Sunday, August 17, 2008

History of the Postal Codes in Singapore

With advancement of the postal system and increase in postal addresses, Singapore had changed the postal system over the years. The postal code system is critical for fast sorting of mails, which is why during festivities, the postal operator will often remind people to put the correct postal codes, e.g. a reminder in the form of postal cancellation "Use the Correct Postal Code".

Back in 1950, Singapore only used a 2 digit postal codes to denote the 28 postal districts. This remained until 1979, when a 4 digits postal code system was introduced. The postal districts remained, with the 2 digits of the postal districts forming the first part of the 4 digits system, and the other half (i.e. remaining 2 digits) denoted the new postal sectors. As a result of the postal districts system, many properties in Singapore continued to be characterised by their original postal districts, and some districts obviously fetched a higher price compared to others. An example to illustrate this change: a housing with a previous district code of 09 could have a postal code of 0928 after the changed, i.e. the housing is located within postal sector 28. Housing in district 9 can fetch a very good price!

In September 1995, the 4 digits system was deemed as inefficient to allow for faster sorting of mails and packets. Thus a 6 digits system was introduced. The postal district part was dropped, and the postal sector part remained to form the first half of the 6 digits system. Using the previous example, the new postal code could be 280112. A '0' was added to the postal sector in cases of public housing. In cases when the building is commercial or industrial, another number would replace the '0'. For example, Ngee Ann City in Singapore has a postal code of 238872, a '8' instead of a '0'.

In cases of public housing (i.e. HDB flats), the last 3 digits are typically the housing block number. So if you lived in blk 112, then number 112 would form the last 3 digits under the new postal system. The current system seems alright to cope with the new demand of postal letters sorting. Looking at the years difference between past changes (1950 - 1979 = 29 years & 1979 - 1995 = 16 years) , and it has been 13 years since the last change, I do wonder how long can the system cope before we need to enlarge it to a 8 digits system.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Korean Stamps & Online Games

Firstly, my apologies for the content of this post since this post has nothing to do with Singapore related stamps.

Nonetheless I find these stamps interesting personally because of their theme: Online Games. These stamps are from S. Korea, a country well known for their online games industry, and featured online games of Korean origins like Maplestory and Ragnarok Online. It is quite remarkable how online games have now find a place among philately, together with other themes like Olympics and heritage related events. Perhaps this is an interesting way of getting young Koreans to cultivate an interest in stamp collecting.

Well, this also shows the maturity of a growing industry, when these online games could get featured in this 2006 Korean Stamp Pack.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Universal Postal Union & Singapore

According to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) website, Singapore has been re-elected to be a member of the 40 members strong Postal Operations Council. This may be somewhat dry for some stamp collectors, but I feel that it forms part of our postal history and is worth a mention. The election is part of the 2008 UPU Congress recently held in Geneva.

Singapore has been a member of the UPU for the longest time, and we have some old stamps (some before independence - 1965) from back then.

For those who are interested, UPU is a specialised agency under the United Nations, formed in 1874, that deals with postal matters for the member countries of UN. The headquarters is at Berne, and here's a postcard of the place.

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