While many look forward to the Lunar New Year holiday as a time for feasting and gift-giving, philatelists welcome its advent as a chance to collect Chunghwa Post’s annual Chinese zodiac stamp collection, with this year’s issue celebrating the Year of the Dog.
“It has become a trend for countries around the world to roll out stamps featuring the year’s Chinese zodiac sign,” Chunghwa Post stamp collection division director Chien Liang-lin (簡良璘) said.
Aside from Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam, where the Chinese zodiac signs are deeply rooted in their culture, culturally diverse nations like the US, Canada and France have also printed stamps depicting the animal signs, Chien said.
Photo courtesy of Chunghwa Post
In Taiwan, the first Chinese zodiac-themed stamp set was issued in 1968, which was the Year of the Rooster.
Since then, Chunghwa Post has been launching an annual stamp collection based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the year. As the same sign appears only once every 12 years, the products quickly sparked a collection craze.
The Chinese zodiac-themed stamps are very popular because people like to use them to send out Lunar New Year greeting cards, Chien said, adding that they usually achieve a sales rate of 90 percent.
This year was the fifth time the postal company has issued a dog-themed stamp set, she said, but it was the first time it has collaborated with its French counterpart to also print the collection overseas.
This year’s stamp collection was designed by National Taiwan Normal University’s College of Arts dean Lin Chun-liang (林俊良), featuring different designs for NT$6, NT$13 and NT$15 stamps.
The NT$6 stamp depicts a golden dog to symbolize the departure of the old and the arrival of good fortune, while the NT$13 stamp features a dog and a peony, both of which symbolize prosperity or wealth.
The NT$15 stamp features a high-spirited golden dog against a light pink background to showcase the traditional holiday’s festive spirit.
Chien said the first dog-themed stamp collection was issued in 1969 and designed by Yan Chi-shih (顏奇石).
It featured a popular purebred to symbolize loyalty, a quality usually associated with dogs.
The second dog-themed collection was printed in 1981. The designer, Chuang Chu-mei (莊珠妹), combined a stylized illustration of a dog with the Mandarin character quan (dog, 犬) written in seal script.
The design was meant to convey traditional Chinese ideals of reunion and harmony, Chien said.
In 1993, Tsao Chun-yan (曹俊彥) was tasked with designing the third dog-themed stamp collection. His geometric-shaped dog illustrations conveyed a childlike naivete.
The fourth version was published in 2005, with Wu Jen-feng (巫仁鳳) and Ko Hung-tu (柯鴻圖) jointly designing a collection of stamps that featured a pack of dogs and Lunar New Year couplets to signify harmony and get people into the holiday spirit.
In an effort to increase the appeal of this year’s stamp collection, Chien said it contains 20 stamps each for the NT$6 and NT$13 stamps, as well as nine NT$15 stamps, which are stored in a specially designed cylinder.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”