Further to yesterday’s post on the Legacy of the Loom, this the second minisheet on the FDC also issued on 12.1.2012 Pos Malaysia ushered in the Lunar New Year in style with the introduction of a limited edition gold dragon stamp in the form of a Ming Empress robe. This kind of stamp depicts a dragon in a cloud with bats in royal embroidery and was issued on 12.1.2012. Pos Malaysia Stamp and Philately Unit chief Yasmin Ramli said the collection would be a treat for stamp enthusiasts to commemorate the Year of the Dragon. "People can buy it in gold hot stamping prints at RM5 or they can buy the normal prints for RM3," said Yasmin.
Asia has welcomed the Year of the Dragon with a cacophony of fireworks, hoping the mightiest sign in the Chinese zodiac will usher in the wealth and power it represents. From Malaysia to South Korea, millions of people travelled huge distances to reunite with their families for Lunar New Year - the most important holiday of the year for many in Asia - indulging in feasts or watching dragon dances. The dragon is the most favourable and revered sign in the 12-year Chinese zodiac - a symbol of royalty, fortune and power that is also used in other cultures that see in the Lunar New Year, such as in Vietnam.
As such, hospitals across China and in Chinese communities everywhere are bracing for a baby boom as couples try to have a child this year. Nannies in Beijing and neighbouring Tianjin are charging more in 2012, and the beds in the capital's maternity hospital are all booked up until August, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong even took advantage of the Dragon to call on the country's residents to boost a stubbornly low birth rate, in an attempt to reduce the government's heavy reliance on foreign workers. "I fervently hope that this year will be a big Dragon Year for babies ... this is critical to preserve a Singapore core in our society," he said in his new year message.
But in Hong Kong, where tens of thousands of pregnant mainlanders come to give birth every year to gain residency rights for their babies, the Dragon may not prove such a boon as it could exacerbate problems such as limited beds and soaring delivery costs. And according to some astrologers and geomancers, the Dragon may bring natural disasters and financial volatility to an already destabilised world. Hong Kong feng shui master Anthony Cheng warned that a "scandalous corruption case" would rock China in the second half of 2012, and also said high-ranking Chinese officials would be forced to step down, thrown behind bars or even die.
But people across Asia disregarded the doomsday predictions over the holiday, preferring to feast and celebrate with their families, and pray at temples or pagodas. Highways in Malaysia, where 25 per cent of the population is ethnic Chinese, were clogged at the weekend while the capital Kuala Lumpur became almost deserted as people travelled home.