The invasion has been underway for years. The toxic pests have been infiltrating in ever increasing numbers and there seems to be no respite. They are loud, obnoxious and very, very rude travellers and they’re getting worse. Usually, those three adjectives are reserved for Americans — but no, I’m talking about Australian businessmen.


I travel around Asia quite extensively and see these guys constantly. Airports, hotels, restaurants, bars, you name it, they are infecting everywhere.

A few examples, some of these very important businessmen are unbelievably loud on mobile phones, because everybody in a hotel lounge is totally fascinated and impressed by their riveting, very important business conversations.

Then there’s the patronising and condescending attitude to staff (surprisingly, the words “thank you” are globally understood and appreciated when a waiter puts a drink in front of you). Grunts? Not so much. Or to the other extreme, blatantly and crassly hitting on the staff (as though these usually porky and balding lecherous lotharios would actually have a chance — quite pathetic).

I encountered some other examples recently, a pack of bogan business yobs were in a crowded hotel lobby using obscene Sunday-arvo-at-the-footy-with-the-boys language. I’m no prude, but time and place etc. Also, another mob turned up to a rather nice hotel restaurant in shorts and thongs. Does the word “shoes” mean anything to you?

I’m no psychologist, so I don’t quite know why this ugly behaviour manifests itself, a falsely inflated sense of importance or an underlying hint of racism? It would be interesting to see if these guys were the same at home.

I’m obviously not saying all Australian business types are like this, but seriously, when you come across these guys channelling Sir Les Patterson from 1972, you cringe that you share the same passport.

For years, some holidaying Aussies have been living the cliché in sweaty, alcohol-soaked, heaving hubs of humanity like the bars of Kuta in Bali and among the ping pong aficionados in Bangkok’s Patpong. Unfortunately, these charactertures are encroaching into the high end of town.

Over thirty years ago Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew warned that Australia was in danger of becoming the “poor white trash of Asia”. He was talking at the time about the economy, but continually coming across these boorish Aussie yobs, he might have been on to something.

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    • nihonin says:

      06:05am | 22/08/12

      Hope the air up there on your pedestal doesn’t get much thinner Steve.

    • acotrel says:

      07:29am | 22/08/12

      All the bogans seem to think they are alright !

    • James says:

      08:09am | 22/08/12

      Where does the Punch get these writers from? Racism? God help me, is that the new Australian catchcry for everything these days?

      I’ve lived in HK for six years and I don’t think i’ve ever seen it once, not in Wan Chai or Central and certainly not in Tsim Sha Tsui. Nor have I ever seen it in Pattya either for that matter.

    • nihonin says:

      08:27am | 22/08/12

      Same for you acotrel, hope it isn’t too far for you to fall when you eventually do.

    • acotrel says:

      08:53am | 22/08/12

      @nihonin
      Ever been overseas?  If you are a bit thick you might not pick up on the vibes when the locals encounter Australians.  But at least we are not hated like the Americans. On the tours they only venture out in large groups. It was funny when Obama was elected. -  I was in Greece with my wife, and the Yanks actually became popular with the locals for a minute, but they did not know it.

    • nihonin says:

      09:09am | 22/08/12

      I have indeed acotrel, but I don’t tend to stay in ‘bogan’ havens, i pay a little extra and have an enjoyable holiday.

    • Jeremy says:

      01:38pm | 22/08/12

      @ Acotrel - Having traveled extensively through Asia, Africa and for a time lived in Sichuan, I can tell you that Australians and, even more so, Americans are very popular almost everywhere I know. The only times I’ve seen people instantly dislike someone for their nationality was towards French people, in Korea, China, Mongolia and Rwanda.

    • Little Joe says:

      07:05am | 22/08/12

      Wow!!! And I thought that the ‘toxic pests’ were the prima donna, metrosexuals who walked around town wearing hair products, tattooed arms sleeves and reflective ‘Top Gun’ sunglasses.

      They have even invaded our Australian Cricket Team!!! ARGH!!!!

