Dear Family International,
Your young members were out ballooning in small towns in Laos today. Yes, I saw them. Surprised?
I watched as you gathered a bunch of poor, malnourished children around you by a store front, giving out ballons, with total disregard to the owner, who was furious that you had invaded his space. The balloons you twisted (amateurish at best) gave the children 2 minutes of fun at most. In your eagerness for another photo-op, gathering pictures which you will no doubt post on your web sites and portfolios to show your "good deeds" that "you were helping the poor," you filmed and snapped away with your fancy digital cameras (which cost several years salary for the average Laotian). You exuded power and wealth which was intimidating. You made the owner of the store yell at the children, because he didn't dare yell at you rich foreigners. But you were oblivious to this.
You unashamedly used this store-front setting for your artificial photo-op set up, manipulating the scene. What you did was not any different from unscrupulous journalists throwing coins into a garbage bin and then filming children scrounging for those coins and reporting them as "starving children eating out of bins" (as has been done before by some). Will you use these pictures of poor, dirty children gathering around you, to show you gave them something? What hypocrites!
You gave them nothing. Just ballons. You did not even feed them. Just 10 yards away were food stores with bananas, whole bunches going for $1.
After you left in your fancy white van, and the children were frightened away by the angry shopkeeper, some tourists saw them and did the right thing. They bought the poor starving children some food. They took it eagerly, and even shared it among themselves.
You poor SOBs don't have a clue about actually doing something REAL for people do you?
Jan 2008 PS: Yes, I know who you are. And I now have documented evidence you did this in this and other places. Filming you was like filming a "the making of Family PR brochures" documentary. Nice job!
(re-submitted by "Watcher" after small edits on typos and grammatical errors, and P/S note)