Archive for November 2nd, 2007

The Ugly Tourist

A YouTube video of three Brits who took a trishaw ride in Singapore is making the blogosphere rounds, showing the world the sad result of being a detached tourist. From The Guardian’s newsblog:

Three British tourists who posted a video of themselves laughing at their elderly trishaw driver in Singapore have set off a firestorm of criticism and abuse in the net savvy nation. The tourists repeatedly say that they can walk faster as they snigger. They then try to stiff the driver, initially claiming that they had been robbed and then simply walking off to catch a taxi. The 26-year-old who posted the video with the title “the Slowest Taxi in SE Asia” took the video down after hundreds of vitriolic comments from Singaporeans.”

In the first few seconds, their laughter might seem innocuous enough – the trishaw is moving rather slow – but after a few chortles it becomes cruel, insensitive, and arrogant. The trishaw driver is a human being doing his job, an old man who still has to break his back and put up with young punks to make a living.

The real shame here is the breakdown our ability to understand, to relate to one another; the sad truth is that the ugly tourist is but a symptom of a more rampant apathy that disconnects our world.

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