Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World Statistics Day 2010

On 20 October 2010, the World celebrated the first World Statistics Day to raise awareness of the many achievements of official statistics premised on the core values of service, integrity and professionalism.  In this context, the MPL released a Special Commemorative Cover to mark this event, affixed with 2 stamps of the Dodo series (2007).

In July 1945, the Statistical Bureau was created in Mauritius, on 7 April 1951 the Statistics Act 1951 came into force and in January 2010, Mauritius became the first country to ratify the African Charter of Statistics.

The message of the UN Secretary-General for this auspicious event is as follows:

"Let us make this historic event a success by acknowledging and celebrating the role of statistics in the social and economic development of our societies and by dedicating further efforts and resources to strengthening national statistical capacity."
 Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General
 Letter to World Leaders, July 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cover from Malaysia

I received this colourful cover on November 16th which was sent from Ipoh, Perak on November 1st.  The yellow stamp on the far right depicts the Sultan of Pahang and was issued on 24 October 2010 with 2 other stamps on the same theme 'Royal Heritage'.

The other stamp illustrates soldiers in action and was issued on 31 July 2010 along with 2 other stamps too on the theme 'Grand Knight of Valour'.  Thank you very much Khor!  :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

110th Birth Anniversary of SSR

The MPL issued a gold postage stamp of denomination Rs100 on September 18th 2010 to mark the 110th Birth anniversary of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (1900 - 1985).  This is the first time in Mauritius that the Rs100 denomination is released.

SSR is considered as the most outstanding personality in Mauritius.  Son of an indentured labourer, he became the first Prime Minister of Mauritius (1968 - 1982) after its independence in 1968.  He was also the Governor General (1983 - 1985) a few years before the island attained status of Republic.

The FDC illustrates the statue of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, located at Port Louis Waterfront.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas in Singapore :)

I was so happy to receive this awesome cover from Singapore on October 29th, with the First Day cancellation on the stamps :)  Singapore Post use to issue sets of postage stamps on the different festivals in Singapore (the Mauritius Post should do it too...) : the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali and Christmas.  Thank you Terence who sent me this cover with the Christmas stamps.  ^^

Bicentenary of the Battle of Grand Port (1810 - 2010)

By the end of the 18th century, there were frequent skirmishes between the French and the English naval vessels in the Indian Ocean.  After conquering the Seychelles (1794), Rodrigues (1794) and Reunion (1810), the British naval forces set sail to capture Isle de France (Mauritius).

The French could hardly offer any resistance as there were only 4000 soldiers including 2000 reservists on shore...  The battle lasted for 5 days, the peak of the battle being on the night of the 23-24 August 1810 with serious casualties on both sides.  The British forces were defeated.  This battle was the only naval victory of the French over the British, under Napoléon Bonaparte.

The Rs14 stamp depicts the battle scene while the Rs21 one illustrates the Ile de la Passe, a fortified islet which controlled the entrance to the harbour and which the British took possession on the 14th of August 1810.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

The Mauritius Post Ltd issued a commemorative stamp of denomination Rs30 on 20 August 2010 to mark the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai (01 May - 31 October).

Mauritius' participation in the Expo was built around the concept Mauritius: a City State, and aimed at showcasing the country's strategic location, its economic vibrancy, modernity, environmental consciousness, harmounious blend of cultures, artistic and cultural heritage and natural beauty.

The Mauritian Pavilion features a verandah house (maison créole), with a map of Mauritius on the floor with various geographical landmarks and symbols representing the different aspects and sectors of the country.

The stamp depicts the Two Pence Blue Post Office Mauritius, famously known as the Blue Penny Stamp, considered as a gem in the world of philately.  The original stamp was issued in 1847, Mauritius thus becoming the 5th country in the world to have issued postage stamps.

The FDC features the logo of the World Expo 2010 which represents the Chinese character 世, which means 'world', modified to represent 3 people together with the 2010 date.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cover from Taiwan

I received this cover from Taiwan on October 26th,  thank you James :)  The postmark is not very legible so I don't know when it was mailed exactly...  The 2 stamps on the top right of the envelope form part of the third set of 4 postage stamps on Bridges of Taiwan.  This 3rd set features bridges of southern Taiwan and was issued on March 10 2010;  with the Jinde Bridge in Donggan and the Qigu River Bridge in Tainan portrayed here.

