In its WittyLeaks series, Diplomacy&Trade gives the opportunity to the leaders of diplomatic missions to share their personal experinces gathered while serving in Hungary. This time, here are the thoughts of the Mongolian ambassador, Zeneemyadar Batbayar.
As for every person, the place where you were born is important: for me, it is in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and the spring whose water I was washed off with at birth (according to Mongolian traditions) are very precious. Also, the places where I grew up, are most valuable to me keeping the memories of childhood, where every corner of the neighborhood reminds me of football and other games.
But like these wonderful places, there are places in Budapest – where I first arrived in 1993 – where I have gotten so many memories: for instance, my dormitory at the Nándorfehérvári street or my university at the Egyetem square. The dormitory was the first place where I learned the understanding of unknown objects, places, and customs and to overcome language difficulties and cultural differences. My university gave me a lot of things, and I have become a lawyer, and, more precisely, an individual.
Why am I writing all of this here? Because I'm looking for an answer to the question of what Budapest, Hungary means to me. After 20 years, anyone who returns to the place where he lived when he was very young, unconsciously compares everything. Of course, many things have changed, but the essential spirit, love, and pride have not. I am not going to talk about the city but about folk songs instead. Because, I think folk songs tell us everything about the people, if we can only understand their meanings. I love folk songs. As I am not a music professional; I like lyrics, not music. I recommend that everyone to listen more closely to the texts of folk songs, in order to discover a lot of new things. For example,
"Beautifully sparkling dear stars
Show the poor man the way,
Show the poor man the way
To the house of his sweetheart"
This is my favorite Hungarian folk song. Now, I cannot remember when I heard it first nor how I learned this song, but this is the essence of a folk song. I think that people do not learn a folk song, but in life, they – like proverbs – gradually become the awareness and worth of the man.
From the lyrics of this song, the part about stars has made me think a lot. Why does the man ask for help from stars? Why does the man believe that the stars can show the way? And why do the stars glow beautifully? These questions come up from time to time when I sing this song.
Since this is a Hungarian folk song, which is one of the songs of the world-famous composer Béla Bartók's folk music collection, I think that this song contains elements of Hungarian folk thoughts. This is because Hungarians, like any nomadic people, habitually asked help from the sun, the moon, and stars. This was my first great discovery in this folk song. If something happens, we Mongols, always ask for help from these three sacred things: the sun, the moon, the stars. Each Mongolian mother offers milk every morning and evening, the holiest thing on earth, to the skies holiest beings – the sun, the moon, and the stars.
To the next question why man believes that stars can show the way, I found a more interesting answer. Someone might think that because the stars are very bright, they show the right way by their light. But in practice, this is not possible and everyone knows this. However, if we think a little differently, our sun is also a star that can lighten and show every way.
There is a mystical content in this answer as much as what we do not know – the stars know and understand well because everything can be well seen from above. As of today, some nomadic people still use stars instead of the compass. Finding the direction by the help of stars’ positions, herders never get lost in the wild steppes, deserts, or the mountains. I think this song proves the uniqueness of folk knowledge and abilities.
An answer to the third question about why stars should glow beautifully, for me, is very simple. Hungarians continue to desire coexistence with natural harmony. A sign of this is that stars should always shine brilliantly. Probably, the stars were glowing more beautifully at the time of the song’s birth, now, unfortunately, only a little. Here too, it should be also considered what people of the modern age are singing about, consider what we can do if we want the stars to shine more brightly.
In this way, we can make many logical considerations from the lyrics of the folk song. I wanted to share my thoughts with you because of the Mongol proverb. It is said that the simplest thing to believe has the greatest secrets. In a simple folk song, Hungarian people can demonstrate their beliefs on their coexistence with nature, their habits, and even their origins. Of course, no one is obliged to agree with me, but if someone starts thinking about scrutinizing this article, I will think that I have reached my goal.