6 things I like about [FTHX] Live in Singapore

By , March 10, 2014 9:12 am

I watched them when Datzentertainment first brought them here in 2009 for a showcase. That was at St James, and it was a sold out performance. At an average of age of 20, they put on a solid performance, and left an impression as the one of the, if not first Korean band to perform in Singapore at the onset of Kpop wave here.

Before their first full-scale concert PLAY! in 2012, they’d returned a few times, as part of the line-up of other Kpop concerts, and usually – because of precise band set-up – as the opening performance, they never fail to heat up the crowd.

The PLAY! concert at Max Pavilion in January 2012 was when they showed their musical prowess as they held court for 2 hours despite lead singer Hongki being rushed to the hospital before the show started for a flu-relief jab. I remember they belted out most of their hits and title songs, but they left me wanting to listen to more. Which I did at their 6th anniversary concert in Singapore last Saturday. And it was daebak.

fti

Here are 6 things I liked about the concert:

1) the energy

Although lead singer Hongki kept lamenting how it seemed like he wasn’t able to keep his energy levels as high as before, now that he is 26 (Korean age), the powerful rock music complete with his solid vocals absolutely heated up Indoor Stadium, despite a less impressive crowd size versus the super A-listers (think Super Junior, Girl’s Generation and Big Bang).

2) the rock music

I’ve always liked their title songs. Even when I didn’t understand Korean, the melodies always resonated with me. While I wished they sang more of their classics, I was happy that despite a song set without much of it, it was still a two-thumbs-up concert, in my opinion.

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3) the ballads

I especially liked the acoustic ballad segment when all of them, including drummer Min Hwan and bassist Jae Jin joined Hongki crooning “I Confess” and “Always With You”. The moments of crystal clear vocals were very charming, and added complexity to the otherwise rock concert.

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And, I absolutely loved the remix of “Severely”:

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4) their colours

Towards the end of the concert, they sang what they claimed is the kind of music they wanted to do – “Black Chocolate” and “Revolution”. I liked it that the self-indulgence was nicely done, not too much, not too little. The two songs may not be commercial hits, but definitely scored in musical terms.

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5) their maturity

If you’ve followed them and their music from before, this would be pretty obvious. Wanli and I are very much pleased and amazed with how well they’ve grown.

6) their respect for the translator

Few Kpop performers would introduce their translators on the stage, sans fanmeets. I really liked how Hongki invited his “teacher” on the stage to translate for him. Well done, whether it’s him or the organizers.

祝君好

By , October 14, 2013 9:21 am

最近在韩国音乐节目上,和GD、KARA等年轻偶像呛人气的“叔叔”级歌手,当年可是走情歌王子路线的人气歌手Im Chang Jeong。
阔别三年重新出击,他带着自创曲《我这样的人》再站上舞台,尖叫声不输当年。

[youtube jCb2EK7jgZg]

如果觉得他眼熟,那你可能最近看过Super Junior希澈的Instagram。

131011-heechul

90年代中期出道,活跃歌坛时,他曾是韩国电视台年底的音乐大赏的得奖常客;也参与了不少电影、电视剧和舞台剧。

个人最留印象的,除了2009年,他和朴艺珍主演的《青潭菩萨》外,还有后来被张智霖翻唱成《祝君好》的《하늘에서》(Smile Again)。

[youtube YOZ0ITlhdGo]

个人其实比较喜欢张智霖的演绎。你呢?

Comeback of 1st Generation (or even earlier) artistes

By , July 29, 2013 9:56 am

It’s probably the after-effect of the popular drama last year “Answer Me 1997” on me, that I had took notice of many recent ‘comeback’ of 1st generation artistes, and perhaps even earlier.

Somehow I got into thinking that the timing is rather apt. At a time where some are claiming that kpop is currently undergoing a revamp in terms of music genre and image (insiders are hinting that general interest in kpop is declining, hence a need to revamp), the comeback of these artistes are welcomed by the industry.

