Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Randomer on LGBT rights in Mongolia - 2

Tonight on the eve of the IDAHO, I got one of the best news: the Executive Director of the LGBT Centre Otgonbaatar was asked to join the Civil Movement Party to stand in the parliamentary elections this June! Although the party is represented by very strong, passionate and capable women and men, it didn't gain seats in the Parliament last time, for obvious to anyone who's savvy in the Mongolian political and especially electoral situation reasons. This time there is a definitely better ground for the party to succeed, what all with the majority parties losing all the electoral confidence. Imagine, all my boldest dreams about the LGBT rights progress in Mongolia may thus become a reality much sooner than even I dared to think, if the long-standing comrade gets elected into the Parliament of Mongolia! It will be such a victory for the whole community, such a grand example, such an inspiration to the younger generation, and such personal vindication for so many voiceless among us. The day I will see an openly proud and out gay person in the legislature is close, oh so close! Such interesting times in Mongolia, LGBT folk, such exciting times.

Байр, байр, байр

Над шиг 36 шүргэж яваа мөртлөө өөрийн гэсэн орох оронгүй залуус Монголд цөөнх үү, олонх уу? Миний харж байгаагаар олонх болчоод л байна, яалт ч үгүй. Нэг өрөө байрны түрээс л гэхэд 500 мянга гэх юм. Тэгээд бүр хагас жил, бүтэн жилээр нь түрээсийг нь авна гэж гүрийхийг нь яана. Гэтэл хүмүүсийн цалин хэд билээ гэж бодохоор тэр хүмүүс яг хэнд зориулаад байраа түрээслээд байгаа вэ гэсэн асуудал гарч ирнэ. Үнэхээр түрээслэгдээд байгаа учир л хүмүүс ийм үнээр түрээслүүлээд байдаг байх. Тэр эмч, багш нар хөөрхий бие дааж амьдарна гэж мөрөөддөг ч үгүй байх. Яаж ийгээд 200 мянган төгрөгөө өөртөө, хүүхдүүддээ зохицуулах вэ л гэж боддог байх. 2000 оноос хойш буюу 138 сар би байрны түрээсэндээ бүр наад захаар, хамгийн багаар тооцолоход ойролцоогоор 50 мянган доллар зарсан байх юм. Нэг өрөө байтугай байрны мөнгө байгаа биз? Гэтэл тэр нь бөөнөөрөө байхгүйгээс л ажиллаж хөдөлмөрлөсөн цалингаа бүгдийг нь байрны түрээсэнд өгөөд дуусгасан хүн байх юм. Аан бас экс эхнэрийнхээ Австралийн их сургууль дах магистрынх нь төлбөрийн 90%-ийг хийсэн. Ядуу орны энгийн сэхээтэн гэр бүлээс гаралтай, ариун цагаан хөдөлмөрөөрөө олсон мөнгөө ариун цагаанаар зарцуулсан хүн бас яахав дээ, болж л байгаа биз дээ. Өөртөө юмгүй үлдэх нь аргагүй биз дээ.

Ганц бие, ам бүл цөөнтэй хүмүүст зориулсан нэг өрөөтэй нийтийн байрнуудыг олноор нь барьж, сарын түрээсийг нь 300 мянгад багтаагаад, ашгаа ч олоод явах боломж баймаар л юм, энэ барилга барьж байгаа хүмүүст. Гэхдээ ингэх нь тэдэнд яагаад ч юм ашиггүй санагддаг бололтой. Ямартаа ч бие дааж амьдарснаасаа хойш л орон байр түрээслэсээр хамаг мөнгөө түрээсэнд өгөөд дууссан над шиг хүмүүс их л байдаг байх. Түүнээс илүү хувь  нь байр орон түрээслэх мөнгөгүйдээ ээж аавынхаа бөөрөнд шигдээд, ажиллаж олсон хэдэн борыгоо цуглуулаад цуглуулаад байрны урьдчилгаанд дөнгөн данган хүрэхтэй үгүйтэй суусаар байрны үнэ ч тэнгэрт хадсаар, өөрийн гэсэн орох орон бол зөвхөн мөрөөдөл төдий хоцорч буй залуус ч их. Ер нь л бодоод байх нь төрөөс ийм байруудыг олноор нь бариулаад, түрээсийг нь зохицуулаад байвал олон залуус бие даасан амьдралтай болж, ээж аавыгаа зулгаалгүй, зовоолгүй, холголгүй амьдарчих л байх.

