Singapore Also Can

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Loh, May 4, 2009.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    You can be sure that Singapore will continue to learn as many lessons as possible on how to be better in as many things as possible, not only in this Mas Selamat case. That's to ensure that Singapore Also Can. :D

    According to reports in the Straits Times, May 8, 2009, Singapore's Internal Security Department provided the intelligence late last year that enabled a joint operation by Malaysia and Singapore's security agencies to eventually capture the fugitive in Johor on April 1 (and it is not an April Fool's joke. :rolleyes:) Being 'free' for 13 months, Selamat took the opportunity to plot further terrorist activities to harm Singapore and probably elsewhere until his arrest.

    48-year-old Mas Selamat was born in Central Java in Jan 1961 and migrated with his family to Singapore where he was educated in an English medium primary school and later got married with 5 kids in the 1980s.

    In 1990 he joined Darul Islam, a movement that had fought for an Islamic state in Indonesia in the 1950s. DI is believed to have spawned several key leaders of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorist network, inclduing its founders.

    In 1992 he was recruited into the religious council of the Singapore JI cell. He went to Afghanistan for military training in 1993 and returned there in 1998 for one month to observe the Taleban system of government.

    In 1999 the alleged JI operations chief Hambali chose Selamat to take over as the leader of JI operations in Singapore.

    In December 2001, Selamat fled Singapore after the Singapore government cracked down on JI terrorists and arrested 13 suspects. Selamat made his way to Medan and then Bali in Indonesia, via Malaysia and Thailand.

    Thankfully, the arrests thwarted plans by JI to attack the Singapore Yishun MRT station and US naval vessels in Singapore. In revenge, Selamat was believed to have discussed with Hambali a plan to crash an American, British or Singapore plane into Changi Airport.

    In Feb 2003, tip-offs by the Singapore authorities had led Indonesian police to monitor Mas Selamat's movements after he arrived in Indonesia. They traced him to Tanjung Pinang in Bintan and arrested him just after he arrived by ferry from Dumai in Riau. He had a genuine Indonesian passport then, issued in Surabaya, with a false indentity and name Edi Haryanto.

    After Mas Selamat was released in August 2005, the Singapore police made another request to their Indonesian counterparts to track him again. In Jan 2006, they found him at a neighbourhood mosque in Sengkaling, East Java. He was handed over to Singapore the following month.

    The above events showed how a seemingly innocent boy can be brainwashed to become a highly dangerous terrorist with supporting network in the region and elsewhere.

    It also showed how cooperation by the Intelligence Services of the neighbouring countries, in this case, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore can help to reduce the terrorist threat.

    But no security system is full-proof as even the most powerful country in the world, the US, had experienced during 9/11.

    In Singapore's case, and as what Zuraidah Ibrahim has said in her writeup in the Straits Times:

    "Meanwhile, if nothing else, Singaporeans may have learnt from Mas Selamat's escape the costs of complacency. His recapature should teach us the value of patience and persistence. :rolleyes:
     
    #41 Loh, May 9, 2009
    Last edited: May 9, 2009
  2. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Loh, I think people in Singapore are still asking the question how did he got away so easily from a Singapore prison? Did the prison chief, police chief, and the minister of home affairs resign to take responsibility? What if he escapes a second time?
     
  3. zard.

    zard. Regular Member

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    Very good question!!

    I really admire the Singaporian's spirit that Uncle Loh demonstrates!
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Yes it was a very embarrassing episode and some of those directly involved had to resign. Much of the security lapses were due to complacency.

    The same Straits Times report yesterday said the Committee of Inquiry set up to investigate the case found that several security lapses allowed Mas Selamat to escape. They included a window with no grilles, guards who failed in their duties and CCTV cameras that were not commissioned.

    In May 2008, 9 officers and guards, including the commander of the detention centre and his superior, were penalised. Two were dismissed, three demoted and four relieved of duties are given reprimands and warnings. The Internal Security Department (ISD) also corrected errors at the detention centre and tightened security.

    With the recapture of Mas Selamat as a result of ISD's leads to their Malaysian counterparts, ISD has redeemed itself to a certain extent.

    I suppose detention centres do not have that sort of tight security found in prisons and this may have given the very experienced Selamat the chance to escape. Selamat has escaped detention several times before.

    As reported in the same ST, in January 2002, when the Singapore authorities discovered plans by the JI to stage a series of terror attacks on local shores and swooped in on JI members here, Mas Selamat somehow got wind of it and fled the country.

