Blog, Thoughts

The Beggars Call

Everybody has different preference when donating wealth to the needy. Hyper rich persons established foundations, different kind of foundations, cemented with their names. Others prefer to give donations through NGOs or directly to the persons, such as to beggars on the street.

When giving such a donation, a friend always give the small money to poor looking men or women. He was not happy seeing healthy men or women begging on the street. He said that the healthy strong young beggar should get a job instead.

While my friend might be right, the fact that the beggar was on the street has told us few things. He was in terrible need of money, and he couldn’t figure out other better ways yet. Somebody had to help him, or else he might end up with terrible things. Besides, to be a beggar is not an easy thing in life at all. It’s also better to be a beggar rather than to be a thief or a robber.

In one of my flights I met with a gentleman who gave food to beggars on the street. He’d never given in cash money. He said that food could always be consumed, while money might go to the beggars’ boss. He also went to government hospitals, where he could find many poor patients at the 3rd class wards, and donated his money there. Another friend of mine always goes to orphanage house to share her happiness; she seldom gives anything to beggars on the street. For her, giving something to beggars on the street does not solve the poverty problem, even worsen it.

Several NGOs had also appealed motorist not to give money to beggars on traffic lights, since it would ruin their programs, especially for street kids. The city administration has also issued a bylaw that forbids people from giving money to beggars at traffic lights. While I respect what good NGOs are doing, and also understand the city administration’s position, I have different point of view. My simple view is that NGOs and government recipes are not enough, at least for now, in tackling the chronic social problems. There are many ways, some are right and others may only slightly right, that until the administration can provide enough shelter and food for the jobless people, let people contribute the way they like.

For almost two years I made u-turns below underpass of Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, after dropping Rangga off at SMA 8. Right on the u-turn there was an old, tall, white long beard beggar, sitting and extending his hand to motorists. The unique thing about this beggar was that when people gave him money he always prayed in a strong voice for the person to have a long, happy and full of blessed life. At one time I questioned myself for always giving him money every time I passed him. My answer was this: God blessed me with a monthly salary, through my company; hence I shouldn’t stop giving daily salary to the needy either. Even if God stopped the flow of money to my bank account, I shouldn’t stop donating to the needy as long as I still have something to share.

I should be thankful to beggars as well, and respect them, since I learned few good lessons from them. They are tough people, physically and mentally. For every one motorist who gave them small money, they were rejected by 20 plus others. No complaints. Some are so perseverance that they do not move from your car window until you give them something.

Indonesia is a country with very rich of natural resources. Even though many of them had been taken out irresponsibly from the mother earth, by local and foreign individual and corporations alike, there are still enough land and resources that shall enable everybody to live a good and healthy life. We don’t have enough the following though: educated people with a strong research mindset; wealthy people, financially and / or physically, with generous heart and mind to help the needy; contributors.

The fact that there are so many beggars on the street shows not only the failure of the government to perform its duty, but also the society as a whole.We love spending money in cafes, discotheques, massage parlors, electronic shops, beauty saloons, hypermarkets, malls, jewelries, car saloons, hotels, restaurants, etc. I suggest for people to continue doing so, because it also helps the economy; regardless that it helps only the financially strong players. I only suggest that everybody, myself in particular, to love spending money to help the needy.

Nobody wants to be a beggar on the street. It’s quite hot, windy and dusty out there, just to get very small fortunes. However, they may have a much nobler heart and mind compared to those white collar beggars who are wandering around government institutions and kicking each other to get lucrative tender businesses.

There are so many ways in helping people to live better lives. We understand that there are always pluses and minuses in choosing ones. For me, giving something in any form of donation is still better than giving nothing even supported with noble reasons.

So, try not run out of small cash to give beggars that knock your luxurious car window. Never hesitate, even though they become rich because of your donation.

, seorang pejalan musiman dan penyuka sejarah. Penduduk Jakarta yang sedang tinggal di Cikarang Utara. Diperbarui: October 26, 2006.

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