We All Know the NDP Funpack Will Be Wasted. Because It’s Not Truly Sustainable.
Top Image: NDP 2019 Committee

August isn’t even here, but the NDP Committee 2019 is already dead set on getting Singaporeans in the mood for patriotic love. And what better way to get our balls tingling than to share a little dose of conspicuous consumption.

The bags of patriotism. / Image credit: NDP 2019 Committee.
Designed to mobilise the hearts and minds of Singaporeans across all walks of life to fight for an eco-friendly motherland, the NDP 2019 Funpack is the proposed Thanos snap to our climate crisis woes and fetishistic love for our country.

Or at least that’s what the official spiel would want you to believe. Frankly, this stinks of green-washing; the very existence of the Funpack is waste unto itself, and only encourages irresponsible overconsumption, the leading cause of the climate crisis.

In terms of conception, or execution, it’s clear that sustainability is only being marketed and not realised through the NDP 2019 Funpack. In attempting to rescue the Funpack’s green ambition, here’s a look at just how the Funpack will actually be used after NDP 2019.  

Putting Caning in the Limelight

After the exalted day of 9th August this year, everyone will get to go home with reusable bamboo straws. Said to be able to double as clappers for this year’s NDP, the straws are being hyped up as THE multi-purpose tool of the year. And if you were wondering what to do with this straw that you didn’t ask for, there are four included in a single Funpack, because it only takes two to clap.

Having four reusable straws in your life will have no meaningful impact whatsoever on encouraging a green lifestyle. There I said it—how on God’s green earth will one person be able to regularly use FOUR straws every day in their life? And in terms of going strawless, the conversation has been aimed at entirely eliminating straw usage from our daily lives. Just sip from your cup and complain a little less for the sake of our earth. Producing straws that nobody asked for, that defy daily use, in shows of patriotism, is NOT sustainable at all.

‘Eco-friendly’ instruments of death and discipline. / Image credit: Screenshot of a TODAY video, Facebook.
And so, let’s dream bigger than clapping. I dare say, post-NDP 2019, this will mark the revival of a long-forgotten Singaporean tradition: caning. If they’re sturdy enough to be clappers, they’re sturdy enough to be canes.

We’ve always been antsy about caning, especially in the context of a school setting. How can corporal punishment be administered in an effective and appropriate manner?

By equipping everyone with tough bamboo rods they can use to whack anyone else. This is creative problem-solving at its best. The bamboo straws are tough enough to cause hurt but small enough not to cause harm.

Or if that doesn’t excite you, consider using the straws to poke everyone you meet in real life, and render Facebook obsolete. Take that, Zuckerberg.

Seeding New Singaporean Colonies

The sustainability that the NDP 2019 Funpack preaches is also confusingly inconsistent. Only a select few items are branded as ‘eco-friendly’ while the rest appear to have been left to languish by themselves. The miniature Singapore flags included in the Funpack have thoroughly failed to inspire any sense of being sustainable at all. They’re not even the kind of plastic I want to wave around—credit cards are better.  

Lest they become lazy office decorations, it might be better if we start using them for what flags were originally made for: Aggressively sticking them in everything.

You can’t claim to love your country until you stick one of the NDP 2019’s miniature flags in everything you see.

Wanna spruce up your birthday cake with love? Stick a flag in it.

Wanna tell everyone you’re proud to be a Singaporean for the rest of the 364 days of the year? Stick a flag in every single damn thing you see.

Feeling cute about your imperialistic dreams for Singapore? Plant a miniature Singaporean flag everywhere you go while overseas; those foreigners will never even know they’ve been colonised.

Raffles can suck it.

Discounts for the Dead

Hold up! Are you about to throw away that discount booklet you flipped through once and promptly forgot about? Feeling guilty for only finding them at the bottom of the bag three years later while doing a spring cleaning?

Those feelings are entirely valid.

The existence of physical discount booklets is the ultimate bane of sustainability. They’re printed with no guarantee that anyone will flip through and use them. It boggles the mind why the NDP 2019 Committee didn’t simply issue E-vouchers, or an app that can be updated yearly with constant NDP vouchers. Are we not a smart nation?

There is no way anyone can claim the discount booklets to be eco-friendly, and perhaps it’s why they’ve been quietly left out of the Funpack’s flashy media blitz.

