Expo 2010 Shanghai China

Takes a break from the live satellite broadcast of the opening ceremony

Recently, I have received a postcard from China featuring the postmark of the Expo 2010 Shanghai China. The logo represents the Chinese character ‘shi’, which is drawn to look like three people standing together with the year 2010 underneath.

Commonly known as Expo 2010 or the Shanghai World Expo, this exposition will be held in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010. This is the most expensive expo in the history of the world’s fairs and is also the largest fair site at 5.28 square kilometres. This expo would attract over 70 million visitors from all around the world. This year, over 190 countries is participating in the Shanghai World Expo.

Now, if you happen to be (or, going to be) part of the 70 million visitors, do help me obtain a small souvenir from the Shanghai World Expo! I would be able to obtain souvenirs for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Hopefully I would be able to pick up some limited edition items at the 99 Day Countdown next Friday.

Continues watching the live telecast of the opening ceremony

Postcard: Palau Nacional

The Palau Nacional, is located in the city of Barcelona, Spain. It is the symbolic building of the 1929 International Exhibition and houses the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. It is located on the Montjuïc mountain, where visitors have a magnificent view of Barcelona.

Publisher: Triangle Postals
Photographer: Pere Vivas

Singapore 2010 Visa Prepaid Cards

DBS Bank has recently introduced the DBS Visa Prepaid Card in commemoration of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Simply, the card is loaded with a stored value and can be used just like a credit card or a debit card over the counter. This card is accepted locally and overseas, and even over the internet. Unlike the CapitaGiftCard, the DBS Visa Prepaid Card is the first prepaid card in Singapore which can be used for online and overseas transactions.

According to the DBS website, ‘The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games DBS Visa Prepaid Card is a DBS and Visa branded Prepaid Card designed exclusively for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The Card can be used from the time of purchase and activation till after the Games, as long as you top up your Visa-purse value to pay for your purchases at all Visa-accepting merchants, both locally and abroad.’ Topping up of the card is convenient, either through an online portal or at any AXS Station. However, the CapitaGiftCard cannot be reloaded. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games DBS Visa Prepaid Card is valid until 31 December 2011.

As the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games is the very first of its kind in the world, this prepaid card is definitely worth collecting. Impress your friends by using these prepaid cards for payment, although it is recommended for collection purposes. The Champions Edition Prepaid Card Gift Pack is available at S$188 (US$137), while the Mascots Edition Prepaid Card is available as a Gift Pack at S$50 or S$28 each. The card can be purchased over the internet or at any DBS branch in Singapore. For those who just want a prepaid card to make payment transactions over the internet, DBS would probably release a standard version of the card in time to come, due to the popularity of prepaid cards in other countries as a secure mode of payment.

Images: DBS

Update, 7 May 2010:

I’ve finally purchased the cards over the internet! Here’s a glimpse of what you will receive.

Nature Series: Butterflies

A stamp issue featuring butterflies was released today, as part of the nature series. Designed by Nicodemus Loh F C, four butterflies found in Singapore are featured in this stamp issue. Butterflies are more active during the warmer part of the day and can be easily spotted in different places, including gardens, grasslands and wildlife parks.

Featured on the 1st local stamp is the Common Birdwing (Troides helena cerberus), a large and colourful butterfly with a black and yellow pattern. Highly sought after by collectors, this is a protected species in Singapore and Malaysia.

The Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon), found on the 80c stamp, is swift-flying and is commonly found flitting from flower to flower. It is also commonly known as the Green Spotted Triangle, Tailed Green Jay or the Green Triangle. Apple-green spots are found on the wings of this butterfly.

The Common Posy (Drupadia ravindramoorei) ($1.10) can be easily spotted along jungle paths. Something special about this species is that it has three tails, with the middle one being the longest. The Common Posy tends to rest on the same leaf with its wings closed.

The Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina), often found in coastal mangrove areas, is depicted on the $2 stamp. It has a transverse black bar in forewing cell. This butterfly is naturally attracted to partially dried Heliotropium indicum.

Graphics: Singapore Post

International Reply Coupons

An International Reply Coupons, or IRC for short, is a coupon which is redeemable in all Universal Postal Union (UPU) member countries, for stamps which amount to the minimum postage required for a 20 gram letter anywhere in the world. They can be purchased from post offices in over 70 countries.

These coupons are sometimes sought after by collectors of stamps and postal history. They can either be saved as interesting collectible items since they are dated, or be used for mail correspondence or transactions between people in different countries.

The reason for which International Reply Coupons are issued is to allow the sender to pay for the cost of postage for the recipient to reply, as a form of nice gesture. If the recipient resides within the same country, the sender can simply send a self-addressed stamped envelope. However, if the addressee is living in another country, stamps from the sender’s country are not valid in the recipient’s country. It is also difficult to obtain stamps from that country.

To get around this, International Reply Coupons were introduced in 1906 at a Universal Postal Union congress in Rome. They can be purchased for a fixed amount in a country and be redeemed for stamps in another country. In Singapore, each IRC is priced at $2.50, and can be redeemed for $1.10 postage stamps.

The new ‘Nairobi’ International Reply Coupons were issued from 1 July 2009 will be valid until 31 December 2013. However, these coupons were only obtainable in local post offices in early 2010. The obverse shows a globe and a yellow outline of a postage stamp.

On the reverse is a message printed in red, in six other languages: German, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian. It reads ‘This coupon is exchangeable in any country of the Universal Postal Union for the minimum postage for an unregistered priority item or an unregistered letter sent by air to a foreign country.’

The previous IRC named ‘Beijing Model No. 2’ was issued from 2006 are valid until 31 December 2009. The obverse shows an illustration of two fingers about to touch, framed in a postage stamp, with text in French.

When the IRCs are in the hands of collectors, they bear a single postmark as shown. This postmark shows the location in which the coupon was issued. For the case of Singapore, it identifies the post office from which the IRC originated. When the coupon is redeemed in the post office of another country, the IRC will be retained by the post office. However, it is possible to find coupons with two postmarks that somehow made its way into collector hands.

When overseas, some collectors purchase IRCs as a unique souvenir to document the date and the location of the visit. I’ll take note of this when I next travel. These IRCs from Singapore have been added to my collection of postal material.