Lu'an, Anhui – If Huang Chunyan had to choose between cooking and welding as a pastime, she says it would be an easy choice. She would pick the latter.
It was nearly 30 years ago that Huang, now 46, a senior welder with Brainware Chang'an Electronics Co Ltd, picked up her first welding torch. However, it was not an easy introduction.
"Welding was such hard and dirty work," she recalls.
During a time when graduates were given assigned jobs, Huang was offered the job after graduating from a vocational technical school at the age of 19.
In a field which used to be dominated by men for its great labor intensity, Huang was lucky to have a woman shifu, a senior welder, who taught Huang from the scratch.
"I told myself that if she could do it, so could I."
A model worker
As a newbie in the field, Huang often got burns all over her arms as she practiced her welding skills.
"When I got burned, I thought this perhaps was not a job meant for women." But Huang was not born to be a quitter; she stuck to it. "I clenched my teeth, carried on and gradually got used to the pain."
Huang thinks that welders, be men or women, need a physical strength as strong as their state of mind.
"Squatting for long hours, standing and holding the torch steadily are mentally and physically challenging tasks every welder goes through," she says.