Tips, double-pricing, beggars, children-beggars, children-sellers. Yes, no, yes or no? Poverty, South-East Asia (SEA), Vietnam, Cambodia. Questions to which I don’t know the answer. Several moments a day which I don’t know which is the right action to do.
Children-beggars if given money it will just increase the number of beggars and remove them from school or school-related-work. Beggars in general, if you provide them money, it will mostly not go to them but the the leader of organized-beggars groups who sends them to the street to ask for money. These leaders are known to exist.
But what to do when you are in the terrace of the restaurant, eating and someone comes to ask for money. Or points to one of your toasts and asks for it? Giving the toast will help the children/person future? Will it change something? Is it not better to support an organization who will help them in more long-run and try to remove from them the feeling that they can make a living of asking food or money from the tourists? Where I’m talking about (Phnom Pehn, Cambodia) there are such organizations where beggars can ask for a meal. Nonetheless it is a very disturbing moment when you have a children in front of you (even if usually in distance you see a “parent” bit more well dressed who have sent the children alone to beg).
Over-pricing just annoys me. In SEA is a constant problem in buses sometimes also in others means of transport. Your guidebook usually says which is the normal price. Just in case you ask a local which is the price. You see the locals paying X. You are then asked 3 times X. You contest, you might manage to pay 1.5 times X. And then you go in a cramped and hot bus for which the really fair price is X. What to do when you know being over-priced? Accept? Contest? I know I’m the rich in a very poor country, but I try to think: would I do the same in my country to a person which I know earns 10-times more money than me? No! Indeed I accept to pay for the quality and when there is the possibility to pay a reasonable/fair price for a quality bus, I’ll pay and choose it instead (for instance, when there are 2, 3 and 5 usd buses, I rather take the 5usd knowing it will have AC and will not gather passengers around for the next 30minutes while leaving the city). But I do not accept to pay more than the locals when the quality is bad, which is often the case.
Tipping, either in the “taxi”-like or at the restaurant… I tend not to tip, except when the service (and/or food) is better than my expectations for the current local prices. Most of times in SEA people do not expect tip and are very thankful you have used their services (so far was like this in Phnom Penh). But sometimes, I don’t know if because of the American culture of tipping, they get annoyed when you don’t leave anything. This happen sometimes in Vietnam. Two times during this trip I was even directly asked for tip, which is the thing I find the worst. Tip is a gratuity which you give if you feel it, not something to be asked for.
I know that their salary is very small and a tip could help them, but I’ve the opinion that it should not be expected and the clients should be respected either if they tip or not. My own way to tip is to go back to the restaurant or use the same service again, giving it this way more profit in general.
At this article the matter of tipping or not in 3rd world countries is discussed already for 2 years. There is no big conclusion.
More ideas or comments?