Stamped history

Stamped history

Six historical buildings now have their own postage stamps

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Designer Lee Ying-chi (left) and senior manager Nelvin Lee show the goods.
Designer Lee Ying-chi (left) and senior manager Nelvin Lee show the goods.
Photo: Thomas Yau/SCMP
Lui Seng Chun, in Mong Kok, was once a traditional bone-setting medicine shop. Built in 1931, the Grade I historical building now serves as an out-patient service centre for traditional medicine run by the Hong Kong Baptist University School of Chinese Medicine. It is one of six old buildings under the government's "Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme" which made their way into stamps issued by Hongkong Post on May 7.

"Stamps are the name cards of Hong Kong," says Nelvin Lee Chun-yu, senior manager of the philatelic marketing team at HK Post. "When you send a letter or postcard to a friend, he or she will look at the stamp and learn something about Hong Kong. So it is our responsibility to introduce the city to the world through our stamps."

The new "Revitalisation of Historic Buildings in Hong Kong" stamp series boasts the six historical buildings and will be on sale for three months. The other five buildings in the series are YHA Mei Ho House Youth Hostel, The Yuen Yuen Institute "Fong Yuen Study Hall", Jao Tsung-I Academy, Tai O Heritage Hotel, and the North Kowloon Magistracy, which is now SCAD Hong Kong.

Local designer Lee Ying-chi was asked to design the sets of stamps. He relished the project. "Designing stamps is fun; it offers more room for creativity than what I usually do for the commercial sector," he says.

Lee set out to highlight the changes between the past and present of the buildings. The task was not easy to pull off on tiny stamp-size spaces. "I tried to use both text and graphics to achieve the best effect," he says.

He spent months researching the original looks of the buildings by visiting them and studying architectural blueprints. "YHA Mei Ho House Youth Hostel was a construction site, so I had to look at the statutory plan of the building ... to produce a more accurate representation of how it looked in the past," he explains. "Then I drew a rucksack, a globe and a map to represent its new function after renovation."

Lee also designed a set of 3D pop-up postcards using the same designs.

Nelvin Lee hopes the sets of stamps can rekindle interest in historical buildings.

"Old buildings will easily be forgotten if we leave them behind," he says. "But with the revitalising scheme, they can be brought back to life with brand new functions."

Young Post has 30 free souvenir sheets of the new stamps for our Junior Reporters. Email us at: reporters.club@scmp.com with your name, age, school name and postal address by July 1. The stamps will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis


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