Twenty o’thirteen: Learned from the slap

1483354_10202833457857765_2052922365_nIt was not an easy year, I must say. There were a lot of ups and downs. There were a lot of moments when I tried to stop for a moment to reflect but I couldn’t because I had so much to do. It is as if I really did a lot of work for this year, but not. I just felt tired – emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I kept things within me than share it to people or ask God for help.

Year 2013 gave a hard slap on my face. It’s not to punish or embarrass me but to make me think of my priorities. I learned a lot of lessons this year. I realized that relationships are more important than anything else. To get the most results, you need to work as a team and value the people you are working with. Success has no room for selfish people. I realized that trust can be given to every one but belief can only be given to some. You need to carefully choose the leader you will follow because a leader can either make or break you. I also realized to also slow down in giving all your efforts on what’s not yours. It is important to own it first before really giving in so you won’t get hurt once it is taken from you. It should be noted though that we cannot really cling to things found here on earth. The most important lesson I learned of all, for a person who hates goodbyes, is to learn to let go.

To fully realize the things I have to improve on, I did an assessment and planning last 28 to 30 December. Initially I thought that I missed to do the things I planned because of all the difficulties I witnessed and faced this year, I thought I failed. But I was wrong. Looking back and assessing this year, I realized that I actually accomplished a lot.

I…

  • Got promoted twice at work;
  • Got the chance to study in Ireland;
  • Met new amazing people and became friends with them;
  • Became a real life foundation coach;
  • Had an exciting adventure in China, Banaue Rice Terraces and other places;
  • Got the chance to help other people in times of disaster;
  • Fell in love;
  • Achieved the targets I set for work;
  • Achieve my fitness goal and got into yoga practice; and
  • Built more memories with my family and friends.
Planned accomplishments, unplanned accomplishments, and gapsSWOT Analysis

I was just probably tired that’s why I didn’t realized the beauty of this year. I tired the people around me too. I got a lot of pressures and my response was to take it all. I learned my lessons. All the things that happened in 2013 was necessary for me to realize that I have to reorganize my priorities, set a system, follow it, but still make room for some surprises and changes from God. I need to breathe and enjoy the moments.

To let God take over is primarily the main point of the plans I set for the next three years of my life. I decided to plan for three years because I know that changes and my prayers will take some time to be realized. I want to avoid the rush of getting things done based on my time. I want it to be according to God’s time. Among the strategic objectives I set for the next years are (not the exact phrasing I did):

  • To be a woman after God’s own heart (as inspired by E. George);
  • To help and influence people by adding value to them (as inspired by J. Maxwell);
  • To secure my family’s future;
  • To become the best person I could be for others; and
  • To maximize my season of youth.
The thinking hat - facts. what to do, challenges, solutions, and feelings
The thinking hat – facts. what to do, challenges, solutions, and feelings
The 3-year goal, purpose, objectives, success indicators, and targets
The 3-year goal, purpose, objectives, success indicators, and targets

I am excited how these plans with turn out. Much more is the fact that I am excited for the bigger things ahead. What I’m doing now is prepare – prepare -prepare. This year taught me a lot a lessons that I could bring in 2014. I still thank this year for both its pains and joy. I wouldn’t ask for another 2013. I wouldn’t ask for other memories to be in it, much more are other people to be in it. I love it the way it shook me as a person. I want get out of this better.

Before another digit adds to this year, allow me to thank all the people who became part of it…

