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World Stamp Championship 2004

Dr Lee Boon Yang Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and Honarary President Speech -  World Stamp Championship 2004 Opening Ceremony,  Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre

Dr Lee Boon Yang
Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and Honarary President
Speech -  World Stamp Championship 2004 Opening Ceremony,  Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre
Singapore, 28 August 2004

Good morning, President S R Nathan
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this Opening Ceremony of World Stamp Championship 2004. On behalf of the Organising Committee, I would like to thank our Patron, President S R Nathan, for gracing this occasion. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our distinguished judges, overseas delegates, visitors and exhibitors and hope that you will enjoy your visit to Singapore.

It is indeed an honour for Singapore to host the World Stamp Championship 2004 or WSC 2004 in short. This is the first time such an event is being held. Organised by the Association of Singapore Philatelists with sponsorships from many supporters including Singapore Post, WSC 2004 has attracted hundreds of delegates, exhibitors, trade dealers from around the world. With over 2000 frames of world-class exhibits, valuable and exclusive collections on exhibition, the organisers expect about 100,000 visitors over the next five days.

This inaugural event also commemorates 150 years of stamps issue in Singapore. Singapore started using stamps only in 1854 and the first stamps were shipped from India by the East India Company. The stamps were used in the Straits Settlements around the same period, bearing the unique cancellations for Malacca, Penang and Singapore. For WSC 2004, stamps marking Singapore as a Global City, stamps commemorating the 150 years of postal stamps in Singapore and special stamps celebrating the care for the less privileged in our country as reflected in the President's Challenge stamps, are making their debut.

World stamp exhibitions and championships are the stamp collectors' version of the Olympic Games in sports. Like the Olympiad, which is taking place right now in Athens, the World Stamp Championship 2004 represents the highest level of competition in the world of philately. It offers a rare opportunity for passionate stamp collectors to excel in this "brain sport" and bring recognition to themselves, their countries and their hobby.

In the age of the Internet, instantaneous email, SMS and MMS, it is only too easy to forget the role of stamps in facilitating communication, creating goodwill and bringing the world closer together. I remember that as a kid, I used to exchange stamps with pen-pals from many countries and learn about their countries through the messages carried on the stamps. I can still recall the thrill when I received the extra large and colourful Magyar Posta stamps from Hungary and seeing the depiction of their sporting heroes. Indeed stamps recognise achievements in all fields of human endeavour, from sports to scientific breakthroughs and commercial successes. The designs on stamps often bear the rich flora and fauna, diversity in arts, culture and heritage of the issuing countries. Despite the growing popularity of electronic communication, stamps will continue to play a part in our communications with relatives, friends and business partners in all parts of the world, no matter how remote they may be. It is therefore apt for the theme for this exhibition to be "Uniting the World through Stamps" with exhibitors spanning across 130 countries.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the members of all the committees who worked long and hard to bring this event to fruition. On behalf of the organisers, I would also like to convey our sincere thanks to all our partners, sponsors, companies and individuals for their contributions and support towards making WSC 2004 a success.

Thank you.