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Speech by Postmaster General at issue of "Fishing Villages"

    Following is a speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at "Hong Kong, China - Portugal Joint Issue on Fishing Villages " Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony today (October 18):

Mr Moitinho de Almeida, Mr Coelho and friends from the media,

     Good morning, welcome to this ceremony which marks the release of our "Hong Kong, China - Portugal Joint Issue on Fishing Villages" special stamps. Today's stamp issue represents Hong Kong's sixth in a series of joint stamp issues with other postal administrations. We are very pleased to be able to partner with Portugal Post on this occasion and feel greatly honoured that Mr Moitinho de Almeida and Mr Coelho are joining us to officiate at the ceremony.  
     It is no sheer coincidence that we have a joint stamp issue involving Hong Kong and Portugal. From a historical angle, Hong Kong and Portugal share a lot in common. We both face the ocean and I would submit that our social and economic development has been to some extent influenced by this geographical factor. For instance, we both used to foster coastal villages where fishing was a major source of livelihood. We then witnessed the Portuguese set sail in the 15th century and embark on seafaring voyages to Africa, India, Brazil, Japan and China, including our very good neighbour, Macau. No wonder Portuguese is now the third most widely spoken European language in the world and is mother tongue to about 200 million people. Meanwhile, Hong Kong, having one of the finest deep-water ports in the world, has gradually become Asia's world city and an international financial and trading centre.
     In a similar vein, Hongkong Post has gradually transformed itself from a traditional mail collection and delivery services provider to a modern postal service which creates added value to the economy of Hong Kong by providing business solutions to the different sectors and maintaining viability through diversification into new business areas such as logistics, electronic services and counter agency services. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary of Post Office Trading Fund operations this year, we can look back with a sense of pride, taking into account our achievements in financial performance, building a strong team of highly motivated staff, enhancing customer satisfaction and meeting changing market needs.
     Today's new stamps which depict Hong Kong's Tai O fishing village and Portugal's Aldeia da Carrasqueira serve to remind us of the history and heritage of Hong Kong and Portugal. The gigantic stamp mosaic displayed in this public hall, which comprises stamps donated from 98 postal administrations, including Portugal, serves to illustrate that there are many ways postage stamps can work wonders. Apart from postage prepayment and other functions, they act as paper ambassadors. I trust the stamps we issue today will appeal to more than just philatelists. When these tiny pieces of paper travel far and wide on letters and parcels, I am sure they will also inspire holiday-makers, nature lovers and heritage enthusiasts from all parts of the world to try to experience more the charm and vigour of both Hong Kong and Portugal.
     Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Issued at HKT 17:20


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