If it seems like I am just sitting around compulsively writing poems and fiction and a textbook and a blog, it’s probably because that is essentially what I’m doing. But I get out sometimes, I need to get from one place to another after all, and I see things.
Would you think it was a good idea for a blind man to walk down a crowded street, with a typical narrow and frighteningly uneven, broken up sidewalk, waving his cane gently in front of himself, and talking on a cell phone the entire time? No? I’m with you, but it’s not my country so I don’t criticize.
People use babies and young children to beg, it’s a very disagreeable process. Someone told me they pass the babies around, it’s not even mother and child, or cripple and child, or retard and child, it’s just retard and some borrowed child. And like all devoid-of-resources-helpless-people-who-live-in-public-without-recourse-to-police-protection, gangs prey on them, exacting a fee for the privilege of sitting on (the gang’s) sidewalk.
Some are weirder than others. Yesterday I passed a man, who incidentally looked eminently employable and quite clever, who was begging and using a child as a hook. The child, a boy, was about four years old. He had what the Japanese call “tea hair,” hair dyed kind of light brown/attempted blond, and wore make up, cherry red rouged cheeks, some lipstick, a little foundation. He was dressed like a little Farang too, with a button-up shirt with a collar and long pants. He looked like a ventriloquist’s dummy. When he saw me he lit up made his pitch, he did everything but yell, “Daddy!” I smiled and kept walking.
I have also passed on several occasions a little girl who begs solo and has a most interesting technique. She’s about six, she sits on a heavily trafficked pedestrian overpass, with her hands pressed together in a wai and rocking back and forth. When some likely benefactor passes by she first makes sad, desperate eye contact and then rocks forward all the way to the ground, actually blocking the progress of the rube, I mean potential benefactor.
I don’t feel so bad walking by. Thai people ignore them too. And at least the blind guy was walking slowly.