Bangkok

IMG_0028I received this beautiful postcard some time ago and just found it to add to my collection on this blog. It shows a night view of Wat Phra Keo, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand and is situated in the historic city of Bangkok within the precincts of the Grand Palace.

The main building is the central ubosoth, which houses the statue of the Emerald Buddha. The legendary history of this Buddha image is traced to India, five centuries after the Lord Buddha attained Nirvana, till it was finally enshrined in Bangkok at the Wat Phra Kaew temple in 1782 during Rama I‘s reign (1782–1809). This marked the beginning and raise of the Chakri Dynasty of the present Kingdom of Thailand (the present head of the dynasty is King Rama IX.) The Emerald Buddha, a dark green statue, is in a standing form, about 66 centimetres (26 in) tall, carved from a single jade stone (Emerald in Thai means deep green colour and not the specific stone). It is carved in the meditating posture in the style of the Lanna school of the northern Thailand. Except for the Thai King, no other person is allowed to touch the statue. The King changes the cloak around the statue three times a year, corresponding to the summer, winter, and rainy seasons, an important ritual performed to usher good fortune to the country during each season.

Unfortunately, I have not made it to Thailand yet but you can be sure it is on my bucket list for the next years. Is there anything else you would highly recommend to visit in Bangkok? Please let me know.

Golden Bauhinia Square

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This lovely card from Hong Kong arrived today as well. Thank you to Polly from Hong Kong who has chosen it. The postcard shows the Golden Bauhinia Square (Chinese: 金紫荊廣場) outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the waterfront in Wan Chai. The square was named after the giant statue of a golden Bauhinia blakeana at the centre of the area, where the ceremonies for the handover of Hong Kong and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was held in July 1997. A flag-raising ceremony is held every day at 8:00am.

The sculpture, a gilded flower bauhinia, is 6 meters high. The major part is composed of a bauhinia on a base of red granite pillar on a pyramid.

I would really love to visit Hong Kong soon.

 

Hinomaru

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This is one of the most beautiful flag cards that I have received so far. it is a map of Japan on top of the national flag. I really would love to visit Japan once and it is right on top of my bucket list when it comes to travelling. I am really interested in Japan which is one of the most modern and advanced civilisations but still so rich in tradition and culture.

Please let me know which places I need to visit when going over! I am planning a backpacking trip so it would be great to travel around the country a bit.

And here a bit of history about this beautiful sun disc flag.

The national flag of Japan is a white rectangular flag with a large red disk (representing the sun) in the centre. This flag is officially called Nisshōki (日章旗?, “sun-mark flag”) in Japanese, but is more commonly known as Hinomaru (日の丸?, “circle of the sun”).

The Nisshōki flag is designated as the national flag in Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem, which was promulgated and became effective on August 13, 1999. Although no earlier legislation had specified a national flag, the sun-disc flag had already become the de facto national flag of Japan. Two proclamations issued in 1870 by the Daijō-kan, the governmental body of the early Meiji Era, each had a provision for a design of the national flag. A sun-disc flag was adopted as the national flag for merchant ships under Proclamation No. 57 of Meiji 3 (issued on February 27, 1870), and as the national flag used by the Navy under Proclamation No. 651 of Meiji 3 (issued on October 27, 1870). Use of the Hinomaru was severely restricted during the early years of the American occupation after World War II; these restrictions were later relaxed.

A young nation on the ascendant

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This beautiful postcard is showing the national flag of Singapore and is my most recent flag card. Thank you Siti!

The national flag of Singapore was first adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. It was reconfirmed as the national flag when the Republic gained independence on 9 August 1965. The design is a horizontal bicolour of red above white, overlaid in the canton (upper-left quadrant) by a white crescent moon facing a pentagon of five small white five-pointed stars.

The Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Rules define the flag’s composition and the symbolism of its elements: red symbolises “universal brotherhood and equality of man”, and white, “pervading and everlasting purity and virtue”. The waxing crescent moon “represents a young nation on the ascendant”. The five stars “stand for the nation’s ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality”.

 

Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth

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This is the beautiful flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is red with a navy blue cantonbearing a white sun with twelve triangular rays. In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth. It was first used in mainland China by the Kuomintang (KMT, the Chinese Nationalist Party) in 1917 and was made the official flag of the Republic of China in 1928. It was enshrined in the 6th article of the Constitution of the Republic of China when it was promulgated in 1947. Since 1949, the flag is mostly used within Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other outlying islands where the Republic of China relocated after having lost the Chinese Civil War to the Communists.

Tokyo

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Tokyo is not only the capital of Japan but also the biggest metro in the worlds with about 32 million inhabitants. And I am already complaining about London with 14 million…! This postcard shows a very beautiful aerial night view of the Tokyo and you can clearly see that this city never sleeps.

Personally, Japan is my number one spot to visit in Asia and I hope that I will manage to go there next year. I am really interested in this amazing culture that on the one hand is so traditional and yet modern at the same time.

Taipei

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Taipei is the capital city of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This postcard shows the Taipei Confucius Temple which is modelled after the original Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong province China. It is the only temple in Taiwan that is adorned with Southern Fujian-style ceramic adornments.

I like this card a lot as it is a contrast to the modern Taipei that is often shown and published on postcards. I love the traditional Asian cultures and hope to visit many of the temples and ancient sites that make countries like Taiwan so interesting for European travellers.

Can you please let me know which other cities or cites are interesting to explore in Taiwan?