Aggressive Beggars

The last time I blogged on begging, I got flamed by some Anonymous person. If you are going to personally attack me, at least have enough guts to leave your name. Obviously, this person didn’t know me, or they would have known where I give money or donate time. Yes, I do mostly blog about positive or things that I think are interesting to others. I don’t blog about the evenings I eat a sandwich for supper and spend the night working. I blog about the times I go somewhere and try something new. Hence, it may seem that my life here is all fun and games, when in reality I just try to show the interesting things.

Anyway, one night we were at Malone’s, sitting outside. We had front row seats to what was pretty much a circus. I used the ISO 3200 setting on my point-and-shoot, hence the grainy shots. We watched a large group of beggars hassle everyone who walked by. They tried to use the kids to gain sympathy. Once as we walked by, a woman asked for money and on cue the kid starts fake coughing. A man was hovering nearby, clearly the “ringleader” of the group. If there was any trouble (such as some Chinese people demanding they leave) he disappeared.

These kids saw me taking a photo so their mom sent them over. I took this photo and then gave them some money.

This guy was just wasted and could hardly walk. The kids attacked his legs, sat on his feet and clung to him. That seems to be crossing the line.

The kids also were constantly running across the street. Never did an adult stop them or tell them to look before crossing. Traffic is crazy here and the rule is that cars have the right-of-way. I am afraid they were thinking, “One less mouth to feed…” Does China have a Child Services department? (I thought I heard that they have laws about taking care of your parents, but none about taking care of your children. But I have absolutely no facts back that up.)

This lady (right) was at least trying to sell something to make some money. Then a “working girl” came and was trying to sell something else. We saw the negotiation, then they left together. Ewww.

The whole evening bothered me quite a bit. I went home to try to find some more information about homelessness and ways to help in Shanghai. What I mostly found was information on how it is a choice for most of them.

A highlight of one story, based on the work of a high-school girl:

‘Huang said that 63 of the people she interviewed were “occupational beggars” who were not wandering alone in the streets because of a lack of money or accommodation. Staff at a government homeless shelter told Huang that about 80 percent of the street people in Shanghai were occupational beggars.

“Considering their income, I can only conclude that some beggars are occupational. They view begging as a job. The reason for them to live such a humble lifestyle is the ‘high pay, less labor’ mentality.” ‘

Shanghai published a guide on how to spot beggars that are trying to deceive you.

Old story about Shanghai police asking for a beggar task force.

I would like to help those less fortunate. But when it is a choice and they hassle me, I choose not to give to them. I choose to give to those obviously unable to work, who are at least trying to do something for a bit of money (such as playing and singing in the subway.) The able-bodied ones that are dressed warmly and chase after me won’t get a fen from me.

Oh – if anyone knows where I can donate some previously-used clothes, please let me know.

2 Responses to Aggressive Beggars

  1. Emily,

    I enjoy your blog because it exposes me to a side of life I’ve never seen, let alone experienced, before. I’m sorry to hear about the anonymous flamer. Please don’t let that dictate what you write about. Also, Christianne is a member of a book group I’ve started up. If you’d like, you’re more than welcome to be our international member. You can communicate with us via email and our blog. Send me an email at my work address and let me know what you think. I’ll send you one to remind you.

  2. That is kind of what I try to do with my blog. Most of my readers are in South Dakota so I try to show a slice of life on the opposite side of the world.

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