Sunday Stamps 080: Embroidered orchids on Singaporean stamp

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Here’s a special stamp for orchids lovers all over the world!
I won a contest at Cherished Moments by SingPost page in Facebook and scored a special and unique stamp in a souvenir sheet. It is special in a sense that it features an embroidered stamp depicting the pigeon orchid.

The SingPost issued this souvenir sheet in May 2009 along with two other definitives under the Flora and Fauna category.
The SingPost issued this souvenir sheet in May 2009 along with two other definitives under the Flora and Fauna category.

As you can see, the stamp has three embroidered pigeon orchids fixed on the stamp. According to sources, this white fragrant flowers with yellow “throat” resemble a flying pigeon when viewed on the side. Hence, the name. The printing company must have used special types of machines to do this. I know that this is not the first time embroidered stamps were issued. I think the Swiss was the first to do so in 2000. However, this is the first of its kind in (and very much welcome addition to) my collection. How awesome is that? I mean, unique stamps like this are very much what collectors are after, isn’t it?

What’s more awesome is that I received this souvenir sheet with details and a personal note from a SingPost executive.

Okorn charan, Singapore Post! Thank you!
Okorn charan, Singapore Post! Thank you!

I don’t know many women who received orchids, instead of roses, on Valentine’s Day but I sure would be happy to get one. I think orchids, when chosen and arranged beautifully,  are gorgeous and a unique gift for Valentines. What about you?

We are also celebrating the Chinese New Year here in Cambodia, so Kung Hei Fat Choi to everyone! May the Year of the Water Snake bring out the best in each of us.

Sunday Stamps 079: Cool insects

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This week’s theme is insects. Or bugs. Some people love to hate them.  I don’t.  So what did I find from my collection this week? Here goes:

From a postcard from Qatar (sent by Rodel) here’s one of the beautifully printed insect stamps from Qatar.

The migratory locust is one of the 20 insects printed on Qatari stamps in 1998.
The migratory locust is one of the 20 insects printed on Qatari stamps in 1998.

The migratory locusts are found in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia and it is a major agricultural pest in many countries. The subspecies in Australia, Locusta migratoria migratorioides, is also found in Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea.

Bee-hawk moth is one of the stamps depicted in the 2008 set issue of the Austrian Post advocating for environmental protection.
Bee-hawk moth is one of the stamps depicted in the 2008 set issue of the Austrian Post advocating for environmental protection.

Bee-hawk moths are day-flyers and are said to be similar in appearance to  bumblebees. Their wings are transparent and have a rusty, brown border.  What a beauty, isn’t it? They are found in North Africa, Europe, and Central and Eastern Asia.

I love these insects. But there are creepy-crawlies that I run away from. And these are the mean-looking  mosquitoes, beetles, ants, and spiders, with fangs as sharp as single edge razor blades that give me the shivers. Okay, enough of me. Let’s see your kind of bugs or insects this week 🙂

Postcard Friendship Friday 083: Cambodia’s King-Father Sihanouk

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Today is the first day of the four-day funeral ceremony of the King-Father Norodom Sihanouk. It began with a funeral procession this morning that took the King-Father’s body from the Royal Palace, where it was lying in state for three months now, to the cremation site in front of the National Museum. Thousands of mourners attended the procession and the whole capital was noticeably in a sombre mood.

For this week’s Postcard Friendship Friday, I am sharing with you an iconic landmark in Phnom Penh. This is where I first attended a ceremony where the then-King Norodom Sihanouk attended.

This is the Vimean Eikareach, or the Independence Monument, an obra of Mr. Van Molyvann who is Cambodia's most influential modern architect. Built in 1958 to commemorate those who died during the wars and Cambodia's independence from France.
This is the Vimean Eikareach, or the Independence Monument, an obra of Mr. Van Molyvann who is Cambodia’s most influential modern architect. Built in 1958 to commemorate those who died during the wars and Cambodia’s independence from France.

The Vimean Eikarech monument is located right smack in the city centre, on the intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk Boulevards. It’s a reddish-brown monument that’s in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa, a style or design that is seen in the temples of Angkor and other historical sites. There is a pedestal in the middle where a ceremonial flame is lit by a royal or high official during important occasions. From afar, it looks like an electric fireplace especially when lit at night. Also, take note of the tuktuk (left) and the moto-dop (right) in the foreground. They are two of the common modes of transportation here in the Kingdom.