Well, at least for me, I think most of them did a pretty good comeback, in terms of music and the performance. Good thing is I don’t think you would find them outdated. In fact, many claimed No.1 in charts despite strong competitions from other young idols.

1) Cho Yong Pil

Cho Yong Pil

Of course you would be tempted to ask – this UNCLE?

Yes. His name is Cho Yong Pil (read more on Wiki), born in 1950. To many Koreans, he is one of the most influential figure in Kpop. A friend shared that his song was one of the first being adapted into Cantopop by Alam Tham – 《爱在深秋》. This year, he did a comeback with his 19th album, and his title track “Bounce” swept major charts. You have to listen to the song, before you judge him by his age.

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2) Shinhwa

Shinhwa the classic

Last year they did a comeback to announce Shinhwa is still alive and kicking. The comeback was welcomed by many idol groups, all hoping that they can last as long as the group. The only kpop idol group which never changed members, did a 15th anniversary concert tour, and released another full length album this year. Title song “This Love” claimed 8 No.1 titles from various Music Programs, surprising even the artistes themselves. In a recently 20s’ Choice awards organised by Mnet, they claimed two awards (mostly determined by voting), including 20’s Mwave Global Star: Shinhwa, beating Suju M and 2pm etc.

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Interesting enough, a writer contributing to American Magazine – The Atlantic, drew parallel of the comeback of Shinhwa and Backstreet Boys in an article – What the Backstreet Boys Could Learn From K-Pop. I thought she did quite a nice conclusion of the success of Shinhwa’s comeback – Korea’s longest-running boy band, Shinhwa, proves that staying relevant isn’t about pretending you’re young. It’s about embracing your age.

3) Lee Hyori

Lee-Hyori-Bad-Girl

Long before Hyuna or G.Na, we had Lee Hyori, Kpop icon of Sexy Diva. After going solo from Fin.K.L., she made a successful career as a solo artiste. This year after finally releasing her album again, she surprised everyone and announced her marriage plans with music composer Lee Sang Soon.

[youtube 7Aph-1u4fNU]

4) Lee Jung Hyun
lee jung hyun

Quipped “Techno Queen” of Kpop, she is the singer behind Wa (와, “Come”) and Bakkwo (바꿔, “Change”), both techno numbers which firmly established herself in the industry. Lee Jung Hyun has been known to try out many erm… ‘interesting’ images. You can see her transformation here (credit:allkpop).

This year, she did a comeback with a song “V” in a “Ghost Bride” image.

[youtube BUfH53bYp1Q]

Many of you would be familiar with her earlier songs as both were picked up by Sammi Cheng (《眉飞色舞》、《天衣无缝》). And if you think Sammi Cheng’s images are daring and trend-setting (aka. Nike eyebrow alike), you should look at Lee Jung Hyun’s kimono-style-plus-fan look, singing into her pinky dance!

[youtube bp-pywooIh8]

Of course there are many more artistes who’s been around for a long time, like Kim Tae Woo from 1st generation idol group G.O.D. But the fact that these established artistes are making headlines and claiming No.1 titles, are a encouraging sight for the scene. I supposed these comebacks not only give good alternatives to the kpop industry, it also shows that you can still have it if you are still good. Plus when you’re a veteran, you somewhat have more say in your production, and are more able to deviate from the mainstream market. In a way, it sends signals to the younger artistes when you are successful, and gives green light for the industry to try out new stuff, other than techno-electo pop numbers.

Everyone would agree that the replacement rate in this industry is super high, more so in kpop. Many young artistes have mentioned that 1st generation idols are a great source of encouragement. At least now they would believe that if they work hard enough, they can still perform for more years.

Perhaps soon, we will be able to see some collaboration of young and veteran artistes?

Korean netizens are like CSI

By , July 15, 2013 9:55 am

This isn’t the first time I’m seeing it, but everytime they do this, I am still amazed.

Recently, netizens claim that ” “I hear your Voice” scriptwriter is an undercover Shinhwa Changjo“. They went on to list out the possible clues ‘hidden’ in the drama to prove their observation. The way they present their evidences is, DAEBAK.

