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Why Is the PAP Government Acquiescing in What Appears To Be an Indonesian Shakedown?

Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Keng Swee introduced NS ostensibly as a means of nation building and deterring potential aggressors (but really as a means of brainwashing and inculcating in Singaporean males a deferential attitude towards their leaders). As part of the campaign to instill a military style obedience in Singaporeans it was announced that your rank in civilian life would be determined by your military rank. This will explain why I got no further than the rank of Corporal and had the lowest security clearance, as I was the son of a traitor whom LHL in his obituary letter had described as having “sought at all costs to destroy the PAP and our system of government.” In contrast Lee Hsien Loong, through his outstanding natural ability, was made the youngest Brigadier General in his dad’s army and therefore clearly fitted to become Singapore’s paramount leader, even if his First from Cambridge in Maths, gained while sitting in a separate room from the other students, had not also marked him out for greatness.

After I did NS, I remember my brother enthusing about how Singapore could conduct blitzkrieg warfare against Malaysia, destroying the Malaysian army and occupying Kuala Lumpur in a matter of days while Jakarta was only a short hop in a helicopter away, preferably with Ride of the Valkyries playing as in Apocalypse Now. I also recall BG George Yeo, LHL’s contemporary and liegeman from Cambridge, talking about the Cabinet as being like the Prussian Officer Corps, with all members having to have the same Weltanschaung, or views on life. Today the PAP Government, the Civil Service and Temasek-owned or-affiliated GLCs are top heavy with former generals and military men. Chan Chun Sing, who if you take LHL at face value may be first in line to succeed him, was a Major General and former Chief of Army.

Our military spending matches the macho rhetoric that our paper generals employ. Parliament approved a Defence Budget for 2021 of $15.4 (US$11.3) billion which is more than most of the countries in the region. For example Taiwan, with a population of 24 million, spends slightly less but faces imminent invasion from China. Malaysia spends about one-third as much as Singapore and Vietnam and Thailand about half. We spend more than half as much as Israel and Australia. Indonesia, a country with approximately 50 times the population spends about US$4 billion less.

Such spending should result in some impressive military capabilities and at the very least should make our neighbours quiet and respectful, even if our leaders often seem to do the opposite of what Teddy Roosevelt, a famous US President who initiated the Spanish American war and took Cuba and the Philippines for America, said, “Talk softly and carry a big stick”. Therefore imagine my surprise when I read a Reuters article a few days ago which said:

More than a dozen shipowners have made payments of about $300,000 apiece to release vessels detained by the Indonesian navy, which said they were anchored illegally in Indonesian waters near Singapore, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The dozen sources include shipowners, crew and maritime security sources all involved in the detentions and payments, which they say were either made in cash to naval officers or via bank transfer to intermediaries who told them they represented the Indonesian navy.

The article went on to say that:

Ships have for years anchored in waters to the east of the Strait while they wait to port, believing they are in international waters and therefore not responsible for any port fees, two maritime analysts and two shipowners said.

The Indonesian navy says this area comes within its territorial waters and it intends to crack down harder on vessels anchoring there without a licence.

The Singapore Strait which divides Singapore and the Indonesian island of Batam is only ten miles wide which is less than the twelve mile limit allowed for a country’s territorial waters. The midway point would define where Indonesian and Singaporean territorial waters begin and end. But under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) freedom of navigation should be granted to all ships of all kinds transiting the Singapore Strait between the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.

The article mentions that the ships were anchored to the east of the Strait where the channel widens out further. The waters here would be divided between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore holds the Pedra Blanca rock at the eastern end of the Strait which gives it a useful claim to the waters surrounding it up to a twelve mile radius or at least to the halfway point between it and another country.

It is not clear whether the Indonesians are exerting a new territorial claim or whether ships anchored there before without the Indonesians enforcing the limit. The Indonesian navy has denied that it took any payments from shipowners which suggests that this is a local revenue enhancement exercise by local Indonesian naval commanders looking to entrepreneurially supplement their incomes rather like robber barons who built castles along the Rhine in the Middle Ages so they could charge tolls on passing barges.

Given the importance of freedom of navigation through the Straits to Singapore’s economy our Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan needs to clarify whether this took place in what is accepted as Indonesian waters or whether it is a new land grab. If the Indonesian Navy is denying knowledge of the new levies then it appears to be pure and simple piracy. We need Vivian Balakrishnan to tell us whether the ships should have been protected by freedom of navigation under the 1982 UNCLOS. On paper our navy should easily be the match of the Indonesian navy since the Government has spent billions building up its capabilities with shiny new German ocean going diesel submarines (unfortunately not nuclear hunter killers like the Australians have been promised!) and stealthy missile-armed frigates built by Temasek’s ST Engineering. We are entitled to ask why we are spending far more on defence than other countries in the region, forcing young men to do two years NS (while exempting foreigners and PAP Ministers like Janil Puthucherry) and have so many highly paid paper generals and admirals (who transition seamlessly into becoming million-dollar Ministers or running GLCs when they retire) if they are incapable of defending our sovereignty and economic interests.

