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Cambodia's Beggars


Fifteen15
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I've been in Cambodia for 3 days now. I sat down at a restaurant in Phnom Penh and a child beggar came and stood next to me and kept saying repeatedly "sir, sir, sir". It was a bit of a shock to me, coming from the UK I've never seen a child beggar before. As bad as I felt, I said, "no" and shook my head, then ignored him. After 10 minutes he left.

I understand his parents probably put him up to this and I don't want to encourage his parents to keep sending him out so I didn't, and would never give to a child beggar. On the other hand, elderly and disabled beggars have no support system unlike more developed countries, so am I right in thinking it's OK to give to them?

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Good decision...never give to child beggars as it will not benefit them in any way, all the money goes to their handlers or parents, and it keeps them from attending school. Don't buy trinkets or books from the children selling them for the same reasons. Also don't give to the women who appear to be carrying an ill baby/toddler, they drug and or get them drunk in order to play the pity card. The more tourists continue to give money to these beggars, the more it will continue.

Elderly and disabled I have no problem giving them some KHR (riels), as there is no support system in place from the government as in developed countries, and many don't have families that are able to support them.

As a general rule of thumb, I tend to not give money to any beggars in the main tourist hot-spots. When children approach you begging, just say "A'tay oun" and they will generally leave you alone.

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Not their parents, much worse than that

There are organized gangs using children as beggars esp. at tourist spots.

Yea, that's what I meant by "Handlers". Good points though Sheryl.

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You will see beggars all over Cambodia and you have to make the call on gut instinct, knowing that many are what's mentioned above.

One day I was in PP and a cab driver approached me with a young (girl?) and wanted me to simply take her. He didn't want money. He just wanted me to take care of her and feed her. I can't tell the ages of those gals and for many reasons I had to say no. What I did was offer to buy both of them a meal in a restaurant which they accepted. When we finished our meals I gave the girl (teenager?) $20 not knowing if the cabbie would take it from her.

I can't save the whole world.

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NeverSure, you gave the girl USD 20.00? Kind of you, but probably what her parents make in the rice fields in 2 weeks.

Cash is just not a good idea. Not only is there usually a Mafia that pockets most, but why should parents send their kids to school if they can make money on Pub Street or similar? All well and good when they are young, but once they are no longer cute enough to tug the heart strings, kids without education do not have many options apart from prostitution, drug dealing, or theft.

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NeverSure, you gave the girl USD 20.00? Kind of you, but probably what her parents make in the rice fields in 2 weeks.

Cash is just not a good idea. Not only is there usually a Mafia that pockets most, but why should parents send their kids to school if they can make money on Pub Street or similar? All well and good when they are young, but once they are no longer cute enough to tug the heart strings, kids without education do not have many options apart from prostitution, drug dealing, or theft.

I hear you. For some reason this cab driver was literally trying to give her to me. He didn't want money. I could have just walked away with her.

That told me that something was different from the controlled group, but maybe not? It was heartbreaking, as she would have gone with me.

I would rather "waste" a lousy $20 in the one-off situation, than walk away just leaving her. I've never done anything like that before or since except:

Once in the US many years ago a guy in his young 20's walked up to me and asked me to call the police. He was hungry, alcoholic, and forlorn. He wanted to be arrested for being drunk in public and taken to jail where he would be taken care of and maybe dried out. He had hit bottom. We were standing very near to a Taco Bell, and I suggested we get something to eat. Then I walked with him a few blocks to a Salvation Army shelter and asked them to help him. I gave them a cash donation and left.

I think if you are a decent person, every once in a while in your life you'll come across something that touches you, and your instincts say to help. It should be rare, but when it happens I always remember the story of the good Samaritan.

Again, what's a lousy $20 or $50+ in the case of the drunk guy when your instincts tell you this may well be different and you should help?

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NeverSure, as long as you are aware that giving money is no long-term solution (and you obviously are) I think there was no harm done. Unless of course that is their business plan and they pull this stunt a few times a daybiggrin.png

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One day I was in PP and a cab driver approached me with a young (girl?) and wanted me to simply take her. He didn't want money. He just wanted me to take care of her and feed her. I can't tell the ages of those gals and for many reasons I had to say no. What I did was offer to buy both of them a meal in a restaurant which they accepted. When we finished our meals I gave the girl (teenager?) $20 not knowing if the cabbie would take it from her.

I can't save the whole world.

I would never do this...ever! For all you know this could've been a set up and you could've ended up in Prey Saw! I won't explain, as I am sure you can figure out what I mean and I don't want to stray off-topic.

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Neversure, u did the right thing in both situation

Karma will repay you.

