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Why Prep?

This was a hobby while I was living in Mongolia.
I no longer live in Mongolia.
So, I'm not updating this page.
I'll leave it here for now.

"The North Star Report" is named thusly because the North Star is a sacred symbol in Mongolia of Father God, The Great Spirit.

© 2013, Leon's Planet

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Volume 2:  Issue 1

No Smoking in Mongolia!

On March 1st, 2013, a new smoking ban in all public areas took effect.  Here's what I've gathered so far about this law:

(1) No cigarettes can be sold within 500 metres of a school.  (Whether this means one cannot smoke within 500 metres of a school or not is not clear).

(2) There is NO smoking allowed in ANY public building, or office building, or stairwell of any building.  Furthermore, no smoking is allowed in any hotel lobby, however, hotels are allowed to have certain floors for smokers/smoking.

(3)  Smoking in ALL public areas is off-limits, such as parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, streets, etc.; basically anywhere where there are people.

(4)  You may smoke in your car, in your home, on your balcony, and in private areas not open to the public.

My comment:  I admit, I have been guilty of occasionally smoking in a public place, but I am courteous.  I distance myself from all other people.  However, not all people are as courteous and considerate as I.  There have been times when I've heard complaints about the smoking in public bars and restaurants in UB.  I don't understand why it is so difficult to have smoking sections with excellent ventilation, and non-smoking sections.  Better yet, have smoking venues and non-smoking venues.  But, to ban smoking completely is hard to believe.  Maybe it is a good thing.  I'm trying to quit smoking myself.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good
The new smoking ban in Mongolia basically means that cigarettes cannot be legally sold anywhere in Ulaanbaatar, because all schools are within 500 metres of each other.

The Bad
So, cigarettes are being sold under the table.  Also, there appear to be some exceptions (loopholes) in the law.  Apparently, certain permits can be purchased (at exorbitant prices, I'm sure) to allow cigarette sales.  For instance, there is a hotel not more than 200 metres from my school, which still sells cigarettes.

Furthermore, I have heard that special permits can be purchased from the government allowing smoking (for example for certain bars or night clubs), but as of yet, I've not seen any such establishments.  Then, again, I don't get out much.

The Ugly
Apparently, the government has offered 30,000 Turgruks to anyone submitting a photo of somebody smoking in a public place.  The fine is 50,000 Turgruks.  Wow!  Turning the public into tattle-tells!  Now that is ugly!

Is the No-smoking Law Working?

Well, Yes!

Yes, it is!  I don't see anyone smoking in public except vagabonds, vagrants, and street vendors (who may not have heard about the new law).

Furthermore, it is nice to be able to go to a restaurant with my son and not be bothered by people smoking at the table next to us.

And, No!

One time, I went to a tavern in UB and when I asked if smoking was allowed (just out of curiosity), I was told to smoke in the restroom.  However, the restroom had absolutely NO ventilation, and smoke wafted into the public area.  (I didn't smoke, somebody else did).

This SUCKS!  While I occasionally smoke, I don't like to inhale other people's smoke.  It's a pet peeve of mine.  I was disgusted that I had to smell/inhale other people's smoke when I went in the restroom to take a leak or wash my hands.


THE WONDER of it ALL MORE NEWS EDITORIAL (Letter From the Editor)
The Spring Equinox

March 21 is the spring equinox, when we have equal amount of daylight and night.  It has been a very special day in many cultures around the world.

Nowruz (New Day or New Light) [AKA: Navrus]

By some estimates, Nowruz goes back 15,000 years.  It is attributed to the Zoroastrian religion, some saying that it was instituted by Zoroaster himself.  To this day, Nowruz (March 21 by our calendar) is the first day of the Iranian calendar.

Many of the middle eastern countries still celebrate the "New Light" by lighting fires.  Then, comes the spring cleaning.  Then, comes the festivities.  People visit relatives and brings sweets.

Easter (East--)
Is the middle-eastern tradition so different form our own Easter, when we decorate eggs, and the Easter bunny brings sweets for the children?

