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'gap Yah' Backpackers Begging For Money Should Be Ashamed Of Themselves


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Take a walk down Khao San Road in Bangkok and you’ll see people lining the streets asking for money. Only they’re not homeless locals struggling to feed their families; they’re gap yah backpackers who spent their week’s budget on too many drinks in the hostel bar #fail #YOLO.


There has been a recent rise in ‘begpackers’ - that’s backpackers who are begging - across some of the poorest countries in the world. Their attempts to fund their trips via begging, busking and occasionally selling their holiday photos have been snapped and shared on social media by more socially aware travellers - and disgusted locals.


Most of the begpackers have been spotted in South East Asia, along the well-trodden traveller’s trail of Thailand-Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam and across into Malaysia. One woman from Singapore, Maisarah Abu Samah, was shocked to see two white couples selling postcards and playing music for money.


“We find it extremely strange to ask other people for money to help you travel,†she told The Observers at France 24.“ 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.â€


Travelling across the world - even if it’s in cheap hostels on a budget of £5 a day - is not a God-given right; it’s a luxury that millions will never have. Backpackers might be able to justify their behaviour to themselves, saying that they’re not forcing anyone to give to them/they really can’t afford their next flight/they’re busking not begging, but deep down they surely know what they’re doing is wrong.


You cannot spend time in some of the world’s most deprived areas and fail to see that there is a difference in having your smartphone stolen and not being able to eat. Even if you’re travelling purely so you can use the #wanderlust hashtag and go to a Full Moon party, it’s impossible to ignore the reality of poverty.


Backpackers cannot - and should not - ever feel entitled to people’s spare change when they’re busking next to someone who has not eaten a proper meal in days.


People who fail to recognise this are the epitome of privilege. They think that selling postcards for a few pounds is ‘hilarious’ and a great travelling story, when they’re potentially taking away customers from a local who needs those pounds more than they can ever imagine.


A friend, currently travelling in South East Asia, tells me: “People choose to fritter away money on drinking and expensive meals and activities, then wonder why they’ve run out. Gap year travellers can spend a local’s monthly wage in a day. They have no right to complain and beg. It’s disgusting and out of touch. If they’re really out of money, I’m sure they can sell their iPads.â€


There are numerous alternatives for backpackers who run out of cash, from working in hostels, or taking part in programmes where they can work in exchange for free accommodation. There is really no need for them to sit in their Birkenstocks and yoga pants with cardboard placards reading: “I am travelling around Asia without money. Please support my trip†- an actual sign one man has been photographed with.


In recent years, there has also been a rise in people crowdfunding their travels. It’s no longer shocking for a couple to ask for donations to their 5* honeymoon instead of wedding presents, or for people to take to Kickstarter asking for others to help them fund a volunteering scheme abroad.


It’s the modern day equivalent of people pleading with your friends to sign your sponsorship form at school - and it’s getting out of hand.


Backpackers are so convinced they’re ‘giving back’ or ‘living a worthy cultural experience’ they lose sight of what they’re really doing: asking people to give their holiday a cash injection.


It’s bad enough when tourists go on ‘slum tours’ in underdeveloped countries and take photos of beggars, but when they join them so they can pay for white-water rafting, they’re taking their entitlement one step too far.





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Another example of "Generation Snowflake" expect everything handed to them on a plate, all me, me me.




I was only 24 when first landed in SE Asia and 26 when I first came to Thailand, but I have always paid my own way, circa 2001 I was getting close to just having enough money to buy a ticket home when I took a Shite Job in Saudi for half the usual rate, rented a small studio at Sattuphradit ... more as a lock up ... and did the shite for 12 months to get back on my feet so to speak.


It wasn't fun, but who said life was easy.


When I see the "Begpackers" I feel nothing, I don't even waste my time for feeling despise towards them, just totally under the radar and don't exist IMHO.


I suppose in some respects that I am a professional back packer, after all isn't that what contracting work really is, choose a place to call home (Thailand in my instance) then go here, there and everywhere like a Squirrel gathering nuts for winter

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A few months back, I came across a tv series on traveling around the world without money -- using only your wits (it was on Netflix, I believe). I could not get past the first 15 minutes of watching it... but there may be a movement going on -- it's been glamorized, so to speak.

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Could be worse. 'Give me the money or I'll take my shoes off in the bus!'.. :neener:


But seriously, begpacking starts at home..


Back in 1980, I took a trip to Perth (Australia) and spent a month there (took me two years to save up for that). I was surprised to find a lot of the locals were on the 'dole'.. Enough to survive on, so most didn't bother working. Also found that many of them crowded together in a low rental place, and when they had enough, flew off to Bali for a couple of months till the money ran out.. To repeat the cycle.. :shakehead

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I have told several in BKK to get up and stop embarrassing themselves

I remember a few years ago that fat guy that used to raise money to buy a ticket home and just kept on partying. Had some condition which made him look like the Michelin Man

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