Novelty and creativity

After the technical problems our modest website experienced during the past month, we were tempted to suspend Blog activity until things got fixed.  But guess what:  without the Blog, we can’t test the notification system.  We don’t want daily entries, but here’s a chance to kill two birds with one stone.  We’re hoping you get the notice that this entry appears–if you subscribed, that is.


It’s all about novelty and creativity.  A postcard of Mount Whatever isn’t likely to be either novel or creative unless the photographer is on the inside looking out, or something equally odd.  We like odd.  You can see lots of “odd” in this website.  Postcards themselves can be made from almost anything:  we list cards made from leather, copper, wood, rubber, plastic, and cloth.  And they can be in any shape, as you see with the example from Taiwan in the photo.  Gotochi cards from Japan are particularly sturdy, unusual, desireable, and expensive, at source.


As for creativity, if we focus only on some Austral-Asian countries, we subjectively divide them like Gaul into three parts:


A.  Creative:  Full marks to Australia, Thailand, PR China, and DPR Korea for making a wide range of wonderful postcards available.  Those from Australia and Thailand do focus on scenes and topics from their own countries.  Those from China and North Korea redefine “eclectic,” with topics you would never, ever expect.  Someone might say this broad range devalues the quality of, for example, a “Chinese postcard”.  We say it just gives more choice, and more opportunity for specialised theme collectors.  Some cards from these countries leave us wondering “who thought that up?”


B.  Not so creative:  Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Cambodia, and Singapore–for different reasons.  Hong Kong has plenty of tourists, but more and more are from PR China and those folks aren’t here to send postcards home.  There is an appalling weight given to scenes of Victoria Harbour.  Night.  Day.  Sunrise.  Sunset.  Yes, we know it’s colourful, but even so …  Macau and Singapore are relatively small.  For whatever reason their cards lack heart, and usually lack people, too.  As for Indonesia, that huge country has almost no tourism industry apart from Bali, where cards are more easily available.  So there’s just no market for postcards at retail.  Cambodia is awash in cards of temples in and around Siem Reap.  We love the temples.  We love the cards.  But there’s so much more to Cambodia.


C.  Predictable:  Malaysia, Laos, and Japan–also for different reasons.  The Lao market isn’t big enough yet, or possibly ever.  Japanese cards are plentiful but can be a bit sterile.  And Malaysian cards are “OK” but contemporary versions aren’t exactly eye-catching when compared to vintage examples.


Then there’s:


D.  We don’t have a good feel for what’s there:  South Korea and Philippines are the two lead examples.  They might have great cards but we’ve not been to either country lately.  And for the other Asian countries–yes, there are several–we’ll let you draw your own conclusions.


So let’s try to get this on to the website and hope the gremlins will let that happen.


Until next time.