A video showing backpackers illegally performing for tips on board the MRT has drawn widespread backlash online. The video, which was published on Wednesday (29 May) has since gone viral with nearly half a million views.
The video, uploaded online by Twitter user Carol, shows a Caucasian couple playing ukuleles and singing the 1961 classic song “Twist & Shout” on board an MRT train heading towards Jurong East, on the East-West Line.
Backpackers who travel to Asia and beg for funds to continue their travels have been dubbed “begpackers”. These travellers beg, busk, sell hugs, and trinkets like postcards to continue their journey, travelling Asian nations.
It is illegal to busk on board trains in Singapore. Busking without a permit is a penalty and carries a maximum fine of SGD $10,000.
Carol, the netizen who shared the video of the begpackers on board the MRT train, appeared to enjoy the performance. She wrote: “Just a normal day travelling on train and met these amazing tourist on board that brought smiles to alot faces [sic]…thank you for starting my day right.”
Just a normal day travelling on train and met these amazing tourist on board that brought smiles to alot faces ???? thankyou for starting my day right ???? pic.twitter.com/mIVAsnQxlo
— Caroℓ ❁ (@heliumdaisies) May 28, 2019
While Carol appreciated the performance, the begpackers drew widespread backlash from the vast majority of netizens responding to the video. One netizen said he has spotted this same couple in Kuala Lumpur busking to continue their travels.
Other netizens were outraged and said that locals should give to more deserving charities instead of funding the travels of tourists from developed nations: