31 December 2010

Mail from the Cambodian Palace






This is a cover sent in 2000 from the Royal Palace. The King's mail is usually taken to the Boengpralit District post office for dispatch.

The cover only carries 200r postage which was getting close to the bulk rate (300r) for going to France in 2000. There are also samples of the King's mail franking full postage or over.




26 December 2010

The Price of Old Phnom Penh Starting Anew




video
"Phnom Penh", composed by Norodom Sihanouk (OP: Rebecca Pan Productions)

In 1960s, Phnom Penh the "Pearl of the Orient" became so legendary that Prince
Sihanouk (now the King Father) wrote a song to show his passion and admiration
on her. Here is a live recording of the song performed for the Prince at a Cambodian
Red Cross event in 1969, vocal by Ms Rebecca Pan, the top cabaret singer of
Hongkong at the time.




Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia and a city widely honoured and acclaimed for her beautiful and historical architecture and attractions, celebrated her 575th birthday in 2009.

Wat Phnom Daun Penh featured on a 1983 souvenir sheet with official first day
commemorative postmark, it is to celebrate the 4th anniversary of liberation from Khmer Rouge.
S/S print run: 21,750

Phnom Penh got her name from Daun Penh, an old lady who found some Buddha statues
in the hole of a tree trunk which she pulled out from water in a flood. Daun Penh built a little
hill and a temple on top of it to enshrine what she had found, the site is now Wat Phnom
Daun Penh, the holy landmark of Phnom Penh.




The city was formally founded in 1434 by King Ponhea Yat of Angkor who built his palace near the present Wat Phnom Daun Penh. Phnom Penh remained quiet until 1870s when the French colonialists gradually built it into a modern French style city. In 1950s and 1960s Prince Sihanouk further expanded Phnom Penh under the New Khmer Architecture Movement, the city was in such full splendid that the then Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew had invited Prince Sihanouk to send architects to Singapore for civil engineering advices.

It was only the series of unfortunate events from 1970s to 1990s which brought Phnom Penh to crumble.


The Chaktomuk Royal Palace, Phnom Penh.



Although the city is cultural rich, unlike counterparts such as Bangkok and Hanoi, Phnom Penh did not mark her foundation anniversary lavishly. Only a small celebration was done at Phnom Daun Penh, and no commemorative postage stamps were issued to reaffirm the national and cultural identity of the 575 years old royal capital.

A set of three stamps were issued in 1997 to celebrate
the 30th anniversary of ASEAN. Landmarks of Phnom Penh are themed:
500r Wat Ounalom, 1500r the Royal Palace, and 2000r the National Musuem. Stamp set print run: 124,350


Since peace returned in 1993 which provided a stable environment for national economic recovery, Phnom Penh has been facing a cruel fact that national and cultural identity cannot generate money directly which eventually makes heritage the least thing for the city's officials to concern. The government visions skyscrapers as symbol of prosperity and advancement, this is shown by the city's tremendous economic boom with new buildings sprout up like mushrooms, lakes and ponds filled for land, historic French colonial buildings torn down for new modern glass wall monsters.

To make room for development, original occupants of the land are forced to relocate outside the urban area, slum communities are displaced, neighbourhood is ruined, and hookers, beggars and street children are driven away or banged up.

During UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's visit, villagers of Boeung Kak Lake
protest against forced relocation with unfair compensation, October 2010.
(Photo: Cambodia Sin Chew Daily)



Land problems regularly hit news headlines in such a way that they are getting boring to news readers. The officials come up with a simple solution, a new Freedom Park for free speech. The park is in fact a designated protest site, victims of social problems as well as policy dissenters are not allowed to gather in front of the Prime Minister's house or anywhere else. Officials say it is the Hyde Park of Cambodia, but critics argue that London's Hyde Park is not a designated demonstration area, and it is not to keep problems at bay.


My self designed commemorative cover celebrating the 575th anniversary of Phnom Penh.


Just as many great cities of the world which experience rapid changes, Phnom Penh is struggling hard to secure her centuries old heritage and speedy modern developement. The city is glowing with new neon electric lights, and at the same time, walking on thin ice of losing the old natural glowing Cambodian smile.




16 December 2010

Diplomatic Mail of Kampuchean Embassy 1976



On 9th July 2009 I wrote about a 1979 diplomatic mail from the Kampuchean embassy in Beijing of China (click here to read).

Here is a 1976 cover from the embassy for comparison:


Back of cover:


Postmarked 30th April 1976 in Beijing, this cover was sent to the East German embassy. It is the ink stamp on the back which catches my attention. The black ink Chinese stamp says "Telecommunication Receive & Dispatch Seal of Embassy of [spacing] Cambodia in China". Right after the three characters for the word "Cambodia", there leaves spacing of two Chinese characters.

The Chinese equivalent of the word "democratic" in "Democratic Kampuchea" takes up two characters, but they are put before "Cambodia", not after. A reasonable guess is that the two missing characters are "Wang Guo", which literally means kingdom; in Chinese grammar the word "kingdom" is put after the country name. And so the embassy used the old ink stamp of Sihanouk era but scraped off the characters for "kingdom".

The Khmer Rouge took power in April 1975 yet after a whole year its embassy in the capital of the Maoist group's best ally was still using a Sihanouk era old ink stamp.

Cambodia changed her name from "Kingdom of Cambodia" to "Khmer Republic" in 1970, and from 1975 to 1979 Cambodia was formally known as "Democratic Kampuchea".




9 December 2010

Phnom Penh CPO Postmarks (Part 3)

(continue part 2)


In 1998 Cambodia introduced machine cancels for the first time since 1979. Each machine cancel has a postmark dial and a cancel die. A series of blog entries have been done on the topic, please click here to read.



POSTMARK GENERATION III

2006 saw the use of a new generation of postmarks on CPO mail. These postmarks are bilingual - Khmer and English, and for the first time a postcode is featured.


Basically two kinds of usage for this generation are to be distinguished, they are for arriving mail marked by the letter A and departing mail marked by the letter D. So far only A1, A2, D1 and D3 are known, they are currently in use alongside with generation II postmarks.



Although generation III first appeared on CPO mail in 2006, Khmer and English bilingual postmarks had been in use in Cambodia way before it. Graham Shaw in his article "the Post Offices of Phnom Penh" reported that in 2004 Olympic District post office of Phnom Penh had been using a postmark in Khmer and English in the format of this generation III. In my collection a 2003 cover from Poipet of Banteay Meanchey Province was cancelled by a generation III postmark as well.




RUBBER POSTMARK

CPO information source says that during the UNTAC era (1992-1993) some rubber postmarks similar to generation III but without the postcode were prepared, they were to satisfy collectors' needs. With reasons I remain sceptical on the story, and we all know CPO information is often unreliable as well. Nevertheless these bilingual (Khmer and English) offbeat cancellations mostly made their appearance in mid 2000s. A variety of size and fonts exist, the following gives two examples:


16 November 2010

Phnom Penh CPO Postmarks (Part 2)

(continue part 1)

Cambodia experienced high inflation from late 1980s to the first half of 1990s, subsequent high denomination postage stamp shortage eventually led to the introduction of meter stamps in 1992. These meter stamps did not only serve as postage payment indicator, they were postmark and killer. A brief introduction on this has been done before in my blog, please click here to read.

From 1992 to 1994, the majority of letters sending from Phnom Penh CPO were canceled by meter stamps. At the same time Lon Nol era style postmarks (1970-1975) continued to star on mail, especially in 1993 and 1994. Things only came to a change when a new postmark generation appeared in 1995.


The 2 Lon Nol era style postmarks shown above were particularly popular on 1993 and 1994 mail. They are characterized by thick rectangular border date dial and large fonts.




POSTMARK GENERATION II TYPE A

In 1995, a new generation of postmarks was born. It is bilingual (Khmer and French) just like generation I, the layout is very similar but now the country name in French is changed from "Kampuchea" to "Cambodge".

The change in country name was made by the government in 1989 but it was not reflected on hand-applied postmarks until 1995.



A notable difference from generation I is that all postmarks now bear acronyms which indicate the usage. This acronym is located above the acronym "RP." at the lower edge of the postmark.


"COD" is "Courrier Ordinaire Départ" which is for all originally outgoing mail. "CA" is "Cabine Arrivée" and "CD" is "Cabine Départ", they are the arrival and outgoing postmarks for registered mail and official mail.




POSTMARK GENERATION II TYPE B

In 1996 there was a replacement on all generation II postmarks. This new type B has comparatively short font height, and the spacing between the scripts and postmark edge is considerably wider than before. Another significant change is the arabic numeral font, it is now very much slimmer than that of the old type.

