Bleats

Anger Is Growing Towards 'Begpackers' Who Want You To Fund Their Dream Trip

"South-East Asia is not a personal playground."

If you thought drunk Aussies making a fool of themselves was all you needed to worry about when you go on vacation, think again. ‘Begpackers’ are the new embarrassing stereotype in town and South-East Asian officials are damn sick of it.

According to Urban Dictionary, begpackers are “tourists who travel backpacker-style without sufficient funds but ask for donations, freebies, and handouts from locals.”

Credit: Twitter

Begpacking “is often done in countries where the average income is far lower than what they could earn working a minimum wage job at home,” and a new report from the ABC states that the disdain towards it is growing. 

“We hate them,” Malaysian counterterrorism analyst Munira Mustaffa told the ABC. “South-East Asia is not a personal playground for Westerners to come seek ‘spirituality’ and treat us as props for your self-discovery.”

Peace, man? Credit: Giphy

Sometimes, begpackers use signs asking passersby to “help me fund my dream trip,” while others sell sketches and postcards, or busk for money.

Credit: Twitter

“We have seen many cases of problematic tourists, lately they are either Australian, British or Russian,” Indonesian immigration official Setyo Budiwardoyo told Detiknews in June. “We tend to report these cases to the relevant embassies so that they can oversee their citizens who are on holiday.” 

According to the ABC, Thailand is attempting to combat the issue by more strictly enforcing its rule that foreigners are required to have at least THB10,000 ($480) at immigration checkpoints. 

However, there are mixed opinions on begpackers. Joshua D Bernstein, a tourism researcher from Thammasat University in Bangkok told the ABC the criticism was just “callout culture.” 

Credit: Twitter

In a 2017 feature for The Independent, Helen Coffey said she refuses to judge Westerners busking in South East Asian countries. “There’s an uncomfortable assumption that every white person in Asia has independent means and a rich family back home to call upon should they run out of money,” she wrote.

Others have pointed out the double standards, considering it costs Indonesian citizens $140 just to apply for a visa to holiday in Australia, while begpackers are getting a ‘free ride.’ 

Credit: Giphy

“Do they realise how much we have to spend just to get visas in their countries? And here they are parading themselves as needy in a context where poverty really means living in sub-human conditions,” Filipina community worker Nash Tysmans told the ABC.

So, is throwing the term ‘begpackers’ around judging travellers without context, or is it offensive to expect free handouts when travelling in these countries without sufficient savings? Either way, it’s ruffling feathers all over social media and stirring up plenty of debate. 

Badass Women We Need In Our World Today: Amelia Earhart

There's so much more to learn than the theories shrouding her mysterious death.

Amelia Earhart is perhaps best known for being the female pilot who mysteriously disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937, but there is so much more to this feminist icon than the conspiracy theories that shroud her death.

Amelia Earhart. Credit: Getty Images

In her short life, Earhart did so much for women, and specifically women in aviation – and it’s this determination to succeed that makes her the kind of badass female we need in our world today.

Earhart was born in 1987 in Atchison, Kansas. Her mother, Amy Earhart, did not believe in molding her children into “nice little girls,” and despite disapproval from her grandmother, Earhart spent her childhood climbing trees, sledding, hunting rats and collecting bugs – a classic tomboy with a hunger for adventure.

It wasn’t always fun growing up for Earhart, though. In 1911, her grandmother passed away and her father, who was an alcoholic, lost his job and was checked into a sanatorium. However, this never quelled Earhart’s passion to succeed. 

Amelia Earhart, 1918.
Credit: George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

According to her official website, throughout Earhart’s childhood she “kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in predominantly male-oriented fields.” Soon after finishing school in 1915, Earhart attended an air show with her father where she took her first airplane ride. “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly,” she said.

And fly she did. By 1921, Earhart had passed her flying license tests and bought her first plane – which she used to set her first women’s record by flying to an altitude of 14,000 feet.

In 1929, after a national book tour and a handful of record-breaking flights under her belt, Earhart founded The Ninety-Nines – the first organisation for women aviators. Between 1930 and 1935, she set seven women’s speed and distance records in flying. 

