Following is the speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at "Hong Kong, China - Sweden Joint Issue on Waterbirds" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony today (October 4):
Mr Sicco SCHEEN, Production Manager and Deputy Managing Director of Sweden Post; Mr Peter EKELUND, Consul General of Sweden in Hong Kong; distinguished guests and friends from the media,
Welcome to this ceremony which marks the joint release of Waterbirds Special Stamps by Hong Kong and Sweden on a day when we Chinese have the Chung Yeung Festival and the Swedes celebrate the 36th Anniversary of their National Stamp Day.
Congratulations to all Swedes present and my special thanks to Mr SCHEEN for making a special trip to Hong Kong to officiate this issuing ceremony with us.
Today's stamp issue represents Hong Kong's fourth in a series of joint stamp issues with other postal administrations. We are very pleased to be able to partner with Sweden Post on this occasion.
True, the contrasts between Hong Kong and Sweden are great. We are a small territory of 1,095 square km represented on the map by a dot near the Tropic of Cancer while Sweden occupies 450,000 square km at a northerly geographic location. However, we also share great similarities like GDP per capita and a population size below 10 million. Despite the great distance between the two territories, the peoples are connected by different forms of communication, postal services in particular.
Stamps are unique products of postal services. Apart from serving postage prepayment purposes, they are also paper ambassadors, delivering images and information of the issuing territory to homes and businesses all over the world. Today's joint stamp issue will serve to mark the very close and amicable relationship we have with Sweden Post in the exchange of mail and to promote the goodwill between the peoples that the two postal administrations serve respectively.
I think Waterbirds is a very appropriate theme for the stamp issue today. First, birds are the best known and most easily recognised of all animals, because they are common, active by day, and easily seen. The ability to fly enables birds to occupy some habitats denied to other animals. They thus bear a close resemblance to post offices which are traditional establishments found in nearly every corner of the world. Incidentally, the Hongkong Post logo is an abstract representation of a humming bird known for its speed and purpose, and is meant to convey the image of a friendly, fast moving and busy organisation.
Waterbirds are precious wildlife resources. Their graceful movement and gesture have well been appreciated by millions of people through bird-watching or admired in other forms of art, such as documentary, painting and embroidery. Today, four beautiful waterbirds that can be found in Hong Kong and Sweden are featured on the stamps. They are just a few among the many species of migratory birds, including the humming bird, which are proven great voyagers with strong survival skills. In a similar vein, post offices are robust and sustainable organisations, meeting rising customer expectations and facing ever-increasing competition.
I must point out that the stamps today are very special in that they are printed in intaglio and lithography. Designed by Mr Arde LAM of Hong Kong and engraved by the world's foremost master, Mr Czeslaw SLANIA of Sweden, these very attractive stamps should appeal greatly to both philatelists and bird-watchers.
Thank you and have a nice weekend.
End/Saturday, October 4, 2003