The 2 other stamps illustrating the Hydatina amplustre and the Strombus sinuatus form part of the third set of stamps on Seashells of Taiwan (issued on February 26 2009).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Al-Idrissi: Geographer and Cartographer

This stamp pays tribute to the famous Arab geographer and cartographer Al-Idrissi.  He contributed to the enrichment of the maritime history of the Indian Ocean and the world.  The iconic figure of Al-Idrissi or Sharif Al-Idrissi (about 110-1165) celebrated here, is famous for his Book of Roger (1154-1157), the state-of-the-art world atlas in pre-modern times.  This map which shows the sphericity of the Earth, as the cartographer believed the world was round, was a reference in the world of cartography till the 16th century.

The FDC depicts the famous planisphere which Al-Idrissi designed for King Roger II of Sicily in 1154.  It was almost 6 feet in diameter, inscribed on silver and weighing some 450 pounds.  The map portrayed is upside down (South/North) as was customary with the Arabs following Chinese Tradition.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My First Cover from Ausria

Many thanks Florian for this nice first day cover sent from Vienna (Wien in German) which features Maria Theresa of Austria  :) The first day cancellation is nice too...

Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (1717-1780) was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominations and the last of the House of Habsburg.  She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birth Centenary of Renganaden Seeneevassen (1910-2010)

The MPL released on April 11 2010 a special commemorative cover, affixed with 2 stamps of the Indigenous Flowers definitive set, to celebrate the birth centenary of Renganaden Seeneevassen, a famous politician whose father was an immigrant from South India and his mother a Mauritian Tamil lady.

In 1935 he left Mauritius to read Law in England  and returned back in 1940 as a barrister.  He joined the Labour Party and became one of its influential leaders.  As a distinguished orator and with exceptional leadership attributes, he passionately argued the case for universal suffrage and against proportional representation, which he believed would divide the country.  His dream was a true Mauritian nation without discrimination of race or creed.

In 1957, as the first Mauritian Minister of Education, he introduced a new Code of Education which for the first time ensured a fair and equitable educational system.  Renganaden Seeneevassen is remembered for his kindness, compassion and selfless determination to improve the conditions of his countrymen.  

He passed away on 5th June 1958, ten years before the independence of Mauritius.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Cover from Indonesia

Thank you Irene for this 'tasty' cover from Indonesia, with Indonesian Traditional Foods stamps affixed on it.  The stamps represent the Sup Lobster Kelapa Muda (Sulawesi Barat), the Gulai Iga Kemba'ang (Bengkulu) and the Ayam Cincane (Kalimantan Timur) respectively.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

24th SADC Summit, Mauritius 2004

Mauritius hosted from 7 to 17 August 2004 the 24th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).  To mark this event, the MPL issued 2 commemorative stamps of the Rs2 and Rs50 denominations.

The SADC vision is one of a common future, a future in a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice and peace and security for the people of Southern Africa.

The SADC mission is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance and durable peace and security, so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy.

The Honourable Paul Bérenger, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius (2003-2005) assumed the chairmanship of SADC from August 2004 to August 2005.

The stamps show the logo of the SADC, the Cyber Tower at Ebène and I.T. training sessions.

The 13 member states of SADC are:
Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  SADC headquarters are in Gaborone, Botswana and the working languages are English, French and Portuguese.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Postcard from Xi'an, China

I received this nice postcard from a relative in China on October 11 last.  It was sent from Xi'an, in the Shaanxi Province on September 25.  Well it portrays the garden pavilion of the JianGuo Hotel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Opening of Waterfront Post Office

The Mauritius Post issued a Special Cover on January 25 2006 to mark the re-opening of the ex-General Post Office under the new name of Waterfront Post Office.

The cover, affixed with two stamps of Rs2 and Rs7 denominations of the Postal Services series cancelled with the Waterfront P.O. postmark, portrays the GPO building in a coloured stamp shape.

Here is a photo of the Post Office...

... which provides usual postal services...

... and internet facilities too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Cover from France

Thank you David for this nice cover sent on 22 September from Dijon!  This mail, franked with a stamp issued by La Poste to mark the 2010 World Expo of Shanghai and two specimens of the 'Marianne' stamps of Beaujard, took only 3 days to reach my address!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mountains of Mauritius

The mountains of Mauritius are what remain of the immense volcanoes whose summits have exploded or have been swallowed by abysses millions of years ago.  They are of relatively modest height and they command rather than attract attention because of their unusual shapes and often scraggy contours.  The appearance and location of some of the mountains have resulted in some quaint naming by discoverers and travellers giving free rein to their imagination.