The Spring Equinox is a great time for celebration (in the Northern hemispher) with a great purpose.  We celebrate nature coming back to life.  We celebrate the resurrection of the SUN being complete.  We celebrate birth and reproduction.  We plant our crops.  We come out of our caves more often.  We bask in the warmth and love of the SUN.  We give thanks for HIS return, for HE is the giver of life.


Soldiers' Day / Men's Day

March 18th was Soldier's Day in Mongolia.  It doubles as a Men's Day and a Father's Day, to balance out the International Women's Day (March 8th), also celebrated as a Mother's Day in Mongolia.

While International Women's Day is a National holiday in Mongolia, Soldiers' Day is not a day off.

This is typical of what I am hearing from the locals is a modern movement in Mongolia.  It is a movement to promote the value of women.  Girls are pushed harder in school than their male counterparts.  Women are celebrated more.  In general, women are greatly respected in Mongolia.  Of course, there are the few reprobates who don't respect women, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

The history of "Soldier's Day" is told by one of my students:

"It is also called Soldier’s Day, because on that day Mongolian soldiers triumphed over the Japanese soldiers at Khalkhin Gol (Khalkhin River). They protected the fatherland from Japanese occupants. Since 1939 Mongolians have celebrated this day. So, March 18th is a special day in Mongolia, but it is not a holiday, because children have to go to school and workers have to go to work."  -Bilguudei


Mongolian Education

I'm tempted to call it an oxymoron: you know, the two words, "Mongolian" and "Education" juxtaposed like that; But, that would really be to harsh of a criticism.

It seems that the people's desire to have their children educated is far beyond what the government is providing, even though not all Mongolian children go to school.

Firstly, there is no law in Mongolia requiring children to go to school.  According to 2005 statistics, 80% of rural children attended primary school, while 74% of urban children attended primary school.

In Ulaanbaatar, where half the population of Mongolia resides, there are quite a lot of affluent people, sending their children to quite a lot of private schools.

This is preferred to public education, where there isn't enough room for all the students.  In fact, there are three shifts at the public schools in UB: one from 8-12, one from 12-4, and one from 4-8.  Such is the result of lack of planning on the government's part, in not investing in Mongolia's future:  its children.  There just aren't enough schools.

Furthermore, there aren't enough kindergartens or pre-schools in Mongolia.  By government estimates, there are some 8,000 pre-schoolers that have no place to go, as all existing kindergartens and pre-schools are full.  As a result of this predicament, the parliament recently passed a law allowing individual to gain certification to open kindergartens and pre-schools in their own homes.

"The North Star Report" is named thusly because the North Star is a sacred symbol in Mongolia of Father God, The Great Spirit.

© 2013 Leon's Planet

Friday, Jan. 27, 2012


Volume 1:  Issue 3

Six Ministers Quit at the Same Time!

The Mongol Post's Ooluun reported that six ministers quit all at the same time and President Elbegdorj insisted that the matter be resolved immediately, either by persuading the ministers to stay or replacing them.

When, asked why the ministers have submitted their resignations and applications for dismissal from posts, they skirted the question by saying things like, "We've done our job, now we asked to be released."

Something fishy is going on here.  I suspect that there is more to it than that.  Don't you?  We could speculate all day as to why they are leaving their posts, and in fact, there may be multiple reasons, (there always is).

One of the reasons given for their leaving was that the Democratic Party had reneged on its "chosen road" (not my words, but theirs).

That sounds closer to the truth.  I have left positions for similar reasons.

If I read the article correctly, all the six ministers have finally been replaced.

50 Beavers From Russia: Tuul River

Front page news from the UB Post, on Friday, January 27th, Kh.Kahliun reported that the Mongolian government in the process of bringing 50 beavers from Russia to be introduced to the Tuul River for the purpose of cleaning the heavily polluted river.

In the article, there is no mention of how beavers clean rivers.  I tried to research this online and could find no information about how beavers clean rivers.  So, go figure.

The article then explains that Mongolian law forbids the introduction of animals from Russia.  So, the law is going to have to be "reworked" in order for the whole plan to come to fruition.

So, clearly the heading of the article was misleading.  The idea of bringing 50 beavers from Russia is only in the planning stage and will stay there until the law is changed.

One question remains:  How do beavers clean rivers?

