Australian social media influencer, Luke Erwin, has bought his series of ‘kindness’ videos to Bali. The content creator is something of a controversial figure, as many online condemn the decision to donate money in such a public way. During his current trip to Bali, Erwin has endeavored to highlight the discrepancy between the cost of tourists’ stays on the island and how much local staff get paid for their generous hospitality.
Videos of ‘random acts of kindness’ are often met by trolls and cynics online. Many viewers are of the opinion that giving someone a comparatively huge amount of money, filming yourself doing so, and mostly without the consent of the recipient, is both degrading to the other person and a gross gesture of virtue signaling by the creator. While others see the views as a much-needed reminder to be humble and generous in a world of unfairness and hardship.
@lukeerwintv This beautiful girl was one of the hardest workers I have ever met she had to be rewarded 🙏🏻 #bali #indonesia #wholesome #help #support #love ♬ Get You The Moon – Kina
Erwin is no stranger to both the praise and the criticism. Raking up over 15.6 million likes on TikTok and 107k followers on Instagram, he is certainly creating content that pleases the algorithms. In a video shared over the weekend, Erwin gives a waitress in Bali an IDR 1 million tip after she explains to him how much she gets paid.
She shared that she gets paid IDR 100,000 a day which is around AUD 10. At this point, Erwin brings out a million Indonesian Rupiah in cash and tries to hand it over to her. The waitress, although grateful for his tip, declines and declines his offer again, appearing embarrassed, shy, and awkward with the exchange.
@lukeerwintv This man deserves everything beautiful to happen to him every time I seen him over the last few days he was just constantly working what an amazing person 🙏🏻 #bali #indonesia #wholesome #help #support #balinese #money ♬ Get You The Moon – Kina
Viewers did not hold back on their discomfort at seeing Erwin’s video. One viewer wrote, “Yeah let’s exploit this for views by giving her $100 and adding a sad tune to it”. So sad. Guys like you prey on the poorer people just for clicks and clout. You gave her eff all and will gain more from exploitation of her.”
Others echoed this sentiment. One wrote, “Doing this for all the wrong reasons and rubbing it in the faces of the locals, your intentions are all wrong. How much do you get paid? Rude isn’t it?”. While another said, “Shame you can’t do good without the cameras rolling. You only do it so it makes you more money in your pocket”.
In another video shared over the weekend, Erwin tracks down a gardener at the hotel he is staying at. Finding him sweeping leaves from the roof, he climbs a ladder to give the groundsman another cash handout. While many dislike his approach, just as many people share how they feel inspired by his content.
One viewer on Instagram wrote, “I love all your new content puts a smile on my face daily keep paying it forward brother may good karma come back your way”.
Another shared their love of the Balinese culture competing “They are the most genuine people on earth honestly, I lived in Bali for 6 months and wish I had more money to give cause they deserve the world”. Others defend Erwin’s decision to film his interactions. A viewer on TikTok wrote, “So people say do it without the camera? But his content allows him to help even MORE people! Look at her face!! Amazing person she is so grateful”.
Luke Erwin is not the only kindness influencer to have visited Bali this year. In August, Zachery Dereniowski posted serval videos of his interactions with local people, each ending in a cash donation. Dereniowski’s videos were met with equally mixed feelings. Much like Erwin, Dereniowski’s mission is ‘trying to make kindness cool’ he too posts dozens of videos a week and has amassed over 1.8 million followers on Instagram alone.
In one viral video, Dereniowski pretended to have injured his ankle and had no money to buy a cold drink at a beachside stall in southern Bali. The cafe owner generously offered him a free drink, moments later, he revolved his rouse and gave Ibu Oka an overwhelming IDR 5 million.
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