The highest mountain of the island is the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire which stands at 828 metres high.

Rs2 - Le Pouce
Clench your fist with the thumb raised and its upper outline is exactly that of the Pouce Mountain as seen from Port Louis.  The thumb of this petrified giant's hand points to the sky in the Moka Range.  It is very popular amongst hikers and it can be climbed to its highest point of 811 metres from Port Louis, Moka and Saint Pierre.

Rs7 - Corps de Garde
The Corps de Garde Mountain resembles a figure with an impressive nose lying down...on sentry duty.  It is solidly bulky and overlooks Quatre Bornes and Rose Hill.  On a clear dawn the rays of the rising sun reflects a rosy hue on the basaltic rockface, hence, the origin of the name of the town of Rose Hill...

Rs8 - Le Chat et La Souris
The peak of Le Chat et La Souris as the name conjures, bears a strange resemblance to a cat subjugating a rat.  It is found in Grand Port Range in the east of Mauritius.

Rs25 - Piton du Milieu
The Piton du Milieu as the name implies simply squats, screwed down firmly, in the centre of the country.  It is striking although not a particularly high finger-like rock of 589 metres located about 7 km east of Curepipe.

The FDC illustrates a map of Mauritius showing the location of the mountains.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Summer Olympic Games Beijing 2008

The Games of the XXIX Olympiad were a major multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China from August 8 to August 24 2008.

Mauritius won its first Olympic medal ever (bronze medal), secured by Bruno Julie in the bantamweight boxing semifinals.

The China National Philatelic Corporation also released a booklet to mark this event.  It portrays the Emblem of the Games 'Dancing Beijing'...

... and the mascots of the 2008 Summer Olympics:  Beibei, Jingjing, Huanghuang, Yinyin, Nini.

The mascots illustrate the 4 most popular animals of China - the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antilope, the Swallow - and the Olympic flame.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Achievements in the 20th Century

The Mauritius Postal Services issued a set of 4 commemorative stamps on 7th December 1999 to highlight the main achievements of Mauritius during the 20th century.

The stamps denominations are as follows:
R1 - Eradication of malaria, a deadly disease transmitted by the Anopheline mosquito,

Rs2 - Emancipation of women,

Rs5 - Construction of the International Conference Centre at Grand Bay,

Rs9 - Manufacture of special sugars, used mainly in bakery.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My First Postcard from China

Wang sent me this nice cover from Shanghai on 25 September 2010.  The card portrays the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.  The stamps at the verso are nice too! Thank you very much Wang :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mauritius c'est un plaisir!

The Mauritius Post Ltd issued on 9th October 2009 a set of 2 postage stamps to commemorate the launching of the new brand identity logo of Mauritius.

The logo has been inspired from the country's most valuable asset that exudes the brand values and personality: the spirit of the people of Mauritius.  It also reflects the spirit of the place.

In the 4 colours of the Mauritius national flag and in the same colour sequence, the logo appeals directly to the Mauritian.  The angular 'M' traces an outline of the Pieter Both Mountain with the rock settled on top revealing an intuitive and 'independent thinker'.  Recognisable amongst all, the Pieter Both Mountain is an icon itself in Mauritius - an emblem of the spirit of the place.  Its pointed style in both logo and reality displays intellectual qualities that include a vast curiosity and ever expanding horizons indicative of Mauritius.

If one looks more closely, the capital letter 'M' also appears as the image of a resting woman enjoying the beauty of Mauritius laid before her.

The letter 't' mirrors an iconic Mauritian person standing with widespread welcoming arms to demonstrate the spirit of the people, one that is warm and magnetising in personality.

The illustration on the FDC depicts a seal of quality that has been specially designed to be applied on packaging only.  In Mauritius, people have a sense of care in life that they transmit in their work.  This seal of quality is used by accredited manufacturers in Mauritius.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Les 70 ans de l'Appel du 18 Juin 1940 Célébrés

Le 18 juin 1940, le Général de Gaulle prononçait un discours sur les ondes de la BBC et dans lequel il appelle à ne pas cesser le combat contre l'Allemagne nazie.  Ce discours est considéré comme le texte fondateur de la Résistance française, dont il demeure le symbole.

