NDP Committee Says Funpack Is Designed To Promote Waste Reduction, Netizens Disagree

It’s about 1 month left for the day of the year again – national plastic wastage day National Day.

If you’ve gotten tickets, or just want to complain about how the NDP committee is using our budget, then you’d want to take note of what’s in the NDP 2019 Funpack.

Here’s the claim by the NDP committee: “NDP 2019 Funpack will include practical and reusable items to encourage more sustainable practices, as well as feature a versatile design that allows for dual use.”

This is all in support of the campaigns “Say YES to Waste Less” and “Year Towards Zero Waste”.

Image: Giphy

Let’s examine that, shall we?

What’s in the funpacks

Let’s start with the bag itself.

This year’s bag has adjustable straps to transform between a backpack or slingbag. There will also be a reflective strip to be seen at night, 2 pockets, and water-resistant inner lining.

And it comes in the choice of our patriotic colours red or white:

Image: NDP 2019 Committee

Sounds good in theory – but as far as I know, the reusability of the NDP bags are usually limited not because of design. It’s durability.

I’d wager that most people going to NDP physically already own at least one bag that is far more durable.

But giving them the benefit of the doubt, let’s look at what’s inside then:

  1. 750ml disposable bottle of mineral water with a spout
  2. Sun visor/fan
  3. Miniature flag
  4. Mosquito patches
  5. Luggage tag
  6. Souvenir magazine
  7. Wet and dry tissues
  8. Face tattoos
  9. Discount booklet
  10. Potato chips
  11. Biscuits
  12. Bread
  13. Muffin
  14. Reusable bamboo drinking straws that can double as clappers during the parade
  15. Disposable plastic trash bag
  16. Disposable Poncho
  17. Hand Sanitizer
  18. A6 Document Holder

You can also see what’s inside from this CNA video:

Chairman of the NDP 2019 logistics and finance committee, Military Expert (ME) 6 Ignatius Tham said the funpack took 4 to 6 months to design. The hope is that the funpack will be used as an “Emergency Ready bag” to put essential items for emergencies – all of which are pasted on the flap.

Image: Straits Times Mark Cheong

The QR codes lead you to SCDF and Singapore Red Cross Society websites for free CPR course and how to pack emergency bags.

Is this really sustainable?

Image: Zero Waste Singapore Facebook

Quick: which of these items do we really need?

That’s right, none of them.

The only thing I foresee to be reusable beyond the event is the coupons and maaaaybe the bag. But when is the last time you used physical coupons?

Articles like the one from RICE and a Straits Times article, as well as various netizen comments, are criticising the hypocrisy behind the claim to support environmental sustainability.

In effect, the NDP funpack message feels like this: Let’s encourage the reduction of environmental waste by producing more environmental waste!

To give you an analogy, this is like the time I claimed to my boss that I increased my work productivity.

The first week, I watched cat videos while pretending to work and probably did about 5% of what I could have done. The second week, I slacked off a little less and did 15%, and told my boss I increased productivity by 200% by adopting new workflow techniques I learnt over the weekend.


But Zero Waste Singapore has some responses

Image: Zero Waste Singapore Facebook

In case you can’t read:

  1. Bottled water is for security concerns over liquid explosives.
  2. They want flags to be returnable too and want us to request the 2020 committee to “work toward” this.
  3. Ponchos and LED wristbands can be returned. Recycling bins are placed around.
  4. Comment below to suggest more ways.

Though comments show that they are not convinced, giving suggestions to bring your own empty bottle to fill.

Image: Zero Waste Singapore Facebook

Or simply have opt-out policies.

Image: Zero Waste Singapore Facebook
Image: Zero Waste Singapore Facebook

Hmm. What about me? Well, I’m the kind of “I’ll do you one better why is gamora” guy.

Here’s a radical suggestion. Go full digitalisation with a digital parade, and spend the entire budget on community service with a one-day community service event.


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