Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 1 News List

New Rotary Club Taiwan stamps sell like hot cakes

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Stamp designer Thomas Ong, left, a representative from design companies PP Gems, second left, and Avitone, second right, as well as Rotary Club Taiwan District 3480 governor Michelle Lin, center, and stamp designer Wu Chin-sheng, right, yesterday show stamps issued by Chunghwa Post to commemorate the centennial celebration of Rotary International.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY ROTARY CLUB TAIWAN

In what was being hailed by some as a historic development, the Rotary Club Taiwan yesterday issued two sets of stamps with logos that included the word "Taiwan," in order to comemmorate the centennial anniversary of the establishment of Rotary International.

The two logos feature a dove and a picture of Taiwan, respectively.

"It is the first time that stamps have actually been designed by members of the Rotary Club. The design also represents Taiwan's yearning for peace," said Thomas Ong (翁耀堂), one of the two designers of the stamps.

The other designer is Wu Chin-sheng (吳進生). Both designers are members of Rotary Club Taipei Banka, a chapter of Rotary Club Taiwan District 3480.

The symbols and images appearing on the stamps also match the positive image that Rotary International tries to present of itself: that of a non-political, non-religious and non-profit organization.

For example, Rotary Foundation peace programs have assisted numerous outstanding scholars with their research on peace-promoting issues, Ong said.

"With these designs, we also hope to draw the attention of Taiwanese elites to the Rotary Club, as the percentage of Rotarians present in our population is an indicator of how advanced our social civilization is," Wu said.

Established in 1931, Rotary Club Taiwan boasts a membership of 15,917 and 475 clubs across the country -- 0.07 percent of the population of 23 million.

In comparison, New Zealand is a veritable beehive of Rotarian activity, with 9,972 Rotarians -- 0.25 percent of the population of 4 million -- and 269 clubs. Meanwhile, Australia is not far behind, with 35,428 Rotary members -- 00.19 percent of the population of 18 million -- and has 1,196 clubs.

In light of these much higher percentages of Rotarians per population, Rotary Club Taiwan envisions having significant room for growth, and has high hopes of becoming a regional Rotarian hub.

Michelle Lin (林瑞容), the 2004-2005 governor of the Rotary International District 3480, yesterday also expressed a wish to double membership in the future.

With the centennial celebration and its attendant self-promotional activities, including the issuance of the commemorative stamp collections, Rotary Club Taiwan aims to attract new blood to its already existing close-knit family.

The stamps -- 800,000 of them in all -- became available for sale at post offices yesterday and have been selling well.

"The stamps are almost sold out in other post offices. In fact, all the Rotary Club Taiwan aerogrammes have completely sold out," a stamp-collection sales clerk at Taipei Main Post Office said yesterday.

The clerk said she became curious why the stamps were so popular, and asked some customers.

"Most of them were Rotary Club members. They told me that these stamps were worth collecting. With the special designs, they said they felt proud mailing them to their friends overseas," she said.

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