Life in Dubai

The Ungrateful Beggar

The poor, the unfortunate, the downtrodden… you see them all over the world; sitting in corner, earnestly seeking the generosity of a kind soul.
The bible asks us to help those in need. There Christ even mentioned it in his teachings. So we are supposed to help the needy, the poor. We are supposed to give alms and lend a helping hand to our fellow man.
However in the increasing wicked ad cruel world, we are quite often thought that if you extend your hand in kindness, it can easily be ripped of by the ravenous, exploiters of this world.

A few weeks ago, I came out of church and was approached by a gentleman. He was begging for cash. He claimed to be an optical technician who arrived here to look for work and hasn’t found anything yet. With 2 months of his 3 month visa already passed, he’s desperate  claimed he hadn’t eaten in days. He needed money for food. I would never deny a hungry man sustenance. I had only 50 AED in my wallet at the time and I gave it to him.  He said “Thank you and walked away.”
After a minute I noticed he had turned around and proceeded to follow me to my truck.
He then told me that what I gave him wasn’t enough as he has to pay his room rent too and he needed more from me. I told him I didn’t have anything more to give him. He then pointed to my family and told me to ask them if they have anything.
At this point internally I was losing my patience with the man, but having just come out of church, I needed decorum. “I cannot give you what I do not have,” is what I told him; repeatedly over and over again. To which his reply was, “Sir, Please you have to help me. Sir, Please”. I then showed him my empty wallet, reiterated my position and that none of us were able to give him what he wanted. He then proceeded to gesture as if he was beginning to cry and then walked away.

This wasn’t the first time that I had such an experience. In every instance, it was right outside the church and they always told me that “its not enough” to which one person asked me to go to nearby ATM and withdraw cash. The audacity that some of them have is amazing.. “Are you a beggar? Sounds like you need to be in upper management; Finance Department..”

I will not deny and say that there aren’t people who are in dire need here in Dubai. Having lived here for pretty much all my life, I know this country can be unforgiving and cruel at times.

Begging is a criminal offense in Dubai. In fact, if you can also be in serious trouble if you are caught giving money to a beggar.

Dubai lends itself to be the hub of the wealthy; portraying to the world that everyone who lives here is prosperous and a multi-millionaire.
Yet while you see and notice the wealthy, there is another side of Dubai that this city does not want you to know about. You will only come to learn about it once you have lived here for a few years; and that too, sometimes you won’t see it at all. The image of Dubai is too valuable to be tarnished with the likes of the poor, the needy.

The lifestyle of the residents here often forces people to live way beyond their means and as a result most of us have to join the clan of rodents running the “rat-race” here; going with the flow. There are real people suffering here, being forced into desperate situations that they either could or could not control. And then there are the scammers. The ones who are here to make a quick payoff. You don’t hear about them much, but its there.

I fear that I have been the likely prey of an ongoing scam here in Dubai. I am most certainly going to think twice when someone approaches me outside the church again; seeking a handout.
I am beginning to understand the reason this city wishes to avoid the stigma of the needy, but the point is to be level headed and not lose our humanity in the process. I don’t think that asking for help or helping those is need is necessarily a crime. It shouldn’t be. However I do draw the line when someone seems to want to take advantage of my good nature.



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