Without it being some kind of political statement, I simply do not own a car. I also do not ride a bicycle. Therefore I spend a lot of time simply walking around the city. However what is applicable here in Unicorn City is equally valid for just about any other city in this country in that there is a mathematical formula in effect. The more you walk around = the more beggars you will meet.
What’s always been hilarious to me is it that it is abundantly obvious that I spend more time walking around the streets than either the police, who are rarely on foot, and the politicians who live by descending from automobiles, doing something and then driving off. Therefore the begging industry flourishes quite well as any pedestrian can easily attest.
Since I speak Romanian, I know what these people are saying as I pass by and it’s quite often about this “Dumnezeu” guy. Now etymologically this is interesting because it’s a Latin word mixed with a Greek word, meaning “Lord God” aka the monotheistic chief god in Christianity, et al. But the way these gypsies talk about him makes him sound like some bloke named Dumnezeu who sells used cars.
Emil Boc, here’s what you’re missing:
Passerby: *furrowed brow*
Filthy Beggar: Oh please give me something and Mr. Dumnezeu will bless you.
Really? The logic in this always perplexes me. If you’ve got an inside connection to Mr. Dumnezeu then why isn’t he blessing you? That makes zero sense.
Secondly, if you’re Mr. Dumnezeu’s inside man (or woman), then what does that say about Mr. Dumnezeu? That he’s tight with people in abundantly evident filthy and raggedy circumstances but not me? What makes you think I want to give money (or a slice of bread or whatever else) to a guy who’s best buds are bums?
What high-minded academics also forget is that there is a second implication that you only realize when you actually do give money to beggars. Since you traded money (in effect) for Mr. Dumnezeu’s blessing, it’s not up to the beggar to remunerate you. In other words, barely a word of thanks and then later you see them thumbing through a few bank notes.
The beggar was just the gatekeeper to Mr. Dumnezeu only he’s nowhere to be found when you want a little positive feedback. Why else then did you hand over your money? It’s like you bought a ticket to a little show of gratitude and instead you find yourself with nothing.
I also personally strongly dislike the specified request for “o felie de piine” (note: this is Moldova Week hee hee) or a single slice of bread. Firstly, I can think of about a dozen choices that would be more nutritional to beg for, including bananas. Secondly, people are rarely walking down the street with a loaf of bread, eager to stop and pass over a slice. Therefore, of course, the implication is “give me some money.”
You can see why the politicians never stroll around town. If ordinary people weren’t feeding the beggars, the beggars would come pounding on the primaria‘s door.
Personal note: as is extremely well-known, once I committed myself to living here, I learned a heck of a lot of the Romanian language by talking to beggars including, yes, child beggars.