A small village in the southwestern part of Hanoi called Tuong Chuc is now known for the craft of lock repair. Many years ago, the village which is under the Thanh Tri district, use to have a lot of trading activities because of its strategic location. It is not only near the market but also near the highway and the river bank. When the 19th century came, they focused on lock repair. Anywhere else in the world, including locksmiths in North Brisbane might be happy to know that their skill takes on a new level.
Aside from the expert locksmiths in the village, they are also trying to influence those who are willing to learn their traditional craft. Majority of the people in the village were able to open big shops and they were able to earn quite a lot from this skill alone.
The village elders including those who are not even a hundred years old admitted that they do not have an idea on when the craft really started. The only knowledge they have is that once they are born, they are required to take on the path of their elders. This is why the tutelary god takes on a place of honour at the village communal house as well as in the homes of the local families who are used to the craft founder being worshipped.
Many years ago, it is common to see someone from the village of Tuong Chuc holding wooden boxes because this is where their tools are kept as they roam around Hanoi to repair broken locks. The elderly still remember a time when the people would call out Khoa o when their locks need fixing. In fact, the cry has become the village’s signature identity.
After the urbanization process rolled on, the village was transformed into a ward yet skilled locksmiths are still working in the area. Many of the locksmiths in Tuong Chuc were able to become rich because of the trade. The villagers are not so lucky unlike locksmiths in North Brisbane because they have access to training while in Tuong Chuc all they have is the knowledge passed down from one generation to the next.