It has been a fairly uneventful week-and-a-bit during which I have been going to work in a semi-holiday state of mind. April is definitely the slow period as far as education in Thailand is concerned as it is the summer vacation between school years. As the Thai New Year — Songkran — comes mid-month, most businesses close up shop as the entire country attempts to relax. I still have a few lessons each week with individual students as well as a business course on Saturdays but it is a very relaxing atmosphere at the moment. My agency will actually close down completely from this Saturday (April 13 is “official” Songkran Day) and will reopen next Wednesday. My student has already cancelled his Friday evening lesson (which happens to coincide with our payday), so I will start holiday festivities early. I do have some tentative plans for the long weekend but I will report on those in next week’s update, hopefully with some photos and video.
Phuket Town is fortunate to have a wide variety of museums and more on the way. Having been a stamp collector for much of my life, I’m very happy to live a pleasant ten-minute walk from one of Thailand’s eight philatelic museums. The other seven are located in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Sawan, Hat Yai, and behind the Samsen Nai post office in Bangkok. The postal counter in the Phuket museum is my only source of Thai new issues aside from the occasional order placed online.
Another month gone and this one went by very quickly indeed! I was on holiday for much of April due to the Thai New Year (Songkran) occurring mid-month and my language school students canceled most of their lessons in order to enjoy the nationwide bout of laziness. Even my local postman took a couple of weeks of vacation during which we had no home mail delivery as Thailand Post has severe manpower shortages; upon his return, I received a HUGE stack of mail with plenty of new stamps to add to my collection.
Yesterday was a rather rainy holiday in Phuket – the 64th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. A mid-afternoon break in the rain gave me the chance to take a short walk up the tree-lined Narisorn Road in northeastern Phuket Town. This is where most of the province’s government buildings are located and so is relatively free of development.
The most notable of these buildings is Sala Klang Changwat Phuket, or Phuket Provincial Hall in English. Construction on this beautiful building, the first in Thailand to be made of reinforced concrete, was finished one hundred years ago during the Governorship of Phraya Rasadanupradit Mahitsaraphakdi (Kaw Simbi na Ranong).
Today is the first day of issue for Thailand’s new 4-stamps and souvenir sheet depicting owls. I love buying stamps on the day of release. Sometimes the clerk will let me use the old handstamp to add a Phuket postmark to the official first day cover.
I dragged myself out of bed much earlier than usual for a Monday morning and made the brief walk to Phuket’s main post office, dodging much heaver-than-normal traffic. One of the princesses was in town for a royal visit to a couple of local schools so a few streets were blocked-off.
Arriving at the Montree-Talang Intersection (yes, they do name them here), I paused to take a few photos of the old Post & Telegraph Office for a future blog. The historic building houses the Phuket Philatelic Museum and I was pleased to see a banner advertising the Thailand 2013 World Stamp Exhibition which opens in Bangkok on Friday.
The next two-and-a-half weeks will see a veritable avalanche of new issues emanating from the mail bags of Thai Post with no less than seven separate releases scheduled. For a country that usually sees between one and three stamp issues in any given month that’s quite a change. But a pleasant one for a collector such as myself.
In fact, two of the reasons I love collecting Thai stamps are the limited number of releases per year and their affordability. It does help that the designs are for the most part strikingly beautiful and the subject matter invariably interesting (even the fact that a stamp will be issued this December commemorating a cement company this is “interesting”).
Continue reading “Get Ready for a Thai Stamp Onslaught”
I’ve collected stamps on-and-off for more than 30 years now. Sometime around my tenth birthday I was given my mother’s old worldwide “Modern Stamp Album” – 1935 edition. The blue cloth cover was faded and many of the hinged were brown and brittle with age but it was a great start to what would become a lifelong hobby.
During the Second World War, Mom – and her big brother, George – had lived across the street from the New Mexico state capitol building in Santa Fe. They used to raid the trash dumpster looking for envelopes with the stamps still intact. As the various government agencies received mail from all over the world, this was a great source for their collections. Some years after I’d been given Mom’s old album, I my Uncle George gave me his as well.