    He and several others were believed to have crossed over to Malaysia before making their way to Thailand and then to Medan, Indonesia. For the next year or so, he led the Indonesian authorities on a wild goose chase, never staying for more than a few months in Medan, Denpasar, Surabaya, Padang or Dumai and travelling by ferry or bus.

    He also changed his appearance and identity by shaving his beard, changing his name or wearing a cap low to hide part of his face.

    However in February 2003, alerted by Singapore authorities, Indonesian police caught him in Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, just after he arrived from Dumai, a town in Riau, with his wife and children. He was carrying a fake identity card and passport passing off as Edi Haryanto, and was sentenced to 18 months jail for immigration and document violations.

    He then planned his first escape. One day he asked to be left alone to say his prayers. Granted his wish, he jumped out of a window, landed hard on the ground and broke his left leg. However, the Indonesian police reacted in time, and caught him. He was jailed for another 16 months in Pasuruan, East Java, for the same offences when his earlier 18-month term ended in August 2004.

    He was given an early release in August 2005 and was 'free' for about five months before the police arrested him again in Malang in January 2006 for the same false identification offence which gave his name as Hendrawan.

    A month later Mas Selamat was handed over to the Singapore authorities, ending a four-year wait for the man who had once plotted to hijack an aircraft to crash into Changi Airport. He was then detained under Singapore's Internal Security Act at the Whitley Road Detention Centre, where he was later to make his headline news escape.

    Being a small country with limited human resources, I could understand why Singapore cannot afford to sack many more officers or require the minister to step down voluntarily, as is sometimes the case in other especially bigger countries. In fact as I recall, during the London terrorist attack a few years ago, was it the minister or the police head who even refused to step down, giving the reason that he was not directly involved and he had to remain to help sort out the attack and find remedial solutions in the event another attack should be mounted.

    In comparison, Singapore's Mas Selamat escape case was less dangerous as no property or lives were lost. Because of patience and persistency (in wanting to recapture Selamat whatever it took) Selamat has now been brought back to justice.

    What happens if such an event were to take place again in the future, I can't tell. But I hope the lessons learnt will prevent similar and more devastating occurences from taking place. The security and intelligence agencies of the neighbouring countries are now better placed to face the situation with the sharing of information, cooperation and concerted action. :)
     
    #44 Loh, May 9, 2009
    Last edited: May 9, 2009
  5. Dato A

    Dato A Regular Member

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    It would be a great shame for Singapore on the Mat Selamat's case. (Not nice to hear, but i think Singapore should admit it)

    But, after reading all posting from Uncle Loh at this thread, i found 1 conclusion:-

    - This thread is only accepting/ discussing of Singapore's achievements and good things. ALL NO GOOD THINGS / NEGATIVE ISSUE AGAINST SINGAPORE IS PROHIBITED.

    Correct me if i am wrong, Uncle Loh.
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Wah Dato, you "sangat pandai" hah, but nothing to be shameful about if you can learn from it and improve. Then later on you can share your experience and knowledge with others who seek. So it is a win-win situation.

    Well many have said if you don't make any mistake, you'll never learn. So the positivie side is that we continue to learn from our mistakes. Learn not to feel so bad if you have made a mistake. ;):p:)
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    ...And to continue to counter your statements...

    Of course Singapore has admitted the lapses and it has been well publicised in the media. It has set up an Inquiry Committee to investigate the issues and point out the loopholes in the security system.

    But Singapore has also resolved to bring the terrorist home and Mas Selamat will be coming home when the Malaysian authorities have finished their own investigations, particularly his connections with the JI in Malaysia. Because of Singapore's leads, Malaysia also managed to nap some JI activists. Now this is a 'win-win' situation for both countries, don't you think so? :)

    There is no way that any democractic country can prohibit criticism against it, especially when the internet is free. Just read the daily press and you can find unhappiness and criticisms all over the pages. So your observation is again faulted. And constructive criticiism can in fact help one to do better the next time. :D
     
  8. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    I don't think Mas Selamat was recaptured after Singapore's ISD provided intelligence to Malaysia, as claimed by the Straits Times in Singapore, although this may look good for Singapore after its great embarrassment at his 5-minutes toilet escape in 2008. How would both Malaysia and Indonesia feel by this claim without giving these two countries due credit for their important role in Mas Selamat's recapture? I strongly believe that all three countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore shared intelligence that resulted in his recapture.
    Mas Selamat was earlier captured by Indonesia and handed over to Singapore in 2006. He escaped in 2008. Now he has been recaptured in Malaysia. Malaysia will eventually hand him over to Singapore as he is a Singapore citizen. This time I hope there will be no second escape.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Well, that was what was published and the Malaysian authorities did not raise any objections. ;) Why would Malaysia want to inform Singapore soon after the recapture if they were not working closely together?