One reason why i really dont care for SHV is there seems to be many more approching you for cash, With the kids in PP it seems to be a sort of game as very few gve them anythng

When i am with my gf i will often give a few hundred riels to the older folks but never to kids or young girls with babies

Rarky; ur being paranoid to the limit with this.

But off topic, i was just back in the states ( Napa Ca to be exact) and saw many homeless young men ( early 20-30) nothing worng with them, just hanging out an asking for $$ really pissed me off and told them they should get a job.

Edited by Sheryl
Profanity removed
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Rarky; ur being paranoid to the limit with this.

Not being paranoid at all, just cautious. I have friends who have been followed, harassed and had their pictures taken by certain NGO "volunteers" whilst just walking along Riverside with their children who are half Khmer/Barang. Anways, this is off topic so I will leave it at that.

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Rarky; ur being paranoid to the limit with this.

Not being paranoid at all, just cautious. I have friends who have been followed, harassed and had their pictures taken by certain NGO "volunteers" whilst just walking along Riverside with their children who are half Khmer/Barang. Anways, this is off topic so I will leave it at that.

True, they actively tried to frame people at one stage.

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Neversure, u did the right thing in both situation

Karma will repay you.

One reason why i really dont care for SHV is there seems to be many more approching you for cash, With the kids in PP it seems to be a sort of game as very few gve them anythng

When i am with my gf i will often give a few hundred riels to the older folks but never to kids or young girls with babies

Rarky; ur being paranoid to the limit with this.

But off topic, i was just back in the states ( Napa Ca to be exact) and saw many homeless young men ( early 20-30) nothing worng with them, just hanging out an asking for $$ really pissed me off and told them they should get a job.

Yeah, CBS's Sixty Minutes did a segment on that. They followed one of those cardboard sign guys when he left his spot. He walked a couple of blocks, got into his car, and drove to his house. They confronted him and he brazenly said that he could make more money on that street corner than he could with a real job. His sign said something like "homeless, please help."

BTW Napa is one of the most beautiful places in the US. I like to go down I-5 and cut off and enter from the East. Then there are famous wineries to stop and and sample their goods. smile.png

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I would agree that a western man seen giving $20 to a Cambodian child could easily be misinterpreted and cause problems.

Because a lot of the time when that happens, it is indeed for unsavory reasons. It's easy to slam NGOs but the fact is that pedophilia is a real problem in Cambodia and continues to attract foreigners of that sort.

I know someone married to a Khmer woman, a professional man near retirement age and wanting to retire. his wife asked him to take a job in Cambodia for a year or so first so that people wouldn't think he was a pedophile. (Not that a pedophile can't hold a job..but there is that much sensitivity around this . And not just on the part of NGOs..even among the Khmer, a foreign man without a clear reason for being in country may be viewed with some suspicion.) Sad but true and not without reason.

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Neversure, I know all about Napa/Sonoma.

LIved there, worked there and my daughter in now at Sonoma state university :-)

The whole area from Monterey to Mendicino, has to be on of the most beautiful places on earth.

BTW they edited out my last comment about them asking for money in napa, If you do confront them they can get very mad and can become violent with you

Back on Topic,; I lived in Phnom Phen and often brought kids into restaurants to feed them plus worked with a few organizations that fed the people at the dump ( in 2008) and very poor villages withn 30 kms form the city.

Sheryl;

your coment makes no sense? why would working make him not a pedophile? How would a local Khmer know who is or isn't working

Some of those arested recently have been past or present teachers or associated with "helping" the kids

Its the NGO's and society that have [email protected]#ked things up. 20 years ago you helped kids, now ur afraid too. A sorry state of affiars

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I would agree that a western man seen giving $20 to a Cambodian child could easily be misinterpreted and cause problems.

Because a lot of the time when that happens, it is indeed for unsavory reasons. It's easy to slam NGOs but the fact is that pedophilia is a real problem in Cambodia and continues to attract foreigners of that sort.

I know someone married to a Khmer woman, a professional man near retirement age and wanting to retire. his wife asked him to take a job in Cambodia for a year or so first so that people wouldn't think he was a pedophile. (Not that a pedophile can't hold a job..but there is that much sensitivity around this . And not just on the part of NGOs..even among the Khmer, a foreign man without a clear reason for being in country may be viewed with some suspicion.) Sad but true and not without reason.

Quite a few nonces that were holding jobs when they were nailed.

I have no problem with NGO's per se, but when I have to be on the lookout when walking around with my half-Asian daughter then that pisses me off. Some of these gung-ho NGO's are using the same approach to the law as the Khmer judiciary: guilty until proven innocent.