   La France a perdu une bataille!
   Mais la France n’a pas perdu la guerre !
  Des gouvernants de rencontre ont pu capituler, cédant à la panique, oubliant l’honneur, livrant le pays à la servitude.  Cependant rien n’est perdu !
  Rien n’est perdu parce que cette guerre est une guerre mondiale.  Dans l’univers libre, des forces immenses n’ont pas encore donné.  Un jour, ces forces écraseront l’ennemi.  Il faut que la France, ce jour-là, soit présente à la victoire.  Alors elle retrouvera sa liberté et sa grandeur.  Tel est mon but, mon seul but !
  Voilà pourquoi je convie tous les Français, où qu’ils se trouvent, à s’unir à moi dans l’action, dans le sacrifice et dans l’espérance.
            Notre patrie est en péril de mort.
               Luttons tous pour la sauver !
Général de Gaulle
18 juin 1940              Quartier-général,
                                4, Carlton Gardens
                                    London, S.W.I.
 Plusieurs timbres commémoratifs ont été émis par La Poste:
- un timbre de 20 centimes, pour le 20e anniversaire, émis le 20 juin 1960
- un timbre en 1964
- un timbre pour le 50e anniversaire en 1990
- un timbre pour le 70e anniversaire en 2010

Merci beaucoup Eric pour ce magnifique bloc-feuillet et aussi pour ce timbre personnalisé sur la pêche en mer. :)

Aujourd'hui 9 novembre 2010, on commémore le 40e anniversaire du décès du Général de Gaulle.  Hommage donc à ce grand homme!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Extinct Mauritian Giant Tortoises

The Mauritius Post Ltd issued on 16 July 2009 a set of 4 postage stamps depicting the extinct giant tortoises of Mauritius and Rodrigues.

The Mascarene Islands of Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues once harboured 5 species of giant tortoises, with 2 occurring on Mauritius and 2 on Rodrigues.  The name Cylindraspis actually means Cylinder-shaped.  They differed from any other giant tortoise species, with modified jaws, reduced scales on the legs and shells averaging 1 mm thick.  The need for protective armour was no longer required because of the absence of predators on the islands.  With the arrivals of humans in the 16th century and the subsequent introduction of domestic animals, especially pigs, the tortoises were rapidly hunted to extinction.

Rs5 - Cylindraspis peltastes (Rodrigues Domed Tortoise)
The difference in the shell shape of the Rodrigues giant tortoises is a result of different feeding strategies.  The smaller domed tortoise was a grazer, feeding on low vegetation, and lacked the distinctive saddle found in the larger species.  This provided an opportunity for the 2 species to coexist.  Rodrigues populations of giant tortoises were the largest on earth and early accounts report that the hills appeared to be paved by their shells.

Rs10 - Cylindraspis vosmaeri (Rodrigues Saddleback)
The saddleback tortoises had really long, flexible necks, much more than any other giant tortoise.  The upturned saddle in the shell was an adaptation to maximise the stretching of the neck.  As they could reach up to 1.4 metres to browse on low trees and shrubs, many Mascarenes plant species have developped a defence strategy called heterophylly, where low-lying juvenile foliage is a different shape from the adult leaves.  The tortoises do not recognise the juvenile leaves as food.

Rs15 - Cylindraspis inepta (Mauritius Domed Tortoise)
Early accounts suggest tortoises were laying their eggs in sand or soil near beaches.  They buried their eggs before abandoning them and relied on heat from the sun to incubate the eggs.  This made them very vulnerable to introduced predators.  The Mauritius domed tortoise was much larger than its Rodrigues counterpart and had an unusual extension to the back of the shell.

Rs25 - Cylindraspis triserrata (Mauritius Saddleback)
The shells of the giant tortoises were open-ended.  This was a specific adaptation in response to the lack of predators, where thick, heavily armoured shells were no longer necessary.  Unfortunately, the thin shells were of no protection against human colonists and mariners, and thousands were collected alive for provisioning ships.  Even more were boiled down for their valuable oil, which provided a cure for many ailments including scurvy.

Rs50 - Cylindraspis peltastes - Rodrigues Domed Tortoise
The Mauritius Post Ltd also issued, besides the 4 postage stamps, a miniature sheet showing a reconstruction of the Rodrigues Domed Tortoise and the Rodrigues Saddleback together with Rodrigues Blue Rail Erythromachus leguati .  The extinct blue rail, a bird known from historical accounts to feed on tortoise eggs, also probably followed the tortoises, feeding on disturbed insects and plucking parasites from their skins.  The blue rail became extinct just 30 years after being considered common in 1726, probably due to the introduction of rats and cats.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nice Cover from China

This cover was sent from Wuhan, Hubei on September 19.  It took 16 days to reach its final destination.  The red stamp on the top right was issued in 2009 for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and it depicts the Chinese architectural evolution from 1904-1993.  Thank you Hai :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Malaysian Aerograms

Thank you Khor for this aerogram sent from Ipoh on September 22.  The above one is about the numerous types of dances in Malaysia:  Malay dance, Chinese dance, Indian dance, Ngajat dance (Sarawak) and Sumazau dance (Sabah).

