It’s the Season for Begging: as Promoted by Radio

Christmas is the season for begging; at least it appears to be so in Sri Lanka if what one hears on radio stations is to be believed. It has already started with one radio station putting outs advertisements of children asking for this or that this Christmas.

“I am (name of child) I am three years old. I want a Teddy Bear,” is one plaintive call by a child. They can barely speak. It seems as though some are reading off a paper as there are many stops as if the children are unfamiliar with the language and are therefore reading it off a paper, probably for the first time. None of the begging by the children appears natural or spontaneous. Clearly, the radio station has done much to coach the children to beg.

Why the authorities don’t step in to stop this violation of children’s rights is most surprising. And it is a violation of a child’s rights in its most disgusting aspect. Begging has been banned on the streets. A recent law was enacted to prevent begging. But it seems that begging on the airwaves has been overlooked.

If I recall, this trend of asking children to beg for gifts started several years ago with radio stations getting children from Children’s Homes to beg for gifts at Christmas. Children were put on air. Listeners heard about this or that plight faced by kids of various ages; how they didn’t have school books, clothes, shoes, toys, books etc. The list went on and then the kids began asking listeners for the items they didn’t have. “I want, I want, I want,” went the cry by many children from November through December.

It has started again with one of the radio stations. At least I know it’s started with one because I’ve been hearing it for the past few days now. There are probably more children begging on behalf of their respective Children’s Homes on other radio stations as well.

What I can’t understand is why are children used to beg? Why can’t the radio stations that want to collect gifts to give children at Christmas, just ask the listeners to provide the gifts without dragging the children in? Isn’t it an insult to the children to force them to beg? These children, most of them orphans, need love and care from us all. They need to be treated as individuals with rights to live in dignity. What dignity is there in begging? Be it a teddy bear or a pair of shoes, who should these children beg for them? If the spirit of Christmas is in giving to others then shouldn’t people just give without forcing children, some of whom are too young to know the difference between right and wrong, to beg for things? What kinds of ideas are passed on to these children as a result?

Will they grow up thinking that it is alright to beg from others since that’s what they’ve been taught as young children by radio stations? Will they grow up to be a burden to society? Would the legislation passed to prevent begging be of no use after all? Importantly are the radio stations that promote begging willing to take responsibility for the children when they grow up and continue to beg?

Quitting NaNoWriMo

It’s official.

I’m done with NaNoWriMo.

I finally decided to quit after sticking to a daily word count of 2,000 words. I don’t want to continue and haven’t uploaded my work onto the NaNoWriMo site. I don’t want to either.

It’s not that I didn’t like it. Getting past the word count was easy. The words just poured onto the screen. I type my stories onto the computer and don’t write them down the hard way- with pen and paper. The words moved fast but the story seemed to suffer as a result. I prefer to get the story right to adding on words to something I would have to go and edit for ages. So after two weeks of writing I decided to quit.

Doesn’t seem to bad either. And honestly I don’t know if I’ll use the story either. It seems like so much trash. Not worth cleaning up. I think the next time I’ll be better prepared. After all this was my very first attempt at Nanoing, or whatever they call it. The next time I’ll write the way I want, using the month to write my own words the way I want to rather than sticking to something new – creating a whole lot of words just for the sake of it. Maybe I’ll use the time to complete one of my novels that’s waiting to be completed. Now that’s an idea. Or maybe I’ll write poetry. One poem a day or one short story a day. That might be easier. At least I’ll have something of content rather than a whole lot of useless words.