e-pal: Kazakhstan

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2007, 12:00am

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Name Sauranbayev Murager Amangeldiuly

Age 19

City Almaty

Star sign Cancer

Kazakhstan is a land of ancient nomads. Last century it was part of the former Soviet Union, and it became independent in 1991.

It is the ninth biggest country in the world. It has a lot of mineral resources, including oil, gas and steel. There are more than 120 different cultures and religions but people live peacefully.

I live in Almaty, which is the biggest city and the financial and cultural centre of the country.

My favourite idol is famous Kazakh conductor and traditional instrumentalist Nurgisa Tilendyev.

Last month I participated in the first international championship of performing arts held in his honour and won the grand prize.

My favourite sport is called kokpar. It is traditional game with similar rules to football and rugby.

But it is played on horseback and players use a dead sheep or goat instead of a ball.

I enjoy Kazakh cuisine. We eat a lot of meat: horse, beef, mutton and goat, almost anything except pork. We also have traditional drinks like shubat and kumiz that are made from camel and horse milk.

Our most important festival is Nauriz on March 22 when we celebrate the spring equinox and animals and plants start their new life. It is our New Year and people all over Central Asia celebrate for one month.

During that time, people forgive others for mistakes made and offences committed. Everybody wears the national costume, invites people to their homes, cooks traditional foods and organises traditional games.

My school life is very busy but interesting. I used to study at the School of Arts, where I had to attend different musical events. I played in concerts and took part in competitions in Hollywood, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia.

Now I am a third year student at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management Economics and Strategic Research. I study media management in the department of journalism.

My mother tongue is Kazakh. It is related to the Turkish language, but the writing is similar to Russian. I also speak Russian, which is the main language of communication in Kazakhstan.

At school I study English and Persian languages. Last year, the heads of Kazakhstan and Hong Kong signed an agreement to share new technology, banking systems and social development ideas. As part of the collaboration, four Kazakh students, including me, were sent to study at Hong Kong Baptist University.

The city is awesome. I like the people: they are very friendly and open. I really miss Hong Kong!