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一个女焊接工的故事

2017-04-27 15:59[英语散文] 来源:互联网 评论:0条
手拿焊枪,黄春燕找到了她的命运归属。如果黄春燕不得不在烹饪和焊接两者间选择一项作为娱乐消遣,她说这是一个简单的选择,她会选择后者。

With a welding torch in hand, Huang Chunyan finds her destiny

Lu'an, Anhui – If Huang Chunyan had to choose between cooking and welding as a pastime, she says it would be an easy choice. She would pick the latter.

It was nearly 30 years ago that Huang, now 46, a senior welder with Brainware Chang'an Electronics Co Ltd, picked up her first welding torch. However, it was not an easy introduction.

"Welding was such hard and dirty work," she recalls.

During a time when graduates were given assigned jobs, Huang was offered the job after graduating from a vocational technical school at the age of 19.

In a field which used to be dominated by men for its great labor intensity, Huang was lucky to have a woman shifu, a senior welder, who taught Huang from the scratch.

"I told myself that if she could do it, so could I."

A model worker

As a newbie in the field, Huang often got burns all over her arms as she practiced her welding skills.

"When I got burned, I thought this perhaps was not a job meant for women." But Huang was not born to be a quitter; she stuck to it. "I clenched my teeth, carried on and gradually got used to the pain."

Huang thinks that welders, be men or women, need a physical strength as strong as their state of mind.

"Squatting for long hours, standing and holding the torch steadily are mentally and physically challenging tasks every welder goes through," she says.

She spent hours preparing herself by squatting on purpose. Every morning, she was the first one to come to the workshop, gathering all kinds of scraps of materials to practice.

"But welding is more than hard manual labor. One needs to think hard, to find a better way to finish a task, improve the efficiency and boost the quality of work."

It was her tenacious efforts in learning, practicing and thinking and paying attention to details that soon made her stand out.

In 1992, two years after starting the job, Huang took part in a local welding skills competition and took the first place. In the following years, she again made her mark in contests and won a slew of prizes.

In 2015, she was awarded the National Model Worker award with other 2,967 workers across the country. The prize, one of the most honorable award for workers, is granted by the State Council every five years.

"The honors have been giving me a sense of achievement; therefore whenever I pick up the torch, I feel ensured and quite content," Huang says.

A job asking for sacrifices

Summer is usually the busiest time as the company receives substantial orders in "the most unbearable weather."

Her company, Brainware Chang'an Electronic, engages in the provision of electronic equipment, navigation radar, and shelter power station for national defense construction.

The temperature at the workshop can go as high as over 40 degrees Celsius, and the workshop has no air-conditioners or fans due to safety reasons.

Workers, dressed in thick protective overalls, often "get soaked inside out from head to toe like they have been under a huge downpour," Huang says.

Other than heat, the exposure to the brightness is also not comforting. Even with the full face welding helmets, the long-time exposure is causing a gradual loss of eyesight to Huang.

The brightness of the weld area leads to a condition called arc eyes in which ultraviolet light causes the inflammation of the cornea and burns the retinas.

"My eyes often itch at night, and it feels like there are sand particles in there," Huang says.

A strict teacher

If one day Huang is unable to hold the welding torch due to her falling eyesight, it is comforting to know that her know-how and skills will carry on.

In 2010, a "welding master lab" - aiming for technical innovation and exchanges, was set up in the company and Huang became the leader of the 13 member team.

"I never kept my expertise and skills to myself," Huang says. "What belongs to me also belongs to everybody in the company."

Her generosity is widely-known among her coworkers as well as her strictness. "It takes guts to be my trainee though", Huang says with a wink. "Some young people duck into different path when they spot me."

"I'm strict for their own good, you know, so that they can learn better, faster," the fast-spoken shifu says. Every sentence of her words is short and succinct.

Huang's first disciple, Zhang Yin, has been learning from Huang for 12 years. The 34-year-old man is now the leader of the welding group in the company.

"Shifu maybe is harsh sometimes but she means well. It was under her guidance that I made the greatest progress," Zhang says. "I am very grateful."

A woman's job

After nearly three decades, when Huang looks back on her career, she says it is hard to say whether it was the job that made her determined to never give up or whether she was born with the fortitude that made her become a welder.

"It's a good job; and it's not just a man's job either," Huang says.

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