Finding the secrets of "Letter Utopia"

Compiled by Mabel Sieh
Compiled by Mabel Sieh |

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(From left) Kylie Lee, Natalie Fung, Samantha Lau, Kobe Lee, Jenny Leung, Dhruv Singh and Janet Tam write letters, which were delivered free, during the junior reporters' tour of Hong Kong's General Post Office
October 9 was World Post Day. The Hongkong Post held a Free Post Day for every one to send a letter for free. Seven Junior Reporters sent their letters and took an exclusive tour at the General Post Office. Read their reflections below.

1. Dhruv Singh, 13, YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College

My visit to the General Post Office on the Free Post Day was a memorable one. I wrote a letter to the Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang about the problems facing the non-Chinese speaking students in Hong Kong. I requested him that he should provide better educational schemes for us to ensure we could have a good career.

We learnt that in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the post boxes in Hong Kong used to be bright red and ancient looking scales were used to weigh letters. I was very impressed by the gigantic automatic letter sorting machine. Some letters are rejected because of missing or unclear addresses and need to be sorted by hand, which is very hard. Hence, we should appreciate the people working in the post offices.

2. Janet Tam Ka-wing, 16, St. Rose of Lima’s College

Visiting the general post office was a really great experience for me. I have been using e-mail or internet to communicate with others. Although using e-mail is more convenient, a hand-written letter can show the emotions and the characters of the writers more. I wrote a letter to my grandparents and I told her about my recent activities in school. I hope I can write some more letters to my friends and relatives.

3. Samantha Lau Pui-ching, 18, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

Previously, I didn’t realize how letters are being processed for accurate delivery. It was surprised to see all the hi-tech machinery doing the arduous task. Some help to sort letters and some chopping stamps, and laser technology is used to identify recipients’ addresses.

What impressed me the most is the Appreciation Month, which is this month where the public can show their gratitude to the postmen. Officials with good performances will be given a badge for encouragement. I hope that all of us can appreciate the efforts of our honourable postmen and the postage service.

4. Natalie Fung Chi-ying, 12, St. Paul’s Co-educational College

With the displays of exquisite stamps and delicate postcards, I could hardly hold my breath to enjoy the beauty of the post office. I marvelled at the compact railway stamps exhibition and appreciated the sophisticated local philatelic products and the rabbit zodiac gadgets. I was totally immersed in the “letter utopia”.

In the showing room, crystal accessories caught my sight. The crystal post boxes, crystal posting vans, and the oval posting cylinder models are adorable. They glisten and glitter as twinkling stars in the black sky.

5. Jenny Leung Chi-yan, 16, Immaculate Heart of Mary College

Free Post Day encourages us to care about someone special for us by writing letters. I wrote to Ms Lee, my class teacher of primary one. She was a nice teacher. She could remember us even she had left the school for years. I wish to keep in touch with her again and seek some advice from her. I shared my present school life and wrote about my future study plan. I hope she will share her experience with me.

I like the culture of Hong Kong Post. This month is the Appreciation Month which allows customers to show their appreciation. At the ‘Meet the Customers’ corner, staff can customers and learn about their needs. I think it is a good way to maintain a caring atmosphere in the workplace.

I was really happy to visit the General Post Office. I hope I will have opportunities to know more about career related to post services in the future.

6. Kobe Lee Wai-ling, 16, Fung Ka Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

Mailing a letter is such an easy action. We just need to put a stamp on and mail it away and your friend will get the letter. But do you know there are many procedures involved? When the postman receives your letter, he will send it to the head office. Then the letter will go through a special machine which stamps a code according to the address. Then it will be sorted to different bags before it gets sent out. Today, I learned about the inner structural at the Post Office. And I really admire the postmen that who deal with the dazzling process promptly.

7. Kylie Lee Yuen-tung, 18, Heep Yunn School

Letters have always meant a lot to me since I was small. But rarely do I get to see the behind-the-scene work. The office shares the resemblance of a factory. Out of my expectation, there are machines which differentiate addresses on envelopes solely by beams of light. There are also machines to mark the stamps to indicate that they cannot be reused, and the marking can only be seen under forensic light.

Through the trip, I have learnt many little details which I have neglected in mailing: the orange code signifies the district of delivery; the chops and thick black vertical strokes on bulked advertising mails symbolizes the paid postage fees. I have also acquired an idea of how labourious it is to deliver hundreds of thousands of mails in a day.

What I have learnt from the visit has convinced my choice to send a thank you letter to the Hong Kong Post on this special day. I hope the staff enjoyed the surprise much!