  • To my family, thank you for all the support and love. I couldn’t be who I am now without your understanding and nurturing. I love you all.
  • To all my new found friends. It was a pleasure meeting you. The universe must be so small to bring people like you and me together. I am looking forward to making more memories with you. I love you.
  • To all my friends since I was born, thank you for staying. Some people left and some people go, but I believe you are all worth keeping. I will fight with all my might just to make sure you’ll still be there kicking with me until 3014 (that is if you still want to be with me). I love you.
  • To all my colleagues in ANSA East Asia Pacific, thank you for the lessons you taught me. Thank you for constantly checking on me. True to the goals of being socially accountable, thank you the four years of pruning. I love you.
  • To all my orgmates in Rotaract, Comm4Change, Global Changemakers, Clinton Global Initiative, Victory Church, National Youth Parliament, Global Youth for Anti-Corruption, and ADB Youth Partners – thank you so much for constantly inspiring me. You all served as a fuel to keep me going. What we are doing is not easy but as long as I know there are still people like you who wants to make this world a better place, I won’t quit. Thank you and I love you all.
  • To all who volunteered and contributed in RevivePh, Checkmyschool, and Paraiso, thank you so much. I hope you won’t get tired in helping. Your heart to help others is what makes this journey of change-making more meaningful. Let’s continue to hope that days will be better soon. I love you all.
  • To my mentors, teachers, supporters, and detractors, thank you for making time for me. I really appreciate your words of encouragement and advises. Though I am not following all of those, rest assured that it is all considered and carefully thought of. I promise to continue in seeking your words and carefully follow it next time. Again, thank you so much and I love you all too.
  • To all the people I met along the way, thank you for that time our eyes met and said hello. I am looking forward to building more memories with you soon. I hope your wishes for 2014 will come true. I love you.

To conclude my final blog post for 2013, allow me to share some of my answered prayers this 2013 to inspire you of the surprises ahead. These are the faith goals  we set in church every January of the year and the answers I got along the year:

  • Promotion from work -> new responsibilties in ANSA;
  • New discipleship group -> Lai, Maan, Mona, and company;
  • Sustainability of Checkmyschool for the next 5 years  -> got a grant from GPSA on this;
  • New business/social enterprise -> Paraiso Junks;
  • Wear swimsuit in the beach with good figure -> haha! I did this is Caramoan

This coming 6 to 10 January, we will be doing another prayer and fasting in Victory. If you wish to join, you may do so by clicking this link. I promise that this is something you will be thankful for.

Thank you so much for reading this post. Have a blessed 2014 to you and your love ones! #lovelovelove #feelings

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” – Anonymous

Victory Sunday Service: It’s Not About the Money

Today’s topic: Giving
Speaker: Chinkee Tan

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● Finance has a spiritual and practical side. Everything that happens on the exterior has something do with what’s happening in the interior.

● The way you see the father, affects how you approach him. If you know God owns everything, would you hesitate to ask anything?

● Giving is never an issue of what you have but an issue of the heart.

Why are people not giving?
1. Greed.
● You will never have enough.
● We all have different levels of greed: greed 1, greed 2, greed 3.
● Love of money alone is the root of evil because we are focusing on it instead of God.

2. Poverty
● Poverty is an issue of the mind. Even if you have all the money in the world, you will still be poor if you don’t know what to do with it. ● See verses:
Jer 5:4 and Prov 10:21

3. Entitlement mindset
● We worked hard for it, why will we just give it? Is it really our work or God’s work?
● See verse:
Deut 8:17-18

4. Selfishness or self-centeredness
● See verse:
Psalm 119:36

How can we be generous?
● See verses:
Psalm 119:36, 2 Cor 8:1-5, Acts 4:33, Luke     6:38, Gal 6:9, Rom 8:29, and Hebrews 13:21

● Change of mind and a change of heart (Acts 4:32-37)
   ○ Mindset (v.32) – none of those 
      belongings belong to anyone
   ○ Heart (v.32) – they share what they have because it all belongs to God

● God’s ownership = Man’s stewardship

● The purpose of blessing us to become a blessing to others.

● The hardest person to please is yourself.

● Giving should be a lifestyle and not just a one time thing.

● When God removes something from us, we ask why me? When God blesses you, do we ever ask why us?

● Believers of God give in FAITH because they know that they will never lack.

● It will not be hard to ask something from God especially when it’s align to his plan and agenda.

● Money is not the end in itself, it should be used to bless other people. It may be impossible for you, it is not for God.

● The purpose of blessing us is for us to become a blessing to others.

● Believers of God give in FAITH because they know that they will never lack.

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Using Social Media for Big Listening

Using Social Media for Big Listening
October 10th, 15:00 BST – 10:00 EST – 7:00 PST

The rise of social media as a tool in advocacy, engagement and mobilisation has been dramatic. But as more organizations make use of social tools to promote program and campaign messages, only a small percentage of organizations are “listening” to see how people are spreading the word, what worked and what did not. At the same time, we’re learning about U.S. government agencies listening to online communications. We’ll discuss a few recent examples of big listening.

