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October 30, 2006


If this Terry character is actually insulting, attacking or in any other way denying buddhism then there should really be no big discussion. I really don't understand why he and his compadres are not deported like they would be
from any serious soveren state. With stamps in their passports banning return tu Mongolia until at least "second coming". Obviously Mongolia and Mongol nation needs some serious wakeing up to do unless it wants to become just another "banana republic". It's pretty clear that corruption is in fact what's keeping him in place there.

Peacefull protests and signing petitions against such buissnes would be most logic in order to increase public awareness on what's going on. I bet Mongol people would be willing to show piece of their mind to Mr. Terry and alikes who are spitting on their native culture thus on their homeland itself if only such activites would be organized.

I was watching one of those annoying talk news shows the other night (channel surfing) and saw John Ratzenberger (the actor from Cheers)going on about his new book on what's wrong with America. He blamed it all on an increased sense of ego, brought on by the increased interest in eastern religions during the Woodstock days. Say what? Then he said 'those religions are all about self. They don't understand the idea of service. Do you ever see buddhist hospitals?'
I had to flip the channel because I'm sure my blood pressure went through the roof. I don't know that I could imagine a more service oriented ideology than buddhism. He must be friends with Mr Terry.

Have you read "Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World"? He use the usual Western version of his name because that's what people are used to. Anyway, apparently many early Mongols, even among the ruling class, were in fact Christian. Teh Mongols obviously ultimately gave it up for Buddhism, though.

As for banning Christian missionaries, I've heard tell of some American congressmen and senators who've made it quite clear to the Mongolian government that if they get in the way of these radical right Christian types, their foreign aid will disappear. Sad but not surprising.

My, my, Vedran -- Didn't we wake up in a militant mood? In Mongolia, they have both freedom of speech and religion in their Constitution and take both quite seriously. Until Mr. Terry actually breaks laws or otherwise violates the terms of his visa, he's welcome to stay. Just being an insulting ignoramus doesn't qualify one for deportation.

Carol -- Ratzenberger, eh? The Not Norm from Cheers? How bizarre that our culture even offers him a platform for his religious ideas. But with 597 channels...I saw a funny thing where someone imagined him confused with Cardinal Ratzinger and accidentally named Pope!

RG -- I have read Weatherford's book, and it does seem that Nestorian Christianity had some pull in Central Asia for a time. And I do know that now there is pressure exerted by the Americans when the Mongols feel tempted to curtail religious freedoms in onerous ways, or formally declare Mongolia as a Buddhist nation, eg. That seems OK, though. But don't let it stop you or anyone else from voting to change this Congress!

I know this is off topic for this post, but I can't stop thinking about your aversion to handing out those multicolored toe socks to the prisoners. It seems to me that when you consider the relative warmth provided by mittens compared to gloves, that when it's really, really cold, those toe socks may be very appreciated. That, plus, with all those colors, I'll bet they become quite the popular item in what must be a drab and depressing (and cold) Mongolian prison.
All I'm sayin', is stop knocking the throwback hippie rainbow toe socks. You know they are a 70's fashion failure, but Mongolian prisoners do not. On your next prison visit, look around, I'll bet they've become a status symbol!

Personally, with our unheated apartments and stone floors in Israel, I wouldn't mind a pair. I think I even saw some on sale recently. When I buy them, I'll think of you and Mongolia.

Konchog, lookit, you've started a worldwide trend!

Just for the record, I would like to express support for lama Konchog reluctance about "rainbow sockets." It is a sensitive matter, since it is about a gift made with good intentions, so I will just say that I understand our host.

He he- militant moode! Good one Konchog! Actually I do feel rather comfortable in my army jacket and jack boots (when I go hiking that is)...
Now seriously, peaceful protests and signing petitions are hardly militant actions. In fact they are acceptible democratic means of showing political views or disagreement with government policies.
Only if people know exactly what's going on then they can decide who's gotta right to roam around they country spreading his web of interests. Rinchen Gyatso stated (if true affcourse) the core of corruption. Sorry to say but looks like American interests and imperialism has no shame whatsoever and finding new, even unbeliveble forms of agression specific for different parts of the world. Like for Iraq army with machineguns and granades and for Mongolia with just Bibles and crucafixes will doo. Affcourse it's just about helping poore people to find the way to "(religious) freedom". Are you sure Konchog that change of rulling party in the US will make such big difference or much deeper change is needed in american society?

I know I'm not a Buddhist or part of the core group on this site, but I have to say, as to this:

"American interests and imperialism has no shame whatsoever and finding new, even unbeliveble forms of agression specific for different parts of the world. Like for Iraq army with machineguns and granades and for Mongolia with just Bibles and crucafixes"

Besides just suggesting a spell-check to begin with, the "crusades" you're mentioning (and I know you didn't use the word, but that's what they are) are a bit different from each other.

