Want to travel the world? No money? No problem, just beg
Friday, 14 April 2017

THEY’VE been dubbed “beg-packers” — shameless Western backpackers begging for travel money in the streets of South-East Asia.

And they’re sparking outrage everywhere.

Pictures have emerged online of young, penniless travellers sitting on the sides of roads in places such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore, with signs asking locals to help finance their travels.

Some have been seen selling small items, such as postcards, for fast cash, while others have busked using electric instruments and impressive amplifiers.

In one photo, shared on Twitter, a couple can be seen using an expensive DSLR camera to prop up a sign reading: “Support our trip”.

It’s a bizarre trend among some backpackers, considering in some poorer locations globetrotting trips may be considered a luxury.

And locals have reacted angrily to the rise of the beg-packer. In Singapore, for instance, visitors are only allowed to busk if they have a work visa.

Singapore woman Maisarah Abu Samah captured images of some of the begging backpackers and shared them on Twitter.

Alongside one photo, of a young man and woman selling their holiday snaps as postcards, she wrote: “WHAT THE HECK???”.

“It was the first time I’ve seen something like that and it stopped me in my tracks,” she told France 24 Observers.

“First of all, you don’t see many people selling knick-knacks or playing music in the street in Singapore because there are strict rules governing these activities.

“And, if you do happen to see street vendors or street performers, they are usually in the town centre and not near a bus stop in a relatively middle class neighbourhood like this.

“I’ve also never seen white people doing that.”

Maisarah said she found the trend “strange”, not least because people who do beg in the streets generally do so for survival.

“Selling things in the street or begging isn’t considered respectable,” she said.

“People who do so are really in need: they beg in order to buy food, pay their children’s school fees or pay off debts.

“But not in order to do something seen as a luxury.”

Another witness, known as Solo Traveller on Twitter, also captured images of the western beggars.


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