Know 10 Trees: Trumpet Tree

This is the last of a three-part series featuring the ‘Know 10 Trees’ maximum cards.

Another tree which was featured among the three maximum cards was the pink-flowered Trumpet Tree, together with the Rain Tree and the Yellow Flame. Printed on A5 cardstock, these colourful maximum cards are affixed with a matching 1st Local stamp from the  ‘Know 10 Trees’ issue released on 26 May 2010.

The Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia rosea) originates from South America and is often planted for its shady crown. The deciduous tree can be up to 30 metres tall, and has large, trumpet-shaped flowers which comes in a pink-white tint. In Singapore, flowering usually occurs twice a year after a dry spell, around April and August. The flowers then develop into fruits with elongated pods, which subsequently split open to release winged seeds.

Graphics by Singapore Post

Text adapted from Singapore Post

Know 10 Trees: Yellow Flame

This is the second post of a three-part series featuring the ‘Know 10 Trees’ maximum cards.

Also featured on one of the three maximum cards released in 2011 was the Yellow Flame, which is featured in this post. These maximum cards were given to SODA members who accumulated a certain number of points in a year.

The Yellow Flame (Peltophorum pterocarpum) is a medium-sized deciduous tree originating from most parts of China, Southeast Asia and the tropical regions of Australia. The tree can reach a height of around 15 to 25 metres, making it an attractive and common wayside tree. It has bright yellow flowers which grow in bunches of up to 40 centimetres in length. During the flowering season (which can last for several weeks), the whole crown of the tree is covered in a distinctive shade of yellow. The flowers develop into woody, purple-brown fruit pods which usually contains up to five seeds.

Next week, we will be featuring the Trumpet Tree. Check back soon!

Graphics by Singapore Post
Text adapted from Singapore Post

20th World Orchid Conference (2011)

Singapore hosts the 20th World Orchid Conference (20WOC) from 13 to 20 November 2011 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The theme for the conference is Where New and Old World Orchids Meet. To commemorate this occasion, Singapore Post released five stamps and a special Collectors’ sheet on 12 November 2011, which coincides with the opening ceremony.

This event is jointly organised by the National Parks Board (NParks) Singapore and the Orchid Society of South East Asia (OSSEA). Singapore is currently the only Asian city which is hosting the international event for a second time. The 4th World Orchid Conference was also held in Singapore in October 1963.

Featured on the stamps are five commonly known orchids. The Vanda Miss Joaquim (1st Local) is the national flower of Singapore. The Renanthera 20th WOC Singapore (45 cents) is the official flower of the event. The Dendrobium World Peace (65 cents) and Cyrtocidium Goldiana (80 cents) are cultivated in Singapore, where the latter is popularly known as the Golden Shower here. The $2 stamp portrays Grammatophyllum speciosum, or the Tiger Orchid, the largest orchid in the world.

The Collectors’ sheet contains a $5 stamp and features an assortment of orchid species and hybrids placed in a woven basket. It is sold for $8. The designer for the stamps is  Nicodemus Loh.

The orchids featured in the stamp issue are also showcased at the World Orchid Show. As part of the 20WOC, the orchid show features over 75 magnificent displays of orchid species and hybrids from 23 countries. These orchids are also found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens as well as the National Orchid Garden. The National Orchid Garden boasts some 600 orchid species and hybrids on three hectares of carefully landscaped slopes.

The 21st World Orchid Conference will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2014.

Know 10 Trees: Rain Tree

This is the first of a three-part series featuring the ‘Know 10 Trees’ maximum cards.

Singapore Post issued the ‘Know 10 Trees’ stamps on 26 May 2010, featuring ten trees which are found locally. The stamps were designed by Mr Wong Wui Kong, who also illustrated the oriental small-clawed otter stamp issue and the recent joint issue depicting the Singapore River, just to name a few.

Earlier this year, SingPost produced a set of three maximum cards for this issue. They featured the Rain Tree (below), the Yellow Flame and the Trumpet Tree. These maxicards were postmarked 31 March 2011.

