Ukraine President Zelensky wears shirt designed by 16-year-old S'porean: Shangri-La Dialogue
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke virtually at the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 11, 2022. In his speech, Zelensky criticised Russia for striving to "discard" the system of international law and invoked the late Lee Kuan Yew, saying, "I want to remind you of the words of a person whom you know very well – if there had been no international law, and the big fish ate the small fish and the small fish ate shrimps, we would not have existed. He added, "These are wise words of Lee Kuan Yew, the leader who was perspicacious enough to see the clear reasons of many things and processes, and who knew exactly what is of value. The president was also wearing a shirt with an image of the Ukrainian flag and a woman with a spray paint can in hand, which he said was a non-fungible token (NFT) image created by a Singaporean girl who had written to him, asking him to support her initiative called Spray Paint Ukraine. In acknowledging the girl's request, Zelensky said, "This is a request from this girl for her idea, her confidence that the President of Ukraine will really respond to her initiative and that I will be willing to help.
This was part of a broader point by Zelensky about valuing what is possible, the need to stop Russia, and to show how much support Ukraine has had. Following Zelensky's speech, a regional executive director of an advertising firm, Calvin Soh, revealed on Facebook that the wearable NFT was created by his daughter, Ava Soh, to fundraise for Ukraine. Soh said that his daughter had worked with BigBeyond, a Singapore-based NFT company, for the NFT and t-shirt. All proceeds from sales of the NFTs and the shirts will be donated to the Ukrainian embassy in Singapore. The president also expressed his gratitude for the aid provided thus far to Ukraine.
Zelensky added, "It is on the battlefields in Ukraine where the future rules of this world is being decided, along with the boundaries of what is possible. It is imperative to save the world from returning to the times of "right of might", where many nations, peoples and ideas were of no consequence, he said. Zelensky also noted that Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports means the world will face an "acute and severe food crisis and famine" as Ukraine is unable to export its foodstuffs. He said that such a shortage will lead to greater political chaos. Top left screenshot from The International Institute for Strategic Studies YouTube, right photo courtesy of Calvin Soh
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