winter months, having warm boots is essential as temperatures can reach -40*C sometimes. It’s pretty common to see people wearing Uggs, mainly women, but it’s not only limited to women nonetheless.

Read here for what Mongolians usually wear for clothing.

 

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Recent Digital Marketing Development in Mongolia

Mongolia is not really know for its digital marketing industry and it sure is a long way until the general public learns to share good and valuable content on the internet. While there are many things that can be improved upon, I still am hopeful that a recent trend of moving towards digital solutions will continue.

A few of my recent digital marketing projects, specifically in the tourism industry have been both frustrating but rewarding at the same time. It’s been a few months since working with a local French travel agency in Mongolia, and while the work is challenging and allows me to learn, there is only so much a single person can do. However, knowing that it’s making a difference, no matter how small, is enough of a motivation.

Social Media in Mongolia

Social media is actually starting to become quite popular in Mongolia, and people are consuming social media content with a voracious appetite. Businesses, interest groups, and individuals alike are becoming more and more active on specifically Facebook. It wasn’t too long that even the French tour agency, DMD-Mongolie, started using Facebook.

It’s funny how a few years ago, most of the population didn’t even know how to use a smartphone and now everyone is almost glued to their phones. Such is technological advancement I guess… Even I catch myself mindlessly scrolling through different social media feeds out of old habit.

Though social media and the internet can be used for great purposes such as finding interest groups you want to be a part of, market your business and brand, share your ideas with people, Digital Marketing or Social Media and the Internet is a double edged sword.



What you seek, ye shall find

The internet feeds you what you want; it doesn’t care if it’s good for you or bad for you. It’s a confirmation bias tool that can be detrimental to your self growth if used incorrectly. Racism, bigotry, and propaganda are a few things to mention, because most comment sections are riddled with hateful and downright upsetting remarks.

I do believe it’s important to be mindful that most people are just hurting and seeking validation from others, no matter how hateful. In a way it’s better to be at least acknowledged than being ignored and rejected.

Aside from not being able to avoid negativity on the internet, consumerism culture is deeply affecting how Mongolians treat one another and live their day to day lives. Teaching digital marketing to people and how to get their presence online can be used for good, but also for bad.

It’s common to see scams, get rich quick schemes, illegal copyright infringement, and people seeking to take advantage of others’ naivety. However, with time as the general public gets more accustomed to different facets of the internet, I am sure more people will start using Digital Marketing and the internet as a tool to help other people learn new skills, provide valuable content, share their art work, etc.

Until that day comes we can only do our part and hold true to our beliefs and values of the reasons for doing the things we do. The internet, social media, and the digital world can be used for both good and evil. It just matters how you use it and apply it in your life.

 

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Over the course of my life, I have always sought to find shortcuts to save time, so that I can go play and do the things I enjoy. Whether it was household chores, washing the dishes, and everyday mundane tasks that we all have to deal with from time to time, I found myself half assing most them.

I did not think much nor give it any amount of thought at the time; we are human after all as no one likes to spend precious time on labours that we deem unfruitful. However, sooner or later as I got to high school, I found myself half assing my homework, my assignments, my studies, my hobbies, and everything else in life as long as I got by. As long as I felt I was doing good enough.



THE REALIZATION

Half of my college years faced a similar fate, although towards the 3rd year of my studies, it was hard not to question everything about my reality as true adulthood greeted me on the horizon. Could I have gone to the Olympics had I stayed in the swim team? Could I really have been an influential engineer? Could I have done more with my life?

Ohhh all the things I could have been, all the missed opportunities, all the better possibilities I could have had. The price I had to pay, and for what? A half assed result I have to live with. It is a little to late to yearn for my teenage days now nonetheless.

RIO 2016 OLYMPICS

Why did Mandakhnaran Ganzorig, a master wrestler lose out on the Rio 2016 medal? Certainly it wasn’t because he lacked skilled. Unfair ruling? Emotional rush of adrenaline? Perhaps… However, had he truly fought til the end and finished the match wholeheartedly, in the last few seconds that counted the most, Mongolians would have been able to proudly see our flag raised for the world to see.

mongolia rio wrestling coaches angry

As much as I want to cry foul for injustice, we still need to take accountability and draw lessons from the important event, as it’s not only a one time thing, but a cultural norm in Mongolia to half ass things. Now no one is perfect and I still struggle with keeping true to my own words, but everytime we say “I’ll do it later”, “It’s good enough”, “It’s too much work”, “No one will notice”, “I don’t get paid enough for this”, everytime we don’t give our full hearts, we reap what we sow. We are not only cheating other people, but ourselves.