The Exchange Rate Mystery Revealed

Over the past 3 or 4 weeks I have read every article I could find regarding the recent depreciation of the Mongolian Tugruk in the UB Post and Mongol Messenger.

Here's what I've found out:
(1)  It is normal for this time of year for the Tugruk to depreciate in relation to the dollar.
(2) The rise in oil prices has nothing to do with the Turgruk.
(3) It is all about supply and demand of the US dollar.

You see in the winter months there are fewer US dollars coming in to the banks (probably because of less tourism), and therefore the supply of US dollars is low while the demand remains roughly the same.  By the law of supply and demand, the price of dollars goes up.

The Bank of Mongolia recently used its reserves and gave 5 million US dollars to various banks in order to increase the supply and thus, lower the cost of US dollars.

The Quickening

Is it just me, or is time speeding up?  I swear that time is speeding up, and not just because I'm getting older either.

I recently viewed and listened to a documentary about the "Quickening", which suggests that many ancient prophecies have prophesied that time would speed up as we approach the "end of time".  One such prophesy can be found in the Christian Bible.  It reads, "...and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise." (Rev. 8:12)  This means that well have to do in 16 hours what we used to do in 24 hours.

Clearly, this means that the rotation of the Earth would have to be one third faster.  However, how does the universe get the clocks to keep "time" with the faster rotation?

Interestingly, the Earth has a heartbeat called the 'Schumann Resonance'.  It has been reported on various websites that the Schumann resonance has increased from 7.8 to 12 cycles per second, an increase of 1/3.  But those websites never give their sources and I cannot verify the information on any "authority" website.  Anyways, if it is true, it would explain why the clocks are speeding up as well, because they work on electrical pulses and those pulses are inherently tied to the electro-magnetic pulses of mother Earth (her heartbeat).

All my life, I have taken the phrase "end of time" to mean the end of human reign on Earth and the beginning of the Theocratic reign.  But, what if it really means what it says, i.e., the end of time itself?

100 Whales beach themselves in NZ

On Tue's day, January, 24th, 100 pilot whales beached themselves on New Zealand's south shores.

Occurrences like the one mentioned above seem to be happening with greater and greater frequency.

Why does it happen?  It happens because  the whales get disoriented in their migrations.

Why do they get disoriented?  Whales use the Earth's magnetic "lines" as guides for their migrations.  It is a scientific fact that the Earth's magnetic "lines" are moving.  Evidence for that statement is the fact that the north pole is moving slowly southward toward Mongolia.

My questions:  Why are the Earth's magnetic poles moving?  Why has magnetic north pole increased in speed moving southward toward Mongolia?

Read this for further info.

Dear Readers,

I must apologise for my egregious spelling errors in Wednesday's edition of The North Star Report.  Seriously, it was very unbecoming of me to publish without proof-reading my own work.  I have fixed the mistakes, and in the future I will make a concerted effort to proof-read before I publish.

Thanks for your readership.




Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012


Volume 1: Issue 2

20th Anniversary of the New Constitution

On Friday, January 20th, B.Ooluun of the Mongol Messenger reported that on January 13th, 2012, the 20th anniversary of the New "Democratic" Constitution was observed.

[Thanks for telling us after the fact.  Oh!  Maybe that's why we heard fireworks on that night.]

I wish people would stop using that word incorrectly.  Mongolia is NOT a democracy, and their constitution is NOT a democratic one.  There is no democracy on this planet.  Most countries that claim to be democratic, like the U.S. and Mongolia, are in fact REPUBLICS.

In fact, before 1991, Mongolia had the exact same from of government, namely a republic.  So what's new?  The economic policy of the country changed from a socialist one to a capitalist one.  Also, there were more civil liberties instituted.  Freedom of speech and press were instituted, amongst others.  That's not democracy, that's called, "Civil Rights."

It seems that along with the right to make insane amounts of money has come the right to fail and live in poverty.  America has lost the right to fail (if you're too big to fail).  So, while Mongolia is moving away from Socialism, America is moving toward it.

World Religion Day Observed

On Friday, January 20th, the Mongol Messenger reported that on January 14th, Mongolia celebrated World Religion Day.

