Begging is a rare phenomenon in Cambodia compared to India or Bangladesh for instance, especially when considering older people, but it exists. It is anyway good to make the definition that begging is a form of working and giving meaning to life.
So far we found that two main systems take care of elderly people. First the family and second the pagoda and we see a lot of older people still take part in economic activities, like selling on the market or on the street or riding rickshaws and even doing labor in construction. The law says that the younger should care for the older.
It is more deep-rooted than only a law. The unity of thinking is the family. Everything is done in name of the family and everybody is a distinctive part of the family and contributes in his own way. The contribution may differ based on age.
Scholars even talk about household strategy, in which some migrate to the city to earn money, other work on the land, and other take care of the children. All to contribute to the family as a whole. The last is done mostly by the older people we understand so far.
Why a woman like this old woman in the video is alone, we don’t know and we will interview some of the lonely people to understand. Due to a 2004 research 3.5% of the elderly people (65 and up) is without children, still not meaning that they don’t have family. It is one of the many riddles we want to solve. If and why this lady is on the street alone and begging we don’t know yet.