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!


Posting Lineup

So, I have finally reached the end of a very busy schedule and thus finally have some time to myself, a portion of which I have committed to updating this blog. So, below is a lineup of covers that I plan to post (on this blog) in the near future:
  1. Argentina
  2. Belgium
  3. China
  4. Cuba
  5. Germany
  6. Indonesia
  7. Italy
  8. Malaysia
  9. Pakistan
  10. Portugal
  11. Singapore
  12. Slovakia
  13. Taiwan
  14. Thailand
  15. Turkey
  16. USA
I have decided that it would be much better for me to post in batches, meaning I will include covers from the same postal authority in one post. This, I think, would be the most practical and orderly approach. The list above is in no particular order, but I do plan to cross out each entry before I leave for Macau. Coincidentally, the first postal authority I will start with is Hong Kong.

That said, I have quite a lot on my hands, and I hope that I can fulfill this promise that I have made to myself.

Wish me luck and enjoy the posts!


So this post starts my series of "batched" posts, and I have chosen to start with Hong Kong. A fellow collector, Edward Hong, has been very generous in sending over some very nice covers, which I share with you below.

This first cover has the 4v set on the Judiciary of Hong Kong issued 27 November 08. This set of four stamps was issued "in praise of the just and fair legal system in Hong Kong, and features familiar symbols of [the Hong Kong] Judiciary. Each side of each stamp is equal in length representing equality before the law, and the white background represents a corruption-free society."

The stamps, from left to right, show judges in their uniform (as of 2005 Hong Kong judges wear British-style outfits, including wigs made of horsehair and scarlet-coloured robes), the Court of Final Appeal building in Central Hong Kong (which replaced the Supreme Court of Hong Kong in 1997), a statue of Lady Justice, and what seems to be the mace of the Hong Kong Judiciary. On each stamp is a version of the word 司法, which roughly translates to "administration of justice."

Intersting to note: the 14 September, 2008, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy survey reported Hong Kong and Singapore have the best judicial systems in Asia, with Indonesia and Vietnam the worst: Hong Kong's judicial system scored 1.45 on the scale (zero representing the best performance and 10 the worst); Singapore with a grade of 1.92, followed by Japan (3.50), South Korea (4.62), Republic of China on Taiwan (4.93), the Philippines (6.10), Malaysia (6.47), India (6.50), Thailand (7.00), People's Republic of China (7.25), Vietnam's (8.10) and Indonesia (8.26).

This next cover is an FDC of the Hong Kong Museums collections 6v set issued 16 May 09 during the 23rd Asian International Stamp Exhibition held in Hong Kong from 14-17 May. It features Chinese calligraphy and painting, presenting six selected exhibits from museums and universities in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Post writes, "With a glimpse of the calligraphic works and paintings of celebrated Chinese artists, we can admire the beauty of culture, thereby realising the importance of heritage and art conservation."

The stamps feature the following works of art:

$1.40 Poem in Running Script
WANG Duo (1592 - 1652)
$1.80 Landscape after the Style of Huang Gongwang
WANG Yuanqi (1642 - 1715)
$2.40 Calligraphy of WANG Youjun
WANG Xizhi (303 - 361)
$2.50 Bird in Moonlight
GAO Qifeng (1889 - 1933)
$3 Flower and Butterfly
JU Lian (1828 - 1904)
$5 Figures in Pure Line Drawing (detail)
GU Huai (Qing dynasty)

The stamp cover below bears one of the stamps in the set, but what makes it special is that the commemorative postmark for the stamp exhibition was used and the date on the postmark is also the first day of issue of the stamp!

Last is my favorite of all these covers, again because it shows and commemorates and airport; this time it is Chek Lap Kok International Airport (HKIA).

Construction of the new Hong Kong airport (colloquially termed 赤鱲角機場 or Chek Lap Kok airport since it occupies Chek Lap Kok island) began in 1991 and the airport was opened for civil transport on 6 July 1998, just one week later than the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It was built to replace the old Kai Tak airport, which was located in the densely populated area of Kowloon.

The old Kai Tak airport was built in 1925 on a rather small parcel of land and, as Hong Kong began to develop and air traffic began to increase, it capacity was pushed way over the design limit, resulting in many delays. Moreover, terrible noise pollution harried the residents of the area s the flight paths of the landing aircraft flew over city streets. This is also a reason why flights were not allowed to arrive at night, further limiting the capacity of the airport.

Kai Tak was also notorious for its landing approach, which in the piloting community was known as the "Hong Kong turn." Considering that hills and and mountains surrounded the airport and that buildings as tall a 6 stories high could be found just across the road from the runway and that crosswinds were also often causing trouble, landing in Kai Tak was really a feat that demanded concentration and skill. In fact, landings at Kai Tak were so spectacular that spectators would watch planes land for a thrilling experience.

Here is a video of some of the best of these notorious landings caught on camera:

Here is a link to another interesting set of landings, this time with the crosswinds:

The HKIA is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China and the rest of Asia. It has won seven Skytrax World Airport Awards in just ten years. It operates one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings and operates twenty-four hours a day. In 2008, Hong Kong International Airport was the second busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo traffic, and was also the 12th busiest airport worldwide in terms of handling passengers.



Hello there! After a long hiatus in posting, I have here for you today a most wonderful cover from Taiwan, thanks to my friend Wu Wei Yi from Kaohsiung (高雄).

This is, in my amateur opinion, an interesting cover because it has many elements combined, those being: a first day envelope without the actual stamps, an ATM stamp, a special franking for Kaohsiung, and a stamp on one of my favorite themes: postal paraphernalia!

The first day envelope. Curiously, Chunghwa Post allows for the use of blank FDCs to send letters using stamps other than those intended to be used on the FDC. In this case, the stamps for this 2006 Year of the Pig issue were not used and, for reference, they are shown below:

The ATM stamp. The ATM used here was issued for the value of NT$4 (roughly USD 0.12) by machine number 89 (I cannot find any information as to where Machine 89 is located). It shows the Tung flower, the flower of the Paulownia tree. Festivals are held to celebrate the flower, the latest being the 2009 Hakka Tung Blossom festival held in Taiwan earlier this year.

The Paulownia tree is native to much of China (where it is known as 泡桐, or paotong) and southern continental Asia and is also cultivated in Japan and Korea. It is popular in its native China for reforestation, roadside planting and as an ornamental tree. The wood is also important in China, Korea, and Japan for making the soundboards of stringed musical instruments such as the guqin, pipa, koto, and kayagum. Interesting to note is that it was named in honour of Queen Anna Pavlovna of The Netherlands (1795–1865), daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia. Scientific info on the plant available here.

The special postmark from Kaoshiung shows Kaohsiung harbor, or 高雄港. The first two characters spell out Kaohsiung in Chinese. Notice that the last Chinese character 港 (gang) is the second character for the Chinese spelling of Hong Kong (香港); this is because 港 means "harbor/port" in Chinese.

And, finally, to my favorite component: the stamp!
The stamp comes from a 4v set issued on 1996 to celebrate what I have come to understand as 100 years of philatelic service in Taiwan (郵政一百週年紀念). The particular stamp on the cover shows instruments and documents used when sending out mail, such as the scale and what seems to be receipts (there seems to be a small drawing of an EMS receipt in front of the green scale). How I wish I could have received the entire set! Maybe my friend Wu Wei Yi can send me an entire set? Or perhaps the FDC for this issue? :-)

Below is a scan of a beautiful cover sent on the first day of issue, along with other special postmarks. The special postmark at the bottom center shows the Philatelic Museum, if I am not mistaken. I plan to visit the Taiwan postal museum when I find the time.....