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Indonesia and China Issue Joint Postage Stamp
Move designed to help mutual understanding
Maria Margaretta Vivijanti (retty67)     Print Article 
Published 2007-04-18 12:19 (KST)   
On April 13, Indonesia's postal service issued an Indonesia-China stamp series commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Indonesia and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

This issuance is important not only because of the record of the suspension of relations between the countries but also because of the significance of promoting Indonesian stamps to philatelists outside the country.

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Competition with electronic means of communicating in this modern era might conceivably be to the detriment of marketing the stamps. E-mail and the instant message (IM) world have largely taken over the function of stamps as enablers of "snail mail." But don셳 forget the saying that "Stamp collecting is the hobby of kings and the king of hobbies"! Stamp collectors are still a target market.

These joint issuances use the Balinese Barong Dance and the Chinese Dragon Dance as design motifs. The Indonesian collector pack consists of a full sheet of se-tenant pairs, one souvenir sheet, one regular First Day Cover, one First Day Cover with Souvenir Sheet and a couple of the Chinese-issue stamps. Besides the collector pack there is also a Special First Day Cover in which both the Indonesian and Chinese stamps are canceled by each postal authority on the first day of issuance.

Special First Day Cover with both countries' stamps on it
©2007 Retty (personal collection)

This is not the first joint stamps series issued by Indonesia, the first having come out last year in collaboration with Slovakia.

Here at home, PT Pos Indonesia, the postal administration of Indonesia, launched its first stamps illustrating Chinese culture on Valentine's Day this year, four days before the Chinese Lunar New Year. Known as the Imlek series, it was soon sought after by collectors not only from Indonesia but also from abroad. Being released by a country with a Moslem majority, the stamps do not reflect the ruling symbol of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

In the 1860s, philately was concerned mainly with canceled stamps. Yet, within the decade stamp dealing became an established business, supplying philatelic markets with mint stamps. Later on, with an increasing number of thematic collectors, the popularity of mint issues increased. Thematic or topical collectors based their collections on a specific theme and therefore preferred not having their stamps obscured by postmarks ("killer cancellations"-ed.). Traditional collectors, on the other hand, preferred canceled issues as evidence of some special moment or occasion.

PT Pos Indonesia has tried to attract both groups and should glean more attention from philatelists worldwide. It might be even better if it tried to attract more young Indonesian philatelists as well. The Indonesian economic situation has been responsible for a decrease in the number of active young philatelists.

Introducing the young to this kind of avocation should be seen as a good deed. As a collector myself I gained a lot of experience. Starting as a traditional hobbyist in primary school, I had to engage in correspondence as my source of international stamps. It pushed me to learn English and then French in acquiring international friends and taught me how to write a good letter!

Locally, I had experience of Balinese culture before getting a chance to visit Bali through the pen friends I made there. The beautiful themes on the stamps also drew me toward the arts. I also learned how to manage my pocket money to buy stamps. Then I learned about empathy as a friend of my old postman, who, on his old bike and with a ready smile, delivered all my mail, even if the name or address was badly misspelled.

Later on, I also learned about Indonesian history through canceled stamps and old postcards. In my thematic collection on sports, I admire the Korean Olympiad series (PDF) together with my Hodori doll.

Having this kind of joint issue will also help Indonesian youth learn more about and have compassion with another culture and can really help to promote world peace.

I do hope that Indonesians will be going back to the international philatelic exhibitions and that more youngsters will have the chance to become "king" of their own collections.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Maria Margaretta Vivijanti

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