      I am sure that the new Selection Process for the Australian Cricket Team is as follows -

      1. Must look good with shirt off
      2. Must be willing to be photographed wearing only underwear.
      3. Despite having a Low BMI, you must partake in food advertising that has a high probability of increasing the BMI of persons consuming that product.
      4. Must have reflective slimline sunglasses or be willing to buy a pair.
      5. Must have a sleeve tattoo or be willing to get one.
      6. Must have own Twitter Account with more than 100,000 followers or have one within 14-days of signing the ACB contract
      7. Preference is given to applicants who wear hair products or get streaks.
      8. Preference is given to residents of NSW.
      9. Must be capable of not being too embarrassed when playing the worst cricket nations on Earth.

    • Peturabo says:

      09:47am | 22/08/12

      You just described the modern cashed up bogan…... Metro’s are something else…...

    • M says:

      11:28am | 22/08/12

      Where do I sign up??

    • taxed citizen says:

      07:15am | 22/08/12

      we have the same yobo breed in our country : once I was confronted by middle eastern looking gentleman who came out of his toyota with a bottle to discuss my alleged driving mistakes.
      And another time a Pakistani?indian?  gentleman called me cheap white trash , as I came out of my car because he tought I was talking about his driving skills with my wife then he hit me in the glasses . He was verly lucky she was with me then and did not want to let my fists fly..

    • acotrel says:

      07:26am | 22/08/12

      It is delusion born out of parochialism and nationalist bullshit ! And do they really believe that the rest of the world doesn’t know what it is looking at ?

    • James says:

      08:18am | 22/08/12

      The oh so ever predictable bore is back

    • M says:

      09:42am | 22/08/12

      You guys really should give him a little credit sometime. Apart from the fact that he’s a lunatic leftie, he strikes me as a reasonable bloke.

    • Babs says:

      11:20am | 22/08/12

      Acotrel - I agree. A lot of Australians (male and female) don’t even understand how crass and intrusive their behaviour is. I guess Mum and Dad didn’t teach them any manners because no-one taught them either and self-reflection isn’t a strong suit (see various comments above).

    • Michael says:

      11:25am | 22/08/12

      M, that would suggest the employment of objective reasoning when considering things. If a thing makes sense from only one point of view it may be considered unreasonable by some, ie the ones not fixed in that point of view.

      Subjectively objective? lol

    • Michael says:

      11:28am | 22/08/12

      M, that would suggest the employment of objective reasoning when considering things. If a thing makes sense from only one point of view it may be considered unreasonable by some, ie the ones not fixed in that point of view.

      Subjectively objective? lol

    • Little Joe says:

      11:50am | 22/08/12

      @ M

      Acotrel is a reasonable bloke and, I believe, a good dad. Excellent qualities!!

      Yes his is also a lunatic from the left but he tends to be subdued when you can provide reasonable argument with appropriate evidence.

      Ps. Acotrel, I hope your boy is recovering.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:32am | 22/08/12

      In a stunning development, people behave badly when they think there are no consequences to their actions.  More at eight!!

    • ByStealth says:

      10:51am | 22/08/12

      So much of human behaviour can be learned by watching those without consequence.

      Wanky quote of the day:

      I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law. - Aristotle

    • Paddy K says:

      07:46am | 22/08/12

      Sounds like someone’s jealous.

    • Rhubarb lover says:

      07:55am | 22/08/12

      Good article Steve. There have always been a few but I too have noticed an increase in the prevalence of people who harm our reputation abroad. Subtlety (particularly in Asia), respect, courtesy and keeping the volume down are behaviors that many of these people need to dial up.

    • ronny jonny says:

      08:35am | 22/08/12

      Subltey? ha! Ever sat in a room full of Asians eating lunch? Disgusting. Don’t worry about our manners, they could do a with a few lessons starting with Do Not Spit On the Floor During Lunch. Then there’s Eat With Mouth Closed and Please Don’t Shout While Eating. Oh and, Don’t Spit Chicken Bones on the Table. Then there’s Stop Throwing Your Rubbish Everywhere.
      Every nation has it’s pigs and louts, Asians no less than anyone else. Ususally though if it isn’t white people doing it, it’s cultural and we have to respect them. If it’s white men they are just being pigs.

