They have travelled from different cities and provinces to get a chance to be healed by Ray Rong, a resident of Prey Veng’s Svay Chrum village. Rong is known far and wide as one of the best healers in the area, and the blessing water and herbal medicines he gives to patients are claimed to defeat a hundred different kinds of diseases. Many other traditional healers proffer the same goods, but there’s one important difference: Rong is only three years old.
Still too young to speak clearly, Ray Rong is the third child of five to Tep Saray and Un Saroeurn, a pair of impoverished farmers.
In the last couple of months, the boy has risen to fame on the back of claims that he has healed hundreds of people. Every day, at least two hundred patients, including some from across the border of nearby Vietnam, wait outside his house to get blessed water and medicine. Some of Rong’s patients travel hundreds of kilometres and spend several nights sleeping near the toddler’s house in the hopes of getting a chance to meet him.
Tip: Fortean Times
Way over here, far outside, it’s easy to see a different story. The pilgrims bring gifts to Ray Rong (recall his family lives in poverty), a definite bonus. The woman who claims her blood sugar level was fixed by Rong was also given figs, possibly the cause of the sugar to be corrected but claims of spontaneous healing are not reliable. Nothing is measured, this is all based on people saying they are healed. Medically, it means nothing. But people are desperate for a cure of their ills. When they receive something they think is magical, they feel better. Placebo at work.
But the situation is not going well for the child, having to work so much. The family is not pleased but are still allowing the patients to “get holy water touched by the holy doctor.”