This webinar will demonstrate a range of listening activities and monitoring tactics that follow available social platforms–including blogs, video, Twitter and Facebook, discussion boards like Reddit, and online mainstream media. Using a range of tools to track these social platforms, including simple free ones you can create an “online dashboard” that gives fast insight into conversation trends on the issues and programs you care about. Rachel Weidinger will talk about the innovative approaches that her organisation, Upwell.us (http://www.upwell.us/), has developed to monitor discussions about the Ocean and Dirk Slater from Fabriders (http://www.fabriders.net) will discuss how these techniques have been used in marginalised communities.

Jessica Steimer from Aspiration (http://www.aspirationtech.org) will discuss the basic building blocks of listening, including email alerts, searches, feeds and tags.

More information can be found here: http://tech.transparency-initiative.org/events/using-social-media-for-listening-tabridge-webinar-2/

A teacher is a change-maker

We finally saw each other again after 11 years.:DWe finally saw each other again after 11 years.:D

Teary-eyed, I went home from the birthday party of my teacher’s son. I cried because I finally saw Ma’am Sharon, my adviser in first year high school, whom I haven’t seen for 11 years. More than being a teacher, she’s the one who believed that I can do more that I thought, and that there is something special about me that no one sees. My heart just overflowed with gladness as the past comes back, then I wiped my tears.

A very relaxed student who prefers to play games or do some art stuffs – that’s who I am, at least during high school. I am often scolded for not studying at all. If I do, that was usually a night before my class. Thanks to my mom who helped in finishing my assignments. Thanks to my grandma too who would bribe me every time I passed exams. These external motivations kept me at the top 10 in my class. But for my dad, being in the list of the top in class was nothing. He didn’t even go to my elementary graduation simply because I’m not the class valedictorian.

In first year high school, I got the opportunity to become the class president. That was a big leap because it required more responsibility and discipline from me. Being the head of the class paved the way for me to spend more time working with my adviser Ma’am Sharon Chavez on school matters. We would stay late decorating the room or preparing for school competitions.  Those were good leadership training at an early age of 13, but what’s more life changing is how much Ma’am Sharon pushed me to be better by really pressuring me to perform better in school.

First year sectioning at the National College of Business and Arts is organized randomly. However, there are these students from 1st year Amiable which dominates the top 10. To get into that list is a tough challenge primarily because you don’t know how your opponents were performing since you are in a different section (if that’s the best thing to describe it then). At first I didn’t frame myself that I have to be the top in class, but because I have that strong push from Ma’am Sharon to do my best. That was difficult challenge because that will entail sacrificing my play time and comfort. But that is something Ma’am Sharon fought for, as she consistently motivates and coached me to be one of the best students in high school.

1st year section Humility with adviser Sharon Chavez
1st year section Humility with adviser Sharon Chavez

Whenever my mom gets my report card, Ma’am Sharon would tell her that I am a very great student. I just need to be pushed (that’s super cool cause my mom would tell that to my dad). In class, she would always call me for recitation, believing that I have answers to her questions. She later would give me things I have to improve and some tips on how to do better. She would constantly remind me to work harder. It’s like having a teacher, a sister, and a coach all in one person. I felt pressured but it all turned out good at the end.

I got into the top 10 of the 1st year on the third and last quarter. I was the top in my section too. Not only in the academics did I really improve. I got to develop my leadership skills too as the head of the class. Our section managed to win several school-wide competitions. We also got the recognition of the most beautiful classroom. Thanks to our young and passionate adviser. She was always there all along.

Photo credits: FacebookPhoto credits: Facebook

To be the best that I can be, to believe that I can make it to the top, and to really work hard to achieve my goals are lessons from Ma’am Sharon that I’ve been continuing to live up to this day. Who I am now, and who I will be in the future is partly because I got great teachers who didn’t just teach, but believed that I can do it. It is true that no matter how good the teachers are, there will always be bad students. However, I would like to attest that it takes only one teacher to believe that a bad student can be someone, for them to be able to change. It all requires good faith. It takes a good teacher to do that.

