Every Saturday morning if you go out onto the streets of HK, you’ll be confronted by adults, teenagers, and children alike fundraising for a charity.
To avoid constant hassle, the government has a system where registered charities can apply for permits to fundraise on a specific Saturday so that you get different charities out every week. (I think they now do it on Wednesdays sometimes too). After giving a donation, they would stick a little sticker onto your top to signify that you’ve already donated so others of their group will not approach you anymore that day.
Many a times, the fundraising is a school extracurricular activity where teenagers would stand expectantly in uniform. Or, if the kids are too small, a parent would either do the actual fundraising with the child shyly in tow or the they would supervise nearby, gently prodding the kids forward encouraging them to speak up.
Walking down the street this morning, a mother with a little kid in tow held up her standard issue collection bag and asked for a donation. I usually ask people about the charity they’re fundraising for as it’s nice to know what I’m contributing to. You can usually tell by the name on the bag but I think it’s nice to talk anyways. People never fail to give a brief one-liner description and that’s more than enough as I slot in some money and go on my merry way.
So I asked this woman what today’s charity was for. She held her bag up higher and read out the charity’s name. It has one of those names that do not indicate at all what its purpose was. So I said again, what does it do? She looked at me blankly, then pointed to the badge on the child’s school uniform and read out the name of the school. It was some Christian school by the sound of it, but still that doesn’t tell me anything. I can only assume that the charity and the school are funded by the same organisation?
But what does it do? The woman just looked at me. This is a young mother. Petite and not bad-looking. She didn’t seem like the illiterate or uneducated type. But she couldn’t tell me why I should give her some money. I mean, I take that back. Surely even if you’ve had little education, as is common in the older generation of Chinese, you would know what your charity does? This is the first time ever that someone fundraising isn’t able to answer the very simple question.
To be honest, my thoughts were, “What a fucking idiot.” I considered walking away, but then I felt bad, like seriously are you going to be so judgemental about this one woman that you couldn’t part with a few coins at least? Get off your high horse! Her child was looking up at me, so I gave her a dollar and left.
The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. How could you try to get people to part with some money and not even be able to tell what they are donating for? What is that child learning from her? What is she teaching her child? They really were just doing the child’s homework without even thinking about it. To satisfy a quota, for brownie points on community service….I get that. I’ve done that too. But hey, at least know what you’re collecting money for right?
Seriously, the state of parenting in Hong Kong sometimes makes me want to have babies so I can out-reproduce all these idiots. Given my many grievances, I’ll need to breed faster than rabbits.