Earhart married George Palmer Putnam in 1931. She was so wary of the institution of marriage, she denied Putnam’s proposals six times before accepting, and always emphasised that it was a “partnership” with “dual control.” 

Amelia Earhart and her husband George Palmer Putnam, 1935.
Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

By 1936, Earhart had a new dream: “a circumnavigation of the globe as near its waistline as could be.” A year later, after raising money and consulting with advisers, mechanics, and navigators, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan took flight. 

After successfully completely nearly 22,000 miles of the flight, Earhart and Noonan were scheduled to land in Howland Island in the Pacific. The pair couldn’t find the island and lost radio contact with the Coast Guard. 

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, 1937.
Credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Despite many attempts, no one has ever been able to locate Earhart, Noonan, or their plane. 

There are plenty of theories about what happened to the pair. Some think the plane simply crashed and burned in the Pacific Ocean, others believe they lived as castaways on Nikumaroro Island and either died of starvation or were eaten by crabs, and some are convinced they were captured and held hostage by the Japanese as U.S. spies. 

Credit: Twitter

In an interview for Teen Vogue, biographer Susan Ware said “the focus on [Earhart’s] disappearance has overshadowed what she accomplished in her short but very productive life, which included her role in promoting larger roles for women in aviation and especially how she was a role model for women.”

It’s true. While it’s easy to focus on Earhart’s disappearance and potential death, there are more lessons to be learned. Her dedication to exploring the world, her advocacy for women’s rights, her courage, independence and unwavering self-confidence, should inspire all of us. 

Amelia. Credit: Giphy

Ware told Teen Vogue, “I think of Amelia Earhart as a model of what modern women could be – independent, ambitious, able to compete with men on an equal basis. She was a real role model for girls and women who dared to dream of lives beyond conventional roles.”

Before she disappeared, Earhart once said, “women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” 

A gentle reminder to continue to learn, grow, and challenge yourself – even in the face of adversity.

Prepare To Cringe Because Influencers Are Literally Photoshopping Clouds Into Their Pics Now

Apparently, Mother Nature isn't good enough.

It’s 2019, which means the highlight reels of a-list celebs and influencers have a habit of dominating our news feeds with often digitally-manipulated, FaceTuned and Photoshopped images. 

Before and after.
Credit: Giphy

Sadly, the fine art of Photoshop isn’t limited to nipping and tucking ones face and body anymore. Now Instagram influencers are quite literally Photoshopping the scenery around them – adding a touch of cloud or sun where it may not have naturally occurred.

Just take this series of Insta pics published to Reddit earlier today with the cheeky caption: “when you carry your personal cloud wherever you go.” Yes – those are four individual photos, in four individual locations, all featuring the same cloud formation.

Credit: Reddit

While some Reddit users speculated that the influencer went as far as taking the photos in front of a green screen, one suggested it was “pretty standard stuff” in “photography to Photoshop in a better sky than the one you had available that day.”

We’re all familiar with people doctoring their images because they don’t like their physical appearance, but it’s another thing to tell Mother Nature she’s not good enough.

It’s not the first time this kind of thing has happened, either. In 2018, Swedish blogger Johanna Olsson was accused of Photoshopping herself into different locations around Paris, France. 

Olsson quickly clapped back at the accusations, telling her followers she really was in Paris, but simply didn’t like the background of her original pics. 

“I was in Paris, at this restaurant, they seated me at a table with no view. I really wanted a picture with the best view to get that perfect Paris vibe to inspire you guys so instead of complaining to the staff about where they seated me which I think is awkward I simply took a picture of the background I wanted from a better table and photoshopped it,” she captioned one of the photos in question.

“So you can still go here and have this exact view if you are ever in Paris. Which is what I wanted! And I have done this to 3 pictures while I was in Paris in where I have changed the background to make it prettier,” she added.

For me, it all begs one big question: how much time are these people taking out of their lovely holidays to make all their photos ‘prettier’!? Isn’t Paris pretty enough!? 

Serious question. Credit: Giphy

I need answers – preferably un-Photoshopped. 

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