Expo 2010 Shanghai China

Takes a break from the live satellite broadcast of the opening ceremony

Recently, I have received a postcard from China featuring the postmark of the Expo 2010 Shanghai China. The logo represents the Chinese character ‘shi’, which is drawn to look like three people standing together with the year 2010 underneath.

Commonly known as Expo 2010 or the Shanghai World Expo, this exposition will be held in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010. This is the most expensive expo in the history of the world’s fairs and is also the largest fair site at 5.28 square kilometres. This expo would attract over 70 million visitors from all around the world. This year, over 190 countries is participating in the Shanghai World Expo.

Now, if you happen to be (or, going to be) part of the 70 million visitors, do help me obtain a small souvenir from the Shanghai World Expo! I would be able to obtain souvenirs for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Hopefully I would be able to pick up some limited edition items at the 99 Day Countdown next Friday.

Continues watching the live telecast of the opening ceremony

Postcard: Palau Nacional

The Palau Nacional, is located in the city of Barcelona, Spain. It is the symbolic building of the 1929 International Exhibition and houses the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. It is located on the Montju├»c mountain, where visitors have a magnificent view of Barcelona.

Publisher: Triangle Postals
Photographer: Pere Vivas

Singapore 2010 Visa Prepaid Cards

DBS Bank has recently introduced the DBS Visa Prepaid Card in commemoration of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Simply, the card is loaded with a stored value and can be used just like a credit card or a debit card over the counter. This card is accepted locally and overseas, and even over the internet. Unlike the CapitaGiftCard, the DBS Visa Prepaid Card is the first prepaid card in Singapore which can be used for online and overseas transactions.

According to the DBS website, ‘The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games DBS Visa Prepaid Card is a DBS and Visa branded Prepaid Card designed exclusively for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The Card can be used from the time of purchase and activation till after the Games, as long as you top up your Visa-purse value to pay for your purchases at all Visa-accepting merchants, both locally and abroad.’ Topping up of the card is convenient, either through an online portal or at any AXS Station. However, the CapitaGiftCard cannot be reloaded. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games DBS Visa Prepaid Card is valid until 31 December 2011.

As the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games is the very first of its kind in the world, this prepaid card is definitely worth collecting. Impress your friends by using these prepaid cards for payment, although it is recommended for collection purposes. The Champions Edition Prepaid Card Gift Pack is available at S$188 (US$137), while the Mascots Edition Prepaid Card is available as a Gift Pack at S$50 or S$28 each. The card can be purchased over the internet or at any DBS branch in Singapore. For those who just want a prepaid card to make payment transactions over the internet, DBS would probably release a standard version of the card in time to come, due to the popularity of prepaid cards in other countries as a secure mode of payment.

Images: DBS

Update, 7 May 2010:

I’ve finally purchased the cards over the internet! Here’s a glimpse of what you will receive.

Nature Series: Butterflies

A stamp issue featuring butterflies was released today, as part of the nature series. Designed by Nicodemus Loh F C, four butterflies found in Singapore are featured in this stamp issue. Butterflies are more active during the warmer part of the day and can be easily spotted in different places, including gardens, grasslands and wildlife parks.

Featured on the 1st local stamp is the Common Birdwing (Troides helena cerberus), a large and colourful butterfly with a black and yellow pattern. Highly sought after by collectors, this is a protected species in Singapore and Malaysia.

The Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon), found on the 80c stamp, is swift-flying and is commonly found flitting from flower to flower. It is also commonly known as the Green Spotted Triangle, Tailed Green Jay or the Green Triangle. Apple-green spots are found on the wings of this butterfly.

The Common Posy (Drupadia ravindramoorei) ($1.10) can be easily spotted along jungle paths. Something special about this species is that it has three tails, with the middle one being the longest. The Common Posy tends to rest on the same leaf with its wings closed.

The Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina), often found in coastal mangrove areas, is depicted on the $2 stamp. It has a transverse black bar in forewing cell. This butterfly is naturally attracted to partially dried Heliotropium indicum.

