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Speech by the Postmaster General at the "Fungi" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony


Following is the speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at the "Fungi" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony today (November 23):

Mr Chan, distinguished guests, friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the issuing ceremony of our "Fungi" stamps. Today's stamp theme and the presence of so many distinguished professors and researchers of Biology remind me of my days as a science undergraduate many years ago.

I still remember what may come as a surprise to the layman that according to some taxonomists' classification of living things, fungi are neither plants nor animals. As a Post Office veteran, I am now also able to say that the way that these fascinating fungi live share a number of common features with the way that postal administrations operate in the business world. First, both fungi and postal services have a long history on earth. Biologists believe that fungi existed a billion years ago while the mail service dates back to messengers serving kings and emperors since centuries BC. Second, fungi come in a variety of shapes, sizes and types, ranging from individual cells to enormous chains of cells that can stretch for miles. This interconnectivity is also found in the postal service which possesses the world's largest physical distribution network. Third, fungi can survive in different environments including extreme, adverse conditions. They live in the soil, on plants, animals and even in wastes such as decaying wood. In a similar vein, the postal service operates in a highly competitive environment characterised by breakthrough communication technologies, rising customer demands and new economic forces of deregulation, globalisation and liberalisation. While fungi are vital to the ecosystem, postal services have been able to grow and sustain, playing a vital role in the socio-economic development of human history.

Having identified so many similarities between fungi and postal services, I think you will agree with me that biology has many insights to offer for people in the business world where borders and boundaries between countries, between time zones and between organisations are blurring. A company is now no longer a static set of lines and boxes on an organisation chart but more of a living system operating in an ecosystem of other living systems. Biology suggests permeability and the ability to adapt. As Charles Darwin suggests, "It is not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent, but those who are most adaptive to change." Given the fiercely competitive communications market that Hongkong Post now operate in, we will need to act biologically, that is, be open to new influences and ideas, be willing to embrace changes, and be creative in our business thinking. In this regard, we have been particularly open and innovative in our processes of new stamp issues, including choice of theme, stamp design and stamp production.

Ladies and gentlemen, I leave you to judge this assertion of mine, based on today's issue of "Fungi" Stamps. Thank You.

Ends/Tuesday, November 23, 2004


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