The performing arts is a colourful way in which Malaysians of various races and cultures preserve their rich heritage.  The richness and unity prevailing in multi racial Malaysia is portrayed to the world with touches of Malay, Chinese and Indian culture as well as the varied cultures evident among the ethnic groups of Sabah and Sarawak.  Culture is an essential component in fashioning our nation for the future.

Khor also sent me this second aerogram  on the same day.  It portrays students expressing their patriotism to Malaysia, with one of them cheerfully holding the Malaysian flag.  Thank you again Khor!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Indigenous Flowers of Mauritius Definitive Issue

The Mauritius Post Ltd issued on 9th April 2009 a set of 12 definitive stamps on the theme Indigenous flowers of Mauritius.  Even though the title of this set includes the word 'indigenous', some of the stamps feature endemic species. The small size and isolation of Mauritius have enabled its biodiversity to develop unique characteristics and a high level of endemism through thousands of years of evolution.

The various flowers illustrated on the stamps are as follows:

Rs3 - Myonima obovata

Small shrub of mid altitude dry forests, which bears nice clusters of small pinkish white flowers.  The beauty of this plant lies in its juvenile leaves where a mosaic of red, purple and green venation under a thin waxy layer catches one's attention.

Rs4 - Cylindrocline lorencei

Short endemic shrub with pinkish composite flowers confined to only one region in the wild at Plaine Champagne.  It has been positively cultured at Brest University in France and nursed at Kew Garden.  Young successful generations have been sent to Mauritius for local habitat adaptation.

Rs5 - Crinum mauritianum

Endemic lily plant rediscovered in the 1970's in the region of Midlands, it is now extremely rare since its habitat has given way to development project.  It bears beautiful white flowers throughout the year.

Rs6 - Elaeocarpus bojeri

Short endemic tree now confined to only 3 individuals at Grand Bassin Peak which bears long drooping inflorescence with bell-shaped whitish flowers.  Its regeneration by seeds is almost negligible.  Successful attempts have been obtained from layering and grafting techniques.

Rs7 - Bremeria landia

Small indigenous tree of upland humid forest which bears bright white flowers at its branch tips.  This plant is also used by local people for medicinal purposes against fever and as a tonic drink.

Rs8 - Distephanus populifolius

Rare endemic plant found only on dry exposed mountain tops where it grows on rocky medium.  It bears composite white and yellow flowers and its silvery leaves offer a perfect camouflage with its rocky surroundings.

Rs9 - Gaertnera longifolia var. Longifolia

Endemic rare short tree thriving in upland humid forests.  It can easily be recognized by its long leaves and its terminal white inflorescence.  It remains one of the rarest Gaertnera species of the island.

Rs10 - Dombeya acutangula var. rosea

Rare plant found in the wild on few mountain flanks.  It is also one of the native flowering plants commonly planted in gardens and used in landscaping projects.  This plant bears conspicuous pink inflorescence.

Rs15 - Aphloia theiformis

Indigenous plant with various medicinal virtues, among which diuretic. It was also used extensively against malaria and it is quite common in upland humid forests and bears tiny white flowers at the base of the leaves.

Rs22 - Barleria observatrix

Endemic shrub now confined to only Corps de Garde Mountain.  It bears nice small purple flowers which are one of the most beautiful wild flowers of the island.

Rs25 - Roussea simplex

Rare endemic shrub now found in few places like Le Pouce, Grand Bassin, Bassin Blanc, Trou aux Cerfs and Combo.  Its orange yellow bell-shaped flowers are conspicuous and attractive.

Rs50 - Hibiscus fragilis

Rare endemic shrub with rambling branches striving only on two mountains of Mauritius: Corps de Garde and Le Morne Brabant.  It bears deep carmine striking flowers.

The first FDC (denominations: Rs3, Rs6, Rs7, Rs50) features the Ochna mauritiana.

The second (denominations: Rs4, Rs8, Rs15, Rs22) portrays the Gagnebina pterocarpa.

Finally the third FDC (denominations: Rs5, Rs 9, Rs10, Rs25) represents the Cordemoya integrifolia.

This post was updated with new scans on 8 August 2016.