Archive for December, 2009

Nazgul’s Grandmother Spoke like a “Magic Lady” from Fairytales

I’d like to tell you about my grandmother – my grandfather’s wife. As a matter of fact, she did not possess any outstanding traits to commit some extraordinary deeds.  Indeed, she was a modest and shy woman, representing a typical Asian mentality with mixture of humble behavior. The main reason I decided to write about her is my gentle memory of her: when I recollect her, I smile and feel pleasant.

She was generously kind in all and to everybody, that’s why her image to me is a crystal-clear white cloud in a blue sky. She adored her grandchildren and filled with love every word and touch. In the past, grandparents raised up grandchildren while their parents were busy at work. My grandmother raised all her grandchildren to be honest, brave and hard-working. I still remember the time I spent in the village with my grandparents during my summer vacation. It was the time among nature and wilderness. My grandmother repeatedly protected nature and taught us be thankful for the nature’s wealth to save and keep it to next generation.

Frankly speaking, people were more responsible for nature at that time, since they were not spoiled by the civilization as now. My grandmother had strong health and if someone felt ill, she could cure the person, using herbal medicine, which she prepared herself. At the same time, she was able to cope with all the household work and share some moments, narrating a story while preparing a tasty dinner. Her patience still enamors respect and gratitude among her children, who constantly listened to her wise advices, full of life expertise and knowledge, though she was illiterate. She spoke smooth and quiet, like an old magic lady from fairytales, so I admired her stories very much.

She was diligent. It’s noteworthy saying, at that period most of the people were industrious, and my grandparents were a bright example of an agricultural family. They had plenty of domestic animals at their yard and an endless kitchen-garden with sweet fruits and vegetables. My grandfather was the first man, who provided irrigation through aryks to the village, which he personally dig. Full of milky products and meat, my grandparent’s table always welcomed tired guests and random visitors and my grandmother’s home-made bread was most popular among them. My grandmother illustrated interconnection between productive work and successful results, she made us respect and cherish work. She was proud of her grandchildren, because we managed to be successful at home and school and later at the University and business.

We love our parents from childhood naturally, but our grandparents, especially if they live far away, gain our love temporally, step by step. I may proudly say that I have been loving my grandparents since my birth and even earlier, because I‘d been feeling them through their cordial emotions, warmth. My grandmother is an exceptional woman with plain nature of her mind and soul. She taught me one of the ancient masters humanity ever had- boundless love and eternal respect to parents, nature and work.

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Manarbek’s Grandmother was “Heroine Mother”

For somebody she is – mother, for somebody else – sister, but for me she is grandma. I have imagined her long, gray hair, wrinkles on her face and deep brown eyes. Her name is Nazira Kazmaganbetovna, who now is 77 years old…She was born in Aralsk. According to her words her father was a fisherman, and of course, her favorite food is – fish.

Somehow I had asked her, whether she was happy with her life. Despite the fact that her childhood had passed through Stalin’s reprisal and the Second World War, her answer was: “Yes, I am happy!” But in her voice it was possible to notice both pleasure and sadness… Having breathed deeply, she continued: “In 17 years I was married to your grandfather but he passed away in 1975 and I stayed alone with 10 children.”

I also knew that after death of my grandfather it was difficult for her, she worked as the nurse in hospital. But despite all these difficulties she has not surrendered: she brought up children and educated them. In 2006 she received the award from the President of the country, a medal “Mother, the heroine”. Now she has 18 grandsons, 3 great-grandsons.

First I’d like to thank God that he gave her a long life and patience at difficult moments in her life and my grandma for her wisdom, kindness and for my Mom…

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Kirill’s Grand, Grandfather led a heroic life

Ivan Shuba is my Grand grandfather. I want to write about him because of his heroic life, which I have heard about from my Grandmother (his daughter). He died not so long ago so I remember him well. When I looked at him he seemed very strong and confident, which evoked good feelings in me. Grand granddad Ivan was and is a good example of the real man as we all are supposed to be. I knew him and visited several times, but I was just a kid and that is why we never spoke to each other like adult to adult. Ivan was a short-spoken person and did not like to talk a lot. He took a part in two World Wars and managed to stay alive. 

My Grandmother told me a lot about him and his heroic life. She told me about him during the First World War when he was a little boy helping his family in the garden to provide food for the army. During World War II when he was seriously injured he continued to fight. He was the Senior Sergeant and drove a car in the Second World War.  

