CHONBURI — Posing against a tin shack in street fashion attire, lip piercings, and anime-style dyed hair, a young Cambodian construction worker lipsyncs to Thai, Laotian, and Cambodian songs.
Meet “Kaew,” the top trending star on TikTok right now. His account, @Sartsart555, has skyrocketed to viral fame since he posted a video Monday of himself lipsyncing to a Vietnamese singer’s Thai version of his hit. Yes, we’re as confused as you are.
Kaew currently has more than 1.9 million followers on his TikTok. He first joined the social media app in April 2020, his schtick mostly consists of himself lipsyncing to Thai songs, K-pop hits, as well as pop songs from the ASEAN region.
But perhaps the most eye-catching thing about his video is the humble setup. Most of his videos are filmed against a corrugated tin wall, commonly seen in housing quarters of migrant workers and low-income communities in Thailand.
Kaew is able to speak some Thai, to the endearment of netizens – especially because he uses the pronoun “nhoo,” often used by children or younger women.
Kaew’s manager said by phone Wednesday that Kaew is still doing labor and construction jobs in Thailand, but is also able to supplement his income by reviewing products like whitening soap on TikTok.
His largest following is in Thailand, as well as in Cambodia, the manager said, who declined to give Kaew’s full name.
Kaew’s videos usually get a few hundred thousand or even a few million views – but his lipsync of MasterD’s “4D” song has gained him a whopping 21.8 million views, and counting.
MasterD, or Quang Hung, is a Vietnamese singer. He released his “4D” song in the original Vietnamese on Nov. 1. On Feb. 13, he released a Thai version of the song, which many Thais complemented for his relatively accurate pronunciation. The song currently has more than 3.5 million views on YouTube.
“He was so determined in practicing a foreign language so he could sing for us Thai fans. This song makes me so happy,” user Jariya Junson commented on YouTube. “This is the kind of artist that should be supported.”
Kaew can also be followed on Facebook.