Friday, September 30, 2011

Being an architect


A dear friend of mine,Kuna of life is colorful posted this link on her facebook page, and I found myself attracted to it like a moth to a light.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love being an Architect. I’ve been an Architect almost as long as I haven’t been an Architect (don’t try to do the math, please) and at this point I really can’t imagine doing anything else. Actually, I can’t imagine “being” anything else. It’s become more than a profession. It’s become part of the definition of who I am. But, no one really told me it would change every aspect of my perception of the world. No one told me it was going to get under my skin.
No one ever told me, that when you’re an Architect:

You won’t be able to afford your own taste

You’ll notice everything that is even slightly out of alignment

You’ll never look at a building without “reading” the architecture. You’ll only analyze a space, you won’t just experience it. You’ll be a bystander…

You’ll be endlessly fascinated with natural light and shadows

You won’t be able to let anything go, your brain will spin, you won’t sleep

You won’t be able to talk to anyone about what you do. No one will know what an Architect does

You’ll be weary and content at the same time

Your back will hurt

You’ll be less respected than you thought

Your shyness will be interpreted as arrogance

You’ll be working on your craft for years, you’ll never feel like you’ve mastered it, but you’ll keep at it, everyday, again, again

You’ll remember every single thing you did wrong on a project, and that will keep you from seeing everything you did right

You’ll want to put everything in order, always… But, you may choose not to do that

When you’re young, your heros will be irrelevant. You’ll figure that out when you get older

You’ll know a lot less about construction than you thought you would

You’ll mark the milestones in your life by the projects you were working on at the time

You’ll come to know a little about everything, you’ll know a lot about just a few things

You’ll begin to see the built environment as a continuously evolving form, built piece by piece by generations of individual efforts. – You’ll begin to see balance between individuality and community

You’ll often have an opportunity to be the center of attention, but, you won’t know how to take advantage of that

You will be interesting…

Cheers { Coffee with an Architect }

I have been an architect for a while now, and I have a constant love-hate relationship with it.

I'll be looking forward to go to work, all fired up to get a design done, and so weary of being shot down by architecture the next day. It might be me having a personality disorder, but let's hope not.:P

When you work, you always, always try to be the best in what you do right? Well, at least I do. But the problem in architecture is, that it is a form of art. It is so subjective that you can't really say what is good and what is not. Now, of course there are some basic guidelines, like your building should not cause any sickness to the occupants, you know, it needs to have sufficient air flow, and natural lighting to minimise sick building syndrome.

But when it comes to façade, there's no defining it. Sometime I find myself so disappointed with myself for not being a better architect. For not being able to come up with an iconic building, to become a Zaha Hadid of the century. But the thing is, I don't want to. I want to be an unknown architect whose building make people happy instead of leaving them in awe.

To be able to hang on to the knowledge that it is ok to not design an iconic skyscraper is rather difficult, since those who can are practically worshipped in my line of work. And when such images are shoved in your face, (much like the idea of how a perfect woman should be is shoved in our faces by the media), you kind of start to doubt yourself, you start to feel bad about yourself, like you're not good enough.

Now, of course I do understand in all technicality, that being a better architect, with better designing skills, better construction knowledge or better drawing production abilities does not make you a better person. But sometimes, like the article above said, you kind of lose yourself in your job. It becomes you, and you become it.

It really is a sad thing because human are more than their profession (yeah, I do understand that, in theory), so sometimes, when I'm sober enough from all the "architectural drug" pulsing in my veins, and I can see and think clearly, I'm able to refuse to be determined by my profession. I can come to a soothing revelation that I am MORE than just an architect. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and hopefully soon, a wife and a mother(heh). And more importantly, I am just me. Whoever I prefer me to be.

So when that happens, I can just kind of tune architecture out. I hid all the posts on facebook related to architecture, I stopped analysing how a building's design can allow maximum sunlight and making a mental note of how to apply that in my design, stopped looking closely at construction details, and just tell my other half to shut it whenever he talks about architecture (this happens more often than I'm proud to admit), and just enjoy being just a Sati Sekar for some time.