He was born in 1909 in Ust-Kamenogorsk city, East Kazakhstan, and spent all his life there except for a war time. I do not know any details about his childhood but my Grandmother told me that he had a general secondary education and took special driving course. After the war he was working as a driver for all his life. He was able to drive all types of the vehicles (including trucks and passenger busses) and was considered to be a high professional.  

It is because of his and his comrades’ efforts we live in this world now as a free society in the peaceful independent country. I hope that all modern young people can stand against the enemy and defend their country when it is necessary but we all prefer to live in peace and prosperity and respect others countries and peoples.  

Conclusion: Remember your relatives, love them, respect what they have done, do not repeat they mistakes and try not to judge them.

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Jo Ok’s Korean Grandmother tries to connect with North Korean relatives

I want to introduce my grandparents from my mother’s side. I’ve never seen my grandfather, because he passed away when my mother was young. He was born in North Korea, but he went to South Korea during the Korean War. He was a doctor, so he helped many people in Busan, South Korea. Until now some people who had been helped by my grandfather stay in contact with us.

My grandmother also came from North Korea. When she came to South Korea, she left her family in her hometown. She didn’t have enough money or any family when she came to Busan. I heard that Busan was the most safe city in South Korea during the Korean War, so many people went there. My grandparents met in church, my grandfather helped my grandmother. So she was in love with him. He proposed to her in church that same day and they got married, then they had four children. Three uncles and my mother is the only girl. My grandfather loved to play with his family. Every weekend they spent lots time to travel to other cities. When my mother was 10 years old, he was getting sick. That time was hard to get some medicine, so he died.

 I’ve never seen my grandfather, but when I see a picture, one of my uncles looks like my grandfather. My mother always told me if he were alive now, he would really love me. Maybe because I’m the only girl on my mother’s side.

Nowdays, my grandmother applied to the government to find her family. There is program to find family when they were separated during the war. Last year we visited Backdo Mt. which is nearby to North Korea. All she wanted was that she meet her family in North Korea. I wish her dream to come true.

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Elbar’s Grandmother had roots in western China

My grandmother was born in 1937 in China (Yrymchi). She was a Jeweler’s daughter and the youngest of nine children. She was a spoilt child, because she lived in luxury. There were a lot of servants in their home. She finished secondary school.

When she was sixteen years old she met her first and one love and her future husband. He was a cowboy’s son. He was born in 1935 in Kazakhstan. There were thirteen children in his family. He is the only who is still alive. When she met my grandmother, he fell in love with her.  Later they sought ways to be in marriage, then they celebrated their wedding. After that, he took her to Kazakhstan from China to his house. After one year their first son was born. Their family was young so he met a lot of difficulties on his life’s way.

During their life my grandfather changed a lot of professions. His last profession was a teacher and later he became a director of the school. He knows five languages. They are: Arabic, German, Russian, Uigur and Kazakh language. Also he can write in Persian because he finished school in Mosque and later became a Mullah in the mosque. He taught children there.

What about my grandmother? She worked in a collective farm. She gathered tobacco in the fields. Work was hard and she was always tired but she also had to look after her children. But my grandparents loved each other and that is why they are still together. They lived together for fifty years.  During their lives nine children were born in their family. So their children have become grown-up and now they look after my grandparents.  So they enjoy their time now. Every year they travel to different countries.

My grandmother often visits her relatives in China. I think they had and still have an interesting live. They are an example for me of strong family. I love and am  proud of my grandparents.

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Aigerim’s Grandmother had a Positive Attitude

      My grandmother was a wonderful woman. Her name is Tatybaeva Pernekul. She was born in 1937 and played big role in my life. My grandmother was as highly educated as a good wife and had six kids. She was a strong person who taught me everything I know. She was a mother of six, always had a positive attitude, and my best friend. I feel that my grandmother was a sweet and fair lady. She was very friendly, and tried to get along with everyone. My grandmother fed the hungry, donated clothes, help people find jobs, and take care of kids. The whole city loved my grandmother dearly. She was born in Shymkent town in Arys village. She did not have many possessions, but she would give her all and never complain.

      She taught me values, how to care and love others. Basically, she showed me how to become a young girl. I wish she was here today, so that I could thank her for everything she has done for me. I am truly blessed to have had her be apart of my life. I remember, when we use to have a dinner, big play days, and just enjoying  my grandmother company and she enjoyed my.

      After finishing school Pernekul went to Shymkent. She graduated with a degree in teaching and began working at factory for ten years. Through my childhood, my grandmother meant togetherness, care and comfort, and a sense of belonging for all who knew her hospitality. As I have grown, I have become more aware of how strong my grandmother truly was. It was never a burden for her to put others before herself; in fact, I think she held a personal expectation to be the caretaker for everyone in the family.

