Sunday, June 6, 2010

#314 Brunei...Thanks Alfie!

The 5 stamps on the first row show different portraits of Hassanal Bolkiah (born 1946), the 29th Sultan of Brunei.

The Sultan of Brunei is the head of state with full executive authority.Bolkiah is also the Prime Minister of Brunei, as well as holding the portfolios of Defence and Finance.

The Sultan is famous for his vast automobile collection.The Daily Mirror (UK) reported in 2007 that the Sultan owned 232 Mercedes-Benzes, 224 Ferraris, 245 Bentleys, 150 BMWs, 165 Jaguars, 125 Porsches, 130 Rolls-Royces, and 20 Lamborghinis.

His official residence is the Istana Nurul Iman, with 1,888 rooms, 290 bathrooms, and a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet (200,000 m²), undisputedly the world's second largest palace after Beijing's Forbidden City (720,000 m²).

Despite his personal extravagance, he has attempted to share the country's oil wealth. In a country mockingly dubbed the "Shellfare State", in reference to the significant influence of the Shell Oil Company, Bruneians have free education and medical services. There are neither personal nor corporate taxes in Brunei.

The two 20sen stamps were issued in 2007 celebrating 40th Anniv.of ASEAN showing Secretariat Building in Brunei and National Museum of Cambodia.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN is a geo-political and economic organization of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, the protection of the peace and stability of the region, and to provide opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.

ASEAN spans over an area of 4.46 million km2 with a population of approximately 580 million people, 8.7% of the world population. In 2009, its combined nominal GDP had grown to more than USD $1.5 trillion. If ASEAN was a single country, it would rank as the 9th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP.

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