A man, reportedly from Ukraine, became a viral sensation after a video of him selling photos of himself to fund a flight back home was uploaded on Facebook.
The video of the “cute” begpacker was taken at Hat Yai’s Greenway Market on Wednesday night by Facebook user TaiiwaN’ Yanawimuti, who urged people to share it and help get the man back to his home country.
“He’s traveling the world and looking for money to go back to Ukraine. He’s selling the photos he took himself. We can pay how much we want. He also tells a story with every photo. Let’s help him. #PleaseShare,” the woman wrote in Thai, as translated by Coconuts Bangkok. The woman also revealed that she paid 100 Thai bhat (roughly $3) for a photo.
“Isn’t he cute?” she wrote in a post while showing off one of the photos, which show the man at different locations around the country.
“Are you interested? He’s white! You can get a picture and talk to him. So worth it,” another Facebook user wrote, and tagged her friend.
While some commenters admired the man’s positive attitude, there were others accusing him of taking advantage of being in a foreign country.
Over the past year, there has been a rise of Western backpackers traveling to Southeast Asia just to beg for money on the streets.
Maisarah Abu Samah, a young Singaporean, told France 24 last year that she found it “extremely strange” to see “White people” asking for money to fund their trips.
“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!” she said.
The situation has gotten so bad that the Thai government is cracking down on begpackers. Tourists are now required to show that they have at least 20,000 Thai baht ($748) in cash before they are allowed inside the country.