Because of my job as an English teacher in Thailand, it can be difficult for me to make a trip to the post office during business hours. This morning, however, I was able to stop by the Phuket Philatelic Museum on my way to work and buy all of those issues that have been released since my last visit back in April. In fact, the only item that was unavailable was the first day cover for Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday. I was surprised that they had today’s new release – a sheet of ten depicting Thai numerals – along with the first day cover. Bangkok is getting much better at supplying the provinces!
I was able to buy three months’ worth of stamp singles, sets, souvenir sheets, and first day covers plus Thailand Post’s monthly stamp magazine – well illustrated but I can’t read a lick of it – all for 353 Thai baht. That’s just a bit over $10 in U.S. currency. Where else can you do that?
As I mentioned, the Thai numerals set was released today – 29 July – which happens to be National Thai Language Day. According to Thailand Post’s quarterly new issue bulletin, “Thai numbers constituting the numeric system in Thai is considered to be one of the national identities. Their curvy, wavy, and gentle lines indicate the values of Thai art, the beautiful cultural heritage and the prosperity of the nation for having its own numbers and alphabets for over 700 years. The numbers were designed by King Ramkhamhaeng, who adapted them from the Khmer numbers, which were derived from the Indian Devanagari.
“Currently, the government has a policy to encourage the use of Thai numbers in official documents, according to the resolution of the cabinet in 2000, along with the use of fonts in the computer and the internet. School students are also encourage to familiarize with the written Thai numbers to uphold the value of this Thai heritage. This stamp series is the continuing series of Thai Alphabets in 2011. The images depict Thai numbers from 0 to 9, together with 10 colorful numeric symbols on 10 stamps, which may also be used as a learning media for children. This series will be launched on the National Thai Language Day on this 29 July.”
Aside from use on Thai government documents, the Thai numerals are also used to denote room numbers in government-operated schools. Knowing these numbers has helped me on numerous occasions when I’ve had to substitute at a new school and couldn’t find anybody to ask the location of classrooms.
I’m happy I was able to go to the post office today as they will be closed tomorrow and Friday for the twin Buddhist holidays of Wan Asanha Bucha and Wan Khao Phansa (the ban on selling and consuming alcohol begins at one minute past midnight tonight).
The Phuket Philatelic Museum will be closed all of next week as the staff will travel to Bangkok for the resumption of THAIPEX –- the National Stamp Exhibition – for the first time since 2011. Held at the Grand Postal Building in Bang Rak, the show will be presided over by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and will see the release of several stamps during it’s run from 3-9 August. Admission is free, by the way.
Unfortunately, this means that I probably won’t be able to have the ASEAN Day Muang Phuket Local Post covers dual-cancelled with the Phuket postmark on 8 August. They are receptive to my doing such things at the Phuket Philatelic Museum but counter clerks at the regular post office deny this sort of service. It’s a bit of a shame as Thailand Post is issuing a very nice ASEAN Day stamp of their own next Saturday and I’d planned to make a few special first day covers. We’ll see what happens…