Celebrities can do a lot more than the average Joe or Jane at getting important messages across all spectrums of society by virtue of the fact that they have major star power and can draw a lot of attention to whatever they wish to convey. One of Malaysian AIDS Council’s Red Ribbon celebrities is popular and famous actor, host, emcee and product ambassador (he was present at the launch of Garnier’s Acnofight) Fahrin Ahmad. He was certainly the man of the moment yesterday at M.A.C. Sogo as he had a stream of fans waiting to have their photos taken with him and get his autograph (yours truly included). I had just 10 minutes to ask him a few questions about his role as a Red Ribbon celebrity. Fahrin Ahmad is charismatic, eloquent, well spoken, friendly and the ideal Red Ribbon celebrity. I can understand why he has so many adoring fans.
When did you become a Malaysian AIDS Council Red Ribbon celebrity and what has your experience as a Red Ribbon celebrity been like?
I can’t remember exactly when I became a Red Ribbon celebrity but this is already my 4th year in that role. I am really impressed with all the events organised. Since my 1st year as a Red Ribbon celebrity, my objective is to stop the stigma and discrimination directed against HIV+ people. The perception has changed over the years which is a positive thing even if progress is slow. The problem is with lack of information and knowledge. Without people knowing the true facts of HIV and AIDS, they remain prejudiced and judgemental. Armed with the full facts, perception will slowly change.
Other than today’s event here at M.A.C. Cosmetics Sogo, what other activities are you involved in with Malaysian AIDS Council?
The Red Ribbon celebrities do a lot of fund-rasing for shelter homes for those affected by HIV. On 30th January 2013, we will have an exclusive charity concert with Siti Nurhaliza to raise funds for one of the shelter homes in Sg. Buloh. At events organised by Malaysian AIDS Council, I will share my experience and knowledge for e.g. early this year in Sabah, I went onstage to provide information on HIV/AIDS casually and spontaneously which is more genuine.
As an artiste, how would you help spread public awareness on AIDS among those who are most at risk/vulnerable?
Whether or not people are more prone to AIDS or not, my message is applicable to all. Celebrities have weight and influence and a social responsibility to spread more awareness. The social network is a tool to spread the message. I have nearly 1 million fans on my facebook page and more than 100k followers on my twitter account.
What do you think can be done by the authorities and organisations to help HIV+ people?
Today we can see support from M.A.C. Cosmetics. Either private companies or corporate bodies can encourage the public and government to join in spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS. Hopefully there will be support from all sectors to make people understand more about the disease. We need to work together in a genuine effort to spread the message.