You see, Korean netizens have a reputation of ‘working like CSI’.
When something ‘fishy’ catches their attention, they’ll start to dig information and analyse them to come up with evidence and proofs.

Of course, this ‘skill’ is well applied for kpop news/findings. Here are some episodes of K version of CSI, starring k netizens.

1) Changmin and Victoria (F(x)) dating?

changtoriaf(x) member Victoria tweeted with this photo and netizens noticed Changmin’s reflection on the spoon

Earlier this year, Chinese member of kpop group F(x) Victoria tweeted with a photo about her having a meal during Yuan Xiao (元宵). It would have been a very innocent tweet, if netizens did not notice the reflection on the spoon. Yes! REFLECTION on the SPOON!! Apparently, they analysed and proved that it looked like Changmin of TVXQ! and started digging for supporting evidence online. There you go, look at the detailed presentation of the evidence here. SM entertainment, the agency representing both artistes eventually came out to admit that it was indeed Changmin’s reflection, but they did not take the meal alone, several other staffs had dinner with them.

2) IU and Eunhyuk scandal

IU eunhyuk

Kpop fans would not forget this photo, would you? The photo that IU ‘accidentally uploaded’ caused much hoo-hah last year and was said to have damaged both idols’ image greatly. The half-faced IU was ‘identified’ by netizens, using a photo of her pajamas IU once uploaded after she burnt her clothes while cooking ramen. Yep, netizens ID-ed the pajamas.

3) Park Yoochun slapping fan

park yoochun A Korean news agency claimed that they have evidence of JYJ Yoochun abusing a fan. This episode soon snowballed into a situation where many came out with videos proving otherwise, and raised awareness once again on Sasaeng fans. The videos were taken by fans from different angles and henceforth put up a rather ‘complete’ story, other than the one presented by the Korean news agency.

4) Fans proved Rain to be indeed 185cm tall
rain

Yes, they can even try to prove idols’ profile. You might find it amusing but those familiar with kpop would know why this is ‘common’. For seasoned kpop fans, they would know that kpop artiste has a ‘standard practise’ of ‘+5cm to height for guys’, and ‘-5kg to weight for gals’. Hence when Rain claimed that he was 185cm, fans started to search for proofs. They compared quite a few screen shots and came to a conclusion. Again, it’s not about the topic of investigation, it’s about the logical analysis done. Read this and you will know what I mean.

Super Show不Super?

By , July 8, 2013 9:38 am

IMG_0706(图/ah yen)

看SS5, 让我想起了SS3。2011年,Super Junior第一次把演唱会带到新加坡。

Leeteuk, Heechul, Shindong, Yesung, Sungmin, Siwon, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun。虽然少了Kangin,但是演出爆发力十足。

设施(图/RITS)

有觉得,是因为本地媒体第一次看Super Junior的演唱会,在韩国,或是其他早办过Super Show演唱会的城市早已司空见惯。
也有认为,是Super Junior第一次到新加坡,开拓新市场,所以格外卖力。
当然,以上因素皆是。

后来2012年办SS4,观后感似乎没有看SS3时澎湃。

ss4(图/RITS)

可能是因为少了最妖艳的Heechul,因为他当兵去了。
也可能因为我们都看过了Super Junior的演唱会,惊喜已不在。舞曲环节、反串环节、变身环节、情歌环节、催泪环节、个人舞台等等,旧饭重炒。
又或许,演出太长,太拖拉。
SS4不够澎湃,理由,当然以上皆是。

前晚看SS5, 好像少了点什么。
个人觉得,节目其实精简,而且曲目新鲜,音乐性也在,整体的showmanship比较有演唱会feel,不像以往比较有综艺感。但可惜,却不够紧凑。
Super Junior的活跃成员,11减去在当兵的Leeteuk,Heechul,和Yesung,虽然依旧卖力,但似乎力不从心。当然,这是个人看法。你不需要认同。

IMG_0690(图/ah yen)

