Thursday, 19 February 2015

Singapore Philatelic Museum

I don't normally go to Philatelic Museum because stamp collecting isn't a hobby of mine. At least, not for a long time. I told Ada that I used to collect stamps when I was a teenager. She said every boy does that. Teenagers collected stamps quite early. As early as 1860s. Not long after the 1st postage stamp called Penny Black was invented in Britain in 1840.

The Penny Black cost 1 penny. I don't know how much it cost today after inflation is adjusted. A pretty penny is probably worth no more than a few handsome dollars in today's money. The stamp is worth an estimated £3–4,000 in mint condition today. It goes to show that it's much better to collect stamps than fiat currency. Gold is good, but the right stamps are better in terms of asset value inflation.

Early postage stamps showing British monarchs, Singapore Philatelic Museum
Early postage stamps showing British monarchs.

In the photo above, the stamp at the top left corner is the Penny Black. So called because It's black  and cost a penny. From Left to right and top to bottom, the names of the 4 monarchs are,
  1. Queen Victoria (who started a stamp that gave birth to philatey).
  2. King Edward VII (Queen Vic's NÂș 1 son and smoked 20 cigars a day and died from it).
  3. King George V (he was a retiring kind / king, and preferred to stay home and collecting stamps, not necessarily stamps with his own portraits or those contain his granny's and daddy's portraits in them. If he had one such album, then it's both a family album as well as a stamp album. It should be called a stamily album).
  4. King George VI (King George V's 2nd kid. He had a stammer and that minor issue (in today's world) is made into a film entitles The King's Speech (2010)).

Can't say I agreed with Ada that all kids collect stamps, but I guess she meant that as kids we're adventurous and tried out different things. That passing phase / fad lasted about 2 to 3 years, and I moved onto drumming (I also collected comic books as well). One of the signs that you're getting old is when you stop trying something new.

During my high-flying fling with stamps, I flirted with 4 stamp albums from various countries (I had never owned a tong or magnifying glass. I didn't know it's needed). It's a great way to make connections with your elder relatives. You would ask them to save envelops they got from overseas. This was how it was done the old-fashioned way. Today, collectors go to stamp shops (or SPM) to buy it. This is clearly cheating.

The reason I went there was because it was an Open House on CNY (Chinese New Year) Day, meaning it's free, and I was also free (not the same thing). I thought "It's now or Never" just like the Elvis song says. Anyway, it's always good to take a walk down memory lane.

Philatelic Museum, Singapore
The little orange museum on a slope is a former Anglo-Chinese school

Singapore Masonic Lodge
SPM is located next to this Masonic Lodge in Palladian architectural style.
Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore, was also a Free Mason (like the many
 founding fathers of US of A, including George Washington)

The museum always has special exhibition on from time to time. At the moment. the special exhibition is based on the life of Elvis. What's Presley got to do with philately? Nothin' except that he had a song entitles "Return to Sender".

Since I don't have the "Fever" for the King, so I wasn't "All Shook Up" by this special exhibition. Except to say that when several of my aunties told me that when I was a teenager I reminded them of Elvis. Don't believe me? I think you have "Suspicious Minds". I know what you're going to say, "Don't be Cruel", ok? "Thank you very much".

postage Stamps of Elvis Presley from the African countries of  Niger, Burkina Faso, and Republic of Chad
Postage stamps of Elvis Presley from the African countries of
Niger, Burkina Faso, and Republic of Chad

Albums of Elvis Presley
Elvis' album covers

 Elvis Presley's School report card
 Elvis' School report card

stamps with goats, Singapore Philatelic MuseumThe museum has 2 floors. Most of the historical development of stamps in general are shown downstairs. Upstairs, except for one room that has exhibition about postal history, the rest is more of a general Singapore history and heritage. There's also a room that housed a themed exhibition of the Chinese New Year of the Goat.

In any case, I needed to go upstairs to answer an emergence call.

Postage stamps of Homer and Marge, Singapore Philatelic Museum
They had these expressions when they saw me running for the loo

Toilet doors, Singapore Philatelic Museum
Collect some knowledge about stamps while waiting to do a no.2

I think the best area for the stamp collectors is the souvenir shop. Strictly speaking, it shouldn't be called a souvenir shop as most of their merchandise are stamps. They sell everything from Harry Potter to Hello Kitty related stamps.

Stamps of the British Royal Family and Harry Potter, Singapore Philatelic Museum
Stamps of English Rose and the late Princess Diana (how very interesting)

Hello! It's Hello Kitty, the Japanese cat with no mouth.

With the advent of email, the art of penmanship had all but disappeared, followed by the art of letter writing, and would postage stamps too become a passing phase ? Apparently, they too grow up. But i hope they never die, for the sake of our children! Think of the children!

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