On Sunday, August 19, Mark Ong of SBTG received a special mention by Singapore’s Prime Minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong during the 2018 NationalDay rally. The sneaker and streetwear artist and businessman was described as a Singaporean who contributed to the nation in their own way.
The full transcript for the congratulatory speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is as follows: “An artist who designs customized sneakers for celebrities and shoe companies under his own brand name SBTG pronounced “Sabotage”. You would never have guessed but it works! It started when he won an online competition in 2003. Overnight he had an order for 72 pairs of sneakers. He sold the first pair for US$300 each and now his earlier works sell for thousands of dollars. I wish my old sneakers were as valuable. To Mark, this is a dream come true as he’s loved drawing since he was a child, inspired by the art and creativity of his parents. Congratulations Mark”.
Born and raised in Singapore, Mark’s work started gaining traction in 2002, after he sold his first pair of customized sneakers online. In 2003, the designer received 72 orders overnight after winning an online competition on an online sneaker forum, niketalk.com.
Over the years, Mark has become a national treasure to Singapore. Recently, he was featured in a Singapore tourism campaign titled “Visit Singapore” and also collaborated with the national bank DBS. The Straits Times claims that the designer will also appear in a special issue of the National Geographic titled, “Singapore: City of Tomorrow”.
“It’s mind-blowing to have the culmination of all my efforts rewarded with a minute-long shoutout by the most important man in Singapore. Like Singapore, I’ve come a long way. Hard work and dedication are factors that have made my passion possible,” Mark told Straatosphere.
You can watch the full National Day rally here. Skip to the 1-hour and 6-minute mark to hear the PM’s remarks about Mark and SBTG.