Wow! It's been quite a while since my last post! Been so busy lately that I never found enough time to just sit down and write about stamps. Anyway, for my next few posts, I'm going to backtrack a bit and show some covers I received quite some time ago. I really liked these ones and wanted to share them for others to appreciate.
The covers we have here is obviously from Malaysia. One has a souvenir sheet and the other a 4v set; both commemorate the 50th year of Malaysian independence. As you may recall from my first post, Malaysia also issued a 2v set in 2003 to celebrate its 46th Independence day. Here we have souvenir sheet and a 4v set that celebrate the 50th.
These stamps were actually collages that celebrate everything Malaysian, and each stamp has it unique title. Clockwise from the upper left, the titles are: Religious Diversity and Tolerance, Cultures and Craft of Unity, Flora and Fauna, and Golden Treasures of the Sea.
The stamps were issued on 19 March 2007. The site did not say whether or not the souvenir sheet was issued on the same day, but I assume they were.
Unfortunately, the cancels are quite unreadable, but I recall that these envelopes were sent sometime in Dec 2007/January 2008.
A little more on Malaysian history and independence:
2007 was Tahun Melawat Malaysia or Visit Malaysia year and the government had a campaign to encourage tourists to visit the country. I remember seeing a billboard along the highway here in the Philippines and I must admit that I was quite surprised to see the Malaysian government advertising even within Southeast Asia!
Following the Japanese Invasion of Malaya and its occupation during World War II, popular support for independence grew. Post-war British plans to unite the administration of Malaya under a single crown colony called the Malayan Union foundered on strong opposition from the Malays, who opposed the emasculation of the Malay rulers and the granting of citizenship to the ethnic Chinese. The Malayan Union, established in 1946 and consisting of all the British possessions in Malaya with the exception of Singapore, was dissolved in 1948 and replaced by the Federation of Malaya, which restored the autonomy of the rulers of the Malay states under British protection.During this time, rebels under the leadership of the Malayan Communist Party launched guerrilla operations designed to force the British out of Malaya. The Malayan Emergency, as it was known, lasted from 1948 to 1960, and involved a long anti-insurgency campaign by Commonwealth troops in Malaya. Although the insurgency quickly stopped there was still a presence of Commonwealth troops, with the backdrop of the Cold War. Against this backdrop, independence for the Federation within the Commonwealth was granted on 31 August 1957.
I myself visited Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru in May of that year and was lucky enough to avail myself of a few promos and discounts that the government was giving to tourists in celebration of the said event. Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful place. I stayed at a hotel near the Petronas towers and KLCC and had a great time walking around the streets and shopping at Suria mall, which is located at the base of the Petronas Towers. Kuala Lumpur was very first-world and, thankfully, very clean. This is, however, in stark contrast to Johor Bahru, which is on the tip of the Malay peninsula and the closest Malaysian city to SIngapore. I happened to pass through Johor en route to KL and was disappointed to see that it differed very little from Manila in that it was dirty, crowded, polluted, and - er- unsafe. I planned on staying the night but decided in favor of the contrary lest any fortuitous event occur during my stay.