Tan Tinghui might be one of the most energetic elderly men in the world.
At the age of 82, he is not only the boss of three electronics product factories with more than 100 employees, he also devotes much of his time to helping former drug addicts get through the many difficult challenges they face daily.
As a reward for community service, Tan has recently been selected as one of 20 short-listed candidates for "the top 10 folk warriors against drug addiction", the only honor of its kind in Shanghai.
Tan has a hatred of drugs due to the tragic experiences of his childhood. When Tan was a 10-year-old, his father died of an opium overdose. It was his mother who worked hard as a weaver, supporting the whole family. Since then, the seed of disgust against the drug has been deeply sown in his heart.
Even now, Tan can still vividly recall the tragic scene he witnessed when he was 12 years old: that of the corpse of a man who had died of a drug overdose being torn to pieces by wild dogs.
After China's liberation, Tan Tinghui entered a State-owned factory as a technician. He was soon promoted to a senior engineer, as he was good at technology and had created multiple inventions.
After his retirement, Tan set up three privately-owned companies manufacturing electronic products, which export to over 26 countries and regions across the world.
Tan is very satisfied with the life he is living and wants to give something back to society. In 2004, he heard that the Tianlin Neighborhood Committee in Xuhui District was organizing an anti-drug volunteers' team. He became the first one to apply for membership.
In early 2005, Tan withdrew some of his personal savings in order to produce a dozen anti-drug advertisement billboards, along with four banners. Every day during the following two months he brought company employees to the most crowded areas and schools in the neighborhood and warned them about the dangers of taking drugs.
June 26 is the International Anti-Drug Day. On that special day, Tan and his people have already made some plans in advance. They will distribute 10,000 pens, 6,000 pencil boxes and 10,000 bookmarks carrying anti-drug information to local white-collared workers and school students.
Tan widely opens his arms to former drug addicts looking for work, and even helps them get their personal lives on track.
So far, Tan has arranged for about 20 former drug addicts to work in his companies and, to his credit, some of them have successfully overcome their addiction and remained clean for several years.
Xu Xin, a former drug addict who has worked in Tan's factory for more than eight years, is now completely rehabilitated.
He said he would not disappoint Tan, as the boss had never looked down upon him but always applauded him for any slight improvement he had achieved.
Thanks to Tan's help, the 40-something man married a colleague from the factory three years ago.
(China Daily June 5, 2007)