Friday, March 1, 2013

How I unintentionally offended a beggar today... True story.

Today was a real eye-opener for me. Most of the day was enjoyable - I woke up, headed to the beach for a run, had a light breakfast, did some work, went for a delicious lunch, ran some errands and then... I inadvertently and unintentionally offended a beggar somewhere along Duplication Road in Colombo. It shocked the hell out of me actually.

I was in my car and had stopped at the traffic lights when this unusually tall, middle-aged and thin-looking Sri Lankan lady meandered around the cars with an outstretched hand begging for money. By the way, this is not an unusual occurrence around traffic lights in Colombo (more on this later). Anyway, I felt like being proactive so I wound down my window to offer her some money. Now usually I wait until a beggar actually comes to my car window before taking any action, so wanting to proactively engage was surprising. I guess I felt a little sad because she looked quite skinny and undernourished, and I was in a generous mood. She was still in the other lane so, although I had my hand holding money out the window, she didn't see it.

To try to catch her attention, at first I called out "Hey!", but got no response. Then, because the traffic light looked like it was about to change, I yelled "Oy!" She heard me, but she looked like I had slapped her or something. She waved her hand carelessly at me, as if to dismiss my offering and carried on to beg at the other cars. It caught me by surprise and for the life of me I couldn't understand what had offended her...

** Please note, the full blog post has been removed as parts of the blog content will be edited for inclusion in an upcoming publication by the author. More information will be made available on the Adventures in a Tuk-Tuk Blog in due course **


Anonymous said...

Oy is mainly used as heckling word in tamil language.

Eva Stone said...

I guess my experience kind of revealed something of the sort. Good to know! These days, I'm more conscious of NOT using "Oy".

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