Tourists trooping through art galleries or across sites of scenic beauty while taking selfies is not a new phenomenon, but there’s a dangerous side to it. A Singaporean man has plunged to his death from a cliff while trying to take a selfie on an island off the coast of Bali.
Mohamed Aslam Shahul, 21, was killed after toppling backwards into the sea as he took a selfie during a holiday with eight friends at Sandy Bay Beach in Nusa Lembongan, the Guardian reported.
Aslam’s body was recovered from the sea and is being repatriated to Singapore.
News of his death coincided with another selfie-related incident in Russia, in which a 21-year-old woman found a 9mm automatic pistol in her Moscow office. The gun had been left behind by a security guard, who may now face charges. The woman apparently decided to pose for a selfie while pointing the gun at her head, a police spokesman told Interfax news agency.
While taking the selfie with one hand, the woman accidentally pressed the gun’s trigger with the other, shooting herself in the head. Her condition is listed as serious.
A couple of days before that, a Romanian teenager was electrocuted while attempting the “ultimate selfie” on top of a train carriage. Anna Ursu, 18, received 27,000 volts through her body when her leg touched a live wire, the Daily Mail reported. The voltage also blew a friend who was posing with her off the train.
Some selfie accidents and bad behaviour involve tourists. Visitors to Dachau concentration camp have drawn criticism for taking cheesy selfies in front of prisoner uniforms at the site of Nazi atrocities.
The Selfies at Serious Places tumblr account features one teenager grinning widely and giving the thumbs up sign at the holocaust memorial in Berlin. He later apologised profusely on the same account. Another tourist posted a selfie taken outside Chernobyl, site of a massive nuclear reactor accident, while a third wrote of his great disappointment at not being able to take a selfie with the embalmed body of Lenin inside Lenin’s Tomb in Red Square, Moscow.
Selfies are strictly forbidden in Lenin’s Tomb and visitors are required to show respect. All items capable of recording video or audio are prohibited inside the mausoleum and must be checked in a nearby building containing lockers.
In March this year, two American tourists aged 21 and 25 were arrested in Italy for carving their initials into Rome’s Colosseum and taking selfies of their handiwork.
Meanwhile, animal protection charity Care for the Wild International is urging tourists not to take selfies with wild animals. A growing number of such images, including popular “tiger selfies” taken in zoos, are surfacing online. Some men like using tiger images on their Tindr profiles, reportedly.
Written by Peter Needham