Following is the speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at "Centenary of Hong Kong Trams" Commemorative Stamps Issuing Ceremony today (May 27):
Mr Yick, distinguished guests and friends from the media,
Welcome to the issuing ceremony of "Centenary of Hong Kong Trams" Commemorative Stamps. First of all, I am privileged to congratulate Hongkong Tramways on celebrating its centenary. I would like to thank Mr Yick, Director and General Manager of Hongkong Tramways Limited for officiating at today's ceremony and offering generous assistance in the production and marketing of the stamps.
The familiar "ding-ding" sound you heard at the beginning of the ceremony comes from a foot bell, and the device displayed here should be recognisable without close scrutiny as the traditional tram controller, commonly called "GongDoulah" in punti dialect. They are not only the icons of Hong Kong trams, which fill us with poignant and powerful nostalgia, but also distillations of the city's development over the years.
Hongkong Tramways and Hongkong Post have a lot in common. We are both century-old establishments that provide quality services key to the daily life of Hong Kong citizens. The tram tracks traversing Hong Kong Island offer the public a safe, economic and environment-friendly means of transport, while Hongkong Post's territory-wide post office network delivers fast, reliable and affordable postal services. Of course, the similarities go beyond the obvious. We both present exquisite collectible items, such as tram tickets, stamps, miniatures or models that let collectors savor in a leisurely spell of enchantment. What is more, trams and stamps have long been the bearers of Hong Kong history and cultural essences, so much so that tourists have come to identify them as the representations of Hong Kong.
Achievements and contributions aside, we both have challenges pointed at us, which we react with agility by embracing innovations and persevering in providing quality services - all the stuff that sustainable businesses are made of in an ever-changing environment. Take Hongkong Post. In recent years, we have been constantly developing new products and investing in staff training, in order to provide the best possible service to the public and live up to our corporate statement "Linking People, Delivering Business". Hong Kong Tram is no different. We have seen new trams hit the streets with added safety and comfort, the introduction of electronic fare system that provides extra convenience, and an explosion of tram body and tram stop advertising. The new stamps and stamp sheetlet released today vividly depict the various stages of tram development in Hong Kong. From the single-deck tram introduced a century ago to the spanking Millennium New Tram, Hongkong Tramways has come a long way and you are invited to relive the incredible journey of discovery and innovation.
To mark this special occasion, Hongkong Post and Hongkong Tramways have come up with an interesting idea: A temporary sales booth is set up on a tram today, which from 9am to 5pm will call at all stops en route Sheung Wan to North Point, including Causeway Bay and Happy Valley. The curious among you are most welcome to hitch a ride after the ceremony!
Ends/Thursday, May 27, 2004