The Rain Tree (Samanea saman) was brought into Singapore back in 1876 and is native to the temperate and tropical regions of South America. Its branches spread out widely, giving the tree an umbrella-shaped crown which spans 30 metres. Furthermore, the tree can reach a height of 25 metres, making it an excellent shade tree. Its flowers are fragrant and showy, with pink and white stamens. On a rainy day, the leaves of the tree would fold up, thus it is commonly known as the Rain Tree. It is also known as the Pukul Lima (which translates to 5 o’clock in Malay), as the leaves would fold up in the evenings.

Look out for the upcoming post on the Yellow Flame!

Graphics by Singapore Post
Text adapted from Singapore Post

Singapore-Egypt Joint Commemorative Cover: Significant Rivers (2011)

On 17 October 2011, a joint stamp issue was launched to commemorate 45 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Egypt. The commemorative covers have just arrived yesterday after its shipment was delayed to Monday.

The stamps from Egypt were printed as a two se-tenant strips of three. The first set of 30 pt, LE 2 and LE 25 stamps featured the Singapore River just like Singapore’s $1.10 stamp, while the other set featured The Nile River.

The se-tenant strips from Egypt seem to be slightly shorter than the stamps from Singapore. Also, there are slight differences in colour between the stamps, with more vivid blues in the Singapore version and a slightly more realistic hue in Egypt’s stamps. The cancellation were somewhat similar, featuring the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the Singapore skyline.

Singapore-Egypt Joint Issue: Significant Rivers (2011)

On 17 October 2011, Singapore Post launched a joint stamp issue to commemorate 45 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Egypt. The $1.10 stamp designed by Wong Wui Kong features a panoramic illustration of the Singapore River, while the $2 stamp designed by Amany Ahmed and Rasha El Zonkoly features The Nile River.

At 162 mm by 30 mm, this is likely to be the longest individual stamp issued by Singapore Post.

The Singapore River has great historical importance. In 1819, it was made the first trading port by Sir Stamford Raffles, and served as the main lifeline of Singapore then. Today, the Singapore River continues to play an important role as part of the Marina reservoir and a major tourist destination.

The Nile River is the longest river in the world, and has been the lifeline of ancient Egyptian civilisation. Most of its inhabitants and cultural and historical sites are situated along the river banks. Presently a major tourist attraction of Egypt, The Nile River is truly the heart of both ancient and modern Egypt.

This issue has a wide range of philatelic products to look out for. The miniature sheet featuring both the S$1.10 and S$2 stamps is sold for $3.30. Also, the set-of-two commemorative covers ($6.70) featuring both stamps from Singapore and Egypt is definitely be limited in numbers, and is only be available today at all Singapore Post branches.

Update: The set-of-two commemorative covers will only be available in the next few days as the stamps have arrived from Egypt on Monday.

Text adapted from Singapore Post
Graphics by Singapore Post

Greetings from YourSingapore (2011)

Greetings from YourSingapore! Today, Singapore Post will be releasing a set of 10 stamps featuring the YourSingapore logo. From greenery, food to a bed of roses, these simple elements form the shape of the island of Singapore.

Electrifying, romantic, inspiring, or just plain fun – come make Singapore your own at YourSingapore.com.

YourSingapore is the new destination brand of Singapore. The logo is made of colourful cubes placed in a haphazard manner, suggesting the different facets of Singapore as a tourist destination and the nature of Singapore’s evolvement. At YourSingapore.com, one can explore Singapore virtually and create a personalised itinerary for a unique experience. Share these encounters on the website as well!

This new brand was launched on 5 March 2010 by the Singapore Tourism Board as an evolution of Uniquely Singapore, which was Singapore’s destination brand from 2004 to 2009.

A complete set of 10 stamps (all 1st Local) costs $2.55, and are available in gummed-back sheets and self-adhesive booklets. The first day cover is priced at $3.40. As this is part of the ‘Greetings’ series, there will not be any presentation pack.

Date of Issue: 14 September 2011
Denominations: 1st Local (10 designs)
Stamp size: 40 mm x 30 mm
Perforation: 13
Paper: Unwatermarked
Printer: Secura Singapore Pte Ltd 

Images: Singapore Post

Singapore $2 Uncut Notes with Two Triangles

In a recent auction by Mavin International on 23 July 2011, the Singapore $2 note with two triangles was revealed. However, this variety is only available as an uncut sheet of three. Each uncut sheet contains prefixes 4EQ/4FQ/4GQ or 4HK/4JK/4KK.

