Meet the Expo 2020 visitor who collected 200 stamps on his kandura

Trend-setting Dubai Customs employee was offered Dh3,000 for a fully stamped T-shirt

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A new trend has emerged when it comes to collecting Expo 2020 Dubai stamps from the pavilions.

Visitors to Expo have been busy collecting stamps for their yellow passports.

Organisers revealed last month that 700,000 copies of the Dh20 booklet have been sold since October 1, quickly becoming the must-have souvenir from Expo.

In a twist on collecting stamps from every pavilion for the passport, a volunteer at Expo 2020 Dubai has been using garments, including a kandura, T-shirts and a scarf, to create extra special pieces of memorabilia.

Muhammad Asim Durrani, 39, from Pakistan, began stamp-collecting in October this year, first decorating a small-sized kandura with more than 200 stamps from every pavilion. He has since added two T-shirts and a scarf to his collection.

“The kandura is for my son, who is now eight months old, while the small T-shirt is for my five-year-old daughter,” said Mr Durrani, who has worked as a driver at Dubai Customs since 2009.

Muhammad Asim Durrani shows the kandura and T-shirt that he used to collect the Expo pavilion stamps. Pawan Singh / The National

He came up with the idea while stamping visitors’ Expo passports.

“It's part of my volunteer work to stamp the passports of Dubai Expo visitors, and as I was doing that I thought why not do it for myself but differently,” he said.

Mr Asim Durrani started with a T-shirt, which he plans to keep for himself.

“The first stamp on this T-shirt was from the UAE pavilion,” he said.

As he continued to collect stamps on his T-shirt, he thought of doing the same on a smaller T-shirt for his daughter and on a kandura for his son.

“My daughter is a big fan of Dubai Expo and has been in many videos about the event, so I thought I do something special for her. Then I thought I'll do something also for my son,” Mr Asim Durrani said.

A trend-setter

After he completed his T-shirt with a stamp from every pavilion, he was approached by a number of visitors asking to buy it, as he walked around the Expo site carrying his memorabilia.

“A woman asked to buy it from me and when I refused she kept raising the amount until she reached up to Dh3,000, but I still said no,” he said.

Other visitors began copying him, including a British woman who saw him stamping one of his garments.

“She saw me stamping one of the garments and said it was very creative and then said she will copy my idea,” Mr Asim Durrani said.

He is currently collecting more stamps on a white scarf that also commemorates the UAE's Golden Jubilee.

“When I'm done, I will frame the T-shirt which I am planning to keep for myself, and also the scarf, then give them away as gifts to the director general of Dubai Customs and to my line manager," he said.

Mr Durrani is an active volunteer at Expo 2020 and has so far spent more than 1,750 hours working with different departments, including Dubai Police and Civil Defence.

“I also received more than 100 certificates of participation and appreciation for my volunteering,” he said.

Updated: December 09, 2021, 1:23 PM
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