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  #61  
Old 11.08.2011, 22:16
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Re: Begging on the train?

Did anyone else see the respectable looking, grey haired, middle-aged woman, who was asking for money outside the Basel SBB over this last weekend? She had a healthy complexion and was tidily dressed. She didn't fit my picture of a down and out drug addict, not that of a professional con person. I was curious, so asked where she was fro and why she was begging, instead of registering for unemployent benefits, job search etc. From her reply I learnt that she is Swiss, she speaks fluent English and German. She said she has a "brain handicap" that keeps her from being employed and that she hates having to fill out all the forms and answer all the personal needed before getting any financial help. She said that she prefers to keep to herself and to ask people for money, knowing that they have the right to refuse if they want to. I didn't ask for specific information as to what she meant by "brain handicap" but wondered if she suffered from bipolar moods, or one of several other conditions that made it difficult for her to remain 100% engaged in society all the time. It appeared that she was writing something down (the amount?) each time she was given money.

I felt sorry for her.
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  #62  
Old 11.08.2011, 22:20
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Re: Begging on the train?

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She said that she prefers to keep to herself and to ask people for money, knowing that they have the right to refuse if they want to.
She has a very good point there: we can choose to refuse money to beggars - who are actually out there and doing something for the money - but we can't refuse to pay taxes to support those who would prefer to sit around smoking spliffs all day.

Perhaps begging really is the answer to the problems of the welfare state?

Last edited by Dougal's Breakfast; 11.08.2011 at 22:33. Reason: added link to new thread on the subject
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  #63  
Old 11.08.2011, 22:41
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Re: Begging on the train?

I'd like to clarify that I never speculated on this woman's ethnicity, citizenship, religion or whatever. The fact is she could earn money like the rest of us and I didn't like the way she acted like I would give her money if she just stood there long enough.

I feel sorry for Romanians that a lot of (narrow minded imo) people will think of gypsy beggars selling roses once they know your nationality, because I know the majority of the citizens are extremely hard working and diligent.
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  #64  
Old 11.08.2011, 22:43
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Re: Begging on the train?

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the majority of the citizens are extremely hard working and diligent.
The majority of citizens of nowhere are extremely hard working and diligent, if they can get away with it.
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Old 11.08.2011, 22:45
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Re: Begging on the train?

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Did anyone else see the respectable looking, grey haired, middle-aged woman, who was asking for money outside the Basel SBB over this last weekend? She had a healthy complexion and was tidily dressed. She didn't fit my picture of a down and out drug addict, not that of a professional con person.
If she was a professional con artist, you wouldn't have known anyway .
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  #66  
Old 11.08.2011, 22:53
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Re: Begging on the train?

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How do you know they are 'Romanian Gypsies'. Have you spoken to them? Or maybe they walk around with a label on.

I don' think it's very nice to make this kind of blanket statement.
Actually, there recently was a 'Temps présent' (documentary from the TSR) devoted to them, specifically the beggars in Lausanne and Geneva. They are indeed from Romania, traveling especially to beg in our country for a few months before going back home and coming again.

And yes, I spoke to a few of them: they readily tell you that they come from Romania and want money to buy food.
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Old 11.08.2011, 23:00
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Re: Begging on the train?

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But they didn't loot, did they?
So tell us more about other camps, I hold my breath..
I really miss your point there, as well as why you gave me a groan (my first )

They didn't loot, they begged, faking disabilities to provoke pity, which I find offending to people with real disabilities.

And they live in broken trailers with dreadful sanitary conditions, which I indeed find pretty appalling, especially for the children. I think CH could make an effort and offer them decent places to establish their campment (is that the correct word in English?). I don't understand what 'other camps' you're talking about, can you give me a clue?!

Last edited by Mélusine; 11.08.2011 at 23:03. Reason: Typo
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  #68  
Old 11.08.2011, 23:07
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Re: Begging on the train?

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If she was a professional con artist, you wouldn't have known anyway .
Possibily correct. But her reaction to my initial rebuff, and the conversation we had later, (I went back out of curiousity a few minutes later) made me decide to believe her.

Over the years, I have certainly seen a lot of street beggers, have been aware of at least one attempt of someone trying to steal my wallet, have stopped two attempts of others' bags being interferred with and reported a couple of cases of shoplifting.

However, there have been other times, when I have been impressed by street folk - especially during winters in one eastern European country, where elderly women, wearing humble, darned clothes, would find a spot to sing in return for money - these women were ex opera professionals with beautiful voices, still proud, trying to make enough oney to stay alive despite the state no longer allocating money to support their past profession.

Yes, there are definitely cases when I am willing to support people who are begging.
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  #69  
Old 12.08.2011, 07:01
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Re: Begging on the train?

Ah, the old "educated beggar" scheme: a man (or woman) comes up to you. He is dressed tidily though the clothes might seem a bit worn out. He speaks to you in perfect language X and is extremely polite, telling you something like: "Hello sir and a good day to you. I would just like to apologize for disturbing you and let me tell you straight away I am homeless/a beggar. I used to be <important profession> in <important place>. If you could find it in your heart to help me out with some money I would be very grateful. But regardless, I wish you a great day and all the best to you and your loved ones. Thank you for listening to me".

It's a great line and you are impressed by such an educated man (woman) who, through hardships of life, has come to be a homeless/a beggar. So you give them some money...