For the time being, I'm still trying to tell myself that it is ok to not be an architect who's portrayed as the 'great building master'. That it is also ok to like building what I like and not to be pressured to build some iconic building just because architects who are talked about, do that. (agak peer pressure rupanya.. hahaha)

When I can finally permanently let go without having to persuade myself of the things above, I bet I'll be as happy as a lark.

But for now, it still is a barrier that I'm trying to overcome. :)

p.s: my permanently-architecturally-drugged other half and me decided to open a design consultation office. We've only just registered the business today. More updates on that later. We specialize in minimalist contemporary architecture. So, if any of you would like to build such building and need a consultation, feel free tocontact us. (sorry for the unashamed self promotion :p)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



I was on my way back from Bali the other day. As I was lining up at the immigration centre along with other foreigners (yes I'm still lining up at the queue with the "foreigner" sign board above it) *insert self pitying rant about how PR process is taking way too long*, I noticed that a japanese family of four was lining up right behind me.

I spent my childhood in Japan, and it really has been a while since the last time I'd been in contact with anything Japanese-other than the food of course- so, I was so happy to hear actual live japanese conversation going on behind me. So happy indeed that I started eavesdropping. :p. I wasn't brave enough to start a conversation with them though, since I was rather insecure about my level of Japanese now that I have stopped using it regularly for about 10 years, so I just stood there and savoured every Japanese words spoken by them.

Now the thing you must know about the Japanese is that their moral, discipline, and considerations towards others is really high. I was really lucky to have been able to spend even the shortest amount of time there when I was little, I would at least like to think that I have absorbed some of those positive traits from the Japanese.

That kind of teaching, I believe starts as early as kindergarten. Young children are taught of the importance of being helpful and considerate of others. But, I'm not very familiar with that territory, since I moved to Japan when I was in primary school. So, I will tell you how the discipline was in my school.

Say Hi to my old school, Kunimi Elementary School Y'all! :D

First of all, everything was self catered. The students worked as the lunch lady, distributing the food to the class (since we take our lunch in our classroom), and it was done so systematically that each and every student in that class will get their fair share of turn as the lunch serving group. The same goes with cleaning the school compound. There was NO janitor, or the cleaning lady. We sweep, mop, dust, brush, clean, wash, replace everything ourselves (yes, even the toilet). I remember seeing a chart in my class room which determines who does what for the rest of the month, and being really impressed by it. I tried implementing the same concept in my Malaysian secondary school for duty roster, and yep, you guessed it. It didn't work.

That's me all hygienically-dressed-up as the lunch lady for the day!

And then, you can completely rely on public transportation schedules. It is NEVER late. and when they're early - yes, that happens in Japan - they actually wait for the passengers. and then you'll never see an elderly, or a pregnant lady, or the disabled standing up in a public transportation. Isn't that great??? There are soooo many other good quality, but the list will never end. NIPPON SAIKOOOO! :D

So back to the family of four story. The family consisted of a mother, a father, and 2 small kids. One boy, and one girl. The girl was about 9/10 years old I think, and the little boy was around 5/6.

I had a good pair of ear, so it was extremely easy for me to eavesdrop on them. I heard the little boy complaining about a stomach ache all through the line. The father comforted the boy but not in a mushy kind of way, you know how some adults talk to a kid like they're just a baby? No it was none of that. The father spoke to his son like an equal. So instead of "Awww, baby, it's ok. Daddy is here. Here let me kiss your tum tum, to make the pain go bye bye" he said "Oh does your stomach still hurts? It's ok. Just bear (Japanese is really big with the word "gaman") with it a little bit longer. We'll go through this together".

I was really amazed at the way the father diffused his little boy's complaints. Of course the little boy keeps repeating his complaint, but who wouldn't? I'm a completely grown woman, and I will complain and nag and whine, and probably curse at my boyfriend, if I had a stomach ache in the middle of a really long line. I was very impressed at how controlled his complaints were.

But then, something that left me with an even greater impression, happened after that.

The little boy was playing with this thing

I don't know what it's called, but I googled queue ropes, and this came out, so maybe that's what it's called.

So the boy was playing with the rope and that steel pole swinging it back and forth, and at one point it almost fell down.

