Someones not gonna like this... My last night in Cambodia I realised when confronted with a beggar I had gone from whispering a guilt ridden 'No, I'm sorry', to a harsh and firm 'NO' without even looking the unfortunate person in the eye and I wondered, how have I become this cold hearted b******. Generally the beggars I've encountered come in three forms: 1. The landmine victims. The most obvious and prevalent of the group. You see these guys and think, 'well, they can't make a living any other way - I should give them something'. But then you see people in the same situation making an honest living, selling books, working in markets (There was one cool guy (no legs) in Siem Reap who made a little cart that was a massive mobile book stand with a sign that said: I am not a beggar, don't treat me like one, I work for a living). you begin to think - Is it just easier to beg? 2. The children, usually with an infant sibling strapped to their back. Their usual gambit was 'money for food' or just gesture their mouth and stomach. Funny thing though, when you actually offer them food they'd either stare at you blankly or shake their head (there were a couple of exception who gladly dug in). Usually when you call someone of a bluff like that it's extremely satisfying, but your just left feeling empty and a little pissed off at the obvious manipulation. 3. Finally, there's the 'sad' people. Usually women, they'll just look at you with a pained expression while waving a hat in front of you. I'm a little unsure of this group, there was nothing obviously wrong with them - maybe their husband died and they can't work, maybe they're a little slow and can't cope with daily life - I don't know, the language barrier prevents you from learning anyones story. The thing that really got be was the obvious manipulation of the tourists. In Siem Reap where the begging was the worst if you saw a beggar before they noticed you, you would see their postures become more hunched, expressions more pained, voices become more whiny (one dolarrr) when they would approach you. It really got under my skin. Now don't get me wrong, I know some of these poor people have no other means of supporting themselves and they get no support from the government in the form of social security, but I can't seem to shake the feeling that for some of them it's more profitable than making a living any other way. I saw more tourists give money to beggars than I did see tourists buying books and bracelets from pushy vendors and in a country where people get buy on $30 a months it can;t be hard to pull in $1 a day through begging. I'd finally like to point out that I'm sure at one point or another I've rudely dismissed someone who could use the money a lot more than me, and believe me, it doesn't fill me with shiny, heppy feeling of goodness. But when you don't really know who needs the money, what are you going to do - give it to everyone (and when you do give money to one, you make yourself a massive target for the rest of them). I will however be donating more money to charity when I get home so at least I can be more confident it goes to the deserving people. So there you have it, my views, opinions whatever you call it. I don't presume to know the full story, its just how I see it. Discuss.