30 July 2010

Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2006 Cachet

With the end of the Cold War, major trade partners of Cambodia have changed from the Soviet Union and allies to USA, east Asia and ASEAN countries. The Phnom Penh government has since pursued a drastic reform of openness through regional integrations, and this is notably reflected on stamps in 2000s.

From 2001, Cambodia has one sixth of her total stamp sets and commemorative handstamp cachets devoted to ASEAN, Japan and diplomatic relations with major Asian trade partners. One of the most commercial commemorations is the 2006 Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo cachet.

From 21st November of 2006 to 9th January 2007, Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, joined with Gyeongju of Korea to hold the Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2006. Gyeongju is as ancient and cultural rich as Angkor, it had served as the capital of the Korean Silla Kingdom for a thousand years.

The not much cultural but so much commercial Expo highlighted Cambodian and Korean products and allowed visitors to take in exhibits and cuisine from both cultures. Although the authority called it an international event, the fair was actually targeted to boost tourism by wooing South Korean visitors.

Korean folk dancers let Korean visitors experience a homely sensation in a foreign land.
(Photograph from Somongkol Teng)

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen toured around Angkor with
Korean President Roh Moo-Hyu after the Expo opening ceremony.
(Photograph from Somongkol Teng)

Recently South Korea is getting significant as major trade partner of Cambodia, last year the country ranked the 8th on the list, or 7th if one doesn't count EU countries as a single entity.

This October the Korean group INTERCITY will start pouring 470 million US dollars in Siem Reap to build a full scale gaming resort, called the Angkor Park Resort. It is going to be located 20km away from Angkor, composing an 18 hole golf course, a casino, a waterpark, a shopping mall and some luxurious hotels. The first phase construction work is scheduled to finish by 2012.

The resort is destinated to draw Asian gamblers looking for an alternative to more established gambling centres, visiting Angkor ruins will just be their half day entertainment.

28 July 2010

Another Dumbest Fake Cover on Earth

On 17th July I posted a fake cover made with a CTO S/S, and amusingly, some retard bought it at 5.5 USD.

Here comes another! This time it is the CTO S/S of Cambodia 2001 penguins:

This is the original CTO S/S, which basically worthes a dime a dozen, noted that the cancellation is exclusively used on CTO, Cambodia post offices has never had such postmark:

The seller asks for 2 USD now, let's see if another retard would buy such world-most-obvious fake.

17 July 2010

Dumbest Fake Cover on Earth

How dumb can some people be?

Look at this dumb thing:

2001 S/S of Cambodia depicting Rudolph Valentino and Marilyn Monroe.

You can reproduce the exact thing: stick a 2001 "Hollywood Anniversaries" cancelled-to-order(CTO) souvenir sheet of Cambodia on an envelope, write a German address, and stick an airmail label of Australia Post on the top left corner.

The cancellation on the S/S is only seen on CTO, all local post offices in Cambodia have never had postmarks which look anything close to it. In other words, this dumb thing is merely a postal cover wannabe.

Obivously the dumb one who made it up has the intention to cheat collectors who are dumber than him.

"Me no dum-dum. You dum-dum. You bring me gum-gum?"

22nd July update: Dum-dum really brings gum-gum! Someone retarded bought this fake at 5.5 USD.

5 July 2010

First & Last UNTAC Mail in Cambodia

The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) era is exciting for military mail collectors as well as modern Cambodia specialists. Just finding out the first and last day of UNTAC mail in Cambodia is already bit of a game.

Throughout the operation, including that of the forerunner the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC), UNTAC mail in Cambodia either went through the Cambodian civilian postal system, or delivered by the military mail service of individual troops. Some were carried to Thailand for dispatch but this happened mostly at the northwest border.

The French were one of the earliest who set up military post office in Cambodia, they did it before UNAMIC came into operation.

From the UN source, UNAMIC became operational officially on 9th November 1991 when Mr A.H.S. Ataul Karim (Bangladesh) assumed his functions as Chief Liaison Officer of UNAMIC in Phnom Penh.

Brigadier-General Michel Loridon (France), Senior Military Liaison Officer, assumed command of the military elements of UNAMIC on 12th November and, on the same day, an air operations unit contributed by France arrived in Phnom Penh. However a week before all these, Bureau Postal Militaire 211(BPM 211) had been created on 4th November in Phnom Penh to serve the French detachment. Below shows a BPM211 cover dated 10th November, that was the 2nd day when UNAMIC officially operated:

It is quite hard to determine the last day of UNTAC mail. Although UNTAC scheduled to completely withdrew by 15th November 1993, later the UN Security Council decided to extend to 30th November for UNTAC's Mine Clearance and Training Unit, and to 31st December for elements of the military police and medical components of UNTAC. Except for those units, UNTAC's military component withdrew by 15th November.

When we thought 31st December 1993 would be the very last day then, in fact it wasn't.

On 26 September 1993, the Royal Government of Cambodia requested the UN Secretary-General to consider the possibility of keeping 20 to 30 unarmed UN military observers in Cambodia for 6 months following the end of UNTAC's mandate. This military liaison team were to maintain close liaison with the Royal Government and report to the Secretary-General on matters affecting security.

The request was approved and the United Nations Military Liaison Team operated in Phnom Penh from 15th November 1993 to 15th May 1994.

Strictly speaking the Liaison Team was not part of UNTAC, however in a letter by the Pouch Unit of UNTAC in Phnom Penh to the US APO (cover shown below) postmarked 9th May 1994, it mentioned that UNTAC Headquarter would completely close down on 15th May 1994. This shows at least the UNTAC mail and the UNTAC headquarter operated throughout the Liaison Team's mandate.

A close up of the meter cancellation, the ink is very blur, but it is easy to read the date by the press mark:

Background of UNAMIC and UNTAC

The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was a United Nations operation from 1992 to 1994. It was to implement the Agreements on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict signed in Paris in 1991, which commonly known as the Paris Peace Accords. UNTAC was the 1st time the UN took over the administration of an independent member state, and organized and ran an election as opposed to monitoring or supervising in all its previous peace missions.

After the collapse of Pol Pot regime (Khmer Rouge) in 1979, Cambodia quickly plunged into a new round of fighting between different factions. In 1989 peace efforts began in Paris, and 2 years later the UN was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire, deal with refugees and disarmament, and hold general elections.

The first advance mission sent to Cambodia by the UN was the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC), it assisted the Cambodian parties in maintaining ceasefire, and later initiated a mine-clearance programme.

Flag of UNTAC

Upon becoming operational on 15th March 1992, UNTAC absorbed UNAMIC. Next year after the general elections were held and in September the Royal Government of Cambodia was inaugurated, UNTAC orderly withdrew from the country.

The operation cost US$1.62 billion. 22,000 contributors of military and civilian police personnel from 45 countries were involved.