If it were me, I would've reprimanded my kid saying
"Stop that, somebody will scold you for doing that"

But the father did not say that.What he said was:

"良いの? それ倒れたら,皆に迷惑をかけるよ?"
"Are you sure you want to do that? If those collapse, you will trouble everyone"

So, instead of telling the kid that they should be afraid of being scolded, he lets the kid think for himself, whether playing with the rope is right or wrong, by telling the kid what will happen if it collapses while also teaching him to be more considerate of others.

I was really impressed. I guess it is the same as teaching your kid the importance of "please" and "thank you", and being helpful and kind to those weaker than you, and letting someone out of the lift/public transportation first, before getting on, not cutting queues, crossing on the zebra cross, and being punctual among so many other things.

I guess that kind of things should be taught as early as possible as a foundation for them to grow up as a person.

I think that's what I'll teach them before abc.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A bitter sweet goodbye.

So I completed all my registeration procedures with University of Malaya today. Well, actually I completed my registeration with UM last week, but today, I applied for the student pass, from the uni, so it feels much more set in stone. I'm saying it like it is a bad thing, but as I said, it is something bitter sweet to me.

This time around, last year, I was greeted with several happy news. I got accepted to several universities in the UK to get my masters in architecture. This happy news was followed by ironically sad news, that I can't go, because I had some complications in my PR/Visa application.

I still held on to the offer, because I want it so badly, and because I so hope that my PR application issues will be solved in a year, so I deferred the offer for a year. But, I guess God has better plans for me, because it turned out differently and I still have to remain in Malaysia. I guess it's just not meant to be.

So with all the confirmation today, I guess it is time to bade a sad farewell to these..

And say hello to and try to make the best out of this! :)

While still waiting for this

So Dumbledore's successor, whoever you are, I'm still waiting. Anytime now.

P.s: I think right about now, my other half is accessing my email and sending the universities an email declining all the offers, because I just can't do it myself. :(

Monday, September 19, 2011

Purpose in life.

I have always wondered what my purpose in life was.

Has anyone ever felt like they are just drifting in life, with no definite purpose or goals? I have.

As many might know, I have studied architecture, and had worked as an architect for 2 years. I assumed that that was my goal, I have even put that up in my personal statement when I was applying to universities. I mentioned there that I would like to make a difference in the world through architecture (rather presumptuous and conceited no? :P)

But working for 2 years in the field, I get so caught up with submissions, and just getting projects done, that I forgot what I hope to be doing. And then I realise that perhaps, this is not the way I would like to do the world good, because deep down inside, I still feel hollow.

I quoted Mitch Albom in my personal statement, and I would like to share it with you. I find this quote very true and meaningful.

"The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your comunity around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning"

I too have always believed that we serve some sort of purpose in life one way or another. I believe that we live to benefit others, and from others. It's a never ending cycle.

It is however, in my opinion, a greater pleasure to do something that benefit others, rather than being the one who benefit from others. Because after all to give is better than to receive. But then again, we are just human beings, and we will rely on to others at some point or another, so, it is inevitable, and being able to do so makes us more human.

I have been at loss as to what my purpose in life is, but I remembered again today.

I remembered that instead of existing just to do something for yourself, existing to be helpful to those around you will definitely make you happier.

I remembered that one time, when the horrendous tragedy struck Japan with tsunami/earthquake/nuclear plant leak disaster all happening at once, @aoihashima tweeted something very inspirational. I will try to translate it to the best of my knowledge, but I apologise for any mistake, my japanese is rather rusty.

お金がある人は、 お金を出せばいい。 知恵がある人は、 知恵を出せばいい。 チカラがある人は、 チカラを出せばいい。 勇気がある人は、 勇気を出せばいい。 何もない人は、 元気を出せばいい

"Those with money should give out money, Those with wisdom should give out wisdom, those with strength should give out strength, those with courage, should give out courage, those with nothing should chin up and give out smile"

Even during such a dark time, and when all hopes are lost, these people still try to do something for others around them. Even when they have nothing. Isn't that something so inspirational, and doesn't it at least nudge at your conscience?

I have yet to find my purpose in life, something that I can do to benefit those around me, to make the world a better place. But if my writing is something that can reach out to people around the world in some way, and if it does someone good, at least I will be doing something someone somewhere finds useful.

