Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

It’s a Miracle.

October 25, 2014

heart7 The beach

I once lost my glasses when knocked down by a large wave close to the beach on Indonesia’s island of Lombok. Lombok is a large volcano and the beaches bank down steeply into the ocean. Within a few metres of the beach you cannot stand up in the water anymore. I assumed my spectacles would gently roll down to the depth of the sea with the occasional calamari perhaps peering through them, wondering what sort of two eyed glassy creature is beckoning.

Next morning my wife and I went for a walk along this beach and I found my glasses washed up on the sand.
The sea had returned my glasses. It was a miracle and for true believers, performed by Allah.

Let me explain. We had been to Bali before and on one of those trips decided to go to the island next door called Lombok. We thought of going by ferry but they were booked out. A good friend told us that Lombok is what Bali had been. I suppose he was referring to tourism having spoiled a rather peaceful island into a place swamped by loud, beer swilling and hairy armpit scratching bogons. Together with encrusted bikini clad dreadlock knitted girlfriends looking for ‘ a good time’! The murder rate was steadily climbing up, as were muggings and stolen passports. However, despite all that, even today, Bali’s culture of the pre-dominantly Hindu faith is still largely intact. The Island is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. Perhaps art overcomes all?

After arriving at Lombok we noticed a difference. Next day at about 4am I woke up. It was H, who poked me in the ribs; ” what the fuck is this”? she said gently. It happened to be the very loud and amplified call to all Moslems to come and pray. It woke H up. I am profoundly deaf, so, there are benefits. ;) Anyone who has ever been to an Islamic country would know. We did not. The Mosques and Imams use the spires of minarets to call the devout for prayer. Lombok is mainly Islamic even though next door to Hindu Bali.

Prayer, or Salah, is one of the five essential pillars of Islam. Taking time out to pray, five times a day, helps Muslims remember Allah and their purpose in life – to worship Him. When they turn towards Mecca, they are united with all the Muslims around the world who face the same direction, and when they raise their hands to begin Salah, they put aside the stresses and worries of life to remember their Lord.

I have often thought about the event of finding my glasses on the beach. Against all odds. Was it a miracle? Was the combined praying at all helpful in bringing my glasses back onto the beach, uphill, against a steep incline and against the law of gravity?

Here some wise Islamic saying that seems to unite all, even those from different faiths.

Make the most of your life before your death.”

Make the most of “your health before your sickness.”

Make the most of “your time before you become busy.”

Make Among the most of “your wealth before you become poor.”

Make Among the most of “your youth before you become old.”

 Near Ubud, Bali

Near Ubud, Bali

New Arrivals Down Under

October 23, 2014

gerard oosterman:

Here is an impressive article of a family’s arrival in Australia in 1959.
It wasn’t easy.


Originally posted on Berlioz1935's Blog:

Everything comes to an end one day. But, at the same time, it is  the beginning of something new.

Paul and Ursula were standing at the railing of the ship that had been their home for five glorious weeks. They felt they were treated like royalty. It was a journey of a lifetime that transported them from the cold war  Europe of the fifties to a new life on an ancient  continent.

They had their girls on their arms and observed the activities on shore. Men in blue singlets were hosting the gangway into place so a new wave of migrants could get on land.

Only in the morning had a doctor decided that they could disembark because Ursula suffered  a large abscess on her knee which made walking near impossible only the day before. This would have meant they would have continued their  cruise to Sydney. But over night the knee became…

View original 890 more words

My 1996 RMW boots.

October 20, 2014


These boots were made for walking. They were bought at the same time we bought ‘Rivendell’ back in 1996. Rivendell was a property of over 110 acres. It held a large house and an old convict built slab timber hut. It was the slab timber hut that made us get the property. You could feel the history of it. Hard labour, no running water and no electricity. A family with 9 kids lived in it till the seventies when it was bought by a couple of artists who then also build the house and the farm infrastructure with holding pens, horse stables, a diary ( dairy ;) ) and lots of dams. The property had a 2km frontage to a river. This river used to roar after rain but became a trickle during droughts. We were told that a grave on our property held the remains of a baby that had drowned in the river during the 1920s while her mother was doing her washing. Each spring a few snow-bells used to pop up above this grave which was surrounded by an old rickety picket fence.