总的来说,觉得SS5很失色。
理由?我想到了一句话:人多好办事。
以前有领团的Leeteuk,身为队长,我猜,他的重要任务之一,是鞭策团员aka QC。
以前还有Heechul,搞怪爱玩。简直是炒热场子的定时炸弹。
以前也有Yesung,分担演唱的部分。SS5在首尔开跑时,他还未入伍,所以演唱会还有KRY环节,如果熟悉Super Junior,就会知道,KRY环节,就是耳朵的补品,好声音,好音乐。

想起不在的成员,也想起SS3, Leeteuk和Heechul为演唱会率先抵达碰到的那场车祸。

因为Leeteuk和Heechul那个时候飞到新加坡,从机场到酒店的路上,发生了6车连环撞的车祸。虽然及时报道了,可是无法得知事发时他们的反应。所以记者会上,一直举手想问。不巧,韩访在第二道问题中听到敏感字眼,记者会飞快进入尾声,只允许发问最后一题。

采访韩星,最要习惯的,就是像这样,计划赶不上变化,记者必须适应变化。

主持人宣布让媒体发问最后一道题,包括我在内,席上好几名媒体都举起手。身旁的wanli提醒,我们有小组访问,是不是不要跟同行抢机会勒?我好像switch一样,听完就把手放下。

就在这些发生的短短几秒里,mic不见了。

也就~在~这~时~后, Leeteuk拿着mic下台。还在想他会给谁时,他就双手把mic递过来。我有点始料不及,更多的受宠若惊。daebak。

with leeteuk by ZB

照计划问了车祸后他们的身体状况,但却没机会听他们叙述车祸过程。

一直到最近才偶然得知意外发生时,他们受到怎样的撞击。故事是这样的:

Leeteuk坐在保姆车前排,后面粉丝车突然撞上时,他随着冲撞力向前飞扑。坐第二排的Heechul因为把头仰在前面的椅背玩手机,所以冲撞力被减低,没有Leeteuk那么衰,整个人扑向前。两个人当下受惊,但很快就离开车祸现场。抵达下榻酒店后,因为赶飞机、加上身体受到冲撞、外加反正有时间,于是他们去按摩,松松胫骨。

还好他们没事,不然一定被其他地方的ELFs骂到臭头。所以啦,Leeteuk在SS3记者会上也呼吁粉丝注意安全。

wanli是相当欣赏Leeteuk会呼吁粉丝要有安全和责任的意识。

我呢,被他的礼貌和“识做”留印象。Leeteuk把mic拿给我过后,礼貌地听完问题、作答,还记得把问题丢给台上的Heechul,他才回到台上。

坦白说,我们是互利互惠的。他形象加分、有回答到“属于”自己的问题(虽然他一直是组合的发言人)、照片也被拍到。我,则有了新闻点好写报道。各取所需。

想到Super Junior曾全员上《Strongheart》,Leeteuk被Donghae和Heechul爆是“双面人”。听完2人的爆料后,主持人Kang Hodong形容Leeteuk是“토크(talk)먹튀”。“먹튀”(mok twee)在韩语是两个动词,“먹”是“吃”,“튀”是“跑掉”,也就是说,Leeteuk“吃”了要吃的、对自己好的之后,就“跑掉”。

果然是聪明的孩子,很会抓时机上镜。

他要结婚了!

By , June 5, 2013 10:20 am

美丽的星期三早上,韩国娱乐圈传来喜讯。Daebak!

lbh

李炳宪和李珉廷要结~婚~了!他们去年8月公开恋情,今早在韩国宣布,今年8月10日步上红毯。但,两人表示,并非先有后婚。

据韩国的报道说,准新娘李珉廷日前出席中学好友的婚礼时,接到新娘抛出的手花,想不到,这么快就轮到她披嫁衣。 报道也说,因为李炳宪忙于好莱坞巨作《GI Joe 2》的电影宣传,所以才在他非常忙碌的工作行程中定下8月10日这个良辰吉日。

韩流天王娶老婆,新婚爱巢一定备受关注。报道说,李炳宪最近装修了他在光州的豪宅,极有可能将作为新居。

kjw

除了李炳宪,有“微笑王子”之称的金在元也将奉子成婚!

