I blogged about my encounter with the author of Nas Daily (Nuseir Yassin) two and a half years ago, after I accidentally attended his meetup with fans in Bonifacio High Street. Read it here.
This time, I was invited to meet with him as one of the media people at the press con held just before his latest Philippine meetup at SM Aura Premier Mall's spacious Samsung Hall.
Photo above: James Deakin was the host and Alyne Tamir tossed out mini pillows to work up the crowd
In fact, there were so many people who wanted to attend the meet up that the organizer decided to split the two-hour meetup into two sessions, each for a group of about six hundred people.
Photo above: Nas received a portrait of himself from a fan
Same as two and a half years ago, Nas was friendly, straight-talking and humble. Many questions asked were also the same as those asked before, and the answers mostly remained the same, like when did he start Nas Daily (2015), where he got his inspirations (from the people he meets).
Two and a half years ago, he had 3 million followers on the social media. This time, he has 13 million. More people went to his meet up.
Last time, he was the only speaker. This time, his two travel companions, Agon Hare and Alyne Tamir (Nas' girl friend), also answered questions and interacted with the crowd.
Funny and awkward moments
One fan asked Nas when he was going to get married. He said probably never, in the full presence of his girl friend. Then the fan asked them to 'kiss'. Alyne thought the fan said 'kids', and jokingly replied, 'there is so much work just handling friends like you guys..'. They eventually did a peck in the cheek.
Another fan complimented Nas: "I really liked your video on Iran." Nas looked puzzled. "I never went to Iran." The other fans suggested that he meant North Korea.
Photo above: Nas' tongue needs air after too many interviews. He actually has updated his T-shirt. Last time he was here, the shirt says 32%. Quiz: Since the number has increased by 4% in 2.5 year, what his life expectancy is?
Nas explained why he came back to the Philippines. He was invited by the Department of Tourism to do another video on the Philippines. He decided to do one about efforts being made to reverse the environment damage done to the Philippines so that it will become cleaner and more beautiful. As he mentioned in his first visit, he does not see himself as a travel blogger.
A fan asked Nas whether he would consider slowing down. Nas answered that he told himself that he would probably only live to 40 years old, and this thought made him determined to get a lot done every day. He replied that the fan should consider picking up the pace of his life instead.
Will Nas visit the Philippines again?
I do not recall any one asking him that question. He will start his company in Singapore, this means he will not be living far from the Philippines.
I don't usually attend meetups, but Nas is not the usual celebrity. Nor is he a travel vlogger that just takes beautiful videos. He uses videos to give messages about social issues, so that people start thinking or discussing about those issues.
Since I noticed that many of his fans were young people, some of them were not even teenagers, after attending the meetup, I started watching some of his videos with our pre-teen daughter, in the hope that she will spend less time watching slapstick/funny/prankster videos. If that happens, this meetup with Nas would be the most well-spent time I had with a celebrity.
A special thanks to SM Aura Premier Mall for inviting me to the event, and informing us of the many efforts that it has put into supporting environmental sustainability. We did not know that it is the first mall to accept eco-bricks, but we have seen the herb garden that it maintains.