Singer Trọng Tấn is one of the nation’s top male vocalists, a leading singer of revolution-themed songs and a lecturer at the Việt Nam Academy of Music. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped him launching a charity fund called Tình Nghệ Sĩ (Love from Artists) to engage more artists nationwide in social works. He talks to Minh Thu about the plan.
Why did you launch the charitable fund?
Once, my family and I watched the news on TV together and heard about the 'rice ATM' in Hà Nội. It’s a good idea to dispense rice and hope to needy people. My wife asked me where the rice ATMs are. Then my daughter asked my wife why she wanted to know and if she wanted to go there to get rice for our meals. We smiled and explained that we want to donate rice, actually. My daughter suggested establishing a similar machine. So, that’s how the idea of giving rice to poor people came to my mind.
I contacted my close friends who are famous singers in the patriotic music genre, Lê Anh Dũng, Lương Nguyệt Anh, Lương Hải Yến, Đinh Hiền Anh and Đăng Dương. They encouraged me then we teamed up to buy rice and find needy people to give it to.
After a month, we have had 20 tonnes of rice and helped many people in Hà Nội and neighbouring provinces. We asked other friends then the fund was founded as we want to go further and help not only people who have been impacted by the pandemic.
Can you tell us some more about your efforts?
We co-ordinated with local governments to reach people who are really in need. I believe the local authorities know best about the people in their region. For example, when we worked with Thanh Xuân District’s People’s Committee, local authorities made a list of poor households living in the district and sent invitations to them to get rice. It helped the gifts go to people who are really needy. They don’t need to line in a long queue to receive rice. That also prevented the spread of the virus as we didn’t make a crowd.
What impact has doing this charity work made on you and your friends?
It’s really meaningful work that we are eager to do. We are artists, the songs we sing can be compared to flowers that beautify life and entertain people. Due to the pandemic, we can’t perform anymore. But our work must still improve life and make people happier. Though the gift is not big, it’s still valuable because it comes to people when they are in need, it shows sharing and caring between people. I believe that’s the biggest value of the fund.
Last week, we went to Ba Vì Commune, 60km from the city centre, to help Dao ethnic people there. Normally they earn a living by growing and selling herbal medicines and go to the forest to collect the herbs. The lockdown stopped them from trading and entering the forest. So life became more difficult. Thanks to the local government, we reached 39 poor households in the region.
We were all moved to visit Nguyễn Thị Nhâm, 43, a Dao woman living with her 12-year-old son. There is nothing valuable in their house, just a creaky bed, a cracked mirror and a torn blanket. We talked to her for a while and sympathised with her hardship. And there are many people like her out there. We want to help more and more.
How has the pandemic influenced your life?
Well, I can’t perform and go to the university. I still give lectures online, however, it’s not useful in teaching music.
Apart from this harm, I must admit that social distancing gave me a chance to stay with my family. I had more time to play with and talk to my children. We played music and sang together. It was valuable family time.
What do you have planned for the fund?
We have many more artists to get involved in the fund’s activities. Now we have diva Thanh Lam, singers Tuấn Cường, Đinh Hiền Anh, Thanh Tâm, Bùi Lê Mận, Việt Hoàn and Tấn Minh.
We are planning to organise a live concert to raise money for the fund. It will be held soon when life returns to normality. We will not stop at giving rice for victims of the pandemic. We will maintain the fund to help other people throughout the country. VNS