-Why did you choose to translate this novel?
-I just wanted to learn. While learning, I happened to meet this novel. I thought of learning about China more. I know Europe well. Now I’m thinking of learning about Asian countries. I went to China many times and met their professors. Three years ago, we started translating this book as a team.
Neighbouring countries need to understand each other. While translating, I have read this book seven or eight times in Germany. Each time I read, I never got bored. Xu Zechen is new representator of 21st century’s Chinese literature. The book was translated in seven or eight countries. He often goes to Europe to introduce his work.
-You said the translation started three years ago…
-Translating means to translate what the author exactly said and respecting him. We shouldn’t make it a Mongolian book in the name of “paraphrasing”. Readers need to receive it as a Chinese book. One should translate difficult concepts the way it is, not make it easy for the readers and saying that readers will understand if I translate like this. Also, it is prohibited to translate in a way translator understood and paraphrase it. When reading foreign classical literature, there is a tragedy of translators understand in their own way and make a foreign book a Mongolian book. Especially, they ruin it by replacing Christian terms with Buddhist religious terms. We should learn about Chinese person through their novel.
-Why are you interested in Chinese people?
-Most building in Ulaanbaatar are built by Chinese people. We let Chinese people build them, because they are responsible people. We have only two neighbours in this world. Russia and China are wonderful and huge countries. We must understand and learn from these people. China is now almost first in global economy. What is their secret? Not because they have money, gold or oil. They don’t go around making weapon war like US does.
We say we develop by imitating Singapore. Our south neighbor is showing us what development is. They made polluted air of Beijing clean. Beijing’s air is clean as it is in Mongolian countryside. We need to learn from these people. We don’t have pedagogue.
Japan, China, Korea have pedagogue. It is clearly seen in sumo. We are hitting them in their nose. Yet the Japanese are humble whether they win or lose. We don’t have pedagogue at all. Just a pedagogue of “ger”. It is invalid today. We need pedagogue of behaving yourself among strangers in the society.
- We have negative understanding about China…
-What is the point in it, when China developed politically and economically very fast and becoming number one in the world. Now we need to see them differently. We always view China wrongly and suspect them. There are many Mongolians in China doing business with them or studying there. Especially political parties need to learn from them.
Our economy is too dependent on China. Now we will celebrate “Tsagaan Sar”. Most of the rituals are from China. We never had paper money. They had it. We say “tsagaalga”, but rice is from China. “Kheviin boov” is from China and Tibet. We didn’t have flour. China had it. Buuz is also from China. Generally, if we study history, there wasn’t much conflict with China. It was usually with Manchus. Manchu isn’t China.
There are many who fly to Beijing in the morning and come back to Mongolia at night. There are Mongolians who live in cheap houses in China or Inner Mongolia by renting their houses in Ulaanbaatar. Relation between China and Mongolia expanded a lot, thus we shouldn’t write stupid things on facebook about China. This is showing how mannerless we are. China won’t occupy or care about us. The most important thing is they are telling us not to steal.
-You went to meet the author.
-He is a really good writer. I went to Beijing and met him. We talked about his novel. We met in the campus where novel events are happening. China isn’t disordered as we are. Chinese students don’t have to leave their campus to do their sports.
There isn’t any night club outside the university like we do here. They are not like us without schoolyards, which doesn’t make any sense. I talked with the author imagining two protagonists of the novel are walking in this street.
-When I read the novel, I felt the real life of young people.
-This novel is about three young men and women who came to live in Beijing. The author is introducing about the whole Chinese people through the lives of six people. Is there love? Yes, there is. Therefore many troubles and issues happen in some kind of way. People make mistake and come back as grown to the society. What happens to young people when they enter society, they want to make money faster. Thus they need to do something illegal or immoral. Especially in China, society with strong law, moral and state, it is difficult. In the novel, there are some people who make fake diplomas.
In our country university is the one who is giving fake diplomas. As long as you pay the tuition, you can have your diploma. It doesn’t matter whether you learned something or not. Thus a country like us, where fake diplomas are produced by the universities and states themselves, we really need to read this novel. We need to admit that this whole country is going wrong, how false our whole life is and we always betray each other. However, the novel says defraud is everywhere, though there must be limit. Also, it shows one needs to be responsible.
It tells everything including sex and friendship. Within all of these, there is one character of Chinese people. That is responsibility whatever the circumstance is. They think of their honor in anytime. They don’t ask for money when they are penniless, because they care about their honor and then another friend asks his friend to borrow money from him because he knows his friend does not have money. What a nice pedagogue.
-The novel described love very authentically…
-Love isn’t always beautiful. Usually, it fails. In the end, love leads to separation. But after separation, it isn’t about revenge or humiliating each other. Forgiveness is a must, because love itself is very difficult. In this novel, couples forgive each other and go their separate ways.
Novel tells that love isn’t about possessing someone. Love is liberty. It is my freedom whom to love and whom to go with. It is possible that someone who loves you today might not love you tomorrow. Though, that doesn’t mean one is unlucky. It is not fate or curse. It is just love. From the novel, you can understand that sex alone isn’t love. Young people have sex and understand it as love. You can have sex with anyone anytime and shouldn’t confuse sex with love.
-Friendship scenes in the novel were truly emotional…
-One must go inside the novel. Blue or red is just external. It is devoted to the adventure. They are ready to sacrifice themselves for friendship. Friendship is ancient virtue of humanity. Confucius education is this. Young people are naïve to get rich as soon as possible and make mistake by trying to live luxuriously. It happens anywhere in the world.
- More about Confucius pedagogue…
-From Chinese people we couldn’t learn about how to build a house or bake “yeven”. Well, we are trying to make buuz, khuusuur and dumplings. And we couldn’t learn how to construct a road. Then at least, let’s learn about their pedagogue and morality.
They never do insulting, undervalueing, rejecting someone because they are old or unemployed or discriminating because someone just got out of prison. In the novel, friends have no problem if one friend dates another friend’s girlfriend. He said, she isn’t my possession and that she chose you, okay. Reflect this situation in Mongolia. In the novel, one gives all his money when his friend needs the most. We, on the other hand, always defraud, betray each other. Even husband and wife damage each other after divorce. Even in love, people threaten each other when they break up.
-The protagonist watches and reads a movie, understands it and thinks about life. That was very good scene.
Protagonist is learning by himself. Mongolians are unable to do it. We need to learn get pleasure from doing things alone. We are unable to learn independently. We always brag about what you are doing and constantly talk about it. Just learn by yourself and be quiet and humble.
One watches movies to get cultured and learn something. It is not about forget a movie after you watched it. The protagonist thinks about the movie, gets curious about what the director said, what reviews were written. Protoganist himself learn culture while selling his DVDs. He isn’t a normal dealer.
We watch movie, too, but did not understand anything. Independent learning and curiosity are lacking in Mongolian people. The protagonist interested in everything. He wants to learn everything, although he left university. Mongolians are not curious at all. They don’t get curious about anything. Our youth is very boring. Curiosity makes you learn something. A person who is not curious will learn nothing.