People have so many different goals and purpose in life, that much can't be denied. But, whatever your purpose in life is, try to do something that will benefit others more than something that benefits yourself. That kind of purpose feeds your soul. That kind of purpose makes you happy in return.

True story.

A stranger, a 29 years old girl from czech, messaged me on formspring with a truly kind word, this post was inspired by that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No title sebab eksaited sangat.


Made my day. Probably month too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I recently got into a fight with one of my closest friends. I always wanted to be a good person, you know without the hate and all, but the darker side of me is always banging on the dungeon door, where it is usually locked in, trying to get out, and one dark dark night, it got out.

There was no excuse to the despicable thing I did, but I think I needed her to understand that my intentions were good. I'm a very protective sort of friend, and I can't stand to see any of my friends get hurt. It was not my place to say anything, but I guess my protective (and a little bit of spiteful) side overwhelmed my better judgement, and I did what I did. Which I truly regret up until now.

I don't really do the talking behind people's back kind of things, I like it better when things are out in the open so it can be talked about and solved. Although, I have to admit, I don't always have the best of timings for the confrontations. I tend do it when I'm mad. And so, out of anger, I said some things I didn't mean, she said things she didn't mean, and it went back and forth for a little bit, and like any fight, it finally reached its end. The thing with fights is, it is pointless, you get each other angry, you hurt each other, you achieve nothing, and lose everything. I do not recommend it for anyone.

It took us months to cool down, and I started coming across our old pictures, and our old messages (thanks facebook), and of course I started to really miss her. We were really tight before, like horcrux and voldemort tight. She was a part of me as much as I was a part of her. I guess it was because we were both a scorpio so it gets really intense or something like that.

So I did the only logical thing to do at that point. I apologised. I didn't care who was wrong or right, all I cared about was making things right between the two of us, and if an apology is what it takes, then I'll be damned if I let my ego get in between of us. Apologising is the least that I can do.

Of course this kind of fight leave even the strongest of friendship with one or two battle scars, and things wont quite be the same again. It might mend with a little bit of time, because after all, time heals the deepest of wounds, but you really have to not push it, because it will be really fragile, and will break at the slightest of force. So, I'm giving it time to mend itself.

I have just figured out how friendship works while I was driving earlier today. Amazing how being alone and spacing out(while being careful of course, this must be said, since I don't want my licence to be suspended. haha) can put things into perspective and lead you to a revelation isn't it?

I was thinking about how I'm looking forward to the season premier of Gossip Girl (can't waittt!!!!), and Gossip Girl got me thinking about Blair Waldorf, and how emotionally attached I get about her (once again I must underline that I am a very INTENSE person. In every sense. Even over fictional characters). How she always does some really exasperatingly dumb things which you just can't quite see how someone can be so daft to do such things, but you still love her and want her to emerge victorious above all the drama and complications that she created for herself.

Then I realized, lightbulbs and all, "Oh hell, I should have just thought about my friends that way, instead of being angry at them for the things they do".

I love all my friends, perhaps more intensely than average, but that's just how I roll. However, sometimes, my emotions do get the better of me, and I get mad at things they do, which doesn't concern me, but which I also know, will bite them later in the end. So I'm protective, sue me. :p

However, you will be relieved that I know now, that I should release my death grip over my friends' life, and just let them run their course, regardless of the outcome, and just kind of be their backbone from afar.

Ahh, it feels good to let go. Why hadn't I thought about it sooner?

So to all my friends, if you're reading this, know that I love you.:)(imagine autumn golden leaves terbang terbang, sunset, and sea breeze).

Oh, also, thank you Gossip Girl and Blair Waldorf for making me figure this out.

(anticlimax and bersepah gila this post. hahaha)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something wrong with the picture.

click here for the full article.

I came across this article while I was waiting for Adam getting his hair cut.

When will people finally learn?

It's never the religion that's wrong. It's always the people.

I think I can say from personal experience, that both Islam and Christian teach and preach about peace to its followers.

