‘Detective and his daughter’, a video work by Tsendpurev Tsegmid, 2007-8

‘Detective and his daughter’, a still image from the video, 2007-8

Watch the video on clicking here.

Detective and his daughter (2007-8)

A video piece, 8.32 min

Room was only small but very plain. There were two Russian styled and steel bodied beds located against each other and a huge rectangular window looking down to railways from 5th floor. He is not the talkative type but his words usually heavy. He isn’t the complaining type either. Despite completing 6 years of rigorous study, gaining the highest mark at Police Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia, his boss’ kept him on a minor position for 30 years whilst his former classmates getting to the top of the organisation through various ways, the ways he is not comfortable with.

He is anything but conformist. He rejected everything attempted to change him: Russians, Communism, co-workers, friends and neighbours. Among all those common identities, he chose to stay simply a ‘father’. Family is where he feels most supported because none of us tried to change him or challenge his ego. Mum told me he once suspended from studying in Russia because he broke a guy’s teeth. I asked why he broke his teeth. He looked at me then smiled. After few minutes of silence, he said in a very serious manner; ‘you have to be extremely careful with people at some point of your life, especially if you get luckier than them’. Just before he set off to Russia, one of the contestants who lost his chance provoked my father deliberately. As any guy in his twenties he didn’t resist. Consequently, he spent year working as a registrar at one of garages of Police Force in Ulaanbaatar.

I have never seen his tears until last year when I saw him at an airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He grabbed me and kissed me. I saw glimpse of tears in his eyes which of course he quickly wiped off. He did everything in his power to prove that he wasn’t just stubborn and overly honest police detective among his co-workers, who always wondered why he is so not business-minded or inflexible when it comes to bending rules to achieve something. I never blamed him for that. Our family always had a shelter above us and food on a table. I did ask no more. I feel I am completing his unfinished business, which he wasn’t able to finish off due to political structure and bureaucratic career ladder existed along with multiple forms of corruption and bribery up until 2000 in Mongolia within Police force.

I am becoming more and more like him. We are emotionally much closer since I come to the UK. Today we are on a journey all by ourselves without mum or brother. He is with me. Our aim was to get to the nearest border from Ulaanbaatar, the Capital city of Mongolia. Now we are in a hotel next to a train station, which is less than an hour away from border. Room is only small but very plain. There are two Russian styled and steel bodied beds located against each other and the huge rectangular window looking down to railways from 5th floor.

We are enjoying each other’s company in that continuous silence of deep understanding. I am forging my very own way along with my father embarking our emotional journey. Every sensation is fresh. Suddenly, everything makes sense; a smell of earth, familiar faces of encounters, a dancing wind, a cinematic landscape, endless railways crossing boundaries and static tension around borderlands.