Singapore-Philippines Joint Issue

Earlier in the afternoon, I was at the Pod on level 16 of the National Library Building for the Singapore-Philippines Joint Issue stamp launch. Access to the Pod is restricted, requiring wireless access cards to take the lift up. The lift, which could fit up to 40 people, was similar to the size of a cargo lift. The view at the Pod was magnificent! I started going around taking pictures of the scenery.


(Click to enlarge)

Lift lobby
Lift lobby


View from The Pod

Road Junction

The event started at 1500 hours with a song in Tagalog which amazed the crowd. Following which, the Ambassador of the Philippines Mrs Minda C. Cruz officially launched the stamps by pulling a lever. The panel rotated slowly to reveal an enlarged image of the stamps. After that, a music school teacher performed another song.

Stamp Frame

Stamp Launch


The Pod

Guests received a set of commemorative first day cover in a stylish silver folder, as well as a colourful folder containing a personalised stamp sheet: MyStamp.

Bridges (2009) MyStamp

The covers below are autographed by Mrs Minda Cruz.

Autographed Covers

This stamp issue commemorates the 40th anniversary of Diplomatic relations between Singapore and The Philippines, featuring five bridges: Henderson Waves & Alexandra Arch (80c) and Cavenagh Bridge (65c) from Singapore, as well as Bamban Bridge (1st Local) and Marcelo Fernan Bridge ($1.10) from the Philippines.

Henderson Waves and Alexandra Arch opened in May 2008 and are both found along the Southern Ridges. Henderson Waves is Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge at 36 metres above Henderson Road. Cavenagh Bridge was built in 1868 and was the oldest bridge across the Singapore River. This bridge was built to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Crown Colony of the Straits Settlements. Bamban Bridge, completed around 1998, is one of the longest bridges of its type and has an arch span of 174 metres. Marcelo Fernan Bridge is an extra dosed cable-stayed bridge located in Cebu, and has a total length of 1237 metres.


1990 Asian Games

The latest addition to my collection is a set of first day covers issued to commemorate the 11th Asian Games held in Beijing, China. Three series of stamps were released by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications of the PRC, from 1988 to 1990, one in each year. The 11th Asian Games was held from 22 September 1990 to 7 October 1990, and was the first large-scale international sports event to be held in the People’s Republic of China.

The first series was a set of two stamps issued on 20 July 1988, with a total face value of RMB 0.38. The 8 fen stamp shows the logo for the Games, while the 30 fen stamp shows the mascot of the Games, PanPan the Panda.


The second series consisted of four stamps with total face value RMB 2.08, and was issued on 15 December 1989. The stamp showcases the four most spectacular competition venues renovated and built for the Games. They are the Beijing Students’ Gymnasium, the Beijing Natatorium of the Northern Suburbs, the Beijing Workers’ Stadium and the Chaoyang Gymnasium, appearing on the 8 fen, 10 fen, 30 fen and 1.60 yuan stamps respectively.



The final series of six stamps was released on the opening day of the Games, and included a miniature sheet of the 12 stamps from all three series, with the theme on sports events. They include Track and Field (4 fen), Gymnastics (8 fen), Wushu (10 fen), Volleyball (20 fen), Swimming (30 fen) and Shooting (1.60 yuan).




A last day commemorative cover was issued on 7 October 1990.


All stamps measure 40 mm by 30 mm and have a perforation of 11 by 11.5.



August will be a busy month for stamp collectors in Singapore, as there will be three issues in total. On 9 August, a set of seven stamps featuring sculptures will be released National Day. On 14 August, four vibrant stamps will be issued to celebrate the one-year countdown event for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Finally, there will be a Singapore-Philippines Joint Issue on bridges on 28 August to commemorate the 40th year of Diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

 Sculptures (2009)

The masterpieces of seven sculptors are showcased on the stamps issued on National Day in 2009. The art of sculpture is still very much alive and flourishing in Singapore today. These sculptors have displayed their potential to create monumental pieces that are in tune with the technological age. 

The following works are featured:

  • We’re Happy. Are you Happy? (Mr Teo Eng Seng)
  • Crimson Eagle (Mr Anthony Poon)
  • Art Trees (Ms Han Sai Por)
  • Standing Figure (Mr Wee Beng Chong)
  • Wealth (Dr Ng Eng Teng)
  • Signature (Brother McNally)
  • Nude 2 (Mr Tay Chee Toh)

Happy National Day!

Happy National Day!


World Games 2009

World Games 2009

One of my collector friends has kindly asked another of his friend to send first day covers from the World Games 2009 held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. This set of stamp issued on 16 July 2009 is printed on phosphorescent stamp paper. 

