REMEMBERING THE GOLDEN AGE
Tenants who are old enough to remember BVH from three decades ago, picture a time when all the rooms were packed with workers, dozens of weaving looms would be working non-stop, hamals were scrambling between the two floors, turners and foundry men could always be found hard at work, coffee-shops were crowded and customers were abound. Between themselves and in the presence of newcomers, they reminisce these busy and exhausting, but merry times, when work was plentiful and earnings were more than decent. During those times friends would stand by each other, would stay over for evenings at the BVH, and still choose to spend together their free time on the weekends.
Generations of a single family can have a common history at BVH.
Craftsmen who came to BVH as little more than children recall their master-workers often as tough teachers and bosses and their years of training as one of hardship. Still, for them it was a privilege, a preparation for a professional life, which according to them is no longer possible with the waning discipline of today’s youngsters. Even for those who say they suffered from injustice of greedy bosses and detrimental work conditions, a career spent at BVH is somehow seen as a unique opportunity.
When they get together for extended breaks at the coffee-shops, a popular topic of conversation of the tenants are the legends of the Han.
Tenants occasionally receive news from old friends who, from humble beginnings at the BVH moved on to become chapters of the Han’s success stories. On the other hand and not infrequently, someone mentions an encounter with a former BVH character that has lost everything. In both cases, anecdotes are as if that person has never left the BVH, and some morals are quickly drawn from these experiences.
Many tenants who stumble upon hardship still choose to stay and try again at BVH. A formerly self-employed master can be compelled to try his hand as an apprentice in a new line of work, the owner of an independent atelier can become a small sub-contractor or even an employee for larger businesses, and a bankrupt merchant can make reappearance in a totally new venture.
- Bulent, an experienced foundry man has chosen to work for a hat maker.
- Mehdi, a weaving-master who holds a job in one of Han’s restaurants.