My aunt is a devoted catholic, and there was one time where she was greatly hurt by an action of a pious muslim man who said something very degrading about her faith and believes, but did she throw me out of her house when I came to visit? did she discriminate against my muslim mother? No. She even told me, and I'm taking her words here;

"I was deeply hurt by what those people did, but I am a catholic, and my religion teaches me to forgive, so I shall forgive them and not hold any grudges. But I am still very very hurt."

and by the way, the word Islam itself is derived from the word "Salam" which means peace, so actually the muslims are people of peace. Not someone yang go around waving parang to those who've wronged them.

I've heard some wild accusation thrown around on the internet about christians. Something along the line of "Christians are always waiting for the day of the fall of Islam". I think of my aunt, and I really have a hard time taking those words in.
And in Indonesia (from what my mother told me) the accusations go both ways. Christians are equally terrified of muslims converting christians to Islam. So we have all these rumors flying around us, making us paranoid and on guard.

I do not deny that such things are happening, it is. but again, it is the people, not the religion.

There are good muslims, and bad muslims,
There are good catholics, and bad catholics,
There are good christians, and bad christians,

So if tragedy like the one in the news happens, and people start being suspicious of one another because of their religion, then, there really must be something wrong with the picture, because religion is something that actually prevents such things from happening.

Translation from Surah Al-Kafirun:

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
O disbelievers!1 I do not worship those whom you worship.2 Nor are you worshipers of Him Whom I worship.3 Nor am I a worshiper of those whom you have worshiped. Nor are you worshipers of Him Whom I worship.4 For you is your religion and for me is mine.

for excellent translation and tafsir of this ayat, click here.

Let's all be friends. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

My darling.

image: My own

My posts had been very preachy lately have they not?

So I'll talk about something very light tonight. I'll talk about being in love.

**warning!! mushy post coming up, leave if you're diabetic. (you know because it's sweet and all.. oh never mind)

My other half is finally back in Malaysia. and the other night while we are BBM-ing, yes both kedekut taknak call sebab call charges are outrageous these days, I realize just how much I am still in love with him, even after his 2 years absence. Even after 6 years of relationship.

I have dated jerks before. I still cringe at the thought of what I've had to put up with. Of how I allowed myself to be treated.

The manipulation, how he constantly praises his ex girlfriend (which i doubt even existed, now that i'm wiser) so that i'd feel like i had something to prove.

The trying to change me part, how he keeps picking on my imperfections, making me feel inferior, and trying to fit me in his mould. It's even gotten to an extend where he messaged a girl, some random girl on some social networking page, whom he doesn't even know, complaining about me, of how I'm not fun enough because I don't go to clubs, or drink, or do drugs.

The lying part, how he keeps texting girls behind my back.

And the list will go on. I'm way over that, but sometimes, I wish I had at least bitch slapped him once. But then again, it wasn't entirely his fault,I should've realized that if a relationship consist mostly of drama,it isn't a relationship.

(moral: jangan gatal ada relationship masa sekolah)

Negativity aside, remembering such things make me realize just how lucky I am to have Adam.

How he loves all of me. Right down to my excessive fat. lol

How he thinks I am just perfect, that nothing is wrong with me.

How he looks at me when he's driving, and randomly tells me how beautiful I look. (double chin and all)

How he would never ever try to change me.

How he would *try* to make me happy. (which is a little bit hard to do, because I'm very particular, hehe, but he tries anyway)

How he would look at me adoringly even after all these years.

How he would let me meragam, all bad tempered, and foul mouthed, when it's hot outside, and when I'm PMS-ing, without batting an eyelash, sebab dah sedia maklum.

How he understands me inside out, the way I think, before I think it.

I am grateful of all of that. When I think about it, we had our ups and downs, and even rock bottom, and even worse, dark ages, we managed to come through, and that's all that counts to me.

So, my darling, if you're reading this, this is one of my sane moments, before my psychotic hormone kicks in. Do try to remember what i wrote in here when I'm having on of those flip-table moments alright?

I truly am grateful, and blessed to have you.

I love you. *heart shapes and flower petal terbang terbang, rainbowsin the sky, and fireworks*


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kind words


Have you ever thought of how we became the way we are?

I think we are shaped by our experiences, and what surrounds us. True enough there are some personality traits that were given to us that we can't ignore, but our perception, and the way we see things can change according to what we were surrounded with.