Dots are used to separate day, month and year. This is not the case in type A.


Just as type A, there are acronyms to indicate usage:



Type B is still in service now and it is a bigger family than type A. Other than the acronym postmarks, type B has numbered postmarks - RP2, RP4 and RP5. RP2 is exclusive to philatelic counter:






(to be continued)


Please click here for Phnom Penh CPO Postmarks (Part 1)
Please click here for Phnom Penh CPO Postmarks (Part 3)


6 November 2010

Cambodian Stamp Design Cloned



I will carry on with the Phnom Penh postmark series later. This time let's have something light.

Here is a set of 1999 Afghanistan Cacti 6v:




If you are a collector of Cambodia, you will find the stamp design very familiar, it is the virtually identical to the 1990 Cacti 7v set:



This is not the first time when two countries coincidentally share the same design without piror arrangement, but it is a first for Cambodia.

Both sets were produced by COPREFIL, however as stated in UPU International Bureau Circular #345 of 21st August 2000, from 1990 on the Kabul administration did not commission any printers to produce stamps, so the Afghanistan set is illegal. Afghanistan issued stamps again in 2002.



28 October 2010

Phnom Penh CPO Postmarks (Part 1)



After the Khmer Rouge lost to the Vietnamese in Janurary 1979, the new Phnom Penh administration encouraged people to take up their former work again so to set things back on track as soon as possible. Unfortunately the Phnom Penh Central Post Office found only 1/4 of its former staff back to work (See ICP #41 "Cambodia").

Postal service resumed but initially only for official use, later it was made available to public. A lack of information leaves the type of postmarks
unconfirmed, if any were used in 1979. A reasonable guess is, the Lon Nol era (1970-1975) postmarks were the resort before a brand new "la République Populaire du Kampuchéa" (RPK) postmark appeared in 1980.

This "Phnom Penh CPO Postmarks" series is aimed to give a quick review on Phnom Penh Central Post Office postmarks on letters from 1980 to 2010.

Philatelist Graham Shaw has also written a series of articles on Phnom Penh postmarks. Please click here for his website.



POSTMARK GENERATION 1

The first RPK postmark appeared on the FDC of a 4v set issued on 10th April 1980. It is single ring edged, inscription reads "PHNOM PENH RP. KAMPUCHEA" in French on the lower half of the postmark inner edge. "RP" is the acronym of "Recette Principale", the main post office of a city or an area, in here refers to the Phnom Penh Central Post Office. In Khmer there is only the post office name on the upper half of the postmark inner edge.


This postmark type ruled from 1980 to 1994. It comes in a very big variety of sizes and fonts, in here I am not going into details.

Some postmarks are numbered. The most distinctive one is number 3 which was the first to put in service, and it has 2 versions. The first version has the number 3 in both Arabic and Khmer numerals (Khmer numeral after the Khmer words "Phnom Penh", Arabic numeral between the French words "PHNOM PENH" and "KAMPUCHEA), and the French acronym "RP" right after "Phnom Penh" in Khmer is left out. The other version is with the number 3 only in Arabic, "Phnom Penh Post Office" in Khmer appears under the upper ring edge of the postmark.

The number 3 Khmer numeral version first came in service in early 1980s, it is from the mail handling centre co-operated with the postal training centre. The one only in Arabic numeral, together with others such as 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, joined the family in around 1987 or later. It should be noted that the numbers are not in connective sequence.

The following illustrates "Phnom Penh 3" (top right) of 1982, and three other numbers (1, 6, 9) from late 1980s to first half of 1990s:


Here is number 3 - Arabic numeral only version, the wide Arabic numeral "3" after the Khmer words "Phnom Penh" is faint but eligible to read:




Lon Nol era postmarks were used alongside with the generation 1 postmarks until mid 1990s. Below shows a 1980 and a 1989 usage:



(to be continued)

Please click here for Phnom Penh CPO Postmark (Part 2)
Please click here for Phnom Penh CPO Postmark (Part 3)


20 October 2010

Maximum Cards of Cambodia



Maximaphily is not very popular among collectors of modern Cambodia as most collectors are actually outside the country who are unable to make their own maxicards.

The most common maxicards on the market are the WWF sets of 1986 wild cattles and 1997 Indian elephants. They are a dime a dozen. It should be noted that although they claim to be "official", they were arranged by Groth AG and COPREFIL, the official agencies of WWF and Cambodian stamps, Cambodian postal authority seems not informed. They have never been sold in Cambodia.

