News & Blogs Japanese ‘Beg-Packers’ Spark Outrage in Thailand for Thinking They Can Travel Without Money

Matt Derrick

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#1
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A pair of Asian travelers were spotted in the Thailand province of Sa Kaeo on Thursday after being inspired by Western “beg-packers.”

Beg-packing is the practice of traveling Westerners in Southeast Asia without money, and then asking donations from strangers.


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Authorities in the rural part of Isaan encountered what could be the first reported case of Asian beg-packers in the country in the form of two Japanese tourists.


The two young men, found at a roadside with signs seeking help from locals, would later reveal to the police that they were Japanese college students.

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Before they were taken into custody, the tourists posed for pictures with the officers who gave them some water and useful advice about traveling safely.

Images of the Asian beg-packers posted by the police on Facebook quickly went viral.

“The patrolmen of Aranyaprathet Police Department [of the Sa Kaeo province] saw two tourists outside Sri Aranyothai kindergarten. They were holding signs that read ‘No Money,’ ‘Bangkok,’ and ‘Sa Kaeo,’ so the officers went and talked to them,” the caption read, as translated by Coconuts Bangkok.

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“We found out that they were Japanese university students who wanted to travel to Bangkok, so they made signs in order to hitchhike and save money. The patrolmen contacted the tourist police, who brought the two tourists to rest at Aranyaprathet Police Station and told them that traveling that way was unsafe. We then contacted the public vans at Aranyaprathet Transport to take them to Bangkok, so that they would travel safely.”

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The post also bore the hashtags #HighStandardService #AranyaprathetPolice.

Some users commended the officers for assisting the tourists, while many netizens expressed outrage toward the travelers for traveling without money despite being enrolled in college and coming from a relatively “rich” nation.

Others observed that since one of the signs saying “No Money” was also translated into Khmer, it meant that they might have come from Cambodia before going to Thailand.

Feature Image via Facebook/AranprathetPolice

https://nextshark.com/japanese-beg-...-without-money/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
 
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Matt Derrick

Matt Derrick

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#2
I think this article is a little over-blown, but I'm curious to get people's thoughts on the subject.
 
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#3
How dare those ***** try traveling without money! Go get a job, save $10 a week and before you know it you'll be on your dream holiday at age 70
The criticism seems to be that they have money, but choose not to spend it and instead rely on folks that are most likely poorer than themselves.
 
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#4
It's written here quite often: spange only as a last resort. With the exception of severe mental or physical illness resulting in you being unable to work, I'd say one should never PLAN to spange. If you are able to work to fund your travels... shouldn't you?

Critique: If people are willing to donate, what's the harm?

Answer: I recall someone saying that majority of people who do give out their change are the least able to afford it. People who donate have a high degree of empathy with the person spanging, I think they're able to do this because they themselves have been in that situation, see the risk entering that situation or as an exception, know someone close that has needed to spange. In contrast people who have always been relatively affluent see beggars as "aliens", they can't comprehend how/why someone could be in that situation. They assume they must be doing something "wrong" and typically don't give change.
 
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#5
I think it is wrong. Travelling broke + living cheap/scavenging is completely acceptable no matter what your income/background is. It can easily be seen as a lifestyle choice/political stance that really negatively effects no one other than perhaps the rich elite.

If you have the money, and it is not a last resort then spanging is pretty low. I think as well there is an issue of 'ruining it' for the rest of them. If you see people like this who obviously don't need the extra income, and it gets reported in a way in which it has then the general public are going to be less likely to share some change to people who genuinely need it.

I don't think these are 'bad' people as my whole post is pretty negative, I think they're just emulating what they've seen rich western kids do.
 

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#6
I don't think they were spanging... or asking for money. They were trying to catch a ride right? Just happen to have wrote no money on the sign.

I think I read/understood that in a lot of poorer countries you might be asked/expected to "pay" or "donate" when picked up hitchhiking?

Either way catching a hitch hike for free is not spangling or panhandling/whatever in my opinion. I mean the cost to the person offering a ride would be calculated in the increased weight on the vehicle causing an increase in fuel consumption.Which depending on the vehicle and the person picked up and "gear" maybe would be slight or negligible? I dunno that might be a flexible factor that is not easily calculated on the spot. I mean if your a big person and a local on a small scooter picks you up for a 100 kilometer ride your probably gonna be a burden on fuel... but a large or commercial vehicle maybe diesel will not be.

Some users commended the officers for assisting the tourists, while many netizens expressed outrage toward the travelers for traveling without money despite being enrolled in college and coming from a relatively “rich” nation.
Knee jerk reaction... lol they don't look "rich" and being from a developed country is no guarantee of affluence.