Too bad I did not really saw then-King Norodom up close because I was very far from the monument 🙁 Since there are no postcards showing the King-Father, let me share with you a stamp issued in his honour.

Rest in peace Your Majesty King-Father. You will  be missed.
Rest in peace Your Majesty King-Father. You will  be missed.

For those following the funeral ceremony of the King-Father, his body lies in state at the cremation site just a block away from the Royal Palace.  The body is scheduled to be cremated on Monday, February 4.

Sunday Stamps 078: Amber marimba

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Screenshot-from-2013-01-26-12-09-38I come from a country known to produce fantastic singers worldwide. If I remember it right, the American talk show host Ellen Degeneres once declared on twitter that some of the best singers she knows come from the Philippines.

Sad to say, I am one of those unfortunate souls who don’t have any musical gene in my DNA. I love and appreciate good music, don’t get me wrong. But please don’t make me sing. My talent for singing is best hidden,lol. When it comes to music, I prefer instrumentals such as esp acoustic guitars but I also love the classic, oldies but goodies kind of stuff. Now, why am I talking about music stuff? Well, guess what, I have a stamp from Mexico that was on a postcard that mi querida amiga Ana sent to me. It features one of Mexico’s traditional musical instrument, a theme that I like.

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A marimba is a musical instrument, usually made of wood, from the percussion family that was developed in the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico and northern Guatemala. The marimba is said to be a “descendant” of sorts of the instrument called balafon used by the African slaves in Central America. (Source: Wikipedia)

I’ve never seen a marimba before but I think it resembles a xylophone and a traditional Khmer xylophone made of bamboo called roneath. According to marimba sites, they sound lower and richer than a xylophone.

I found a video on youtube that demonstrates how a marimba is played and how it sounds like. Enjoy the marimba music!

Sunday Stamps 077: Cartoon strips on stamps

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In between upgrading my Ubuntu operating system in my desktop (newly-purchased by my husband, ahem-ahem) and checking my blog stats via dashboard scorecard here, I was able to also search for a bit of background details about my entries for this week’s Sunday Stamps. Is that multi-tasking or what?Without further ado here are my stamps featuring cartoon strips:

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Ik heb de kraan mar laten lopen, dan kun u het lek gemakkelijker vinden.
Translation via GoogleTranslate: I have run the tap in March, then you can easily find the leak.

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Er zat geen cent meer in de schatkist, majesteit. Enzo komt hij nog van pas.

Translation via GoogleTranslate: There was not a penny more into the treasury, majesty. So he comes in handy.

The above cartoon strip on stamps were issued in 1993. There are four in this series.  I’ve never heard of Joost Swarte before and it’s interesting to know more about this artist. I think they are unique stamps, cleverly designed to make it look like a page of a comic book that’s been ripped off from it. Looking at the illustrations on the stamps alone made me see a bit of similarities on the style employed by the artist who made the cartoon character, Tin Tin.  Did you notice it,  too?

Joost Swarte is one of the most popular comic artists and graphic designers from the Netherlands and is best know for his ligne claire or clear line style of drawing which he himself had coined. His illustrations appeared in many magazines in the Netherlands, Belgium and in the USA. He worked for the New Yorker magazine where he created a strip called “We’ll Make It” as well as some of his illustrations landed on its covers.

Sunday Stamps 076: The skies at night, folktales and the beginning of the cosmos

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The Botswana Post has a conservative policy when it comes of issuing stamps, with about four to five stamp releases every year. In 2009, the Sky at Night series came out depicting the lovely night skies of Botswana and celestial bodies and its corresponding folktales.

For thousands of years people have looked heaven-ward and questioned their place in the cosmos. The stars, the moon and sun, and the immense dome of the Kalahari were all celestial signs that united people with nature. It is not surprising that the Naro of D’kar call this greatest of nature’s phenomena, “Nqarri Kgei kwe”… the Face of God.