The following shows the WWF 1986 wild cattles and 1997 Indian elephants maxicard sets:





In 1999 Cambodia issued a sheetlet of 8 stamps and a label celebrating China'99 Stamp Expo. To spice things up, COPREFIL made a set of 8 postcards and 8 corresponding first-day pictorial postmarks available only at the Expo venue, collectors could make their own maxicards right the way. Some Chinese collectors took the chance to use their own postcards to compile distinct maxicards. The first maxicard shown below features the standard postcard, the second a private one:




These are the only 3 "official" maxicard sets ever available. If you want more maxicards, you have to compile your own.

Maximaphily is an advance hobby which demands great creativity and knowledge. There is no greater satisfaction than matching up the postcards, stamps and postmarks, I always prefer self compiled cards to official issues, what is your preference?







8 October 2010

Kingdom's Post to go Public






Phnom Penh Post, 7 June 2010 by Nguon Sovan

Phnom Penh's central post office is shown on Sunday. A new sub-decree by the Council of Ministers has approved a plan to privatise the Kingdom's postal service to improve efficiency and and transparency ahead of a potential listing on Cambodia's forthcoming stock exchange.

Officials say privatising Cambodia’s postal service will increase transparency

CAMBODIA’s postal system will be become a public enterprise early next year in a bid to prepare for eventually listing on the domestic stock exchange, officials said Sunday.

Moving control from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC) to operations at arm’s length will increase transparency and grow revenues, MPTC secretary of state Sarak Khann said.

“The government has targeted listing it on the upcoming stock market, so it will become a public enterprise to increase transparency in account standards and financial statements,” he said. “When it is transparent enough and generates sufficient revenue, it may be listed on the bourse.”

The Council of Ministers approved a draft sub-decree establishing Cambodia’s postal office as a public enterprise, according to a press release issued Friday.

Prepared by the MPTC, the sub-decree moves the postal system to a public enterprise to reform the management system, the release said. It added that the system would take advantage of modern information technology to track postal consignments, along with expanding service in remote areas.

Cambodia’s postal services were poorly developed, said Sarak Khann, who also leads a joint committee composed of MPTC and Ministry of Finance officials in evaluating the properties and capital of the system.

“We want to generate revenue from this sector like developed countries, not just around US$2 million a year it earns nowadays,” he said.

Some 20 local and foreign companies are licenced to do business in postal services, but only half are presently in operation, he said.

Transport and logistics firm TNT Express Worldwide Cambodia and Laos general manager Sjaak de Klein said they welcome increased openness in the postal system.

“We always welcome fair competition in a level playing field in a liberal postal market. We believe that the ultimate user benefits from these developments,” he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the move to a private enterprise would improve financial responsibility as well as increase effectiveness and provide more autonomy in technology and finance.

“With the switch, we hope Cambodia’s post offices will provide better service and compete fairly with private enterprise,” he said.

Cambodia’s postal system presently includes 700 employees working at 80 post offices in 24 cities. Employees working for both the postal system and government ministries will have to choose one employer when the move to a public enterprise takes place, Sarak Khann said.

After becoming a public enterprise, he said, the post service’s board will be composed of representatives from the MPTC, the Ministry of Finance, the Council of Ministers, a government appointed CEO, and a staff representative.

The Cambodian Securities Exchange is scheduled to launch by the end of the year, and any qualified private firm or public enterprise is eligible to list, Cambodia Securities and Exchange Commission (SECC) director general Ming Bankosal said.

“All companies, not only Cambodia’s postal service, will be considered for listing if their financial soundness and corporate governance meet the criteria set by the SECC.”

A firm interested in listing on the SECC must be transparent in its accounting and governance, according to the stock market’s rules. To issue an initial public offering (IPO), it is required to have minimum capital of 10 billion riels, or $2.35 million, an annual profit of 1.5 billion riels, or $352,941, and net profits for three years totaling 3 billion riel, or $705,882.



1 October 2010

Domestic Postal Rates for Letters




In 2008 Cambodia Post made a postage uprate. According to the new postage guidebook published by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, domestic letters up to 10g rose from 300r to 500r, 10g to 50g cost 800r. Then rates are calculated at 50g intervals:

050g to 100g - 1300r
100g to 150g - 1800r
150g to 200g - 2300r
200g to 250g - 2800r

The list goes on till 2kg. The charge is flat despite the dispatch distance. Illustrated below is a Phnom Penh postcard to Takhmau, the provincial capital of Kandal, bearing the basic 500r postage. Postcards and letters share the same postage rates.




