Social media star famed for his one-minute travel videos draws a bumper crowd in Singapore

Mr Nuseir Yassin, the man behind the popular channel Nas Daily, hosted his largest spontaneous meet-up with his online followers outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Aug 22, 2018.
Mr Nuseir Yassin, the man behind the popular channel Nas Daily, hosted his largest spontaneous meet-up with his online followers outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Aug 22, 2018.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Mr Yassin goes by the apt moniker "Nas", which is Arabic for "people", and stresses that he is not producing videos for the money.
Mr Yassin goes by the apt moniker "Nas", which is Arabic for "people", and stresses that he is not producing videos for the money. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
In his videos, he wears a T-shirt depicting a battery bar showing that 34 per cent of his life is complete.
In his videos, he wears a T-shirt depicting a battery bar showing that 34 per cent of his life is complete. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - A Palestinian-Israeli Harvard graduate has been travelling the world for the past 864 days, documenting experiences in different countries and uploading one-minute videos to his Facebook channel each day.

Mr Nuseir Yassin, 26, the man behind the popular channel Nas Daily, has pledged to rack up 1,000 days on the road - telling the stories of people from Malta to Turkey and now, Singapore.

On Wednesday (Aug 22), he hosted his largest spontaneous meet-up with his online followers, attracting at least 700 people to an area outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium on just a day's notice.

"I think a lot of people confuse what we do with fame or wanting fame, or wanting power, or wanting attention, which is not necessarily true," he said of his work. Rather, what keeps him going are the friendships he has made along the way.

Mr Yassin goes by the apt moniker "Nas", which is Arabic for "people", and stresses that he is not producing videos for the money.

"If I can change an opinion, that's all I want," he told The Straits Times. For example, some people may be afraid of visiting Turkey because they consider it dangerous, he added. "If I can change one person's opinion about Turkey being dangerous, I'm happy."

Realising a few years ago that he had lived close to a third of his life with many more things he still wanted to do, Mr Yassin saved US$60,000 (S$82,000) before quitting his US$120,000 a year software engineering job in the United States, where he worked for mobile payment service Venmo.

In his videos, he wears a T-shirt depicting a battery bar showing that 34 per cent of his life is complete.

Mr Yassin generates average revenue of US$80,000 a month now - half from Facebook advertisements available on four long videos and the rest from brand deals that he accepts.

Singapore has certainly struck a chord with Mr Yassin, who avoids making videos about the "touristy" aspects of countries or delving into political issues.

He rattled off a list of highlights, including Kampung Lorong Buangkok, the high Certificate of Entitlement prices for cars and ministerial salaries.

Mr Yassin has been to Singapore five times - previously only transiting in the airport - but decided to stay for a week while applying for a visa to Indonesia.

"I've hosted meet-ups in 40 countries or so, but this was the hardest," he said.

Mr Yassin, who does not generally apply for permits in advance for gatherings, wanted to host it at Esplanade Park before eventually getting permission to do so at the Singapore Sports Hub instead. He answered questions for 90 minutes about himself and asked the crowd about their country.

The social media star has about 7.6 million followers on Facebook and often clocks over a million views for his videos.

Among his most-watched productions is one on the shrinking of the Dead Sea, which was seen close to 70 million times on Facebook. He has also attempted to shed light on topics such as the high cost of living in Israel, where he was raised.

He said he hopes to start a media company of his own after his 1,000-day odyssey ends.

His meet-up on Wednesday attracted a mix of curious onlookers, including Singapore Institute of Technology undergraduate Avneet Singh, who happened to be in the area when he realised the meet-up was taking place.

"He shares about different traditions around the world, and it's pretty engaging. It's like Discovery Channel in a minute," said the 23-year-old, who started following Nas Daily online last year.

Mr Hendric Tay, 30, who also left his job several years ago and eventually co-founded a media platform specialising in travel content - The Travel Intern - said: "As a fellow content creator, I was curious as to how someone like Nas goes around organising events like today's.

"Nas likes to tell human-centric stories. Sometimes, he simplifies things, but it helps people who are not exposed to different ideas and cultures to get a taste of what things are like elsewhere in the world."