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Not enough to just cancel NDP Funpacks! Some people want to cancel NDP 2020!

By May 22, 2020Current

TL;DR – What?! Cancel NDP 2020? Nooooo!

Following the news on National Day Parade (NDP) 2020? If you haven’t, here’s the lowdown.

  1. Due to the COVID-19 situation, NDP 2020 will be scaled down and no live audience allowed as of now.
  2. “For the first time since independence, instead of bringing Singaporeans to a (central) location, we will bring NDP across the island to every Singaporean home,” said BG Frederick Choo, chairman of the NDP 2020 executive committee.
  3. The theme for NDP 2020 is “Together, A Stronger Singapore”, calling on Singaporeans to stay united as one people and work together to emerge from challenges stronger than before.
  4. NDP 2020 will be split into morning and evening shows
  5. Participant numbers will be drastically reduced in line with COVID-19 guidelines.
  6. About 200 participants will be involved in the two shows, as compared to about 1,800 participants at last year’s NDP.
  7. The morning show at the Padang will see about 200 participants, and the evening performance at Star Vista’s Star Performing Arts Centre will have 80 to 100 participants.
  8. Safe distancing and hygiene measures will be in place to protect the performers.
  9. Fireworks at more than 10 locations after the evening show, to allow as many Singaporeans to see it as possible.

Read more details here.

Those “offending” NDP funpacks

The NDP 2020 executive committee intends for NDP 2020 to be a landmark one.

Although broadcast remotely, the intent is to have maximum participation from all Singaporeans, from joining the virtual choir with pre-submitted recording to lighting up phones at home to flying national flag, etc.

And yes, also using the items in the NDP funpacks to interact with the parade and within our family.

NDP 2020 funpacks will be distributed to some 1.2 million Singaporean and Singapore permanent resident household. The funpack includes pledge cards and celebratory items such as handheld flags and torch filters that we can use to participate in the show.

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Now this triggered some Singaporeans.

Some people say it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money and that the money can and should be channelled somewhere else. Some say NDP should be cancelled altogether.

To be honest, I was undecided about the first opinion since I ain’t a funpacks-and-memorabilia type of person.

But I do get how many are excited about these things, and I get that these things can become important props when it comes to celebratory events. Even I started whipping out whistles and flags when I attended NDP in the past. And it’s quite different singing HOME with a temporary flag tattoo inked on my face and a flag in hand.

But that second opinion, NOOOOO…!

For this one, I am completely clear where I stand. I take the view that times like this, all the more important NDP becomes and all the more we should NOT cancel it. It’s a moment, albeit artificially created somehow, for all of us to come together (separately, hurhur) to sing and cheer for our country, for our people.

Someone from past NDP Sponsorship Committee weighs in

I saw a post from netizen Clement Chio being shared around.

He’s apparently part of the NDP Sponsorship Committee previously and he’s shared that most of what goes into the funpacks are sponsored items, so people can chill.

On the point about whether we should just cancel NDP, he said and I agree,

“It should be celebrated. Like how we celebrate birthdays.
In whatever shape and form, however muted.”

He summed up his points in two TL;DRs perfectly like this:

TL;DR1 – You are receiving free corporate Marketing stuff in the NDP Funpacks. Not squandered taxpayers money.

I do agree on the single use plastics wastage though. Environmentally conscious people should be given the opportunity to opt out.

TL;DR2 – Chill out. Let those who want to celebrate our NDPs do so. You can always watch Netflix on 9 Aug.

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Here’s Clement post in full, in case you can’t see it.

Trending Opinion 1:
“NDP Funpacks are a waste of Taxpayer money.”

Leon Perera will be asking Ng Eng Hen in a Parliamentary Question about the “projected total cost of producing, packing and distributing the NDP FunPacks to each citizen and PR household for NDP 2020”.

Great. I think it’s very good that the Minister addresses this publicly.

I’ve had the opportunity to play a small part in the Sponsorship Committee in NDP2019 last year.

To all my friends signing petitions concerned about wasting taxpayer money on useless FunPacks, I’m pretty confident that huge bulk of the funpack (if not all of it), is SPONSORED.

The little Lifebuoy Hand Sanitiser that became so unbelievably useful?
SPONSORED.

The (ugly) luggage tag with the Breadtalk logo?
SPONSORED.

The eerie white poncho with the Grab logo?
SPONSORED.

Funpacks have always been a National Level Marketing Campaign.

In fact, a huuuuuge portion of NDP is surprisingly, SPONSORED.

There are companies out there who ARE very happy to be taking part as sponsors because of the branding involved.

TL;DR1 – You are receiving free corporate Marketing stuff in the NDP Funpacks. Not squandered taxpayers money.

I do agree on the single use plastics wastage though.
Environmentally conscious people should be given the opportunity to opt out.

========

Trending Opinion 2:
“We should cancel NDP this year.”

Ok chill. Not everything has to cancel because of COVID19.

Birthdays still can be celebrated. Our Muslim friends will still celebrate Hari Raya this Sunday. Moving forward we have Deepavali, Christmas and other festivities that can still be celebrated, just in a different and situationally appropriate way.

More importantly, why do we celebrate?
We do it to remind us what the occasion is about.

There is a National Significance to NDP.

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You may not feel anything about NDP, or Singapore.
That is perfectly fine. And it’s your right.

But I have experienced a Padang full of people cheering and roaring not at the performance segment, but at the Marching Contingents during NDP.

I have felt the excitement of flag-waving crowds lining roads just to catch a glimpse of the mobile column.

I have witnessed families, young and old, stand in the middle of an otherwise barren field and WAH WAH WAHing at fireworks bring shot in the night sky with the HDB flats as a backdrop.

I have seen people tear up when singing Home.

I have heard crowds recite the Pledge and sing the National Anthem with surprising gusto and unity.

So yes, some might say it’s just a manufactured swell of patriotism.

But for as long as we live in a land where most of us don’t have to worry about water, or war, or food;

As long as we enjoy basic institutional equalities and not marginalised constitutionally because of race or religion;

As long as we have a society upheld by the rule of law and not by violence or corruption;

It should be celebrated. Like how we celebrate birthdays.
In whatever shape and form, however muted.

TL;DR2 – Chill out. Let those who want to celebrate our NDPs do so. You can always watch Netflix on 9 Aug.

Should NDP 2020 be cancelled?

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

More posts by Gabrielle Teo

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Jane Hawk says:

    Don’t be stupid – the petitioners are not calling for it to be cancelled. They are calling for an opt-out option. Your post as with many others are highly misleading.

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