 

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

 

I’m a Singaporean economist who became an opposition activist. I blog to provide an alternative to the porkies that the Pinkies tell. It just so happens that my alternative is the truth. That’s why I’ve never been sued in any civil or criminal court no matter how hard hitting my criticism. I’m quoted and interviewed and asked to speak across the world but largely censored in Singapore in an effort to silence my political opinions. The left hate me because they think I split their vote and because I eschew their outmoded economic models. Models that don’t work. The Right and the Conservatives hate me because I’m a liberal. I’m not sure what the middle think of me. I don’t think there are more than a handful of people in the middle, here in Singapore. I’m a Singaporean born and bred, dual heritage, my parents Singaporean established here before the State of Singapore was created. I’m not Eurasian. I read economics at Cambridge and could be broadly described as from the Keynesian school but I believe in interventions. I was formerly a successful hedge fund manager. After economics and politics my greatest interests are history, film and Makan. I run but I run so I can eat like a Singaporean.

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

22 Responses to “Why Is the PAP Government Acquiescing in What Appears To Be an Indonesian Shakedown?”

  • Harder Truths:

    The point is we think we are spending on defence. Defence is the cash cow governments use for appropriating unlimited slush funds, which is opaque, never accounted for or traceable. In short, anyone in power can make use of the defence funds for any purpose they so desire, if they are powerful enough.

    Let us call horsesh*t as horsesh*t. We do not have an army. We have a kamikazi squad of toy soldiers carrying backpacks with soft toys like Hello Kitty hanging off the back (or else carried by an Indonesian or Pinoy maid) going to get slaughtered.

    In the late 1960′s when in NS I was told by the Regulars that we are fucked if a war broke out. I heard this personally from an Israeli instructor in SAFTI. This is the reality for any war $G may get into.

    And don’t even talk about China – one nuclear warhead in the CBD is all it will take.

    That is why $G’s government always gives free handouts to foreign governments and their corrupt offspring to come here and study, gamble and work (with $G government help). Ever wonder why thy do it? This is a bribe to notattack us and advantage of $G’s corruption.

    CECA is another political tool. But the Indians are much smarter. Example: DBS is using $G money to write off debts of their local banks.

    National Service is just a way to control the weak minds of $G male citizens. It is a way to bring in and allow FT to take over jobs at the time $G males should be going into the workforce at 19 years of age.

    After all this, I see the majority of $G NS reservists and retired soldiers voting Regime. Truly these people are f*cked.

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  • land of myopia:

    Ask who won the Nam war?

    passion or weapons?

    paper generals are the weakest link …

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  • MarBowling:

    Was wondering for donkey years HOW DID ALL THESE LJ AND CB FELLAS GOT THEIR IMPRESSIVE SEE-STAR GENERAL RANK!

    Just look at Mai Hum. Don’t THINK he could even carry a loaded rifle and shoot STRAIGHT. Most likely he needed someone to hold it for him and to AIM at a Big Elephant Target. Holee shit. Could even becoming the YOUNGEST BG(Bapok-General)in SinKapore Army History! He is DEFINITELY a confirmed Marksman when using his limbek Water Pistol especially when AIMING at those Army of Marching Red Ants!

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  • John Doe:

    A gynae doctor to secure SG maritime security?
    A gynae delivering babies himself making millions in the pte and another millions as half past 6 politician – expect him to know sea laws and protect shop business – the cows come home from grazing and the Minister still trying to study what is the meaning of nautical miles.

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  • xoxo:

    So,outsiders are *taking us for a ride* n why?
    It is becos our daft gahmen openly look down on us openly.
    This contradicts the govt’s calls for NATIONAL SOLIDARITY?!
    YOU MUST NEVER CALL YOUR PEOPLE XENOPHOBIC N UNGRACIOUS WHEN THEY ARE FUNDAMENTALLY NOT!

    YEARS AGO,OUTSIDERS LOOKED OUT TO SG N sgs .
    These days,even economic scavengers living here look down on us?
    And,they (gahmen) get whacked by others n lan lan?
    When others see your govt bashes you,they oso will PUI at your govt as they know the people n govt are not united .

