Most of American beggars are White or Black, rarely Hispanics. The reason there aren’t any Hispanics is because the public has no sympathy for them. When most Americans see a brown-skin person, they automatically assume he is an illegal immigrant from Mexico (And if the brownie is at the airport, he is either a terrorist or food service worker). Most of Chinese beggars are from the poor villages, begging in the cities is they last resort for survival.
American beggars always ask for money but never willing to work for it, and eventually they will spend their money on booze or drugs (or upgrade to a larger shopping cart from Costco). Often, American beggars sound like telemarketers reading from a script. Hispanics do not beg; they would wait at labor market early in the morning for day-labor work. (I know this for fact, because I live in Arizona.) Aside from financial assistance, Chinese beggars would ask for fair treatment, fight for corruption, and etc (except “Whirled Peas”).
American beggars would automatically hold out cardboard signs with keywords like “hungry/work for food”, “veteran” and “God bless”. The “God bless” part has always annoyed me. If God was really looking out for you, then you would not be ending up on the streets, would you now? Perhaps the “God bless” is like the lucky-rabbit-foot, but I am doing pretty well before I saw your sign, therefore I will ignore it. Some beggars try to be funny with their signs like this guy:
Chinese beggars are very creative and sometimes impressive. Recently I have scored this photo set from Jon Rahoi, an American living in China.
Notice the poor fellow sitting under the payphone (top center). He has written down his hardship on the sidewalk in chalk. Every single character is written neatly as if it was printed. That takes some serious effort and dedication.
Jon writes: “The handwriting is what attracts people to read these long pleas for help. They can draw crowds. The beggars get a box of regular colored schoolchildren's chalk, and very firmly, very surely start writing. They don't waver or erase. They take their time, and it comes out looking like a font. Fascinating.
There are a lot of these people (impressive chalk writers) around, though they may have moved on now that New Year's is done. I'm here for 5 more days or so - I'll keep my eyes open for more, if you'd like.”
If I ever meet one of these Chalk-writing beggars in China, I would definitely hand over a
Related: Flickr - Beggars in China