A fundraising campaign has launched to raise 100 million riels for famous Chapei performer Master Kong Nay, who is battling old age and poor health.
On Tuesday, talent management company Baramey Production said on its Facebook page that Nay has struggled with long-term illness and, although his health has shown signs of improvement, he is still not strong enough to travel and perform.
Nay, who is in his late-70s, featured in the viral video ‘Time to Rise’ with rapping sensation VannDa. This week, the video made the record books when it hit 100 million views, becoming the first Cambodian music video to reach such a high audience on online music platform YouTube.
“In return for Kong Nay, we have launched a 100 million Riel “Rise for Master Kong Nay” campaign to raise funds to alleviate Kong Nay's medical expenses and daily living expenses,” Baramey said. It added that the campaign will run until November 25.
Contacted by telephone on Wednesday, Nay briefly said his health has not improved. “I am still the same, not better,” he told Kiripost.
Commenting on the 100 million view milestone, VannDa said on a Facebook post on Tuesday, “Time to Rise is like a mirror that reflects the conservation and development of the national heritage, and can make many people in and around the world know about Khmer art with respect.”
The milestone comes as calls have been made for artists to cease stealing other people’s work as a way of moving forward for the industry to sustainably survive.
Musician Arn Chorn-Pond, founder of Cambodian Living Arts, on Tuesday also called for companies to invest more money in original works.
Chorn-Pond compared Nay to American musician Ray Charles Robinson Sr and said he helped VannDa’s music to reach this level.
“What is unique in the video is Kong Nay,” he said. “The world has never known or heard of Kong Nay. He is the video and he helps VannDa,” Chorn Pond said.