Some twenty odd years ago, Ian Mckaye – at the time the angry singer of straight edge punk pioneers Minor Threat – sung “guilty of being white”. The lines of the aggressive chorus blazed into my mind as I stepped at the airport’s immigration line to re-enter Malaysia; a bunch of what seemed young Australians were waiting behind me. They were dressed and attired in the quintessential banana pancake trail non-outfit: singlets, flip-flops, short pants. The picture was stereotypically completed by over exposed tattoos – even the shabbiest ones -, visibly dirty long hair, and the red cheeks which are typical of an in-flight heavy boozing session. They were exchanging idiotic comments on the situation in their slurred, drunken Aussie lingo.
As I tried to forget them and walked to the officer getting my papers in order and surpassing the passport check stations, here I see another white trash queen: she is about 20 years old, trashing her thongs around, wearing the shortest mini hot pants you may imagine in order to expose her tighs, emblazoned with one of those silly female-skull-with-butterfly-wings tats you can get at every cornershop. I instantly turn around to check if the beach is in sight, but the only thing I can score is the luggage carousel, slowly spitting bags out of his noisy esophagus. Luckily, no other passenger around me suffered from the banana pancake syndrome.
It may be the coming of age, or it may be the fact I have been used to travel in Islamic nations where such a behavior would result in an instant flash mob or a brutal gang rape, but I think that by carrying the symptoms of Western casual stupidity and holiday retardedness, these youth are reconfirming to Southeast Asian people that inventing ways to empty their wallets is approved by every God. Mohamed included.
I feel offended by the low profile of such people: Southeast Asia is not a fool’s playground, for chrissakes. If humanity has a decency level which is measured in the ways we act, I candidate the backpacker type as some of the ugliest, gone wrongest experiments. Please people, react and do something. Asia is not your playground, and when your flabby beergut stinks, let me tell you, it really does.