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Earn millions of dongs of every day during Tet by polishing copper urns

Each set of urns takes about an hour to clean and polish. On average, in the days leading up to Tet, Mr. Buu receives 15-20 sets of urns, bringing in an income of over one million dong/day.

More than 20 more days until the 2023 Lunar New Year. At this time, the working atmosphere in Mr. Tran Ngoc Buu’s small shop (64 years old, living in Ninh Kieu district, Can Tho) is busier than usual because of the voices of people talking. Mixing the sound of polishing machines, and cleaning copper pots.

Tet season is the time when people who clean urns “scramble millions of dongs”.

Earn millions of dongs of every day during Tet by polishing copper urns
Mr. Buu is one of the craftsmen with more than 30 years of experience in beautifying copper pots (Photo: Bao Ky).

Mr. Buu told me about the process of sticking with the cleaning profession since 1999. He is also one of the most senior and experienced polishers in Can Tho.

According to him, in order to turn a black, dull set of urns into shiny, bright as if they had just gone through many stages, requires highly skilled and meticulous workers. 

“The copper urn has spiritual value and precious properties, from the time of the ancestors. Therefore, customers are always careful to choose seniors and reputable people to hand over the family’s precious items. In the processing process, which dents and wears out the burner, I have to compensate the customer for the damage,” said Mr. Buu. 

Oxidized urns that tarnish are sent to Mr. Buu’s shop to wait for cleaning and polishing (Photo: Bao Ky).

There are many types of copper urns, the most common are round, square, rectangular, and bamboo… The polishing stage of a set of urns must go through steps such as cleaning, drying, polishing, and cleaning.

The polishing stage is assessed by Mr. Buu as very important. In this step, the craftsman uses polishing machines, when doing it, he must be very careful, paying attention to small details.

The 64-year-old man shared that the job of polishing luminaries has a high income, but in return, the level of danger is no less.

“A set of urns has many parts, each part has its own difficulty. The polisher has to wriggle into each crevice, small details make it as clean and bright as possible. This is also the heaviest stage because the polishing place is very hot and dusty,” said Mr. Buu and said that to ensure safety, when polishing, workers must wear masks and glasses.

The worker covered his face to prevent dust from getting into his eyes while polishing (Photo: Bao Ky).

On weekdays, Mr. Buu accepts to clean copper wares of all kinds in combination with the business of old-fashioned censers, clocks, and oil lamps. December is the time when guests rush to bring the urn for cleaning. 

“Now the customers are still not very crowded. From December 23 onwards, I really can’t do all the work. Last year I received 15-20 sets of urns and had to work day and night to deliver them. Clean each set of urns fluctuates from 300,000 to 400,000 VND, calculated to earn over 1 million VND per day, “said Mr. Buu. ($1=25,000 VND)

The urns are as shiny as new when passed by Mr. Buu (Photo: Bao Ky).

In order to ensure on-time delivery for customers, in addition to the support of family members, Mr. Buu also hires 4 assistant workers, each worker is paid 300,000 VND/day.

Mr. Nguyen Khang Em (29 years old, a bronze urn polisher) said: “Working as a bronze urn polisher requires health because of the dusty working environment, having to be exposed to many chemicals… This brings me a steady, good income, so I make the most of it during the Tet season.” 

According (Dan Tri)

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