Links under the waves

28 05 2008

Malaya SEACOMMalaya SEACOM

Malaysia, Scott 42, 43, 1967, 70mm x 23mm
Back before there was broadband, even before there were satellite links to every part of the world, there were telephone and telegraph cables. This pair of stamps commemorates the completion of undersea links between Hong Kong and Malaysia as part of the the South East Asia Commonwealth network SEACOM. They are diptych designs, showing a detailed view of the route of the cable running from Singapore to eastern Australia, with a world map in projection on the right showing how that segment connects via New Zealand to North America and Europe. The jagged red line tracing the cable network illustrates well the vast distances required to ensure telecommunication around the globe. Only the colors of the inscriptions and of the background of the world map differs between the two. They were issued just a few years after Malaysia was constituted as an independent nation.

This portion of the international submarine cable network also linked Australia, New Guinea, Guam (not a Commonwealth realm), North Borneo, Singapore, and New Zealand. Since that time, of course, Hong Kong has ceased its status as a British Crown colony to become a special administrative region of China.

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