Хааяа тансаг тансаг зэрэглэлийн байрнуудын хажуугаар өнгөрөхдөө юу боддог гэхээр "Энд яг яаж хөлжиж баяжсан хүмүүс амьдардаг бол?" гэж. Эрдэнэтээс ирснээсээ хойш Монголдоо л эксклюзив, аймшигтай дээд зэрэглэлийн 154 метр квадрат байранд өдөр хоногийг өнгөрөөж байна. Өдрийн түрээс нь 200 доллар, сарын түрээс нь 5 мянган доллар гэсэн, бүү үзэгд. Надад ямар юмных нь тийм мөнгө байхав, мөрөөдөөд ч нэмэргүй. Найзынхаа буянаар л хэдэн хоног тарвалзаж байх шив, өдрийн түрээсээр тооцвол бүр 2 мянга илүү долларын байранд амьдарчихсан байна шүү. Ийм байранд амьдрагсад гэхдээ үнэхээр энгийн ард хэрхэн яаж амьдардаг тухай бодох сөхөөтэй байдаг болов уу? Нэг байр нь л гэхэд 500 мянгаас 1 сая долларын үнэтэй байранд сууж байгаа хүмүүс илүү их мөнгө хэрхэн яаж олох тухайгаа л бодохоос үнэхээр ард түмэн хэрхэн амьдарч байгаа, юу ямар үнэтэй байгааг бодохыг ч хүсдэггүй биз. Харин энэ болгоныг хараад ой гутна. Ой гутна, бөөлжис цутгана, уушиг савсайна. За тэгээд эцэстээ бизнес хийж буй хүмүүстэй ч юу ярих вэ, тэд ариун цагаан хөдөлмөрөөрөө бизнес хийгээд л олоо байлгүй (үгүй бас ариун ч юу байхав, томоохон хөдлөхийн тулд заавал хээл хахуулийг нь өгч байж л хөдлөнө шүү дээ, тэгэхээр бас л ариун цагаан биш болчоод байгаа юм). Харин тэр төрийн түшээ нэртэй, төрөөр бизнес хийгчдийн томоос том толгойлогч Энхбаяр мэтээс эхэлсэн улстөр, эдийн засгийн "бүлэглэл"-тэй л ярих яриа хатуу.  Элбэгээ сайн ажлаа хийж байгаа, ёстой зөв. Дахиад ч ерөнхийлөгчөөр сонгогдоно, тэр бол яриангүй. Дахиад ч саналаа өгнө гэж байгаа.

Зөөө тэгээд нэг орох оронтой болчих юмсандөө. Ядаж л ийм тансаг газар байхаар чөлөөтэй ч хөдлөж чадахгүй, энд тэндэхийн юмыг нь унагаад хагалчих вий гээд хэхэх. Найз нөхөдтэйгээ л байр хамтарч хөлслөхөөс биш дээ энчдоо. Өөр арга чарга алга шив.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Put a smile on

So there is this friend who I saw a few times in 2009 and once in 2010. She always puts a smile on my face with her emails that I look forward to. Incredible soul. From the first moment I saw her, I felt such warmth and connection, don't know why. She always puts a smile on my face.

Another thing that always puts a smile, albeit a sarcastic one, is Enhbayar, the former Prime Minister. He's being released after being arrested a month ago under the charges of corruption and financial embezzlement. Just saw how he was covering his ears and walking around in a cell muttering to himself as if possessed (he does seem to be possessed by greed and insanity, unfortunately), refusing to listen to the charges and to answer the questions. I listened to the statement he read out a few days ago from a hospital where he was taken into because of the hunger strike, and couldn't help but laugh hysterically at the godfather of evil, both political as well as economic, in Mongolia.