      The death of my grandmother three years ago has created a spirit of encouragement, willpower, and a desire for success that has guided me through my life. She will continue to live on through every accomplishment of my own because she has been the one to inspire me in all I have done.

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Abylai’s Grandfather said “Easiest way is not the best way”

My grandparents passed away a long time ago, so I don’t really remember them. My mom always used to tell me what kind of people they were. Mom told me that I was a favorite grandson. So I always have one question on my mind: what kind of a person was my granddad?

According to the story of my relatives my grandpapa was a unique person. He had a hard life; he passed a long way through Kazakh revolution, two wars and Great Starvation of 1932-1933. Despite that he never gave up and was successful. He always had a dream to become a successful lawyer. But he never thought he could reach his goal. As I remember the story his parents passed away during the Great Starvation right after he was born. My granddads brothers were little kids and passed away because the lack of food. He was a newborn child and some guys found him almost dead and decided to take him with them and my granddad grew up with them. When he turned 18 he went to Shymkent to find a job and continue living. He entered a law school. He worked and studied at the same time to survive. Couple years later he met his future wife and they got married after a while. Then they become wealthy year by year. They lived happily and had beautiful kids. One of the kids was my father.

Even though I have barely remember my grandparents face, I love them and still remember my granddads motto which he said to my father “Easiest way is not the best way, so don’t be afraid of difficult problems and always find a right way to get through”. My granddad told my dad this motto, and my father told me the same, so I just live by that rule and hopefully will continue their success.

Merry Christmas to all my Western readers who are of a Christian orientation!!! Happy New Year to everyone else!!!

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Aigul’s Grandmother and Leadership

My grandmother is 74 years old and named Maria. She is kind, wise, broad-minded and positive. She’s sensible and never does anything silly. My mom died, when I was 4 years old. The person who was close to me who support me and by whom I was brought up is my grandmother. During her life she had went through so negative experiences and difficult situations, that not every man can be strong and stubborn like she. I’m grateful for her for everything. She brought up her 8 children alone. She tried to do her best, in order to give them everything they needed. Nowadays all of them are educative and successful persons.

According to her words there were times when they had nothing to eat, when they had no place to sleep, by hearing all these I understood how much strength she has. In spite of times which she had, she always cheerful and full of power. She trys to see the bright side of things, to seek to find the positive in every negative situation, she motivate me with her actions. That’s why I enrapture by her. One of her leadership traits that I admire is her bravery. She likes the challenges that life presents. That’s why she is a leader to me.

As for me, I remember one case where I was a leader, it was when I studied at school. In my class was one boy, who was a little bit strange, he always was in his own world. My classmates liked ot make fun of him. I felt a compassion towards him. Day by day he became withdrawn. I had to do something for him, help him, because I was a monitor and it was not the main reason for my decision, I couldn’t stand that kind of behavior anymore. I just said to them, “We should respect every human being that is in our classroom. No one is more important in this world than anyone else. Instead of laughing at him we can help him. We have the power to change each others life. At this time you need to be compassionate.”

When I said this, I was in tears and I saw this boy’s eyes that looked at me, they were full of gratitude. After this day my classmates attitudes to him changed at all. I felt I had a positive influence on them. I motivated them to appreciate and respect each other. You are a leader when others follow you because they want to, not because they have to.

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Leadership Quotes and Core Values at our Institution of Higher Learning

The following are the Core Values that should be our trademark as a Western institution of higher learning in Kazakhstan, approved by the Board of Trustees at a Nov. 20, 2009 meeting.

  1. We value the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.
  2. We encourage personal and professional development in an environment of collegiality and trust.
  3. We value quality in our education programs and research activities.
  4. We value the holistic development of our students, instilling in them a questioning spirit and the ability and desire to learn throughout life.
  5. We value our responsibility to develop the future leaders of society who will embrace the highest ethical standards.
  6. We value the creation, application, and dissemination of knowledge in a culture which fully supports the freedom of inquiry and speech.
  7. We value fairness and integrity and will not tolerate favoritism, nepotism or corruption.
  8. We value open, honest communications and transparent and accountable decision-making.
  9. We value partnerships with our community, including the parents of our students, business, government, and non-government organizations, within The Republic of Kazakhstan and throughout the world.
  10. We value the high reputation of our Institute in the Republic of Kazakhstan and beyond, and also its important contribution to the growth of society
  11. We value all people both within and outside our organization, regardless
    of their nationality, religion, gender or other factors not related to the purposes of the Institution.