That’s how farming is in Australia, a fairly ruthless game not for the faint hearted or the get rich quick merchants. Wild dogs including dingoes used to go for the kill during lambing times and our neighbours used to put out baits to keep on top of those killers. It also got our Border Collie ‘Bella’, who during a walk along the fence line must have taken a baited chook head. She had enough time to bolt home, crawl underneath the veranda floor and died within minutes.


We never set out to do any farming. It was a semi-retirement move but with it came the restoration of the old hut into a holiday letting with a handy income. Of course, no move into the country could be undertaken without also getting sturdy boots and Drizabone coats.

Our Farm "Rivendell"

Our Farm “Rivendell”

We still have the drizabone coats and wear them during cold and windy weather. They are a cotton soaked in boiled linseed oil fashion item and an obligatory features in many films including The Man from the Snowy river. My RMW shoes are now over 18 years old. They are still wearable but only just. I wear them knowing they came before our three grandkids were born, before the 9/11, the Iraq war or other catastrophes I might have overlooked. The RMW boots cost a fortune but they do last!

Here they are.

photoRMW Boots (1996)

Brkon’s salvation by his Nana in the Cow shed.

October 16, 2014

Ukrainian house

On the banks of the brooding Danube, Brkon was holding the condom wrapped message pondering over its meaning. What was its significance? In his alcohol addled brain he fought desperately for an understanding and the possible profoundness of its message. The streets, back alleys and loose women with reckless imbibing the plum slivovitz had taken their toll. He was overwhelmed by sadness and re-read the message ‘breed Leghorns’ over and over again. Bratislava’s morning lights were still twinkling in the distance. The distant roar of the casino’s ribaldry now dying out.

His only connection to Leghorns chickens was his beloved Nana who had some of those in her backyard on the outskirts of town. As our readers might remember, she also supplemented her meagre income from distilling slivovitz at the back of the cow-shed. In winter the shed held four cows which made her get up each morning at 4 am to milk. The milk she sold to the co-op which in return gave her butter, cheese and whey. It was a hard but simple life. Her husband had died many years ago after having wandered inebriated into the frozen forest. Even so, she missed him. He was good at splitting firewood for winter. He was found in spring, an empty bottle of slivovitz in his gnarled hand defiantly sticking up through the thawing snow like a signpost asking a forgotten God for some redemption.

Brkon’s thoughts dwelled on the good times he enjoyed as a child with his Nana. He especially remembered the brightly orange yoked Leghorn eggs she fed him as a child. He was still innocent and as pure as her lovely whey and curds. How did the innocence travel to the debauched without him knowing? Tears were now streaming down Brkon’s face. She held a special place in his heart.

He stirred himself into clambering up the Danube’s embankment and decided to visit her. The sun had broken through a difficult dawn but was now bathing the willows in gold and yellow. He made his way to her humble wooden cottage and noticed she had plugged the weathered logs with moss and a neat well stacked supply of fire-wood near the brightly red painted door. His spirit lifted already. She was overjoyed to see him, put on the coffee as she had done each time on his infrequent visits.

He confided to his Nana all that troubled him and she understood. “You are welcome here,” she said. “You can milk the cows, split the firewood and help stoke my ripe plums and watch the dripping results into bottles, cork them and make sure the money comes in.” “Deal with those customers owing me.” His Nana was no fool. You can sleep with cows and there is a comfy stead with straw mattress, you’ll be warm.” “You have slept there before, remember?” Also remember, “one sip and you are out.”

And that’s how Brkon became again, regained the sweetness of life. The Leghorns keeping him and the cows company. Even though he was within earshot of the bubbling tempting liquid. Never a drop again. He often wondered about his Nana making a bit of an earner from a liquid so beloved but also so bedevilled to many. He knew the answer! He withstood the agony of temptation year in and year out. He buried his beloved Nana behind the cow-shed when old age finally won out. She was a month over ninety four.

The leghorns kept on pecking.

Brkon too lived a life.

Brkon turned a new Feather/Leaf

October 12, 2014
etching by G O

etching by G O

Brkon’s Recovery from Vice with a Proposal for an opportunity in Bratislava during my teen-age years. As dug up from the bowels of the internet.