The 8th World Games is now being held in Kaohsiung from 16 July 2009 to 26 July 2009. In order to commemorate this grand sporting event, the Chunghwa Post has issued this set of two stamps (mintage 1.2 million each) and a souvenir sheet (mintage 0.9 million) featuring the Kaohsiung Arena (NT$5) and the Main Stadium for the World Games (NT$12). 

The Kaohsiung Arena is a modernistic gym equipped with standard Olympic facilities, making it a great venue for basketball and volleyball games as well as 200-meter races in indoor track and field. On the lower right of the stamp are the mascots of the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung: Kao Mei and Syong Ge. Dressed in red and blue respectively, these water spirit babies have a water drop for a head. Their bodies will light up after absorbing solar energy with the little spheres on their heads. The design reflects a concern for international issues such as green energy and environmental protection.

The Main Stadium for the World Games was built to the standards of the International Association of Athletics Federations Class I certified international sports stadium. The open-air design does away with the need for air conditioning. This avant-garde architecture will be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung. On the lower right of the stamp is the games’ logo: a stylized Chinese character Kao (as in Kaohsiung), written in a colorful and rhythmic flowing ribbon, resembling the beautiful shapes of athletes in competition. The design aims to convey the concepts of harmony, friendship, rhythm, flight, progress and joy.

Also, it is really interesting to learn that there are two different sized covers issued for one issue!

Singapore Stamps

Singapore Food Festival 2009

Today marks the start of the Singapore Food Festival 2009. This year, the Food Festival will be held from 17 July to 26 July at Clarke Quay. The first Singapore Food Festival was held in 1994 and is known to be a key local event on the calendar of each year. In Singapore, one can taste a wide variety of food, be it local and international. According to the organizers, participants can ‘look forward to an even more exotic and sumptuous fare, leaving an unforgettable gastronomic experience islandwide’.

Clarke Quay

Read Bridge

Locals and tourists alike armed with coupons are queueing up for food, on the almost-always-crowded Read Bridge, as stallholders recited, “Next, order please? Two dollars. Thank you!” One may mistake the place for a wet market, maybe a more popular one.

Food Street

Highlights include a Peranakan Parade showcasing their traditional outfits. The Peranakan Parade begins from the Singapore River Promenade outside The Central at Clarke Quay at 1800 hours. Also, popular local cuisine is served at the Clarke Quay Food Street. On 26 July, Swissotel Merchant Court will be lining the tables with over 100 delicious Peranakan dishes in the longest buffet line spanning the entire Read Bridge. This feast comes at a price of $35 for adults and $22 for children below the age of 12. Tickets are on sale until 23 July at Ellenborough Market Cafe. Hawker centers are also hyped up for the Singapore Food Festival 2009, with exciting events to be held at Chinatown Complex and East Coast Lagoon Food Village during the weekends. Other shopping centres such as The Central, Marina Square and Raffles City are also bringing in food from different countries.


Singapore River

Best of all, SingPost has issued a set of five stamps today, featuring Singapore’s most popular desserts. Try not to lick the delicious-looking stamps which depict five local desserts that are commonly seen around Singapore. The Ice Kacang (1st Local) is a sweet-tasting and colourful bowl of shaved ice with red beans, grass jelly, sweetcorn and bits of coloured jelly beneath it. The Ondeh-ondeh (2nd Local) is a ball of sweet potato dough wrapped around by a thin layer of grated coconut, often served with a coconut filling. The Ang Ku Kueh (S$0.65) is a glutinous rice flour cake filled with peanut paste or bean paste, also known as the red tortoise cake in Hokkien. The Lapis Sagu (S$0.80) is a Peranakan favourite that consists of nine colourful layers. The Mithai ($1.10) is a collection of traditional Indian sweets that comes in assorted shapes and sizes.

Stamps - Desserts (2009)


Can I Paste the Stamp Anywhere I Like?

Have you ever wondered if it really matters where the stamp is pasted on the envelope? Will they take a longer time to deliver if you pasted it upside down or right in the centre of the envelope?

Stamps are conventionally affixed on the top right-hand corner of the envelope, and this has sort of become an international standard. When we send a letter, it is somewhat natural for us to stick it on the top right-hand corner, and not on any other corner or arbitrary position on the envelope.

In Singapore, mail items dropped into the post box before 1900 hours within the Central Business District and before 1700 hours elsewhere are delivered on the next working day. After the mail arrives at the Singapore Post Centre, it will be passed through a Culler-Facer-Canceller which tries to locate the stamp or stamps affixed on the envelope. It will then print a postmark on the envelope with the date of processing, which is likely to be on the day of dropping it into the mailbox. Each envelope is marked with a unique orange barcode at the back. An Optical Character Reader will identify the postal district as written on the envelope.