Habits have a profound effect on our lives and in a society where everyone else seems apathetic, it is hard to break out, but the actions we take during those so called “mundane” and “boring” moments of our lives determine how likely we are to succeed with our goals. It is when no one is looking, it is when we decide for ourselves to walk the extra mile, do we become champions.

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ever since I was a kid, I always had a fascination with bows. The skill, dexterity, and speed that is required to shoot one is not easy to master, but the pure badassness of it always captivated me. If you have watched The Lord of The Rings, you probably already guessed that my favourite character was Legolas, an archer elf.

In this article specifcally though, we will be discussing the Mongolian Recurve Bow, one of the most feared weapons during the Middle Ages. It was an integral part of the Mongolian army and was perhaps the key to winning many battles during the Mongolian conquests.

If you are wondering where you could get one, I found these on Amazon.

Otherwise if you enjoy some history and want to get some insight into how the Mongolian Recurve Bow is made, introduced to the western world, and how it was used, stay tuned!

English Long Bows vs Mongolian Recurve Bows

The bow has been around since the dawn of mankind and was actually a primitive weapon that tribes used for hunting and occasionally during tribal conflicts, but with time, the bow came to be one of the deadliest weapons. Since the ancient times until modern warfare, archers served as a key component in army composition and sometimes was the deciding factor for many important victories.

The English Long Bow

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The English Long Bow was mostly used during the medieval times in 14th to 15th century. It was deadly when used effectively and strategically; it in fact was one of the biggest contributing factors to winning “against all odds battles”, a prime example being The Battle of Agincourt.

Its Composition

Its length stands at about 180 centimeters and is mostly made out of yew (a readily availble resource in England). The bow string is either made with flax or hemp and the middle grip handle varied to suit the comfort of the user.

How It’s Made

Most English people knew how to make the long bow and it could be easily mass produced for very cheap, hence the bulk of the English army during the 14-15th century were comprised of archers.

A yew log is chopped and shaped from the log itself and sandpapered.

Draw Weight

There are conflicting reports on its draw weight, but most historians estimate around 100 to 150 lbs of draw weight and with bodking/armour piercing tips, it sometimes could penetrate medium armour such as the chainmail and weak spots on the full plate armour at close distances.

The effective shooting distance is about 200-300 meters and was commonly accompanied by heavy bodkin arrows.

The Advantage

Compared with other types of bows, The Long Bow can shoot at greater distances and has amazing penetration power. The yew tree is pretty common and The English Long Bow could be mass produced easily.

Since it’s made out of a full piece of log wood, archers didn’t have to worry much about their bows becoming wet and getting damaged as much compared with crossbows and recurve bows which are glued together.

However, due to its size and length, mobility was a disadvantage. The long bow can’t be used on horseback and had to be used on foot.

The Mongolian Recuve Bow

In most of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the recurve/composite bows were the weapon of choice since there was no “guidelines and rules” for war most of the time and could be wielded on horseback. It wasn’t until when the Mongols invaded Europe that the Mongolian bow became the talk of the town.

How to Make Mongolian Bow

The main frame comprises of Birch, a ready available type of resource in old Mongolia, and string from dried animal hide. Sometimes for decoration and practical purposes animal horn and bone were used as well. The body is glued together in layers to give it both flexibility and resilience, and the bow is strung in the opposite direction to give it a powerful flick when arrows are set loose.

The Draw Weight of Mongolian Recuve Bow

Commercial Mongolian recurve bow is usually 120-140 cm in length and 40-90 lbs in poundage. However there are recounts of it being over 150 lbs during Chinggis’ time. The bow itself is compact enough to be wielded on horseback, yet powerful enough to pierce armour!

However, it takes a longer time and it is more expensive to make compared to other traditional bows. The Mongolian recurve bow is also prone to damage if kept in wet and moist environment so it does require some maintenance.

Shooting Distance of Mongolian Recurve Bow

According to history, skilled archers could shoot more than 400 meters, and other accounts of master archers who could shoot arrows more than 500 meters. Zurgudai, AKA Zev, shot Chinggis Khaan from a great distance during the battle of the twelve sides.

