Alternate Realities and Alternate Poverties

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By Felicia Hanitio

As a child, whenever I was approached by beggars on the streets of Shanghai, I recall pausing and reaching for my coin purse before my parents would pull me along and gently reprimand me: didn’t I know my money would just encourage their slothfulness, that if these people really tried they could find a real job? Their words did not sit well with me, not then or later as I repeatedly encountered homeless people in every city we visited or lived in. But then again, who was I to disobey my parents’ wishes, when I wasn’t even sure what difference my contribution would make?

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