[Again, Thanks for telling us after the fact.]

Reportedly, representatives of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Isam, and the Baha'i Faith commemorated World Religion Day together in the Chinggis Khaan Hotel.

Representatives from each religion were allowed to read from their sacred texts and give short speeches.

Apparently, World Religion Day was instituted over sixty years ago and is now regularly observed in over a hundred countries.

My question is: "How come the U.S.A. is not one of them?"  You'd think that a country that was founded upon the freedom of religion might want to get involved, but NO!  I've never heard of World Religion Day until now.

However, I wonder if it is really such a good idea.  Religions are just another way to control people and make money.  What we really need is a World Spiritualism Day.

Mongolia Trade Union Protests

U.Batchimeg of the UB Post reported on Wednesday (today!) that protests of the Mongolian Trade Union have been halted, due to negotiations.

From reading the article, which wasn't at all clear on the matter, I gather that the problem is that prices of everything from petroleum to food are rising, while wages are staying the same.

Perhaps this is the reason that Hennessy's Restbar has increased their menu prices by 50%.  I can't even afford to go their anymore.  Besides it is now a non-smoking restaurant and I like to smoke when I drink (only when I drink).

I feel for the Mongolian people.  I don't know how they can survive on only 200,000 Tugriks per month.  I really don't!  I get a much higher salary than that and I can barely survive.

The Mongolian government really needs to do something to raise the standard of living in Mongolia.  I'm no expert in these matters, but perhaps Mongolia needs to export more and increase competitiveness in the global market.

Tsagaansar is Coming Soon!

Tsagaansar literally means "White Moon".  It is a festival of three days that celebrates the Mongolian New Year, which happens almost exactly one month later than the Chinese New Year.  It occurs on the first day of the first month of the Mongolian Moon Calendar, which will be February 22nd this year.  The festival will last from the 22nd to the 25th.  It is a national holiday.  Nobody works on those days.

Basically, the whole country shuts down for three days.  You would be wise to be sure to stock up on groceries and supplies prior to the 22nd of February or you will be S.O.L.

For more information about Tsagaansar, please read my article below about the Mongolian moon.  It is about how the Mongolians revere the moon, and how much it is a part of their culture.

[ Tsagaansar Treats ]

The Second-class Globizens:  Women

On Monday, January 23rd, in the UB Post's new "Editorial" section, Cate Cadell (albeit not an editor) wrote an article about gender inequality in post-communist Mongolia.

She wrote that Mongolia has ranked in the top ten countries for sexual assault per capita every year since 1991.  She gives no source for that information.  [And I was accused of being un-academic by the English editor; at least I quoted my sources whenever I gave statistics].  She also claims that over half of Mongolian women experience sexual discrimination in the work place, this while she sat in an office of all Mongolian women, and no Mongolian men.  Even her Editor-in-Chief is a woman.

While I have no reason to doubt Ms Cadell's statistics, it would have been "academic" for her to give her source so that I could verify the statistics.

Furthermore, the situation that Ms Cadell describes about Mongolia is not unique to Mongolia.  It happens in every country in the world; yes, even in America and the U.K..  It is in fact, a global phenomenon.  And quite a lot of countries are worse than Mongolia.

For instance,

If a woman in India is lucky enough to survive to get married, she often becomes a slave to the in-laws and must then produce a male child, or suffer the consequences; which may include the murder of her daughter, or beatings, or murder of herself.

Read more

Dear Mr. Leon,

Hello, I'm [name omitted], and I work in Ulaanbaatar.  (I'm a Japanese woman).
I like to read your articles on UB post [which is gone now, not my choice].

I think the theme "Culture shock" is very interesting for all expatriates in UB.  [I did a series of articles on culture shock].
Especially, it was very funny about your experiences in the grocery store.

And I think Mongolians are very friendly.
They often don't distinguish expatriates between Mongolians, acquaintance or not.

My culture shock in Mongolia is about TIME.
If Mongolians say, "I'll go to your home 1 hour later,"  that means 3 hours later.  I have waited for the internet repairman all day!  And they like to use this word "Margaash" = Tomorrow.

