Popular influencer and travel vlogger Nas Daily stirred controversy in Southeast Asia last week after he referred to the Indonesian island of Bali as “the whitest island” in Asia.
The Arab-Israeli content creator, whose real name is Nuseir Yassin, posted a video on Instagram on Feb. 8 showcasing Bali and its white residents.
Yassin, 31, asked his 3.9 million Instagram followers if Bali is “the Whitest Island in Asia.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It seems like every Western tourist in the world comes to live in Bali. Why? Now that I’m finally inside, I found the answer!” he wrote in the caption of his recent post, which has already garnered over 3.3 million views and 271,000 likes.
The content creator’s 1-minute-and-30-second video starts with him highlighting Bali’s white residents, emphasizing that “everywhere you go there are white people” on the Southeast Asian island.
Yassin ponders why they relocated to Bali, the “island that captured the western world’s attention.” He then shares a few reasons why he thinks they made the popular tourist destination their new home, listing “the nature,” “Indonesian hospitality,” “the [affordable] prices” and “scooters.”
On the natural environment in Bali, Yassin proclaims, “It’s stunning. Rice field after rice field. Everything around you is green!”
He then declares that Bali has “some of the best hotels in the world with the best Indonesian hospitality.”
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While discussing the prices in Bali, he says that “everything here is affordable… to white tourists, at least.”
Lastly, he mentions scooters, explaining that “it’s how everybody gets around. “No subway system, no buses, just scooter [sic] in green, beautiful rice fields.”
“No wonder so many white people and non-white people call this island their home,” Yassin says near the end of his viral video.
Several Instagram users were quick to express their outrage in the comment section of his post, with one user pointing out that Yassin’s video highlights gentrification.
“I love your content but I have a bit of a struggle with this one. Isn’t this moving of ‘white people’ affecting the locals? Thise [sic] seems like a video talking about gentrification without addressing it,” the Instagram user wrote.
“First I thought it was satire, then I expected a plot twist, and now I’m disappointed that you don’t mention any critical aspect of (white) tourism in Bali,” another user commented.
“Did you actually say ‘everything is affordable to white tourists at least’? Have you thought about why? Unfortunately Bali is the perfect example for inequality and how rich people live and enjoy their lives at the expense of others, in this case of local Balinese who have to work hard only to cover the essentials of daily life,” the user continued.
“Hope all those whites who work in Bali have working visa,” another user commented.
Another user pointed out that Yassin’s portrayal of Bali is “shallow,” explaining that Bali is not a village and that the filming locations in the travel vlogger’s video are “a few tourist-popular restaurants in Canggu” that “does not represent Bali as a whole.”
Despite the backlash, Indonesia’s tourism officials reportedly did not take issue with Yassin’s post. “I don’t see his video as a complaint or slandering Bali as many [netizens] have said,” Bali Tourism Agency Head Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun told Coconuts.
“In the video, he is flattering Bali, such as Bali greenery. This is actually good for the promotion of Bali tourism,” he said.
Yassin also clapped back at the negative messages his post has received, writing in the comment section:
“‘White people living in Bali angry at Brown man for telling the world white people live in Bali.’ Thank you all for the comments. I will make another video titled: ‘Let’s talk about race’ and I think it’ll be a great conversation for ALL of us to have.”
This is not the first time Yassin has angered people in Southeast Asia.