Monday, May 14, 2012

Significant Rivers - Joint Singapore - Egypt Issue 17.10.2011

Singapore Post issued on October 17, 2011 a set of 2 stamps (probably the longest in World Postal History - 162mm × 30mm. I have been informed by my Good Friend Kasinath that the length of the stamps on the mini sheet in his possession is only 120mm) to celebrate the strong bilateral relations between Singapore and Egypt. A very original theme to illustrate this issue: Significant Rivers! The Singapore River has accompanied the people of Singapore since 1819 when the country was created while the Egyptians have always depended on the Nile, the longest river in the world, ever since the time of the Pharaohs.

Singapore and Egypt enjoy warm and long-standing relations. Our ties with Egypt go back to 1965, when Egypt was the first Arab country to recognise Singapore's independence and it was also the first Middle Eastern country that Singapore established diplomatic relations with in November 1966. Since then, bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength. The stamp issue interestingly depicts the two significant rivers of Egypt and Singapore. Historically, when Singapore was founded in 1819, trade, commerce and finance activities sprang up on the banks of the river, enabling Singapore to flourish as an entrepot. Today, the Singapore River continues to play an important role in Singapore's landscape, with many bustling food and commercial activities found along it. During my stay in Singapore earlier in the year, I spent many hours along this river sampling the delicacies on offer at the many pubs and restaurants along the river. Similarly, the Nile, the longest river in the world, has been the lifeline of civilisation in Egypt for thousands of years. In fact, the ancient Greek historian Herodotus described Egypt as the gift of the Nile. Flowing northwards into the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile irrigates Egypt's rich agricultural lands. The Nile has indeed sustained major population centres living beside it for a very long time.
Therefore, both the Nile and the Singapore River have played a key role in the history and development of Egypt and Singapore respectively. It would not be wrong to say that this stamp issue will be a treasured and special one for stamp collectors, as well as for all those who are interested in the important role of the two rivers in the two countries over the years.

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