As a mastermind behind the state of emergency in July 2008, as a man in charge who imposed that emergency and allowed for 5 people to be killed on the streets of Ulaanbaatar, as a politician who never owned any business prior to entering politics, but who is now said to have billions of dollars to his name, he never fails to put a smile on my face, albeit that's more of a dismayed grimace. A historic moment of him being arrested was said to have ignited his upporters, but hey, it also ignited all of us, ordinary voters who would never ever again vote him into any position. When I was in Japan in 2005, he was elected into the President's office. I called my mother although I very rarely called her from overseas, once half a year, if that, to vent: Really?! Truly people elected him again into the office, and this time even as a President?! Are Mongolians brainwashed to such an extent that they no longer see the processes of politics and how it affects us in our daily lives, and to still choose this a-hole into office?!?! She replied: "Hush now. I undestand your sentiment. I feel as if I can't even voice my displeasure, though. People are shocked." A few days ago I was talking to a cab driver for the entire one and a half hours that we were stuck together in impassable streets of Ulaanbaatar as it often is when it snows or rains. Although a cabbie, he knew exactly the rent of the friend's place I'm staying in during the time I need to find an apt. Although just another cabbie, he knew the difference between the majoritarianism and proportionalism. Although an ordinary cabbie, he vehemently supported me when I told him that depending on the outcomes of this election, I will be making a decision whether to stay in this lawless country, or to move on to a country where laws are implemented, where I can walk and live and work in peace. Well, that and the outcome of the complaint I filed with the Chingeltei district police. If that violent and lying perpetrator is not put away, I will anyway have to leave the country since even the state would not protect me from such hate crimes. And getting back to the one who never fails to put a smile on my face, alright, a grimace then: Mongols of conscience will not be fooled anymore. We don't have to accept evil in any form, and this election will determine once and for all the future of this country. It is an incredibly important election we have ahead this summer.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Randomer on LGBT rights in Mongolia

Incredible how fast our societal mentality is evolving given the absolute lack of understanding or even inkling on lesbians and gays only a few years ago. The proof is the fact that the televisions and journalists are seeking out  the LGBT Centre of their own accord, initiating whole talk shows around LGBT issues, going out on the streets, and by posing simple questions to pedestrians are themselves becoming the agents of social change - civic journalism in its historic momentum witnessed on the LGBT issues. The fact that Nuudel Shiidel, a brand new talk show of Mongolia's first HD television, Mongol television, did its 5th show on us is the proof. Proud of my comrades, passionate human rights defenders, who are continuing the work I had been an integral part for many years. And the younger generation of human rights defenders is proving to be much more sophisticated and diplomatic than us, the first generation post-transition, who often were, and still are, quite militant. How could I not be proud and amazed!

A thought also pops in. Despite the fact that there is an increasing number of ordinary Mongols who are getting better informed, there are those counted among specialists who refused consistently, and still do refuse, to understand LGBT rights as a holistic concept, who had, time and again, claimed superiority of other human rights issues to LGBT rights issues, who had never understood that domestic violence is domestic violence whether in a straight relationship or gay relationship, that in order to ensure the LGBT rights in today's society, the very mechanism of a civil society - collaboration, not downright negation through wilful use of wrong terms while claiming a need for consensus - is essential. Someone accused me of "angry accusations" when I simply pointed out a few facts, the facts that have a potential of spilling over into grave for the LGBT people, and for the very idea of a civil society in Mongolia, results. Instead of understanding why I may have been frustrated, my reaction was simply written off as "angry, disrespectful accusation". Talk about silencing, erasure. Angry - no. Frustrated - oh yes ma'am, you bet. PS: Saw that the person wrote something that could be construed as a threat, to quote: "your angry, disrespectful accusation could damage" one organisation's relations with other organisations. Since when are personal expressions forbidden? And who says that? Really, just another instance of unethical bullying, with the final aim of silencing, erasing, negating. And it's one of the so-called specialists...

