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.