Sat, Jan 23, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Octogenarian keeps Siaoliouciou roads smooth and safe

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

For the past 10 years, 84-year-old Chen Te-hsun (陳德訓) has quietly been helping maintain the roads around Siaoliouciou Township (小琉球) by repairing potholes while the town sleeps. His work has gone largely unnoticed until a local resident posted his story on the Internet.

The poster, surnamed Tsai (蔡), wrote that when he wakes up at 6am, he often sees Chen already hard at work plugging holes in the road with cement.

Tsai wrote that Chen has been spending his own money buying cement and asphalt to fill the roads around the township.

At the end of his post, Tsai asked where the township mayor and councilors are when needed.

Chen said he retired as a fisherman at the age of 50 and started his own business.

After seeing his relatives and friends suffer injuries and scrapes because of potholes, Chen said he asked the deities for their blessing to keep the roads around town smooth. He has not stopped working since he received their blessing a decade ago.

Chen’s family said that the deities had taken into consideration his age and told him that he should only repair roads in winter and avoid working in the summer heat.

Chen said he learned about paving techniques used by different countries from TV programs.

He spreads a coat of cement powder on the paved asphalt and sprinkles it with water, which he said makes roads more durable.

While a bag of cement cost between NT$200 and NT$300 when he started, the price has since dropped, Chen said, adding that most stores knew what he was buying the cement for and gave him discounts.

Chen said he does not think he is doing anything special and the work helps him exercise and stay healthy.

Hundreds of people shared Tsai’s post about Chen, with some netizens saying they were moved by Chen’s actions, while others said the government needed to pay more attention to fixing the township’s roads.

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