National Day Rally 2018: 10 Singaporeans who received special mention in the speech of PM Lee Hsien Loong, Politics News & Top stories

SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasized, during his Rally address on Sunday (August 19), several Singaporeans who followed their passion and took new paths.

Among them are a sneaker artist, an owner of a popiah company and a conductor.

He also made special mention of Singaporeans who have contributed in their own way to the nation.

Here's a look at who they are:

Mark Ong

Mark Ong is a sneaker and streetwear artist who made his first steps in the industry when he won an online contest in 2003 and received an order for 72 pair of sneakers & # 39; s at night.

He sold every pair for US $ 300, and his previous works now sell for thousands. [19659008Today'sdesignthemade-upshoesforwomen'scelebritiesunderitsbrandSBTG(pronounced"sabotage")


PM Lee says of Ong's success: "For Mark this is a dream come true, because he liked to draw since he was a child, inspired by the art and creativity of his parents. "

In July Ong designed jersey numbers for the English football club Arsenal when the team was here for the International Champions Cup. The designs with Singapore icons, such as the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands.

Ong was recently featured in a special edition of the National Geographic entitled Singapore: City Of Tomorrow, Prime Minister Lee said.

The issue celebrates Singaporeans who excel although they took the path less traveled.

Azhar Ali


Dr. Azhar Ali, a senior researcher at the Cancer Science Institute in Singapore (CSI), was highlighted by PM Lee for leading a team of researchers from Singapore and the United States to lead possible lives -Saving research

In June, The Straits Times reported that scientists from the CSI at the National University of Singapore and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US may have found a way to use a weight-loss drug to treat lung cancer . cells that are resistant to treatment.

Dr. Azhar said in the ST article that he hopes that his efforts will help those who suffer from the disease.

"If the information I have received from my studies can be used by someone else, to be applied in a clinic and for the benefit of patients, I think I will be very happy," he said.

Darius Cheung and Roshni Mahtani

Mr. Darius Cheung and Mrs. Roshni Mahtani during the National Day Tour at ITE College Central on August 19, 2018. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The days of Mr. Cheung started already in the high school, when he re-sold video CDs from Hong Kong to classmates.

The 37-year-old co-founder of, a search platform for real estate that connects agents, buyers and sellers, in Singapore and Indonesia.

The portal has raised $ 2 million in series A funding from Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin in 2015.

His wife Roshni Mahtani is also a digital entrepreneur. She directed media start-up at Tickled Media, which manages the popular parent site

PM Lee said in his speech that Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had met them in Jakarta and both praised them for their success. 19659005] Sim Chi Yin

Photographer Sim Chi Yin, who won the Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund Award in 2018. PHOTO: ST-FILE

Documentary photographer Sim Chi Yin's work is driven by a strong sense of social justice, which has led her to topics like Chinese miners who have been affected by silicosis, a lung disease, and the life of Indonesian to document female migrant workers.

The 39-year-old won the seventh annual Getty Images and Chris Hondros Fund Award this year, named after the photojournalist who was killed in 2011 during the Libyan Civil War.

Last year she became the first Asian to be appointed as photographer of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The former ST correspondent said that her work "super slow burning, non-iconic and far from the front line".

"My work is dead unsexy, in the era of fast-food journalism and iconic photography," she said in an email interview with ST in May [19659002] Sim could not attend the Rally, but her parents were there.

Michael Ker

Mr. Michael Ker, owner of Kway Guan

Mr. Michael Ker was a pharmacist for 12 years before taking on the task of taking over the family of his family five years ago.

The 42-year-old took a 50 percent reward for doing this.

Ker said to ST on Sunday (August 19): "I decided to continue our family tradition (from making the pope) because it has a history of three generations, too bad if I did not do it and the legacy this food disappears. "

He added:" Eating is one of the common things that bind Singaporeans together … younger people, if they are in my shoes, should consider collecting the skills of making of their parents' heritage dishes, and cherish it when they do so. "

He now wakes up before dawn to carry out the grueling work of preparing popiah skins by hand – like his father and uncle that were used to – and said he is happy that the government is proactively taking steps to preserve Singapore's food c

"From an air-conditioned office, I moved to a hot, sweaty environment with long hours," he said. "It's exhausting, it's hard work, but it's something that I feel is precious."

Asked about his most proud moment since taking the less-traveled path, Ker said he and his team have brought the Singapore's popiah around the world – to New York, Copenhagen and Dubai. He also wants to have a heritage gallery to show the history of Popiah to tourists here.

"My father and uncle are old and we have loyal customers who come every year," he said. "I grew up looking at the elders who worked in the store, and this image was in my mind … Now, I get the pain and pain they had, but it's worth it."