Graphics: Singapore Post

International Reply Coupons

An International Reply Coupons, or IRC for short, is a coupon which is redeemable in all Universal Postal Union (UPU) member countries, for stamps which amount to the minimum postage required for a 20 gram letter anywhere in the world. They can be purchased from post offices in over 70 countries.

These coupons are sometimes sought after by collectors of stamps and postal history. They can either be saved as interesting collectible items since they are dated, or be used for mail correspondence or transactions between people in different countries.

The reason for which International Reply Coupons are issued is to allow the sender to pay for the cost of postage for the recipient to reply, as a form of nice gesture. If the recipient resides within the same country, the sender can simply send a self-addressed stamped envelope. However, if the addressee is living in another country, stamps from the sender’s country are not valid in the recipient’s country. It is also difficult to obtain stamps from that country.

To get around this, International Reply Coupons were introduced in 1906 at a Universal Postal Union congress in Rome. They can be purchased for a fixed amount in a country and be redeemed for stamps in another country. In Singapore, each IRC is priced at $2.50, and can be redeemed for $1.10 postage stamps.

The new ‘Nairobi’ International Reply Coupons were issued from 1 July 2009 will be valid until 31 December 2013. However, these coupons were only obtainable in local post offices in early 2010. The obverse shows a globe and a yellow outline of a postage stamp.

On the reverse is a message printed in red, in six other languages: German, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian. It reads ‘This coupon is exchangeable in any country of the Universal Postal Union for the minimum postage for an unregistered priority item or an unregistered letter sent by air to a foreign country.’

The previous IRC named ‘Beijing Model No. 2’ was issued from 2006 are valid until 31 December 2009. The obverse shows an illustration of two fingers about to touch, framed in a postage stamp, with text in French.

When the IRCs are in the hands of collectors, they bear a single postmark as shown. This postmark shows the location in which the coupon was issued. For the case of Singapore, it identifies the post office from which the IRC originated. When the coupon is redeemed in the post office of another country, the IRC will be retained by the post office. However, it is possible to find coupons with two postmarks that somehow made its way into collector hands.

When overseas, some collectors purchase IRCs as a unique souvenir to document the date and the location of the visit. I’ll take note of this when I next travel. These IRCs from Singapore have been added to my collection of postal material.

Flora of Singapore

This year, the SODA Rewards Gift is inspired by the 150 Years of Singapore Botanic Gardens stamp issue. The Singapore Botanic Gardens was established in 1859 and is the oldest national park in the country. 150 years later, the Gardens transformed itself into a major tourist destination. Themed ‘Flora of Singapore’, the gift set consists of two art prints and a magnet featuring the stamp issue.

The two limited edition art prints feature the reproduction of two paintings: the Vanda Miss Joaquim and the Heliconia. Painted in watercolour by local artist Ms Anna Lu, each scientific drawing is affixed with a $1.10 stamp from the 150 Years of Singapore Botanic Gardens stamp issue.

The Vanda Miss Joaquim is an orchid hybrid between Vanda hookeriana and Vanda teres. This flower was named after Agnes Joaquim in 1893, by the first director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Mr H.N. Ridley. To foster national pride and identity, the Vanda Miss Joaquim was selected as Singapore’s national flower in 1981.

The Heliconia is the sole genus in the Heliconiaceaea family. Small true flowers are concealed within the colourful bracts, a highly modified leaf which may be take up various shapes.

Yet Another Integrated MRT and LRT System Map

On 17 April 2010, eleven new MRT stations along the Circle Line (CCL) will be open for revenue service. They include Dhoby Ghaut, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Promenade, Nicoll Highway, Stadium, Mountbatten, Dakota, Paya Lebar, MacPherson and Tai Seng. The Circle Line is a fully automated underground train system passing through Bishan, Serangoon, Paya Lebar and Holland Village. When it is completely opened in 2011, the 33.3-kilometre line will be the world’s longest fully automated line.

This change will be reflected on the updated pocket-sized system maps, available at all MRT stations from 17 April onwards. However, these maps have made their way to the hands of collectors since early April. Just like the map released last April, this map will soon be replaced with another updated version once the Circle Line is fully operational.

