Thursday, December 29, 2011

Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM) - Knowing Singapore and the World Through Postage Stamps

Over the Christmas holiday, the Gang of Three (minus the little boy) took advantage of the free admission to the Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM) for some knowledge gathering activities.

For the Kon-Tan couple, it was their first visit even though they have been living in Singapore all their life! Not that it makes any difference for me since it was only my second visit and i am the eldest!

Why is the word philatelic used instead of the commonly known stamps? Because the museum concentrates not only on the beauty of stamps but also their history, background and significance etc.

Education is key to any museum and nothing's better than to start with "what is a stamp" in the first exhibition hall room.

Thankfully the museum is more than such boring stuff; Bhutan, the landlocked country that gives us the gross national happiness index, issued postage stamps that are actually playable phonograph records.

Other interesting stamps (hidden within the big stamp known as "Did You Know?") include those that can glow in the dark and a set of commemorative stamps that was embellished with swarovski crystals.

A classical postman motorcycle with the old corporate symbol used in the 80s, and maybe 90s as well.

The process of stamp making is part and parcel of any philatelic museum. For such a small item, the steps are quite labourious from designing, colour proofing, printing and error finding!

My dad used to be an avid stamp collector although i doubt he has a stamp representing each and every country in the world.

He is likely to have a more comprehensive collection for stamps originating from Singapore.

Even then, he stopped this hobby more than ten years ago and would have missed out on many new stamps issued over the years.

For a comprehensive collection of stamps in Singapore from independence (1965), you may pull out each of this flip-out panel. An international collected (sorted by country) is also available.

There's even a three-dimensional sadako stamp - complete with shadows!

This iconic pillar box was donated by Hong Kong Post after 1997 and i remember seeing two in SPM.

One of the life-sized models for Elephant Parade is showcased in SPM in conjunction with an exhibition named "Elephant STAMPede"

Designed by a local artist and in line with its philatelic roots, the elephant is plastered with tonnes of postage stamps! At first glance, i honestly thought it was a piece of vandalised trash!

Now i know why my colleague, Kevin, likes these elephant statues so much despite the price tag starting from S$55! They are really beautifully made and each design symbolises something meaningful.

On the second floor is a permanent exhibition that seems out of sync with the overall "stamp" concept of the museum.

Granted there are interesting facts like explanation on traditional trade, festivals and replicas of items used in the past, but they are all cramped in a small room.

I would strongly recommend the much bigger chinatown heritage centre for a better experience.

Room of Rarities on the same floor is definitely in sync: artefacts related to postal history in Singapore!

There's the old style postal box - i can vaguely recollect this.

An old style vending machine for stamps - i don't have any memory on this even though the younger Kon remembers them! Kaoz.... either he is wrong or i am having memory lapse.

P.O boxes that are more than 80 years old!

Before the internet era, international communication is limited to either expensive phone calls or letters. This temporary exhibition "Message Me" touches on the evolution of communication from Egyptian hieroglyphics to email.

My full name in Egyptian hieroglyphics - i presume i will fail miserably in writing (or drawing) if i live in the pharaohs' age. 

The typewriter is effectively dead in the 21st century. Amazingly, i am the rare few babies borne in the 80s who have used this before. The cartridges were expensive, the fonts were ugly and formatting was a pain in the ass.

Nostalgic Rotary-dial phones - dialling this could be frustrating, especially if you miss a number and have to start all over again. Number-pad dial is so much easier.

The Story of Dr. Sun Yat Sen?!?! In a stamp museum?!

As with the heritage room, this is merely a teaser on what you can find in Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall located near Balestier road.

To sum up, it was an informative trip where i manage to recollect some of the good old memories in the 1980s.


23-B Coleman Street

Admission Charge
Visit HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Feel Free to visit Singapore Stamp History at :



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