To my cover-exchanging friends, please try as much as possible to
as these give a more personal touch to the cover
the Philippine postal service damages the cover with scribbling that highly devalues the aesthetic value of the cover, which is what I am after
or at least same themes when sending covers, but it is okay if this is not possible or if this would be expensive, and
not too small, but maybe around 4"x6" or something like that; big envelopes are not very attractive unless they have many stamps.
Thank you!



Thanks to Juned, I received six nice covers from Indonesia, two of which were FDCs!

This first cover has on it a set celebrating the 17th Indonesian national games, which were held 5 to 17 July this year in the province of East Kalimantan. The Indonesian National Games, also known as PON (Pekan Olahraga Nasional), began in 1948 when Indonesia was not allowed to play at the London Olympics in the same year. In an effort to proclaim the existence of the Indonesian state, which gained its independence only three years prior, and in order to boost nationalism and nation unity among the citizenry, these games were established.

Just like the Olympics, they are now held every four years. The first three were quite sporadic and were held in 1948, 1951, and 1953. Starting in 1957, it was held every four years until 1996, when the interval between the last games (1993) and the 1996 games was only three years. Now, they are in line with the Olympics schedule. Must be tiring for Indonesia's athletes, eh? PON in July and then the Olympics three weeks later!

As you can see, the stamps are all circular. Just wanted to comment that Indonesia seems fond of issuing odd-shaped stamps such as triangles and trapezoids, and especially circles!

This next cover is for your gastronomical delight!

Perhaps it was the international trading route between continents that affected the various traditional foods found in Indonesia. India, Chinese, Arabian and European have introduced many recipes as well as cooking techniques that assimilated with traditional indigenous foods. Moreover, this culinary richness is supported by vast natural resources in Indonesia that yielded assorted ingredients and spices.

As an effort to preserve and promote culinary heritage of Indonesia, the stamp series of Indonesian Traditional Foods issued this year features traditional foods of four provinces, namely Sate Bandeng from Banten, Kaledo from Central Sulawesi, Ayam Cincane from East Kalimantan, and Nasi Lemak from Riau.

Nasi Lemak is a traditional food of Malay people. This kind of food can also be found in Malaysia and Singapore. Nasi Lemak is cooked using pandan leaf, which gives off a peculiarly delicious taste. Usually, it is served with boiled egg, cucumber, fried river fish and chili sauce.

Kaledo is a kind of soup with a deliciously sour and hot taste. Literally, the name Kaledo is an acronym from "donggala cow leg." This food is made of cow bone with marrow and some flesh still intact. The distinctive taste of this soup comes from fresh tamarind, its main ingredient. Accompanied by fried garlic, lime and chili sauce, Kaledo is served with rice or boiled cassava.

Sate Bandeng differs from typical grilled meat or chicken on a stick. This kind of food is grilled using champ made from bamboo trunk. Sate Bandeng is made of crushed fresh milkfish meat, which is removed from the skin, ground, and stuffed into the skin again to give the illusion that the fish is still whole. This food is served best with rice.

Ayam Cincane is a food with a deliciously sweet and rather spicy taste. Usually, it is made of whole fresh chicken. Together with coconut milk and other spices, the chicken is cooked until it becomes dry. After being grilled thoroughly, this side dish is ready for serving with rice.

Indonesian cuisine, anyone?

Next up we have an FDC that celebrates the 21st Asian International Stamp Exhibit, which was held at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taiwan, 7 to 11 March earlier this year. (Pictures of the event can be found here.)

I guess the exhibit had a nature-related theme as most of the stamps that I have seen that feature it all show birds and other animals. This issue from Indonesia shows flowers and birds. The Singapore issue shows rats (or mice?), and the Philippine issue shows birds. The next Asian International Stamp Exhibit is coincidentally being held in Jakarta this month, as you can see from the logo at the lower center. I wish I could go, but I'll be in China for the whole duration of the exhibition! I wonder when it will be held in Manila.......

These next covers below are very special to me because they are of my favorite themes: independence/nationalism and conservation!

National awakening was the era of the rise of nationalism and the spirit of struggling towards Indonesian independence previously framed in primordial outlook. This awareness emerged as a result of ethical politics. It is an idea about moral responsibilities of colonial government towards native welfare. The era was marked by two significant events, namely the establishment of Budi Utomo organization and the conduct of Youth Congress which resulted a declaration of the "Sumpah Pemuda" (Youth Pledge).

Th The establishment of Budi Utomo on May 20 1908 in Jakarta marked the initial era of nationalism awareness among Indonesian people. As a first Indonesian nationalist organization pioneered by STOVIA (School Tot Opleiding Van Inlandsche Artsen) students, it was aimed at building harmonious relations between all fellow nation elements by improving education, agriculture, commerce, and culture sectors; as well as raising the dignity of Indonesia as an honored nation through unity towards freedom. This organization was formerly centralized among Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurans, who were expected to be able pay attention to and improve the fate of local citizens, yet in its development, Budi Utomo was no longer exclusive but welcomed everyone to join the organization disregarding status, wealth, or education background.

Budi Utomo had several leadership changes, among of them came from upper class families or noble people from the royal palace. At that time, Douwes Dekker, an Indonesian of Dutch descent, supported the Indonesian struggle and started to introduce political practice into real action. As a result, discourse of Indonesia as a sovereign homeland was gaining acceptance and understanding from local citizens.

The era of nationalist politics had grown by the establishment of Indische Partij in 1912 as the first political party in the colonial era in Jakarta. The culmination point of Indonesian national awareness was the declaration of Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge) on Youth Congress II on October 28 1928 in Jakarta.

Indonesian nationalism that was born a century ago and later had inspired other Asian and African Countries to struggle for justice and self-determination as honorable countries. At present, the spirit of national unity is facing as dreadful new challenge known as global capitalism, which is penetrating politics and the economy. In order to revitalize the spirit of nationalism of Indonesian people in facing the heavy challenge, the President announced the launch of the Indonesia Awakening program, which lasted for a year-long period which started on May 20, 2006 with the slogan "Indonesia Bisa!" in commemorating 100 Years of National Awakening on May 20, 1928. The program is expected to build the sense of pride in the Indonesian people and to give them the determination to be a part of new struggle for a better nation.

Although this argument is contested by some, we all know that the world is experiencing climate change, the most evident of which is the rise in global temperature. This pheomenon has been attributed to excessive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission and other anthropogenic activities. As such, campaigns have been introduced worldwide in order to address the issue through mitigation and adaptation.

This beautiful issue from Pos Indonesia, issued on World Environment Day (June 5), serves as a testament to Indonesia's CO2 kickback campaign. It promotes bicycle riding (a form of mitigation that results from less CO2 emissions from cars) and planting (a form of adaptation since plants take in the extra CO2 that we emit). The slogan for the campaign is "Ubah Perilaku dan Cegah Pensemaran Lingkungan," or "Change Behavior and Stop Environmental Pollution."

I just hope that people actually listen to the campaign to decrease CO2 emissions and that these campaign materials, which have made it to the world of philately, are not issued in vain. Sadly, in the Philippines, almost every educated person knows about the environmental problems we face, but it seems no one cares. The mindset eminent in these parts is "to each his own," so no one really cares for the environment as much. I have observed people use styrofoam and plastic cups and rev up their cars as if there were no tomorrow, and seeing how things are going, maybe there won't be.


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