Date
24 October 2017
An oval shaped mailbox that features a Scottish Crown bears a new coat of paint. Authorities now plan to mask the royal insignia. Photo: https://hkoldpostbox.wordpress.com
An oval shaped mailbox that features a Scottish Crown bears a new coat of paint. Authorities now plan to mask the royal insignia. Photo: https://hkoldpostbox.wordpress.com

Former postmaster calls for retention of colonial-era mailboxes

Hongkong Post is facing growing criticism over its plan to cover up the British royal insignia on old mailboxes in the city.

Former Postmaster General Tam Wing-pong is among those who are suggesting that the postal department should leave the remaining colonial-era mailboxes as they are, rather than carry out changes and mask the royal insignia.

Tam noted that in 1997 the Post Office decided to keep the old mailboxes even as Britain handed over Hong Kong to Chinese rule.

The reason was simple: the old postboxes were still usable, and retaining them makes good practical sense, Tam said during a Commercial radio program Monday.

There is no need to change everything associated with the colonial era, Tam said, pointing out that many streets, such as King’s Road and Prince Edward Road, still bear their British names despite Hong Kong’s return to China.

However, Tam did not comment when asked if Hongkong Post’s plan is seen as part of efforts to “decolonize” the city. Tam served as the Postmaster General between 2006 and 2008.

Several civil and conservation groups are lobbying for the preservation of the British-era postboxes, saying the boxes, with their royal insignia, represent a part Hong Kong’s heritage and history. 

The Conservancy Association, one of the groups fighting for the preservation, has set up an “old letterbox fans” page on Facebook.

Citizens have been urged to take pictures of old postboxes and post them on the Facebook page. As of now, the page has received more than 20 photo submissions.

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BT/AC/RC

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