Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Mamak Beggars"

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One time I was eating outside at a mamak. It was cold and kinda wet since it's been raining.

I saw from where I was a couple of beggars several tables away. One was younger and a fair bit smaller than the other.

The older one was walking from table to table with packs of tissue and a walking stick. Her coming seemed to be met with at best a cursory wave away. She was in good spirits still, though.

The arrival of beggars always manage to unsettle me some no matter how good the table chat was. I'm never sure if I should give. On the one hand, charity is always good and people who beg are always people in need. On the other hand, the giving might be encouraging them to continue begging and not look for other opportunities to support themselves. Not to mention the alleged syndicate of beggars being used in groups as a form of organized panhandling. That's definitely not to be encouraged, right?

The smaller beggar was met with better response. People smiled warmly, asked him how he was doing. Some outwardly generous people even offered their food which he gladly accepted.

The way the two of them were going about the tables it was clear that mine would be next soon.

The older one reached me first and held out her hand. I looked up, half expecting her to say something, but really more for me to take a good look at her face. I figure it's only polite.

She took my cash and gave me the tissues. None of us said anything to the other. Perhaps she knew my giving was clouded by the insincerity of not wanting to appear miserly in public. She'd be right.

The smaller came up to me almost immediately after. He looked up at me as I gestured apologetically to the lady.

I don't expect him to know what I meant. His charmingly nonchalant way of dealing with people is part of how his gig is so successful, I gather. He nodded away and turned to face the table next to mine, still unmoved from his spot.

With his head turned away I figure I had a good chance to, so I kicked him.

Sorry to say this, but I'm not a big fan of cats.

1 comment:

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