It sometimes seems as if the closer a place is to my location (Phuket, Thailand), the longer a postcard takes to reach me. Indeed, I’ve experimented by mailing postcards from my place of work to my home — a distance of perhaps four miles — and finding that they rarely were delivered in less than ten days or so. This, one of the few Postallove Greetings From card that I’ve managed to trade for, took nearly a month to travel the relatively short 513 miles up the isthmus from Perak State in Malaysia.
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy located in Southeast Asia, consisting of thirteen states and three federal territories with a a total landmass of 127,720 square miles (330,803 square kilometers). It’s separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the forty-fourth most populous country in the world. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. Located in the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries on earth, with large numbers of endemic species.
Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms present in the area which, from the eighteenth century, became subject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whose establishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming British protectorates. The territories on Peninsular Malaysia were first unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on August 31, 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on September 16, 1963. Less than two years later in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation.
The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with large minorities of Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians, and indigenous peoples. The constitution declares Islam the state religion while allowing freedom of religion for non-Muslims. The government system is closely modeled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the prime minister.
Since its independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with its GDP growing at an average of 6.5% per annum for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fueled by its natural resources, but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Today, Malaysia has a newly industrialized market economy, ranked third largest in Southeast Asia and 29th largest in the world. It is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
This card was mailed by my new trading partner, Hernie, from her home in Kampung Gajah — one of eleven mukims (an administrative municipal council) of the Perak Tengah District, itself one of twelve administrative districts in the state of Perak. I couldn’t find much about Kampung Gajah online other than that it’s the location of a large amusement park (Wonderland). Perak is also known by its honorific, Darul Ridzuan, or “Abode of Grace”, one of the 13 states of Malaysia, and is the fourth largest state in the country. It borders Kedah at the north; Thai Yala Province to the northeast; Penang to the northwest; Kelantan and Pahang to the east; Selangor to the south, and the Straits of Malacca to the west. The state’s administrative capital of Ipoh was known historically for tin-mining activities until the price of the metal dropped, severely affecting the state’s economy. The royal capital, however remains at Kuala Kangsar, where the palace of the Sultan of Perak is located.
Thank you, Hernie, for adding to my small but growing collection of the wonderful Greetings From cards produced by the Polish firm of Postallove.