Retired photographer now curbs traffic

Lai Xa Village in Hanoi’s suburban area has urbanised rapidly over the last few decades, creating a boom in people, building and vehicles.

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Pham Dinh Chinh has directed traffic in Lai Xa Commune for the last 15 years. 

The village, now known as Lai Xa Commune, is often overcrowded as the main road to the village crosses National Highway 32. Two schools are also on the road.

The village gate has become a bottleneck of traffic, especially during rush hours. However, for the last 15 years, villagers have become familiar with the image of an old man, Pham Dinh Chinh, now 83, helping vehicles pass through the village gate. They call him a traffic policeman despite the fact that he is a volunteer.

Chinh looks younger than his age, is very active and sociable, Nhan dan (People) newspaper reported. On a cold and wet day, Chinh concentrates on the traffic flow, continuously blowing a horn and waving a police baton.

Chinh said that as his house was near the village gate, he had seen many accidents in busy periods.

“The road is small while more and more vehicles are continuing to appear," he said. 

Since 2002, he has stood at the village gate every day to direct traffic.

During rush hours – from 5.30am to 7.30am, from 9.30am to 11.30am and from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, the white haired volunteer, wearing a red armband, uses a police traffic baton to direct drivers.

Chinh said that when he started the work, many villagers said he was “insane” because it was not of his business.

His family also did not want him to continue doing such job after seeing him work so hard.

Nguyen Thi Hoa, a villager, said that he rarely had a day off.

“Neighbours sometimes ask him to take a rest, particularly on rainy or sunny days, but he refuses,” Hoa said.

Chinh’s response is that he hates traffic jams at the village gate.

His action is obviously effective. Many villagers respect him and closely follow his instruction closely.

When villagers wanted to give Chinh some payment, he refused, saying that he was doing nothing.

“I’m happy to see commuters, greet them and remind them drive safely,” Chinh said.

He said that in his eighties, he was happy to help others.

Chinh said that when he was young, he worked as a photographer and travelled a lot.

Nguyen Quyng Duy, an eleventh grader of Hoai Duc A High school, said that he passed by the village gate to go to school and always saw Chinh standing there.

“Thanks to Chinh, I don’t face any traffic jams and reach school on time,” Duy said.

“Chinh usually advises us to ride slowly, in single line and observe other vehicles when riding on the road,” Duy said. 

Source: VietNamNet

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