Four years ago, my nephew and niece, at the time aged ten and six respectively, saw Disney’s animated film Mulan. They gleefully watched a story featuring a red fast-talking sidekick dragon, the brave young Mulan, and the yellow-eyed evil Huns. The movie’s catchy songs were sung around the house calling everyone to “let’s get down to business, to defeat the Huns!”
On June 26th, Mongolians went to the polls to elect their fifth president, repeating a process that has been in place for just 20 years. As with every election, Mongolians approached the event with gusto – even amid acerbic debate, they adorned their best, with their best displaying the wide range that the term implies.… Continue reading The 2017 Mongolian Presidential Election: Sinophobia as a Political Weapon
The National Statistics Office just released the annual GDP growth rate for 2014-2015, and it's not pretty. In 2015, the economy grew by 2.5%, which is a far cry from the 15.3% that we had in 2011, or even the 5.9% that we had in 2014. But it's nowhere what it was in 2009. In… Continue reading Mongolia GDP Lowest Since 2009
UB Air Pollution with Hazardous PM 2.5 Off the Charts
Two articles ago, I wrote about China’s New Normal. If you haven’t read it, please refer to it now since it explains the background for this post. A quick review: China is transitioning from a cheap-labor manufacturing economic base to a service-oriented consumer economy. If done right, China will finally take its place as a… Continue reading Mongolia in the Shadow of China’s New Normal: Why I’m Still Optimistic
If you haven't seen this series by photographer Daesung Lee about the effects of climate change on Mongolia, then you're welcome because you're going to see it now. By placing past images of the countryside alongside the current landscape, he forces the audience to acknowledge the fearsome consequences of climate change. According to the article… Continue reading “As Much as 75% of Mongolia is at Risk of Desertification”
For a while now, China has been reassuring us all that the slowdown in its growth engine is all part of this conversion into a more consumer-oriented society, rather than the cheap-labor, cheap-goods factory machine that it has become known for. Rocketed by a burgeoning middle-class, there is now a new China in town. This is a China… Continue reading What’s up with China’s New Normal?
With the waning of the summer, the nights are getting longer and the weather is getting colder. Before long, the winter will be upon us, which means that temperatures will precipitously dip into -30-40 Celsius, and thick blankets of snow will cover the hilltops. It also means that the crisp Mongolian air will soon become… Continue reading UB’s Air Pollution Dilemma and Affordable Smart Air Filters comes to UB
For anyone doing research on Mongolia, especially on the economic side of things, I'm sure that the World Bank database (data.worldbank.org) is a familiar friend. For those of you who didn't know that fun fact, go there immediately to revel in the amount of data that the World Bank has collected and compiled into a… Continue reading Upper-Middle-Income-Ish
Hello everyone - Thank you for all of your support. We are very proud of the work that we have been able to accomplish in Khongor, and could not have done it without the support of the Davis Projects for Peace, the Center for Global Engagement at Kenyon, the 14th School students, teachers and staff,… Continue reading The Last of the Greenhouse Project, International Development and the Future
In those rare times when Mongolia does happen to make it onto the pages of global newspapers and magazines, there is something that the well-trained editors and writers sitting behind the desk invariably do. They emphasize the incredible(ly trite) contrast between the old and the new as evidenced by any number of things around Ulaanbaatar. "Ah, yes,… Continue reading Mongolia. Much Exotic. You Like, Yes?
There are some thoughts that always return to me in cycles, some thoughts that are now like good friends, loyal customers or terrifying stalkers. They keep me company through the quieter moments in my life, or they keep me up, raising my pulse, triggering an anxiety attack. As you can discern, these companions bear a… Continue reading Purpose. Philosophy.
Tee and I held workshop 1, which centered around eating healthy and exercising regularly, last Thursday. We had about 30 kids show up, all interested in what we were doing and teaching. We first talked about the food pyramid, and then about portions. During the middle, two nurses from Darkhan came and talked about general… Continue reading Workshop 1 a Success!
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of death in Mongolia. Non-communicable means that these diseases are not transmitted from person to person. Frequently, they are of long duration and slow progression, such as heart disease, cancers, respiratory disease and diabetes. According to WHO, low and middle income countries account for 80% of NCD deaths,… Continue reading The Looming Diabetes Epidemic
As I mentioned earlier, my friend Tee and I are in Mongolia this summer on a grant from the Davis Projects for Peace initiative by The Davis Foundation. We are happy to announce that construction of the greenhouse has been completed! Construction and materials were bought from a Korean company by the name of Evergreen… Continue reading The Greenhouse Project – Update