Tonight, I just want to shout to the world how a teacher changed my life. For most of the time we take for granted how much they played a part in our lives simply because we paid them (at least for private schools). We often forget how crucial they were in giving us the power to do and understand things. I’d like to believe that a teacher’s job is not mainly to teach, but really to change a person. It’s one of the professions I look up to. It’s one of the things I commit to do soon.

Thank you Ma’am Sharon for everything! Thank you to all our amazing teachers!:)

Lessons in life from the Clinton Summer School 2013

Here are some lessons learned (Other lessons will be posted soon. Please be back for the updated version):

On issue resolution/conflict management:

  • “Dealing with the past will always be difficult” – Dansel McDaniel
  • “It is important to make a compromise and decision at a certain time. Timing is always important on this.” – Peter Quinn
  • “Shortened diplomacy will never deliver a solution. Solutions are delivered when people come face to face.” – Peter Quinn

On business/social enterprise:

  • “The best business plan is having the person who has the ability to do it” – Emer of Dublin City University
  • “Be prepared to take a risk.” Emer of DCU
  • “The keys to success are: (a) vision to make a difference, (b) determination to do it, (c) confidence to do it, (d) believing that it is good, and (e) accept the possibility of failure but still do it. – Peter Quinn
  • “What makes a business person different? They normally hunger for success or wealth. They see market opportunities. They are prepared to take a risk. They are community oriented. They can lead. But best of all, they should be leaders.”  – Peter Quinn

On change-making:

  • “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – quoted by Lauren from Mahatma Gandhi
  • “The biggest bigotry: We don’t listen to the people who disagree with us.”
  • “We easily get caught up in the day  to day life that we forget that the simple things in life is what matters most.”
  • “One of the determinants of life is confidence. You have to believe in yourself.” – Peter Quinn

Disclaimer: These are just my notes. If I fail to quote someone or failed to capture what the exact quote is, please let me know. 

Clinton Summer School 2013

God knows how long and winding it took to get me to the Clinton Summer School 2013. I thought so many times if I should go or not given the bunch of work and difficulties in the logistics that I have to pass through. But I made it, and I’m glad I did a great decision.

600764_10151500384521452_879267854_nAction upon learning is my motto in attending any kind of event or learning activities. If learning can’t be applied and functional, forget about it. I’d rather give the opportunity to others than be half-mindful of it. This has been my standard after attending so many conferences and learning events. I don’t want to attend an event for the sake of knowing people and finding myself having a tour in another place. I want something to be done during or after and this is what I looked for when Stella O’leary, a person I met at the Clinton Global Initiative, invited me to be part of the Clinton Global Initiative.

“Encouraging Business Development in Divided Societies” was this year’s theme for the Summer School. Just the word business was enough to make me excited to come. For me, a business is no business unless it’s practiced. Otherwise, it’s theory. So there goes the so enthusiastic me volunteering to help out in any way I can – be it logistics, in training or anything. Maybe because I’ve been used to doing some speaking engagements, training people or arranging a whole program as part of my work. But maybe that was not the time so I rather took the opportunity to be more relaxed and be a participant.

Straight from the challenge of getting my visa in London, I arrived in Enniskillen on the 7th of June. I’m one of the first few people to arrive so I managed to get a good sleep in room 216. When I woke up the next morning, the next hours and days were all part of a beautiful history.

Photo of the dayThis year’s summer school had been attended by young leaders from Philippines, Kosovo, Kenya, Israel, Palestine, Basque country (Spain), South Africa, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, and USA. To meet people in these countries and ask them personally about the situation in their area is better than reading books or watching the television. You get to know different truths and emotions as the story unfolds right on your face. You become emphatic and try to objective as much as possible so that you can grasp the facts more than being deluded in the feelings.

The “feelings” and the “why’s”, are the two main things that encapsulates the whole learning experience of being at the summer school. The field trips, lectures, and personal testimonials of how it has been in Northern Ireland before and how it is now has been very effective and relaying the message of “why” Northern Ireland is the way it is now. For me, the program has been effective in relaying its history and how it is working to make the present work for the future. I admire that. For me, a personal story of struggle and the courage to forgive by taking a stake on peace is more than powerful than moving forward with a sword. Yes, the wounds of the past will not easily heal. It will still hurt eventually. But the decision of choosing to hold your enemies’ hand and work for a better future is enough to build on that “why” we should work for the benefit our children.

reportingsLearning, doing, and networking summarize the things that we did in our Summer School. We learned a lot about conflict resolution through the experience of Northern Ireland. We also learned about different examples on social enterprises and business from Dublin City University and from Women in Business. I took a lot of notes from all the speakers which I enumerated here. The workshops were all very helpful in keeping our minds active on what to do next.

