Not even the pouring morning rain or controversy over permits could deter a reported 2,000 fans of vlogger Nuseir Yassin, more commonly known as Nas Daily, from turning up at the Botanic Gardens on Saturday to meet him in the flesh.
Nuseir was at the event to conduct his first meetup after moving to the country on an entrepreneur pass to set up his video company and hire talent here.
Photos and videos he shared through Instagram Stories showed fans wearing raincoats and seating on the grass surrounding a stage set-up.
“We win,” said Nuseir. “2,000 people strong. Even when it rained before.”
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According to a post by The Online Citizen, the meetup was also open to Malaysians who wanted to visit Nusier as he is not able to cross the Causeway due to his Israeli passport.
On late Friday, the police released a statement stating that Nuseir did not require a permit to organize his event as it was not an event that publicized a certain cause.
“It is a meet-and-greet event involving a media celebrity with his fans, and such events can be held outside of Speaker’s Corner without a permit,” said the spokesperson according to a report by The Straits Times.
The spokesperson also noted that some people have reportedly claimed that there were supposed double-standards applied in permit-granting affairs.
“These allegations which suggest that the police have been biased and shown favoritism are untrue and baseless, and maliciously seek to undermine confidence in public institutions,” said the spokesperson according to CNA.
The meetup was placed under intense scrutiny by watchdogs who were puzzled that Nusier was given free rein for his meetup when other meetups were being investigated as illegal assemblies.
Kirsten Han, editor-in-chief of sociopolitical site New Naratif, wrote in a blogpost that as Nusier fell in love with Singapore, local activist Jolovan Wham was under investigation for conducting an indoor forum on civil disobedience which has been marked as an illegal assembly.
“(Organising meetups) are all activities that Nas can and should be able to do. The issue is who isn’t allowed to do these things,” said Kirsten.
She later clarified in a Facebook post on Saturday that she supports Nuseir’s right to be enthusiastic about the Singapore government “but he, and others with similar rhetoric, should not be the only ones able to operate so freely and openly”.
A 2013 post by playwright Alfian Sa’at was also recently made viral again in relations to Nusier’s meetup, where Alfian’s application for a permit to hold a one-person “Support for the PAP” event for the ruling People’s Action Party was rejected.