    Only daft gahmen keeps bashing their own people n praising ungrateful outsiders .
    Sg is such a case.

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  • xoxo:

    Look at China’s XJP.
    HOW WELL HE SPOKE OF HIS PEOPLE.
    LOOK AT SG,govt leaders always speaking ill of sgporeans?

    Damn stupid!
    Outsiders whacking Sg?
    EXPECTED!
    ONLY IDIOTS CANNOT SEE SUCH A SIMPLE POINT!

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  • PAP behave like traitors:

    Sold SG sovereignty to PRC.
    Can’t decide is SG a nation in its own rights? Certainly a No no no – because foreigners took the que, PAP has always refer to SG as a resilient society.

    Bet? Google it. Discover how umpteen times the PAP never never believe SG is a nation in words and act in action – bcz if the PAP is to unite SG as a function sovereign state – they CANNOT fraud SGpns anymore PAP=SG, SG=PAP.

    Why the PAP allowed PRC to toy and study our military assets, the Terrexes?

    Why the PAP never touch on National Reconciliation?

    Why the PAP used state funds to sell their polarized PRO PAP, anti PAP amongst all citizens in all national housing programms esp MUP, HIP, NIP? The reason was PAP said voting for PAP entitled citizens upgrading – utter lies and rubbish as far as the Nat School pledge says so.

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  • Where the hell is Yale now?:

    Why, this is an essay deserving the perusal of senior year undergraduates at a top liberal arts college on “The (Connived) Political Economy of a Crony-Capitalist Military Oligarchy” …. if the Pappies haven’t closed down on critical thinking in quick time! Yes sir, of course sir we have certifications galore…..

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  • Pangchengikanpari:

    Without the SAF and the paper Generals, the integrity of Singapore port anchorage areas might not be able to maintain, not to mention the safety of the waters farther away.

    Our neighbours are at the least many hundreds of times larger in size than the red dot and with population overwhelmingly larger, the SAF has performed well in keeping sinkies safe.

    Rash acts will only bring suffering and regrets!

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    Ken, have you “thought” for a moment how a Coward & Traitor in WW2 became a Great Peranakan with banners strung the length of Orchard Road B4 being taken down n strung @Pernakan heritage bldg…

    Answer: Lie & CON YOU aka LKY

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  • illiterate pap voters:

    a government that calls its own citizens NAMES cannot be a good government.

    look at cotton sheep. 61% of them. pap calls them DAFT. they continue to vote pap.

    look at pap voters, especially the illiterate from RI. pap calls them xia suay. they continue to vote pap.

    in the 1980s, everyone looked down on folks from China. we started to go there. NOW in 2021, look at China. it has progressed. look also at pap Singapore from the 1980s to 2021, where are the cotton sheep’s standard of living heading? South. Very South.

    1, most cotton sheep don’t own a car. if any owns, majority are the cheap Altis Civic. look at the folks in China. they don’t even want a VW which is beyond the reach of most cotton sheep.

    2, look at the over priced HDB rental units which most cotton sheep live in. if cotton sheep were honest, they shall tell you the HDB rental unit sizes have been getting smaller and smaller. we don’t know how cotton sheep defines UPGRADE. the true meaning of upgrade, as far as abode is concerned is, size, and quality of finishing. looking at cotton sheep abodes, quality of size and finishing truly are behind many in China.

    pap PA paid IBs, especially those stupidestest without even a single O level credit from Msia all try to say two things, if China is so good why not go there and if China doesn’t have more poor people than in pap Singapore. hahaha. first, Singapore belongs to everyone born here, both 61% cotton sheep and 39% OPPO. second, China has 1.5billion people. it is no brainer, its poor, in numbers, is a large number. BUT, on a relative scale, between 1980s and 2021, China has progressed MUCH more than cotton sheep has regressed in pap island.

    One more thing. pap hires more Msians and ceca ah nehs than it hires cotton sheep. YET cotton sheep, 61% of them, voted pap for its misery. so stupid. getting stupider by the days. and will soon join the Msian IBs hired by stupid pap PA as the stupidestest.

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  • Our heroes Singkies don't know:

    https://mothership.sg/2017/02/4-intriguing-stories-of-how-4-of-spores-founding-fathers-survive-the-japanese-occupation/

    These Singapore founding fathers: Mr. David Marshall, Dr. Goh Keng Swee, Mr. Edmund Barker, and Mr. Lim Kim San (?) served with the Singapore Volunteer Corps under the British during WW II to defend this island against the Japanese Imperial invasion. They were prisoners of war of the Japs.

    Anyone can tell where LKY, Nathan, and Othman Wok were during the Jap Occupation?

