Following is the translation of the speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at the "Alphabet Stamps" Issuing Ceremony today (January 4):
The Hon Sir T L Yang, distinguished guests and friends from the media,
Happy New Year! Welcome to the issuing ceremony of the "Alphabet Stamps".
Novelty and innovation are important in this age of knowledge-based economy where we live. Looking back, I would like to say that the birth and development of alphabets generally agreed being originated from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph as early as 2000 BC must be the most novel creation that mankind has ever had. With the development of written communication, the basis for what is termed civilisation was thus laid.
An interesting parallel can be seen in postal history. Two thousand years of development have reshaped the mode of exchange in many ways since its origins in the last few centuries Before Christ. We are now living in the digital era with an explosion of information and yet service providers, like us, manage to keep playing a vital role in the field. The only magic here is continuous improvement through unremitting transformation that promises up-to-date services within market expectation.
To excel through innovation is one of Hongkong Post's values. Take a look at our stamps. Throughout the years, we have achieved many breakthroughs: Lunar New Year Animals were printed on flock sheets to produce the world's first set of Flock Stamps; A touch of rocky texture was embossed on the "Rocks of Hong Kong" stamps, while an aroma of Jasmine tea was added to the "Hong Kong Tea Culture" stamps.
The 26 letters of today's "Alphabet Stamps" are presented in a creative and novel manner: Clothes Peg for A, Bamboo Ladder for H, Barbecue Fork for Y, etc. You may unleash your imagination and write your love and care messages with these stamps - be it in English, in French or in any other language - and have them pasted on envelopes for delivery. We have also taken a step further by issuing souvenir covers affixed with short messages, such as Happy Birthday, Kung Hei Fat Choy, Thank You, etc to help customers to express themselves by mail during birthdays and festive occasions.
Quite a number of languages are comprised of these 26 letters while language learning can be as much fun as stamp collecting. I suppose our friends from the education field, especially Sir T L Yang, our officiating guest, who is enthusiastic in promoting English learning will agree with me. And I hope that our Alphabet Stamps will become his useful teaching aids.
Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to call on you for generous support and donation to the tsunami victims in South East Asia. Hongkong Post has been collecting public donations for five international relief organisations: The Red Cross, World Vision, Oxfam, United Nations Children's Fund and The Salvation Army - through our one-stop PayThruPost payment service since yesterday. And starting from tomorrow (January 5), we will also be collecting donations for the government-led fund raising event.
Ends/Tuesday, January 4, 2005