The starlore of Botswana includes stories about stars and constellations, planets, the sun and moon, as well as bodies with apparent motion such as meteors and comets. These accounts are typically expressive rather than physical in understanding, with most descriptions having a metaphorical or narrative idiom. Many have whimsical associations, some have deeper intrinsic meaning in explaining cosmological origins [emphasis mine] whilst others serve practical purposes such as markers for direction in space and time. – Botswana Post

Folk tales, folk lores and legends all over the world teach us many things for in them we learn a lot about our history, geography, astronomy, origins or beginnings of our world, our race. As I have noticed in most folk tales, etc., we discover how we humans (struggle) try to find our place in the universe and to make sense of the world we live in.As you might have known by now, folk tales around the world fascinate me so much so it is not a surprise that this stamp automatically falls under my favourites list. There are actually four in the series but I only have one that you see below:

Botswana's Sky at Night: The Moon and the women of Setsana.
Botswana’s Sky at Night: The Moon and the women of Setsana.

I found this here explaining the story behind the stamp:

References to the moon are ubiquitous in local cultures. This stamp depicts a Setswana group of women who, it is said, bring a gentle light to the home, unlike the oppressive heat of the sun. The lunar waxing and waning also coincides with monthly fortunes, the waxing moon being U-shaped, carries problems and diseases, whereas the waning moon spills theses misfortunes on the people. Here the moon is accompanied by the recent concatenation with Jupiter and Venus. “Maphatlalatsane”, the brightest celestial object after the sun and moon.

Here is the complete set in the 2009 Sky at Night series that I took from the Botswana Post website:

From left to right: The Southern Cross and four giraffes; the meteorite and shamans shooting arrows; the solar eclipse and the magical lions; and lastly, the moon with a group of Setsana women.
From left to right: The Southern Cross and four giraffes; the meteorite and shamans shooting arrows; the solar eclipse and the magical lions; and lastly, the moon with a group of Setsana women.

Sunday Stamps 075: Santa Claus is in town! (and other Christmas stamps)

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Hello everybody! These days we are enjoying a sunny but cool weather here in the city. It’s definitely a welcome change!

Although we are not officially celebrating Christmas in Phnom Penh, a lot of establishments as well as (expat) homes are decorated for the holiday. While looking around a local market and stopping by to check some metal cabinets for sale (for my postcards, stamps and what-nots!), I noticed that a “Merry Christmas” sign was up and one or two salespersons were wearing a Santa hat! Clearly, we are all feeling the holiday fever here.

Which brings me now to my stamps for this week. First up from Portugal featuring the bearded and red-suited Santa Claus holding a present with one of his reindeers.

I hope Santa Claus won't forget to drop by the southern Philippines. That region was recently hit by  Typhoon Bopha and  the children need some cheering up!
I hope Santa Claus won’t forget to drop by the southern Philippines. That region was recently hit by  Typhoon Bopha and  the children need some cheering up!

The stamp is one of the 6 stamps of the Natal set issued by Correios de Portugal in 2009. According to StampNews.com, this set of Christmas stamps were original graphic designs reflecting Christmas exchanging of gifts and/or gift-giving tradition.

Just a thought. I find stamps featuring children’s drawings of Santa Claus (or any other drawings) the most endearing and creative ones. I don’t know why. Maybe there is something special and magical about the way children see Santa Claus (or other subjects, in general) and that is, somehow, translated onto their drawings. I do not own stamps with Santa Claus drawn by children but I want to have some, of course.

I have two more Christmas stamps from New Zealand and Croatia, respectively:

Above is one of the five Christmas stamp set issued in New Zealand in 2011.
Above is one of the five Christmas stamp set issued in New Zealand in 2011.

The Christmas stamp from NZ portays the Nativity scene, a Christian story told countless times from generations to generations all over the world. Here in the stable, Mary and Joseph cradling  the Infant Jesus who was wrapped in swaddling clothes. I love looking at the adoring gaze of Mary and Joseph. I also love the metallic colour incorporated in the dominantly blue theme.

And last but not the least, a Christmas stamp featuring one of Croatia’s greatest painters ever.
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Christmas has been a source of inspiration to many artists. It is the most wonderful time of the year, in my opinion. Families gather, forgive each other and renew ties, and celebrate the real reason for the season.

With a flickering Christmas tree in the middle, with the most beautiful meal of dreams on the table, with good, tame and patient things, with the chairs facing us and awaiting us, Emanuel Vidovićreminds us that our home is the church.” – Hrvatske Pošte

And on this note, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Feliz Natal! Joyeux Noël! Sretan Božić! Maligayang Pasko. Среќен Божиќ. Craciun Fericit! ¡Feliz Navidad!