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  • theforgottongeneration:

    The author is wrong to try to link amount of defense spending with the will or competency to act. Someone once told me, give our Generals Heavenly Sword or Dragon Sabre, they will also lose any fight. Likewise, give our clowns million$ pay, they also cannot perform. The previous “Singapore brand” for excellency and competency already spoilt by the Golden Prince who was given a super long runway (and highest pay), yet still cannot fly.

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  • left behind:

    LKY create this hierarchy system in Singapore but forget he is only a civilian before elected to be prime minister. He is not a noble nor a descendants of any king which entitled any special rights and not of royal blood. He attempt to show he is of higher class, descendants of Qing official. But we know Qing official have a bad name because Qing dynasty is not of Han Chinese and they are overthrown in China due to its incompetence and corrupt ways. It is well known that Han Chinese who betray their Han Chinese ancestors to become Qing official are targets of Heaven earth society and not recognize by Han Chinese as the rightful ruler. So the Lee family like many political family in the world become powerful and forget they are elected by democratic means. It is democracy and equality that give them power, not hierarchy system which give them power. Create a system of order or hierarchy give them dictator power not people power. Without people power like elections, they can be replaced by coup who does not recognize their rule. Dictators depends on who has the guns and violence. We know what happen to Afghanistan, Taliban who has military power took the nations and terrorist attack happen in the nation. There is no people power because they submit to whoever has military power or power to kill. The ‘rightful ruler’ is the one who hold the power to kill. Anyone with guns and bombs stand a chance to rule. Therefore, I think the system of order or hierarchy system is a bad system, we need democracy,equality and freedom in this era to give people the power.

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    Our heroes Singkies don't know:
    https://mothership.sg/2017/02/4-intriguing-stories-of-how-4-of-spores-founding-fathers-survive-the-japanese-occupation/

    These Singapore founding fathers: Mr. David Marshall, Dr. Goh Keng Swee, Mr. Edmund Barker, and Mr. Lim Kim San (?) served with the Singapore Volunteer Corps under the British during WW II to defend this island against the Japanese Imperial invasion. They were prisoners of war of the Japs.

    Anyone can tell where LKY, Nathan, and Othman Wok were during the Jap Occupation?

    Really TRUE not BS “HARD” you will get piles reading that by the man who Con You…honour among THIEVES Nathan was with the Japs kempetie police who stopped Con You, the Con negotiate to be released n work for the Japs as a TRAITOR…both became lifelong buddies covering each others Arse…One a PM n the other President

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  • opposition dude:

    Well we have an ex military as PM and the same for the DPM too. Speaker of parliament as well in case you have forgotten. Add in Gan Siow Huang to the list why don’t you.

    And we can all clearly see just how great the PM is can’t we? 2 GRCs lost with more to come, lousy handling of the pandemic, politically naive in calling for last year’s election thinking that just because Singaporeans voted for his party in past recessions he would easily have 70% or even more of the vote. Makes me laugh whenever I think about it.

    I really hope kee chiu becomes PM because we need PAP to lose a lot more votes a lot quicker and another blur sotong ex army guy will definitely do the trick. Not that Ong or Lawrence can save the party since they are bloody inept but Chan would make the process go a lot faster you know.

    But I want to see what changes will be announced by PAP for the next election. Will stroke man still be in East Coast or transferred out or maybe announce his retirement? What about all those places that were dangerously close to being lost? And how many more GRCs will PAP lose?

    I can’t wait!

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  • Robert:

    I have always believed that if we just spend $1 bil less on defence, the $1 bil saved could be put to better use without compromising our defence build up and security.

    Comparing the military assets we have with our immediate neighbours, it is obvious we are several generations ahead of the game thus shaving off $1 bil from the defence budget will still mean we have hardware advantage.

    Do note that I only refer to hardware advantage eg F35. The latest Malaysia incident involved a Hawk which, I think, would be considered obsolete in modern air combat.

    But, the strategy is to have the latest everything which, to me is not necessary. That is the penchant of the 4G elites – have the latest to impress the world and show off that SG is a poisoned shrimp.

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  • illiterate pap voters:

    Robert:
    I have always believed that if we just spend $1 bil less on defence, the $1 bil saved could be put to better use without compromising our defence build up and security.

    Comparing the military assets we have with our immediate neighbours, it is obvious we are several generations ahead of the game thus shaving off $1 bil from the defence budget will still mean we have hardware advantage.

    Do note that I only refer to hardware advantage eg F35. The latest Malaysia incident involved a Hawk which, I think, would be considered obsolete in modern air combat.

