Tan Wei Jie

weijie (at) tanwj.com

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  • 10Jul

    Following the article on UV Fluorescent security features on banknotes, people have asked on where to purchase a cheap ultraviolet light source. Shops which sell aquarium products and magic supplies often carry ultraviolet lamps, but be warned that they do not come cheap. A small one can set you back by at least $20, and the cost of a professional-grade aquarium lamp can lie somewhere in the mid-hundreds.

    As a high level of brightness is not required for banknote analysis (unless you intend to use it for your fish tank or card trick), we are introducing you two places where you can purchase a cheap UV torch in Singapore. These sources of ultraviolet light, or black light, are often sold in the form of a battery-operated invisible ink pen, with some as cheap as a dollar each.

    From back: Magic Light Pen ($2), Invisible Magic Pen ($1)

    You can purchase a relatively bright Magic Light Pen from Daiso at $2. It is available in yellow, blue and pink, as far as I am aware. The ultraviolet pen is found in the stationery department and its product code is D-37, No. 299. As this product may not be in stock at times, you are encouraged to visit the larger outlets at IMM or Plaza Singapura or give them a ring to check its availability.

    Alternatively, toy capsule vending machines across the island carry the Invisible Magic Pen. One of them is located next to the provision shop at Outram Park MRT, Exit B. The one-dollar product comes in the form of a keychain. While it is smaller in size, the light source appears to be a tad dimmer. As the products in these vending machines are rotated frequently, call the customer service hotline if you need to locate one.

    When you feel somewhat bored at times, use the pen to write an invisible message!

  • 30Apr

    It appears that a well-known securities and investment company in Singapore has decided to add one additional cent of postage to the mail it sent out. A rare sight – the numerals ‘0033’ has been imprinted onto an envelope dated 28 February 2011 in red ink.

    Currently, standard mail up to the weight of 40 grams costs 32 cents when posted to a local address. Therefore, the 33 cent impression was probably an error made during the franking process, unless Singapore Post recently (or secretly) introduced a new premium of one additional cent for franked mail. However, I would say that the latter is an unlikely scenario. There was no justification for SingPost to do so, especially since the use of franked mail reduced the need to print stamps and subsequently process stamped mail.

    Major establishments often opt for the more convenient franked mail over postage stamps, especially when they regularly send out large quantities of mail in assorted sizes and weights. The franking machine prints the value of the postage on the envelope and records each impression in its log.

    According to SingPost’s website, the franking machine ‘allows (the user) to maintain accurate and up-to-date postage records and it prints any value of postage required’. It certainly does – 33 cents is indeed an odd value. As far as I know, certain franking machines have built-in weighing features, while others require a manual adjustment of the postage required. The older franking machines involved adjustments similar to a new day on your typical rubber date stamp.

    While it seems that one cent is a small amount and that the error is insignificant, it could have cost the company much more. If this happened to be part of a bulk-mailing spree extended to the entire clientele, a huge amount – thousands of dollars – would have been incurred by this securities and investment company. As this may just be an isolated case, investors should carefully attune their confidence level in the company at their own discretion.

  • 13Aug

    Tomorrow marks the opening of the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Of course, this would be incomplete without an opening ceremony.

    Just like how a hundredth of a second determines whether an athlete is first an Olympic event, it is important to whip out one’s camera within a split-second to photograph that split-second moment. A sudden burst of fireworks inserted at the end of each segment. The appearance of performers at every corner of The Float@Marina Bay. To prepare for the unpredictable sequence of events, I was at the Combined Rehearsal last Saturday to find out where the surprises are inserted.

    In order to keep the suspense for the two billion viewers worldwide, this post shall summarise the sequence of events. The opening ceremony starts at 1930 hours with a preshow segment to liven up the crowd. At 2000 hours, the live telecast will be shown to the world. Ten minutes later marks the countdown to the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

    Bright beams emerge from skyscrapers in the background, including the Central Business District. Of course, there are some special effects over at Marina Bay Sands which will attract the attention of everyone passing by. This is followed by several performances divided into various chapters. We’ll leave that to tomorrow for you to find out.

    Next is the traditional Parade of Nations, during which the athletes would march into the stadium according to their country. As with all other Olympic Games, Greece marches into the stadium first, while the host country Singapore enters last. Following which, speeches are made to declare the Games open. The Olympic flag is subsequently brought into the stadium and raised as the Olympic Anthem is played.

    The athletes will then gather around a rostrum, where a representative from the athletes, judges and coaches each, will take the Olympic Oath. The finale segment, entitled Blazing the Trail, is where the Torch is brought into the stadium. The details of this segment are kept secret and were undisclosed during the combined rehearsal.

    At the end of the event, spectators continued snapping photographs before leaving the grandstand. A final note to those who are attending the Opening Ceremony tomorrow – arrive early to get a good view, especially since is a free-seating event.

  • 23May

    International Museum Day (IMD) falls around 18 May each year and is celebrated worldwide since 1977. This year’s theme is ‘museums for social harmony’. Today, a number of museums in Singapore are having an open house, i.e. free museum admission. In addition, family-friendly activities and interactive programmes are organised. Since 2006, the National Heritage Board has celebrated IMD in Singapore to foster a museum-going culture among members of the public.

    Participating museums include Asian Civilisations Museum, Hua Song Museum, Land Transport Gallery, Malay Heritage Centre, Marina Barrage, Memories at Old Ford Factory, National Library Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, NEWater Visitor Centre, NUS Museum, Peranakan Museum, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Reflections at Bukit Chandu, Singapore Air Force Museum, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Coins and Notes Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum, red dot design museum, SGH Museum and the Youth Olympic Games Learning Centre.

    I would be heading down to the Singapore Coins and Notes Museum (SCNM) for the first time. This museum was recently opened on Wednesday, 1 July 2009. Located in a restored shophouse in Chinatown, this museum is conveniently located near the train station. For those who are interested in going down, its address is 2 Trengganu Street.

    The Singapore Coins and Notes Museum is the first and only museum in Singapore dedicated to showcasing currency. Visitors to the museum are brought on a journey through a world of coins and banknotes, ranging from the earliest objects used for barter trade to the modern polymer banknotes. In addition, one of the collections allows visitors to learn how local currency made its way into Singapore during her early nation building days.

    This museum aims to create an awareness of Singapore’s history by taking visitors through the evolution of the Singapore currency over the years. In addition, through interactive activities and themed galleries, SCNM aims to develop interest in coin and banknote collection amongst the younger generation.

    Interactive displays are found throughout the museum, where visitors can learn about the commonly used metals in the production of coins. Rare objects from pre-independence Singapore can be found within the galleries. Visitors can also make coin rubbings to take home as souvenirs.

  • 16May

    Earlier this year, the Youth Olympic Games Learning Centre invited collectors to display their Olympic collection at a temporary exhibition. Located at 1 Kay Siang Road (off Tanglin Road), the two-storey Youth Olympic Games Learning Centre attracts students from primary and secondary schools around Singapore.

    Part of my Olympic stamp collection was on display, including a specially picked selection of international stamps from the first few Olympic Games, limited edition Olympic souvenirs, as well as out-of-print philatelic catalogues.

    Being one of the participating exhibitors, I was invited to the 99-Day Countdown event at Scape last Friday. Beijing Olympic collector Dr Yeo Seem Huat also displayed his poster collection and limited edition Olympic souvenirs at the event.