I don't totally disagree with you, as there is certainly some cross-over. But please don't think all Americans go to Mongolia with the "mission" to subvert the dominant culture and religion, or that this is the ultimate aim of the US government. I was a Peace Corps volunteer there, along with many others, and we, the US AID folks, and other sectors of the Amrericna mission in Mongolia are truly there to help the people.
However, I did repeatedly have to assure people I wasn't a X-ian, that in-fact I am Jewish, and people often opened up to me JUST because of that it seemed. I heard on several occasions: "Great! We don't believe in Jesus either." It was related to me on many occasions that people in Mongolia are tired of the interference with their religious views -- at least from the adults I spoke with.
Then again, as Konchog says, not all the Christians there have an aggressiv eor coercive agenda -- it was the Mormons that I found really troubling, at least their approach in Dornod: sending undisciplined high school boys who would surround and corner individuals in what looked to me like the circling of sharks or wolves...
I saw them pulling that sort of tactic here in the US as well, in a primarily Mongolian-immigrant occupied apartment complex I lived used to live in -- and my wife had to hold me back, as I started to run over and, ahem... interrupt.

And I think the reason the government tolerates the nuttier fringe X-ians is because they bring money, clothes, food items, and English teachers with them.

Well, I guess I'm a total subversive then, because I go to Mongolia to study Buddhism, to bring back to America things that are not yet available to westerners who seek an alternative to Christianity. I would guess that I'm one of the deep concerns of people like Mr Terry, and as Konchog saw the day two Korean Christians jumped his stuff for being a Buddhist monk. They may be worried that a functioning and viable Buddhist Mongolia will give folks back home the idea that we don't need our gov't to be Christian in order to function or to be good people.

Heh heh heh, Vedran - say Mr Terry gets banned till the "second coming"... but what if Zoomie's onto something? He'll be back next year!

Re the Americans in Mongolia: I'd second Ariel, the majority are extremely helpful, well-meaning folk (hats off to PCVs, yourself included Ariel!) that bring perspective, expertise and technology...

As for a few nutjobs like Mr Terry, they are there to provide comical relief. In any case, this sort of thing is to be dealt with at the grassroots level, nothing more... Eventually, faced with consistently mediocre returns on investment, they will hopefully pull out like any sensible businessmen would do.

Ariel-- I'm not part of any core group either I'm just babbeling here by the grace of Konchog!It's place where I can discuss things I'm interested in.

In any way I did not try to imply that ALL Americans are "like that" I realize that you come in all shapes and faiths. However those Americans who are "like that" obviously have some amount of support from your government. Same style wahabbi missionarys have support from Saudi Arabia's government.
When I think what would happend to highschool mormon boys on streets of my country if they would try to corner someone... I do have greatest admiration for tolerance of Mongolian people but someone should tell them that too much tolerance is not that much better then none, and if you're not taking care for yourself and your country surely some foreigners will not do it for you, no mater what they saying.

Hi Vedran! What are your feelings on rainbow toe socks?

Personally, I think Rainbow Toe Socks are cool.

Don, thanks to you I had the laugh of my day (I am quite sick today)! :-)

About the serious discussion going on, perhaps it is worth imagining that soon enough, the Christian missionaries in Mongolia will be native Mongolians, so the "close the border" technique would be useless.

I bet that fascination or mere interest for the West, through some exported American culture (probably the one that Chirac, while in Vietnam, called "sub-culture", ooops), is going to grow fast anyway. There is a lot of cool stuff in modern American culture, especially (for me) science, technologies, music, arts and a kind of intrepidity (keep cool, Vedran, I don't refer to imperialism:-). So, I understand: the West IS fascinating. The East too, but they may forget that soon, you know. (I don't know the reasons why.)

Again, that is why it is important that someone like our host, being American and Buddhist, is in Mongolia and gives a *modern image of Buddhism*, and do not promote a return to a corrupt theocracy, which is seems to be the favorite foil of Shamanists and Christian missionaries there.

Ok Don if you think my opinion is needed on this. I looked at the image you linked. First feeling I expirienced was slight discomfort in lower part of the stomack (honest!). My firt thought was I belive american term would be "heavy casulties train wreck". However when I think of possibility that every toe moves free and individualy seems very comfortable. I could weare it but only monocromatic dark version and even then could never let any of my friends see me in it.

One wishes so very much that Mr. Terry and his ilk would devote their time to philately, numismatics or even gourmet cooking, rather than the conversion of Mongolians.