There’s just no way in hell—or is there?

The genius of thought that went into the creation of the Funpack has fully accounted for this. We need only look to our ancestors for guidance. Thicc, expired, and glossy, the discount booklet will make a terrific offering for the dead. There’s no reason why we should forget about them in our patriotic celebrations. Who said capitalism stops at death? Simply burn the discount booklet for your deceased loved ones and get them involved in the festivities. You can now buy less paper money during the Seventh Month, reducing your carbon footprint.  Steals and deals galore!

Or if you’re really too lazy, feel free to fan yourself to death, as you squint at the discount booklet, looking for a portable fan you want to buy.

Fashionable Carrier of Things that Assault Our Public Sensibilities

Marketed as the most versatile item out of everything, the Funpack itself can be used as a messenger bag, tote bag, or backpack. Touted as a  “Stay Prepared” Emergency Ready Bag for post-NDP 2019 use, it is highly durable and comes with recommendations for what to pack in the event of an emergency home evacuation.

What a bore.

Within one week of NDP 2019 ending, these bags will be shoved en masse into storerooms and forgotten as quickly as the NDP 2020 Committee convenes for next year’s NDP.

But this is a sustainability-focused NDP Funpack; there must be measures that have anticipated this—right?

The answer is that the Funpack comes in chic and patriotic colours of red and white, complete with the NDP 2019 logo. The unique appeal of NDP-branding is sure to turn anyone who flaunts their new NDP merch on Instagram into an instant social media darling.

The hypnotic prowess of the NDP logo will also put anyone with half a brain under its spell. There’s no doubt that the top Singaporean fashion trend for the rest of the year will be to blatantly emblazon the NDP 2019 logo on everything and anything. Think patterned-designs in the mood of Louis Vuitton or Balenciaga. Be a patriot of luxury! In fact, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), might want to sit up and take notes; everyone deserves a go at having an orgasmic GSSexperience.

After the NDP 2019 Funpack revolutionises the Singaporean fashion industry, expect an announcement to be made to address the top problems plaguing our public transport: the lack of durians and annoying children.

For far too long, we have been denied the right to carry our spiky, cream-filled fruit with us wherever we go.

Sometimes, I just want to flood an entire MRT train with these bad boys. / Image credit: Unsplash.
Post-NDP 2019, I propose that the Funpacks be used for durian transportation and we may yet be a truly first-world nation. Every Singapore citizen can now hold their own durian as they ride in the comfort of public transport.

Feel free to use it to contain your existing children on the MRT, as you lovingly try to rush home to hit fertility rate KPIs for Ah Gong.

Optimistic statistics. / Image credit: ZeroWasteSG, Facebook.
On a serious note, the NDP 2019 Committee’s collaboration with Zero Waste Singapore has resulted in saving 1.7 million single-use items in the production of the Funpacks as compared to previous years.

However, this is still only a reactionary and superficial measure towards addressing the climate crisis at best. At the end of the day, no matter how green the Funpack might purport to be, its existence and the items that come with it were not created to meet any existing demands.

For example, nobody specifically asked for bamboo straws—or four of them for that matter. Giving a single person four straws, just so that they can be used as clappers already signals a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to reduce consumption.

The NDP 2019 Committee can’t even guarantee that the items will be used at all. Everyone already presumably owns a bag. Not everyone has the patience to flip through a discount booklet, or is willing to carry a reusable straw around with them. Neither is everyone patriotic enough to embrace the NDP-branding and logo in their everyday lives.  

Since the NDP 2019 Funpack has already been produced and packed, we can only make the best out of a bad situation. If you really can’t do without straws in your life, use the bamboo straws. Or if you’re fine with sipping, donate them to others who want them. Same goes for the Funpack; if you don’t need another bag in your life, give it away to someone who does. As for the rest of the items like the discount booklet and miniature flags, maybe it’s time you get creative and upcycle them into art.  

If the NDP 2019 Committee wants to take its green ambition seriously, it’s best we just stick to basic snacks and drinks that everyone will want to consume.  

Or better yet, do away with the Funpack entirely.

Let’s not kid ourselves: the NDP 2019 Funpack only comes in red and white, and definitely isn’t green.

Think you’ve got better ways to use the NDP 2019 Funpack? Share your pro-tips with us at community@ricemedia.co.

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