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Beggars in Asia!!

Travel Forums Asia Beggars in Asia!!

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1. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 11y

How do you react on beggars (especially little children that are hanging on your knees), do you give money or just wave them away.......

Please give an reaction how you think about this,

2. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

That's a really tough one. I usually won't give them anything because then they grow to see Westerners as people to give them stuff and then it becomes more of a problem. So I don't like to reinforce the "begging" behavior.

Another problem, in areas where they are more aggresive (and maybe desperate), is that if they see you give to one you will be surrounded by others also wanting.

I don't wave them away, but will ignor them. The only people I will wave away are adult touts that don't take a nice "no thank you" for an answer.

I obviously feel bad for the children and what I do do sometimes is approach a Child (who I know is homeless or hungry, etc. and offer them some food which I have just bought for them). This way I feel they have more dignity, and maybe feel as though someone cared enough about them to give them something without them asking for it (maybe for a minute they'll feel a little special). Sometimes the child will run to her famity like a "little hero" who has just hit the jackpot. So I can do a nice thing and not directly reinforce the begging behavior.

I'd also be interested to know how others handle this. It's always tempting to be like "Santa clause" and hand out pens, etc., but I don't think this is fair to those who come after us, who will then be attacked by children asking for pens, etc..

3. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting Travel100

I don't wave them away, but will ignor them.

I will first tell them "no" either verbally or with a look or shaking my head. Then if they don't stop I will ignor them. Depending on their attitute, and the situation, sometimes I will kind of play around with them as I'm walking, instead of ignoring them. But if they are aggressive then after a nice no I simply ignor them.

I find with most "touts" and "aggressive beggers" it is much better to TOTALLY IGNOR them rather than engaging them in any conversation. I'll only say no 1 or 2 times max.. They'll usually move on to someone else if they're being totally ignored.

4. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

I see beggars quite regularly. I just ignore them

5. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 11y

In India I had to be careful because even when you buy the street kids food they'll run back and try and sell it back to the shop.

It's tough but if you really want to help, then the best thing to do is support local organisations that are doing things cos in many situations the money you may give a beggar is often spent on things that you wouldn't neccesarily be wanting to give them money for?

But i think woccas right in most situations its best to ignore it?...sad but true

6. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Usually I'll give some money if I want take photos of beggars, such as these ones in India:





7. Posted by vix (Inactive 31 posts) 11y

My friend and I bought hair clips and small toys to give to any small groups of children we ran into. They always seemed thrilled.

I dont know if it was the 'right' thing to do but to be honest it seemed better than nothing to us.

8. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 11y

In Agra (India) at the trainstation I had a tough beggar experience with several kids. Some kid wanted to clean my shoes. After a few times saying no I started ignoring him. But he kept asking and asking. And then more kids came (one kid faked to be a handicaped one and another had one giant food as big as times my own head) and I couldn't go away because the train to Delhi was late. At the end 5 kids stoot around me for some 20 minutes. I didn't give anything because then maybe more should come. I feld a big relieve coming over me when I stepped into my train, but I feld a guilthy as well.

I agree of giving to local organisations better than giving directly to beggars. Especially in the tourist areas the beggars (and touts) are getting more and more agressive. When giving money the will be encouraged to be more aggressive.

9. Posted by Data1000 (Full Member 29 posts) 11y

Interesting post. When visiting a small city in China, it is eerie enough to have dozens of people staring at you. When there is also 15 children grabbing your arms, it really makes for an uncomfortable experience.

I also hate those kids who stick a flower in your pocket and expect to be paid. I usually give them a chance to take the flower back, but if they refuse, I drop it on the sidewalk. A little girl hit me last summer after I did that.

I don't give anything to those who aggressively beg. However, when I see someone who is crippled and lying on hot concrete and unable to beg, I will give. I'm afraid to give too much because others will take it away from the person lying on the road.

Chinese people are very generous to me, but I wish they would channel more of that generosity to those misfortunate ones who are crippled.

10. Posted by JennyCook (Full Member 95 posts) 11y

I don't give money to beggars usually, however in Cambodia and Vietnam i found that a lot of the children were not begging, but collecting empty water bottles and cans from people for recycling. In this instance i didn't mind helping them at all as they were doing something productive and not begging.

On the beach in Sihanoukville there were endless beggers and hawkers on the beach, most of them children. what we found was that most of them would stop and join in any game that we were playing and would be happy to sit with us and share food or drinks.

When in the cities, i always say no once and then ignore them. although my friend who has just been working in India said that he would start singing at the children hanging off him as he walked along and they would then run away pretty sharpish thinking he was odd! I've yet to try that one myself