Mongolian ninja miners

Stealthy assassins panning for gold on the steppe! Or cartoonish cultural imperialism? The truth is out there

By Andrew Leonard

Published January 27, 2009 7:29PM (EST)

So, in between writing stimulus-related posts, I was catching up on my favorite Mongolian blogs, and I ran across a reference at Asian Gypsy to Mongolia's "ninja miners."

A vision of black-pajama-clad assassins stealthily roving the steppe, hurling shuriken at veins of ore, flashed through my mind. I had to know more.

But some knowledge is too dangerous. Because now that I have learned that Mongolia's "ninja miners" are so called because the green plastic pans they carry on their backs make them look like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I am paralyzed by my newly profound understanding of the absurdity of existence.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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