The Scene Stealer

Tourist and beggar, Siem Reap, Cambodia (April 2012)  © Jojie Alcantara

“Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life. And a good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed: compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

I wasn’t prepared for this shot. We were about to board a bus when I saw this old woman with distinct white hair sitting on the road. Crumpled in a pose, half praying, half-begging with face upturned, she was gazing forlornly at the passenger who went up the bus with camera in his hand.

I didn’t have time to frame or compose my shot as I was hurrying to get inside the bus, too. I placed the cam on my hip, pressed the shutter, and hoped I have captured the poignant look on her face.

Minutes later inside the bus en route to Siem Reap, Cambodia, I was still thinking of her.

signature Jojie Alcantara

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11 Replies to “The Tourist and the Beggar”

  1. I have taken a few pictures like this and I always felt empty afterwards. I have taken a few pictures and given a few coins to some, but now what? I think it’s the feeling of helplessness to alleviate such suffering that get me so discouraged.

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