Festive Postage Rates

From 25 January to 14 February 2010, Singapore Post is offering festive rates for greeting cards of any size, shape or colour. This discounted rate is especially useful when sending greeting cards to other countries.

For postage to a local address, the postage fees is 26 cents (up to 20 grams) and 32 cents (up to 40 grams) respectively. Wait, isn’t this the usual rates? True, but not exactly. Now, cards with creative designs can also be sent. For example, posting a red square envelope would require a postage of 50 cents due to its non-standard nature. Now, it only costs 26 cents, provided that the weight does not exceed 20 grams.

For Malaysia and Brunei, the festive rate for a greeting card is 45 cents (up to 20 grams) and 55 cents (up to 50 grams) respectively. For all other countries in the world, the festive rate is 55 cents for a weight of up to 40 grams. The usual rates for sending a card of weight up to 20 grams range from 65 cents to $1.10, depending on the destination. Every additional 10 grams ranges from an extra charge of 25 cents to 35 cents respectively.

If you would like to send or exchange a greeting card, simply drop me an email or send a card to Tan Wei Jie, VBox 887977, Singapore.

Anniversary Stamp Issue

Today’s new stamp issue features the anniversaries of four organisations: Housing & Development Board (HDB), People’s Association (PA), Singapore Customs (SC) and Singapore Scout Association (SSA). This year, HDB and PA are celebrating their 50th anniversary and are featured on the portrait 50c stamps, while SC and SSA turn 100 and are portrayed on the landscape $1 stamps.

The following is extracted from the information sheet provided by Singapore Post:

Housing & Development Board (HDB)

HDB, Singapore’s public housing authority, was established on 1 Feb 1960 as a statutory board, to tackle Singapore’s acute housing shortage. At that time, a large number of people were living in unhygienic, potentially hazardous slums and crowded squatter settlements. By 1965, the HDB had built over 50,000 flats to house the people. The work of the HDB has continued over the years; and Singapore has seen the unparalleled transition of slums and squatter housing to high-rise living in vibrant and sustainable towns. Today, 82% of Singapore’s resident population lives in HDB flats, with more than 95% of them owning their homes.

Beyond the provision of homes in comprehensively planned towns, the public housing programme has played a crucial role in strengthening social cohesion through policies and programmes that encourage different segments of the population to live harmoniously together. Various estate renewal programmes have also been implemented to bring the standard of the older towns to the new ones. As a result, the vibrancy of the towns, the urban landscape and the value of HDB flats have been enhanced for the benefit of many Singaporeans.

People’s Association

The People’s Association (PA) was set up on 1 July 1960, in the turbulent pre-independence period, marked by political upheaval and racial tensions. Its mission then, as it is today, is to foster social cohesion and racial harmony, to build a united and resilient nation. PA offers the common space and creates opportunities for people of different races and religions, from all walks of life, to come together to interact, make friends and bond.

From just 28 Community Centres in the beginning, the PA today offers a wide range of courses, programmes and activities, through its network of 105 Community Clubs, 550 Residents’ Committee Centres, Outward Bound Singapore and 8 Water-Venture outlets. The Community Development Councils, the National Youth Council, and the National Community Leadership Institute are also part of the PA family, together with a 28,000 strong corps of volunteer community leaders serving in 1,800 grassroots organisations.

PA will forge ahead to strengthen community spirit and engagement, in support of its mission of building and bridging communities to achieve one people, one Singapore.

Singapore Customs

The Customs department’s history dates back to the Straits Settlement period. Established in 1910 under the name Government Monopolies Department, the main role of the department then was to regulate the opium trade. Over the past 100 years, the department has gone through several organisational and name changes. In 2003, the department was re-constituted to become Singapore Customs (SC), with the mission of assuring the integrity of Singapore’s trading system and supporting Singapore as a global trade hub.

As the lead trade regulatory authority, SC is committed to advancing the economic development of Singapore by making trade easy, fair and secure. To fulfill this commitment, SC maintains an effective and robust regulatory regime that adapts quickly to the ever-changing business landscape. One example is the first supply chain security programme in Asia, Secure Trade Partnership (STP) launched by SC in 2007 to address the global concern about trade security. As a key revenue collection agency for Singapore, SC safeguards Government revenue and takes firm enforcement actions against those who attempt to evade duties and taxes by bringing in contraband goods.

Going forward, SC remains committed to be an active and valuable partner for the business community as well as providing excellent service to our customers. The agency will continue to strive to enhance Singapore’s global competitiveness and facilitate opportunities for economic growth from the many exciting challenges ahead.

Singapore Scout Association

In 1907, Lord Baden-Powell successfully experimented his ideas on Scouting for Boys at a camp on Brownsea Island in England and Scoutmaster Frank Cooper Sands from UK started Scouting in Singapore on 22 July 1910.

Currently, the Singapore Scout Association (SSA) is 10,000 strong and has been a member of the World Scout Bureau since 1966. There are about 900 Adult Volunteers who serve the movement with dedication and commitment in various positions in the organisation.

Grounded on time-proven values and practices, SSA seeks to remain relevant by preparing the members to meet ever-changing needs. The core values and practices include a culture of peace, developing socially committed members, inclusiveness and gender balance. They prepare the members to contribute to World Peace, people-to-people relations and racial harmony in the community. Above all, SSA exemplifies this by maintaining unity within the diversity of its membership.

With a mission and vision based on the Scout Promise and Law to contribute to the education of young people and to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society, and to provide quality scouting for more young members so as to remain relevant and attractive as one of the premier uniformed organisations, all these helped SSA to be directed to their motto of “Be Prepared”, and to work “Towards a new millennium in Scouting”.

Post Early this Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is just around the corner! A pair of lanterns has appeared on the cancellations by the C4 machine, encouraging everyone to post early. Delays in mail delivery are expected due to the larger volume of mail processed every day. From 21 January to 10 February 2010, letters which are randomly sorted for cancellation by the C4 machine will be postmarked with this festive slogan.

An Un-cancelled First Day Cover

For some time, machines have been used the production of pre-cancelled first day covers. From the sticking of stamps to printing the cancellation, these processes have been automated. That also explains why the stamps are always in the correct position, straight and equally spaced. The cancellation is then printed on the stamps by a machine.

However, machines make mistakes, too. Recently, I have got a first day cover of the Singapore-Indonesia Joint Issue without any cancellation. This is the joint commemorative cover featuring stamps from both Singapore and Indonesia, on an envelope with a white background. Furthermore, the unstamped covers sold at post offices have a yellow background, which means that I did not paste the stamps myself.

Latest $50 Banknotes

Since mid December 2009, news of the new $50 paper banknote of the Portrait Series has been spreading, just weeks after the new $100 paper banknotes were introduced. The new banknote carries the signature of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Similar to other new notes issued from 2007, there is an additional square dot printed below the word ‘Arts’, for security purposes.

As the Lunar New Year is just a few weeks away, remember to check various banks for the new banknotes. Although I have been many ATMs around the country, I have not seen any of the new $50 notes yet. Here’s the new $50 banknote, with the help of Mr Vincent Tan.

Just like the $100 note, the new $50 banknote is still printed on paper. Even though $100 notes are not used frequently in daily transactions, the $50 note certainly is. I am still trying to get a scan of the new $1000 banknote, which can be identified from its serial number, which starts with the digit 1.

When you come across a new note, simply leave a comment below with the serial number and number of square dots on the reverse, or send an SMS to 8260 7772.