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Tuong Chuc village, a lock repair village in Hanoi

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Tuong Chuc village in Thanh Tri district, about 13 km southwest of Hanoi, used to be busy with trading activities because it is located along the highway, near the market and the river bank. But since the end of the 19th century, the village had a new craft – lock repair. 

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Experienced locksmith Nguyen Van Thong of Tuong Chuc village (Photo: thanhnien.vn)

 

Now, Tuong Chuc locksmiths have spread their traditional craft nationwide. Many of them have opened large shops and made a fortune from it.

Tuong Chuc village elders, even those who are little less than one hundred, don’t remember exactly when the craft was shaped. They only know that since they were born, they have been directed to follow the occupation. The tutelary god is worshiped at the village communal house and many local families have reserved a place in their houses to worship the craft founder.

In the past, Tuong Chuc villagers carried wooden boxes to every corner of Hanoi to fix locks. To date, many old people in the capital city still remember the familiar lock repair cry-out: “Khoa o!” which has also become a signature identity of Tuong Chuc village. 

Although Tuong Chuc has now been upgraded into a ward following the urbanization process, it remains home to many talented locksmiths.

The house of locksmith Nguyen Van Thong at the village’s center always echoes with the sound of cutting and filing machines.

Thong, who has dozens of years of experience, said while the craft is not too difficult, the village locksmiths still have many happy and sad professional memories.

Living in Hoang Mai district, Luu Duc My is considered a master in lock repair in Hanoi. Since My didn’t know how to read, he used to follow his father to fix locks across Hanoi and also received training from other village masters. After graduating from the University of Commerce, majoring in marketing, My decided to return to the family’s traditional business.

My spoke of why he chose the job, "First, I have followed the profession for a long time. In fact, I still thought about it when I studied at the university. I want to use what I have learned at school to improve the traditional craft. Some people have asked me why I haven’t chosen other occupations such as car or motorbike repair. In my opinion all jobs, at the end, aim to serve society well. "

My said lots of Tuong Chuc locksmiths have become wealthy from the trade. He himself has established a company with branches in three regions, which offer both repair services and provide equipment and specialized safety locks of various types.

My is also renowned for his talent to open all types of car and motorbike magnetic locks, even the ones which are currently considered to be the most modern and safe. He admitted that within 24 hours, he can find the rules to open any type of lock.

“Currently, the technology to manufacture locks has been strongly developed with many new technologies like magnetic or digital locks. For me, a difficult lock is the one I haven’t learned how to operate. If I can understand its fundamental rule, I can repair it well,” said My.

According to the village elderly, lock repair is an extremely difficult occupation to follow because it is handed down from fathers to sons. There haven’t been any schools established to provide vocational training in lock repair.

To become a good locksmith, it’s necessary to work hard and spend plenty of time self-studying. The most important thing for those who follow the career is they should be honest, take care to not be taken advantage by malefactors, and with this they can earn an honest penny.

Source: VOV5

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