The “ant tribe” that doesn’t hurt the city’s appearance: Mongolians of the underground sewers
Ulaanbaatar’s [or Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia] winters are very cold, its temperatures reaching -25 degrees Celsius. Therefore, for those homeless people without homes to return to, winter is a relatively difficult season, and they have no choice but to go underground and near the heating pipes to avoid the winter cold. When it gets dark, like ants, they crawl into shared areas [underground], not blocking the roads, with no need at all to evict them, “absolutely” not harming the city’s appearances. Photographer: Paula Bronstein. Editor: Wang Pinwei. Photograph source: CFP.
First time [they were] photographed.
2000 October 15, Ulaanbaatar, the 8-month pregnant 17-year-old young girl Altanchimeg crawls out from “home” to look for her livelihood. Altanchimeg says she has been living in this city for 8 years.
2000 October 15, Ulaanbaatar, Altanchimeg (right) and her friend Tsetsegee are at “home” preparing a meal, the two of them taking care of and depending on each other in life. Every winter, they live beside a nearby heating pipe to hide from the cold winter.
2000 October 15, Ulaanbaatar, Altanchimeg is brushing her hair, Tsetsegee (front) is on the side reading a book by candlelight.
2000 October 15, Ulaanbaatar, 11-year-old youth Menhtor, who has already learned how to get drunk, lies dazedly at the entrance to “home”.
2000 October 15, Ulaanbaatar, dead drunk Menhtor is asleep, having collapsed on the manhole cover.
The second time [they were] photographed.
2010 March 16, Ulaanbaatar, 36-year-old Erdenetsetseg sits at “home” observing a sky the size of a manhole cover. Five years earlier, Erdenetsetseg arrived in Ulaanbaatar. Without work, she has survived by collecting trash.
2010 March 16, Ulaanbaatar, Erdenetsetseg lies on a heating pipe to sleep.
2010 March 16, Ulaanbaatar, to make it more convenient to enter and exit, Erdenetsetseg uses cardboard [instead of the manhole cover] as a “front door”. To this end, she has also poked a hole in the cardboard to allow air circulation.
2010 March 15, Ulaanbaatar, Naranbaatar sticks his head out from his “home”, to feel the wind bask in the sun.
2010 March 16, Ulaanbaatar, drunk Naranbaatar lies at the hole, looking into his own “home”.
2010 March 16, Ulaanbaatar, deep night, a male falls asleep with the “door” open.
2010 March 16, Ulaanbaatar, 18-month-old baby boy Munkhorgil is sitting on his “home’s” bed pan yawning. Perhaps he should be called “sewer child” [“sewer second generation”].
English photographer James W. Hill’s photographic work “Love and Peace (Ouynaa And Tsetsegee)” is memorable.
Nikon Photo Contest International 2002-2003 winner: “Love and Peace (Ouyaa And Tsetsegee)”. In Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar city center, a mother hugs her daughter at the “front door of her home”. The photographer successfully captured a rare expression of happiness of the “underground people”, showing their dignity of their lives. Photographer: James W. Hill (UK).
Some more photographs from Sohu:
Erdenetsetseg, 36-years-old, is huddling her body for warm. Mongolia’s winters are very cold, the temperatures reaching -25 degrees Celsius. Therefore, for those homeless people without homes to return to, winter is a relatively difficult season, and they have no choice but to go into the city’s sewer system to live.
Erdenetsetseg often drinks until she is dead drunk.
A homeless person exiting the sewer.
Surrounding the heating pipes to stay warm.
At night, they can only use candles for light.
Drinking alcohol has become their only pleasure.
Comments from Tiexue:
Everyone don’t be unreasonably arrogant, China isn’t lacking in such poor people either.
Beijing isn’t lacking either — If you have the chance, go to the Beijing Film Academy campus gates and look under the manhole covers…
Come back, Mongolians! Great and proud China hopes you guys can come back once again!
I don’t care whether or not the country is ready to go to war, nor do I care about how many corrupt officials have been caught, I only want to say: Until the issue/problem of the poor people who are the vast majority of the population worrying about their children’s education costs, having a place to live, medical care, their basic survival and dignity is solved, all [other] problems are not problems.
“While meat and wine go to waste inside vermillion gates, the poor freeze outside” [while the rich and powerful waste, the poor are suffering]. I hope in this so-called civilized times, I hope there will no longer be so many poor and long-suffering people dying in the cold winds.
I get the feeling that this will give our beggars and homeless in China an idea…
The Soviet Union is good! The Communist International/Comitern is good! Choybalsan is good! At least China doesn’t have people living in sewers! Now even if you random leftovers wanted to come back, old grandpa [China] wouldn’t want you!
Only need to say one thing:
Get lost! Wretches! Bastards!
Having depended on the Soviet Union, shouldn’t their lives be blissful? Why are they complaining about being poor now? It was their own choice. The Chinese-hating Neo-Nazis are also their peers [Mongolians].
I’m wondering if someone is going to says “Look at them, definitely not China, living in sewers and yet no one does anything [no chengguan]. So democratic.”
Once this is exposed, I bet they won’t even have sewers to live in.
This kind of stuff happens in foreign countries too? Then for China to have this kind of problem is very normal!
Back then, they insisted on independence! Now they’re poor to the extreme! Everyday shouting that they are Genghis Khan’s descendants, yet they themselves have discarded their Mongolian traditions! Only Inner Mongolia has kept their original traditions!