do you give a child in india 'one pen'?

Reply
View Poll Results: do you give a child in India 'one pen' ?
yes 6 10.53%
depends on the child 1 1.75%
depends on the situation 21 36.84%
no 17 29.82%
i've never got a pen 3 5.26%
i've never heard of the 'one pen' question 9 15.79%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

#1 Feb 15th, 2003, 23:21
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
UK
Posts:
16,662
  • steven_ber is offline
#1
When asked by a child in India for 'one pen' do you give them a pen?

Last edited by steven_ber; Jan 21st, 2004 at 14:55..
#2 Feb 17th, 2003, 05:59
Gary Worthington Future Member
Posts:
n/a
#2
Definitely not. It just encourages the harassment of visitors.

An exception may be when a friendly relationship has been established, such as the child performing a useful guide service or you've been a visitor in the child's family home. And then probably only if the child hasn't asked for the pen.

Gary
#3 Feb 17th, 2003, 16:01
Join Date:
Jan 2003
Location:
Greater Manchester. UK
Posts:
6
  • lulucat is offline
#3
ive just arrived back from india and after being asked for one pen and saying no the children would ask for money instead. i saw many people actually giving money to the children.The locals discourage it completely.
#4 Feb 18th, 2003, 04:42
Join Date:
Feb 2003
Location:
Paris
Posts:
13
  • hazyjane is offline
#4

why pens?

Hi, Please forgive a newbie's ignorance, my first trip to India is coming up. Why do kids want pens? Is it to sell or for writing/doing homework or what?
#5 Feb 18th, 2003, 10:22
Nothing is illegal until you get caught~
Join Date:
Nov 2002
Location:
Cleveland, Ohio USA
Posts:
533
Send a message via AIM to jjacquemain
  • jjacquemain is offline
#5
I was there...never heard this particular phrase....Really, what does it mean or will pencils do as well??
#6 Feb 18th, 2003, 15:47
Join Date:
Feb 2003
Location:
Belgium/Sweden
Posts:
38
  • Katta is offline
#6
During my travel in India I was particular asked this rather funny question, 'a pen madam?', in Jodphur. It was not until I spoke to some other travellers that I actually understood what they children asked for.

If you wish to donate pens, money or whatever - go to the schools. Do not encourage the children to ask/beg from the tourists!!
#7 Feb 19th, 2003, 01:49
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
UK
Posts:
16,662
  • steven_ber is offline
#7
I posted this poll to get some opinions on this subject (and because no polls were being posted) and it seems so far that opinions are very divided.

Firstly, for the people who have not heard of the 'one pen' question, in many parts of India children come up to tourists and ask for 'one pen', (sometimes, 'one coin from your country') some are polite, some even offer directions, however, some can follow you down the road tugging at your clothes, and some can get angry if you say no (i find it depends where you are in India, just my opinion).

The attitude of the children who ask a tourist for 'one pen' can often change the tourist’s opinion (for or against).

In England I would never give a beggar anything as we have a welfare system to help people who need help.

But when I went to Kerala and saw the children’s faces, it was very hard to say no. However, I do still mostly say no, there is a very good argument that it encourages more children to beg, and people have seen some of these children selling the pens.

However, whilst I was in Kerala I was always asked politely and seemed to be asked more than in the other parts of India I have since been to, Kerala has the highest literacy rate of any Indian state, probably no connection.

I am also very sceptical of how many families get assistance from Indian charities and if some villagers feel they have a better chance of assistance if they up-roots and move to the cities, the worst poverty in India is widely recognised as being in the countryside, it is logistically very difficult to help these people so I am reluctant to give to charities.

Sadly, if the people in the countryside were allowed to trade freely in the global market they could help themselves, but Europe and the USA have made sure this cannot happen (common agricultural policy and agricultural subsidies).

I prefer now to give to children in the countryside whilst passing on a train, as their not asking it makes them feel good to receive an unexpected 'gift', and it makes me feel good that I am relieving some of my guilt for being relatively rich, and coming from an area of the world where we throw agricultural foods away to keep the prices artificially high, whilst imposing tariffs on foods produced outside of the EU.
Last edited by steven_ber; Oct 5th, 2003 at 21:00..
#8 Feb 19th, 2003, 06:26
i enjoy country living and relaxed pace in life.
Join Date:
Jan 2003
Location:
freezing cold canada
Posts:
97
  • chrissawka is offline
#8
are pens that rare ro valueble in india?
ironic friend in china told me same thing...............'buy a box of pens ',to give to children
well guess i'd better pack some pens
hey watson i know u advise against non-essential packing.but gotta do it for the children
enjoyed 6 weeks in southern india and saving up to go back..
i never hated.....yet loved<more>a country soo much
words cannot truely describe the satisfaction it gives u
#9 Feb 19th, 2003, 22:20
Join Date:
Aug 2002
Location:
Berlin, Germany
Posts:
284
  • Watson is offline
#9
I wanted to take a whole bunch of promo pens with me the last time I went, but forgot them in the office… I agree with Steven_Ber in that giving pens as a surprise treat is a good option. I strongly advise against dishing out anything if there is already a group of children since as soon as you give out one of something invariably you will have the whole group screaming their lungs off to get more. Someone may be left out causing great distress for the poor left out soul and very well may lead to a fight within the group over the remaining goodies.
#10 Feb 20th, 2003, 00:14
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
UK
Posts:
16,662
  • steven_ber is offline
#10
I made a decision after a short time in India not to give to anyone who approached me on the street, even if I wanted to, to make myself feel better, I decided to keep most of my coins and give them to some children before I left to go home.