My boyfriend is Mongolian, and he was so too. We sometimes had a quarrel about that.
But now he has known my personality and Japanese culture well. 

Thank you for reading my E-mail.
I'm looking for the next edition.

Have a nice week.

Dear Japanese Reader,
Thank you so much for your letter.  I kind of like the Mongolian time thing, except when I'm the one waiting, of course.  I understand what you mean.  It can be annoying.  For someone is used to promptness, it can be a shock.
Yours truly,
Contact me

Mongolians have a lot of names with the "moon" in them.  Some are:  Saran (Moonly), Saruul (Moon Mountain), and Tergel (Full Moon).  Can you tell that Mongolians really like the moon?  In fact, the biggest holiday of the year is Tsagaan Sar, which translates to “White Moon”.

To illustrate how the Mongolians feel about the moon, I would like to share a Mongolian myth.  Apparently, in ancient times there was a humungous dragon named Arakho, with wings that chased the sun and moon around the skies, in order to devour them. The gods were enraged by Arakho’s behaviour and went after Arakho, but Arakho hid from the gods. So, the gods asked the sun, who saw all and knew all, to divulge the hiding place of Arakho. Unfortunately, the sun failed in that task. 

So, then, the gods asked the moon to find Arakho. The moon succeeded where the sun had failed, and divulged Arakho’s hiding place to the gods. According to one version of the myth, the gods then were able to find Arakho and they cut him in two, placing one half in the heavens, and the other half in the earth. However, there is another version, in which Arakho was only punished for his misbehaviour. 

As revenge, it is said that Arakho still chases the sun and moon, and when he is able to catch one of them, an eclipse happens.

Is it any wonder, then, that the moon is so venerated by the Mongolians?  I mean the moon succeeded where the sun could not.  Also, the biggest, most celebrated holiday in Mongolia is “Tsagaan Sar” or “White Moon”.  Interestingly, there is no holiday for the sun.

[The End] 
...continued, "The Second-class Globizens"
     Now, let's move from India to America.  According to the National Organization for Women (NOW), an average of 3 women are murdered every day in the U.S.A. and one third of them are murdered by an intimate partner.  The NWO reports from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, saying that women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year in the U.S.A.  (Statistics from 2005).

     In regards to wages, an article by Borna Brunner on Infoplease.com, states that in 2005 women in the U.S.A. earned 77% of their male counterparts.  Why is this?  There may be many reasons, and not all of them related to gender.  One possible reason is that married women are less mobile, as they tend to follow their partners and have to take what they can get.  The male, on the other hand, can compare and contrast offers from various locations and take the best offer.

     Even the U.K. has its gender-related problems.  An article by David Batty in the London Guardian, 2008, reported that the U.K. had slipped from 9th place in gender equity to 11th place.

     Ms Cadell states that while 65% of the Mongolian work force is female, women hold fewer "high-ranking" jobs.  She claims that in 2008 only 3.9% of the Mongolian parliament was female [no source given].  Let's compare with the so-called super powers, shall we?  Rutgers reports that in the U.S., only 16.8% of the 535 seats of congress are occupied by women, ranking 71st in the world.  The U.K. did slightly better with 22% of parliament's seat being occupied by women, ranking 49th in the world.  [Source].  While Mongolia was 126th in the world for women in parliament, I do not see that as necessarily a bad thing.  Please allow me to explain in the next paragraph.

     In Mongolia, when a woman has a baby, she prefers to stay home and raise her child (generally speaking, of course).  And in my opinion that's AWESOME!  The reason that 65% of the work force is women, is because there are a lot of deadbeat dads in Mongolia, who waste their salaries on vodka.  So, many of the women are forced to go to work to support the family.  However, the more educated women of Mongolia (who are married to the more educated men of Mongolia) probably chose to stay home with their babies, even though they could get so-called "high-ranking" jobs.

     That's not to say that all highly educated women in Mongolia stay home.  All of my bosses (all five of them) are women.  Even the owner of Orchlon school is a woman.  I don't have a problem with that.  I think that women make great bosses, especially Mongolian women.  It depends upon the business sector as to how many women are involved.