他前晚公布本月28日与青梅竹马,但去年才开始恋爱拍拖的圈外女友结婚。

They sang it better!

By , May 29, 2013 10:50 am

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Sometimes, the original might not be the best. That is, in my humble opinion at least.

SHINee’s “Ring Ding Dong” by Insooni

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She is the grand of dame of R&B in Korea and she was already 50 over years old when she did this performance. daebak rite?

Taetiseo’s “Twinkle” by Kim Tae Woo and Bobby Kim

[youtube HjcBrxRr8J4]

Two of my personal favourites, with very solid vocals, one smooth, the other calming. I had the fortune of watching them last Christmas in Seoul, and enjoyed “Twinkle” very much.

2NE1’s “I don’t care” by Sung Si Kyung

[youtube xAkU2uIYiY8]

Is it convincing if I say he is a personal favourite too?  Oh wait, I think I might have to use that again for the next voice too. But anyways, Sung Si Kyung is hailed as the Prince of Ballads in Korea, and if it helps put you in perspective, I always think he is the Korean equivalent of Jeff Chang.

SNSD’s “Run Devil Run” by Yoon Do Hyun

[youtube SYVlIi6-I8Y]

I liked Yoon Do Hyun’s husky voice. Posing a question to him at MAMA 2011’s presscon meant something special, because he was one of the first kpop singers i listened to. It’s like collecting stamps on my kpop passport. Anyway, if you heard 李圣杰’s 《关于你的歌》and like it, then all the more you must listen to Yoon Do Hyun’s original version, 사랑했나봐.

So, I think theirs were a better rendition of the songs, surpassing the original. But of course, you don’t have to agree with me.

Psy: I’m a mother, father, gentleman

By , April 12, 2013 8:50 am

After his sarcastic take on South Korea’s upper class’ Gangnam Style, Psy is now trying to do some major flattering, with his new song, “Gentleman”, singing “알랑가몰라” (don’t know flattery?).

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1705472/psy-gentleman-single.jhtml

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/87414092″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

This is rather interesting to me on a few counts. 1, while I’m sure he must be a gentleman in some way, gentleman would never be the no.1 word to be associated with Psy, not with his explicit form of humour as reflected in his song lyrics, nor his performance.

2, he seems to be doing some form of major flattering, or maybe, he has to, especially after “Gangnam Style” rocketed him to international stage, he obviously has to start pleasing the international palate. Which is why, his new song “Gentleman” is to be released simultaneously across 119 countries on 12 April at 0000hours. According to Korean reports, due to world time differences, the song was first released in New Zealand on 11 April at 9pm Korean time (8pm Singapore time).

3, while it is obviously a very-Psy song, and as you listen, you can almost imagine his shiny amour (read: glittery stage wear) and energetic, power-bursting dance choreography, it somehow has tinges of american pop.

“Gentleman” is co-written by Psy and “Gangnam Style” songwriter Yoo Gun Hyung. Because “Gangnam Style” hit all the right notes, and its melody is so implanted in people’s mind, mine at the very least, “Gentleman” feels somewhat like kimchi soup without the kimchi, flavoured only with gochujang (chilli paste). The taste is somewhat there, but not there.

Then after a while, the electro-techno beats reminded me of T-ara, a bit. Or some of the girl bands. Can’t recall what song specifically but i can almost see the girls dancing to the beats already.

According to YG, Psy wanted to make a song that has a totally different feel from “Gangnam Style”, but in order to please the tastes of the mass, Psy decided to do what he is best at.

Anyway Psy himself penned the lyrics, and “I’m a mother, father, gentleman” is supposed to be catchier than “oppa Gangnam style”. I wonder how does that work though.

But i quite like the repetitive singing of 알랑가몰라 (don’t know flattery?). And if you finished the song, do you agree with me that, you heard some profanity? or is it just me?