Doing is a word that speaks of the different exercises we made to juice up our minds on what we can do for our society. I find TED talks as something which always gives me to that “Aha!” moment bringing in a lot of crazy ideas. I also love the letter writing because I know that it is something which can possibly influence a decision-maker like David Cameroon. I just hope that there will be a chance to bring young people to G8 for example, and let them talk to the leaders. Good thing we were able to get an interview from BBC and RTE so I hope our message reaches the G8.

Networking extends beyond the class attendees. We were able to meet great people like Baroness May Blood, Nancy Soderberg, Father Devine, Chad Williamson, and many more. Learning from them and even talking to them personally is very inspiring. It just proves that they are where they are because they should really be there. I’m sure that my friends in summer school will be there too. Hearing from them as they ask questions and relay their own stand is just enough to prove that they’ll be that someone too. Only time can tell when.

BAsketballLife-changing for some while frustrating for some. For me, if there’s one word to describe the experience, it was “intense”. Intense, because the program is 12 hours long. It was also intense because of the passion that you can definitely feel on the people who shared their knowledge, their time, and their energy to make this all possible. I thank all the people who’ve done the simplest to the hardest things for this year’s summer school. You know who you are. Heaven knows how to reward people like you.

I also thank all the new found friends I have for this year’s summer school. You inspired me. Your stories and passion serves as the fuel to keep me sailing in the seas of world problem. The path I took for development is heart-breaking and draining. But just knowing that there are young people like me who are crazy about making a change is enough to convince me that I’m not alone in the “making change” battle. With people like you and me working together, this world can be a better place. Let love happen and let it begin from here.

Thank you again and God bless the Clinton Summer School [and everything related to it]. Peace yo!:D

Gusto ko ring mag-aral

249007_10151466084911452_192997400_nDalawampu’t apat na oras na buhat nang lumapag ang aking eroplano sa Pilipinas. Kababalik ko lang mula sa Ireland para mag-aral. At ngayon mas sigurado ako na gusto ko pang mag-aral.

Bukas babalik na ako sa tunay buhay. Hindi para mag-aral pero para umaksyon base sa aking mga natutunan. Matutulog na sana ako ng maaga para maaga rin akong makarating sa opisina. Pero tila ba sinadya ng langit na gisingin pa ako upang mapanood ko ang palabas ngayon sa ABS-CBN, ang “Gusto kong mag-aral”.

Ang “Gusto kong mag-aral” ay isang dokumentaryo patungkol sa sitwasyon ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas partikular na sa malalayong lugar na hindi madaling naaabot. Ilan sa mga istoryang ipinakita ay ang pagtawid ng mga estudyante sa ilog at paglalakad ng ilang kilometro makarating lamang sa paaralan. Hindi lamang estudyante ang ipinakita pero maging ang mga guro na nagsasakripisyo maturuan lamang ang mga kabataan. Hindi ito kaiba sa mga istorya ng mga paaralang napupuntahan namin sa Checkmyschool. Nariyan ang mga eskwelahang iilan lamang ang libro, mga binabahang classroom, at mga gurong ginagamit ang sarili nilang pera para lang may pang-pamasahe ang mga estudyante nila papasok sa eskwela.

Ako’y  naiyak sa aking napanood. Magandang pangbati ito para sa aking pagbabalik sa Pilipinas. Isang paalala ng aking misyon na tumulong mapabuti ang edukasyon sa bansa. Ilang araw bago ako lumisan ng Pilipinas, tinatanong ko ang sarili ko at ang diyos kung ito nga ba ang dapat kong patunguhan. Nakakapagod at maraming kailangang isakripisyo. Pinili kong hindi ituloy ang ilang aplikasyon para mag-aral sa ibang bansa dahil hindi ko maiwan ang Checkmyschool. Mukha hindi naman ako nagkamali sa aking desisyon bagaman hindi ko parin isinasantabi ang ilang personal na balakin. Gusto kong mag-aral, oo. Pero gusto ko ring makapag-aral ng maayos ang mga kabataan ng bayan ko.