On a different note altogether. Where would we be in a few years? Did I dream about the level of acceptance for the LGBT people we're witnessing now compared to five years ago when we were first founding the LGBT Centre? Or even 13 years ago when I first landed back in Mongolia and had to look for Tavilan for more than half a year? That by 2012 the Government of Mongolia would be strongly committed to ensuring equality to LGBT people through proposed enactment of a non-discrimination legislation, amendments to the Criminal Code and even the Constitution?! No. It was all to be at least a decade-long, sweaty and bloody labour that suddenly took off in 2010 in ways we never imagined, thanks to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council. So how shall I dream now about what and where we will be as a society in five years? I'll dream big, and so do you, people! Dare on, my sisters and brothers, walk the talk, dreamers!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bitter, bitterer, bittersweeter

Everyone leaves footprints on earth as they walk, breathe, love, laugh, wander, wonder, cry and even as they leave this realm forever. The ones who had truly lived leave the biggest footprints, pawprints, fingerprints in the hearts of the people around. How to know you've lived well enough to have left an uneraseable mark in the hearts and souls of others? Tell them what's about to happen to you and watch their reactions. If they're loathe to let you go in any shape or form, you're ok to go albeit you'll be missed. If they're less than bittersweet about your departure, you'd better make sure you spend the rest of your days in a way that will ensure firmly printed footprints, pawprints, fingerprints. Bitter, impending departures turning into bittersweet memories even before the process of saying fare-thee-well begins. Bitter, bitterer, bitterest loss of a friend, to some lover, a comrade to many that will one day turn into bittersweet memories that light up the eyes when you remember the departed. Saying goodbye and farewell even before one parts in the meaningful way to ensure that you're ok after they parted - after all, it's not the loss per se, but our selfishness that wants to hold the dearest and nearest around and alive, even if it's killing them. Bitter, black memories of pain and suffering bleached by flowing time that eases the pain, but never fully erases it. I love you, my friend, and I'm grateful to know that I do have a few precious months with you, my sweet. Bitter, bitterer, bittersweeter...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Эрдэнэт, цагдаа, тагнах үйл ажиллагаа

Эрдэнэт ч арай биш л дээ, хөдөө нь ирсээр бас овоо хэд хонож байна. Ээжээр арчлуулаад л гэвтэж байгаа надад нэг их сонин алга. 27-нд буугаад тэр оройдоо 100%-даа байж байгаад Мөөгийнд хоног төөрүүлэд маргааш нь энд ирэв. Харин өчигдөр мөрдөн байцаагч утасдаж ирж хохирогчийнхоо мэдүүлгийг өг гэнэ. Гэх гэхдээ би хүнийг гавлынх нь ясыг цөмөртөл цохьсон мэт эвгүй ярьсан гэж, надтай. Манай цагдаа ажлаа мэддэггүй, хохирогчтой хүртэл гэмт хэрэгтэнтэй харьцаж буй мэтээр харьцсаар байгаа гэдэг нь үнэн болтой. Бас л хүндэд тооцогдох хагалгаа хийлгэж ирээд биеэ сувилуулаад хэвтэж байгаа намайг "Таны бие муу байгаа эсэхийг би яаж мэддэг юм. Та цагдаад өргөдөл гомдол гаргасан л юм бол ир гэсэн үед нь ирж мэдүүлэг өгөх ёстой" гэх юм. Арай ч дээ. За тэр яахав. Биеэ арай гайгүй болохоор угаасаа очихдоо очно. Харин энд ирчээд маргааш нь шинэ авсан утсаа өглөө нь цэнэглэчээд орой нь хартал бүх цэнэг нь байхгүй. Бас өчигдрөөс эхлээд ирсэн бүх мессеж virtual environment-ад онгойгоод. Мэдэхгүй хүн бол мэдэхээргүй л юм. Гэхдээ миний мэдэхийн сүүлийн үеийн бүх гар утсыг чагнаж болдог, мөн хэрэв бусад этгээд түүнлүү нь орж байвал текст уншигч нь virtual environment-ад онгойдог гэдгийг нь мэднэ л. Нэмайгаа тагнаж яах гэдэг юм. Угаасаа над шиг нээлттэй амьдралтай хүн Монгол байтугай дэлхийд ховор. Тэгж улсын мөнгийг зарж үрж яана. Хэрэгтэй газар нь, янз бүрийн гэмт хэрэг хийгээд байдаг нөхдөө тагнан туршаачэээ.

Crowdfunding!

As many of you know, we are doing an online crowdfunding for the first time in the history of the Centre, and it happens to be for the Equa...