Machine printed postmark
Machine printed postmark
Machine printed 'Postage Paid' postmark
Machine printed 'Postage Paid' postmark

The Barcode Sorting machine will match the address and print another orange barcode on the front of the envelope, which represents the postal code of the address. If you check your mail items, you will notice that the front barcode is always the same while the back barcode is always unique. Finally, the Delivery Barcode Sorting machine sorts the mail according to the delivery route of every single postman in Singapore based on its postal code.

Inverted Stamp

Now, it appears that the orientation of the stamp on an envelope does not matter. Over the years, I have accumulated numerous envelopes with fishes swimming upside down, just like the one shown below. The machine can well locate the stamp and cancel it nevertheless.


Since the orientation of the stamp does not affect its detection by the machine, I decided to experiment if the position of the stamp would affect its detection. To make it a fair experiment, only the position of the stamp is varied, while the size, the colour, and even the weight of the article remains the same. The latest 30-cent definitive was used instead of the 1st local definitive due to its larger dimensions.

On 6 July at 1500 hours, I posted three envelopes with stamps pasted on different corners. All three envelopes were delivered to my house the next day.

Probably, when the stamp is not detected by the Culler-Facer-Canceller, it has to be cancelled by hand. The absence of barcodes on either side of the envelope suggests that such items are sorted by hand. On the two envelopes with stamps pasted in non-standard locations, there are no barcodes. However, it is still delivered to my house on the same day as the envelope with a stamp in the standard location.

Therefore, it does not really matter where you paste the postage stamp on the envelope, it will still get delivered along with the rest of the mail posted on the same day. So, feel free to stick your stamp on a random spot on the envelope, but it will certainly not look professional!


The Botanic Gardens (Part 5)

Stamps a la Carte

Continued from Part 4…

Some may know that I am one who keeps at least a pen with me in my pocket, often complemented by a mechanical pencil. However, since it was the school holidays, my pen decided to take a break at home before it had to resume work again on the first day of school and to minimise contact with others to reduce the risk of contracting the Influenza A (H1N1-2009) virus. Furthermore, on this day, the number of cases in Singapore surged by a record high of 26 cases and shot past the 100 mark.

I tried asking around for a pen, and was very lucky that someone offered his fine marker, just the perfect instrument for autographs. After Mr Wong autographed the presentation pack and left, I proceeded with my initial mission of chopping. Similar to previous road shows, I will chop the first day cover with the S1 chop. It has already become a must for new stamp issues.

After the launch, I walked around the Botanic Gardens to breathe in some fresh air, and to take more photographs. Back at the Swiss Granite Fountain, the lady who was not a sculpture was still sitting still on a stool in the shade, sketching a scene of several kids splashing with water, although the kids are no longer there.



I proceeded to the famous Swan Lake, filled with beautiful white swans. This place does bring back memories. However, there are no black swans in the lake, as featured on the stamp below, even though I cannot remember if there were black swans back then.

Black Swans
Black Swans

Since it was getting late, I left the Botanic Gardens to catch a bus home. It was a satisfying day with lots of interesting encounters. I got the autographs, took the photographs, and had so much to put into paragraphs.

This reporter got the autograph too!

Straits Times Article

The End


The Botanic Gardens (Part 4)

Stamps a la Carte

Continued from Part 3… 

Half past eleven. The launch had probably ended. My eyes scanned the place for signs of life and spotted the Singapore Post booth located at a corner in the vicinity. I took out my two envelopes with stamps already affixed on it, ready to cancel it with the ‘S1’ postmark which is only available at launches and other stamp exhibitions. This stamp issue was launched to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Exhibits on Display
Exhibits on Display
Information panels on the stamp issue
Information panels on the stamp issue

‘Would you like to buy a presentation pack? It is cheaper here, only $5.35! If you buy outside it is a bit more expensive.’

‘Can I chop the envelope with the S1 chop?’

‘Sure, here is the chop. Do you want the presentation pack?’

‘Thank you! Well, but I seldom collect presentation packs.’

‘Designer is somewhere over there, faster go ask him for his autograph.’

‘Ok, I would like to buy a presentation pack. Later then continue to chop.’

‘How many presentation packs?’

‘One will do.’

