Can beggars be choosers?

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Dear Hilary,

I need your advice – I often walk past Thai women sitting in the gutters on the street of main stream Pattaya, with babies in arms begging for money – not food! I don’t know if this is a con or that they are being genuine? I would like to help them if they are genuine but don’t like being conned. Can you offer some advice regarding this or should I just give my money to the bar girls who I know are conning me?

Thanks,

James

Dear James,

I realize this is no excuse, but these women are generally from neighboring countries, and not Thailand. They are the bait in elaborate scams to get tourists to donate cash for these poor starving “mothers”. Yes, the baby is not necessarily the child of the woman “minding” the child. Give your money to the starving bar girls – you’ll get much more fun that way.