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I often have breakfast or lunch at one of the bistros along Riverside. Over the past 2 years there is one particular begger in a wheelchair with both legs gone just below his knees, clearly a victim of a landmine. Anyway I have give him a dollar or two from time to time because he genuinly looks destitute.

The other day I was sat at Metro and low and behold there he was...two shiny artificial legs on, walking about chatting to some tuktuk drivers with nice shirt and pants on (nothing like the rags he wears when he's begging) and then he proceeds to get on his brand new Honda Wave and rode off!!

I felt pretty angry at the time, I bloody well helped to pay for that new scooter. Anyway last time I donate to any of those beggers :(

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I often have breakfast or lunch at one of the bistros along Riverside. Over the past 2 years there is one particular begger in a wheelchair with both legs gone just below his knees, clearly a victim of a landmine. Anyway I have give him a dollar or two from time to time because he genuinly looks destitute.

The other day I was sat at Metro and low and behold there he was...two shiny artificial legs on, walking about chatting to some tuktuk drivers with nice shirt and pants on (nothing like the rags he wears when he's begging) and then he proceeds to get on his brand new Honda Wave and rode off!!

I felt pretty angry at the time, I bloody well helped to pay for that new scooter. Anyway last time I donate to any of those beggers sad.png

It is clear which one of you Boxedcleverest smile.png

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I would agree that a western man seen giving $20 to a Cambodian child could easily be misinterpreted and cause problems.

I suppose you're right. I didn't think about it at the time. This world sucks when giving a little money to someone to try to help them could turn out to be a setup and ruin your life.

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I am going to Cambodia tomorrow. To get an idea of costs for locals what's the minimum daily wage, I read online it's about US$130 pcm, is this correct?

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I am going to Cambodia tomorrow. To get an idea of costs for locals what's the minimum daily wage, I read online it's about US$130 pcm, is this correct?

Nope, it is considerably lower than that. The $130 is what the garment workers union demands. Starting salaries in big businesses are around $80.00 though I do suspect that in Khmer businesses a lot of people work for a lot less.

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I am going to Cambodia tomorrow. To get an idea of costs for locals what's the minimum daily wage, I read online it's about US$130 pcm, is this correct?

Nope, it is considerably lower than that. The $130 is what the garment workers union demands. Starting salaries in big businesses are around $80.00 though I do suspect that in Khmer businesses a lot of people work for a lot less.

I guess off topic, but do the local population really struggle to live off these wages?

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I am going to Cambodia tomorrow. To get an idea of costs for locals what's the minimum daily wage, I read online it's about US$130 pcm, is this correct?

Nope, it is considerably lower than that. The $130 is what the garment workers union demands. Starting salaries in big businesses are around $80.00 though I do suspect that in Khmer businesses a lot of people work for a lot less.

I guess off topic, but do the local population really struggle to live off these wages?

Yes. Prices are going up all the time but wages are not keeping up.

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I am going to Cambodia tomorrow. To get an idea of costs for locals what's the minimum daily wage, I read online it's about US$130 pcm, is this correct?

Nope, it is considerably lower than that. The $130 is what the garment workers union demands. Starting salaries in big businesses are around $80.00 though I do suspect that in Khmer businesses a lot of people work for a lot less.

I guess off topic, but do the local population really struggle to live off these wages?

If you get out of the main parts of the cities - any of them, you would be appalled at the slums. Extended families live in shacks that are hard to imagine. I don't know how they do it, but they can't be buying their food in the markets. Of course in rural areas some can grow and catch their food, but I don't know how they survive in those slums. cambodian slums

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http://www.andrew-drummond.com/2013/12/british-embassy-pays-for-rough-justice.html

about the ngo's oversteping

Personally the behavior of fhe NGO's whose only calling seems to be to raise money so they can drive expensive cars and live a good lifestyle revolts me.

I often am in the company of my gf in PP an her younger sisters (10 an 12) and if anyone hassled me or photographed me i would be not only upset but felt violated.

These NGO's are to dam involved in peoples life for me

Yes, Pedophiles exist but no more so in Cambodia than anywhere else. Thnak god, Thailand wont allow the NGO's to do there dirty work here.

AS to prices gong up, with the implimantation of tax being actually charged for incoming goods the poor will just get poorer, sad but true

Edited by phuketrichard
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http://www.andrew-drummond.com/2013/12/british-embassy-pays-for-rough-justice.html

about the ngo's oversteping

Personally the behavior of fhe NGO's whose only calling seems to be to raise money so they can drive expensive cars and live a good lifestyle revolts me.

I often am in the company of my gf in PP an her younger sisters (10 an 12) and if anyone hassled me or photographed me i would be not only upset but felt violated.