As most of you might still remember Brkon, I thought it might be time to let you know how I fared. Suffice to say that things are looking up! The plight of Bratislava’s male youth is a common story of many having survived years surrounded by so many mouth-wateringly beautiful Slovakian women. Many fall for their beauty and as the years go by love takes its toll and many are left to their deeply ingrained vices, end up wandering the streets, impoverished and looking unshaven. You might see them hanging around the Bratislavan market places, scrounging for alms with a nostalgic wish to return those earlier times steeped in love and seductions. They so desperately remain in search of ‘happy’, but as the years relentlessly marches they pay a heavy price. They are now the outcasts, the societal flotsam washed up like the so may sullied and used condoms along the banks of the Danube River, carelessly thrown overboard by the Rhine- Danube River crowds drunk with cruising for love. The lot for so many tortured tourist’s souls.

This is what happened to this Brkon. They say the first step to recovery is to admit one’s compulsive habits. If you still remember my adventures with the lovely Svetlana so many years ago including my first youthfully bursting experiences on the silken smooth valley of the svelte Lilianes, you might also recall how my dear old Nana had a nice little earner going with her sly-grog slivovitz operation inside the cow-shed. The combination of so much of my Nana’s duty-free slivovitz and so many warm thighs made me a debauched and lost soul sadly wandering the Danube’s river bank. In vain I searched for the anchor that would hold me steady. I knew there had to be something more to life than sex and booze. It does. Listen carefully.

Late one night, I was again listlessly wandering along the Danube River’s bank. The distant sparkling lights of Bratislava once again beckoning me. I knew that surrender to yet another night of loneliness and despair had become such hopeless course. It was an endless routine, falling again for a whore’s bloated blue veined listless limbs aided by Nana’s slivovitz. I had reached rock bottom.

I kicked a bottle shimmering in the light of the Danube’s ghoulish moon. I noticed something inside it. I pulled the cork off and shook the contents into my hand. It was indeed a message that for extra protection was wrapped inside a condom. The silver foil had “drsny jazdec kondom” printed on it. I knew enough English that it was a popular condom sometimes colloquially known as ‘rough riders’. The message had just two words, “breed Leghorns”. How odd. Little did I know it would set into action a most fortuitous chain of events that would lead me once again back on the virtuous path of wholesome decency and survival.

Keep eyes peeled.

Golden Syrup and Robertson Pies.

October 12, 2014
Milo training

Milo training

At my age being able to open the lid on the golden syrup assures me of a fine week-end ahead. It doesn’t take much! Is it my age and diminishing physical strength or are manufacturers heeding the warnings on lurking terrorists by ramping up security in tightening access to foods? It isn’t just lids. Try opening vacuum packed salmon or an eye fillet. It all looks so near and yet so far. I sometimes just give up and put the item back in the fridge for another day and just peel the Kipfler potato or boil a simple non challenging egg. We now just buy free range eggs and just hope the chickens realise our previous close bond with them and our sacrifice.

It reminds me of many years ago when I had a pet Leghorn rooster. He too used to come next to me in the car but in his own wicker basket. You could never put a seat belt on a rooster. It was at a time I worked in an office and the Leghorn used to like being with me. One day someone stole him when I was having smoko. I put reward pamphlets with his photograph on telegraph poles around Ultimo for his return. A week later, I heard a familiar cockle doo di doo. He was outside my office door in a box of shredded office documents. I tried in vain to read bits of the shreds in order to find out who had committed this cruel and dastardly act. I never found out.

A propos Milo’s mad bike and riders barking/biting disciplinary action. We did make it to the Robertson pie shop with H on one side of the front seat and Milo on the console in the middle. He loves a nice drive. We sometimes seat-belt him in but the harness is so complicated it slipped beyond my skills this morning. I also wanted to relish my golden syrup triumph for a bit longer. We were very hopeful of a good bike rider biting session when, after our arrival, we spotted a number of bikes outside the shop. Most of them Harleys with huge shiny exhausts. Milo pricked his ears in keen anticipation.

