And below is the complete feature news: (anyway I'm bery happy for this!!!! though I didn't buy the newspaper, just checking in http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/20/out-amp-about-do-you-judge-a-beggar-giving-him-money.html )
Out & About: Do you judge a beggar before giving him money?
Jakarta. What springs to mind when you hear that oh so familiar word. Traffic? Of course. Chaos? Absolutely. Malls a plenty? A given. Government center? Clearly. An uncountable number of beggars that deserve our sympathy. Absolutely not, if you ask me.
In writing this, I intend not to encourage cruelty to beggars, I merely wish to share my view of them.
We have all experienced beggars in Jakarta. A dirty-faced woman carrying a baby at your car window, asking for money with a desperate expression.
Or a beggar with a broken leg (and/or arm) sitting on the walkway of a TransJakarta Busway stop. They know many techniques to invoke your sympathy, such as crying “hungry” or simply wearing a wretched expression.
They appear so woeful and we feel like heroes, champions of charity and human rights when we give them the money that we believe will save their lives. But is our money really what they need? I don’t think so.
What if hundreds of people in Jakarta were so generous and handed out money to beggars? Those beggars would wake up early every morning without ever thinking that they needed to work hard to earn money.
They roam around under bridges, wait for red lights and then approach motorists, sing badly and then ask for small change.
Let us say that every minute they make Rp 500, that means they could make Rp 240,000 in eight hours.
That is a lot. If I were them, of course, I would think that being a beggar was the easiest way to earn money in Jakarta.
No wonder the number of beggars in this city keeps increasing.
We would be foolish to simply let this happen and then complain about it further down the road.
In my opinion, it is wrong to think that beggars are people who can’t live without us and are dependent on us for money. By thinking that way we are doing them an injustice.
Why? Because that means we do not believe in their ability to take their chances and work hard and attain a bright future for themselves through their own sweat and tears.
I once had my own bad experience with a beggar. My friend and I were on Jl. Kemang in South Jakarta one day. As we were walking past some shops, a crippled man with a walking stick approached us and asked for money.
My friend whispered to me to give him Rp 500. I did. We walked on and to our shock, the man threw the coin at us and shouted, “only Rp 500?” Stunned, we turned to look at the grumpy man. He walked quickly off in the opposite direction, no longer using his stick for support.
We realized he was not only a beggar but a lousy liar. It was also clear that he had been looking for big handouts, perhaps that was why he was in Kemang — to roam for rich folk.
Worse, there are so many beggar gangs in Jakarta. Each gang has a boss whose task it is to deliver beggars by truck to certain intersections and crowded places to prey on benevolent residents.
At the end of the day, the beggars give their money to the boss. How terrible it is.
I don’t see any immediate way to solve this problem because this problem has been intertwined with our society for years. One thing we can do is to support beggars.
We should not expect the city administration to solve this problem alone. We should participate to solve the problem by not giving them money, no matter what.
Last year, the administration enforced a bylaw that carried a maximum Rp 20 million fine for anyone caught giving money to beggars on the street.
The administration has reportedly been trying to open free schools across the city in a bid to address the problem at its roots — education.
I hope shelters will be built so that beggars can have their own homes and a place to study and learn to survive in a big city like Jakarta by more decent means.
Many of them are still young so they deserve to be able to dream big. And, it will be better if we helped them to begin their lives anew by supporting the government’s policies to solve this problem.
— Faye Yolody
And it was quite surprising getting the forth's reader's comment in the box. That is my sister's. Haha.. and here they are:
Lauren_xxn, Palembang Tue, 27/04/2010 - 13:04pm
Why do we couch the situation of beggars in terms of their failure as social beings? Why is it not the failure of society towards these people? In any society there are those who slip through the cracks and particularly in societies that have embraced capitalism, these people who can't suceed under this ideology are seen as failed economic actors. I do understand that there are some beggars who are more like entrepreneurs, but I think it's dangerous to suggest they are all getting rich at the traffic lights with their rented babies. You can complain and further stigmatise these people when Indonesia becomes a welfare state with an abundance of shelters and work for the dole schemes. I think that there are many more white collar, corrupt, fat cats sitting at their office desks cheating people than there are filthy, tired and skinny beggars cheating people out of rp500. Until Indonesians should not allow themselves to be distracted by these small concerns when it would do better to focus on the endemic corruption that is actually creating schisms between haves and have nots.
xiao chui, medan Tue, 27/04/2010 - 13:04pm
Yes, i also do agree with what the writer post about this case. Maybe we never imagine that the beggars' family will be able to have their haj pilgrimage just from begging money. We need to realize that not all the beggars are really from the poor family, they just searching for an opportunity to get money easily without having to work hard to get some money. That's why I myself rarely giving beggars a money even just a little if i do not see him in a bad condition such as has no feet again, or blind, etc.
Evan Jones, Batam Tue, 27/04/2010 - 11:04am
In Batam, many child beggars are "rented" from the parents; it is possible to see the same woman with different babies at different times. It is also possible to see well dressed adult pickup up the kids on new motorbikes are "work".
The soft hearted westerners in downtown Nagoya, the more beggars.
The number of young teenage boys sleeping rough on the streets is increasing noticeably; this is an example of the failure of modern materialistic society.
Also it is illegal, expensive and difficult for young women to abort unwanted pregnancies. Most of Batam's gynecologists drive around in new SUV's.
susana yolody, germany Sun, 25/04/2010 - 06:04am
I do agree with what you wrote, that we should not support the beggars by giving them money. By doing so, we will help many aspects, such as reducing babies rental (sometimes the beggars are women with babies--from rent!), reducing the begging mentality and hoping that they could think to earn money by working, not by begging..Jakarta will be more beautiful without beggars..