    • Borderer says:

      09:18am | 22/08/12

      ronny jonny
      Pretty much spot on, we also don’t have a caste system, have you ever seen two people from two different castes interact?
      The Australian businessmen Steve is referring to are most likely the guys who have started their own business, as a plant operator or on the tools and expanded their operations till they have become strictly managerial. These guys are for the most part self made blokes who haven’t really evolved since they were ordinary workers, at least not socially. They may be a bit boorish, and that offends Steve’s delicate sensibilities but they are also likely to be genuine honest blokes who stick by their mates through thick and thin, a quality that their polished contempories may lack.

    • Jack says:

      09:45am | 22/08/12

      Wow, Borderer, those are alot of random assertions you have made about the upbringing, background and innate character traits of a vaguely defined group of people that you haven’t met.

      But please, continue regaling us with your rags-to-riches, battler-with-a-heart-of-gold, blue-collar-blokes-are-decent-hardworkin-aussie-fambalies tales. See if you can work the word ‘mateship’ in there, too.

    • Borderer says:

      12:42pm | 22/08/12

      Jack,
      Sure buddy, I work in the mining support services industry so I actually have experience with these guys.
      There are plenty of blokes out there who started businesses from the tools on up, Lindsey Fox for one. They don’t have to be as high profile as him, there are plenty of guys who own mechanical service, trucking, crane rental and cleaning businesses that all started on the front line. These kind of guys never really change from their early days and they do come accross as crass. The mining boom has created plenty of millionares, I know because I’ve met them, have you? I guess being a know it all and posting smug comments takes up all your free time.
      I remember meeting one guy in Perth, he owned a drilling company, I met with him to sign a lease, me in my suit, him in a pair of tattered work pants, scuffed boots and well worn bomber jacket, he looked like he’d stepped out of a truck cab and yet his business turned over about 50mil a year. The property he was leasing us was worth about 3mil at the time as a vacant block of land that he wasn’t using for anything in particular, the property he ran his business from was worth about 30mil and he owned the lot. Was he rude, certainly not, would his appearance offend the delicate sensibilities of people like the writer of the article, quite likely. Do these guys have mates, sure, are they loyal to them, absolutely. Being rich doesn’t make you a throat cutting sociopath, nor does it make you classy or sophisticated, it means you have more money. Like being poor doesn’t make you a blokey bloke, a generous soul etc. it means you just have less money, the mining has made plenty of otherwise ordinary people rich, look at Mr Tinkler.

    • Jack says:

      02:12pm | 22/08/12

      What, you mean sometimes poor people become right people?! Astounding.  Thankyou for drawing this breaking news to my attention.

      My point, which seems to have sailed over your head, is that ascribing a whole range of character traits to people the article described based on some random battler stereotype of ‘blue collar = good bloke who is down to earth and cares about his mates’ is retarded.

    • Arnold Layne says:

      08:11am | 22/08/12

      Any coincidence that this article is below the one about Nine.  Gyngell’s behaviour at the press conference yesterday summed all of this up.  If that’s the model to aspire to, is it any wonder others follow?

    • Greg says:

      08:48am | 22/08/12

      Large parts of asia are usually hot and humid, yes?

      whats wrong with shorts and thongs? why make yourself uncomfortable? who cares how nice the hotel is.

    • iansand says:

      09:02am | 22/08/12

      And large parts of the south Asian populace seem to wear thongs and shorts.

    • MD says:

      09:02am | 22/08/12

      Rude people are rude, no matter where they’re from.

      But if you really feel that guilty amount being an australian male, by all means write more articles like this

    • Bee says:

      09:33am | 22/08/12

      I know the type. They aren’t just like that in Asia. Try working in customer service in Australia, exactly the same. That’s not saying racism doesn’t come into it, just that these guys have a sense of entitlement and being lords of all creation. Seeing as their inherent personal qualities don’t justify this amazing egocentricty, self-love, and completel lack of humility, this sense of entitlement must come from somewhere else. Systemic, maybe?

