On the way to school we pass an old bearded beggar, holding up his humble wares. I passed him going and then in the evening, coming back from an event. That time I stopped, gave him whatever money I had, and asked him his name.
His name was Chaminda and he said he needed money for his mother, who had cancer. To buy Sustagen (a nutritional drink). Chaminda looked pretty old himself so I was surprised by this. I kept going and I haven’t seen him for a few days.
In Sri Lanka the assumption is that beggars are lying, or that they’re part of some scheme to rip you off or something. To this I always answer, who cares? What a shitty scheme, to stand on the street all day. What a rip-off, 500 rupees here and there.
We live an an age of global ponzi schemes run by bankers and wankers, which regularly destroy the real economy. We get ripped off through wage theft and the theft of the entire climate every day. And we worry about the beggar standing by the way.
We worry so much that one person might get something they don’t deserve, and I think beggars really deserve it. He’s the one standing in the hot sun all day, while I cruise around in my air-conditioned living room. What if he spends it on drugs? Who cares. God knows I’ve spent enough on drugs myself.