Modern-Day Begging

I’ve recently started to notice an amazing array of ‘crowdfunding‘ reports on news sites that, to me, appear no more than what I’d call modern-day begging. Begging has been with us for millennia and traditionally has been associated with the unfortunate and the poor, though it seems to have become a full-time occupation for some, even though begging is illegal in many places such as Melbourne. Traditionally, churches and other welfare organisations have been the main aid groups to assist those in need and still are, but a new group of beggars is emerging and using technology to enhance their begging opportunities. What’s really distasteful about this modern-day begging is that, in many instances, it’s not poor, homeless and underprivileged people doing this begging, but well-off Westerners wanting to enjoy a lifestyle without effort or personal responsibility and, dare I say, any semblance of ethics or morals.

A beggar running alongside King George V’s coach in England, 1920s - (source: Unknown)

A beggar running alongside King George V’s coach in England, 1920s – (source: Unknown)

Some of the worst examples have surfaced most recently, where Western backpackers are travelling Asian countries on holidays and taking up begging and expecting money from locals, often in countries where the locals can barely afford to sustain their own lives. They have even been given a definition of their own: beg-packers. Seriously, how can any self-respecting person from a wealthy country embark on what any normal person (at least from my era) would consider despicable, simply to fund their pleasure trips and egos on other people’s coin. I can’t help but view this as another example of the ‘Age of Entitlement’, which seems to be gripping a large part of society nowadays. And what’s even more incredible is that there are people prepared to give money to these modern-day beggars.

Modern-Day Beggar - (source: Daily Mail)

Modern-Day Beggar – (source: Daily Mail)

But that’s not the only thing that’s happening nowadays, more and more people in Australia and around the world are ostensibly starting to beg via crowdfunding such as Go Fund Me, Give Forward, Fundly, Fundrazr, FundMyTravel and many more similar on-line campaigns (what is being sought by many in each of these crowdfunding sites is simply staggering). And these sites don’t all offer free services either, as fees are often collected by the fund raising site. I’m not suggesting that some people are not suffering and are not genuine, but in many cases these ‘fund me’ campaigns really make you ponder where this will lead and if this will ever end. With up to 54,000 registered charities already operating in Australia, we effectively now have another completely different set of ‘charities’ operating online. I wonder if I should try and get crowd-funded for another trip to Tasmania? Or should I just work and save for it like most people do?

Lake Dove - Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Lake Dove – Cradle Mountain Tasmania

And then I came across a somewhat different, but perhaps closely related article, which really made me wonder. The story is about some people living in Byron Bay and crying poor because, after living there for up to 30 years, they now don’t have anywhere to live, apparently all due to Airbnb.

“I’m a lady hobo or couch surfing in paradise,” Ilona said.

“We need some kind of regulation. We can stop people trying to take the spirit and the homes from people who have been here a really long time.” [I’m not so sure that those who own the homes would give them up, for free, to others?]

The possibility of leaving Byron Bay after 30 years brings Teri to tears.

The 57-year-old works part-time as a counsellor and clairvoyant [She didn’t see this coming?], and volunteers at the local community centre where she helps people in need.

While Teri hopes she can stay in Byron Bay, she’s now considering the possibility of moving to a cheaper town. [There’s plenty of affordable housing in rural Australia.]


Cherie Bromley and her children share a big rental home with three flatmates just outside Byron Bay.

But her household faces an uncertain future after the [sic] they received notice to vacate by August.

Cherie believes Byron Bay has changed dramatically since she first arrived 24 years ago. [Nothing stays the same for very long]

I’ve always gathered that Byron Bay was the place to go when seeking sex, drugs (medicinal of course) and rock and roll in the Age of Aquarius, but many of those that ventured to Byron Bay now have to face the reality of their lost paradise. Unfortunately, there’s no entitlement for things one hasn’t earned and complaining when there are thousands of others living in far worse conditions around Australia isn’t a good look. It was their choice to live in a place that they considered paradise, but seemingly not having done one thing to ensure their own self-sufficiency in the 30 or so years that they have lived in Byron Bay. The casual and carefree lifestyle that they’ve become used to has come home to roost and you can’t blame that on other people.

