Imagine.

We are walking down on the street. In the alley, we meet an old man with dirty patched clothes, without expression and looks so pitiful. His hand raises to each person who passes by, begging for little money or some coins for the living. Your heart is moved by compassion. Your hand moves to the side of your jean’s pocket and reaches the leather wallet. One coin will suffice, and off it go. May you have a good day and you will have full-stomach this day and tomorrow.

As you smile and decide to walk away, you turn to me, who fixate my eyes upon the old beggar… emptily. You look at me with frown and may whisper, such heartless person I am. But I just turn to you and smile awkwardly, yes, heartless. Not giving even a penny. I shrug my shoulder and walk away. There is something wrong in me, you think. You catch my step and begin asking out of curiosity. I shrug again.

“Naah..” I say with strange tone, “I don’t have any coin right now.

Recently, the new mayor of the town have made a steeping stone about street beggars to be used as government’s street janitor and earn 700 hundred IDR per month. What is their response? They told him that they refuse – unless government pays better wage to cover living expenses. They demand ten million IDR. Compare it with fresh engineer, two to three million IDR. Or IT consultant? Aside of what other thought about this matter, for those who have known this public secret, we can only smile bitterly. It is where “compassion” is used as deadly weapon. There are too many stories shared by people who were curious and asked some of the beggars their earnings per month, one example mentions they gain two to three hundred IDR per DAY. Which makes us engineers, teachers, and even manager laughing stocks.

But for them, three hundred IDR per day is little amount. We know what happen with their earning – but welp, we keep our mouth shut.

What keep they poor and do such things? Even pretending to be sick, disabled, and sing a good song but in fact they hide small radio behind their old rugged jacket? How about the genuine beggar? How about compassion and some idealistic view of “please don’t say such thing to an old man who begs for food”? Do you even want to see a pack of police drag some of these poor beggars to truck and scold some who want to escape? Or what will you make when you happen to know that the babies on ‘their mothers’ lap are drugged with Vodka to keep them from crying when begging – where they are not even their mothers? Or another example of mothers ordering their children to beg in the street full of cars without thinking about their safety and will punish them if they don’t bring some money in the evening? What is justice? Which one is right, which one is wrong? Which one I have to believe? What should I do?

I’d say, this has been a public secret – where we don’t have legal and legit proof to prove the gossip or issue, and are not able to share our “secret” to worldwide. First because we don’t have strong proof – a small interview done by some curious college students or a photograph explaining what they do with their earning – these are not strong enough to prove the truth. We may investigate one disabled-old-man begging in the street one day and in the same day in the evening he appears in the middle of bustling street mall quite far away from his first place. HOW? magic?? We all know something is up, “that thing” exists, and… we can’t do anything about it unless there is something that move us to stop “that thing” to make use of these people.

The smallest example is… may be you don’t believe this article because I just babble ’round and not giving any proof or reference. “I see it with my own eyes! Some people have seen it too!” If I add these lines, will people believe in me? Naaah… if it is me, I will say “how about you people going down the street and witness the horror yourself?” To ultimately stop this thing happen is to support the new mayor’s decision, the government and police – and pray they will release some intel and spies to track “that thing” called “beggar’s mafia”. This is what has happened in Indonesia.

When compassion turns to be a weapon, idealism and perspective to be a tool to brainwash people, and some other which some of us have known but never be able to talk about it. Welp, how long should we have to laugh sarcastically?

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