Shameless Rise Of ‘Beg-Packers’: Western Backpackers Beg For Money To Fund Their Travelling As They Journey Through Some Of The World’s Poorest Regions

It is one thing to see poor people begging on the streets for money to buy food, but it becomes quite another thing when the people begging are tourists who are asking for money to continue their travels.

This was made very clear in a collection of pictures showing people of all ages and cultures begging for money. The common thread was not that they were asking for money for food, but because they wanted to continue their travels.

It seems that poor people in southeast Asia are being joined by europeans asking for money. In countries where travel is considered to be a luxury, this is causing outrage among locals. In fact, in some countries it is against the law to beg or busk without a work visa.

Western backpackers are increasingly taking to begging on the streets of southeast Asia
Western backpackers are increasingly taking to begging on the streets of southeast Asia
Maisarah Abu Samah, from Singapore, questioned why people who could afford expensive equipment such as amplifiers (pictured) would need to take handouts
Maisarah Abu Samah, from Singapore, questioned why people who could afford expensive equipment such as amplifiers (pictured) would need to take handouts
Westerns begging for travel money has become a common sight across Asia, including in Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand (pictured, people beg on the streets of Bangkok)
Westerns begging for travel money has become a common sight across Asia, including in Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand (pictured, people beg on the streets of Bangkok)

Maisarah Abu Samah, from Singapore posted pictures of tourists trying to sell postcards and play music for money. In Singapore there are very strict rules against doing things like this. The question which Maisarah asked was why these people needed money as often they had expensive travel equipment with them while they sat begging.

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

“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.”

“We find it extremely strange to ask other people for money to help you travel. Selling things in the street or begging isn’t considered respectable.”

“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.”

While some people play instruments for cash, another common tactic is to sell postcards with travel photos printed on them
While some people play instruments for cash, another common tactic is to sell postcards with travel photos printed on them
Ms Samah questioned why tourists sitting at the side of the road, often with expensive travel equipment, needed to be begging for money
Ms Samah questioned why tourists sitting at the side of the road, often with expensive travel equipment, needed to be begging for money
Referring to the man pictured as farang, meaning 'foreigner' or more specifically 'European', this image from Bangkok was posted online with the caption: 'Lost his money on girls, bar, or what?'
Referring to the man pictured as farang, meaning ‘foreigner’ or more specifically ‘European’, this image from Bangkok was posted online with the caption: ‘Lost his money on girls, bar, or what?’

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 neighbourbood like this. I’ve also never seen white people doing that.

In Singapore only people who are really desperate for money are seen to beg. They may have debts to pay off or need to put food on the table for children, but begging is not looked on favourably there.

Locals are therefore outraged because for these people to beg is considered an outrage, and gives the impression of perceived unfairness between locals and tourists. Maisarah questioned whether the people would actually do this in their own countries. If not, why did they think it was acceptable in other countries?

It is not just young people found cash-strapped in Asia either, as these middle-aged women hold up signs in Hong Kong reading: 'Please help, need money for the ticket home. Thank you'
It is not just young people found cash-strapped in Asia either, as these middle-aged women hold up signs in Hong Kong reading: ‘Please help, need money for the ticket home. Thank you’
A Malaysian woman attributed the begging to the fact that people are travelling in an 'exotic' place and feel able to behave in ways they wouldn't at home (pictured, a man begs in Bangkok)
A Malaysian woman attributed the begging to the fact that people are travelling in an ‘exotic’ place and feel able to behave in ways they wouldn’t at home (pictured, a man begs in Bangkok)
A Western traveller sitting with bags of fast food begs for money on a street corner in Bangkok as part of a 'beg-packer' trend
A Western traveller sitting with bags of fast food begs for money on a street corner in Bangkok as part of a ‘beg-packer’ trend

It seems that there are now even some websites which allow people to ‘beg for money’, while supposedly wanting to raise money for things such as travel.

A recent appeal for ‘David and Bash’ asked for money so they could backpack around southeast Asia, listing their need for airfares, accommodation and money to spend. To date they had only received $20.

Source: Daily Mail