Having only a few hours left before i had to go to the airport, I decided to take the coins, go to Victoria terminus (Mumbai) give the coins to some kids, get some copies of 'trains at a glance' for friends in London, and have an hour 'people watching' in the train station. (Now I am typing this, I can see everything that could go wrong, but it seemed like a good idea at the time)

I approached the main road in front of the station and waited for a small gap in the traffic to cross this hellish road.

Two scruffy thin kids about 6 or 7 years old approached me with there hand out, so I thought, they look genuine so I give them maybe Rs50 each, then suddenly, there were about eight kids of the same age, OK, no problem, I have got 2 pockets full of coins, so I start giving them all about Rs20 - 30 each, then suddenly there must have been about 20 of them (including the ones I had already given money too).

They were all pulling me and shouting to give them money, I didn’t know what to do, so decided to run away from them, seeing a slight gap in the traffic, I decided this is my chance to get to the train station, I can make that gap, they couldn't.

All the screeching cars alerted me to the fact that they didn't care if they could make the gap or not, they just followed me, I had to stop in the middle of the road and run back to prevent these kids getting run over, now I felt really trapped.

The only way I could get away was to take out a big handful of coins and throw them behind the kids, then jump into a taxi and get the hell out of there.

No people watching or 'trains at a glance' just back to hotel wondering how I could have been stupid enough to think that was a good idea.
Last edited by steven_ber; Oct 5th, 2003 at 21:04..
#11 Feb 21st, 2003, 11:22
Join Date:
Feb 2003
Location:
Vizag AP / London
Posts:
10
  • praveen_rao82 is offline
#11
The whole pen fetish isn't just amongst the 'kids', all my mates at uni keep asking for pens from the UK too! oddly enough, here in andhra I've never been asked for a pen, but that's probably because I look loke a local!
#12 Feb 25th, 2003, 05:45
Join Date:
Aug 2001
Location:
New Joisey for now
Posts:
1,754
  • indiamike is offline
#12
On my next visit I will bring a box of those strip tease pens, the kind that you turn upside down and a naked girl appears.

Should be lots of fun with those.

Now if I could only find a place that would put my website name on those kind of pens I would really have a good product to market.

http://www.bizarrefun.com/FAH2907.jpg
#13 Feb 25th, 2003, 09:34
Join Date:
Oct 2001
Location:
brisbane
Posts:
11
  • mike_r is offline
#13
Reminds of a funny incident from Chitwan national park. We the tourists were ensconced in our seats high atop elephants coming back from a rhino spotting safari. We were a captive audience for local kids who at one point trailled alongside us holding up one hand & scribbling into it with the other clamouring for "one pen, one pen..." ad infinitum. One of the group actually did throw them their pen which only encouraged them. Finally one of the elephant mahouts in exasperation turned his elephant around & got the beast to charge them, trumpeting with raised trunk & ears flapping, the 4 tourists madly gripping on, the kids terrified running for their lives...
#14 Mar 4th, 2003, 17:01
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
UK
Posts:
16,662
  • steven_ber is offline
#14
You can't get more divided than that.

48 votes, 24 yes or depending on.....

and 24 no or not heard of.
Last edited by steven_ber; Oct 5th, 2003 at 21:05..
#15 Mar 5th, 2003, 16:54
Join Date:
Mar 2003
Posts:
2
  • giles is offline
#15
I personally have very little time or love for those travellers who carry around sweets or trinkets which they then hand out indiscriminately to children. The motivation for this sort of thing I feel is entirely selfish, in that it makes the giver feel good about him or herself, not to mention, there is something nauseatingly paternalistic about dewy-eyed tourist adopting a beatific smile at the sight of 'adorable' children scrambling in the dirt for small change. My last concern (admittedly a selfish one) is whether we really want to encourage children to beg from the next traveller who passes through.

There are towns and villages all over the world where even right now children will ask travellers for money or sweets (bon-bon is a favourite) or a pen (another favourite implying education - the child is just more sussed than one asking for a rupee or a dollar) perhaps a hundred times and hour. Then there are other places where children are genuinely friendly and never ask you for things and all it will take is only one naive tourist and a big bag of sweets to transform the latter into the former.


More... See http://travelindependent.info/
Reply

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
give the newbies a chance Mar 11th, 2005 17:24 0 2095 Sports in India


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2018
Page Load Success