    When Mas Selamat escaped, there were a lot of conjectures, much negative speculation and unfounded conclusions. Some even went to the extent of saying Mas Selamat was dead.

    But you're right in that the intelligence agencies of all three countries must be sharing information on the terrorists, their whereabouts and their plans and if necessary they will work together so that they won't be caught unawares with anything untoward. The menace is too much for just one country to cope. ;)
     
  10. george@chongwei

    george@chongwei Regular Member

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    alright, shall we stop about the mat selamat case now??;)
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Thank you George. :)
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Marina Barrage wins US Green Award

    Yes it is on water again and the PUB scored yet another accolade for its engineering work on water storage and conservation. A full description on how the Marina Bay, now turning into a fantastic place for amusement and recreation and around which are located such icons as the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, the Merlion, Fullerton Hotel, the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resorts, Singapore Flyer, Floating Platform,etc, can be found in these links:

    http://www.pub.gov.sg/Marina/Pages/default.aspx

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Barrage

    The Straits Times
    May 8 2009

    The Marina Barrage has received the top prize at a competition organised by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

    The site, opened in November last year, beat 33 other entries for the Superior Achievement Award which was conferred on Wednesday in Washington DC.

    The award honours the best in environmental engineering practices, innovation and economic efficiency.

    The Barrage, which has already won two other international awards, was chosen because it provided " a sustainable urban water solution for all", said academy's president Debra Reinhart.

    It is only the second project outside the United States to win the award in the last decade.

    The Barrage, built to dam the Marina Channel, resulted in the creation of the Marina Reservoir - Singapore's 15th reservoir and the first in the downtown district.

    It also controls flooding in nearby low-lying areas such as Chinatown and Little India.

    Since last month, seawater has not been allowed into the reservoir, so that the water can be gradually desalted by dilution from rainwater. Once the desalting process is completed in about a year, the water will be ready to be processed into drinking water.
     

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  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Marina Barrage wins top award

    Another report from the Straits Times, May 7 2008

    By Diana Othman

    MARINA Barrage clinched the top award in a prestigious US environmental engineering competition, beating 33 other entries.

    Singapore's latest waterfront icon, spanning the southern end of the Marina channel, took the Superior Achievement Award - the highest honour of the competition for the best project entry - at the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE)'s Excellence in Environmental Engineering competition.

    It is the second project outside the US to have won the award in the last decade.

    The competition is widely considered to be the most prestigious of professional, peer-recognition awards focused exclusively on the field with award defining the best in environmental engineering practices, such as innovation and economic efficiency.

    Conceptualised and managed by PUB, the Barrage is more than a regular dam in that it fulfills three purposes:

    - It boosts Singapore's water supply by being the 15th reservoir here and the first reservoir in the city centre.

    - It acts as a tidal barrier to alleviate flooding in the low-lying parts of the city such as Chinatown and Little India.

    -It is also set to become the city's latest lifestyle attraction with water activities and river cruises.


    Other awards garnered by the Barrage in the last two years include the Grand Conceptor award at the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts' 2009 Engineering Excellence Awards and the Asean Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award.

    'The Marina Barrage is a showcase of urban water sustainability. By going beyond water supply and flood control... it demonstrates how an urban water solution can be effectively utilised to meet water needs, and at the same time, enhance the living environment for a better quality of life,' said Mr Yap Kheng Guan, PUB's Director of 3P Network and Project Director of Marina Barrage, who received the award on behalf of PUB at an award presentation luncheon in Washington DC on Wednesday.

    'This is important, as cities continue to grow and urbanise, they will require water solutions that can be sustained for generations to come.'
     
    #53 Loh, May 12, 2009
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  14. scann

    scann Regular Member

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    Singapore very 'Transparent'...

    Yes, I can see through everything.


    I am telling a ‘Good side’ of Singapore.

