Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sunday Stamps 078: Amber marimba


I come from a country known to produce fantastic singers worldwide. If I remember it right, the American talk show host Ellen Degeneres once declared on twitter that some of the best singers she knows come from the Philippines

Sad to say, I am one of those unfortunate souls who don't have any musical gene in my DNA. I love and appreciate good music, don't get me wrong. But please don't make me sing. My talent for singing is best hidden,lol. When it comes to music, I prefer instrumentals such as esp acoustic guitars but I also love the classic, oldies but goodies kind of stuff. 

Now, why am I talking about music stuff? Well, guess what, I have a stamp from Mexico that was on a postcard that mi querida amiga Ana sent to me. It features one of Mexico's traditional musical instrument, a theme that I like.

The stamp features the Mexican amber marimba from the amber collection of the Museo del Ámbar de Chiapas.
A marimba is a musical instrument, usually made of wood, from the percussion family that was developed in the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico and northern Guatemala. The marimba is said to be a "descendant" of sorts of the instrument called balafon used by the African slaves in Central America. (Source: Wikipedia)

I've never seen a marimba before but I think it resembles a xylophone and a traditional Khmer xylophone made of bamboo called roneath. According to marimba sites, they sound lower and richer than a xylophone.

I found a video on youtube that demonstrates how a marimba is played and how it sounds like. Enjoy the marimba music!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sunday Stamps 077: Cartoon strips on stamps


In between upgrading my Ubuntu operating system in my desktop (newly-purchased by my husband, ahem-ahem) and checking my blog stats via dashboard scorecard here, I was able to also search for a bit of background details about my entries for this week's Sunday Stamps. Is that multi-tasking or what? 

Without further ado here are my stamps featuring cartoon strips;

Ik heb de kraan mar laten lopen, dan kun u het lek gemakkelijker vinden.

 Translation via GoogleTranslate: I have run the tap in March, then you can easily find the leak.

Er zat geen cent meer in de schatkist, majesteit. Enzo komt hij nog van pas.

Translation via GoogleTranslate: There was not a penny more into the treasury, majesty. So he comes in handy.
The above cartoon strip on stamps were issued in 1993. There are four in this series.  I've never heard of Joost Swarte before and it's interesting to know more about this artist. I think they are unique stamps, cleverly designed to make it look like a page of a comic book that's been ripped off from it. Looking at the illustrations on the stamps alone made me see a bit of similarities on the style employed by the artist who made the cartoon character, Tin Tin.  Did you notice it,  too?
Joost Swarte is one of the most popular comic artists and graphic designers from the Netherlands and is best know for his ligne claire or clear line style of drawing which he himself had coined. His illustrations appeared in many magazines in the Netherlands, Belgium and in the USA. He worked for the New Yorker magazine where he created a strip called "We'll Make It" as well as some of his illustrations landed on its covers.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Sunday Stamps 076: The skies at night, folktales and the beginning of the cosmos


The Botswana Post has a conservative policy when it comes of issuing stamps, with about four to five stamp releases every year. In 2009, the Sky at Night series came out depicting the lovely night skies of Botswana and celestial bodies and its corresponding folktales. 

For thousands of years people have looked heaven-ward and questioned their place in the cosmos. The stars, the moon and sun, and the immense dome of the Kalahari were all celestial signs that united people with nature. It is not surprising that the Naro of D’kar call this greatest of nature’s phenomena, “Nqarri Kgei kwe”... the Face of God.
The starlore of Botswana includes stories about stars and constellations, planets, the sun and moon, as well as bodies with apparent motion such as meteors and comets. These accounts are typically expressive rather than physical in understanding, with most descriptions having a metaphorical or narrative idiom. Many have whimsical associations, some have deeper intrinsic meaning in explaining cosmological origins [emphasis mine] whilst others serve practical purposes such as markers for direction in space and time. - Botswana Post
Folk tales, folk lores and legends all over the world teach us many things for in them we learn a lot about our history, geography, astronomy, origins or beginnings of our world, our race. As I have noticed in most folk tales, etc., we discover how we humans (struggle) try to find our place in the universe and to make sense of the world we live in.

As you might have known by now, folk tales around the world fascinate me so much so it is not a surprise that this stamp automatically falls under my favourites list. There are actually four in the series but I only have one that you see below: 

Botswana's Sky at Night: The Moon and the women of Setsana.
I found this here explaining the story behind the stamp:
References to the moon are ubiquitous in local cultures. This stamp depicts a Setswana group of women who, it is said, bring a gentle light to the home, unlike the oppressive heat of the sun. The lunar waxing and waning also coincides with monthly fortunes, the waxing moon being U-shaped, carries problems and diseases, whereas the waning moon spills theses misfortunes on the people. Here the moon is accompanied by the recent concatenation with Jupiter and Venus. “Maphatlalatsane”, the brightest celestial object after the sun and moon.
Here is the complete set in the 2009 Sky at Night series that I took from the Botswana Post website:

From left to right: The Southern Cross and four giraffes; the meteorite and shamans shooting arrows; the solar eclipse and the magical lions; and lastly, the moon with a group of Setsana women.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Postcard Friendship Friday 082: Maastricht Food 101 for Foreigners

Post card friday pffhtml

Happy New Year, dear friends. It's 2013 already, can you believe it? A new year is upon us again. I want to thank my friends who I met via Postcrossing and private exchanges for the friendship that goes beyond postcard/stamp swap, and to my dear readers who come (again and again) and leave comments. I may not reply to each comment but I do value the kind of interaction that goes on here.

I can't wait to see what 2013 has to offer! So I'm reeling myself back in Postcard Friendship Friday again. I purposedly stayed away from the Internet over the holidays as well as from postcard and swap exchanges to take a breather, at least even for only a few days. For this week's meme, I am sharing a special postcard from Maastricht, the Netherlands:

The Bakery: The Language of Maastricht for Foreigners.
Sent by Stasele
Postmarked 12-12-12

This was sent by Postcrosser Stasele via private exchange. The postcard showing one of my favourite themes, food, bore the special 12-12-12 postmark, and arrived several days after meeting her - here in Phnom Penh - in person! I think she also received my postcard when she returned from her trip.

I have to say that meeting her was one of the highlights of the holidays for me. We met in a quaint coffee shop down at the riverside and spent hours chatting. It felt like I was talking to an old friend that I hadn't seen for a long time. I guess when you have a common interest, like postcards and snail mail for examples, awkward moments are minimised, if not totally diminished. She and her family were on a holiday trip and it was very nice of her to take time off to meet up with me.  I have Postcrossing to thank for, for introducing me to a new friend :)

Images by Freepik