SingPost issues Myths and Legends set of stamps, encapsulating two well-loved Singapore folktales – Sisters’ Islands and Kusu Island
SINGAPORE, 23 May 2016 – Singapore Post Limited (SingPost), in collaboration with the National Heritage Board (NHB), will release a Myths and Legends stamp set on 25 May 2016. The stamp set encapsulates the well-loved folklore about Singapore’s Sisters’ Islands and Kusu Island. In conjunction with the new stamp issue, an exhibition about the two popular legends will be held at the Suntec Post Office from 25 May 2016 to 8 June 2016.
The Sisters’ Islands folktale centres on two sisters who loved each other dearly. When sea gypsies threatened to separate the sisters, the girls drowned themselves in the sea. The following day, two islands appeared where the sisters had died. The islands were then named Sisters’ islands, in memory of the two sisters who remained inseparable to the very end.
The story of Kusu Island, or Turtle Island, is about a giant turtle that rescued two fishermen when they were caught in ferocious storms. The turtle saved them by taking them on its back to the island which eventually became their home. The fishermen never saw the mysterious turtle again. But it has been said that the magnificent creature has been spotted resting on the shores by people who later visited the island.
In conjunction with the new stamp issue, SingPost is also collaborating with NHB and Singapore Philatelic Bureau to organise a public exhibition titled ‘Tales From Our Shores’ to be held at SingPost’s Next Generation Post Office at Suntec City mall from 25 May 2016 to 8 June 2016. The exhibition will present the Sisters’ Islands and Kusu Island stories. Opening hours are 11am to 7pmdaily. The exhibition is part of the National Heritage Board’s ‘Heritage on The Move’ community programme which seeks to share and promote Singapore’s multi-racial heritage.
Stamp collectors who purchase the new stamps on 25 May 2016 at Suntec Post Office can collect a special edition cachet from Singapore Philatelic Bureau staff who will be there from 11am to 5pm.
SingPost’s last Myths and Legends stamp issue was in October 2014 and featured the tales of “Attack of the Swordfish” and “Sang Nila Utama”.
The Myths and Legends set of stamps on “Sisters’ Islands” and ”Kusu Island” comes in two designs, one for each folktale. Each design comes in four denominations: 1st Local, 2nd Local, S$0.50 and S$2.00.
There is also a Pre-cancelled First Day Cover at S$8.20 that comes affixed with the complete set of stamps.
This stamp issue will go on sale from 25 May 2016 at all post offices and the Singapore Philatelic Museum. They may also be purchased online at www.stampdelight.com.
About Myths and Legends Stamp Issue:
In a small village on an island off the shores of Singapore, there lived a poor widow and her two loving daughters Minah and Lina. The aged woman struggled to raise the girls by herself and longed for the day she could find husbands who would take good care of her daughters. Both Minah and Lina were very close and promised to be together forever. As such, they hoped to marry two brothers, but there were no suitable suitors.
After the widow passed away, Minah and Lina were forced to live with an uncle in another village. There, the villagers dwelled in the fear of the merciless Orang Laut who raided their farms and kidnapped young women to be their wives.
One afternoon, Lina went to fetch water from a nearby well alone and met the Chief of the Orang Laut. When the Chief saw Lina, he immediately demanded Lina to be his wife. Lina was frightened by the Chief and quickly escaped. The Chief commanded his men to chase after her.
Lina went back to Minah for help because she was terrified. By then, the Chief and his men had caught up with Lina and were waiting outside the hut. The Chief told the uncle that he wanted to marry Lina and threatened to harm the villagers if Lina refused to marry him. The uncle tried to convince Lina to marry the Chief, but Lina was upset and afraid.
The next day, the Chief charged into the village. His men shoved those who stood in their way and hauled Lina out of the hut. Minah begged for Lina’s freedom but the chief pushed her away. Seizing Lina, he slung her on his shoulders and rushed towards his sampan.
As the sampan panjang she was on sailed away, Minah took the opportunity to lunge forward into the sea. The wind howled mournfully while she wrestled with the raging waters. As Minah was crying out, a large wave swallowed her up.
Lina’s heart sank when she saw what happened. Remembering their promise to always be together, she broke free from her captors and plunged into the depths of the sea. The Chief and his men were too scared to jump in to save Lina and she too quickly went under the sea.
The storm cleared the next day only to reveal two strange looking humps that formed two islands, just where Lina and Minah had drowned. Grief-stricken, the uncle and the villagers called it Sisters’ Islands, in memory of the two sisters whom they all cherished and who remained inseparable to the very end.
Long ago, there lived a poor Chinese fisherman, his wife and children. The fisherman loved his family and cared for them as best as he could. He would go out to catch whatever fish he could even when storms maddened the fickle sea.
One day, while he was preparing his net for another fishing trip, his wife became anxious because she could sense that a storm was brewing. However, the fisherman insisted on going ahead because he wanted to provide for his family.
The storm came and wild winds wreaked havoc around the fisherman while he struggled to steady his boat. Not wanting to go home empty handed, he threw his net into the darkness below but lost his balance and fell. The rain beat down cruelly on his face, he was about to give up when suddenly, he saw something large moving towards him. It was a giant turtle! The turtle waved its flipper and invited the fisherman to climb on its back. The fisherman quickly clambered onto the hard shell and held on tightly. The turtle kept on going despite the heavy storm and soon reached a deserted island.
The fisherman realized that he would never see his family again. He was heartbroken and prayed that his wife and children would find true happiness and security. When the storm cleared, he explored the dense jungle and found wood and leaves to build a shelter. He also learned to hunt for small animals and track down ripened fruits. The island became his new home.
Months passed and another nasty storm hit the surrounding sea. This time, a poor Malay fisherman fell victim to the wind and rain. The Chinese fisherman, who was resting in his hut, heard a loud cry and rushed out to save the man. Soon, a shadowy shape appeared and it was the turtle who rescued him!
The Chinese fisherman welcomed the Malay fisherman into his hut. He was grateful for the Malay fisherman’s company and helped him build a hut of his own. In the days that passed, they became good friends and spent hours hunting for animals and fruits. They missed their families very much and often told each other many stories about their wives, children and villages.
For a long time, the two friends never saw the strange and mysterious turtle. But it has been said that people who later visited the island, now called Kusu or Turtle Island, have seen the magnificent creature resting on the shores under the peaceful, sunny sky.
Other Stamp Information
Date of Issue : 25 May 2016
Denominations : 1st Local, 2nd Local, 50¢, $2 (each value x 2 designs)
Stamp Size : 45mm x 32.35mm
Perforation : 13
Printing Process : Offset Lithography
Printer : Secura Singapore Pte Ltd
Sheet Content : 10 stamps per sheet
Designer : Lim An-ling
First Day Cover (without stamps)
A set of Pre-cancelled First Day Cover affixed with stamps : $8.20*
Two Collectors’ Sheets (comes with a folder)
Obtainable from any Post Office and the Singapore Philatelic Museum.
*Prices inclusive of GST for purchases within Singapore.
1st Local stamps can be used to make up the postage for overseas mail.
First Day Covers (without stamps) are available for sale one week before the issue date.
The designs were reproduced from free hand drawing. Details may be subject to change.
Visit us at our website: www.singpost.com
Purchase online: www.stampdelight.com
About Singapore Post Limited
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