Byron Bay - (source: Tourism Australia)

Byron Bay – (source: Tourism Australia)

I really don’t know where we are heading as a society when these sorts of things become the accepted norm and often even encouraged. Again, while slightly off-topic, but still closely related to what I consider our societal decline, my old favourite Mike Rowe responds to criticism in a way that only he knows how to do:

Dan Krzykowski writes…

Mike – I just saw your Graduation Speech at Prager University. I encourage you not to do that. Read the comments on their other videos to see the kind of community Prager attracts… I respect you a lot, but you debase yourself by associating with that community.

Hi Dan

I appreciate your concern for my reputation, but I’m confused. If you respect me as much as you claim to, and you really believe the community at Prager University has embraced a dangerous set of beliefs, why would you want to discourage me from challenging their ideology? I mean, how can we challenge bad ideas, if we don’t confront them with better ideas?

…Our country is filled with people who believe their feelings are more persuasive than their arguments. I don’t know if this is a symptom of arrogance, impatience, laziness, cowardice, or all of the above, but there’s no denying it – millions of Americans are no longer interested in persuasion – they are interested only in telling the world how they feel, and then using those feelings to justify their actions.

…Because we’re no longer rewarding logic and reason; we’re rewarding temper tantrums. We’re no longer focused on justice; we’re focused on “social justice.” We’re no longer appalled by violent crime, we save our deepest disgust for “hate crime.” We’re no longer curious about our actual history; we’re more interested in revising the past to reflect the things we wish had happened, but didn’t.

And, as a closing word, the following Facebook post that I came across precisely defines what’s often so wrong with many today; many who feel that they are entitled to anything that they desire, but don’t feel that they need to put in any effort to earn those things, they simply want these things gifted to them. Never a truer word spoken (or written).

Responsibility - (source: Facebook)

Responsibility – (source: Facebook)

Update 1. It looks like beg-packing is coming to Australia via New Zealand, ‘Cashless couple rely on charity, dumpster diving to travel around New Zealand‘. This part seems quite hypocritical, given that they want to live in the rat race and off other people’s money:

“We just don’t want to be part of the rat race any more. We know we can live without money – we just wanted to see if we can travel without money.”

Orious denied that, by eating in the Sisters of Compassion soup kitchen in Tory St, central Wellington, they were using resources needed for the genuinely homeless or impoverished.

A modern take on a Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons song.

3 thoughts on “Modern-Day Begging

  1. Shawn K.

    You are a cold, heartless man. : )

    I spend a fair amount of my work days talking with people that choose to live without the shackles of capitalism and personal responsibility weighing them down (“Homeless? No, I’m Home Free, brother!”), so I get to directly observe how life works for them. It’s simply appalling, and the government is a huge enabler of their lifestyle. Many are on some form of monthly assistance for the rest of their lives, and they beg for the rest. Beer and tobacco aren’t free, after all.

    I’ve also encountered some beg-packers on the trail. I’m ready to help anyone that’s running low on food or water, but I’ll be damned if I’ll give the food I carried over hard miles to people that started off with nothing, with the intent to beg their way to a full tummy. We live in strange times.

    1. Ray Post author

      Often too much or easy welfare puts people into a viscous cycle that they can’t get out of and I sometimes suspect that’s what governments want, in order to have a large class of voters dependent on handouts. Then there are all the organisations whose livelihoods depend on there being a never ending supply of welfare dependent individuals and families, who pressure, threaten and lobby governments. But that’s a somewhat different issue that would take a revolution to sort out.

  2. Shawn K.

    From what I’ve seen, unending handouts without accountability cultivate learned helplessness. The givers often seem more concerned with how the act of “helping” makes them feel and look to others, rather than the consequences to the takers.

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