    I worked in Singapore from 1991-1993 as Analysis/Programmer. Occasionally from year 1993 to 2000 while still in Malaysia, I was contracted to do some programming job there due to cheaper labor cost. One of the clients is PWD (Public Works Department of S'pore). They are converting part of their sub-systems to a newer technology. The system I am working on is their ‘Tendering Processing Systems’. Together with me there are a few analysis-cum-programmers involved in this project. We have programmers each from these countries: India, China, Singapore and me Malaysia. Their entire Tender big or small (PWD related projects) will be posted to their Notice board and also to Internet (HTML only). Successful bidders will be notified and pasted to the same notice board. I can see many sub-contractors, drivers, Ali and Ah Kow will gathered and get contacts from the successful bidders. I saw Ah Pak in slipper joining the queue to get a piece of the cake.

    Only recently I know that this is called ‘Transparent’. Hope our counterpart 'CAN' follow this without delay.
     
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Singapore Day- Global Networking with overseas Singaporeans

    It used to be a 'no-no' for Singaporeans to work overseas since it means uprooting from one's comfort zone at home and having almost to start all over again in a foreign environment.

    But in order to survive and prosper, years ago the government has encouraged those who are able to start a "foreign" wing to expand their business overseas and students went to foreign universities in greater numbers. This has helped Singapore to grow and produce its own 'multinational companies'. So now Singapore is very much engaged in the globalisation process and our young people are more willing to face challenges overseas.

    In order to connect Singaporeans overseas, our government has started some years ago, a "Singapore Day" in countries where Singaporeans are found in large numbers to enable them to meet and reminisce about Singapore life. The last one was held in Melbourne, Australia.

    This year, Singapore Day returned to London and it seems many Singaporeans living, studying and working in Europe, not necessarily just UK, made it a point to assemble there.

    Ms Stefanie Koh reported her impressions in the Straits Times, April 30, 2009 as follows:

    Singapore fest in London made her Day, keep it going, please

    "I refer to Sunday's report, "Singapore Day in London draws the crowds". Singapore Day 2009 in London was well-planned, thoughtful and oh so Singaporean. The gorgeous location at Hampton Court Palace, with beautiful weather we did not expect (the weather forecast predicted rain), made the day enjoyable anad memorable.

    We were among 12,000 people who turned up, looking forward to chwee kway, roti prata, Hokkien mee, laksa and chicken rice. Yes, we can find some hawker fare in London in restaurants (unfortunately at restaurant prices), but nothing beats queueing up for food with fellow Singaporeans in a foreign land, and hearing "Mai tu liao' (Don't delay in Hokkien) and "Jialat (horrors), you think got enough when it's our turn or not?" at the same time.

    I believe in speaking proper English. But Singlish is a part of me, so it was great to hear the mix and match of sentences formed with our various languages and dialects.

    I told my colleagues from other countries working in London that I was looking forward to Singapore Day and what kind of event it would be, and they asked why such a day was not organized for them.

    Kudos to everyone who put on such an awesome event. This is my list of what made the day memorably Singaporean:

    * An Electronic Road Pricing (ERP ;)) gantry as the entrance;

    * Listing the hawker names of the food;

    * Balloons showing Ah Meng (our most popular late orang utan), Singa the courtesy lion, and all the signs prohibiting things like durians;

    * Watching Dim Sum Dollies and Hossan Leong perform a hilarious History of Singapore, Sebastian Tan as Broadway Beng, and Taufik Batisah singing;

    * Hearing Singaporeans speak Singlish;

    * Being "boringly" civilized, queueing up in an orderly fashion and not making trouble;

    * A goodie bag in the shape of a mooncake paper bag;

    * Booths emphasising the importance of national service and showcasing our clean and green city, and;

    * Water stations with a sign, "Thirsty or not?"

    I hope we continue to have Singapore Day for overseas Singaporeans. I would love all overseas Singaporeans to be able to enjoy a day with friends from home in the city where they are living, studying or working.


    And another letter from Mr Anand A. Vathiyar:

    "I was at Singapore Day 2009 in London last Saturday and was thoroughly
    impressed with everything.

    From the well-trained and well-informed volunteers and civil service folk, the efficient yet intimate layout of information at the tents and booths, and the sumptuous local fare on offer, to even entertainment that allowed gentle ribbing of the Government and our way of life.

    The whole event was such a breath of fresh air that its deft, light touch impressed me thoroughly. I was left wondering if the Singapore Tourism Board was behind it, but - surprise, surprise - I found out it was, in fact, an initiative of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Perhaps the PMO and Singapore Day organisers can share their success story with other government agencies so local events can be more audience-relevant, like Singapore Day 2009, which ws aa day to remember. Well done to all involved."
     