May we all remember the reason for our celebration this coming Christmas.

Sunday Stamps 074: Christmas stamps for TB

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It’s less than ten days before Christmas and the mere thought of it makes me homesick, especially that our theme for this week is Christmas/holiday stamps. Missing my family and our Christmas celebration back home *sniff*I want to share with you a quaint sheet of 50th  anniversary Christmas Seal stamps from South Africa that was issued in 1979.

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So many interesting stuff here in the stamps.
Kersfees and Kersmis means Christmas and/or Christmas feast/celebration in Afrikaans.

I also notice the presence of double red cross printed in all of the stamps. Turns out this is the Cross of Lorraine, which is the symbol of France. It was also adapted by the Tuberculosis (TB) Society as its worldwide emblem for many, many years. So, if my understanding is right, these stamps were sold to support the TB Society.

I actually have a complete sheet but the lower half is not in good shape as the stamps are glued to a paper. It was like already like that when I got them. I do not even want to try peeling them off one by one lest I might totally destroy the stamps. I guess you could say that the person who sent them to me are not exactly collectors but they’re very good friends of mine who surprised me with this from their holiday in South Africa. I’m very grateful for friends like them! Maraming salamat, Fe and Tony.

To those who are interested this is the complete set:

Photo of stamp from http://salliyanniemagundy.blogspot.com
Photo of stamp from http://salliyanniemagundy.blogspot.com

Sunday Stamps 073: Dolphins of Cambodia

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How are you all, dear friends? I hope you are all fine — Christmas is around the corner! I’m sure you all are getting ready.

As for us here, it’s same old-same old. This year, my husband and I decided that this year we won’t be putting up our Christmas tree again (second time in a row) and we will forego the traditional exchanging of gifts and Christmas dinner in deference to my fellow Filipinos who were recently devastated by Typhoon Bopha. My only wish for Christmas is for them to be able to pull through this crisis.

Okay, on to the stamps.

My entry this week for Sunday Stamps are local issues featuring five dolphin species found in Cambodia:

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All of these stamps (above and below) were issued in 2006 under the Fish category. A glaring mistake, as spotted by  avid philatelists. Dolphins are mammals, not fish. These are dolphin species found in Cambodia, above, from left: the Chinese white dolphins (500r), the finless porpoise (900r), and the Arabian long-beaked dolphins (1,400r).

The dwarf-spinner dolphins, left; and the Indo-Pacific bottle-nose dolphins, right.
The dwarf-spinner dolphins, left; and the Indo-Pacific bottle-nose dolphins, right.

According to Cambodia Philately, there are other errors made in these particular stamps.I wonder how these details weren’t immediately seen by the Post Office staff before it went to printing. Perhaps it’s time they should consider hiring a consultant, to check for errors such as stated above as well as have an eye for detail. As most of the stamps of Cambodia are printed in Vietnam, the printing company should consider using some kind of a web to print software solutions that will help them check  for any errors in the copy before printing.

For more about the errors, please check this blog post by Cambodia Philately.

Sunday Stamps 072: Stamps for children’s causes

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Today I have two stamps that bear advocacy messages concerning children. They were posted in my old blog and I’m re-posting them  here since they pretty much fit the theme this week.

First up is a stamp from Down Under. It is one of the five stamps issued by the New Zealnd Post in 2006 in support of the global health campaign “5+ a day”. Showing sliced kiwi fruit in a stamp from the land of the Kiwis,  the stamp is being used by the NZ Government to encourage young and old alike to eat five or more servings of colourful fruits and vegetables everyday.

Kiwi fruit on a stamp from Kiwi country. Isn't this a great way to spread the word?
Kiwi fruit on a stamp from Kiwi country. Isn’t this a great way to spread the word?

The second stamp came from the United Nations Postal Administration in New York sent by my good friend Conniechiwa of the blog Writings on the Wall.  The stamp was issued in September 2008 under the theme “We Can End Poverty” depicting the winning artworks of children in the art competition sponsored by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

I am a fan of children's art and I could not believe that the artwork on this stamp was  a child's work. What an immense talent this kid has!
I am a fan of children’s art and I could not believe that the artwork on this stamp was  a child’s work. What an immense talent this kid has!

The  theme of the competition was “We Can End Poverty”  and it was held as part of the celebration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the end of the First Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.