Stamps have a pivotal role to play in a civilization of any nation. Besides being used in the postal prepayment system, stamps also serve as a form of media that educates people worldwide and in turn opens up peoples perceptions about the philosophy of a country, a nation’s history and the dynamic friendships with other nations a particular country experiences. Stamps can introduce ideas on natural capital, cultural diversity, social and political order and a nation’s history to people worldwide. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the opinion that states that stamps can be referred to as the “Paper Ambassador”.
Indonesian stamps have a long history and have been playing a phenomenal role in showing the current condition Indonesia is in. Ever since the first use of a stamp on the 1st May 1864, stamps have recorded various events, noted cultural treasures and documented on the natural resources of the Indonesian Archipelago. During the Dutch colonial era, the nature of Indonesia was displayed on stamps. During the Japanese colonial era (Between 1942-1945) stamps also showed the natural beauty and cultural diversity of this Archipelago.
On the 17th August 1945, Indonesia became an independent country which was free from colonial rule. From this moment on, Indonesian stamps started to portray the message of independence. A stamp was issued to commemorate the half-year Independence of the Republic of Indonesia on the 12th January 1946. From this moment on, every event that Indonesia faced as a nation to uphold freedom was recorded neatly on stamps. In 1950, the Founding Fathers (Soekarno, Mohammad Hatta and Sutan Syahrir) were introduced to people worldwide at the Vienna Stamp Series. The stamps were referred to in such a way because they were printed in Vienna, Austria. These national prominent figures were displayed side by side with those from the United States of America such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.
Historical events such as the Asian-African Conference held in Bandung in 1955, the return of Irian Barat to Indonesia in 1963, the Indonesian Communist Revolt (G30S/PKI) in 1965, the Reform Movement of 1998 and many other events have also been recorded as stamps. Besides political and cultural events, sport has also been recorded by using stamps. Such examples include the National Games, Conefo, SEA Games, Asian Games, Olympic Games and the World Cup, From the viewpoint of natural conditions and capital, Indonesia is characterized as the Equatorial Emerald. This tropical archipelago has an abundant amount of nature. It is unfailingly displayed in stamps from time to time which show provincial mascots or identities to even natural treasures like endangered floras and fauna. The Postal Operator Authority of Indonesia actively uses such examples of nature to address the message of the environment of Indonesia. This is reflected on the stamp series under the theme of Environmental Awareness issued every 5th of June to commemorate the International Life Environment Day.
It must also not be forgotten that stamps also display social issues which occur in Indonesia. An example of this is the charity stamps that have been issued which have portrayed orphans, the Handicapped, the Kidney Foundation and the 2005 Aceh Natural Disaster Series. These stamps were issued to raise money to support either the Government or other parties which deal with disasters and social problems. With regard to the strategic role of the stamp, this book is entitled Indonesia through Stamps and presents and describes the existence and journey of the nation, country and the people of Indonesia through stamps within the period of 1945-2012. The book is a worthy publication due to the fact it can be and read by the future generations of this country. This book (published by PT Lestari Kiratama in cooperation with PT Pos Indonesia) is able to show that stamps are seen as the Paper Ambassador for the nation. Indonesian stamps have portrayed various events and situations that have occurred over the years including the proclamation of Indonesian Independence. We are convinced that whoever reads this book will realize how rich and diverse the nature and culture of Indonesia is. We are also convinced that those who read this book will be able to understand and appreciate Indonesian stamps in a more detailed way and how stamps are collected by other nations all over the world.
Lastly, we congratulate the release of “Indonesia through Stamps” and we wish that through this stamp collection book people will gain a better understanding of Indonesia as a nation.
Jakarta, January 2013