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Aeshah found this post which had a photo of my mother pasting a miniature sheet onto the first day cover as my sister looked on.

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September 13th, 2012 by Shamsul Ismin Tumin (from Demotix.com)

Pos Malaysia launched its latest series of stamps in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and to commemorate the royal visit of Britain’s Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge to Malaysia from Sept 13 to 15, 2012.

The stamps feature two designs, both of which are bordered with silver ink.

One features a “stamp on stamp” design, with an older stamp released on June 2, 1953 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in the centre and the other features a photograph of Prince William and Kate Middleton to commemorate their visit. The stamps cost RM1.50 each.

Folders and first-day covers without stamps are sold at RM5.50 and 50 sen each, respectively.Full sheets of ten stamps each can be purchased for RM15 at all Pos Malaysia outlets while stocks last.Two first-day cover designs is available for sale, the first is at RM3.50 featuring the two stamps, while the other, with a miniature sheet of stamps, at RM2.50 each.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife Catherine, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today to begin their four-day official visit. The royal couple are on their second stop of a nine-day tour of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee. Malaysia is their second destination after Singapore.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also expected to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, and attend a royal dinner at Istana Negara.

They are scheduled to leave for Solomon Islands on Sunday, to proceed with their tour

My mother (in light blue hijab) trying to wet the glue on the stamps as Aeshah looked on

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The ‘stamp on stamp’ design of one of the stamps featuring the Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation 10 cents stamp of ‘Malaya Selangor’.

Pos Malaysia issued some lovely stamps to mark The Diamond Jubilee of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. My mother who is a great fan of a few series of the old Commonwealth stamps read an article on the launching from ‘The Star’  the day before. She instantly ‘fall in love’ with the ‘stamp on stamp’ design featuring the 10 cents stamp ‘Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation’ Malay Selangor issue. After all, the old Commonwealth issues of the Queen Elizabeth II coronation series is one of my mother’s favourite as well as the colourful Machin stamp series that look so wonderful in her album pages.

The second design of the stamps featuring Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Knowing that the stamps would be popular among stamp collectors from all over the world as well as fans of the Royal Couple and the British Monarch, we left for the post office very early to avoid the long queue. We reached there at 8:30 am but unfortunately, as the door of the elevator slid open, we had a great shock to see that the queue had already stretched past the elevator all the way from the philatelic counter. Those who came just minutes after we did had to stand in the sun as the queue grew longer and longer.

The queue stretched all the way from the philatelic counter…

…to the entrance of the gallery…

…through the corridor…

…past the elevator (where I stood reading ‘The Pickwick Papers’)…

…and into the sun!

I was thankful that I remembered to bring a novel with me, which I read while waiting for our turn to come. My mom on the other hand, made friends with a few wonderful and lively Chinese ladies and a Malay guy slightly older than me behind us and they all quickly launched into a conversation which helps the time to fly by. After about half an hour queueing, Ali noticed that my little sister Anisah was weeping and he asked his big sister if she’s alright. Anisah told him that she felt dizzy and as my mom was taking her to find a seat, she fainted. She soon recovered and she waited for us in the gallery.

Ahmad Ali met his friend, Abang Moza.

When we finally reached the counter almost four hours later, they told us that they had sold out all of their stamp sheets. Imagine my mother’s dismay after we had been standing in the queue for hours just to find out that they were out stamp sheets! So my mother bought lots of the miniature sheets and stamps. However, the nice Pos Malaysia staff urged my mother to buy the folder and my mom, feeling that she’ll have to buy one of everything after such a ridiculously long queue, accepted the advise. Just less than half an hour later, they put up posters saying that they had sold out of folders and my mom was glad that she had one to keep. My mother even bought first day covers which she would not buy during other stamp launch! After another long queue to stamp the first day covers and the folder, we found out that they had received a new stock of stamp sheets which we managed to buy some.

We managed to get some of the stamp sheets at last!

The folders were sold out.

We had a light lunch and left the post office at 3pm, somewhat hungry and tired but contented nevertheless. The stamps, miniature sheets, first day covers and folders are very beautiful. They proved to be a hit and sold like hotcakes. Even fans of the royal couple who are not stamp collectors do not mind to join the long queue. We even met a lady who queued for almost three at another post office when she was told that they had ran out of stock, and rushed to Daya Bumi and had to join another long queue for the memorabilia.

The place was still crowded by 1pm as people rushed in from all parts of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor after some of the post offices ran out of stock.

I hope Pos Malaysia would issue more lovely stamps in the future as it is such a delight to flip through your album and look at the rows of beautiful Malaysian stamps.

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My mother, my little brother and I love to draw. My mother and I really enjoy visiting art shops, we can spend hours looking at the wonderful arrays of professional art materials like paints, colour pencils, pastels, brushes, graphite pencils, charcoals and others. The best part about sharing a hobby with our parents is that we’ll have the luxury of using different mediums of professional quality for our drawings.