If you would like a copy of the new pocket-sized system map, just leave a comment below. Remember to include your name and email address as I would be asking for your mailing address via email. Postage is free. In the event of an overwhelming response, a ballot will be conducted. As the map can be picked up at any MRT station from 17 April, we would only send to foreign addresses. Thank you for your understanding.

Postcards: Embrace our Diversity

Recently, colourful postcards on the theme of ‘Embrace our Diversity’ have been made available across the island. This social campaign by Central Singapore aims to answer questions on cultural and religious taboos, while encouraging Singaporeans to treasure their multicultural society. In this series, there are three different postcard designs.

‘Many people have used the word rojak to describe Singapore. The rojak is a fruit with spicy peanut sauce. Each ingredient retains its distinct taste and appearance, yet together they make a delicious dish. Singapore is home to people of different ethnicity, language, faith and nationality. The TRUST website is a celebration of this diversity. Read about the many cultural and religious festivals, weddings and birth customs. Get answers to your doubts on cultural do’s and don’t’s. Try our recommended ethnic food outlets and send your wishes to friends with our festival e-cards.’

‘Take a walk through the heartlands and in your neighbourhood and you will be surprised at our rich ethnic and community heritage. We share with you the stories behind some of Singapore’s ethnic landmarks and places which serve good ethnic food.’

‘What gifts should I avoid giving at a Chinese wedding? How much hongbao should I give? Why do Malay ladies not shake hands with men? What gifts can I give to Hindu friends? Many of us have asked these questions. Many of us are afraid of offending our friends by giving the wrong gifts, wearing the inappropriate clothes, etc. Rather than causing offense, we may find it easier to stay away from people of a different race and religion. Surely, this is not the solution!’

To find out more information, visit the TRUST website at http://www.trustcentral.org.sg.

Visitors have repeatedly asked where they could get some of the collections featured on The Restaurant. To make things easier, we introduce I Want One!, where we give these items for free, including postage!

If you would like to obtain this set of postcards, simply let me know by leaving a comment below. Do include your name and email address as I would be asking for your mailing address via email. I will try my best to fulfil as many requests as possible. Note that I have a limited number of postcards to start with!

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends!

Things Box

‘The next time you look into your letterbox… something totally out-of-the-box is about to drop into your hands. Once you open it up, you will be looking forward to receiving more in the future.’

A new advertising service provided by SingPost, Things Box allows advertisers to promote their products and services in a three-dimensional box. Similar to requesting for product samples on websites, those who subscribe to Things Box will receive a package directly delivered to their home, from time to time. Each issue of Things Box contain different products which are specially crafted to match the personal preferences of each individual.

‘Things Box is a box full of interesting things that you can read, play with, try at your leisure or display as a decorative piece. Things Box is something you will be looking forward to because you will never know what you are going to get.’

For those who are interested to receive Things Box, simply visit http://thingsbox.singpost.com/ to subscribe. SingPost will send an email notification to those who are selected to receive Things Box. However, subscribers would need to complete an online survey after trying out the items contained therein.

The first issue of Things Box will be released on 15 May 2010.

Error: Mailbox Full

We would like to thank all our readers for their support. While we try our best to ensure that we reply to every postcard received within three working days, we appreciate your understanding for any possible delay.

Over the past two weeks, postcards and letters from all over the world continue to flood the mailbox at The Restaurant, again and again. Having received complaints from annoyed senders who have had their mail bounced back again and again due to a full mailbox, the following measures will be introduced with effect from today.

In order for us to quickly distinguish between your important mail and very important mail, the postage stamp should be affixed to the top left corner of the envelope or postcard. Not to worry, we have already confirmed that stamps do not always have to be pasted on the top right corner. All other mail received without this positioning of postage stamp will be read within a period of three weeks.

If your mail requires our immediate attention, please send an email to urgent (at) tanwj.com. You will receive a three-digit code, which should be written on the back of the envelope or on the bottom of the postcard. All other mail received without the code will be read within a period of three months.

Thank you for your understanding. We apologise for any inconveniences caused. We hope to lift these interim measures as soon as we find a mailbox with a larger capacity.