Last Pen-Mending Craftsman in Shanghai “Retires”

Released on:2018-01-06


Photo by Reporter Yu Ruwen


(By Reporter Li Ying) At present, the old house collection work of Beizhan New Town is being carried out comprehensively, and hence Shi Tianshui, the old man who lives in Lai’an Residence Area and has engaged in pen mending for 66 years, will leave the “old Beizhan”. In order to promote and inherit the craftsman spirit, on December 29, Beizhan Sub-district convened Shi Tianshui Craftsman Spirit Symposium themed by “Craftsman spirit to realize the dream, persistence to perfect the skill”, and invited representatives of various parties in the community to tell the stories about Master Shi.


The resident Master Ma brought an old pen with long history to the scene, which had witnessed not only his 11-year life as a rural labor, but also his honorable time to become a member of the CPC. When this “antique” pen had fallen broken, Master Ma had been overwhelmed with anxiety and nervousness. Through the introduction by other person, he had come to “Tianshun Pen Mending Shop” at Dongxinmin Road to find Shi Tianshui. After getting the pen, Master Shi had not only fixed the broken nib, but also inspected and repaired other “hidden deficiencies” of the pen carefully. On seeing his beloved pen able to be used for writing again, Master Ma had been wild with joy, because the pen represented a precious memory throughout his life. Wang Jian, member of CPPCC Jing’an District Committee, had been deeply moved by the story of the elder Shi Tianshui when contacting with Beizhan community and visiting residents. He had not only been a best friend of Master Shi regardless of age difference after talking with him for many times, but also tried to spread the spirit of Master Shi to others all the time. For this symposium, he was also invited to be a special guest to share the stories of Master Shi with others.


The CPC Beizhan Sub-district Working Committee awarded Master Shi a trophy engraved with “Craftsman Spirit”, to appreciate him for the spiritual wealth he had brought to the community and also exchanged their view that the national development, the construction of Jing’an and advancement of Beizhan Sub-district all need the promotion and inheritance of craftsman spirit. As what was said in the reports of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, in order to make the craftsman spirit a social mode, the sub-districts should establish perfect mechanisms as well as carry out relevant activities, aiming to not only inherit Master Shi’s spirit of continuous diligence and pursue of perfection forever, but also cultivate and dig out people also with precious qualities in new era.


At the end of the symposium, Master Shi extended his appreciation for the concern of the sub-district; however, he thought what he had done was just to persist and specialize in his work. He said: “I mend pens just the way that Beijing opera masters study their performing characters behind the scene; anything could be done well as long as you get devoted to it.” Master Shi also expressed his unwillingness for leaving Beizhan soon, “I have worked all my life, without one day for relaxation; now I am old enough to have a rest.” Though leaving the old home, Master Shi could finally live in ease and comfort after moving into a new one.