We did not have to wait long when a couple approached their bike. He looked as if he was approachable for a good bite. Just having eaten his pie I don’t think I was too far from this assumption. I gave him a well practised synopsis of our problem with Milo. I showed him the plastic drink bottle with drilled holes in the dark blue cap. ( remember how the ‘squeeze the water in his face’ was shown on U-tube)? He listened attentively, but when I proposed he start his bike to let Milo have his way and possibly bite him, he was not enthusiastic. However, his girl-friend seemed very taken by it. She smiled broadly. She no doubt thought a bit of fun would do no harm. She got into the spirit of things straight away. A good and feisty woman.

Perhaps sitting behind the motor- bike as a pillion rider was not her idea of much fun on a Saturday morning. Roaring up and down steep mountainous escarpments might be more the domain of men. Women like adventures of the spirit and mind. Hence, perhaps the idea of a boyfriend getting bitten was at least a safer and more creative option. A change from the normal routine. Mind you, I am speculating here. The pro and cons of things linked to the sexes can get one in a lot of strive lately. It is a precarious balance I do not want to divert from.

I could tell that he thought his masculinity was on the line. You can’t ride a Harley and not succumb to dogs chasing you and here was a chance to go one further, and get bitten. An old ditty must have come to mind; Be a man and not a fool, pull the chain and not your tool. His girl-friend was very pro the trial. He checked his bike leggings and even put on his helmet. Milo was keenly watching, wagging his tail. His Waterloo had arrived. The bike was started up and Milo flew into action. Helvi was ready with her squeeze bottle. All stations on the alert.

… And Milo? Milo attacked the back tyre. That was his aim. He would go for the legs of the bike not the legs of the rider. In doggy world it makes good sense. The motor-bike is the dog. If someone walks a dog and comes across a cranky dog. The dogs fight each other. The owner doesn’t get bitten. Helvi gave Milo the water torture and he did stop. So… We thanked the brave man and his girlfriend who could not stop laughing. They turned into the road to Kiama down the steep escarpment.

We hold high hopes for Milo being cured…

Discipline and Fish & Chips

October 10, 2014
Milo after many pats

Milo after many pats

We are still getting over it. It happened last week-end during the May day celebrations. Why this is held in October here in NSW, Australia, might be better explained by those better versed in Anglo Saxon anomalies than I. I remember years ago wondering why a penny was denoted by the letter ‘d’ and not by a ‘p’. Even worse, we have yearly Edinburgh ‘tattoo’ on TV. Why ‘tattoo’, when it could be called festival, musical, or even carnival? May day in October probably adheres to similar laws of incomprehensible logic, so esoteric, that only fools would question them. ;)

Anyway, we decided to go to the coast and have Fish & Chips together with our incorrigible JR Terrier ‘Milo’. It would be nice to let him smell the seagulls and salty ocean spray. You know the image, a beige man throwing bits of drift wood into the ocean and a dog wildly braving the waves retrieving the stick while the wife stands back, takes pleasure in viewing both husband and dog. Domestic symbiotic bliss on a long week-end.

After both husband and dog had expired enough energy, it was decided to look for a suitable cafeteria with chairs and shade umbrellas. We soon found one along the strip of shops that are so identifiable with almost all developments in Australia. The road goes through most shopping strips and as the towns developed so would the suburbs neatly arrange themselves around the shops and business premises. The place we visited was Kiama. After having ordered the Fish & Chips we sat down and so did Milo. Now Milo is a dog that behaves perfectly. He does his ‘business’ well away from were people walk. Amazing, because we never trained him. He will settle down underneath bushes or in leaf mulch under a large tree. Afterwards he even buries it and looks at me for ‘you’re a good boy, Milo’ statement.

The one departure from his well behaved deportment is his hatred for motor-bikes. He has a thing about motor-bikes and their riders. Show him a motor bike in situ, he is an angel. It is only when rider and bike are combined in noise and a forward motion that he goes berserk. We have tried to reason with him. Tried rewarding him, punishing, smacking with newspapers, withholding his chicken-neck dinner. All the usual pedagogic tricks of parenting and upbringing. Nothing works. In Bowral where we live, it is just the occasional motor bike. No worries. People look up a bit and smile. He is just a rascal, they seem to imply. In any case we try and avoid roads and motor bikes, walk along a flowing little river. He barks a bit at ducks, but who wouldn’t?

