auspicious' Guestbook



13th November 2013

Yummy!
I have some foody friends who are eating their way through Malaysia now. I'll tell them to try this, then I will try this in my hostel kitchen. How lovely to meet someone like Fatimah--a mother away from home. Happy cooking!
3rd July 2013

summer camp
Hi, I'm planning for my first ever summer camp and have found your website very useful. I want to do the storyteller with UNO, but I was wondering how you split the kids up, or if they played in pairs or what? I'm going to have at least 25 kids, which I know is a little extra, but wanted to get your input on what worked well for you. Thanks so much, Kelly
29th May 2013

complicated
very interesting read - and you write beautifully! I agree that it's very complicated issue. In my home country Indonesia the beggars are mostly coordinated by "mafia" - very sad situation. I typically prefer giving the donation to an organization; but now reading some of them (maybe) corrupt - that worries me!
4th March 2013

Begging
I finally figured out how to open your travelog. I think the problem with giving to a beggar is you get on the sucker list. I used to be generous when charitable reps called me once or twice a year. Now my land line rings seven or eight times a day. Even though I am now terribly rude if I answer at all, the cacophony never ends. Wow! Your writing has improved. I wish I had remembered how to open your blogs sooner. "Nobody wants to be a beggar when they grow up." Christopher Walken in Dogs of War
4th March 2013

Hi Dad! Glad you liked it. I don't like charity calls either. Within this year, the times that we've given any donations is when we actually search out a specific charity and contact them or face-to-face encounters. I'm glad you accessed the blog and I'll be calling you very soon! Love, Michelle
25th February 2013

Nice Recipees!
Wow, only when you break it down step by step then you can begin to appreciate how complicated the dish actually is, isn't it? Living in SG I'm very familar with rendang but your post makes me realize the dish is not as simple as it looks!
26th February 2013

Miss Jalan Jalan -- I think it's more complicated because Fatimah put so much heart into her cooking. She often takes days to make dishes for the holidays. Cooking for her is much more of an experience rather than a chore. I agree that it definitely increased my appreciation for the dish as well as her cooking in general. :)
22nd February 2013

The deciding factor in whether I purchase or not...
In almost every case, if someone approaches me to sell something, I will immediately say no. It needs to be an exceptional circumstance for me to accept an unsolicited offer to buy any wares. This rule applies to taxi and tuk-tuk drivers too - the ones that initiate the approach are more likely to overcharge. Thus my rule is: if you want my business, I will approach you, and not the other way around. Congratulations on such a thought-provoking blog, I reckon this one will be appearing on Travelblog's Facebook page.
22nd February 2013

Shane -- Thank you for the comment. I agree with your point about taxi and tuk-tuk drivers. If there is one person who is not pressuring or bombarding us to take their ride, I tend to go with that person rather than the ones who almost come across like bullies. I know that it's competitive out there, but sometimes taking away a consumer's space and trying to force their decision is more likely to lead to a loss of a sale/ride in my opinion. In the lucky circumstance that there is somebody who is more respectful of that space and decision, I feel that they will be more enjoyable to be around in the long run, too, instead of worrying about "car salesman" mentality.
21st February 2013

Poverty, manipulation, charity, begging...it is not black and white
Years ago we stopped giving to United Way because the CEO was caught spending $1, 000,000 plus on his mistress. A few years went by and I decided the organization was good overall and gave again. Another scandal popped up within the organization so I've stopped giving to them permanently. My money my choice. I've wanted to donate and adopt to one of those children via one of the organizations so it was interesting to read Bob's comments. Generally, we don't give cash to beggars but on occasion when the right one does or says the "right thing" what ever that is-- like making you laugh as you stated, we find ourselves making a donation. Do we or should we wonder what they spend the money on? Does it matter if they buy a 5th of whiskey...if that is what they feel they need at the moment should we judge? When in Cambodia we were on a bus and young children were at the window begging so we opened the window and gave them a sandwich. They immediately started eating, a couple of other kids came running as they were hungry so others on the bus gave them their sandwich. That is a moment when you know you did the right thing. Knowing what to give or when to give can be difficult. You have to trust your instincts. I guess the bottom line is- if you have the money and want to give it away, then give it away. No one wants to be manipulated but sometimes that happens.
22nd February 2013

D&MJ -- It's unfortunate that in your altruism, you found that your money might have been used other than intended in quite a terrible way. I've had one friend who adopted a child in Haiti and many charities and raves about most of them, but I can't help but wonder if sometimes her good intentions may be taken advantage of than somebody who is more skeptical. I suppose the causes (as there are way too many out there) where I tend to donate or contribute are those actively preventing or increasing awareness about abuse or the sex slave industry and providing a quick response in basic needs and prevention for natural disasters. Besides those, it really is a circumstance-by-circumstance judgment as to whether I will give money or not. I think your heartfelt story about the children and the sandwich says a lot about the need out there and more direct (rather than a buck that may go to somebody else) means of helping even if it is a short term alleviation.
21st February 2013