 

This Phnom Penh intracity cover bears the 10g to 50g postage of 800r:



Registered service is available at 800r extra, it is only available at selected post offices, primarily the capital, provincial capitals and certain sub branches. Below features a registered cover from Takhmau to Phnom Penh with 1300r stamps for 500r under 10g domestic postage and 800r registration fee.




Below is another cover from the city of Battambang to Phnom Penh, 1350r paying the 500r domestic rate and 800r registered fee. Strange enough many post offices have stamp stock which fails to compile the exact postage for customers, the solution is just to get close to it, in this case there is a 50r surplus.




Unknown to most postal historians and philatelists, senders still pay 1300r to the postal clerk, not the face value of stamps. Sometimes post offices cheat customers but that is another story.

Some post offices do not have domestic registered ID labels (analog), the substitution is S10 code registration ID labels which are originally meant for international mail. This Stung Treng to Phnom Penh cover gives an example:




According to the face value of stamps, the letter has a postage surplus as well, but the actual payment can be a different case.

Cambodia Post also offers EMS service. EMS charges at very moderate rates: letters under 25g cost 6000r, 25g to 50g is 8700r, 0.5g to 1kg is 12000r. This is the reason why local businesses prefer EMS to usual delivery which is slow and unreliable.


29 September 2010

Philatelic Pamphlets of Cambodia




Although philatelic service in Cambodia is some amateur staffs selling stamp sets as tourist souvenirs at no official price (there is official price but no one follows it), the postal administration does have something serious, there are philatelic pamphlets to promote new stamp issues and attract orders. These pamphlets are stuck on the post office walls and counters, overseas clients also receive them upon request and availability.

Throughout 1980s and 1990s, COPREFIL prepared pamphlets for each Cambodian issue they printed. The pamphlets are all colour printed on chalky paper, written in Khmer, French and English, usually single sided, decorated with a header design based on the Cambodian national flag. In most cases all key information including the date of issue, values, the design of first day pictorial postmark, name of designer and printing technical details are provided. Sometimes when there is too little space to squeeze in all information, back of the pamphlet is printed as well.




 

In 1989 the country changed her name from "People's Republic of Kampuchea" to "State of Cambodia". The pamphlets made a relevant alteration in the national flag part, for the rest it remained much the same.



In early 1990s COPREFIL introduced a pamphlet design revolution for their clients. The pamphlets are bilingual, French and English in the case of Cambodia, have water colour painted illustration, and each stamp design has a little paragraph to introduce and explain. They are more informative and attractive.





The other side of the pamphlet:





Sometimes the pamphlets are designed to be single folded, in most cases they are two fold.




Back of the pamphlet:





In the latter half of 1990s, pamphlets are no longer printed on chalky paper, but in B6 size on xerox paper. Text is in English and they were prepared in Germany by Global Philatelie GmbH rather than COPREFIL of Cuba.





Since 2001 Cambodia has been fully responsible for her own stamp issues. In most cases the stamps are printed in Vietnam and so are the pamphlets. The bilingual pamphlets are in Khmer and English on A4 chalky paper. Information on the designer and pictorial postmark is no longer available.





Instead of the philatelic agency contact address, now it features the Phnom Penh CPO address and the logo of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia.







19 September 2010

"Diplomatic Cover" to Czechoslovakia






This cover is available from a dealer located in Beijing, China. It is franked with 2 Cambodian (1983 fauna 2r and Khmer culture 1.5r) and 1 Czechoslovakian (1965 50h) stamps tied by 2 Takeo postmarks dated 1984. The back of cover is blank. He asks for more than 30 USD.

The dealer said that it is a commercial airmail cover, so I tried to find out how a "commercial airmail" without an addressee justifies the price.

I questioned where the receiver's address was printed, he pointed to the two black ink cachets.

Probably he thought I was western language illiterate or retarded or something so would believe in him. The word "Takeo" in Latin alphabets is very easy to read on the cachet, and the Khmer cachet just say the same thing, "Takeo". Takeo is the name of a Cambodian province and her capital of the same name.

A single word "Takeo" is not an address.

