Philatelic Friday -

Philatelic Friday Plus: Lin Zexu

This installment of stamps from my shoebox gets an extra family/travelogue spin.

stamp 1985 China; portrait and my brother George at a memorial in Humen, China

I vaguely remember receiving these stamps when I was younger and being told that we're related to the subject, Lin Zexu, who started the first Opium War. In truth, he is related to our grandma's cousin, so our claim on him is a bit tenuous, but I always thought it was cool that a distant relative was stamp-worthy. As it turns out, he has not only been commemorated on stamps (these were to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth), but there are several memorials and statues of him and he is celebrated as a Chinese hero, scholar, and patriot.

1985 China

We had some down time on our recent trip and took the hour drive from Dongguan City to Humen's Weiyuan Emplacement, the site of the burning of opium in the above stamp. You can walk through the battlements looking out on the Pearl River and tour a museum that is devoted to the Opium Wars. It had a lot of information and presumed artifacts, but it wasn't presented in a particularly coherent way (maybe it was just a translation issue). It also had a wing entitled "National Education Base for Anti Drugabuse" which we found comical in its attempt to scare people into not trying drugs. It was a particularly hot day so we didn't stay long enough to tour the whole area, but it was definitely an interesting historical site and a testament to how history is made by individuals.

Weiyuan Fort below one of China's longest suspension bridges

walking inside

almost every cannon had tourists posing on it--funny to think of how many people will have the same exact shot of their visit

I really liked the design of their tickets. It was free to get in, but you had to show your passport.

Humen Naval Battle Museum

Pictures weren't allowed in the museum, but I couldn't help myself in the Anti Drug hall. I wish I could have properly captured the entrance relief sculptures of the horrors of drugs, but here's an idea. I don't mean to make light of drug abuse, but their approach was so propagandist and over the top.

uh, don't do drugs or you'll end up sitting in front of a chain link fenced graffiti wall

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  • George Chen

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