A few days ago I got some written, pre-travel advice from the Mongolian tour company putting together our trip. While I admit I couldn’t even write my name in Mongolian and I hate to be culturally insensitive, I have to say this stuff is hilarious. Remember, I’m hungry for guidance on getting ready for uncharted territory. What I get is this basic principle of travel in Mongolia [sic]: “Keep Optimistic Soul! Pessimistic being calls bad things.” (If you’re interested, I’ll share other highlights later.)
After using the advice as comedy material for a couple days, I started to wonder why it was funny. My explanation? Because it’s written from a worldview completely different from mine trying to be authoritative in a language that’s a bad approximation of mine. It was a quick jump from there to the realization that that’s a decent description of corporate-speak at its worst. Which, as Scott Adams has proven with Dilbert, is why corporate-speak can also be very funny. When companies communicate to (instead of with) their employees and do it in formal, cliched language, they risk more than being teased. They hurt their their own credibility and persuasiveness and sacrifice the ability to make a connection with their employees. If I’m the reader, the writer comes off as someone who comes from somewhere else and doesn’t really get my perspective.
I’m glad I’ll have a guide who understands Mongolia, but I’m not likely to take his advice on how to do my job.
Now, back to the counsel from Blue Mongolia Tours. Here’s what it says about safety: “Generally, Mongolia is very safe country; there is no terror, no misunderstanding between religious people, no harmful animal in countryside except wild beards and wolves. It is better to avoid dogs, even ones, which appear tame, and take caution if offered marmot meat.” And here’s what it calls “psychological preparation”: “During the night the nomads’ naughty goats and curious dogs may visit the tent camping area, and it may disturb your nice dream. Sometimes when wolf is attacking to herds of livestock, nomad men shout very loudly and even they may shoot into the air. Sometimes over drunk young nomad man shouts or sings a song on horseback and gallop very fast and making big noise. Now you know some trouble making things. So dear travelers, especially, the girls and women, Be aware to be so scared and get any shock from any un-known noises!”