It appears that a Russian couple who have previously made their social media debut in other Southeast Asian countries are now making their mark in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), after a video showing them busking with their baby at a market in Lombok went viral recently.
A few videos of the buskers were shared on Facebook last weekend, showing the couple performing around the market and singing what are presumably Russian folk songs. The man plays the accordion, while the woman is swinging to the tunes by his side while holding the baby, as they try to capture the attention of passersby.
When begpackers emerge, it’s natural to assume that the worst has happened to them on their travels. The users who first shared the videos above, for example, suggested that the couple may have not been able to go back to Russia due to the coronavirus outbreak or simply ran out of money.
However, Indonesian netizens were quick to point out that the same couple were previously spotted in other cities in the region and engaging in similar behavior. This includes an incident in Kuala Lumpur, where they were detained by the Malaysian Police for violently swinging their then four-month-old baby during a street performance in February of last year.
That incident, captured on video, went viral, as it showed a man swinging the infant between his legs and lifting her above his head to the beat of music in the background. According to a report by AFP, the couple is in their late 20s and is believed to be busking in order to fund their world tour.
There is currently no official confirmation that the couple spotted in Lombok is the same as the one who was detained in Kuala Lumpur, but videos from the two occurrences appear to show the same people.
Syahrifullah, who heads the Immigration Office in Mataram, told Tagar yesterday that a team has been dispatched to locate the Russian nationals but declined to comment further about their case.
Indonesia has certainly seen its fair share of disruptive tourists, especially in popular destinations such as Bali. Asia has generally seen a rising trend of begpacking in recent years, too — in reference to travelers, generally from Western countries, who feel justified to ask locals in developing countries for cash to fund their extended holidays.
Last June, after a rising number of cases involving problematic tourists on the island, Bali immigration said that foreign visitors who have ran out of money or are pretending to be beggars would be reported and sent to their respective embassies.
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