For example, a child who has been abused (verbally and physically) her whole life, will definitely see the world in a completely different way than a child nurtured with encouragement and love(this doesn't mean that you should spoil your child). This is also why, abused child will either become an abuser themselves, or they will turn a 180 and become a protector. Either way, I think we can agree that in general, people will be shaped by what surround them, and who the come in contact with. Very much like Mitch Albom's 5 People You Meet In Heaven.

I bet you have seen cases where the naughtiest kid in a class is given the responsibility to become a prefect. My mother is an educator, and she explained this to me. Such kind of act is called indirect encouragement. Usually kids becomes naughty because they unconsciously think that that is what's expected of them, and they are only worthy of being reprimanded, instead of being encouraged. So when they are told off again and again, they will feel like they are being pushed away, and they will react by behaving even more badly.

On the other hand, when the same kid is treated with kindness and encouragement, they will feel that they are being trusted, and their self-worth will increase and thus making them react to it by behaving better.

Whether we notice it or not, we also react the same way to both encouragement and discouragement.

I'll give you an example with issues that is closest to home for me. Hijab. Have you seen articles/discussion on the internet condemning people who are not covering their aurat perfectly? These articles/discussion attacking them are usually written with a cringe worthy crude and offensive words, which is a great irony because these people are preaching and acting all holier than thou, you know, all i'm-doing-this-in-the-name-of-my-religion kind of thing, and yet they say hurtful and spiteful things that do not reflect their religions. Some even went so far as to add "aku bukan nak nasihat pun, aku cuma nak kutuk je", and make you kinda go "what is th.. i don't even..what are yo... oh nevermind".

What I don't understand is how they think that spiteful words will benefit anyone, rather than to satisfy their own inner demon, what if those spiteful words they say leave a permanent scar to someone, which causes them to sink further into the darkness making them incapable of changing for the better? Are any of them ready to take the responsibility of that? Wouldn't it have been easier to say some encouraging words, or a kind reminder spoken in private, instead of publicly humiliating someone? Wouldn't it bring a better outcome? True, that we must reject any act of sins, but it means that we must reject the sin, and not the sinners. After all who are we to judge?

I myself get a little bit lost from time to time, and I think I have been really blessed to not be surrounded with the judgemental sort.

Today, I checked my formspring, and realized 4 months too late that I'm even more blessed than that. Someone left me a really really kind word, which left a big impact on me.

To the stranger above, although I believe that I am not worthy to be sung such praises, I thank you so much for your kind words. You have no idea how much that means to me. :)

So dear readers, I think I have established, how strong the impact of our words is. It can make people happy, peaceful, encouraged, assured, feel blessed and grateful. But if you choose, it can also make people feel the complete opposite of that.

So, say a kind word today, instead of condemning.
Encourage instead of Discouraging.
Empower instead of belittling.

You just may never know how much the words you say, or write can effect a person's life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Beauty - Overrated?

Have you ever thought how overrated good looks actually are? I really think that it's too glorified by the media. What's with the beauty search and what not.

It kinda makes you ou look at someone stunning for example, and of course you think, "By George! She's gorgeous!" (Try saying it with an English accent. It's funny:P)and you find yourself envying her like it is the only thing that matters. This is pretty common actually, and of course at one point or another, this happens to me too. I find myself sometimes envying people with beautiful complexion, doe eyes, and full lips (and later rasa really bad for being so shallow).

Of course it is nice to be complimented on how good looking you are, how dewy your skin look, how your eyes sparkles like the stars, how sharp your cheek bones are, how rosy your lips are, but do we really deserve such compliments?

I mean, it's not like we worked on it right? it's not like we burned the midnight oil, to sharpen our cheekbones, or worked hard to make our lips fuller, or we bend over backwards to make our eyes sparkly-er.

Isn't beauty just the case of getting lucky to have the right combination of chromosome traits that some don't? Isn't is just the case of having, what Tyra Banks would say, what ya mama gave ya? And it just so happens that what ya mama gave ya turned out to fit the society's definition of what beauty is.

I still say that what's inside counts more. I really do think so. Being nice, smart, helpful and funny, is still worth a hell lot more than just being pretty and nothing else. Even if @Lord_Voldemort7 thinks otherwise lol.

Here's the link of an excellent article about beauty. Enjoy and be inspired my beauties!

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