Here are some good leadership quotes I found off the Internet, applies to here or anywhere, I suppose.

James MacGregor Burns – “Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.”

“Leadership is the ability to establish standards and manage a creative climate where people are self-motivated toward the mastery of long term constructive goals, in a participatory environment of mutual  respect, compatible with personal values.”                                         Mike Vance

“No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.” Peter Drucker

“Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”  Peter F. Drucker

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘We did this ourselves.'”                                                     Lao-Tse

Dwight D. Eisenhower:  “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

Thomas Fulera: “If your actions inspire other people to dream more, to study more, to do more and to become better, then you are a leader.”

“High sentiments always win in the end, The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.                                                                      George Orwell

Winston Churchill: “Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself.  Before you can move their tears, your own must flow.  To convince them, you must yourself believe.”

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Debunking Myths about me (Part II)

Myth#5 – The most painful lie used against me was when I was betrayed by someone I thought of and trusted as a friend.  She twisted a sentence that I wrote in a handout for an international TESOL conference paper that I delivered last March in Denver, Colorado.  She immediately flew into a rage that she did not agree with the term “dumping ground.” Here’s the errant sentence I wrote: “The Soviet Union from the North made Kazakhstan a “dumping ground” of other nationalities, making Kazakhs a minority in their own land.”  Why had I put “dumping ground” in quotations? Because there are plenty of journal articles, while doing a literature review, that use this phrase when referring to the number of nationalities (Korean, Ukrainian, Russian, etc.) who were thrown off the train in the middle of the steppes of Kazakhstan.  Thankfully, many Kazakh sympathized and helped those people who were dumped onto Kazakh soil to find food and shelter.  I believe the spirit of generosity and hospitality extended to strangers thrown off of trains during the perilous times of Stalin’s purges says something noble about the Kazakh people, doesn’t it?

In fact, when I went to ALZHIR, the memorial built by the president of this fine country, he was quoted as saying, “It is not Kazakhstan’s fault that it’s land was used as a “dumping ground” of many nationalities.”  Why can the president use this disputable phrase but I can’t? (ALZHIR is just outside of Astana, the new capital for Kazakhstan.  This place was where the wives whose husbands were considered “Enemies of the people” from all over the Soviet Union were sent as punishment. They were separated from their children and forced to do labor, some for 10 years if they lasted that long.) 

Logic went out the window in our heated discussion when my “friend” said that I thought her mother was garbage if I wrote that Kazakhstan was the Soviet Union’s “dumping ground” much the same as Siberia was used with its penal system. I never mentioned her mother, I was puzzled how that came up in our conversation when I thought we had been talking about Kazakhstan. But my supposed “friend” loves her mother and didn’t want her to be thought of as an imperialist Russian who came down from Moscow to Kazakhstan to tame the wild Kazakhs into submission.

I have much sympathy and compassion for this former teaching colleague woman who only has an older mother and one daughter.  We shared some very good times together but this is a very complex country to live in. Unfortunately she was born in Kazakhstan but she is not Kazakh herself, she is what is known as Kazakhstani.  Perhaps her main fear is that the nationalistic Kazakhs will rise up against the Kazakhstani who are of Russian ethnicity and kick them out as has been done in more nationalistic countries such as Estonia, Lithuania and other former Soviet countries. In actual truth, her mother was a history teacher and that is where the political rub comes in.  Even the president of this country found that the Moscow elites were changing Kazakhstan’s history in the history textbooks to fit the Soviet ideology and would obliterate any truth to what the Kazakhs had handed down orally for generations.

So from that little incident last spring, it was noised around with a change of wording that I thought Kazakhstan was a “garbage dump.”  Nothing could be further from the truth!!!  I see Kazakhstan as a very beautiful country with very beautiful people.  What saddens me is that there are Kazakh and Kazakhstani alike who are still so twisted up in their old communist dogma. They are NOT beautiful people but are soulless and still very much misled by untruths. In some cases, the older teachers and administrators have been communist party members longer than they have known the liberating air of democracy.  I have learned from this experience that the old habits of intimidation, fear and bullying die hard. 

What I found so perplexing was why would I, as an American citizen, prefer to stay and teach longer in Kazakhstan if I thought this country was a “garbage dump?” I certainly was not teaching at this institution of higher learning for the pay as many other foreigners are who draw large professor salaries.  Compared to other universities in Almaty, our institution is also the best paying job for any Kazakh or Kazakhstani teacher. There’s the irony because it would be much easier for me to go home and live in a culture that I know as my own and be paid twice as much as I was paid in Almaty.

8) to be continued 8)

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