D.Jargalsaikhan: People shouldn’t be punished for thinking differently and speaking differently

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

 There’s only one person in Mongolia who exchanged his career as a leading economist and banker for becoming an independent journalist and lector: D.Jargalsaikhan. He’s been awarded with many monikers, including Jargalsaikhan of De Facto Talk Show among viewers and the public, and as economist Jargalsaikhan among businessmen.

The following is an interview with the host of De Facto Talk Show, The UB Post columnist,  and economist D.Jargalsaikhan about his career and life.

De Facto Talk Show has become quite popular lately. As the host of a talk show which covers what is considered “boring” topics of politics and economy, what do you focus on to make it appealing to viewers? 

I began doing interviews on television in 2010. It’s important to unmask the inner emotions and feelings of people, provide new knowledge and information to viewers, and to promote encouragement in society through interviews. I began to host this show as I believed I could do this. The uniqueness of De Facto Talk Show is that foreigners are invited and interviewed as I’m able to speak Russian and English. Half of my guests are Mongolians, 40 percent of whom are able English speakers, and the rest are Russian speakers. As the Dalai Lama said, people are all the same at their basic stage. Therefore, I proceed towards communicating with guests at their basic stage, regardless of their language, culture and occupation. A journalist can understand and show various perspectives of a person, such as their manner, decisions and views, only if they are genuinely interested in his or her interviewee. It’s important for the guest to open up their inner emotions in 30 minutes, so I try to pique all my interest to the interviewee and listen. 

During your active participation of five years in journalism, what was the most entertaining and interesting time? 

As it is a weekly show, I conduct over 50 interviews and write a similar amount of articles a year. Rather than an interesting time, I have met with interesting people. The majority of my guests are people who make me forget I’m in front of a camera, and the interview time with them finishes quickly. Still, all my interviews have been important and I’m confident that the interviews are improving. Although there are many times I’ve asked about their lives, we barely have time to answer.  That’s why I try to answer those questions through articles.

 You majored in economics. Do you sometimes find it pointless to question economists and talk about the things you know so well?

No, not at all. It’s very fascinating to find out why they have different opinions from mine. The interview feels alive and vibrant as long as the basis of something I’ve never heard of is brought up. 

You met with the Dalai Lama. How did you feel after interviewing him?

The Dalai Lama is a special presence who proves how great a man can be. Even so, he’s an amazingly modest person. I was happy, overjoyed and energetic for several days after meeting the Dalai Lama. I felt the beauty of peace from him. I was left with a wonderful impression after the short, 46 minute interview because he explained great things in eloquent simplicity. It seems that the saying that great things are simple to a great man is true. I realized that I was responsible for delivering his sincerity to many Mongolians, because the great Dalai Lama entrusted me with his words and believed I could pass it onto Mongolians. After broadcasting the interview, I published two articles in English and Mongolian. 

Before interviewing the Dalai Lama, how prepared were you?

A special preparation is required for interviewing the Dalai Lama or presidents of any state, because they don’t just see me as Jargalsaikhan. I pushed myself to prepare questions for the interview with the Dalai Lama on behalf of all Mongolians. I pondered for a long time about what Mongolians would want to ask. I prepared two pages of questions. I contemplated them again. I wrapped up my questions into one page. In general, I try to fit a script to a page. I don’t write articles on more than two pages and try to sum it up in exactly 800 words. People don’t have time to read extensively long articles in modern times. It’s important for articles to be concise and logical. 

Do you feel your popularity?

When people read your articles and get invited to appear on television and radio shows, it becomes different. People are recognizing me wherever I go and I’ve got over 90,000 followers on social media. Support from youth is more apparent. I try to distribute correct content through these sources and media output. Democratic society must move forward consistently to express the voices of the public, and with intelligence. It’s good that people are conversing on all topics and expressing their views. In places without words, they converse through rocks, and then bullets. Democracy is amazing. We have the freedom of the weaponry that is words. People shouldn’t be “punished” for thinking differently and speaking differently. The ability to correct and improve oneself is born in this exact type of society. Recently, President Ts.Elbegdorj said at Parliament that sometimes he feels that Mongolia has three million journalists. This is a spot-on quote.

Do you have an interest in entering politics?

I’ve never nominated myself in a political election anywhere. Never will. Entering politics isn’t an option just because quite a few people are familiar with me. In fact, an election is something that people in powerful parties with many supporters and good principles of leadership do, and not something one alone can do. The time when a single person can get elected and disrupt the state has passed. 

Why did you suddenly become a journalist in your 50s? Do you regret leaving your career as an economist that you built for many years?

After finishing middle school, I went to Moscow State University. I graduated from the economics class as a political economic teacher in 1984 with excellent grades. I earned my MBA at the University of Denver in the USA in 2002, and worked in the banking and financial sector after returning to Mongolia. I gained quite a lot of experience. As for my career, I didn’t want to stay as a bouquet of only one flower. Isn’t it better [for a bouquet] to have lots of colorful flowers? Now, I’m working in the marketing and PR field, expanding my previously earned education, knowledge and experience. According to global standards, a person changes jobs four to five times. My biography is ordinary. 

How long does it take you to write an article?

I take only four to five hours to write. But I think about it for a long time. There are times when I contemplate the topic for several days, but stumble upon one figure. I sit down to write after I’ve verified figures and numbers and get answers from officials.

It’s common for officials to be reluctant to give information to journalists. Are they quick and willing to give you information?

If they treated me that way, it’s probably because of my age. Actually, trust is the biggest capital of journalism. It’s exactly the same as stock markets. 

Is it important for articles to approach difficult topics? Which topic do you like most?

The most convenient topics for me are economics, banking, and finance, since I majored in them. The topic I like to approach whenever I have the opportunity is the city. It’s because I’m a city boy. 

You’re a busy man involved in television talk shows, radio shows, and newspaper articles. Do you have spare time?

All my work is scheduled with exact times and minutes. There’s a saying that you should give your work to a busy person if you want it done. The busier people are, the more they learn to manage their time and duties. In a week, I host De Facto Talk Show through three broadcasters, Mongolian National Broadcaster (MNB), NTV, and Eagle. Different guests are invited for each of them, so I interview three to five people a week. I write my articles in English and Mongolian. My program is broadcast every evening at 6:30 p.m. on FM 98.9 Radio. I’ve started to get invitations to hold lectures at foreign universities. They’re probably interested in me since I’m a Mongolian independent critic and columnist with a regular program. I’ve given lectures at Australian National University, Cambridge University, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, and the University of Denver. I’ll be attending a meeting at Oxford University soon, so I’m preparing my programs beforehand.

What do you want audiences to learn through your lectures?

I mainly give lectures on Mongolia’s politics, current economic transition, opportunities and challenges. I also host international meetings and seminars. Some of my lectures can be viewed on my website in English and Mongolian. 

So do you have spare time?

Of course I do. I go to a fitness club three times a week. I’ve been going there for 23 years on a regular basis. 

Who do you want to interview now?

L.Tudev, but he’s been busy writing a book. 

Source: Unuudur

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=15038

Posted by on Jun 23 2015. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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