Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gullibility with a heart misplaced...

Beggars. They are global problem. In some countries, begging is a lucrative business and to be successful, sometimes innovative measures are employed to gain more sympathies. Some to the extreme of abduction and mutilation of victims for that purpose. In Pavlov's theory, the practise of giving money will encourage more begging, which have been proven to be true and a problem in some countries. If we want to help, stop giving money (easy way) and start helping (e.g. write to government, seek social welfare on behalf of beggars, give necessary items like clothes, water and food).

In Singapore, it is illegal to beg. However, there is a loophole and unsurprisingly, people are clever in manoeuvring loopholes for benefit; hence those who beg are seen holding tissue papers for sale. There isn't any price tag to the item. Sometimes I wonder, if this is charity or poison-in-disguise. In my opinion, it is always better to teach a person to fish rather than handing them the fish. Animals in zoos are result of unsolicited "charity" and they are not doing any good. What makes us think we are doing good to people by giving. The proper way should be to facilitate their independence on handouts.

In Singapore, guilt, sympathy and gullibility (and a sense of helplessness, i.e. our inability to better their lives) clouds our perception/judgement of this problem and hence the easy way would be to give without thinking about the implication of such action (e.g. reliance and grown dependency of beggars to handouts rather than thriving for independence and self-reliance).

If we really want to give, give money to street performers as appreciation and shun away from those who use kids (or disability as an excuse not to do anything) to gain sympathy.

Am I heartless to only help those who want to help themselves? Who are more deserving help, those who want to improve or those who rely on (or misuse) sympathy and charity?

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