     Actually, traditionally Mongolian women have been held in high regard.  There's a book entitled, The Role of Women in the Altaic World,
edited by Veronika Veit.  In that book, we can read:  "It is my opinion that within the framework of matriarchy, the status of Mongolian women in the family and in the wider society had been equal to men, and in some cases higher."  The author cites many examples from Mongolian folklore and Mongolian history, where women played important roles.  Then, the kicker:  In the Mongolian ger, the matriarch sits on the east side and the her husband on the west side, symbolizing equality.  In the woman's role of homemaker, she is lord of the home.  The author quotes an old Mongolian saying: "A woman is lord of the home, as a lama is lord of a temple."  It seems that in Mongolia, while there are (and have been) clear gender roles, neither is superior to the other, but rather have certain stewardships, and within those stewardships, they reign.

     So, for a Mongolian woman to stay home and care for the children and do household chores, she is no less than the man, whose job it is to bring home the bacon (or mutton).  In Mongolia, women are not forbidden to seek employment in so-called, "high-ranking" jobs.  It is their choice whether to stay home or seek employment.  If a woman chooses to stay home and take care of the children and do household chores, is she any less of a woman?  No!  Is she valued any less than a man?  No!  In fact, from what I know of Mongolian women, they are pretty tough creatures.  In one of my previous articles I cited a case where a Mongolian woman had kicked out her deadbeat husband and is raising three children alone!  That is no small feat!  I have trouble raising only one child alone.  I can't imagine having to raise three!

     So, I come round, full circle to the issue of Mongolian having only 3.9% women in parliament.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  It could be a very, very good thing.  Have a look around.  Mongolian women are quite liberated..... and celebrated!  One of the biggest and most celebrated holidays of the year (in Mongolia) is March 8th: Women's Day.  Every restaurant in Ulaanbaatar will be booked on that evening as Mongolians celebrate their women.  Last March 8th, my son and I had to try five different restaurants before we could find one that had a place for us to sit down and order some food.

     It has been my observation that by and large, the Mongolian people highly respect and celebrate their women.  Yes, there are exceptions to the rule.  Yes, there are losers out there who treat women badly, but let's not make it out like it just happens in Mongolia.  There are countries far worse, like India, where despite the fact that India has a woman president, 40 million women disappear each year.  That's the sad irony.  If you think that having women in powerful political positions is going to stop the abuse of women, well look at India.  And if you think that India is bad, well, let's have a look at Rwanda.

     In 2010, Alexandra Williams wrote an article, which is on the Unicef website, stating that one in three Rwandan women have reported experiencing some kind of violence since age 15.  That's just since age 15.  What about the doctor, who reported to Ms. Williams that he had a case of a 2-year-old little girl that had been raped, and her insides destroyed by the experience?  And, guess what, Ms Cadell?  Rwanda tops the list in so-called gender equity by being number 1 in the world with the most women in parliament.  56.3% of Rwanda's parliament is women.  [Source].

     I think that by now the point is clearly made.  Just because Mongolia has only a 3.9% female parliament, does not mean that women are not valued and respected in Mongolia.  And, having more women in parliament is not going to insure the safety of women.  If you want to ensure the safety of women, I'll tell you what you need to do.

(1)  Teach all women TaiKwonDo (or martial art of choice).
(2)  Arm all women with tasers and pepper spray.
(3)  Teach all women to avoid potentially dangerous situations (like don't walk home alone at night).
(4)  Teach all women how to respect themselves and if they are in a bad relationship to get out.
and (5)  The government should castrate any man who is convicted of a sexually violent crime.

     In conclusion, Ms. Cadell's assertion that gender imbalance is one of the most serious issues facing Mongolian women today may be off the mark.  I think it is better to say this:  Violence against women is one of the most serious issues facing women in this world, and has for millennia. 


Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 Leon's Independent Voice

Volume 1:  Issue 1

Ghengis Khan's Birthday Announced! Opinion Section Gone From UB Post? What is a Soyombo?
UB Post's Bayambadorj reported on Monday that the government of Mongolia has decided upon which day to celebrate Chinggis Khan's (Ghengis Khan's) birthday.  No where in recorded history is the exact day or date, although historians agree that it was in the year 1162 in the first month of the winter season.  So, the government finally decided it shall be November 14th.

