Speech by Postmaster General at the "Hong Kong, China - Austria Joint Issue on Fireworks" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony in Hong Kong
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    Following is the speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Tam Wing-pong, at the "Hong Kong, China - Austria Joint Issue on Fireworks" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony in Hong Kong today (August 22):

Madam Consul-General, Dr Haas, distinguished guests and friends from the media,

     Good morning, and welcome to this ceremony which marks the release of our "Hong Kong, China - Austria Joint Issue on Fireworks" special stamps. I would like to thank Dr Haas, Director of the Philatelic Department of Austrian Post to come all the way from Vienna, and Dr Moya-Goetsch, the Austrian Consul-General, for finding time to officiate at today's ceremony.

     Today's stamp issue is the seventh joint issue of stamps by Hongkong Post with another postal administration. On this occasion, we are very pleased to be able to partner Austrian Post to be the first issuers in the world of stamps made with crystals, thereby achieving a breakthrough in stamp development, and bringing something fresh and new to delight philatelists worldwide.

     Fireworks display is one of the few entertainments universally enjoyed by people of all cultures and ages and from all walks of life.  Whether celebrating a new year, a national holiday or any other special events, a fireworks extravaganza always add to the joy and high spirit of the occasion.  As you know, stamps are also issued to commemorate special occasions and to act as a medium of communication.

     The theme of fireworks is particularly appropriate for this joint stamp issue. Both Hong Kong and Austria offer beautiful panoramas for famous fireworks displays which are attractive to local people and visitors alike.

     In choosing the design concept, we were aware that Austria has always been well-known to crystal collectors for its high quality crystals. The crystal fabric from Austria makes an excellent match with the theme; it makes light refraction possible and highlights the beautiful bursts of fireworks. And so, our two postal administrations have come together to jointly issue the world's first fusion of crystal fabric with stamps. I must reiterate that its glittering effect cannot be found in other ordinary stamps; it is the first in stamp production and is a collectible not to be missed by philatelists.
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     The stamps we issue today feature Victoria Harbour as well as Vienna Prater, the world-famous landmarks of Hong Kong and Austria, set against the splendid night skies of these two cities. The stamp issue today not only marks the very close and amicable relationship we have with Austrian Post, but also symbolises the strong business and cultural ties between the two communities in Hong Kong and Austria.

     It is important to note as well that many of these stamps will be applied on mail items, delivering images and information to homes and offices locally and overseas. The stamps will also inspire holiday-makers and business people from all parts of the world to visit both Hong Kong and Austria to experience their charm and vitality.
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     In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our partner, Austrian Post for their innovative thinking and their excellent co-operation. A similar ceremony is being held today in Austria and, through the joint efforts of our two postal administrations, today's very special stamp issue has been successfully released.
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     Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Issued at HKT 12:03

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