Categories
Stamps

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.

Categories
Stamps

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

Categories
Stamps

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

Categories
Banknotes

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

Categories
Stamps

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

Categories
CountTip

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.

Categories
Singapore

Where to Buy UV Light?

Following the article on UV Fluorescent security features on banknotes, people have asked on where to purchase a cheap ultraviolet light source. Shops which sell aquarium products and magic supplies often carry ultraviolet lamps, but be warned that they do not come cheap. A small one can set you back by at least $20, and the cost of a professional-grade aquarium lamp can lie somewhere in the mid-hundreds.

As a high level of brightness is not required for banknote analysis (unless you intend to use it for your fish tank or card trick), we are introducing you two places where you can purchase a cheap UV torch in Singapore. These sources of ultraviolet light, or black light, are often sold in the form of a battery-operated invisible ink pen, with some as cheap as a dollar each.

From back: Magic Light Pen ($2), Invisible Magic Pen ($1)

You can purchase a relatively bright Magic Light Pen from Daiso at $2. It is available in yellow, blue and pink, as far as I am aware. The ultraviolet pen is found in the stationery department and its product code is D-37, No. 299. As this product may not be in stock at times, you are encouraged to visit the larger outlets at IMM or Plaza Singapura or give them a ring to check its availability.

Alternatively, toy capsule vending machines across the island carry the Invisible Magic Pen. One of them is located next to the provision shop at Outram Park MRT, Exit B. The one-dollar product comes in the form of a keychain. While it is smaller in size, the light source appears to be a tad dimmer. As the products in these vending machines are rotated frequently, call the customer service hotline if you need to locate one.

When you feel somewhat bored at times, use the pen to write an invisible message!

Categories
Banknotes

UV Fluorescent Security Features on Banknotes

Placing a banknote under ultraviolet light may reveal some interesting security features. To illustrate this, we have chosen four banknotes from different countries.

From top: Peru 5000 Intis (1988), Singapore 100 Dollars (2009), Malaysia 2 Ringgit (1996), South Korea 10000 Won (2007)

The most commonly used feature is random flecks which glow brightly under ultraviolet light. These flecks cannot be seen under ordinary light and are often incorporated on both sides of the note. In order to provide a greater contrast, such notes are often printed on security paper which does not reflect ultraviolet light. For example, the 5000 Intis (1988) note from Peru and the 2 Ringgit (1996) note from Malaysia are sprinkled generously with fluorescent green and blue flecks.

Fluorescent security features can be also incorporated with other features on the banknote. On the 100 Dollar (2009) note from Singapore, the latent image bearing the MAS logo fluoresces under ultraviolet light. However, this wavy-shaped feature was not adopted by the polymer banknotes to make way for the island-shaped security thread. A security thread on the right-hand edge of the 10000 Won (2007) note from Korea gives a slight glow when placed under ultraviolet light.

Fluorescent pigment can also be used to print detailed graphics on the banknotes. The denomination is printed vertically across the 5000 Intis note, while numerals are printed in the middle of the Singapore $100 note. For example, putting a £20 (2007) note under ultraviolet light reveals a bright red and green figure 20. The serial numbers and seal on Singapore banknotes are printed with fluorescent ink.

Sometimes, these fluorescent features can be seen without using an ultraviolet lamp. For example, the numerals in the middle of Singapore’s Portrait Series of banknotes are large enough to be seen using by holding it next to the window, by means of ultraviolet rays from sunlight.

Today, many countries make use of such security features to deter counterfeiting, given that it is less easy to reproduce these features using commercially available printers. Often, these features are found on most denominations of modern banknotes. Even the 100 Trillion Dollar (2009) note from Zimbabwe has slight traces of fluorescent fibres embedded on it. Fluorescent features are found on Bank of England’s £5, £10 and £20 notes, and they are likely to be used on the Series F £50 note, to be released in late 2011.

If you wish to explore the fluorescent features of banknotes, invest in an ultraviolet lamp. This lamp should ideally emit light at 365 nanometres, which is often termed ‘black light’. For a cheaper alternative, visit a novelty store and find pens which allow one to write invisible messages which are revealed under ‘magic’ light. Here, you can purchase one at Daiso for $2.

Categories
Running

Sundown Ultramarathon 2011

This morning, I completed the 2011 Sundown Ultramarathon. Spanning a total of 100 kilometres, the entire journey took me a net duration of 16:39:58. It was definitely challenging both physically and mentally. Starting from Marina Barrage, runners were brought through East Coast Park, Changi Village, Pasir Ris Park and Bedok Reservoir Park, then back to Marina Barrage via the same route. In fact, this was the first time I preferred an out and back route, as I could expect what to go through for the second half.

