The National Day Parade (NDP) 2020 Executive Committee has earlier announced on Wednesday (20 May) that NDP2020 will go on despite the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore that is still progressing to date.
Along with the announcement on its official website, the Committee revealed that Funpack will be distributed to every Singaporean and Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) household. However, this particular move received backlash from a segment of Singaporeans, commenting that it is a “waste of resources”.
Many Facebook users left their opinions regarding the Funpack, saying how it’s “nothing fun” amid a global pandemic.
Some of them suggested to opt-out from receiving the Funpack so that it could be given to people “who really need it”.
To prevent the wastage of resources, a petition was created by an NUS student, Kaushik Ilango, on Change.org for Singaporeans and PRs who do not wish to receive the Funpack.
Describing how 2020 has been “one of the darkest years” for many Singaporeans, Mr Ilango acknowledged the Committee for attempting to bring “happiness and positivity” to the citizens. He also believes that the Funpack would indeed bring joy to many Singaporeans.
“At a time like this, I understand that handing out funpacks, ‘something Singaporeans have a close affinity with’ could certainly bring joy to many of us.”
He went on to express that the resources gathered to make approximately 1.4 million Funpacks could be allocated for better use.
“However, I believe that there could be a much better use of the resources used to make roughly 1.4 million funpacks; such as the perishable goods inside the funpack, the novel single-use items, the manpower to acquire, make and distribute the funpacks and not to mention the planning of it.”
Addressing that not every item included in the Funpack is of long term use, Mr Ilango wrote that many of these Funpacks tend to get thrown away at the end of NDP in the previous years.
Other than that, he is aware that the economic recession is happening in Singapore and that unemployment is on the rise. Therefore, he believed that these resources could, in turn, help the people in need during trying times like this.
As a way to help those people, Mr Ilango would like to give away his Funpack to someone who needs it more than he does. He also wished that these Funpacks would not be discarded irresponsibly by the citizens who do not want them.
To support his point, he stated that the irresponsible disposal of the Funpacks will require more manpower to clean up. Moreover, the student thought that Singapore could take this chance to move towards a zero-waste society.
“This will only require more manpower to clean it up. Singapore could also use this as an opportunity to set the right example of moving towards a zero-waste society in times of rapid climate change to the rest of the world.”
Mr Ilango added that he understood how the Funpack has sentimental value for many and he does not wish to deprive those Singaporeans of that. So he thought that it would be a better idea to let citizens opt-out from receiving the Funpacks.
In an update, Mr Ilango noted that many of those who signed the petition has reached out to him, regarding the details of this issue, like whether the funpack procurement has already occurred and if so what would happen to it, what will the budget be spent on instead, who is in-charge of making the decision etc.
He confessed that he is “not in a better position to answer these than any one of us” and noted that he has since reached out to Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen along with this petition and will keep the petition signatories updated on any developments.
As of writing, more than 40,000 people have signed the petition.
Funpack is a “waste of resources”
Many people left their comments under the petition as an additional way to support this idea.
Yu Shin Chan expressed that the resources utilised into making the Funpack could be “diverted to better causes”. Explaining that the essential workers such as nurses, doctors and cleaners had been working tirelessly, Chan believed that they should be given the priority instead.
Besides that, Chan commented that giving Funpacks is “extremely unsustainable at solving pertinent problems”, and it is also not environmentally friendly.
Kavitha Krishnan stated that the Funpack is “not the best way to encourage solidarity”. And she had also commented that the resources could have been channelled towards helping the people in need, especially the ones impacted by COVID-19.
Many other people had made similar comments about the Funpack, supporting the idea of rejecting the distribution. They believed that it was a waste of resources and money to make these Funpacks, and the money should be utilised to support the nation’s crisis response against COVID-19.