Ooops...
yes, Slumdog Millionaire.
21st February 2013

I think we are sisters from other mothers!
Your trip with your mother reminded me so much of travelling with my mother, had me laughing heaps. I think we should book a trip and let our mothers get to know each other and count currencies and notice McDonalds signs while we go diving....btw, I also had Korean BBQ in Siem Reap.
21st February 2013

Cindy -- Hahaha, my mother almost convinced me to go for Korean BBQ, but fortunately, Kong got her hooked on Fish Amok so she was satisfied with morning kimchi in terms of Korean cravings. I wouldn't be surprised if the BBQ was good because I've never seen that many Korean tourists outside of Korea as of yet. You and I can see how far our mothers make it out of the airport while we go explore. ;]
21st February 2013

No, there certainly are many grey areas...
What I have real problems with are charities who raise money using key words to tug at our heart strings...orphans is a big one. My daughter wanted to adopt a child through one of those organizations, with me paying the monthly contribution. In Uganda, I encountered employees of that organization driving around in the big Land Cruisers, just like the UN. This left me wondering how much was spent on overhead, and how much went to orphans, if indeed they were orphans. I investigated giving to orphans in India and in most cases they were not orphans. Only the rich could send their kids to public school (as in England...very private), but by calling the school an orphanage, thhe school owners could raise money in the West, and middle class people could send their kids free (although administrators of these schools probably charged additional tuition to get every penny they could). I try to support organizations who believe "give a man a fish, and he will have food for that day; teach a man how to fish, and he will always eat." But in many cultures, they just want to be given the fish...and we keep giving them the fish. So, like you, I seek to reform the underlying problem...and still occcasionally give that child a dollar, just for the smile; ignoring who gets that dollar in the end. However, for a real eye opener on begging, watch "Bombay Millionaire." You may never want to give a dollar again. Sorry to those TBers who work for charities for my anedotal evidence; may your charities continue to help the truly poor.
21st February 2013

Bob -- Thanks so much for sharing your and your daughter's experiences in wanting to adopt an orphan. The story about the orphanage front is disturbing and, unfortunately, another one of those situations that speaks on how charities attract those who are altruistic, but also those who are scammers. I actually looked up "Bombay Millionaire" and couldn't find it. Did you mean "Slumdog Millionaire"? I did see that and agree that the abuse and mutilation are unbelievable and still probably don't touch some of the worse harm that happens out there. I believe there are still some good non-profit organizations out there, but (like your research in India shows) they should be researched and questioned before contributing manually or financially.
21st February 2013

premediated giving.
I gained an interesting alternative perspective returning to Cambodia with my own children, since they often became the recipients of unsolicited gift giving from tourists laden with treats. It was also intriguing visiting the floating village (Kompong Phluk) and to witness hoards of children, lined up along the banks as the tour groups would potter past in their boats tossing ramen noodle packets into the water, for the kids to dive after. I recorded pictures of kids as young as four lined up in anticipation, performing Gangnam Style! And, then there is the whole ‘children are not tourist attractions’, debate currently raging in Cambodia, concerning orphanages. Fascinating.
21st February 2013

We also went to the floating village and, I don't know if it was the same one because there weren't hoards of tourists and the locals went about doing their own thing. I saw kids jumping in water, but it was to have fun, not to perform. I've read accounts more similar to yours in other blogs as well and it's really frustrating to hear how easily children are taken advantage of. The ramen-tossing to kids . . . wow~~ I hope you write a blog about the trip sooner than two years because you must have some interesting things to share, especially from the eyes of parents traveling with your kids. I hope you did not toss a ramen pack into the pool at the Angkor resort to teach Kiva to swim!!
20th February 2013

Thanks for sharing
I enjoyed reading your blog; the pictures you painted with your words, your internal debate about charities and your experiences. I work for a non-profit and I have seen all the kinds of people you talk about! We are thankful for the ones that truly want to help because they want to help. Giving a hand up is better than a hand out in our opinion. I think we all have room to learn more and to do better. Thanks for sharing!
20th February 2013

Jennifer, Johnny, thanks for reading and commenting. I agree that more times than not that "[g]iving a hand up is better than a hand out." Still, even in those instances it's not always ethically black and white--requires so much research to make sure one is not destabilizing a place, replacing local work, or having ulterior motives.
20th February 2013

The Greatest Pressure
The greatest pressure to buy was definitely from a Maasai village in Kenya...from Maasai women...total physical assault...covering us with jewellry or masks in our faces...screaming masses...hands everywhere...totally draining experience. And Tanzania...if you buy from one...the rest hound you with the line "You have done business with him, what about me?" Makes the kids in Cambodia a picnic!
20th February 2013

Dave -- Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to go to Africa some day, but will try to prepare myself mentally when I do as I take your word on the experience.

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