Recently, popular Facebook influencer Nuseir Yassin, more commonly known as NasDaily, visited Singapore and posted a number of videos showcasing some of the best parts of our little red dot. The vlogger, who is well known for travelling the world and posting one minute long videos daily introducing a country or interesting person or place to the rest of the world.
From talking to people and visiting obscure places, Nas created a wonderful narrative of Singapore that he then shared with the world using his videos.
However, he has created much controversy with one of his most recent videos on Singapore.
The four minute long video, which was published on 17 September, was entitled ‘The Almost Perfect Country’ and talked about how Singapore, in only 53 years, had managed to conquer many of the problems plaguing the world such as traffic congestion, environmental issues, pollution, racial harmony and more.
While Nas did spend most of the video raving about Singapore, he acknowledged that we still have problems such as inequality, high prices and too tight security. But the point of his video that Singapore is at least trying to fix it.
The problem came, however, when netizens accused the influencer of pairing up with the government to put out this video and promote Singapore. This was mostly because from the moment Nas announced his intention to come to Singapore, he was given a lot of access.
In fact, places like Mediacorp and the Singapore Sports Hub came together to provide places for Nas to host his fans and to film.
Nas was also granted access to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who was featured in the video.
The PM is seen walking with Nas in Gardens by The Bay and later, he says to the camera:
“Hi, I’m the Prime Minister. This is what we have been building in Singapore for 53 years and will be building it for many more years to come,”
This enraged netizens who felt that the videos were not authentic and were rather just more propaganda put out by the Singapore government.
In fact, Facebook group The Alternative View, issued a challenge to Nas that angered him enough to post his own scathing reply.
The Facebook group on Tuesday posted this challenge to Nas on their group:
Nuseir Yassin professes to be an authority on S’pore after spending only a few days here.
Now since he is so effusive in his praise of the country and Lee Hsien Loong, we invite him to walk the talk and take up citizenship.
But wait, don’t stay in a posh condo in town. Be like the majority of us:
1. Buy a resale HDB flat but with half the lease left.
2. Serve the full 2.5 years of National Service (not 2 years please) and no clerical jobs too.
3. Contribute the full 37% of his salary to CPF.
4. Visit only polyclinics and government hospitals (C class wards only please – provided he can wait up to 5-7 hours).
5. Take the MRT train every morning and evening during peak hours.
The post was enough to rile Nas up to reply to the challenge saying:
I have a better idea:
Why doesn’t everyone here try to live in the Middle East for a little bit?
Maybe live in Israel as an Arab Muslim like me and see how it’s like to be a second class citizen your entire life.
Try sleeping one night with rockets falling near your village and you can’t sleep because of sirens
Try living in a state of war every few years with all your neighbors.
Try having your options in your country limited simply because of how you are born (non Jew)
Try living at a place with 40% less of your current GDP Per Capita
That’s what I had to live. I’ll happily take your air conditioned public transportation over living in the Middle East.
One thing my travels have taught me is that a lot of people lack PERSPECTIVE. And in Singapore, too many people lack it.
I flew to Singapore from Papua New Guinea, on my own dime to promote my own beliefs. Now I’m in China making the same videos. I’ll happily take you along the ride and see how life is like outside of your bubble.
But to be honest, I would never hire you. I don’t work well with crybabies.
While it is true that no one really knows what went on between the Singapore government and NasDaily, it’s important to remember that as Singaporeans, we take a lot for granted. Yes, we have our issues. No country is without. But Nas was not wrong to say that we are pretty good at fixing problems that countries have been struggling with for many years. He was not wrong to say that we lead pretty good and safe lives in a clean and beautiful country.
Sometimes its easy to get caught up in all the things we see wrong in Singapore and often we forget that most other countries, even first world countries, have it much worse.
We are lucky to live where we do and that is really the purpose of Nas’s videos. To get us to see our country from the point of view of someone who has seen terrible countries and lived through horrible prejudices and who is looking at us as an ideal.
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