It's all relative after all... Poor third world countries have "rich" also... they happen to be the ruthless people in charge. Heh... and I doubt someone who could afford to stay at lavish hotels and jet set the world would be hitchhiking...

Japanese poor college students are a thing and a stereotype as well after all.

They just seem like regular adventurous travelers... and probably should not have used the "no money" part in the hitchhiking sign. You can always turn down a ride if they want/demand what you can't offer.
 

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#7
A young Singaporean, Maisarah Abu Samah, told France 24 that she finds it “extremely strange” to see “white people” asking for money to fund their trips.
Also that from the article... it's raises the question... do other countries have to "SKEWED" of a view of western countries and how affluent the "average" to "Lower class" person is? I mean it almost seems like a prejudice. The way the global economy is nowadays... it seems confusing cuz I know a lot of third world countries and developing countries have very different opportunities and all but it just seems "relative" for individuals.

Having said that... I think hitchhiking in principle should be about the spirit of sharing a journey/short travel and not a commercial/monetary exchange. (although it's all flexible... and situational... I don't see a person being greedy... when a poor farmer picks them up as good traveler ethics... share money/food/help with labor whatever.... )

Next busking with a musical instrument ... is mentioned as strange in the article... and equated with beggin... Nope.
I mean thats just simple... no one has to give the musician money but its not beggin... if anything your providing entertainment for free open air and the donations are appreciation EARNED.? Seems like it.

Now if a westerner or whomever was just sitting on the sidewalk... with nice gear and an atm card in theyre pocket.. thats a cheeky westerner... lol.
 

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#8
The Ihssan district is one of the poorest areas of Thailand. The police may have actually saved these guys lives by taking them in. Good thing is that it's cheap to get a train ride from Chang Mai to BKK.

Overall, these guys are monumentally ignorant to do this in a country that was largely enslaved by the Japanese in WWII. They happened to run into some really good people to get them out of the north. It's either shear brilliance or stupidity, I can't decide.
 

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#9
The Ihssan district is one of the poorest areas of Thailand. The police may have actually saved these guys lives by taking them in. Good thing is that it's cheap to get a train ride from Chang Mai to BKK.

Overall, these guys are monumentally ignorant to do this in a country that was largely enslaved by the Japanese in WWII. They happened to run into some really good people to get them out of the north. It's either shear brilliance or stupidity, I can't decide.

Very useful historical perspective... did not know all of that.


They happened to run into some really good people to get them out of the north.
Agreed... good example of Bodhisattva.
 

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#10
Very useful historical perspective... did not know all of that.




Agreed... good example of Bodhisattva.
Look up the Burma Railway (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_Railway) There was a big deal about the Japanese using American POWs to build the RR, but way more Thai were enslaved and died building that RR. There's a museum at the River Kwai crossing that is very interesting. The bridge is pretty sweet too despite how it was built.
 

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#11
There's a museum at the River Kwai crossing that is very interesting.
\That was a decent movie...

I'm torn on the subject.. sure I'm practicing freeeganism and self sufficiency last few years .... but I know homebums around that might be ... i dunno hungry or way worse off if they were((limited as it is to ask for a hand out.)))

I believe the right to ask for help should never be infringed...

but real scammers... hurt it for the rest.
 
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#12
i was being sarcastic. And where does it say that they actually have money??? All it says is that they made signs asking for both a ride and a little money. So what if they are japanese and managed to get themselves overseas. Would this get a big news coverage if these guys did it in america, europe or australia? The Japanese bombed pearl harbour in world war 2. Lesser known is they also bombed the city of darwin in the northern territory in australia in world war 2 as well. But world war two was 80 years ago. Its finished. Everybody has worked out their differences now and moved on. I doubt these days Americans, much less Australians would care less about a couple of Japanese backpackers on the side of the road trying to hitch a ride. Currently i know of a another stper and her partner (both americans) that are traveling australia in a similar way but yet theres no news coverage going on about 2 americans trying to hitch rides and spange for money from poorer australians. I agree with @Matt Derrick this article is definitely overblown
Yeah I know that you were sarcastic, but I think you missed the point. It's one thing to decide that one doesn't want to work for 50 years to afford ones dream holiday and decides to just quit work and life as a traveller with no money instead.
It is a whole other story to actually have money in the bank, being entitled enough to visit college in a high developed country, spend houndreds of dollars for a flight to a much less developed country and then don't spend anything of your money there so you can satisfy your need for adventure.
What you you seemed to suggest was that the first was the case. But what people took offence was the second and so your answer misses the point, even though it was sarcastic.

It doesn't say anywhere in the text that they actually have money, those who expressed their outrage seemed to think so though, because they are enrolled in college and from a "relatively "rich" country". That assumption is not really far fetched I guess.

