Noy Sonemany, a 26-year-old Laotian, poses for a photo in a workshop at the steel structure processing plant of CREC-5's China-Laos Railway Project division in the northern Lao province of Luang Namtha, March 21, 2019. The 414.332-km China-Laos Railway runs from Boten bordering China in northern Laos to the capital of Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour. The China-Laos Railway adopts Chinese technical standards and uses Chinese equipment. It started construction in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic in December 2021. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)
by Zhang Jianhua, Huang Zongwen, Wang Shan
VIENTIANE, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Working for more than two years on the China-Laos railway construction site, Noy Sonemany has turned himself from an unskilled house builder in the town to a "Railway Craftsman" with outstanding professional skills.
"My hometown is in Muang Xay, the capital of Oudomxay province. When I heard at home that they (the Chinese companies) were coming to build the railway, I came here to hunt for a job," said Noy, a 26-year-old Laotian who used to do odd jobs in his hilly town.
Muang Xay is the first stop for many Chinese traders who enter Laos by road. Noy has seen many new things entering Laos from the north, so he decided to have a try at the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd., to try something new.
Noy first became a welder in the steel structure processing plant of the China Railway NO.5 Engineering Group (CREC-5)'s China-Laos Railway Project division.
"He does welding here, and basically, he can do almost as much as I can do, even by himself," said Xie Xin, a professional welder from China. "Compared with the other Lao apprentices who started from scratch, Noy is more capable of learning."
In order to learn more skills from his Chinese colleagues, Noy also learned some Chinese language, which expedites his learning of arch welding, steel plate punching and plate cutting under the guidance and help of Chinese technicians.
On March 29, 2018, the "Yangshu Overseas Innovation Studio" was established in the Laos-China railway project as CREC-5's first overseas innovation studio. Being the only Lao employee in the studio, Noy has cooperated with his Chinese colleagues to obtain two Chinese technology patents.
"We teach him some advanced technologies and create new products together. At the same time, we get some local information from him, which can help us to develop some technologies suitable for this project," said Yang Shu, head engineer of the studio named after him.
"We invited him to join us in every meeting, and asked him to work with our Chinese masters in researching and processing. He offered many good ideas which enlightened us."
At the just-concluded China-Laos Railway Construction Working Conference 2019, the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd, which is responsible for railway construction and operation, awarded Noy Sonemany the honorary title of "Railway Craftsman" for the China-Laos Railway Project.
"He is really hard-working, and he can adapt to the pace of our daily work well after receiving our technical training. In this process, his personal skills and family income have also improved greatly," said Hu Yong, division secretary of the Communist Party of China working committee of CREC-5.
The China-Laos railway construction project is divided into six sections. The CREC-5 is in charge of the first section of the railway in northern Laos.
"The China-Laos railway is an important project of the Belt and Road Initiative. As participants, we will spare no effort to create more local job opportunities and enhance employees' skills. We have trained more than 1,000 Lao employees till now, and they have played an indispensable role in the construction," Hu added.
Compared with two years before, Noy is still thin, sun-tanned and doesn't talk much, but his life has completely changed. He is very satisfied with his job, with monthly income of about four million kip (about 460 U.S. dollars).
"My child is just 10 months old and my wife is farming at home. After the railway is built, I hope I will take a chance to visit China," Noy said.
The 414.332-km China-Laos Railway runs from Boten bordering China in northern Laos to the capital of Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour. The China-Laos Railway adopts Chinese technical standards and uses Chinese equipment. It started construction in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic in December 2021.