150th Anniversary of the National Hospital

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I’ve been putting off posting this for months because it is so uninspiring. Basically, 20 March 2015 saw Sri Lanka issue yet another dull stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of, what is at least a useful local institution – the National Hospital. This would have been so much nicer if they left off the people, because the building sketch on the right is actually quite interesting. If you collect medical or architecture related themes, you may want to add this to your collection.

hospital copy

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No wait, here is Vijaya

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Having ranted at length about the lack of Sri Lankan monarchs on stamps, I have been forced to mince a few words with the discovery of a 1956 stamp featuring Vijaya’s arrival in Sri Lanka. However, my point was that we do not have any stamps with a Sri Lankan king as the primary subject, in a dignified, portrait like format. Just to prove my seriousness and dedication to this cause, I have pored over my ENTIRE Sri Lankan collection AGAIN (with a magnifying glass this time). Here’s what I found regarding kings on stamps.

1956

Arrival-from-King-Vijaya-by-Ceylon

This stamp of Vijaya and Kuveni was issued to celebrate 2500 years of Buddhism. What the fuck does Buddhism have to do with Vijaya’s landing in Thambapanni? Surely we are not saying that Vijaya brought us Buddhism? This stamp was issued post independence, else I would have imagined that a clueless white colonial dude designed it.

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Sri Lankan Avurudhu stamps

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Today is the Sinhala and Tamil New Year or “Avurudhu” as celebrated by the Sinhalese and “Puthandu” as celebrated by Tamils throughout Sri Lanka. You probably didn’t know that and care much less, but in my 65,610 km² of the world, it is a rather big deal and considered to be a time for family, tradition and food. Except for the food, I find the whole rigmarole extremely tedious and am only comforted at the thought of a possible new stamp issue. This year again however, there seems to be no new year themed stamp forthcoming.

If the Chinese New Year can instigate its own global philatelic revolution, you have to wonder why the Sri Lankan one can’t? Admittedly, we are neither a ginormous country nor do we have a cool animal zodiac forming part of the overall schtick, but our patronising traditions (no, I will NOT kneel to worship my elders thank you very much) and eyerollworthy games (telling me to wolf down a sugar bun in the fastest possible time is just WAY too triggering) should be interesting enough to the rest of the world. Don’t you think?

Anyway, I thought I’d take a gander down our proud nation’s philatelic history to see what we’ve managed to produce on the Avurudhu theme so far:

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Sri Lankan Gastronomy Stamps

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Before you get your hopes up, there aren’t any. Yet. Hopefully this impassioned plea will fall upon the ears of the Philatelic Bureau and they will soon see the light.

I love food. Having lived in Sri Lanka my whole life, I have a special fondness for Sri Lankan cuisine. The spicier the better. Admittedly, I rarely cook to recipe and am often seen trying to put my favourite local ingredients like green chillie and coconut into EVERY POSSIBLE DISH and completely buggering it so no one except me can eat it but hey, its the thought that counts right? You should be grateful that I offered you any food in the first place.

Any stamp issue about Sri Lankan gastronomy should in my opinion feature the three signature dishes below. You might notice that they all include coconut. I make no apologies for that.

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May your stamps be hoppy this Easter

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Wasn’t I just saying that Easter should be full of bunnies and chocolate eggs as opposed to misery and suffering? At least the Czech Republic seems to have got their priorities in order with this funny bunny waiter stamp. Here’s my ranking of the best Easter stamp designs of 2015.

#7: Trust the Vatican to issue the most boring stamp on the list. A work by the unknown Master of the Crucifix of Trevi depicting the risen Christ, I can appreciate this stamp as art or history but not necessarily as the most interesting depiction of Easter.

Vatican - Easter 2015 stamp

Vatican – Easter 2015 stamp

#6: Serbia went a bit nuts and put religious imagery on an Easter egg so they get points for originality if not anything else.

Serbia - Easter 2015 stamp

Serbia – Easter 2015 stamp

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Two surprise incoming mail

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Don’t you just love getting unexpected mail from strangers!

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The Mystery of Solomon’s Hairline

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Sri Lanka’s Solomon West Ridgeway Dias (SWRD for sanity’s sake) Bandaranaike was honoured in several stamps both during and after his rule as Prime Minister. His stamps are relatively common so I never gave them much thought besides, let’s face it, he’s got one helluva boring face. Then I discovered something hilarious.

SWRD Bandaranaike

Uptight nationalist wanker with distinctive hairline – image via newsfirst.lk

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Poetry on Stamps

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I admire poetry in the only way someone who can’t actually write poetry, can appreciate poetry. I may not notice if a piece is written badly or well, but judge purely based on the “feels” it generates. So it’s bad enough that this new set of no less than SIX miniature sheets from the United Nations (who allowed them to issue stamps in the first place?) celebrating World Poetry Day is completely extravagant but NONE of the included snippets seem to justify the expense of trying to collect them.

You are not just a drop in the ocean
You are the mighty ocean in the drop.
— Rumi

WPD15_e0.80_miniature_sheet

Maybe it’s a good thing that I can’t actually read this shite.

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Slovakia’s 2015 Easter stamp

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Jesus H. Christ Slovakia, what’s up with your new Easter stamp? What happened to Easter being about chocolate eggs and bunny rabbits? I have never seen such a miserable looking picture of the overhyped martyr in my whole life. Shouldn’t he look happy to be back among the living and not like he’d burst into tears any minute? Does this being imbued with an eucalyptus fragrance supposed to help?
slovakiaeasterstamp

The Head of Christ – image courtesy of Slovak Post-Slovenská

As a long suffering misanthropist, I do have some sympathy for the poor bugger. Being born is bad enough. Why the dead can’t be allowed to stay dead is beyond me.