Crippled Man Famous for Repairing Electronic appliances

Although his hands and legs are crippled, Mr. Le Van Hiep of Tra Vinh Province is famous for his ability to repair electronic appliances. Hiep has set a shining example of what a handicapped person can achieve.

   Le Van Hiep repairs a television set

Hiep lives with his wife in a plain, small thatched cottage on Highway 53, which is also his repair shop. Inside the house, there are few furnishings aside from broken radios, televisions, and video players stacked on shelves or lying about in disarray. Sitting on the floor, Hiep is repairing a television. One of his legs is tamped down on the part that needs fixing, holding it firmly, while the other is skillfully screwing in a screw.

To do the spot welding, Hiep uses his mouth to hold the handle of the soldering-iron, then moves his neck to put its tip exactly on places that need welding on the circuit boards. All the movements are performed precisely, as Hiep can use his crippled legs in combination with his mouth in place of his hands.

Hiep said, “I was born with limb defects. My parents didn’t let me go to school until I was nine as they simply thought that even a huge fund of knowledge wouldn’t do any good for a crippled person like me.”

Hiep added, “Luckily, I could use my legs as hands. I wrote with my right leg at school. It took pain to write a word, but I could make it, you know.”

At school, Hiep was an intelligent and hardworking student who was very interested in learning and finding out new things. He had to quit school, however, once his parents could no longer afford his tuition fees.

Being home alone without anything to do or play with, Hiep felt sad. One day, he curiously dissembled the small, old radio which was the fortune of his poor family at the time. Angry at the damage caused by his son, his father gave him a caning. To make up for his mistake, Hiep then tried to re-assemble the radio – and to his parents’ surprise, it worked again.

His interest in electronic-ware grew day after day. Without money to pay for a vocational course, Hiep asked his relatives and friends to get reference books and materials for him so that he could learn by himself and tried to apply lessons in theory to reality by fixing discarded wares. After acquiring the necessary skills, Hiep then began to repair broken electronic-ware for his relatives and neighbors. Hiep said, “I didn’t care about how much they paid me. Any amount would do.”

Shortly afterwards, his good reputation spread, and many people in the commune even entrusted their more expensive hi-tech electronic-ware to him. Ms. Nguyen Thi Deo, his wife, said, “Many people in the commune gradually become my husband’s regular customers not only because of his skills but also because of his honesty. He never cheats customers although he can rob them easily because not many of them actually know what has gone wrong with their ware.”

So far, Hiep has trained more than 30 apprentices who come from other communes within the province and even from other provinces. To cope with hi-tech electronic ware, Hiep regularly keeps up to date on information from various kinds of books and materials, some of them even written for engineers. It is amazing how a man who only finished grade seven could make it.

Owners of electronic-ware accessories shop in Tra Vinh Province all know about Hiep and they are ready to supply accessories and spare parts at Hiep’s request. One of the owners said, “We feel very secure in doing business with Hiep. He’s trustworthy and has set a good example for us all.” 

By Ngoc Long, Cao Phong – Translated by Phuong Lan

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