Sunday, March 20, 2005

Oh, a mystery!

I went to Nike’s clearance sale today. Things were going rather cheaply, and as a consequence, I purchases 10 caps for a princely sum of $20, and 2 T-shirts at $15 each.

My brother will be selling the caps for a small but non-zero profit, and as such the caps would have to be delivered to Malaysia. The first problem was to know the price associated with the postage. This was trivially solved by browsing Australian Post’s website. Supplemented with the postage costs were very helpful pointers on each country’s restrictions and documentation requirements.

I shall quote the “Prohibitions” list:

In addition to items prohibited by Dangerous and Prohibited Goods & Packaging Post Guide and EMS International Courier Regulations, Malaysia prohibits:

Advertising material on lucky charms
Coins exceeding $M50 in value, except purely for ornament
Copyright infringements
Firearms and parts thereof
Flick knives
Government Service markings, imitation
Lottery tickets
Obscene or seditious articles
Spear guns
Spirits and liqueurs
Trademark infringements.

Malaysia also prohibits all Parcels addressed to Vietnamese refugees in camps or addressed to PO Box 12468, Kuala Lumpur.

That had me stunned. PO Box 12468? And what lies beyond the mailing box of 12468 KL? A secret so terrible that it must not receive parcels? A box so small that it cannot accommodate parcels?

An exhaustive search of all listed results from a search string “PO Box 12468” in google yielded almost nothing. The only item possibly of interest is “MALAYSIAN RED CRESCENT SOCIETY POBOX 12468, KUALA LUMPUR”, which is part of a Japanese web page, presumably detailing mailing restrictions.

That said, it is rather interesting to view the restrictions placed by certain countries. It is possible to succinctly sum up a country’s policies and fears from its list of banned articles. Italy, for example, does not prohibit anything at all apart from dangerous goods. On the other hand, the USA disallows chain letters, while the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea restricts “all imports”. China is an interesting case study. Do play around with the page and see if you turn up with anything interesting.

I'll be off now, for dinner and among other things, to ponder upon the significance of PO Box 12468, Kuala Lumpur.