The fist national holiday celebrating Chinggis Khan's birth is to be celebrated on November 14, 2012.

Hopefully, we'll still be alive by then.  You know that there are supposed to be some pretty major man-made and natural calamities this year.

I'm not saying that I believe all the 2012 hype.  But, I do believe that we as a human race are playing with fire (nuclear fire).  Somebody is bound to get burnt.  I do believe that Mother Earth is going through some changes, and that might be a bit rough for us on her skin.  I do believe that the sun is acting strangely, and may act even more strangely soon, much to our chagrin.

So, let's hope we're all still here to celebrate Chinggis Khan's birthday.  I do not agree with the manner in which he formed the largest empire this world has ever known, but you've got to admit, it was quite a feat.

As of Friday, January 20th, 2012, the "Opinion Section" of the UB Post was done away with and replaced by the "Editorial Section".  My question is what's the difference?  Well, I had to go to my good friend, Merriam-Webster to find out exactly what "Editorial" means.  Here's what I found out:  "Editorial: of or relating to an editor or editing."

So, an "Editorial" section should contain articles by (an ONLY by) an editor of a newspaper.  And, that would be consistent with what I have read in the American newspapers.

However, that's NOT what the Editorial Section is being used for.  It is being used for the same type of articles as were in the Opinion section, and here's the kicker: none of the articles are by any of the editors of UB Post.

So, again, I ask, "What's the difference?"  Well, the difference is that I, Leon, am no longer working for the UB Post as a free-lance journalist, as my "City Stumblings" column has been summarily discontinued.  In other words, the only difference is that my column is gone.

How do you like them apples?
Comments welcome from my readers.  I might even post some of them, even the negative ones, if they are done tastefully.

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The image you see above is the Soyombo.  According to Mogolus.net, the three branches of the flame represent the past, present, and future.  The sun and moon represent the "eternal blue sky".  The two triangles represent the arrow and the spear.  They are facing downward to signify defeat of Mongolia's enemies.  The yin-yang-like symbol in the center is not the same as the Taoist symbol.  It symbolizes two fish with eyes wide open to corruption and impending danger.  They also symbolize the male/female elements of nature.  The horizontal bars keep the male/female elements in balance, as they can be a bit chaotic in nature due their opposition.  The vertical bars stand for uprightness (puns intended).  They also represent firmness and strength.

I think that the two vertical rectangles are interesting in that there is a possible correlation with the Hebrew pillars: Joachim (establishment) and Boaz (strength).

(Mongolian Wind Horse)

Wind Horse
by Leon

There is on the Mongolian coat of arms a picture of a “Wind Horse” [or more literally a “gas horse”, khiimori].  If you do your research, you will find that the concept of the Wind Horse is clearly a very old concept that comes from Tibet and predates Buddhism.  To the Mongolians, the Wind Horse is a symbol of “good luck;” and it is my guess that they have no idea why.  It is my guess that they’ve completely lost the whole original meaning of the Wind Horse.  Even Mongolian shamans misunderstand the true meaning of Wind Horse.  To the Mongolian shaman, the wind-horse (or gas-horse) represents one’s personal psychic power.  The shaman (or anybody) can increase his/her wind-horse by meditating, praying, burning incense, drinking to natures’ spirits and the ancestors.

Yet, from my research, the Wind Horse was originally a spirit horse, which carried the prayers of the people on its back to heaven.  In Tibet, to this day, people will write prayers on multi-coloured flags, and either throw them or fly them in the wind for the Wind Horse to deliver.  But that is not all.  There is evidence from the American Indians (whom I like to refer to as the American Aborigines), which suggest that Wind Horse also would deliver spiritual travellers to their destination(s).  I’d like to relate a Choctaw legend, written and copyrighted by Teresa Janice Pittman, of the Choctaw Nation.  I shall only give a summary in my own words.  May the spirit of Wind Horse bless you, Ms. Pittman, for sharing your legend with us.

