28 августа 2014 02:56

Ethnic Kazakhs life in Shanghai


© Roza Yessenkulova © Roza Yessenkulova

Aidyn Yeleusizov is an ethnic Kazakh born in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He has moved to Shanghai 10 years ago. Currently, he works as an engineer. Lives with his wife and a son.

Aidyn Yeleusizov is an ethnic Kazakh born in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He has moved to Shanghai 10 years ago. Currently, he works as an engineer. Lives with his wife and a son.

All photos © Roza Yessenkulova.

1.5 million ethnic Kazakhs live in China, working in various spheres. Tengrinews repoter met with an ethnic Kazakh Aidyn Yeleusizov who works as a leading engineer in the Jacobs Corporation.

Aydyn moved down to Shanghai with his wife Gulzat Kairat, 29, from Xinjiang 10 years ago. His wife Gulzat is currently working on her Doctorate Degree. The young mother has been studying for as long as she can remember herself. In two years, Gulzat plans to find a teaching position. The family had their first baby 2 years ago and nameв the baby boy Mars, like the planet.

“I work as an engineer at the refinery plant. We are currently developing a project for one of the famous companies. In Xinjiang where I was born and grew up, it is difficult to find a job in my specialization. That is why I decided to move to Shanghai. But in the beginning I worked шт a small firm and later transferred to a large corporation,” Aidyn recalled.

Aidyn met Gulzat in Xinjiang where she was studying as a graduate student. They were introduced to each other by Gulzat’s schoolmate. They became friends, fell in love, married and had a son. The family lives in Shanghai and due to high living costs cannot afford to buy a flat, as a two bedroom apartment costs around $600 thousand. They are renting a flat for $800 per month.

Mars is two years old. Aidyn’s relative babysits Mars, because the parents are not in a hurry to take the boy to a kindergarten.

Aidyn and Gulzat honor Kazakh and Uigur traditions. To welcome the guest from Kazakhstan Gulzat prepared a Kazakh national dish beshparmak and yetken-chai, a traditional Uigur tea with milk and salt.

Aidyn and Gulzat’s flat in many ways reminds of a home in Kazakhstan. A Kazakh dastarkhan – a table for guests – has all traditional attributes from nuts to milk products and meat brought from Xinjiang.

Gulzat cooks fresh lamb for four hours, as is custom in Kazakstan. The beshparmak made by Gulzat in Shanghai was no different from the one made in Kazakhstan. Though, her recipe did not include onions and potatoes as some recipes in Kazakhstan do.

Aidyn travels back to Xinjiang several times a year. He brings meat from his relatives. In Xinjiang, Aidyn rides a horse and feeds his baby boy fresh milk while helping his relatives at their farm.

Dough for beshparmak.

Aidyn’s 20 y.o. brother is studying to be a pharmacologist. He also helps with household chores.

Gulzat is a super-mom, she works on her Doctorate thesis while attending to the house chores and taking care of baby Mars.


The couple shared that life in Shangahi was not easy and very expensive.

While Aidyn works, Gulzat studies and she will be soon getting her Doctorate degree. After that Gulzat will get a job to improve the family's finances.

Little Mars has a dombra, Kazakh national instrument, though he cannot play it yet.

At home, everyone talks to the boy in Kazakh.

Gulzat and Aidyn wanted to visit Kazakhstan and even applied for a visa. But Aidyn was denied a visa because he was a resident of Xinjiang. To get the Kazakh visa, he has to be registered in Shanghai. But that will not happen soon, Aidyn added. No time for that at the moment.

Aidyn’s parents.

Aidyn’s relatives. His father has 12 brothers and sisters. Only 3 of them have a higher education and the remaining 9 work in agriculture.

Aidyn’s father and mother died.

In Xinjiang, Aidyn grew up as a true Kazakh while learning traditions and customs. Every year the family celebrates the Nauryz and the Great Eid. Gulzat prepares baursaks, Kazakh fried donuts.

Gulzat was born in Altay, China.

Aidyn believes that his experience in engineering and knowledge of Chinese, English and Kazakh will be in high demand in Kazakhstan.

There are even Kazakh sweets on the table.

Shanghai has a number of kindergartens for Muslim children.

Mars can read in Kazakh. He has a Kazakh alphabet book.

Aidyn is interested in coming to Kazakhstan to work as he heard about a number of new plants being opened in the country.

Kazakhs in Shanghai have a similar lifestyle. The adults are off to work or school in the morning and in the evening the family gathers around the table for a hearty meal and tea.

For a family, Aidyn said, in Shanghai to have a relatively good life, the earnings should be above $2000.

Shanghai looks very beautiful at night.

Reporting by Roza Yessenkulova writing by Gyuzel Kamalova

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