Friday, 19 February 2010

Beggaring belief

I know there are many beggars in Penang but nowhere else are they more evident than during the Chinese New Year. The main point of congregation is the Kuan Yin Temple along Pitt Street in George Town. It's impossible for anyone to avoid them. They'd be standing or sitting at all the entry and exit points of the temple - basically, blocking them - hoping that worshipers and tourists alike would spare them a copper of two.

When I was at the temple on Monday, a throng of them - I would estimate them at around 50 - suddenly lined up single file outside the temple. Word had gone round that someone was going to give some money to beggars.

I was perplexed. Beggars? Some of them looked too dressed up to be beggars. And yet, they were all lined up patiently. And as suddenly as they had lined up, the line broke up. All of them were trying to gather around a man who was giving out money. But the man's largesse couldn't last. A handful of them received nothing but they continued to run after and pester the man who could do nothing else but wave them away.

In the meantime, all that was left of the crowd in the temple's compound was this solitary Buddhist monk. He had been standing there before the beggars appeared, and he continued to stand there well after the beggars had disappeared.

1 comment:

Luray va accommodations said...

All the destinations are great and beautiful. This city is too vibrant and attractive with all the beauty and spectacular sightseeing as well.