Better than begging for money

This is a photo I took in Bangkok, Thailand, where I was an English teacher in 1969. Click on the photo to enlarge.

If you paid the woman 1 baht (5 cents US), you could step on the scale to see your weight. I don’t know how much money she made that day, but it must have been lucrative or why would she be doing this for a living? Further up the street, her children were manning more scales.

No, I did not step on a scale. But, maybe, I should have.

It’s certainly better than begging for money. And there were a lot of beggars in Thailand when I was there.

17 Responses to “Better than begging for money”

  1. DavidH Says:

    In third world countries there are a number of people who have to do what they can to make money and survive. When we were in India I remember snake charmers who expected money to take a picture of their snake being charmed. We have never experienced such a hard life and we are so fortunate to be reasonably well off.

  2. Valerie-Jael Says:

    I like to see people keeping their self-respect by offering a service instead of begging. We are lucky we don’t need to do things like this to survive. Valerie

  3. AC Says:

    What an odd thing to see, but whatever works.

  4. tomthebackroadstraveller Says:

    …perhaps this was her only option.

  5. Andrew Says:

    Maybe just drop a dollar note in her bowl. It is hard to know what to do. I think there is less poverty in Thailand now.

  6. Olga Says:

    That is interesting on so many levels. Now, at the lowest level, in 1969, I wouldn’t have had the slightest concern about my weight but these days I would pay not to step on the scale.
    I have to wonder where all those scales came from. I’m pretty sure that someone not sitting on the street must have been renting them out.
    I am afraid we might see more of the ill-effects of poverty before the mess we are in right now clears up.

  7. Doug M Says:

    What an interesting tidbit from history… it’s one thing to see the young woman with scales, but strange to see the ones further on. I wish I could’ve been there to give my nickel. Thanks for sharing this Gigi.

  8. wisewebwoman Says:

    Poverty is a dreadful thing in this world of abundance criminally distributed. And sometimes begging is the only option if one is starving and needing to feed kids as well. I always ask them what is needed and the answers can be so simple. Plus the connection with another human who cares can’t be overestimated.


  9. Nancy Chan Says:

    Begging is common here too. Some instead of begging, will go around selling tissue paper or singing for a living.

  10. DJan Says:

    You do what you must when you’re so poor. I wonder where that woman is today, if she is still with us.

  11. Tom at Sightings Says:

    Never heard of this; seems very enterprising.

  12. Arkansas Patti Says:

    I think considering the options, this was quite clever but was surprised they were all in a row.

  13. Elephant's Child Says:

    I hope that her efforts fed and housed her family.
    So many people know poverty beyond my experience or comprehension.
    I am lucky (but also feel some guilt).

  14. honoluluaunty91 Says:

    What an enterprising woman. It is better than begging because it is a business – getting something for something.

  15. Christine Says:

    Interesting photo.

  16. DeniseinVA Says:

    Thank you for sharing this photo. I admire her enterprise and I am glad she was able to afford the scale. I would like to visit Thailand because it is such a wonderful country from all that I have seen and heard.

  17. Iris Empereur Says:

    Oh, boy. I don´t even want to know my weight! ;:)
    But yes. Better than the guy around the corner here.
    He just sits there with his cup for money – if you´re lucky! He buys beer from that and when he needs to go pee he opens his pants on the way to the fence and… you know.
    Times have changed…

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