A Choctaw Legend of Wind Horse

A long, long time ago, there was a Choctaw boy, who was born lame on the Oklahoma plains.  Because his legs were malformed, none of the other boys wanted to play with him.  Thus, he had no friends.  Since he had no friends, he would wander around the woods alone.

One day, the lame boy accidentally stepped into a bear trap.  The bear trap was so powerful that it snapped the boy’s leg in two.  At first the boy didn’t feel anything, because his body had gone into shock.  He sat down and watched the blood gushing out of his leg.  Soon, he began to feel the pain.  He started to yell for help and cry in agony because of the pain.

Wind Horse heard the boy’s cries and immediately went to help, if he could.  Wind Horse could see that the boy desperately needed help.  He felt sorry for the young boy.  Wind Horse snuggled up to the poor boy and the boy stopped crying.  He started to pet the horse.  Wind Horse knew that the boy was going to die.  He bent down and let the boy on his back.

Wind Horse ran and ran.  At first, there was nothing unusual about the scenery.  There were lots of trees, like the woods that the boy had been exploring.  But, then the scenery began to become scenes from the boy’s life, only in reverse.  The boy was astonished.

Soon, the boy began to see his pre-mortal life.  The boy hugged Wind Horse tightly, for now he was becoming afraid.  What did it all mean?  These memories were only now coming back to him.  He had not remembered them before.  He didn’t know that he had existed before he was born.

Wind Horse had seen the boy’s life. He had felt the feelings of the boy, and how he had always longed for a friend; and Wind Horse began to love the boy.  At this point, Wind Horse would usually stop and let his rider get off, for to continue any further meant a deeper bond and a loss of freedom.  Yet, Wind Horse continued; and as he continued, he knew that this would be his last rider.

They came to a beautiful meadow, and Wind Horse stopped.  He let the boy down.  The boy was confused.  “Where are we?” he asked.  Wind Horse nodded for the boy to look ahead.  There in the distance were people.  Wind Horse and the boy walked toward the people.  Wind Horse was a bit afraid himself.  He had never gone this far before, but his love for the boy surmounted any fear that he may have had.

As they got closer to the people, some of the people saw the boy and Wind Horse.  They came running toward the boy and the horse.  The boy and the horse stopped.  The boy looked at the horse for encouragement.  The horse psychically said, “Do not fear little one.  They are your relatives.”  Slowly, he began to recognise some of the faces of those who’d gone before: like his grandparents.

Wind Horse and the boy were completely bonded now.  They each had found a friend, an eternal friend.  Wind Horse would never again return to the material world.  [END]

In my way of thinking, the story should end with a huge welcome sign saying, “Welcome to Shambhala.”

During my research into the origins of Wind Horse, I came across Shambhala, or Shang-gri-la.  So, I do hope you will forgive me for changing directions from Wind Horse to Shambhala.

Shambhala was/is the mystical land of peace and harmony, a veritable city of golden structures surrounded by mountains of pure crystal.  By Tibetan descriptions, it should be somewhere north of Tibet, near a sandy desert, which some people have suggested might be in Kazakhstan or Mongolia.  Many have gone looking for it, never to return again.  Did they find it?  Or did they die trying?

There is an old Tibetan story, which I like because it explains this mystery.  It tells of a young man who set off on a quest for Shambhala.  After crossing many mountains, he came to the cave of an old hermit, who asked him, “Where are you going across these wastes of snow, young man?”

“To find Shambhala,” the youth replied.

“Ah, well then, you need not travel far,” the hermit said. “The kingdom of Shambhala is in your own heart.

In my opinion, Shambhala, Shang-gri-la, El Dorado, and Heaven are all the same.  The Nazarene taught that the kingdom of heaven was right here on earth.  He taught us how to obtain it.  Be merciful, meek, pure in heart, and peacemakers.  That is the way to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  We must be born again, and it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, than for a camel to enter the eye of the needle.  Accordingly, we must not have attachments to material possessions.  We must love one another.  We must forgive.  If we do all those things, we can have heaven in our hearts.  Furthermore, Buddha gave us the 8-fold path to Shambhala.

In conclusion, it is my wish and hope that we might not incur the wrath of the wind.  Instead, may we be carried on the back of Wind Horse to the land of Shambhala.





















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