The so-called Budgie-Nine are back home with their clothes on. Freshly home and relieved to be released from their short stay in a Malaysian prison, it seems the irreverent party boys have arrived back a little bit wiser, with their self-annointed spokesmen Nick Kelly urging Australians to be more culturally aware when travelling overseas.
Kudos, Nick, for the pressing reminder, but one cannot help but lament the fact it will fall on deaf ears. While the Malaysians (shock) took umbrage to having their flag desecrated by being emblazoned on the backsides of barely dressed lads boozing out of sweaty shoes, much of the commentary back home in hallways and at coffee machines concerned how ‘they’ (those Malaysians) were just mean-spirited, attacking poor aussie boys for having a bit of fun.
Sorry, but ‘Aussies having a bit of fun’ just doesn’t cut it. Perhaps it’s a distance thing, being all tucked away at the foot of the earth, but many Australian tourists have an appalling awareness and lack of respect for the cultural sensitivities of the place they choose to visit.
No doubt fresh from a year of chest-beating declarations that immigrants have to ‘respect our cul-tya’ and follow ‘our rulz’, these insulated folk jet off to the beaches and cities of lands inhabited for thousands of years without a moment’s consideration for the rich histories and customs that its people might hold dear.
One only has to look at the behaviour of Australian tourists in places like Bali and Phuket. I’ve seen it first-hand. On the streets of Patong, shirtless young men, usually inebriated, walking around like they own the place, screaming profanities and chugging down beer like water. They’ll usually be the same group ignoring requests not to take photos in temples, or talk for that matter.
I remember a day in Koh Samui when my fiance and I boarded a day tour that just happened to be joined by a group that would best be described as obnoxious muzzas. We weren’t personally offended, but I could only imagine what the tour guide thought of the clatter of empty beer cans in his bus and the slurred sentences punctuated by ‘f….k’ and ‘c…t’.
One particular highlight was when we arrived at one of the Buddhist temples. I remember them taking offence to the suggestion that they weren’t dressed appropriately enough to enter the place. It was almost like the Thais’ ‘bullshit’ rules were ‘made’ just to spite them.
In Bali, the bars are chock full of young Aussies drinking until the early hours before spilling out onto the streets for some chanting and vomiting. The old favourite ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi’ further announcing our national pride, just in case it wasn’t noticed already.
Fact is, it is noticed, as the unsuspecting Budgie-Nine discovered to their horror last week. In fact, travel surveys consistently rank Australian travellers among the rudest. A recent survey conducted by travel app, Triposo, gave Aussies the dubious rank of 5th for poor tourist behaviour. In fact, the rankings read almost like an Olympic medal tally: 1. USA 2. Britain 3. Russia 4. China 5. Australia.
But, what’s the worry? That’s just Australians for ya. The boys are home now after those humourless Malayshuns locked em up for something funny. Their prison conditions are disgusting and they are totally backward. One day they’ll learn to get over it and be like us.