The race was flagged off at 6 pm on 25 June atop the Marina Barrage building, where I followed Alvin on his 4-minute run 1-minute walk strategy. After crossing the Barrage, we ran past the Indoor Stadium and towards East Coast Park, crossing an overhead bridge along the way. After 7.5 kilometres, we emerged from an underpass and started the East Coast Park leg. The East Coast Park stretch was some 11 kilometres long. Soon, massive dark clouds started appearing, signifying the threat of a downpour. Nearing the 20-kilometre pit stop (which was located just after the 19-kilometre mark), it started to drizzle. Luckily, the drizzle did not transmogrify itself into a thunderstorm.

The next 6 kilometres was a straight along Changi Coastal Road, and we soon arrived at the 30-kilometre pit stop (located at the 29-kilometre mark) just across the bridge from Changi Village. The next stretch was similar to the 2009 Sundown Marathon route, bringing runners up a hill and towards Loyang estate. However, I could not keep up with Alvin’s pace just before the 32-kilometre marker and continued running at a slower pace. By 36 kilometres, I had to walk in the middle of Pasir Ris Park due to a slight strain on the knee. By then, the time elapsed was 4:47. In order to have enough time to complete the ultramarathon, I had to reach the halfway mark by 7:30. The 40-kilometre pit stop was located just before entering the housing estate. There was another overhead bridge at Ikea Tampines which brought us across the expressway. We ran down a relatively straight stretch of Tampines Avenue 10 and entered Bedok Reservoir Park. With just three more kilometres to go, I gave myself 11 minutes per kilometre to reach the pit stop.

At the pit stop, I collected my Special Needs Bag and changed into a fresh set of running attire. I also managed to do some stretching and grab half a hot dog bun. After spending close to 28 minutes at the pit stop, I deposited my bag and embarked on the next half of the journey. As my legs started to hurt, I decided to walk. A few minutes later, Kelly appeared and encouraged me not to give up. By taking small steps, I was able to run for short distances and complete each kilometre in 9.5 minutes. At 72 kilometres, I decided to walk for the rest of the journey due to the strain on my knee. Indeed, I felt a sense of loneliness as the Changi Coastal Road stretch. However, volunteers cheered on as they rode their bicycles up and down the course. By the 80-kilometre mark, it was already past 7 am.

Upon entering East Coast Park, I could feel the heat from the sun. It was indeed a long and tiring stretch, and I aimed to leave the place by 9.30 am by walking at 11 minutes per kilometre. I had to consume lots of water in order to keep myself hydrated. For the last 7.5 kilometres, there was an underpass and an overhead bridge to conquer. Although my knees started to ache further, I increased my pace slightly and managed to overtake a few people. At the 98-kilometre mark, Marina Barrage was in sight. While it appeared near, it took me 18:36 to reach the end point.

After crossing the barrage, we had to run up the slope before crossing the finish line, where we were presented with a finisher T-shirt, medal and towel. Also, runners were given a bottle of mineral water and isotonic drink.

Throughout the entire route, supporters were constantly cheering. For the 100-kilometre ultramarathon, runners were encouraged to bring their own source of hydration as pit stops were located at every 10 kilometre or so. At each pit stop, I refilled my water bottle with mineral water and grabbed some food such as muffins, cookies and raisins. And I was glad I chose a 1-litre bottle instead of a 600 ml bottle, given that the last 20-kilometre stretch was somewhat hot.

Many thanks to Alvin and Kelly for pacing me, as well as to friends who gave words of encouragement during the run!

Categories
Stamps

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter

On 3 June 2011, Singapore Post released a se-tenant strip of four stamps featuring the oriental small-clawed otter. An endangered species that is native to Singapore, this mammal has been spotted at the northwestern coast, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and on offshore islands such as Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. Often found in zoos, children are attracted to its playful and inquisitive character. The oriental small-clawed otter is regarded as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in the Red List of Threatened Species.

Over a year ago, SingPost approached local artiste Edmund Chen to design this stamp series. The graphics designer is Wong Wui Kong. In this issue, there are two 50 cent stamps and two $1.10 stamps. The postmark for the first day cover is designed by Chen’s daughter Yixin, 11. A total of 1000 limited edition collectors’ sheet was also released.

Image: SingPost