I realized this evening, for no readily apparent reason, that I was quite accustomed to being asked for money, with wildly varying degrees of aggression and/or supplication, anywhere from 3 to 10 times a day, on my short walk from our apartment in Surrey Hills to Town Hall House, the headquarters of OmniHyperGlobalMegaNet, when I lived in Sydney.
I have not once been approached here in Korea. Not once in 8 months.
Why do you reckon that is?


Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. People very rarely came up to me in China. The ones that did, mostly children in professional begging gangs, clung to your leg and you nearly had to pry them off, but for the most part people in general wouldn’t approach a laowai like myself.

  2. Hey Stavros, I’m a bit short this week, yer couldn’t let us hold a tenner could yer? 🙂

  3. Begging is just not done eye to eye here (Poland). They kneel, even in the snow and rain, and they never ask. Usually they write and hold an explanatory sign: they have AIDS, they have hungry children at home to feed, etc. The Romanian women bring young babies with them for added effectiveness. But no one says the equivalent of “Spare change?”

  4. Sen : Harry doesn’t hold!
    But I’ll buy youse some piss if y’ull skull it with me, mate!

  5. The thing here, Malcolm, is that there aren’t any beggars. None. None to even ask me to spare a dime. 48 million people in a country not much bigger than my fat ass after a night on the piss, and I see no beggars at all…they are doing so many many things wrong, but dammit, they must be doing at least one thing right.
    (Of course, I may not be privy to the whirling blades and mangled-flesh-sluices of the homeless-processing-centres…this is possible too…)

  6. yeah, that’s interesting, eh? When I lived in the middle east for a time, I noticed the same thing. You’d get somebody asking for money in Egypt from time to time (although it was very rare by north american standards), but you would absolutely never see anybody asking for money in Syria. I’m told that it was against the policy of the almighty hafez al-assad or something.
    But I’m under the impression that the reason that you don’t see it in korea is more because of social and cultural norms, instead of a heavy-handed government, no?

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