With that being said it is also clear why there wouldn't be any media coverage if that happened in australia, america or europe: The whole rich folks coming to a poor country exploiting the poor doesn't work.
Especially in your example of americans coming to australia, hitching rides of the "poor" australians. Australians aren't poor, simple as that. I mean there sure are people with financial issues in australia, but that's in no way a appropriate comparison to the case at hand. The minimum wage in Australia is over 18AUD per hour and it's ridicolously easy to get a job. The americans would probably be the poor ones rather than the aussies.

I don't think it is wrong to hitchhike in poorer countries per se though, after all there is really not that much harm done as someone pointed out before. If you have got the money, and if you are there you very likely have it, or could easily have had it, it's definately nice to spend some. The bad feeling that some people get when it comes to the topic, including me, probably just comes from the realization how entitled oneself is. But not hitchhiking doesn't change anything about that.
 

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#13
The attitudes toward travelers in the US and AU are quite different than those in SE Asia. I would be curious how these guys faired in Cambodia. Did they pull the same deal there? Thai are friendly and accommodating, but they are also pretty much out for themselves. To get a ride without paying something is thought of as rude, even more so in an area where the average daily wage is <<8USD. You can literally go from north to south on pocket change.

Plus, the Thai government has been cracking down on travellers in recent years, so this story is pretty much part for the course there.

When I was traveling there regularly, I had to apply for a multiple entry visa. One of the required documents was a bank statement showing I had enough money to buy a plane ticket out of the country on the spot. I think the financial proof was something like 10k or 20k US. They are pretty lenient on 90 tourist visas, but if you get caught on an overstay, you are banned for 3-5 years first offense and for life on the 3rd strike.

Agreed, there would be no coverage for this in the US or AU or much of Europe, but Asia is a much different place to travel in and some countries views of tourists are quite different than our own.
 

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#14
Don't appropriate American hobo culture in Asia! Lol
But seriously, I was in South Asia last year and would NOT recommend trying to pull that off there. Travel without money if you want, but just don't fly signs asking for money or beg in any way. They have plenty of beggars there and when you see them you realize how privileged you are to be a broke ass traveller coming there from a rich country.
 
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#15
Straight up if I ever see someone again from the west in an undeveloped country doing this kinda shit in gonna have a huge chat with them. Hitching I don't see any problems nor busking but flying a fuckin sign or spanging is sstraight fucked up. What marmar said. We are so fuckin privileged to be able to travel the world if u are half decent at budgeting our savings u can travel anywhere for months and spend our earnings there and help spread the world wealth more equally and gain a lot of spiritual and cultural aspects of life that are severely lacking in the west . people are ignorant entitled pricks in my eyes eyes who spange in asia from the west. Stay in north America or Japan or Europe or Australia if u wanna spange. Beggars in Asia usually are monks looking for alms sadhu(Hindu monk) or severely disabled like missing their legs or arms or blind etc. They have no disability check or food stamps etc etc government assistance is nonexistent. Sorry about my poor grammar autocorrect is teterrible and I am tired
 

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#16
Ya the thing here is they are begging in countries where the majority of the population is actually dirt pour. So they are literally begging to tourists which is kinda fucked.

I've seen this in Cambodia, these kids go out to the clubs in siem reap and get blasted every night, yet stand outside ankor wat begging for admission money. people like that need a good kick in the teeth.

If you can afford the $1000 plane ticket, you can save up another couple days to pay for the $1 meals. Not hard.
 

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#17
haven't been to asia but i can echo exactly what @sd40chef says about the local beggars from time in south america...now fortunately i haven't seen any outsiders stupid enough to be spanging there...but those local people who are spanging are either very old, seriously disabled i.e. missing limbs and/or of course just cracked out...add that to the anecdotes from local friends pertaining to how little the vast majority can earn for the same time working/ type of work compared to USA for example and it's clearly just wrong and tasteless to go beyond asking to camp in someones yard or going hitchhiking - in those cases you don't create much friction you don't pay for the regular services and the other person doesn't give up money just enough to stop their vehicle or open the door to let you use the toilet perhaps I think that's great but when it comes to straight cash...which is a requirement to get that far out of your way over so many borders etc...it's a whole other society and I don't think it's easy to understand until you are actually inside

in the original post it does look like the kids are hitchhiking and that the police misinterpreted/wanted to make an example of them....notice the smiling kid has a fresh 'cambodia' shirt and the other kid looks actually remorseful or uncomfortable
 
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#18
I grew up in outer Baltimore, Southside Richmond, and the slums in New London, so I don't really see anything wrong with spanging. I just didn't have the skills to manufacture a product I could sell, like tie-dye and veggie wraps.

I understand that some people come from a rich country, but they aren't neccessarily part of that excess. I ate nothing but bread and drank melted snow one winter living out of a tent, because I didn't want to get in trouble with gentrification.
 
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