Blog, Thoughts

The Beggars Call 2.0

After dropping my son off at his school on a bright Saturday morning, I could finally take picture of a beggar that I mentioned in “The Beggar’s Call” post earlier. I haven’t passed the street for quite sometimes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s disappeared, but he was still there. He just looked much older and fragile.

For those who want to pay a visit and give small contribution, his “office” is located at the u-turn towards Tebet, below Kampung Melayu fly-over. After receiving the money, he will shout loudly wishing you have a long and prosperous life. Amen.

There are a couple of beggars with whom I frequently encounter and eventually become “regular customers”. Here are some of them:

A woman sitting at the green lane at Jl. I Gusti Ngurah Rai about 200 meters before Klender Mall. She used to be sitting there with her little boy.

A woman who walks very fast, in a unique way, with a grinning face. Her area of operation is around traffic light after Cipinang prison, just before Jatinegara fly-over.

A woman, a bit lame, greeting you at the intersection traffic light between Ki Mangunsarkoro and Cik Ditiro streets, towards Sunda Kelapa Grand Mosque.

There’s another woman sitting around the traffic light before Cipinang prison, but I never saw her approaching the motorists.

A few days ago I stopped near the place where she’s sitting. The red traffic light was on. She looked straight at me but didn’t move her hand. I opened my car window to give her small money. She stood up, and walked with great difficulty towards my car. I took a deep heavy breath, knowing why she’s just sitting passively there.


There are always debates whether giving money to beggars on the street is the right way or not in helping the needy. To me, it’s not about the right or wrong way, not about black or white situation. It’s more about the willingness to share and the acknowledgement that there’s no perfect single way in doing so.

Unfortunately many of those who were reluctant to give small money to the beggars on the street might haven't done anything to help them yet, most likely because they haven't found the more comfortable way in making the contribution.

It’s not that important whether you give your contribution in the form of money, food, cloth, education assistance, etc., whether you give the donation on the street, orphanage house or through NGOs, as long as you do some real thing to help them, and hopefully you can improve the way the contribution is given along the way.

On the government part, maybe the President needs to make an annual contest. Governor who can reduce number of people who live under poverty line by 10% shall be rewarded generously by the central government; and those who can’t achieve the numbers shall be reprimanded by local parliament that elected the governor.

The Governor in turn needs to have another annual contest for the regents, and so forth. High cost economy shall further be reduced. Investments shall also be further simplified, especially in sectors that create more job opportunities.

Whilst we can’t make poverty to become a history, we can surely contribute something to reduce the scale, either by taking it from our pocket, or from other resources that we can control or create.

Let’s not criticize those who have done something to help the needy because of the way their contribution are delivered. Let's just share what we have done, that may inspire others to contribute in a better way.

, seorang pejalan musiman dan penyuka sejarah. Penduduk Jakarta yang sedang tinggal di Cikarang Utara. Diperbarui: December 22, 2006.

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