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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bounty Post 2012 - Romantic Bounty

Much was shared about Pitcairn Islands in the last article, but the archipelago was tightly bound to the infamous mutiny aboard HMS Bounty, so it makes no sense to share the location without at least highlighting the ship behind that event. And that became my reason for sharing this FDC.

The Bounty was not initially named so. Originally a collier built in 1784 and christened Bethia, it was purchased by the Royal Navy and refitted to be the famed ship in history. Its mission: to gather breadfruit plants from Tahiti to the West Indies in an attempt to grow them there as a cheap food source for the slave labor. William Bligh was recommended as the captain for the newly christened ship, and set sail in 1787 for the journey which never saw the vessel's return.

The beauty of the Bounty was romantically captured in this set of stamps, showing her sailing amidst various backdrops.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bounty Post 2007 - Pitcairn Islands Definitives

I never knew about the existence of Pitcairn Islands until I chance upon this geographically remote island while researching the postage history of South Pacific islands. Such a remote and unknown location would have remained so were it not for the story of 'Mutiny on H.M.S. Bounty'. The name is not unfamiliar to me, but I never knew that the mutineers inhabited an island after their fiasco (instead of going back to England) and their descendants still do until this day.

FDC portraying the first 4 stamps from a definitive set of 12.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

SingPost 2013 - Historical Railway Stations

Since we are on the track of railway system history, let's get this piece out - SingPost's offer to commemorate the historical railway stations which tirelessly served the nation and her citizens for the past century.

FDC released on 28 February 2013 to commemorate the historical railway stations - Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar railway stations.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

SingPost 1988 - Singapore Mass Rapid Transit System

The sharing of London Underground inevitably led me to recall Singapore's own impressive system of mass rapid transit. Singapore's main reason to build such a system mirrored that of London's albeit the former has a much more urgent need for it. In land scarce Singapore, a projected rise in the number of population will follow with a rise in transportation needs, which buses could not provide adequately.

The FDC from the day when Singapore's MRT commence operation on 12th Mar 1988. Notice that the MRT map depicted in the 10 cents stamp differs a lot from the one that is familiar with us in 2013.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Royal Mail 2013 - London Underground

Visiting London doesn't necessarily means visiting the royal palace of Buckingham or gawking at the Big Ben and the parliament along the Thames. The historically captivating lies not only above ground, but also dwells underground. Meet the London Underground.

FDCs with London Underground stamp set (above) and miniature sheet (below). The former features the historical milestone and landmarks of London Underground, while the latter showcases the posters used to publicized the use of the railway.

Friday, August 16, 2013

China Post 1983 - Centenary of the Death of Karl Marx 马克思逝世一百周年

A cry resounded in the German city of Trier, a city residing in then Prussian Rhineland, on 5 May 1818. And so was born Karl Heinrich Marx, a person whose famous philosophical ideas of Marxism led to the rise of socialism and communism, inevitably leading to the murder of the last Russian tsar and the Cold War.

Stamps from China Post commemorating the centenary of Karl Marx's death, as well as his contribution to modern social theory. The 8 cents stamp depicts his famous portrait while the 20 cents stamp shows an image of Marx in a rally.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SingPost 2008 - Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3

Continuing with the introduction of a First Day Cover introducing Singapore's Changi Airport from 1981, here is another FDC on the same topic. Unveiled 27 years after Terminal 1 began its operation, Terminal 3 is the youngest terminal to date and yet it houses the largest aircraft - the A380.

This FDC which featured Terminal 3 was launched together with the first day the terminal became operational. The first historic arrival was flight SQ001 arriving from San Francisco via Hong Kong.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

SingPost 1983 - Singapore Changi Airport

Most frequent flyers into and around the South-East Asia region will be quite familiar with Singapore's Changi Airport. Being a pride of the island republic, this jewel of an airport won numerous awards since its operation and is recently immortalized in the latest Singapore 20 cents coin as was shared in my article The New Singapore Coins.

Featured on this FDC are the control tower, an icon of most airports, and Terminal 1. The logos of the most involved departments are featured in the background of each stamps. They are, according to the arrangement of denominated value, the Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works Department, Telecommunications Authority of Singapore, Port of Singapore Authority, and Department of Civil Aviation.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

NATAS 2013 (2nd Round) @ Singapore EXPO (again)

The 2nd half of the year welcomes the return of NATAS for its latest available offers. This time, holiday makers planning for the year end's Christmas travel will be able to look for mouth-watering packages in Singapore EXPO. Again. Be sure to be there early to fight for the travel to your dream destinations!