Kiama seems to be occupied during May-Day (in October) with motor bike riders. Lots of them. Many bull-necked heavily tattooed riders and equally tattooed bull-breasted girlfriends akimbo on Harleys, Triumphs, and Hondas. Fat wheels everywhere, roaring, spitting fire. Milo went mad. I am personally very fond of motor bikes and often reflect on my own motor bike days, I had an ex-police Triumph with sidecar. I was never bull-necked. No-one was in those days. Nor did I tattoo myself. No serpents around my biceps or lecherous, leering ladies on my chest.



Needless to say, the Fish & Chips underneath the umbrella was ruined. As mentioned, Kiama was full of motor bikes and riders. There must be a club somewhere. There would be a motor-bike every five seconds. Milo hurtling himself forward dragging tables and chairs with him. A few Japanese tourist girls escaped the fury, left the café looking back and down to Milo who was besides himself, foaming at the mouth. We were tempted to let him go and then pretend he belonged to someone else. Instead we dragged him back to the car and drove home in utter silence. He had ruined our day. “Disgraceful dog”, “you’re disgraceful”.

Milo just rested his head on his front paws. He felt fine.

The possibilty of ‘fracking’ Governments.

October 4, 2014

etching 'couple'

etching ‘couple’

They, many eminent scientists say that when you put pressure on something the results is often a release of pent-up energy. It is now used to release gas locked up in rock formations. It is called fracking. Geologists come home tired and their wives now ask; Did you do some good fracking today dear?

Go and ‘frack’ yourself is an expression waiting to raise its head in parlance of the progressive world of slinky board riders and depressed gloomy hoodie wearers. I bet you it will take over from the ‘awesome’ and ‘oh, my god’. I think ‘stuff like that’ has now sunk into the furnace of lost expressions, the same as ‘bodgie and widgie’ did some many decades ago. It was used during the period when as a teenager I used to linger around Parramatta Delinquent Girls home. Friday night was ‘curler-night’. I remember seeing girls in trains wearing curlers! Men used to perve on Pix magazine girly photos showing knees and total naked feet.

I have just brushed up my very limited knowledge on Islam and ISis with all that goes with it; I can’t say I am much wiser. Previous knowledge did not go much further than Ali Baba and forty thieves. On the way over from Holland our boat stopped at Port Said where we all went off the ship. I was fifteen then and bought a fez and a small whip used for camel driving. I kept those mementoes for years. Now they are lost the same as those past popular expressions. Forever gone!

I do know that bombing always ends up killing. With the latest be-heading no doubt the reaction will be more bombing more killing and more incomprehension by many, not least myself. Isis seems to have unlimited funding and an expert PR machinery going for it. Perfectly English translations of their web-sites and IT magazines beamed and downloaded all-over. It is there within seconds as did the latest beheading video, done by the same man speaking in a thick London accent.

I don’t know what goes on. The last major conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan were all undertaken at the behest of the US. All three conflicts seemed to have achieved nothing but hordes of refugees and endlessly ongoing murderous campaigns. We were lied to by our governments as never before. Vietnam did not result in hordes of yellow peril. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. Afghanistan with the Taliban were Americas friends during that period they were fighting the Russians.

And now…again, Australia goes to another war. And talking about expressions, our Government calls this…not going to a war but… ‘a humanitarian MISSION’! Can you believe it?

Governments need fracking I reckon. Get fracked Mr Abbott.

Rattling Sabres and Victa’s

October 3, 2014

photo Chiminea

“We had this hysteria a few weeks ago when hundreds of police came swooping down on a few that were supposed to be heading towards wiping Australia of the map. There were photos of men with hands tied behind their backs, sitting on suburban nature strips surrounded by masked menacing looking men with guns handy.

Soon after jets were scrambling towards the middle East and the whole country petrified of swords and sounds of manic mid-night cackling by deranged Islamic fanatics. And since then? Niente, niks, rien, nothing, nichts.

The same as ever, queuing in traffic, gas-bills being paid, the cabbage in the fridge, the rattle of the Victa lawnmower at week-ends.

And now… this unholy cabinet united in involving us in yet another war”. Good sense has now taken leave with charlatans, foxtrotting generals, and palm readers in control.

It is now time to put on the sausages. There is nothing like taking stock, reflect on folly, indulge in purple prose, escape in flights of fancy and light the newest barbeque. We have bought one of those Mexican chimineas. A biscuit glazed clay bulbous pot on steel stand with embossed iguanas on the outside. Helvi and I, like true Mexican tribesmen used to, sit around and contemplate while baste the sausage, bung in the prawns, imbibe a Shiraz.

