Good afternoon, Toastmaster of the Day, fellow Toastmasters and guests.
Let’s stimulate our minds a bit this afternoon. I have a riddle for you: what object has the following three characteristics?
1. It is a miniature work of art (pause)
2. It showcases a nation’s culture, history and developments (pause)
3. It is an ambassador of a nation (pause)
Have you got an answer … or still racking your brain to think? Any guess? The answer is …. none other than the humble postage stamp ★★★Bingo! The answer is indeed the humble postage stamp★★★ (pause)
You might be wondering, if a postage stamp has all the characteristics I just mentioned. If this is on your mind, apparently you have not taken a good look at stamps.
But you are excused because in an era of unmatched technological advances in communication, for many people, postage stamps are fast becoming part of history. (pause)
Nonetheless, have you ever spent some time to appreciate these humble pieces of coloured papers we affix to envelopes as postage, and which have been issued from postal services since 1840? (pause)
[tone changes] What is there to look at, you would probably ask?
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. So is a postage stamp. (pause) ★★★Slide 1★★★
Let me go through the three characteristics of a postage stamp.
First: Miniature Work of Art
In many nations, famous artists have been chosen to design stamps and many different art forms may be used to create the image on a stamp including (pause) ★★★Slide 2★★★ photography (pause), painting (pause), graphics, cartoons (pause), sculpture and collage.
Every subject you can imagine has been depicted on colourful stamps: Animals (pause), sports (pause), maps (pause), cars (pause), ships (pause)and even movie stars and prominent personalities.
No matter what your interest, there are stamps that will complement that interest.
Indeed, stamps form the world’s biggest public art gallery, showcasing a diverse and striking picture of the world. ★★★Slide 23★★★
Second: Showcases a Nation’s Culture, History and Developments
Stamps are one of the most significant features and indications of developments, embodying and dating events and occasions of a nation and its people. They summarize the time and space. They tell with their variations and colors, eventful details about a nation and its economic, social, artistic and cultural heritage.
Eg, there are stamps that honour a person, an invention, an event, or a place in a nation’s history.
Third: An Ambassador of a Nation
Apart from visual education, a stamp also provides a means to project a nation’s identity worldwide. ★★★Slide30★★★
Monaco’s Prince Rainier III once said that a postage stamp is “the best ambassador of a country.”
Come to think of it, a stamp is the smallest ambassador. It plays a great role as a brand image of postal administration and a statement of sovereignty of a nation. ★★★Slide34★★★
Stamps help to publicise a nation’s participation and contribution in regional and international affairs and accord recognition to these regional and international events or activities of importance to a nation.
So much about the characteristics of stamps. Before I wrap up my speech, I would like to share some nuggets of information on Singapore stamps.
Did you know that local stamps are categorised into two main types?
They are: 1. Definitive Stamps (pause) and 2. Commemorative/Special Stamps
First: Definitive Stamps
These are stamps printed to meet normal postal demand. New definitive stamps are released every 3 to 5 years in Singapore. These are some of the definitive stamps released in the past ★★★Slide37★★★
Second: Commemorative/Special Stamps
A different style of design was used very occasionally to mark a special event. These issues are known as ‘commemorative stamps’. Commemorative stamps celebrate significant national and international events, for example, ★★★Slide40★★★
Special Stamps depict subjects of general interest such as ,flora, fauna, architecture history and culture ★★★Slide44★★★
Greeting stamps are a type of Special Stamps, and can be used on special occasions to convey joyous messages of love and caring. ★★★Slide47★★★
In closing, someone once said:“The seemingly humble postage stamp deserves more acclaim than it is customarily given. It’s a minuscule storybook with a tale to tell of history, occasion and human endeavour.”
The next time you receive a mail, or send out one, do spend some time on the stamp and also the post mark. They tell (pause) stories…