Do Singaporeans need an NDP 2020 fun pack for National Day?

Despite our close affinity with the NDP fun packs, some felt that distributing fun packs to all Singaporeans and PRs would generate unnecessary waste.

Esther Lam

Published: 3 June 2020, 9:57 AM

Unlike previous years, celebrations won’t be held at the Padang or the floating platforms for Singapore’s 55th birthday this year. Instead, the annual National Day Parade (NDP) will be reduced to small-scale performances which will be live broadcasted online and on television.

To encourage Singaporeans to celebrate from home, the NDP executive committee announced on May 20 that they will be giving out NDP fun packs to every Singaporean and Permanent Resident (PR) household, or approximately 1.2 to 1.3 million households.

While most Singaporeans seem to have a close affinity with the NDP fun packs, some felt that it would generate unnecessary wastage and its resources could be better spent elsewhere.

On May 22, Singaporean Kaushik Ilango started a petition that has garnered over 108,000 signatures to date, urging the NDP executive committee to change their course of action.

Kaushik Ilago shared his thoughts about the situation. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM CHANGE.ORG

Yu Shin Chan, who signed the petition, wrote on the page: “The time, money and resources channelled into making these fun packs can definitely be diverted to better causes. The rest of Singapore may be facing a loss of livelihood or severe mental problems from long term isolation.

“Giving out fun packs is not only extremely unsustainable at solving pertinent problems, but also extremely non-environmentally friendly with most of the bags, plastic clappers and vouchers being thrown away.”

Likewise, the youths we spoke to were concerned about the sustainability of the items included in the fun packs.

“The fun packs are designed specifically for National Day. Most people I know will likely throw it away after the event and it’ll just contribute to unnecessary waste. Some of the items may not be recyclable either,” added undergraduate Abigail Ramos, 19.

Other youths felt that these fun packs do not add much value to their daily lives.

“We’re already going about our daily lives without these items, but I do feel that some form of representation might be good for Singaporeans to use to stand together during these times,” said 21-year old pre-enlistee, Gabriel Phua.

Another pre-enlistee, 20-year-old Jerry Toh, shared a similar view: “While it provides a certain sense of camaraderie and unity during NDP, I find it useless otherwise. Spending our resources on something else, like education, financial help schemes or even charities, would be better.”

Following these overwhelming responses, Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng assured citizens in his Facebook post that an opt-out option, alongside other suggestions, is being discussed.

MP Louis Ng shared that the NDP 2020 fun pack would be “greener” as compared to previous years. PHOTO CREDIT: LOUIS NG KOK KWANG’S FACEBOOK

While many conveyed their heartfelt gratitude, others suggested alternative ways to approach the situation.

A netizen suggested having a “virtual fun pack” to appeal to the younger crowd. PHOTO CREDIT: LOUIS NG KOK KWANG’S FACEBOOK

Facebook user Ang Bee Tin said: “Let care packs or virus busters be considered. Some families or individuals cannot afford to have sanitisers, face shields, disposable surgical masks, reusable masks, vouchers or environmental friendly bags.

“The money saved can be used to help vulnerable groups – like the elderly, ill, jobless and homeless – get meals.”

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