“Can you try not fall asleep when I am talking to you G, or, if you do, I’ll go upstairs to the putor”. “Sorry dear, I am just looking at the flames of the fire,”and relishing your latest post on suggesting putting a Burqa on Abbott, seeing all his decisions are now cloaked in secrecy.” ” I thought it was so apt.” “Don’t pull the flattering one on me, you’re eyes were closed.” “I know you so well.” ” So do I.” “I think the sausages are ready now, can you get the plates?” “Yes dear. Any tom sauce?” “No tom sauce for you G”, it is bad stuff.” “Is it? I am still here!” “Yes, you are telling me.” Sigh!

Domestic bliss around the clay iguana pot.


The silliness of the debate on burqas and Parliamentary security. I can just imagine the upcoming debate on fanatic Santas riding on reindeer, hiding their true faces. God knows what evil lurks behind those beards and red robes. How did they ever infiltrate our lovely sun-kissed country and culture. Did they sneak in on rickety boats? What are their evil aims and why have kiddies in their laps?

There is a lot there!

Western Polo-necked Youth drawn (radicalised) to Isis.

October 1, 2014


The local youth don’t know what they are missing out on. What’s the golden syrup that draws the future jihadists away from our lovely, caring and all inclusive culture? Of the estimated 30000 Isis army about a thousand or more are alleged to have come from Western countries. The videos and the beheadings in Syria are supposed to have been done by someone with an English accent. Perhaps even an English national. Claims were made that the identity of him is known. Many countries are scrambling their fighter jets. We are daily shown TV images of pin point accurate bombs honing in on enemy targets with plumes of black smoke radiating dangerously close towards us on the comfy couch, accompanied by a shot of a pulverised, disintegrating enemy(real people).We almost end up clapping or at least hope for an encore.

If those figures are correct, it means about 10% of all the Isis forces are from Europe, America and Australia. That sad video made by a woman undercover in Syria, of a French youth on the phone to his crying mum back home in France, telling her that he wants to stay in Syria and fight. “I am not coming home”, he said

The reason given is that of being ‘radicalised’. The young people are being radicalised! It almost sounds as if there is some Voodoo going on. You know, feathers and chicken heads besmirched with demonic dancing around funereal fires. There must be hypnotic Isis practitioners out in the suburbs casting strange spells on our youth. Oh, that’s the explanation! Yes, we see now. Yes, that’s why! Nothing more? Is that all there is to it? The magic of radicalisation? How simplistic, but that word is being used to explain the hard to swallow fact that many of our young feel attracted away from our much revered system of consumerism and capitalism. How can that be?. Let’s cancel their passports; teach them a lesson.

Isn’t that a bit easy? Surely there must be better explanations offering more thought out and credible reasons why so many are drawn to fight in far away sandy and risky countries. I don’t know either but I am now old and often in repose mood, not yet listless. I well remember, as if yesterday, not being like that. My main aim in life was always to savour the new and skirt and flirt the adventurous, avoid the staid cemented-in, like the plague. I have been reasonably successful in that and wasn’t ever tempted to become a lawyer, a quantity surveyor or actuarial expert with a sound grounding in so much nothingness. Not the stooped-over office chair for me. I too might have been tempted to join an Isis!

I do remember the opposition to the Vietnam war. Young boy-like soldiers laughingly saying goodbye to wives, mothers, girlfriends. Many never to return but in bitter graves under moonless skies. There were escapes for youth then, with protests by students, energetic rock throwing by their professors. America and its allies capitulated. The war lost.

But now, nothing but a numb acceptance of everything that is imposed, unquestioningly and obediently. Dreadful things happening under the guise of ‘humanitarian concerns.’ The killing fields of our detention camps. The 15% unemployment rates of the young. It must be having an effect on our youths. Is despair rampant?

Perhaps this disillusion felt by youth has spread to the Western world as a whole. Has capitalism and consumerism run its course?

Don’t we give back what is given to us?

Is that perhaps one reason for some of the youth to be attracted to Isis.

Is that the radicalisation? I don’t know.

What do you think?


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