Singapore should celebrate this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) even amid the difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, “and indeed because more challenging times are ahead”, said Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen.
Responding to parliamentary questions about NDP celebrations amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Dr Ng noted that some Singaporeans felt that these celebrations were wasteful and that the same resources should be spent elsewhere, considering the impact the disease has had on the economy.
He said he agreed the Government should be “prudent”, but added that “we should guard against a mood of despondency overcoming us or allow(ing) individual preferences to divide us”.
“If we allow despair to prevail in our national psyche, particularly during this Covid-19 pandemic, then that will be the greatest harm to the future of Singapore – much worse than the economic impact, the loss of jobs and businesses.”
Dr Ng also noted that Singapore had still held parades “through every troubled period”, including the 1988 Asian Financial Crisis, the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2008 global financial crisis.
“Even through those difficult years, Singaporeans chose to celebrate (the) National Day Parade as we have always done and rallied together. Because of that hope and optimism, Singapore emerged stronger.”
NDP Singapore Together Pack available for collection from Jul 20 at community clubs
The NDP Singapore Together Pack will contain 12 items including hand sanitisers, a thermometer and a face mask, as well as items that express “collective love and wishes for Singapore”, said Dr Ng.
Each pack will cost about S$2.40, he added.
Responding to parliamentary questions on the packs, Dr Ng said the executive committee will produce the packs for about 80 per cent of households, considering those who said that they do not need a pack.
As of Friday morning, about 112,000 people have signed an online petition to appeal to the NDP2020 executive committee for an option to opt out of receiving the pack, citing concerns about environmental wastage.
The Singapore Together Pack will be available for collection from Jul 20 at community clubs and residents’ committee centres, said the executive committee. Each Singaporean and permanent resident household will be able to collect a pack.