Date:            16th (Fri) - 18th Aug (Sun) 2013
Admission:    10:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Entry fee:     SGD4 (free admission of children under 12)
Location:       Singapore EXPO, Halls 3, 4 and 5A
Website:       Main website and Facebook page

Friday, July 26, 2013

The New Singapore Coins

If you are in Singapore from this month onward, you may be surprised to see the shiny coin in your palm to have the usual obverse image of the Singaporean coat of arms, but a totally different reverse image. Gone is the familiar orchid above the denominated value.

If you are visiting the island nation of Singapore recently, see if you could collect this series of coins circulating in the market. They are still in their near mint condition, and still worth as a keepsake (image obtained from MAS Third Series Coins website).

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bon Odori Festival 2013 @ Penang Esplanade

Penang has been a host to a notable Japanese culture for years. 17 to be exact. And this year becomes its 17th year in hosting the Penang Bon Odori Festival in Esplanade, just as it had been the years past. The good news? It starts tonight!

It's Bon Odori! Dances! Music! Cosplay! Japan! All here in Penang (except the last one, which is in a land far far away...) (image taken from Penang State Tourism official website).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Macau Post 2013 - Mainland Scenery V 中國內地景觀(五)

After sharing a nice FDC on Chinese scenery from Hong Kong Post, I direct my attention its colonial sister across the Zhujiang (珠江) River Estuary - Macau. Macau Post featured some of the most beautiful and artistic postage items as well as a very big FDC - a whooping 16.3 x 22.9 cm large envelope.

The reason I recall this particular postage administration is because of its Mainland Scenery series - running into its 5th issue this year - which mirrored the aforementioned series from Hong Kong Post. Differing from Hong Kong Post's series is its issuance frequency - it issue an FDC from this series biannually.

An enlarged view of the miniature sheet (above) and the FDC with miniature sheet attached (below), both featuring the relatively obscure Kaiping Diaolou. Notice that Macau, with its Portuguese colonial past, still use Portuguese along with Mandarin in its official publications (image taken from Macau Post website).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hong Kong Post 2012 - World Heritage in China Series I: The Great Wall

China. Such a vast area and such diversity, with such wonders awaiting exploration by travelers the world over. It is no wonder that so many artists and poets created work of arts and sung poems about its trove of treasures throughout different dynasties.

Hong Kong Post had a series of Chinese wonder themed FDCs titled Mainland Scenery Series, which ended in 2011 with the 10th issue. With still so much to publish on China's wonders, they started with the World Heritage in China Series, with the Great Wall as the series' first focus theme.

The FDC with miniature sheet affixed (above) and the miniature sheet itself (below) showing a vista of the Great Wall.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Australia Post 2013 - Centenary of the First Commonwealth Banknote

I got myself a rather interesting FDC issue from Australia Post. Coinciding with the World Stamp Expo 2013 in Melbourne, it became the feature stamp issued on day 2 of the expo.

Malaysia had its own latest series of coins and banknotes commemorated through the issue of several FDCs, with the miniature sheets replicating banknotes being the most sought after and most eye-catching. Here though, instead of putting on the latest currency, Australia Post chose to commemorate the first paper currency the land down under issued, as well as the centenary of that issuance.

The FDC itself is relatively unremarkable with the 2 gummed stamps, but the miniature sheet is another story entirely.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lunar Snake Year @ Chinatown, Singapore 牛车水蛇年延庆

Location: Chinatown (牛车水), Singapore

It has always strike me as weird that a nation with the Chinese ethnic as the dominant population would have a place named Chinatown. And it strikes me even weirder that said nation celebrates Christmas with more bang than it does for Lunar New Year. 

Just as Orchard Road strives to be its best in the month leading to Christmas, the same happens in Chinatown during the Lunar New Year. In fact, one may notice that Chinatown is the place where Lunar New Year is celebrated with more festivities than most other areas in the island nation. Chinese lanterns adorn all over an area which borders blurred with its neighboring districts, and this year 2 special guests graced the streets. 

The gigantic Red Snake invaded Chinatown with a message: Happy Lunar Snake Year!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Malta Post 2013 - Treasures of Malta Series - Fountains

Are you familiar with the country of Malta? I am not, at least not until recently. This country to the south of the European continent may be minuscule compared to most of its bigger sisters, but it held honors which cast no doubt on its significance in history. It is the first and one of only two collective holder of the George Cross Award, the famous residence site of Knights Hospitaller, otherwise known as Knights of Malta, and the summit host for the meeting which signified the end of Cold War. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

SingPost 2013 - Definitives - Pond Life 2013

SingPost (Singapore Post) had launched the 2013 definitives with pond life as its title. Both stamps employed plants on their image, and with natural ponds so rare in Singapore, this may become the way for younger generation to get to know the habitat that is shrinking in size and popularity. 

