Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

Posts Tagged ‘begging

charity

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on an average working day in central at the corner of the street corner from my office on pedder steet, it is not uncommon to find someone holding out a charity box asking for donation. somedays it’s for old people, some days it’s for animals.. all types of causes under the sun.all very deserving causes for any form of help.

when i was five years old, my grandmother took me to the temple with her and there was a beggar outside asleep on the sheltered pavement. i asked my popo for a loan of a dollar as i quietly dropped the dollar into his bowl.

that act of giving made me feel warm and fuzzy and that i did something. it was the quickest adrenaline to make me feel good about myself.

a few days ago, i read this story about paris hilton visiting india. a beggar woman had knocked on the window of her car asking her for charity. she handed her a 100 USD. the beggar lady who had never seen money in USD approached her relative for help. seeing that and recognizing that it was in dollar denomination, the two ensued in a fight resulting the dollar to be torn in two. left aghast, the snazzy ms. hilton said – i could have given the poor lady more money in her currency.

when that song – we are the world came out in the mid 1980s. i thought it was the best thing in the world. collecting money from people who are able to give to those who are less fortunate.

after 20- 30 years of donating money. have we done a good thing or a bad thing?

there is a cleaner lady that sweeps the floor around my neighborhood. i befriended her and gave her household stuff such as old fans, free-tshirts that i didn’t need. after a while, i found her avoiding me. i was really hurt by her action and i asked her friend why she did that. she simply said – there is integrity still for being poor and less fortunate in your eyes. she doesn’t need your charity.

and she was right. by giving money to people whom we think are less fortunate – are we helping them or are we killing their instinct for survival?creating a false sense of dependency on charity. we can’t help someone because you feel sorry for them. this is not empowerment. you empower them by helping them to be self-sustaining and being able to fend for themselves.

that is why when someone hands over a donation box to me these days, i look away because i don’t want to contribute to this paralysis.

and that is the problem with the world. we are hand feeding everybody. people who could be something are not because they think why bother – the government can help, there are shelters for me to get free food. why bother.

i have had a mother who told me – i told my son to quit his job because his job is too demanding. why?  if only more mothers think – my child is like an unpolished diamond, he or she will become better after some good old polishing.maybe this will be a better world.

if only we stop thinking that the way to help someone is by giving them an easy way out. if only…

 

Written by smalltroubleinhk

October 8, 2011 at 7:13 am

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