Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thai Smiles, Part 13: Begging Children

There were a couple of ways I could have gone today to include the photo above: as an entry in the "Smiles" series, or as part of a cautionary post about abused children. My overall mood hasn't been the brightest lately anyway, so let's skirt around the issue of child abuse for now and just go blithely about our day and assume these two boys were out for a lark at the foot of the Sala Daeng BTS station, shall we?

On my first couple of trips there my Thai friends were quick to reel me back in when I was handing out money too often, discretely telling me in hushed tones a number of reasons how it may overall do more damage than good for me to drop cash into the cups, bowls or hands of children begging alone or with an adult along the street - but it went against my nature.

Having since run into many more needy individuals and paying more attention to detail I, too, have come to have a better feeling about which to give money to, which to give food to and which to just pass by. I often err on the side of generosity, but I'm getting better about it. [Note that today's kids are very different than the students we saw "panhandling" for funds in a different post back in May.]

That said, these two representatives of The Great Unwashed were having quite a time giggling between themselves the three or four times I saw them at this particular post one afternoon. Maybe it was the drinks and things obviously provided by kind passers-by, maybe they'd already made their assigned amounts for the day -- who knows? Unaware I was watching they were giggling so much that the smaller of the two grabbed his privates at one point as though he were about to wet himself while convulsed with laughter. If it was a set-up, I fell for it.

I took the photo, dropped coins into each of their outstretched hands, accepted their generous number of wais and went up the stairs to catch my train back to my dinner out, a pleasant evening with friends and a good night's sleep in a safe hotel room.

With gratitude.


krobbie said...

A dilemma for us all is to feel our way through the minefield which are the beggars of BKK.

There are certain people I always will give money to. They are always in the same places.

There is one man in Sathorn between Robinson's Department Store and the BTS who like me has an amputated limb. He is very envious of my artificial limb and he always has a smile for me as he sees me approach. He can never help but to give it a couple of sharp raps with his knuckle before I depart.

Then there is the guy who is obviously alcoholic and is around and about the 7/11 near Saphan Thaksin BTS. Last time I saw him rejected offerings of food. He said he wanted money so I walked and took my bag of food with me. I had specifically gone into the 7 to buy for him, so was a little piqued at his rejection. Hmmm. I will have to get Bobey to talk to him more fully and find out what he is about.

Cheers Baobao ... I'm already too deeply in thought and it's only 6.45 in the morning in NZ. I need a lie down already. LOL.

khunbaobao said...

"The minefields" is a good way to put it. My guess is Bobey has already explained some of the reasons why it isn't always as "helpful" as we'd like to think it is to give to some of the kids, but that's for another day. Does make you thankful though, doesn't it? Hope all is well in NZ.

Anonymous said...

those kids are so cute.. I'd totally want to give them money.. but then whoever put them there would see that they have appeal to people like me.. and put them there day after day. So maybe I'd buy them a drink.. or ask them if they wanted a snack.. and not give them anything of value to their 'handlers.'

khunbaobao said...

Again today I'll dodge the darker side to this story. Maybe next week. They are adorable, though, I agree!

Anonymous said...

If the 'darker side' to these kid's story is upsetting.. I'd rather not read it. [EDIT] I haven't recovered from that incident yet.. and for right now, I can't take anything else that's tragic or sad that relates to children.

[I removed the disturbing story from this comment because I agreed with "Anonymous" - that's for another day when I've thought of a more gentle way to address it. - bao-bao]