Dragan Djurdjanovic

As Interviewed by D.D., March 13th, 2017
"As I’m very close to my home, I hit the bag against the stairs. And it breaks. And it starts leaking through the bag. I was so upset I started crying, because I knew, that that was worth… A lot. At that time my parents are getting literally one dollar a month. And I broke something that’s more, worth more than my parents’ [salaries]."
Dragan Djurdjanovic

Introductory Profile: About Dragan Djurdjanovic

My interviewee was Mr. Dragan Djurdjanovic, my father, who was born November 8, 1973 in Niš, Serbia (then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). He left Serbia in 1997 for Singapore to pursue a higher level of education, where he met Mrs. Swee Paw Shum (now his wife). He transferred schools to attend the University of Michigan, Mrs. Shum soon following him. He graduated in 2002 with a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. He moved to Austin, Texas, in 2007 and began teaching at the University of Texas. He still currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Mrs. Shum, and daughter (myself), and is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas. His hobbies include mountain climbing, skiing, and making model airplanes.

He lived in Serbia from when he was born in 1973 to 1997, when he left for Singapore to pursue a better education. During this time, he witnessed the formation and breakup of Yugoslavia (1989-1992). He was the equivalent of a high schooler during the hyperinflation there, when the paper currency (dinars) would reach marks of up to 500,000,000,000 (which wasn’t worth as much as it looks like it would). Hyperinflation is a financial inflation that occurs at a high rate and the currency loses its value.

The interview was conducted in Mr. Djurdjanovic’s living room. He seemed calm, yet eager to share his thoughts and experiences from that time period. Many of his answers to the questions asked came alongside a correlating story. His accounts were all very insightful, and opened up a window to the everyday life of the average civilian in Yugoslavia during that time period.