Those rather wistful chaps who used to wander the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui and the Central ferry piers walkway professing to be astonished by your “very lucky face” and offering to tell your fortune seem to have vanished of late. In their place, we have a different bunch who seem more concerned with their futures than yours. A not-so-lost tribe of teens and 20-somethings, mostly Caucasian and suspiciously well fed, called “ begpackers ”. They don’t take up much pavement space, and in a way you have to admire their overweening blend of insouciance and chutzpah. Their message: “I want to meander around the world and I think that you should fork out cash to allow me to do so .” Some sell things that might be generously lodged in the arts and crafts bracket; others play a musical instrument or, worse, sing; the third category sports a placard saying something like: “I’m travelling around Asia, please support my trip because I can’t be a***d to do so myself.” I once travelled overland from Europe to Hong Kong, saving up before I set out and then working on a Greek farm, at an English-language school in Kathmandu, Nepal, and behind a bar in Hua Hin, Thailand, when funds ran short. Just about everything I earned I spent in situ. Talk about a circular economy. Here are some rhetorical questions for begpackers to mull over. How many people in Hong Kong – where official figures indicate 1.4 million people live in poverty – do you think have the wherewithal to waltz off abroad and attempt to rustle up some cash by subjecting passers-by to Careless Whisper off-key on an alto sax? What conclusions do you think they draw when they see you? Are you, grubby feet and sloppy posture notwithstanding, not acting in a similarly pompous vein to a pith-helmeted colonial official? Nobody begrudges you some time off. If you want to travel to Hong Kong or further afield, then earn some money and stick to a budget. I’m not in the market for the bracelet you say you made or the framed picture you Photoshopped. And FFS, do not sing.