KOTA KINABALU April 23, 2012: The giant clams of Sabah may soon have their own ambassador appointed in the person of the world renowned singer Ronan Keating.
“Maybe this is something I can be an ambassador for globally. Sting has the rainforest, maybe I have the giant clams,” said Keating, of Boy Zone fame, during a press conference held at the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) yesterday.
The celebrity said he would like to use his voice to assist in creating an awareness and to spread the word and message around globally as well as to inform the people back in his home in Ireland, the United Kingdom and in Europe of the plight facing the giant clams in Sabah.
Keating expressed his liking to do so “because the community back home’ do not know that the clams are becoming extinct.”
“We really don’t know. That message is not spread at home. I would like to learn and take that message back. I hope others will follow suit, and other people of my situation can do the same,” he said.
The Irish singer arrived here on April 20 and will leave today. During his stay here, he will assist MERC to spread its awareness campaign on the preservation and restoration of the coral reefs and the propogation of the giant clams through his performance which took place on Friday, and the encore yesterday at the Bunga Raya Island Resort.
Keating also expressed his interest to learn more about the giant clams the moment he heard of it.
“When I heard it, I said yes. This is something I wanted to learn more and help with, and that’s why I am here,” he said.
He also commended the works carried out by the staff at MERC, saying, “It is fantastic to see it here, first hand, to what the guys are doing and the work they are doing. People at home, in Ireland and in England, we don’t hear enough about it, we don’t know enough about it. I hope also I can come here and raise the awareness, and to bring the message back to Ireland, England and Europe.”
Keating said he found it very important to use his voice to try and help causes that he is keen on and concerned about.
“I have done numerous things globally over the years. When you are in a situation like mine, where you are internationally looked at as successful, you have a voice and you can use it. It is very important that we do that, whether that be for a charity. (And) I do a lot of work for cancer charities around the world also,” Keating said.
He said those endowed with a good voice have a responsibility to use it and be heard because there are many people that can’t be heard and that they need to be heard.
“As much as I can, when I am asked, and something that concerns me or something that I am interested in, I like to try and help.”
Among the issues he has tried to help address is the melting ice caps and the sea issue in the North Pole.
“As much as I can, I like to do it. This is something I am learning more and more about. I am not an authority on this, by any means, but I am trying to educate myself and understand more about it. The most important thing is to educate myself and to create awareness.”
And in September last year, Keating swam across the Irish Sea for a charitable cause.
He described the experience of swimming 56 miles in 36 hours as daunting and a frightening experience.
“It was frightening. It was incredible. Swimming across the ocean in the darkness of the night. The largest shark in the world is in that sea. We did it for cancer research,” he said.
Meanwhile, apart from doing his bit to create awareness and help in the plight of the giant clams, Keating also expressed hope to scuba dive whilst in Sabah.
“I will definitely do some scuba diving and snorkelin,” he said, hastening to add that he finds Sabah ‘fantastic’.