The Geli-geli (lasia spinosa) and Water Gentian (nymphoides indica) are both aquatic plants. The former is quite familiar to me – maybe this is one of the plants which I usually noticed when I linger near ponds in my childhood. The latter resembles a snowflake on a pond, which is sometimes how it is called, Water Snowflake. Unfortunate for me, I had never come across this before, but I believe that it may be very beautiful to see a colony of these floating on a pond. 

Water Gentian, otherwise known as and resembles Water Snowflake, as seen in this photograph by Truls Cronberg in Botswana.

Interested readers and philatelists are invited to have a good look at the available stamps inn SingPost’s website.

Date of Issue:       20 March 2013 
Denominations:      1st and 2nd local
Stamp Size:          20mm x 27mm
Perforation:          14  
Paper:                 Unwatermarked  
Printing Process:   Rotogravure
Designer:             Eric Kong (Design Vizio)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Philately and Numismatics

With a renewed interest in philately and numismatic, I found that I can be writing about such stuff in a blog dedicated to my traveling adventures. I am used to studying the cultural and religious differences of the people, be it a foreign or familiar land, while marveling at the wonders Mother Nature gave breath to as well as that which Man built in defiance of nature, sometimes even destroying it in the process. 

And philately and numismatics are undeniably an inseparable part of the development of a human civilization. Being the branch of study of stamps and postal history, as well as the collection of such items, philately tells the story of how mankind despises loneliness and thirsts for communication. 

Penny Black, the world's first postage stamp (taken from Wikipedia).

Friday, February 22, 2013

NATAS 2013 @ Singapore EXPO


Once again, the semi annual travel fair is hitting the streets of Singapore! Back at its old haunt of Singapore EXPO, the fair will run for 3 whole days from 22 - 24 February, offering exciting travel destinations and tours. Be prepared for the crowd though, as travel enthusiasts crashed with each other to visit booths and get the latest tour package for their annual holiday trip. Be sure to get more updates on their Facebook page!

Date:            22nd (Fri) - 24th Feb (Sun) 2012
Admission:    10:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Entry fee:     SGD4 (free admission of children under 12)
Location:       Singapore EXPO, Halls 3B, 4 and 5

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Way Back Home - Train Journey from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur

Location: Woodlands Train Checkpoint, Singapore to KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

How does one travel from Ipoh to Singapore, or vice versa? The typical answer would be by bus, by car or by flight. But one rarely does consider taking a train unless being subjected to a desperate situation. Unfortunately, I was.

Despite the romantic notion of train travels popularized by novels such as Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, I assure you that it is anything but if one were to take KTM's train service. The slow crawl of the locomotive was only faster than a car or bus's speed if there were a severe jam on the road, affording this choice of transportation the least preferred.

Monday, January 28, 2013

HK Trip - Wong Tai Sin Temple (黃大仙祠) Part 8

Location: Wong Tai Sin (黃大仙), S.A.R. Hong Kong, China

The final leg of my walk brought me back to where I began, the gates guarding the main temple complex. A further look before I left for my next destination revealed details which I did not noticed when I first marveled at the place. 

The gates guarding the main temple were as beautifully carved as any other areas of the temple, with intrinsic details and topped with the familiar upturned eave which decorated Chinese temples everywhere.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

HK Trip - Wong Tai Sin Temple (黃大仙祠) Part 7

Location: Wong Tai Sin (黃大仙), S.A.R. Hong Kong, China

Standing in the shadow of the patron deity of the temple was another equally famous and crowd-attracting deity. He was the god of marriage of love, the old man under the moon, the one known as Yue Lao (月老). In Chinese mythology, belonging neither to Buddhism nor to Taoism specifically, he was the equivalent to Cupid, tying the knots between people to form couples and marriage.

The statue of Yue Lao standing in a courtyard, waiting for the right couple to tie his red knot with.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

HK Trip - Wong Tai Sin Temple (黃大仙祠) Part 6

Location: Wong Tai Sin (黃大仙), S.A.R. Hong Kong, China

Continuing the walk from the last article, blossomed flowers and running waters extended from one end of the garden to the other. Where ponds of koi and thundering waterfalls greeted us at one end, another pond of tortoises bade us farewell on the other end.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HK Trip - Wong Tai Sin Temple (黃大仙祠) Part 5

Location: Wong Tai Sin (黃大仙), S.A.R. Hong Kong, China

There are certain vistas which challenge even the most established photographer, what more for an amateur like me. To attempt to capture the sense of feasting your sights on a paradise is like trying to describe a beautiful lady you just sighted. Words and images just do them no justice.

There are certain wonderful places which most guide books deemed not worthy of putting their images in the section introducing said area. The backyard gardens of Wong Tai Sin temple is one of those.