 

The banknote still bears the signature of the previous Chairman of MAS, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, instead of the current Chairman, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. It suggests that the note was printed before the appointment date of 21 May 2011. Banknotes signed by the latter will be expected as early as January 2012.

Also, the Singapore $5 note with one square was available as an uncut sheet of three at the auction. These notes had a prefix of 3AA. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has often made such uncut sheets available through auction only.

 

Courtesy of Vincent Tan

Areas of Historical Significance in Singapore (2011)

Today, Singapore Post released a set of four stamps to celebrate 46 years of independence for Singapore. This stamp issue features two residential neighbourhoods Joo Chiat and Taman Jurong – the transformation from the past ($1.10) to the present (50 cents).

Joo Chiat is a residential conservation area situated between Marine Parade and Geylang in the eastern coastal region of Singapore. Up to 1917, the area was known as Confederate Estate Road, until it was renamed after Chew Joo Chiat (1857 – 1926), a major land owner there. In July 1993, Joo Chiat was gazetted as a conservation district, resulting in the preservation of many of its old buildings. Today, the shophouses and bungalows in Joo Chiat still retain the typical architectural styles of the early 20th century. In February 2011, it was announced to be the first Heritage Town, a project by the National Heritage Board to promote community ownership of heritage.

Taman Jurong is one of the oldest residential precincts in Singapore. From a sleepy rural area mainly consisting of coastal swamplands fed by many small rivers meandering through the mangroves, jungles and wasteland, it has grown into a developed suburban area today. Taman Jurong was at the heart of industrial growth in the 1960s, providing housing for workers and simple entertainment opportunities. It also led to the development of today’s tourist attractions such as the Chinese Gardens and Japanese Gardens, and Jurong Bird Park.

Text and Graphics: Singapore Post

CountTip for Android

How much does your meal cost when eating with a group of friends? It’s simple. Launch the built-in calculator app, and push 19 buttons to represent a product of numbers, say 17.90*1.07*1.10*0.9. Hit the equal sign. Voilà! You get 18.96147 and pull out 19 dollars worth of paper money. Pass your phone to the person sitting on your right and start all over again.

To make this even simpler, we have been developing the CountTip app over the past two months. After entering the amount in five keystrokes, simply tap on any combination of the buttons. This time, you know the answer in eight taps. When you pass the phone around, simply update the subtotal amount and leave the buttons untouched. With real-time calculation implemented, the answer is instantly displayed on the screen.

Aren’t there already many other tip calculators out there? Yes, there are! However, as of today, none of the apps were really suitable for use in several parts of the world. In Singapore, prices are often subjected to a 7% GST, and some eateries impose a mandatory 10% service levy – either one of them, or both. To make things better, there is a 10% discount if you pay using the preferred credit cards. Many of the existing apps do not allow for a flexible combination of these rates.

Here are some of the features for CountTip:

Universal

This app can be customised according to your local tip, tax or discount rates or when travelling to foreign countries. Storing a custom value is simple. After typing the percentage in the Edit box, tap and hold on one of the buttons for one second. If tipping is not customary, you can use this as a discount calculator by entering negative values such as -10, -15 and -20.

Built-In Calculator

Not your typical calculator with the four operators. This calculator comes in handy when you order a main course for 16.90, a drink for 4.80, and a dessert for 5.70. Enter the cost of each individual dish and tap on the + sign to add, rather than launching the calculator app.

Split the Bill

If the group decides to split the bill at the end of a meal, simply enter the number of people and pronounce the digits aloud. With this easy-to-use function, who still needs the calculator for division?

Rounding Off

Currently, you can choose to round up, round down or to the nearest degree of accuracy, i.e. 0.01, 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, 0.50 and 1.00. To save you some time, choose to round to the nearest dime.

Why Three Buttons?

After conducting a brief research, we concluded that restaurants seldom use more than three different rates when calculating the bill. Therefore, we have chosen to display only three buttons to keep the interface clean.

 

Currently, CountTip is available for download in the Android Market for Android 2.1 or later.  Download a copy today! Feel free to start a discussion below if you have any suggestions or feedback.

 

And finally, to debunk a common myth, it does not matter whether GST, service charge, or discount should come first. The total amount remains the same.