    • Bolts says:

      09:33am | 22/08/12

      Sounds like someone has had a bad trip recently (or did you unwittingly book a business conference hotel for a holiday?)

      After 20 years to date of business travel in North and South Asia I have to disagree. Totally the same statistical mix of random douche bags of all nationalities in airline lounges and hotel lobbies now as there was back when I started.  Travel – for business or pleasure – brings out the best and worst in some people.

    • Retired Soldier says:

      09:36am | 22/08/12

      The article is correct. Those who are trying to deny the “new money Australian Bogan” are deluding themselves. Just visit any Qantas Club Lounge, upmarket hotel or restaurant and you will see these people everywhere. Whilst they might have the “new money” , they do have the manners or nouse to convince others that they know how to behave like people who are used to a higher standard of living. Their “partners” and offspring make it even worse because they lack any form of social grace and good behaviour - at least the average American has a reasonable education and vocabulary ( cannot say that for the average Aussie) but are often mistaken by Australians as being rude when in fact they are being assertive when requesting proper service - something we are clearly unable to provide in this country. The cheap airlines and “family friendly resorts”  both locally and foreign have contributed to much of the Bogan tag we Australians now have as they encourage the wannabes to pretend they are international big spenders. This of course forces the rest of us to spend more money on Business Class airfares and upmarket overseas resorts. In other words we will spend more money to avoid them by holidaying in places they can never afford or with management that will not tolerate their poor behaviour. Well done on your story and there should be more like it. It is time to teach these morons some manners.

    • M says:

      10:31am | 22/08/12

      I’m not as precious as you. I embrace my inner bogan.

    • Old Cobber says:

      11:44am | 22/08/12

      Retired Soldier???.  Fair Dinkum, sounds more like some shiny-arsed chinless wonder pencil pushing at H.Q!  Ever fired a shot,Son?  Man up and salute that great Diplomat,Ambassador to the Vatican and U.K, Sportsman and Australian Idol—-Sir Les Patterson.  A study of his exemplary career must be part of the Gonski curriculum and the Author would be better served to agitate in the campaign to install Sir Les Patterson as the Govenor General of this great land.

    • TracyH says:

      11:46am | 22/08/12

      “at least the average American has a reasonable education and vocabulary”. The US falls way below educational standards and outcomes of all western nations, and in particular, Australia. 

      I agree about poor service…but in the US, the workers are paid so low, they must be excrutiatingly courteous when serving their ‘betters’...it’s nothing to do with their manners, and everything to do with their survival.

      Overall, though, I am in full agreement about lack of manners, where ever it occurs, and by whatever ‘social class’ it stems from.

    • marley says:

      12:22pm | 22/08/12

      @TracyH - “The US falls way below educational standards and outcomes of all western nations, and in particular, Australia.  ”  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  The US ranks behind Australia, but it ranks well ahead of quite a number of western countries in reading and science. 

      And my own experience abroad has been that the most disliked tourists, at least in Europe, are not the Americans but the British. The Americans do not get into the kind of drunken antics that the Brits do in Europe (or, for that matter, that the Australians do in Asia and the Pacific).

    • I hate pies says:

      10:04am | 22/08/12

      Sounds like a reflection of Australian society in general at the moment. We are quickly becoming the most self-centred entitled country on earth.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      10:38am | 22/08/12

      Spot on mate. Following America sadly.

    • Chris L says:

      11:06am | 22/08/12

      I agree with Pies.

      It feels strange.

    • George says:

      11:26am | 22/08/12

      Les is a good bloke, I’d rather more Les’s than self entitled soccer mums and country road tossers in 4WDs.

      Back to the good old days now!

      You should see how ugly a lot of the rich people are, the so called “classy” people. Talk about being a bloodless c$#1!