Chinggis fortunately recovered and wanted to know the archer who shot him after his army won the battle. Zev spoke without fear for actions, and instead of being executed, his life was spared for his honesty and great skill; he eventually went on to become a loyal general of Chinggis.

Use of The Mongolian Bow

Back in old Mongolian era, everyone had to have an understanding and knowledge of the bow. Boys were required to train consistently and learned from a young age to hunt; even women had to be able defend themselves with it if need be.

In battles, it was a devastating weapon when used on horseback. Mongolian soldiers sometimes carried more than one bow and different arrows for different purposes, whistling, flaming, and armour piercing. Mongols were known to feign retreats and suddenly turn around to ambush the pursuers or deploy hit and run tactics.

 

Do People Still Use The Recurve Bow?

Absolutely! Besides some of the hobbyist who enjoy shooting composite and recurve bows, people living the nomadic lifestyle in Siberia use it for hunting occasions. However, more significantly, Mongolia still keeps its archery tradition with the Naadam festival, which is held every year.

Mongolian man shooting bow

How To Shoot The Mongolian Bow?

Shooting a bow is fairly easy, since the main action is just pulling the string and releasing it. However, it does require strength and practice to shoot heavier poundage bows. An average person could perhaps shoot 40 pound bows, but anything about that requires some strength training.

Use your index and middle finger to grab the string with the arrow in between. Pull the string until it reaches your cheeks and release your fingers.

Where Can I Buy or Find One?

Seven Meadows Bows has a good collection, otherwise, feel free to check out the ones from Amazon.

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re here to read an angry blog post about a racism in America, unfortunately this is quite the opposite. Over the last 5 years here in America, as a Mongolian from Asia, in general, I’ve had a very pleasant experience with people from various backgrounds and cultures. It mainly comes down to your belief system and how open you are to different perspectives and opinions. Some of my friends think I am a liberal since I am an international, but I can be quite the conservative too. Anyways, here’s my story.



Coming to the United States as a Freshman was a truly eye opening experience. I came not only to get my bachelors degree, but to also explore everything about the American culture. As some of you might know, I was going through a phase of culture shock; shooting stars and fireworks for a few months! Fraternities, parties, sports, college life, dating, you name it. Gradually, the newness wore off, but every has been a new learning experience!

The most important lesson I’ve learnt is how you want to view the world and how you want to present yourself. Be proud of who you are and your nationality; a mistake of mine is being embarrassed of my own identity as I didn’t mention my nationality to people as 2nd year rolled around. If you see yourself as someone who has nothing to offer and that the world is out there to get you because you look a certain way, to most extent, that is going to be true. You will fail to see the nice gestures people do for you and focus more so on the negative.

I won’t deny racism exists, but I have been fortunate enough to not have experienced direct insults or aggressive behaviour from strangers or acquaintances because I was Mongolian (I’ve seen more so reversed). Perhaps certain people have treated me differently on a subtle level because I am a foreigner, but I want to focus on the good.

Not so long ago, yesterday, since coming down to Texas, (A racist place according to a few of my friends), people have actually been very generous. A grocery store clerk saved me $2-$3 willingly with a discount, bus drivers have been helpful, and it’s the first time seeing 5-6 peoples of different cultures down in Houston. So stay positive my friends and keep your head up high; there’s a lot of love to go around!

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Just Another Day

It was a day prior to Halloween. As I headed back home on a train after a long day in the office, thinking what to wear, a short Asian man dressed in hooded coat and jeans with a fancy pair of dress shoes stood next to me. I took a little glimpse and examined the man. His hands seemed rough and flaky, but I could not get a good look at his face nor make out too much of his image.

Shortly thereafter, he asked the directions to where he was headed from an old dark man who stood in front of me. Given the excuse to turn around, I looked back for a few seconds pretending he asked me the question as the true recipient answered it.



The Catalyst

I was shocked and surprised as I gazed into his bloodshot eyes, seemingly chemically burnt or exposed skin, and the ever lonely tooth that was left as he continued to speak to the other man. I quickly tilted my head back as the uneasiness settled in for both the dark man and I. The old dark man tried to be polite, but dismissed any interest in continuing the interaction out of his discomfort and displease with such an unsightly view.

As I stood there embarrassed with my prejudice and bias too, there was a strong sense of urge and a desire to ask that Asian man to sit down for some drinks or food. However, my body trembled as my mouth felt like something had glued it shut, until it was already time for me to de-board, but the man exited the train as well and walked alongside me. As much as my soul cried out to take action and have an encounter that will be remembered until the day I die, my selfish ego told otherwise, and asked why even think of such outrageous shit.