When realizing I was not dumb, the dealer made his second attempt by claiming it was a diplomatic cover sent by the Czechoslovakian embassy.

What? It was postmarked in Takeo, there was no embassy in Takeo. Most of all, a diplomatic cover would still have an address, or the cover should have the contents to prove the identity. The new claim obviously did not help. When I asked further, he kept silent.

It seems only to be a souvenir cover compiled by Czechoslovakians in Takeo who were in the support projects there. Such souvenir may sell at 1 USD if someone buys it, 30 USD is insane. As I have said before, when selling Cambodia most dealers love to make up stories and talk like expert, all for the sake of their pocket.

Below is an authentic commercial airmail from Takeo sent by a Czechoslovakian.  Notice the same cachet in black ink, "TAKEO" and the Khmer version of it, located on the top left corner of the cover under the arimail label, the cachet was used at the Takeo post office.




8 September 2010

Princess Bopha Devi





A self-designed commemorative cover celebrating
HRH Princess Norodom Bopha Devi's 60th birthday in 2003.



When talking about the world famous Cambodian classical dance, Princess Norodom Bopha Devi is undoubtfully an icon of the art.

Bopha devi means "flower goddess/queen" in Sanskirt. Princess Bopha Devi, the daughter of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, is not only beautiful like flowers, she is the dancing flower. At the age of 5 the talented Princess was chosen by grandmother Queen Sisowath Kossamak to become a dancer. At the age of 15, she was the premiere dancer of the Cambodian Royal Ballet and three years later she was granted the title of prima ballerina.

In the old days the Cambodian Royal Ballet was only performed at religious ceremonies or to entertain royalties. Together with Queen Sisowath Kossamak, the Princess has vigorously brought the dance beyond the palace walls to commoners and world audience. Her graceful and sophiscated celestial Apsara Dance performance during a tour in France in 1964 simply took Paris by storm.

In the genocidal years from 1975 to 1979 when the classical dance was banned and artists killed, the Princess went exile in France to continue teaching new dancers. After the Khmer Rouge regime fell, she went to the Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand to train dancers for a revival of art and culture, and to give spiritual support for survivors after the 4 year tragedy.

The devoted Princess served as the Minister of Culture and Fine Arts when it was found in 1997, since then she worked close with UNESCO, NGOs, as well as overseas and local art institutions and individuals to revive Khmer fine arts. Now at the age of 67, she still plays a major role in the cultural sector of Cambodia.


The Princess and the King after a dance performance at the Chaktomuk Theatre.
The King is a famous (western) ballet dancer and the Princess Khmer classical dancer.
(Photo by Andy Brouwer 2009)


Bangkok-based British photographer Martin Reeves has produced for the History Channel a short documentary on Cambodian Royal Ballet. It includes a glance of the 1965 movie "Apsara" which features the young Princess dancing. Please click here to view.


External link: Le Ballet Royal du Cambodge (in French only)


16 August 2010

Kep City Postmark without Krong






On the coastline of southwest Cambodia, just a few kilometres from the border with Vietnam is Kep.


Famous for its vivid mountains, raw beaches and fresh seafood, the hundred years old French built seaside town used to be the most popular beach resort of Cambodian elites and foreigners before the civil war, and it is also HM King Father Sihanouk's favourite. The King Father's affection to Kep is so strong that in early 1990s when peace returned, His Majesty built a royal villa on top of the hill northwest of Kep Beach, unfortunately for reasons it remains unfinished and now becomes a tourist spot.

On 22nd December 2008, HM King Sihamoni signed a Royal Decree which changed the municipalities of Kep, Pailin and Sihanoukville into provinces. Province is the 1st level administrative division while municipality 2nd.

Before the change, Kep was "Krong Kep" on postmark, "krong" is the Khmer word for "city":




When raised to the status of province, Kep updated her postmark in a very simple fashion: chiseled away the Khmer and English words "Krong", and everything else left the same:




The altered postmark looks strange, but for developing countries like Cambodia, this is to maximize utilities in the most economic way which is a wise act.

For a view of Kep post offices, fellow collector Graham Shaw has some nice photo shots, please click here to enjoy.



Location of Kep.




HM King Father Norodom Sihanouk is a well known music and cinema enthusiast, in 1960s he wrote a song devoted to Kep, titled "Beauté de Kep". Please click below for beautiful music Cambodia has to offer.

video
Scenic view of Kep.