    • Wickerman says:

      11:46am | 22/08/12

      Oh no the humanity! Sure no excuse for bad manners, but you are showing your elitist condescending arrogance, e.g.
      “Unfortunately, these charactertures are encroaching into the high end of town”
      What I find annoying is when opinions like in this article are raised i.e. stupid white male Australians, it OK for the writer to stereotype. But if an article said stupid yellow female Asians or black people are…., then the wailing & condemnation would be massive. Hypocrites

    • Scotchfinger says:

      01:13pm | 22/08/12

      what I find annoying is when people post ‘amusingly ironic quotes from iconic televised events or shows’ as a substitute for a witty and original response. By all means divorce the horrific death of hundreds of people from an airborne inferno, from your cleverly sarcastic opening statement. Followed by some sort of martyred rant about rednecks getting a raw deal. Please, do go on.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      11:59am | 22/08/12

      This is bit of a strange article. The worst the author could come up with was talking loud on the phone?

      Every country has its sore points. America loud and USA! USA!, Russian rude and inconsiderate, Chinese dirty and pushy etc.

      The problem has been made worse by the Jetsar bogan and unfortunately for us the closet cities to Asia are Perth, Darwin and Brisbane, not exactly Australia’s classiest cities.

      One thing that is good about Aussies when we travel is we know how to queue and do have a general level of politeness if you exclude Bali.

    • macca says:

      12:22pm | 22/08/12

      mining boom

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      12:42pm | 22/08/12

      Wear the hat that suits the climate.

      I’m somewhere that I don’t want those people riding boats to here. Curt, overbearing and oppressing ( “I’m frum New Zillund ‘Australias full of really nasty racists. Too many foreigners murdered there.) I’m too nice to be Australian.”

      Approached by someone I don’t want contact with: Smile, ” No spik ingrish.” (Including Gold Coast time share pushers.)

      Places where I like the people: Very polite, kind and generous.

      But I never wear sun glasses indoors like wankers that think they are cool dudes.

    • James says:

      01:04pm | 22/08/12

      Someone sounds like a bit of a wanker.

    • Terrence Smythe says:

      02:09pm | 22/08/12

      I am an extrremely important business man with an adequate share portfolio and I see nothing wrong in the way I carry myself, despite this offensive and stereotypical article. I am always meeting clients and I must be well polished and efficient, even when on holidays. I apologise to those I may have annoyed in the past with my business calls by the pool, but the world stops for no one. It must be run, and run by the likes of me. I have a diploma.

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      02:28pm | 22/08/12

      Another day and another chance for our betters such as Steve to vent against the lower orders and their plebeian manners. Perhaps the plebs should be banned from travel in case they offend Steve and other like minded people.  I think for the unintelligent observer the bad behaviours stand out – it is a stretch to observe the far more numerous and unnoticed inoffensive behaviours.

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      03:01pm | 22/08/12

      Mr. Smythe:

      So you’re the bastard running (ruining) the world.

      And all this time everyone has been blaming politicians.

      I note the extra ‘r’  in extrRemely. Too many R’s-holes running things.

      Strut while you can. Time, like the world, stops for no one. 

      One morning you will wake up and discover, like I did, that all the people who know your importance and value and seek your skills and opinions, are dead.

      Don’t worry though. The world needs feather dusters.

      By the way,  I have a diploma also. As far as paper is concerned, sorbent is of greater value.

    • chuck says:

      04:24pm | 22/08/12

      Australian businessmen must be an endangered species by now unless you are referring to the new breed of middle men channeling cheap imports made by $ 1/day labourers for $30 here. Perhaps the dressing in shorts, thongs is an attempt to mix it with the boys and gals on the shop floor irregardless of the cultural sensitivities of either the country or hosts that they are in or dealing with.

      My Chinese friends tell me that most Oz business men lack long term planning and are only interested in short term gain which I expect is unfortunately reflected in todays manufacturing miasma.

      When I hear a loud voice overseas either Oz or Yank I head for the nearest exit ! Fortunately I can’t understand German but I do experience the same need to be elsewhere.

 

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