Iba ang motibasyon ko sa pag-aaral kumpara sa mga ipinakita sa doku. Noong bata ako, gusto kong mag-aral kasi gusto kong matututo; gusto kong magkaroon ng kasagutan sa mga tanong ko. Noong medyo tumanda na ako, gusto kong mag-aral para maabot ko ang mga pangarap ko; para mabili ko ang mga gusto ko. Puro ako, hanggang sa dumating ako kolehiyo.

Hindi ako nakaranas mag-aral sa pampublikong paaralan o makapasok man lang sa pampublikong paaralan hanggang pumasok ako sa UP. Kumpara sa pampublikong paaralan na elementary at sekondarya, mas mabuti na ang kalagayan ng UP lalo na sa Unibersidad ng Korea kung saan rin ako nag-aral. Hindi ko kailangang tumawid sa ilog para makarating doon. May sapat namang mga upuan at may mga ilaw naman sa mga silid. Hindi nga lang ganoon kataas ang sahod ng mga guro sa UP kaya may ilang magagaling na gurong lumilisan. Sa maraming pagkakataon, kailangan mong magpaphotocopy ng libro na kakailanganin mo. May ilang banyo rin na marurumi at mga kompyuter na niluma na ng panahon.

Abandoned classroom at Burias ESMas nakita ko ang tunay na larawan ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas mula sa mga pagtuturo na ginagawa namin sa mga pampublikong eskwelahan. Higit ko pa itong naunawaan mula sa mga pag-iikot naming ginawa sa Checkmyschool. Mga sira o kulang na palikuran, kulang na libro, mga estudyanteng nakaupo sa lapag, at mga silid-aralang basam-basa sa tuwing uulan. Ilan lamang ito sa mga larawan ng kalagayan ng serbisyo ng edukasyon natin sa Pilipinas. Iba pang kwento ang kalagayan ng mga eskwelahang laging dinaraanan ng bagyo at nadadamay sa gulo sa Mindanaw.

Hindi bago ang mga ganitong kwento ng kakulangan sa mga gamit sa eskwela at mga sakripisyo para lang makapag-aral. Pero sa tuwing nakikita at naririnig ko ito, hindi ko maiwasang mapaluha.  Nakakapagod at parang walang katapusan. Minsan parang gusto mo nalang sumuko. Pero sa tuwing maririnig mo sa mga batang gustong mag-aral kahit  ano pa man ang pagdaanan, sino ako para magreklamo? Sa tuwing makikita mo kung gaano kahirap ang ginagawa ng mga dakilang guro makapagturo lang sa mga bundok, isla, at liblib na lugar, anong nagawa ko kumpara sa kanila para mapagod?

Gusto kong mag-aral. Mahal ko ang karunungan. Gusto ko ring magturo bilang isang guro.  Alam kong ang magkaroon ng mabuting serbisyo sa paaralan at makatapos sa pag-aaral ang kanilang mga estudyante ang gusto ng mga gurong aking napanood. Gusto kong makatulong sa kanila sa bagay na iyon.

Gusto ng mga kabataang ipinakita at hindi ipinakita sa dokumentaryo na gusto nilang mag-aral. Hindi ko maipapangakong matutulungan sila sa pagpapaikli ng daan para mas madali silang makapunta sa paaralan. Pero baka pwede kaming makatulong bilang boses nila sa pamamagitan ng Checkmyschool. Baka pwede kaming makatulong sa pagpapakita ng kalagayan ng ibang mga paaralan sa malalayong lugar. Hindi ko ito magagawa mag-isa kung kaya’t maghahanap ako ng mga kasama. Sa pamamagitan ng blog na ito, sana maipaabot ko sa iba na pwede rin silang tumulong. Kung hindi man bilang kasama namin sa Checkmyschool pero baka pwede rin sa pamamagitan ng ibang proyekto.

Kung lahat tayo ay magtutulong-tulong, walang imposible. Pwede nating matulungan ang mga nagtuturo at ang mga gustong mag-aral.

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