Dear Santa…

Going_Postal

It’s November, so it’s time to send your letters to Santa!

Remember the address?

Santa Claus
North Pole H0H0H0
Canada

If you send a letter and include a return address, you’ll get a letter back! Remember to send early, especially if international mail takes a while. Mail between Singapore and Canada does take an awfully long time.

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This letter has got a ways to travel

You can find some fun templates on Canada Post’s website if you’d like somewhere to get started.

Happy holidays ahead! :D

On SG50

The proudest I’ve ever felt to be Singaporean was in 2010, when I was a volunteer for the first-ever Youth Olympic Games.

For two weeks, 20,000 of us were deployed across the island at competition venues. We came from all over the world, although most of us were from Singapore. I met people from Russia, Greece, Kazakhstan, and so many other places.

Hard at work

I was at a downtown convention centre, where six sports were competing.  We manned the media helpdesk, helping foreign press and spectators with information and directions. It was pretty intense, because everything moved so fast. We had to deal with so many people, all with different needs.

It was also one of the best times of my life.

The team at the International Convention Centre

*   *   *

Over the years, I’ve become more aware of the flaws in the basic historic narrative we are taught, and which underscores much of our life. This has a lot to do with my growing understanding of social justice, privilege and racism, and how easily history can be shaped to suit our master’s needs depending on the balance of power.

I’m nowhere near as critical as some of my learned friends, but I’m beginning to understand that not everything is as it seems, and how certain groups have been left behind at the expense of progress.

That, as you can imagine, takes the shine off things.

*   *   *

My family has benefitted immensely from our nation’s progress. We live comfortably, and I’ve never lacked anything important.

I’ve had all the support I’ve needed, through school and beyond. We want for nothing and therefore can want for everything.

I’ve grown up healthy, happy; and firmly middle-class or better.

*   *   *

In more recent years, I’ve seen the worst side of people. I’ve read truly awful things that their writers truly believe. Real hate and deliberate ignorance is nauseating and deeply unsettling.

I’ve had too many days where I hestitate before going out for fear that these people will find me the enemy. I’ve had too many nights where I want crawl out of my skin and soak in industrial-grade cleaner.

It’s not a pleasant feeling.

*   *   *

The other day, I looked at the people who surround me. I’m surrounded by a diverse group of passionate people who love what they do.

They draw their comics, they write their stories, they make their fan art, they rage about social justice – but all of this, they do out of love. They love, unironically, wholly and sincerely.

They’re not without their flaws, but by and large, they’re wonderful. I am incredibly lucky to know them all.

*   *   *

I am usually ambivalent about National Day. I don’t like the chest-thumping declarations, the pats on the back, the rah-rah about the oversimplified story of growing from a fishing village to First World country. Suddenly we’re so proud to be Singaporean when the rest of the year we complain?

I’m still ambivalent. I’m not nearly as patriotic as I should be, particularly as it’s SG50 and all.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m pleased. Happy, even. As a nation, we’ve overcome some pretty rough odds and done really well.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is: We’ve done well these 50 years. For the next 50, it’s time for us to do better.

And we can, even though self-realisation can be a painful and upsetting process. We’ve got a long ways to go before we’re a truly equal, regardless of our background. I’m waiting for the day where I can feel the same way I did on the day we closed the Youth Olympic Games.

There are days when I despair at the state of affairs. But then I look at the people around me. They who love fiercely; who are passionate; who are, in their own ways, trying to change things. And I think we can do it. It’ll take us a while, but hey, we have another firty years before SG100, right?

Majulah, Singapura.

I’m looking forward to it.

A photo posted by Raven S. (@ravensilvers) on

Postcrossing Singapore Meetup, 2015

Going_Postal

The annual Singapore Postcrossing meetup is always in January, and this year was no exception! This year was a little more special, because we were at the Singapore Philatelic Museum!

It was a very hot Sunday when 28 of us gathered at the Philatelic Museum, a charming museum in the heart of our downtown area.

It was a pretty full house because their courtyard is small — it is a very small museum, after all. But it’s good to see so many familiar faces and new ones too!

Postcrossers busy signing away!

Postcrossers busy signing away!

As is the tradition, we had a lovely special postcard designed by jadesoo to mark the occasion. It was printed extra large, because last year there wasn’t enough space for all the names :p

I like that it featured the Philatelic Museum!

With the original artwork!

With the original artwork, which was done with watercolour pencil

 

I really like it, because sometimes I think we focus too much on how *~modern~* and high tech Singapore is. We forget that old things can be good, too.

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Now with enough space for everyone to sign!

 

I also really enjoy seeing what postcards the others have. Some of them are really unique, like this one that was handdrawn and custom-cut by one of our Postcrossers! (Sorry, I didn’t get your name! I really like your postcard!)

It features the Merlion, which is half-fish and half-lion, and one of the symbols of Singapore. It’s weird, yeah, but look at how cute it is:

Merlion postcard

Merlion postcard

I sent most of mine, and I’m glad I chose the recent tourism stamp issue. It’s one of my favourites because it’s very colourful and quite fun.

It goes well with the Philatelic Museum’s special postmark, too!

With a fun stamp featuring some of our tourist attractions

With a fun stamp featuring some of our tourist attractions

And then it was off to post it at what I reckon is the coolest postbox in Singapore: the red one, directly outside. The red pillar box is the last working red postbox in Singapore, cos we used to be a British colony. Our current postboxes are white with blue stripes.

It's off to a lucky Postcrosser!

It’s off to a lucky Postcrosser!

I had a great time talking to other postal people about postmarks, stamps and postcards. Can’t wait for the next one.

Major thanks to our long-suffering organiser sybones and our postcard designer jadesoo, and everyone else who made the Postcrossing meetup possible!

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Until next year!

 

HK Disneyland’s Third Hotel Announced!

I went to Comic Fiesta and I’d love to write about it, but I also recently removed all four wisdom teeth. It’s taking me longer than expected to recover; my CF trip recap will have to wait. In the meantime, exciting news from Hong Kong!

Hong Kong Disneyland just broke ground on their third hotel, the Disney Explorers Lodge.

Disney Explorers Lodge is set to open in 2017 (a little after the Iron Man Experience should open in the park), and it’ll have 750 rooms to add to the existing two hotels.

From what I saw when I was there last August, my guess it that it’s located between the Disneyland Hotel and Hollywood Hotel, which also means that the shuttle route probably won’t get very much longer.

Everything above is concept art, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that this is Hong Kong’s take on the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World, Florida, in the same way that the Disneyland Hotel is their version of the Grand Floridian.

No news on room prices yet, but this is one development I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on. Check out their concept art for more.

Boldog Karacsonyt to everyone!

Going_Postal

Christmas ranks as one of my most favourite times of year, thanks in large part to the great Christmas cards I receive!

This is my very first Christmas card of 2014. It’s all the way from Hungary, received in a Christmas card swap :)

I really love getting cards from non-English speaking countries because of how different their greetings are. Boldog Karacsonyt means Merry Christmas in Hungarian! Also, that cookie stamp is really cute.

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All the way from Hungary!

Thank you, Krisztina K. from Hungary! Boldog Karacsonyt to you and yours too :)