Suddenly one day last week we could hardly believe our ears. Was that really a scissor sharpener’s call just outside our gate? As we rushed outside there he was, riding away on his battered bicycle with his, just as battered, hat on his head. Of course my wife and I ran after him and caught up with him at a neighbour’s house. “Quick, the camera!” my wife shouted after me as I was running home to get it.

 So here he is, Ah Tuck, possibly the last mobile knife and scissor sharpener that Ipoh will ever see. He was born in Ipoh in 1935 and learnt the skill from his father. There was no sophistication about his technique, just a range of sharpening stones, from course to fine, a couple of wooden blocks, a hammer and pliers. But he soon got down to work.

He spent quite some time on this one knife which had a kink in the blade, but when he had finished it was as straight and as sharp as new.

My wife could not resist employing him as well – 3 knives sharpened for RM10, including a repair to one handle and so he settled down to work in our driveway.

Finally, before he left, he gave us three tips for keeping knives sharp:

1. Never use hot water to clean your knives. 2. Always wash a knife with the sharp side upwards. 3. Never scrape your chopping board with the sharpened side of the knife.

Now Ah Tuck is a far cry from the old travelling scissor sharpeners who used pedal power to rotate a grindstone on their bicycles, but the job was done, the knives were sharp. What more could you want for RM10?

Apparently, at age 75, he will also paint your house or mend your leaking roof, but quite how we would find him again I don’t know. Has anyone else seen him?

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