Wong Kah Chun

Conductor Wong Kah Chun leads a national symphony orchestra in Europe. PHOTO: STEFFEN REISE

If conductor and composer Wong Kah Chun had taken the path of his classmates when he graduated from Raffles Junior College more than a decade ago, he might have specialized in physics.

But Wong, now 32, took a full scholarship from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore, studying composition.

"I was at a crossroads, I was from Raffles Junior College and my peers did pretty well, went to Oxford, Cambridge and Yale, top schools in the Ivy League," he said about his training program. Had he done the same thing-and he was considering doing this-he would have chased physics.

"It was at that time when (Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music) offered me a full scholarship and I told my parents that this was where I wanted to make a final decision," he said. "I always wanted to be a professional musician."

His parents supported him with every step, he added, even though there were no musicians in his family back then.

"They saw my interest in music and there was never a time when they told me to concentrate on my studies and stopped practicing the trumpet or something," he said. "That really encouraged me to follow a very balanced education."

Studying music, he added, improved his discipline and focus. By being in a band, he also taught him the value of teamwork at a young age.

He was in Primary 1 when he was asked to join the brass band of the school, opening his eyes to the music world.

"My math teacher was responsible for the brass band and gave us a permission form to take home for our parents to sign," he recalled.

Not knowing exactly what it was about, Mr. Wong, the eldest son of an officer of the Singapore Armed Forces and childcare teacher, did so.

More than two decades later, Mr. Wong is Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in Germany. He will also hold the annual Lunar New Year concert of the New York Philharmonic next year.

He flies back to Singapore about every two months to bring music to disadvantaged children, as well as people with special needs, as part of Project Infinitude – an initiative he co-founded.

PM Lee emphasized the project in his Rally speech. "He gives back to society, so that others can discover music just like him," he said.

Woo Yun Sum

Madam Woo, 88, was a samsui woman who came to Singapore to earn a living, and was one of five people to see in the National Day Parade (NDP) movie. from this year.

She was mentioned by Prime Minister Lee in his Mandarin Rally speech.

PM Lee said she and the pioneer generation "toiled and built Singapore from scratch."

"She witnessed the dramatic transformation of Singapore and she is proud of what we have become," he added.

PM Lee also quoted Mrs. Woo in Cantonese: "If there is rice, eat rice when there is porridge, eat porridge," adding that it reminds Singaporeans how important it is to stay positive and satisfied. even if Singaporeans want to improve the quality of life.

Khairul Rusydi

Mr. Khairul Rusydi leads some students into a discussion in an entrepreneurial program organized by Reactor PHOTO: REACTOR

Mr. Rusydi is co-founder of Reactor, an educational technology company that leads entrepreneurship courses and has supported more than 6,000 students over the past five years.

"Our philosophy was that not enough young people are solving & # 39; the world's biggest problems ", said Mr Rusydi of his inspiration for starting entrepreneurship programs at schools for students aged 18 to 24 years.

The 29-year-old is a recipient of the Anugerah Mendaki Prize, which identifies Malay youths who may be role models in the community.

PM Lee said in his Rally speech that he met Rusydi at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April in London, when Mr. Rusydi represented Singapore in the Commonwealth Youth Council.

"Rusydi has succeeded with the help of the community and now pays it out by accompanying others," Prime Minister Lee said.

asked why it is important that people help each other in their community, Mr. Rusydi sa id: "I think the story we have had about the first 50 years of independence from Singapore will change, and the story for us in the future would be to have a diaspora in Singapore where our young people will work in the region.

"I think it's important for us to decide where we want to call home, and where people meet can help and form a community. "

Raymond Kiang

PM Lee Hsien Loong (middle) with (from the left) Chicken Rice @ OTH owner Raymond Kiang, his father Sergeant Kiang, sister Susan and staff Wong Sen Chung ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Mr. Kiang's chicken rice in Our Tampines Hub was named by PM Lee in his Rally speech as a tasty and affordable option, and the dish was available at the Rally's reception.

PM Lee said that stalls in the new hawker centers should offer affordable food choices, such as Mr. Kiang's.

The 57-year-old hawker said, "Things can not be too expensive in a Hawker Center, or people will not be able to pay them. "

He added:" There are chicken stalls across the board in Singapore, we can earn less, but we give everyone a chance to taste an authentic Hainanese chicken rice. "

His father was one of the pioneers' number of chefs who developed the famous Chatterbox Chicken Rice at the Mandarin Hotel on Orchard Road in 1971.

" The request from our Tampines Hub was to have at least one item priced at $ 2.80 on our menu, "Mr Kiang said of his current hawker company." We can choose something like porridge, but more people can afford it because it's cheaper. I thought we should make chicken rice instead, so that everyone can afford it. "

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