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.
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.