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Mongolia Bird List: "L" = Lifer

  • Amur Falcon -- L
  • Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll -- L
  • Arctic Warbler -- L
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher -- L
  • Asian Dowitcher -- L
  • Asian Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Azure Tit -- L
  • Bank Swallow
  • Bar-headed Goose -- L
  • Barn Swallow
  • Bean Goose -- L
  • Black Grouse -- L
  • Black Stork -- L
  • Black Woodpecker -- L
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Black-eared Kite -- L
  • Black-headed Gull -- L
  • Black-tailed Godwit -- L
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Blyth's Pipit -- L
  • Bohemian Waxwing -- L
  • Booted Eagle -- L
  • Brown Shrike -- L
  • Carrion Crow
  • Chinese Penduline Tit -- L
  • Chukar -- L
  • Cinereous Vulture
  • Citrine Wagtail -- L
  • Coal Tit
  • Common Cuckoo
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Common Greenshank -- L
  • Common Kestrel
  • Common Merganser
  • Common Pochard -- L
  • Common Raven
  • Common Redpoll
  • Common Redshank -- L
  • Common Rosefinch -- L
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Common Shelduck -- L
  • Common Snipe -- L
  • Common Starling
  • Common Swift
  • Common Tern
  • Crested Lark -- L
  • Curlew Sandpiper -- L
  • Dark-throated Thrush -- L
  • Daurian Jackdaw -- L
  • Daurian Partridge -- L
  • Daurian Redstart -- L
  • Demoiselle Crane -- L
  • Desert Warbler -- L
  • Desert Wheatear -- L
  • Dusky Thrush -- L
  • Dusky Warbler -- L
  • Eared Grebe
  • Eurasian Bullfinch -- L
  • Eurasian Coot -- L
  • Eurasian Curlew -- L
  • Eurasian Griffon
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Eurasian Jay
  • Eurasian Nutcracker -- L
  • Eurasian Nuthatch -- L
  • Eurasian Skylark
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  • Eurasian Spoonbill -- L
  • Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker -- L
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Eurasian Treecreeper -- L
  • Eurasian Wigeon -- L
  • Eurasian Wryneck -- L
  • Eyebrowed Thrush -- L
  • Falcated Duck -- L
  • Fork-tailed Swift -- L
  • Gadwall
  • Garganey -- L
  • Godlewski's Bunting -- L
  • Goldcrest -- L
  • Golden Eagle
  • Gray Heron
  • Gray Wagtail -- L
  • Great Cormorant
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Great Gray Shrike -- L
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Great Tit
  • Greater Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Greater Spotted Eagle -- L
  • Green Sandpiper -- L
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Greenish Warbler -- L
  • Hawfinch -- L
  • Hazel Grouse -- L
  • Hen/Northern Harrier
  • Herring Gull
  • Hill Pigeon -- L
  • Hoopoe
  • Horned Grebe
  • Horned Lark
  • House Sparrow
  • Isabelline Shrike -- L
  • Isabelline Wheatear -- L
  • Kentish (Snowy) Plover -- L
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker -- L
  • Lesser Whitethroat -- L
  • Little Bunting -- L
  • Little Owl -- L
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Long-tailed Rosefinch
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Long-toed Stint -- L
  • Mallard
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Meadow Bunting -- L
  • Mew Gull -- L
  • Mongolian Finch -- L
  • Mongolian Ground-jay -- L
  • Mongolian Lark -- L
  • Northern Lapwing -- L
  • Northern Pintail
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Olive-backed Pipit -- L
  • Oriental Plover -- L
  • Oriental Reed Warbler -- L
  • Oriental Turtle Dove
  • Pacific Golden-plover -- L
  • Paddyfield Warbler -- L
  • Pallas' Reed Bunting -- L
  • Pallas's Leaf Warbler -- L
  • Pallas's Sandgrouse -- L
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Pied Avocet -- L
  • Pied Wheatear -- L
  • Pine Bunting -- L
  • Pine Grosbeak -- L
  • Pintail Snipe -- L
  • Red (Common) Crossbill
  • Red-billed Chough -- L
  • Red-crested Pochard -- L
  • Red-flanked Bluetail -- L
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Red-throated Flycatcher -- L
  • Richard's Pipit -- L
  • Rock Dove
  • Rock Sparrow -- L
  • Rook -- L
  • Ruddy Shelduck -- L
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Ruff -- L
  • Rufous-tailed Robin -- L
  • Saker Falcon -- L
  • Scaly Thrush -- L
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper -- L
  • Siberian Accentor -- L
  • Siberian Rubythroat -- L
  • Smew -- L
  • Spotted Flycatcher -- L
  • Spotted Redshank -- L
  • Steppe Eagle -- L
  • Swan Goose -- L
  • Temminck's Stint -- L
  • Thick-billed Warbler -- L
  • Tree Pipit -- L
  • Tufted Duck -- L
  • Twite -- L
  • Upland Buzzard -- L
  • Ural Owl -- L
  • Water Pipit -- L
  • White Wagtail
  • White-cheeked Starling -- L
  • White-naped Crane -- L
  • White-winged (Two-barred) Crossbill -- L
  • White-winged Scoter
  • White-winged Tern -- L
  • Whooper Swan -- L
  • Willow Tit -- L
  • Wood Sandpiper -- L
  • Yellow-billed Grosbeak -- L
  • Yellow-browed (Inornate) Warbler -- L