I also enjoy drawing cartoon for my siblings. Most were based on our little plays and jokes. I started drawing comics or simple cartoons either to ‘document’ wonderful moments that we shared or to amuse my siblings. I draw the characters in stick figures because whenever I tried to add meat and bones, my drawings turns out awkward. It is true that there’s no specific rule to cartoon drawing and one can exaggerate as much as one wish but simple cartoon saves a lot of time too. According to my mother, my cartoon characters are somehow alive; something which I cannot create with a proper human drawing.

Here is the one that I drew a few months back telling the story of my hair. I did not intend to post it on my blog because I never think that my cartoons are good enough to be shown to other people but my mother ‘made’ me post it for she said that it is really good and the comic really made her laugh. My mother also said that by gaining the confidence, I may be able to draw better in the future.

*Note: Kanillia is a cat living at the back of our house. The second drawing shows Khanillia pulling my hair with its claws.

I hope that I manage to make somebody smile 🙂 Kindly give some feedbacks on my cartoon and I would really appreciate useful tips and comments so that I can improve myself.

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Both mum and I not only have our birthdays in March but also in the same week. I am 16 this year, Alhamdulillah, and my family members had given me wonderful presents.

Mum gave me a lot of her Australian, American, Canadian and New Zealand stamps wrapped in a lovely silver coloured box. My dad bought me stamps at the stamp fair and an A3 sized document file which I now use to keep my stamps in. My sister Aeshah gave me some Vietnamese stamps featuring dolphins that are missing from my collection and lots of odds and ends that I could use for my craftworks. Anisah gave me a number of her drawings and Ali gave me a hairdryer, a ‘Snoopy’ clock and a watch.

My parents gave me a beautiful birthday card with a picture of a flower drawn by mum (the artist), using soft pastels. Ahmad Ali gave me three birthday cards for he enjoyed card making so much that he couldn’t stop making them… Abang Muhammad sent me a birthday card too, all the way from Chicago together with lots of gorgeous U.S.S.R. stamps.

My mother had a marvellous birthday too. Again, most of her presents were stamps from all of us. I secretly looked through her stamp albums and picked out stamps that I own but is missing from her collection. I’m delighted that she was thrilled to receive the stamps that I gave her. I also gave her some Machin stamps (the British definitive stamps with a picture of Queen Elizabeth’s head – mum simply love them, she has a few pages of those lovely stamps in her stamp album and wishes to own as much as she could). Aeshah gave her stamps too. Anisah gave her an envelope with a picture of a cat that she ‘bought’ for 6 stars (our play-money currency) from my little brother.  And Ahmad Ali gave mum a beautiful egg cup and a special Machin stamp(the 1840 Anniversary Machins) with pictures of both Queen Elizabeth as in other Machin stamps and Queen Victoria as in Penny Black.

That night,we had pizzas from Domino’s Pizza for our dinner. Everyone love Domino’s Pizza and we celebrated most of our birthdays with them. It was only last month when we had pizza for my little brother’s birthday!

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A page from my stamp album

 

I had been introduced to stamp collecting since I was a little girl. Both of my parents collect stamps and they both have beautiful collections of stamps from most parts of the world. However, it wasn’t until I was 10 when I started to have a real interest in stamp collecting.

I was reading an article from a magazine at my school library about a girl who had collected more than a thousand stamps by the age of 8. When I went back home, I took out my dad’s stamp albums and look at the arrays of stamps neatly arranged inside them. For the first time, I was fascinated by stamp collecting and decided to start my own.

My first few stamps were given to me by my Indonesian classmate who received letters from her families and relatives in Indonesia. Unfortunately due to my carelessness, I lost them all and I really regretted it.

Nevertheless, it was my parents who helped me a lot in stamp collecting. My father bought me a stamp album two years after I started collecting stamps; it was when he thought that I was already serious with my hobby. He also gave me stamps from his letters.

My mother however, gave me lots of stamps from her own collection and some dated back to her schooldays. She told me how people threw away most used stamps that were very common during those days. Had she kept them, she could have sold them now for a good price. I guess that is the reason why I have more than a page filled with ‘Alophoixus ochraceus‘ (Merbah Beringin) stamps in my stamp album. If you live in Malaysia, it is impossible to miss the stamps since they appear on almost every letter sent by the Malaysian Postal Service or Pos Malaysia.

My good friend, Aishah Salihue (whose parents are from Sri Lanka but is living in the USA), mailed me US and Sri Lankan stamps every now and then. Even her wonderful grandfather gave me lovely Sri Lankan stamps when we met at Aishah’s house in San Jose in 2006.

 

A day with Aishah in the backyard of her house in San Jose. From left: My sister, Aeshah; Aishah; me; Aishah's brother, Ali; and Anisah (far right) in a pink sweater.

My collection consists mainly of Malaysian stamps especially the ‘Birds of Malaysia’ series and the ‘Malaysian Agro-Based Definitive Stamp’ series. Although I haven’t collected the entire set of both series, I hope to be able to collect a complete set of the mint stamps and a complete set of used stamps from both series.