I looked around to see where the designer was. Mr Eng Siak Loy sitting at the other corner at a table in front of a queue of people holding stacks of first day covers and presentation packs, waiting to get theirs autographed. The person in front of me brought a whole stack of previous stamp issues which were designed by Mr Eng. I should have brought my collection too! As I was queuing, I noticed Mr Clement Ng from the philatelic department of SingPost near the queue. He introduced me to Mr Wong Wui Kong, the designer for the flora and fauna definitive stamps.

I continued to wait in the queue.

After Mr Eng has patiently autographed on the presentation pack and first day covers, I went back to the SingPost booth, not to continue with chopping, but to ask, ‘Are there still any more presentation packs from the flora and fauna definitive issue?’

As quickly as possible, I turned around and walked towards Mr Wong to ask for his autograph as well, realising that I do not have a pen, a marker or any other autographing instrument with me. Neither does Mr Wong nor Mr Ng.

The quest of searching for a pen began.

To be continued…


The Botanic Gardens (Part 3)

Stamps a la Carte

Continued from Part 2…

Upon hearing that I was going for the stamp launch, the staff handed me a map of the Botanic Gardens which unfolded to an A2 sheet. ‘The stamp launch is at Green Pavilion. Just walk straight, turn left, turn right, turn left, blah, blah, blah, and you will arrive at the Green Pavilion.’

Wait, wasn’t that where I came from? Due to the massive size of the Botanic Gardens, it took me quite some time to reach my destination. While I was walking towards the Green Pavilion, I passed by various notable landmarks.

At Palm Valley, children were enjoying themselves in activities such as catching and bubble-blowing. Their parents were engaging in their own activities: viewing the scenery while sitting on benches and taking photographs of their children.

Palm Valley

Then, I arrived at a junction named Orchid Plaza. At this junction, there were a few food and beverage outlets selling burgers, chips and other finger food at touristy prices. Even though I was very thirsty, I did not get any drinks since the queue was quite long and I had to get to the Green Pavilion as quickly as possible. Forgetting that I had a map, I got distracted by the food and took the wrong path leading to a gate leading out of the Botanic Gardens.


I headed back to the junction. Luckily, the second path which I chose was the correct one. On the way there, I walked past a few sculptures with seemingly analogous names such as ‘Girl on Bicycle’, ‘Girl on a Swing’, and ‘Lady on Hammock’. There is also a ‘Swing Me Mama’ sculpture at another corner. Other attractions included the Vanda Miss Joaquim and the Bandstand.

Lady on Hammock

Girl on Bicycle

Two Men on Bicycles zoomed past me. They were not sculptures, but were ‘NParks Contractor on Duty’. Walking under the hot sun, I wished that I had a bicycle too! At the Swiss Granite Fountain, a lady (she’s not a sculpture either) was sitting still on a stool in the shade, sketching a scene of several kids splashing with water around.
After close to half an hour of walking (and taking photographs), I finally arrived at the launch, but wait.

Garden Map

Am I at the right place? Why is it so empty?

Stamp Launch

To be continued…


The Botanic Gardens (Part 2)

Stamps a la Carte

Continued from Part 1…

‘It is still early, let’s just wait,’ the father replied, as he continued to arrange the items. I took a look at the time on my mobile phone. That was when I realised that it was not early anymore. I should be heading towards the Botanic Gardens. The stamp launch starts in a few minutes. I started to make my way to bus stop.

After taking bus service 174 from a distant bus stop opposite Clarke Quay MRT station, I alighted at the bus stop in front of the Botanic Gardens. Since the Tanglin Gate was not open, although another gate right next to it is open, the stamp launch is probably held at the Visitor Centre.

Tanglin Gate appearing closed
Tanglin Gate appearing closed

I walked along Cluny Road, passing by a row of bungalows and the unknowingly, the location of the stamp launch. One of them even had six luxury cars parked in it. As it was quarter to eleven, heat from the sun became more intense. The pedestrian walkway was paved with leaves, not fallen ones, but those that are green in colour.

Leaves on the Walkway

Shortly after spotting this sign which assured me that I was on the right track, I arrived at Nassim Gate and headed towards the Visitor Centre.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

10:55 am.

I looked around the main entrance. There was a cafeteria called where my secondary school principal was enjoying a cup of coffee. There was a restaurant called Casa Verde Restaurant next to it. There was a souvenir shop called the Botanic Garden Shop which sells magnets with the word ‘Singapore’ on almost every piece. There was water feature with fishes swimming in it, probably there is no name for it. However, there was no stamp launch anywhere in my sight. I decided to walk into the souvenir shop, thinking that the stamp launch may be inside, which obviously was not. I started to panic, thinking that the stamp launch could be over, and started walking towards the visitor services counter for help.

Garden Map

To be continued…