7 Reasons That Mongolia is Wrong to Celebrate Men and Soldiers
Hello 7 Reasons readers! It’s Friday here in the world, but in Mongolia it isn’t. In Mongolia, today is Men and Soldiers Day: The day when the good folks of Ulaanbaatar (and the parts of Mongolia that we can’t name) celebrate men and soldiers. Are men and soldiers the right people to be celebrating though, we asked ourselves. Doesn’t it seem a little unfair and iniquitous to be only celebrating men and soldiers? We think it is. We think there are far more deserving groups for modern Mongolia to celebrate. Here they are.
1. Men and Sailors. Now, the more observant of you will point out that Mongolia is a landlocked country and as a result have little need for sailors. While I might agree with you, it doesn’t stop Mongolia having a Navy. Indeed, as recently ago as the 13th Century, Mongolia had the third largest Navy in the world. Sadly, these days it comprises of three boats, two guns and seven sailors. Laughable you may think, but when I tell you that only one of the sailors can swim you will understand the gravity of the situation. Mongolia should be celebrating their sailors before they’ve all gone.
2. Men and Roy Chapman Andrews & His Merry Men. A name not familiar to most of you I am sure, but in the early 1920s Roy and co explored Mongolia in a fleet of Dodge cars. He was intending that his trip to Mongolia would help him discover something about the origin of man – why he thought Mongolia was the place he’d find this remains a mystery – he’d have probably had more luck in Lidl. Unsurprisingly he discovered little about man, but did discover a treasure trove of dinosaur bones. Not my words, those of Wikipedia. Then in July 1923, he became the first man to discover dinosaur eggs. All this leads us to believe that Roy Chapman Andrews inspired the creation of Indiana Jones. Given the success of the franchise, I feel it only proper that we should celebrate the real-life Indiana. And when I say ‘we’, I mean Mongolia.
3. Men and Weathermen. In summertime the temperatures can reach as high as 40 Celsius in Mongolia and in the winter drop as low as -45 Celsius. That is some extreme weather one has to stand outside holding a thermometer in. No one ever thinks about this though do they? All they care about is whether they need the camel or the bus the next day.
4. Men and Trans-Siberian Train Drivers. The Trans-Siberian railway line cuts through Mongolia as it joins Russia and China. A trip from St Petersburg to Beijing – taking in Ulaanbaatar – can take anywhere from between fifteen days to a month and a half. The first reason that Mongolia should be celebrating this dedicated group is that they are bringing in tourists which of course boost the economy. Secondly, do you know how hard it is to stand up for a month and a half? No, neither do I. But that is what these train drivers do. Heroes. The lot of them.
5. Men and Yurt Manufacturers. While Mongolian soldiers might once have blazed a bloody trail across Asia under Genghis Khan, the Mongolian Army is no longer the all-conquering behemoth that it once was. Mongolian yurts, however, unlike Mongolian soldiers, can be found all over the world and are something of a national Mongolian symbol. You can even order them online. Can you order a Mongolian soldier online? Well yes, probably, this is the internet we’re talking about, but a yurt would look better in your garden and would be less terrifying to your womenfolk and neighbours.
6. Men and Economists. The major currency of Mongolia is the tögrög, the tugrik or the tugrug, it depends who you ask. And if you ask me, it’s the tugrug. I don’t know how many tögrögs there are to the tugrik or how many tökraks there are to the tugrug (I just made one up myself, being an economist is fun!) but anyone who has invented a currency that has at least three names – one of which sounds like a silent comedic prank – should be celebrated. And then locked up.
7. Men and the Sun-Starved Geeks That Update Wikipedia. If it weren’t for Wikipedia, how much would we know of modern Mongolia? Sure we all know about Genghis Khan and the yurts and…the…yaks and things? But Wikipedia – fortunately – knows everything. I, for one, was flabbergasted to learn that Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan and that on November 21, 2005, George W. Bush became the first-ever sitting U.S. President to visit Mongolia. To the rest of the world, Wikipedia is a shop window for Mongolia, spewing-forth fascinating facts and marvellous Mongolian minutiae for our amazement and astonishment. Mongolia should celebrate the people that update Wikipedia from their bedrooms in their pants. And so should we. Wikipedia, we salute you.