Ukraine President Wears T-Shirt Sent To Him By 16-Year-Old Singaporean Ava Soh
The Shangri-La Dialogue is now on, with hundreds of world leaders in town to discuss security issues.
But a Singaporean teenager has played an unlikely part in the summit, as one of these world leaders chose to wear a T-shirt she designed for an important speech.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed delegates in Singapore, donning the T-shirt she sent to him and even talked about her initiative to help the country.
That was a very emotional moment for her, she said.
Ukraine President gives special address
Mr Zelensky made a special address via video link on Saturday (11 Jun) to the Shangri-La Dialogue, currently held in Singapore.
Considering his country is now at war, he could only address the 575 delegates from 40 countries from a “secret location” in his capital Kyiv, according to The Straits Times (ST).
Ukraine President’s T-shirt different from usual
While listening to the weighty address, the delegates would’ve noticed that Mr Zelensky wasn’t wearing his typical olive green “army” T-shirt he usually wears during his video calls.
Instead, he wore a more fashionable black T-shirt with a square design in the centre.
It appeared to be of a girl spray-painting the colours of the Ukraine flag.
Here’s a closer look at it:
Ukraine President’s T-shirt worn to support initiative
Mr Zelensky then explained during his speech that “one girl” wrote him a letter.
She’d founded an initiative called “Spray Paint Ukraine” to help the war-torn country.
For the project, she also created the design as a non-fungible token (NFT).
She sent him a T-shirt with the NFT printed on top for him to wear to bring attention to Spray Paint Ukraine.
The President thus duly wore the T-shirt to show the world how much global support Ukraine has received.
Girl started her own brand at 14
According to ST, the girl behind the initiative is Ava Soh, who is just 16 years old.
She’s a secondary four student at St Joseph’s Institution International.
Even more impressive is that she started her own brand, Daughters Of The Revolution (DOTR), when she was 14.
According to the write-up on DOTR’s website, she created it to “empower the next generation of 21st-century heroines through self love”.
The range includes jewellery like rings and pendants.
Design represents self-belief & confidence
As for the Ukraine design, Ava told ST that she started working on it in April.
She took two to three weeks to develop the illustration, which includes a back view of Ukraine’s traditional dress.
The rendition of the Ukraine flag was chosen to promote self-belief and confidence.
The girl is a “young Ukrainian girl defiantly painting a new future”, and her inclusion was intended to be “a commentary that women too can build the country”.
Ava was inspired after a meeting with Ukrainian Ambassador to Singapore Kateryna Zelenko.
Ukraine President’s T-shirt was a shock
Ava said she sent Mr Zelensky the T-shirt via the Ukrainian embassy in Singapore just one week ago.
She included a handwritten letter, asking him to wear it in a photo or short video, but didn’t expect him to actually do it, especially “at such a big event”.
That’s why it surprised her to see the President in her T-shirt at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
She would’ve been content to know that he’d held it in his hands, so she gratefully added,
The fact that he wore it and talked about the project, it was a very emotional moment for me.
T-shirt for sale at S$130 each
If you’re interested in wearing one too, the “wearable NFTs” can be purchased at the DOTR website for S$130 each.
Though the price may seem steep, it’s for a good cause — Ava has said that she wants the proceeds to go to the women and children displaced by the war.
There are 1,000 pieces available, in sizes ranging from XS to XL.
Making Singapore proud
Kudos to Ava for her inspiring design and desire to help people.
We’re proud indeed that a world leader has praised a Singaporean teenager despite her tender years.
Her actions have genuinely put our tiny country on the map and underscored how we might be small in size but big in heart.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at email@example.com.
Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.