With every stride, he became smaller and smaller until he disappeared as he boarded a bus for his final destination, and there I stood debating whether I should take the final chance to ask him if he would like to get dinner on me, to understand and hear his story about what it’s like to be shunned and treated as an outcast, but there I stood. After an hour since that encounter, I was back at my apartment mulling over my indecision with ever-brewing anger at myself for being such a coward. To shift my focus, I grabbed my phone to check my yahoo emails, but another headline already took my attention “All 224 on-board killed in Sinai plane crash”.

Drowning in Luck

And there it hit me, like a hammer on an anvil, how my habits and surroundings started to mold my actions, how apathy started to settle, but more importantly, how I took my life for granted ever since moving to Chicago. All the moments I told myself “I’ll go to that meet-up tomorrow when I feel like it” “I’ll start swimming again when I have the time” “I’ll talk to that cute girl when I have enough money to take her on a nice date” “I’ll do this or that, when this or that” came rushing in. I grabbed my swim trunks, goggles, and towel to go for a swim after 2 months of excuses, attended the French group meet-up, and held myself accountable to follow through. What did I lose? A piece of paper that supposedly “signifies” our worth. What did I gain? Priceless smiles and encounters with amazing people who realigned me with my purpose to explore and share.

When we’re drifting off our course and purpose in life, the universe gives us a nice kick to the balls or “any pain that’s equivalent for the ladies reading this”, to wake us up. Comfort and complacency are the death to passion, desire, and action. You don’t hurt nor do you feel. “The opposite of love is indifference”

My question to you is, what have you been putting off? 

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s a quiet Saturday evening. I have a water bottle next to my side and a few sheets of paper. Sheets of paper that give a glimpse into the interests of the newer generation of Mongolian youths.

I have been blessed with higher level education and the opportunity to learn, which many of us take for granted or dream about. As I go through these sheets, I am amazed and inspired to see the diversity of different majors each student wants to pursue here at Albion College.

Almost 5 years ago, when I started thinking of what I wanted to do with my life after high school graduation, a prestigious university or college was all the craze. My parents and teachers, having lived through a socialist era, had a different kind of mindset. Reputation of a school name and hard work got them through life, so they advised me to apply for respectable schools and bigger universities.



Most Mongolians only hear about Harvard, Princeton, etc. Some of my friends applied and got accepted into the Ivy Leagues. It is a great feat and something to praise, but I always wanted to venture into the unknown. Albion College was barely ever mentioned there. I hadn’t even heard of it nor would have ever considered even applying had it not been for Lewis Cardenas, the former Albion College recruiter. I am forever grateful until this day that I applied. My heart has always belonged in a smaller school that challenged me to think, a school that allowed for excellence of education and creativity. The relationships that I have developed with people over the years have been wonderful.

Anyways, enough about my story, but most often in our country, majors in business, economics, and finance are encouraged when studying abroad. As a developing country it makes sense to root for practical majors that will be of use in the future for development. I don’t argue against that, but if that’s all we emphasize on, our country will crumble. What about the scientists? What about the engineers? What about the architects? Teachers? Philosophers and so much more? Where is the encouragement for the younger generation to create and to build? However, I am more than excited to realize there is a shift in paradigm!

As I read through the forms of potential Brits, I see students interested in majoring in:

Biochemistry, Biology, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Arts, History etc, and this gives me immense joy. I can’t wait to connect with them and guide them through their application process. The future of Mongolia depends on us and the younger generation. We have been fighting hard to remain as an independent nation from China for over 90 years, but if all we can do is business and sell out of our country to foreign influence, we’re headed towards a dark path.

To all my Mongolian brothers and sisters, I say go against the traditional norms and create a path for yourself. Do what you feel is right and purposeful to you and your country. Some will say there are no jobs back home where you are going to be majoring in or how are you going to make money with that degree? But, let me ask you something; something to think about. Why can’t we create those jobs? Why can’t we be the first to open doors for many to come? We need thinkers, builders, innovators; we need a diversity of people majoring in different things with higher degrees of education for the betterment of our country.

All I am asking is for you to consider the possibilities. Be rational to a point; do listen to your teachers, do listen to your family members, do listen to your friends, BUT MOST OF ALL, listen to YOURSELF even more!

What do you want to do?

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2018-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API