Speech by Postmaster General at "Children Stamps - Dress Bear Up" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony
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    Following is a translation of the speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at "Children Stamps - Dress Bear Up" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony today (March 30):

Members of the Stamp Advisory Committee, distinguished guests and friends from the media,
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     Good morning. Welcome to the "Children Stamps - Dress Bear Up" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony.
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     As we know, a stamp serves as an unofficial goodwill ambassador. It tells people all over the world about the economy and culture of a place. No matter how ordinary a stamp appears to be, it can depict the story of Hong Kong. The production of a stamp usually takes as long as one and a half years, so the development of this product had to be started as early as the beginning of 2004, and its successful rollout is definitely due to the concerted effort of all parties.

     In five more days, we are celebrating Children's Day on April 4. It was around this time last year that we issued a set of children's stamps on the theme of Andersen's Fairy Tales. During the ceremony, awards were also given out to the six young winners who joined the "2006 Children Stamps Design Competition - Dress Bear Up". Their winning entries have been turned into this new set of Children Stamps. Today, I am glad to present, in the form of these stamps, their delightful designs, which exude natural charm. A wide spectrum of materials has been used to dress up six cuddly bears. Take the draped cloth hat of Mrs Bear Hakka and the phoenix crown embellished with pearl bead strands of Miss Bear Bride. They are wonderful examples of children's boundless imagination and ingenuity.

     The success of a stamp product is a joint effort of designers and stamp advisers, that is, the Stamp Advisory Committee (SAC). Hence, a well-represented SAC is of great importance. At present, the SAC consists of the Postmaster General, a professional graphic designer, a university professor of fine arts, a philatelic expert, a representative of the Home Affairs Bureau, the head of the Official Languages Division, Civil Service Bureau (CSB) and several local celebrities. Each year, the SAC receives hundreds of proposed themes. They review every one of them in detail until the most appropriate few are picked. Then they repeat the same process in selecting the best designs that bring home the very essence of stamps from the perspectives of philately, art, education, culture, heritage, so on.  

     Once the themes and design concepts are approved, our staff will proceed with the production process. Those who have viewed the documentary on civil servants in Hongkong Post produced by the CSB and the Radio Television Hong Kong, must be stunned at the complexity and tediousness of the whole process that our staff at Hongkong Post Stamps undergo. Many of them are here with us this morning. It is my pleasure to introduce them to you. They are William and Margaret from the Stamps Section, Irene and Curtis from the Philatelic Marketing Section, Vinci and Rebecca who are responsible for philatelic production, and their General Manager, Amy.  

     Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my hearty thanks to the six young designers, the Stamp Advisory Committee and our staff at Hongkong Post Stamps. I am grateful for their valuable contributions to the entire process, from theme selection and stamp design to production and marketing. Activities at every stage are intertwined and the unfailing devotion of every party counts. Once again, let us give these unknown heroes a big applause.
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     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, March 30, 2006
Issued at HKT 17:12

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