Every job has its ups and downs

For more than 30 years, Mr Yang Yinke has traversed the treacherous and near-vertical cliffs of the Taihang Mountains to deliver mail to remote villagers.

In the depths of the mountains in Hongtiguanxiang, in Pingshun County, Shanxi Province, there is a rough and rugged road called "Taihang Sky Road" by the locals.

Mr Yang, 60, has been walking on this road day after day since 1987, racking up nearly 200,000km just to pick up and distribute letters, parcels and newspapers.

He leaves his home at Fotang Village after 5am and heads down the steep mountain to get to Fulanyan Village at the foot of the mountain, where he picks up the day's newspapers, letters and parcels at 8am.

Armed with just a walking stick and mailbag, the wiry Mr Yang trudges along rugged paths to the various villages, breaking only at noon for a simple lunch, then carrying on before heading home at 6pm to 7pm.

He has followed this schedule consistently, even in heavy snowstorms. He said: "As long as I can work for another day, I will send the mail timely and accurately to the villagers. My hope now is to find a successor when I retire, and my mind will be at ease when someone takes over from me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2018, with the headline 'Every job has its ups and downs'. Print Edition | Subscribe