...at which point a fat gypsy somewhere goes "ka-ching!"

ps: tbh, I do like this kind of beggars best, as they are not aggressive, dirty, smelly, stupid. But, they are beggars nonetheless and, more often than not, part of a scheme.
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Old 12.08.2011, 07:48
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Re: Begging on the train?

If you come to Lausanne they are every where...
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  #71  
Old 12.08.2011, 07:50
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Re: Begging on the train?

jmf, your scenario does not fit the examples I have given. I was aware of the quality and style of singing because of what I could hear and because of what I was told by local colleagues of mine.

Would being part of a "scheme' make them any less in need of sustainance?

"gypsy" ? Are you referring to the Roma people. or are you using the word to mean any person who is begging? I am unclear on this.

Last edited by biff; 12.08.2011 at 21:19.
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:04
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Re: Begging on the train?

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I really miss your point there, as well as why you gave me a groan (my first )

They didn't loot, they begged, faking disabilities to provoke pity, which I find offending to people with real disabilities.

And they live in broken trailers with dreadful sanitary conditions, which I indeed find pretty appalling, especially for the children. I think CH could make an effort and offer them decent places to establish their campment (is that the correct word in English?). I don't understand what 'other camps' you're talking about, can you give me a clue?!
Yes, the Swiss government did build well outfitted campgrounds for them. unfortunately, the Jeniches (Swiss Gypsies) pretty much immediately got attacked and sent off by Romas coming in from other countries, who completely destroyed the campgrounds, going as far as to cover the walls of the restrooms in excrement, dumping sand in the toilets, and removing everything that could be removed.
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  #73  
Old 12.08.2011, 09:10
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Re: Begging on the train?

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Many of the beggars on Basel's streets come from France.

There is an old lady that plays the accordion next to des arts/co op pronto, she actually lives in quite a nice house in St.Louis and changes into the older clothes when she goes to basel, around Sr.Louis she is dressed very well!!
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:33
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Re: Begging on the train?

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I really miss your point there, as well as why you gave me a groan (my first )

They didn't loot, they begged, faking disabilities to provoke pity, which I find offending to people with real disabilities.

And they live in broken trailers with dreadful sanitary conditions, which I indeed find pretty appalling, especially for the children. I think CH could make an effort and offer them decent places to establish their campment (is that the correct word in English?). I don't understand what 'other camps' you're talking about, can you give me a clue?!
I hope you've noticed I removed the groan, as I actually said I would in pm. Re. other camps, I know for sure that other countries too, not only Switzerland, have built some sorts of camps for the gypsies coming from countries like Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary etc. They are a historical minority in all these countries, we call them gypsy- they call themselves Rroma.
Have you watched some documentaries made in those camps? You could have heard all sorts of languages there. But, not all Rroma beg, and not all beggars are Rroma, AND not all of them come from Romania. Complicated as it sounds, we Romanians have to tell these things over and over again, till we (hopefully) spread some prejudices attached to our nationality. Roma is not Romanian, that's it. Yes, many of them have Romanian passports, as we are a nation of 22 millions whithin borders, you can imagine we have more than countries with half of a population.
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  #75  
Old 12.08.2011, 09:46
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Re: Begging on the train?

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If you come to Lausanne they are every where...
why is lausanne so popular with beggars?
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  #76  
Old 12.08.2011, 10:02
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Re: Begging on the train?

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why is lausanne so popular with beggars?
There's a chap in Lausanne who plays the accordian really beautifully.
It's a pleasure to hear him and I always give him money, which he acknowledges with a lovely twinkly-eyed smile.
He's clean and tidy and doesn't pester anyone, but just puts down the accordian-case at his feet.
I think he makes Lausanne a happier place with his music, unlike many of the others who just sit on corners and whine at you for money.
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Old 12.08.2011, 11:16
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Re: Begging on the train?

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why is lausanne so popular with beggars?
Because old idiots are giving them 50 chf for 5seconds begging show.

Why would they bother going somewhere else?
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Old 12.08.2011, 11:18
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Re: Begging on the train?

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Actually, there recently was a 'Temps présent' (documentary from the TSR) devoted to them, specifically the beggars in Lausanne and Geneva. They are indeed from Romania, traveling especially to beg in our country for a few months before going back home and coming again.

And yes, I spoke to a few of them: they readily tell you that they come from Romania and want money to buy food.
That's curious the same Romanian people who were asked by a journalist, said it was to send money back home so their family can have a better comfort.
(actually the article was with the picture of the regular beggar I see regularly, part of that "gang").

I guess who can trust liars who pretend to be disabled... apparently it's obvious for a minority of people, only.
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Old 12.08.2011, 11:21
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Re: Begging on the train?

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As far as Lausanne is concerned (the town I know best), begging was very marginal before the gypsies arrived.

They sort of 'professionalised' the begging, with their aggressive methods and widespread presence. They virtually are the only begging population in town, you can't find a place downtown where they aren't.
That's true: they extended their zone to all local churches; markets, etc...
Basically you can't go to those social events without facing liars.
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Old 12.08.2011, 13:30
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Re: Begging on the train?

I always feel momentarily guilty, then remember I work hard for my money and donate to regular charities so it passes, there is an irritating girl who begs outside Morges station in the morning, then gets drunk outside it all afternoon
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