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    #55 Loh, May 13, 2009
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  16. koo_fan

    koo_fan Regular Member

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    All nice pics there ! thanks, uncle loh. I din know about Singapore day.

    I can see the love blossom. Most pictures had 'i love sg' .. ~
     
  17. Dato A

    Dato A Regular Member

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    If you do a search of the phrase "maid abuse" in Google (I did it via an anonymous proxy so that Google does not bias the search towards Singapore) you will find that the 6 of the top 8 results are links to articles about maid abuse in Singapore. Why do a small but significant number of Singaporeans treat their maids this way?

    Maids are paid about $300 per month yet some Singaporeans have high expectations of them - some even expect the maid not to make mistakes and punish them severely when they do. How would you like to be treated if you're paid $300 a month to do a job? Lets put it this way, there are people who make millions and get away with mistakes simply by calling them 'honest mistakes' or blaming others for their mistakes. I've heard of people deducting their maid's pay when the maid breaks something....you have to remember how painful it is for the maid when you deduct her pay ...she gets only $300 a month. Others are very suspicious of their maids after reading those dramatised juicy stories on the New Paper about maids bringing men to the house or maids having boy friends outside. For this reason many still refuse to give their maids one day off per week. I'm sure many of these stories are true because maids are also human beings - they can go astray just as married men, married women and teenagers go and do things they are not suppose to do....but how many of you lock up your husbands, wives and teenage children for the same reasons. You can't just jail people in your house because you think they might do something wrong. However, all these can be considered minor compared with the cases of maid abuse we read about so frequently in the newspapers....

    Why are there so many maid abuse cases in Singapore??? I had coffeeshop discussions with a number of people and these were the reasons cited....

    1. High Levels of Stress. I believe we have the highest number of massage chairs sold per capita in the world ....hmm we frequently rank the highest in surveys on stress levels. There are not too many outlets for people's frustrations and stress...hey they can't just go out on the streets to protest and let go. So things can happen when they get home all stressed up and find that their maid has broken something at home ....they might just explode.

    2. High Expectations. Some people expect their maids who are paid $300 to operate at the same level of efficiency as themselves (who are paid $8k?). They become terribly disappointed and upset when their maids does something they think is 'stupid'...

    3. High Levy. The govt takes a chunk (40%?) of what is paid to hire a maid. Our govt takes in one month for each maid what the Malaysian govt takes in one year as maid levy...and they don't have maid levy in Hong Kong. What the maid levy does is to accentuate the expectations gap - the employer pays a total of $600...but gets an inexperienced maid who is paid $300. This gap causes many problems.

    4. Lack of Respect for Human Rights. We are taught to read and count in school...but how many have been taught what human rights are? I remember moral education in my day was about Confucian ethics - respect leaders, respect elders...nothing about human rights. Given that human rights seems a 'dirty phrase' and respect for human rights seen as religious fanaticism in Singapore, it is not inconceivable a small number people have no clue that people coming from 3rd world who are less educated and poorer than us have basic rights as human beings....they may not hit another Singaporeans but they think nothing of physically punishing their maids.

    Our maids earn the lowest pay in the world and suffer from high cases of abuse....what does that say about Singapore as a society?

    **From: Diary Of A Singaporean Mind
     
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    I'm afraid you are in the wrong thread and I hope the mods can create a new thread for you for general discussion. :D

    Mods please take note. ;)
     
  19. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Loh, once you start a thread you are sort of openning a window to let in an exchange of different points of view. But you cannot control what comes through that window. The real test is what the readers think after they read enough input to this thread. I believe 'Singapore Also Can' can come out strong, but it must also accept the bad, the not so good and the good that is said about it. I think Singapore will come out stronger if it can accept criticism, bricks and bats and also all that is good about Singapore. Don't you think this is better than one person's perspective?
     
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    The purpose of my thread has been stated as:

    "So I would like to start this section dedicated to Singapore's past, present and future achievements in all fields of human endeavour, whether in economics, social development, politics, education, sports, the arts, design, medicine, science, law, engineering, IT, media, Guinness World Records, etc, etc."

    This thread is not about all things on Singapore, certainly not negative topics like "abused maids" which must be of interest to and affect many other countries as well.

    I do not have all the resources to discuss this problem, to refute the facts or otherwise of an opinion by an anonymous person just plucked out from the internet. Otherwise there will be no end to it.

    So it is more appropriate for Dato to discuss this problem of "Abused Maids" under a separate thread so that we can have opinions from a wider spectrum of our BC membership. ;)
     

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