Singapore should not allow despair to prevail and celebrate NDP despite the difficulties, says Minister Ng Eng Hen

Netizens question what is there to despair about if there is no NDP

The National Day Parade (NDP) Funpack which each costs around $2.40 will be produced for 80 per cent of households by taking into account those who said that they do not need a funpack, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Friday (5 June).

Based on the prior experience, this would be “adequate”, Dr Ng noted.

Earlier, it was reported that NDP2020 Executive Committee will distribute funpack to every Singaporeans and Permanent Resident (PR) household.

However, this particular move received backlash from the netizens while an online petition was created to appeal for an option to opt-out from receiving the Funpack.

Dr Ng said, “For every NDP, the executive committee aims to be inclusive and they take in views and accommodate different interests where possible.”

However, he cautioned that the common ground to celebrate the national event “shrinks” if every interest group “pushes for its own agenda” especially during NDP.

“Because the executive committee will simply never be able to satisfy every request adequately,” he remarked.

Called as “Singapore Together Pack”, Dr Ng said that NDP2020 Funpacks will include two hand sanitizers, thermometers and face masks, as well as other items “that express our collective love and wishes for Singapore”.

Other than this, a pledge card, a snack, a canned drink and a Singapore Together commemorative magnet will also be included in the funpack that come in the design of reusable grocery bag which can be folded into a small pouch.

Dr Ng said, “As families will be at home, there is no need for single-use water bottles, neither plastic clappers nor packaging, and these have been done away with to reduce waste.”

According to NDP2020 executive committee, there will be 12 items in each funpack, which has been reduced from the usual 20 to 25 items in a typical NDP Funpack.

The collection of the funpacks will be available at community clubs and residents’ committee centres from 20 July. It is expected that the collection will be completed by 2 August.

The vulnerable groups will also receive the funpacks as the committee aims to “help them join in the NDP experience”.

Singapore should not allow despair to prevail and celebrate NDP despite the difficulties

Speaking in Parliament, Dr Ng also acknowledged that some Singaporeans felt that these celebrations were wasteful and that the same resources ought to be spent elsewhere, especially due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and jobs.

Although he was fully agreed that the Government “ought to be prudent”, however, he noted, “We should guard against a mood of despondency overcoming us or allow individual preferences to divide us.”

“If we allow despair to prevail in our national psyche particularly in this COVID-19 pandemic, then I say that will be the greatest harm to the future of Singapore – much more devastating than the economic impact, the loss of jobs and businesses,” he asserted.

Even with those difficult years such as 2008 global financial crisis and 2003 SARS outbreak, Singaporeans have always chose to celebrate NDP and rallied together, said Dr Ng, adding that Singapore emerged stronger because of “that hope and optimism”.

“So I say, despite the difficulties, and indeed because of the more challenging times that are ahead, we should celebrate this year’s NDP, as we have done before, and just as our founding generation did during the first NDP,” he noted.

Noting the final costs figure of NDP 2020 are not in yet, Dr Ng said that this year’s NDP should be able to reduce “a third at the very least” from the usual budget by saving from the cost of infrastructure, as the parade will not be held “in the usual way” at the Padang or the [email protected] Bay.

Commenting on Channel News Asia’s Facebook page, netizens ask what is there to celebrate and why is the Minister saying that by not having NDP is equivalent to “despair”.

 

There are those who support the idea of having NDP to celebrate Singapore’s birthday and prevent any panic outbreak from investors and locals.

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