These NGO's are to dam involved in peoples life for me

Yes, Pedophiles exist but no more so in Cambodia than anywhere else. Thnak god, Thailand wont allow the NGO's to do there dirty work here.

AS to prices gong up, with the implimantation of tax being actually charged for incoming goods the poor will just get poorer, sad but true

w00t.gifw00t.gifw00t.gif

Very, very untrue. Unless you are using for frame of reference only a handful of countries with lax law enforcement.

One does not have to deny the existence of a very real problem to object to how some agencies respond to it.

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http://www.andrew-drummond.com/2013/12/british-embassy-pays-for-rough-justice.html

about the ngo's oversteping

Personally the behavior of fhe NGO's whose only calling seems to be to raise money so they can drive expensive cars and live a good lifestyle revolts me.

I often am in the company of my gf in PP an her younger sisters (10 an 12) and if anyone hassled me or photographed me i would be not only upset but felt violated.

These NGO's are to dam involved in peoples life for me

Yes, Pedophiles exist but no more so in Cambodia than anywhere else. Thnak god, Thailand wont allow the NGO's to do there dirty work here.

AS to prices gong up, with the implimantation of tax being actually charged for incoming goods the poor will just get poorer, sad but true

w00t.gifw00t.gifw00t.gif

Very, very untrue. Unless you are using for frame of reference only a handful of countries with lax law enforcement.

One does not have to deny the existence of a very real problem to object to how some agencies respond to it.

Sad but true: Cambodia is pedophile paradise, both for foreign and home-grown nonces.

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Look; i admit its a problem but why does Cambodia seem to top all of ur all list when it is not even close ot the worst in the world. Is it cause the NGO's splash it across the newsworld? NGO's do NOT go after the locals BUT.

"A lot of governments prefer to say the demand is foreign. But actually the majority of cases in virtually all countries in Asia are local. "

I dont want to get in a arquement about it but is upsets me when Cambodia is protrayed as a Pedophile paradise

Are these countries with "lax law enforcement"?

Europe; http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9608/26/german.pedophile/, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42108748/#.UqQhPJxr8lA

Canada; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hundreds-arrested-as-canadian-police-smash-global-paedophile-ring-8940562.html

Not to mention the church and those online, http://abcnews.go.com/International/sweetie-sting-lures-thousands-alleged-pedophiles/story?id=20792348

Sri Lanka
" After decades of denial, Sri Lanka is coming to terms with its reputation as a paradise for child pornographers and tourists seeking sex with minors, officials said.

The number of child sex workers is officially estimated at 30,000, with boys servicing Western tourists in beach resorts and girls supplying a growing domestic market. "

Thats far more than Cambodia

After 30 + years in Asia, am sure there are more pedophiles in Thailand ( pattaya springs to mind) than Cambodia but Its not news because the Thai govement does not allow NGO's in to do the work that should be done by the local poilce

As a a father i do not condon nor accept nor ignore Pedophiles, but Cambodia is getting for more press than it deserves on this subject

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Good decision...never give to child beggars as it will not benefit them in any way, all the money goes to their handlers or parents, and it keeps them from attending school. Don't buy trinkets or books from the children selling them for the same reasons. Also don't give to the women who appear to be carrying an ill baby/toddler, they drug and or get them drunk in order to play the pity card. The more tourists continue to give money to these beggars, the more it will continue.

Elderly and disabled I have no problem giving them some KHR (riels), as there is no support system in place from the government as in developed countries, and many don't have families that are able to support them.

As a general rule of thumb, I tend to not give money to any beggars in the main tourist hot-spots. When children approach you begging, just say "A'tay oun" and they will generally leave you alone.

Along the riverfront I use to watch a guy wearing military fatigues running the trinket/book selling kids around on his moto. Not seen him for a while, but the same kids are still at it. Guess who'd be getting the cash in this little business venture???

There is a woman who begs in front of Chiang Mai restaurant regularly and uses a child as a 'prop'. She gets the child to pretend to be asleep and then hits on passers by. I watched her for a long time one night and know what the game is.

At Psar Kandal one day I watched an old, wretched looking lady who was badly stooped over begging from locals and tourists. I watched her as she worked the short stretch of street, got to the end and went around the corner stood up straight and walked off.

I spite of this, I'll give a bit to the oldies at times, and the limbless ones but it's usually 500 riel - it took me a while to arrive at this amount, but I soon realised that I couldn't afford to keep handing out dollars, this is enough for a feed of rice or a bottle of water. I usually ignore the ones who continually pester me when I'm eating though and never give to the kids or the ones using kids as props.

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