    But, the strategy is to have the latest everything which, to me is not necessary. That is the penchant of the 4G elites – have the latest to impress the world and show off that SG is a poisoned shrimp.

    bro, well said. agree. the S$b saved could have built more hospitals for the aging in pap island.

    the facts supporting are,

    almost all able bodied male have served NSF and many also the full cycle NSR. do we still kid ourselves about defence? like all things pap, the whole setup is for show only.

    we cannot speak for many. but we do have close hand information about how the whole setup works. there are 2 tracks. one the so called scholars track. the other the so called career track.

    the scholars track are for those ear marked from the day they get disrupted and leave for U studies. each one is a pin marked on a map in a department in mindef. when these Ljs come back from U, there is a map of where they are to be posted, in what roles. all these folks need to do is not to cock up. and the pips keep rising. and those who really know how to play the game start to write papers which nobody else reads, only those involved in their promotions shall flag the papers around to justify the promotions. one Lj who comes to mind is George yeo. this Lj really knew how to play the game. he wrote a paper which caught the eyes of then lky. this yeo Lj was fast tracked.

    the career track are those mostly without U degrees. most retire as Lta Col. But some make it to full Col. and these are the worst animals that ever exists in pap uniform. they talk a lingua of their own, probably because of their inferiority complex, knowing heart of hearts their high rank in pap setup is a fluke which happened because pap wants to show not only the scholar track can make senior officer rank. these undegreed senior ranked Ljs talk like this, don’t talk to me about money, just get this done and just get that done, as if money grows on trees for things to get done.

    long story short. if everyone is honest, we can surely say the pap setup is cocked up. those display pap shows everyone during national day parade is all a façade. when shove becomes push, hahaha, the dated hardware in our neighbours probably outgun all the shiny toys, expensive shiny toys, pap wastes for façade.

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    Temusik Patriot:
    Ken, have you “thought” for a moment how a Coward & Traitor in WW2 became a Great Peranakan with banners strung the length of Orchard Road B4 being taken down n strung @Pernakan heritage bldg…

    Answer: Lie & CON YOU aka LKY

    Picked up the shitty times onPeranakan Tan kim seng boundry stone shows he owns Queenstown n Dover forest where I reside…kim seng DIED in the 19th century 18++…

    but his spirit return to built Kim Seng Bridge with his Donations…

    Will the Bastard who Lie & Con You return to rebuilt Sinkapore???

    Ask the Shitty Times

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  • Trust only myself:

    If these reports of payment to release vessels are true and the Indonesian Navy claimed not paid to them then of course the liars need to explain to the world why they allow pirates to operate………

    If they keep quiet then this must be the most corrupted people in charge since ’65……….

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  • Realistically:

    Quite frankly I’ve given up, almost, on posting on TRE with so many self aggrandizing “experts” on local politics even in the light of the emperor without clothes epic mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic with the loss of hundreds of PREVENTABLE deaths plus some other disasters.

    Kenneth Jeyaretnam should remember the context of what LKY said of the late Joshua Benjamin Jayaretnam, KJ’s late father that:

    >>LHL in his obituary letter had described as having “sought at all costs to destroy the PAP and our system of government.” LHL was essentially repeating what LKY said of JBJ.

    JBJ had the temerity to question LKY appointing his wife’s law firm to carry out all the HDB conveyancing work, which of course was very lucrative for the wife’s firm.

    JBJ also questioned on the (flawed) system of appointing Supreme Court judges which would under-pin how the “system” worked (and continue to work)

    It would be apparent that KJ’s comment on the Indonesian Navy’s action as described………..as I don’t see how this would affect the “system”

    I’d just invite KJ to read up the 160th ranked ST report on the emperor without clothes defamation trial against Leong Sze Hian during which he said under-cross-examination by Leong’s Counsel Lim Tean that:

    “…Mr Leong was a critic of his government, although “far from the most vocal or sharp or effective”.

    KJ might just pause to reflect whether KJ himself has been the “most vocal or sharp or effective”…and therefore was a threat of the emperor without clothes reign.

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  • Poos n pees build nation?..:

    Corruption free or rather no need to corrupt just need PBs n CBs to legalized the illegals. Bravo all v v v v clean. KJ how is PJ? Selling cheap the J fam?

    GKS realized his too late only when he fall second time whence he gave the one telling him he can’t do that. Onky then his b started to work but too late with his recommendation of president candidate n conned to serve PRC by his two fingerred shit so that he would be any eyesore while the legalization proceeds. Nation builder or GB in the extreme? What say u kJ or you like the poo shits lauwan instead of bloodbro?

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