Sunday, April 22, 2012

A global envoy for Giant Clams in Sabah in the making

Kota Kinabalu: Former Boy Zone superstar Ronan Keating is considering becoming a "Global Ambassador for giant clams".

"Sting has the rainforest, maybe I have the giant clams," Ronan quipped at a press conference at the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC), Gayana Eco Resort.

"It all made sense because really we didn't know the clams were becoming extinct. We don't know that. That message is not spread back home (UK)" noted Ronan, here to mark a climatic end to the month-long Marine Awareness Month with two shows Saturday night and Sunday lunch time at Bunga Raya Resort and Spa.

A centre-piece of MERC's awareness month was the release of 500 three-year-old artificially spawned and propagated baby giant clams into a sea nursery and replant 1,000 pieces of corals.

The baby giant clams include all seven species of giant clams found in Malaysian waters, including the biggest and considered locally extinct species - the Tridacna gigas and the somewhat smaller T. serasa.

"It is fantastic to see it here first time what these guys are doing and the work that they are doing," Ronan commended, on the only project of its kind in Malaysia.

"It is fascinating that I will bring the message back to Ireland, England and Europe," Ronan said. Ronan did not say if the focus of his next global hit song would be about giant clams but confided that he was actually flooded with offers to do different things.

He said Sabah caught his attention as a logical sequence to a film shot in Australia entitled "Goddess" where he played the role of a marine biologist.

"Since I played the role of a marine biologist, I studied a lot about the sea to try to really involve myself in the role.

"I guess I was interested when I heard what it (giant clam propagation project) was and I wanted to understand more."

"So, it is nice to be asked to do this and be involved," he said.

"Besides, I am a fan of Asia, I love being in Asia. I love coming to Asia.

I do a lot of work in Asia and when I heard this, I said that's something I like to learn more about and help. So I am here."

"I have done some stuff in the North Pole regarding the seas and the melting of the ice caps," Ronan said.

"I guess when you are in a situation like mine that you are internationally looked upon as successful and you have a voice, and I don't mean voice as singer as a celebrity to spread the word, to create awareness, you have a responsibility to use that voice, stand up and be heard because there are so many out there who can't be heard and they need to be," Ronan added.