 

Some of my stamps from the 'Birds of Malaysia' series. I have more than a page of these.

In fact, I would like to expand my collection as big as I could. If only I could be as lucky as my mother to inherited a lovely collection of Malaysian stamps from her grandfather and a really wonderful collection of Malaysian and foreign stamps from her aunt when she was about eight…

However, stamp collecting is losing its popularity among today’s youngsters and I suppose it is harder to get wonderful stamps in our mails now than it was during my parents’ schooling days. Perhaps we should start writing more letters instead of sending e-mails; furthermore receiving letters are much more exciting than getting e-mails, at least for me 🙂

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My homegrown beansprout

Like many others who live in the city, we only have a small garden. Actually, it never did cross my mind of how small our garden is, until we decided to plant our own organic vegetables three years ago. Is there any herb or vegetable that can be grown without taking too much space for the city folk?

Last week, Mom soaked a bowl of green beans overnight for her ‘bubur kacang’. Anyway she was so busy the next day that she forgot all about them after straining the beans into a colander. The next day she found that her bowlful of green beans had grown tiny roots. So, instead of cooking them, she gave me the beans for my “experiments’.

And I decided to grow beansprout. I found out that growing green beans into beansprouts is certainly very easy. All I did was running tap water over the colanders (with the beans) every 4-6 hours or so. Don’t try to move the beans/seedlings around with your hands (you may feel tempted to do so, but you may pull out their roots). Put a plate under the colander to collect the water dripping from the colander.

The green beans had grown tiny roots! 😀

In a few days, the roots will be long enough to reach out of the colander into the plate of water below it. Even at this stage, I still ‘water’ the sprouts but I suppose you could leave it on its own. Another thing to remember is not to put too much beans in one colander. When that happens, the beans on the top couldn’t get enough water while the beans at the bottom may rot.

Roots growing out of the colander

Another good point in growing beansprouts is that you can plan when to start growing them so that the beansprout will be really fresh when needed. Soak the beans overnight about 5 days ahead and they should be ready to be harvested on time. And trust me, fresh home grown beansprouts are so tasty, crunchy and without that ‘commercial beansprout smell’ that even I who never like beansprouts before ate loads of them.

Fresh, homegrown, organic beansprout in mum's delicious fried noodle.

So with the price of vegetables rising up and the concern of the high level of chemical contamination in our vegetables, it will be a very good idea to grow our own vegetables. And if space is a problem, try growing beansprouts; you can even grow them in your apartment balcony, kitchen or even in your dining room! It is really cheap and easy while the result is absolutely wonderful. Maybe I should start a business selling tasty, fresh, home-grown, organic  beansprouts … after all fresh, organic vegetables can fetch a good price in today’s market!

Ready-for-harvest beansprouts (shoots)

Ready-for-harvest beansprouts (roots)

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The longest total solar eclipse in the 21st century happened today (22nd July, 2009/ July 22nd, 2009)! The path of the Moon’s umbral shadow begins in India and crosses through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China and left the Asia mainland before passing through Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reaches 6 min 39 s. And the broader path of the Moon’s penumbral shadow covers most of eastern Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Ocean (including Malaysia!).

An animation of the eclipse

An animation of the eclipse

I attended the Solar Eclipse viewing program in Kuala Ibai, Terengganu at Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (Masjid terapung) organised by the Jabatan Mufti Terengganu, Jabatan Ukur dan Pemetaan Terengganu and Universiti Darul Iman Malaysia. The details were as written below:

In Kuala Terengganu,
First Contact – 8:24 am (when the Moon first “touches” the Sun’s limb)
Maximum Eclipse – 9:08 am (when the Moon covers the Sun’s disk the most; 13%)
Last Contact – 9:56 am (when the Moon “leaves” the Sun)

While in Kuala Lumpur, the details differ slightly:

First Contact – 8:29 am (when the Moon first “touches” the Sun’s limb)
Maximum Eclipse – 9:07 am (when the Moon covers the Sun’s disk the most; 8%)
Last Contact – 9:48 am (when the Moon “leaves” the Sun)

An animation of the solar eclipse.

Another animation of the solar eclipse.

We arrived at the program around 8:40 am but were unable to get a view of the eclipse as the sky was too cloudy. Luckily, at about 9:40 am, the clouds cleared away giving us a view of the eclipse before the clouds covered the sun again. There were six telescopes set for the program and 1500 people attended the program too.

The reason for this long eclipse is simply because now is July; a time when the Sun is farthest away from Earth (aphelion), thus is smallest in size. And the Moon also just passes it nearest point to Earth (perigee), thus it looks big in our sky. When a small Sun is blocked by a big Moon, the Moon will have more time to block the Sun.

The next total solar eclipse shall occur in 2132! That’s 123 more years to come (what a beautiful number!). That’s why I feel so lucky to be able to experience this eclipse. It shall be an unforgettable memory which I shall treasure in my heart forever and ever…

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