20130410000745_0

so, you think “Gentleman” is going to be as daebak as “Gangnam Style”?

爸爸,去哪里?

By , April 1, 2013 9:23 am

最近迷上韩国综艺节目,MBC台的《爸爸,去哪里》。每次看,每次笑。

简单来说,这是“”小孩天真逗趣和温馨亲子情的把戏。节目邀请5名明星爸爸和他们的小孩,每周到郊外进行2天1夜的旅游。把小孩带离有妈妈呵护的安全距离,交到平时忙碌,少有机会亲自带孩子的爸爸手上,让爸爸尝试照顾小孩,从梳洗换衣到做饭哄睡样样自己来,几集节目下来,父子关系大大进步。

아1

这个节目没有吸睛的俊男帅哥。以本地口味和认识度来看,名人老爸中,最有名的是《绅士的品格》剧中那个花心老公Lee Jong Hyuk。和6岁(韩国年龄7岁)的次子Lee Junsu一起上节目的他,看起来就像是个大孩子,是个“懒惰爸爸”。


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其他的明星爸爸包括,实力派演员Song Dong Il,他去年7月为演出《请回答1997》中的釜山爸爸,练出一口釜山方言。他和韩国年龄8岁的儿子Song Joon一起上节目,看似严父。

성

应该是得了老爸的真传,小帅哥Song Joon俊俏可爱,吸引不少当红偶像,包括2NE1的Dara和Minzy,还有Kara的Nicole。

坐阵Mnet台娱乐新闻主播以及主持该台的Superstar K4的知名主持人Kim Sung Joo和10岁长子Kim Min Guk,



김

足球选手Song Joong Kuk及长女Song Ji Ah。前者是知性爸爸,后者是把女儿捧在手心的体贴爸爸。

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还有个人喜欢的歌手Yoon Min Soo。他是双人乐团Vibe的主唱尹民秀,今年才33岁,因为早婚,所以儿子Yoon Hoo已经7岁。

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我喜欢他们的互动,谈话和笑声。

一次冰上露营,爸爸因为过去没时间好好陪孩子,所以说对不起。小孩却不假思索对爸爸说:“不用对不起。过去的,现在就忘了吧。我们拥有的是未来。”

然后一副很有智慧地说:“过去的已经在过去。现在有的,是未来。”

daebak!小朋友大智慧。

小胖子Yoon Hoo太可爱了。圆滚滚的他,笑起来时,眼睛眯成直线,而且双颊通红,让人想捏想抱。他现在没有门牙,但吃东西时,脸上的认真超可爱,他让什么都看起来是极品美味。话不多说,请看视频:

[youtube JnGbmRcPMv4]

城市小孩体验到乡下郊外的简朴生活,忙碌的爸爸找到时间陪孩子,也体验到老婆兼母职的辛苦,观众看着爸爸们照顾小孩、做饭时的生疏甚至不知所措,又取悦于5个孩子的可爱和纯真。这些,是节目的创意,也是节目吸引观众,收视报捷的原因。据知,MBC的周日综艺收视一直不举,多亏了这个节目,终于重振雄威

Shinhwa Changjo gift a FOREST to their idols

By , March 21, 2013 10:02 am

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Just when I thought I’ve seen some rather incredible presents given to the kpop idols, I chanced upon this article.

Once again I can only exclaimed: DAEBAK!!

Shinhwa fans gifted a FOREST to their idols to commemorate their 15th anniversary.

They worked on the project since last year, basically to tell international and domestic fans about the plan. This year it is finally completed, just in time for Shinhwa’s 15th anniversary in showbiz since they debut as an idol group.

This is the completed forest project.

Last year, both ah yen and myself talked about kpop fandom – curious case of kpop fandom and more about kpop fandom. We knew about how good the fans were, in terms of “marketing” their idols, and doing charity for them.

Shinhwa has been around for 15 years as a idol group and one that never changed a single member since their debut. It’s probably why fans felt they had to do something different for their idols. (FYI,  a star was registered under their names in 2005 with Universal Star Council, an American website that provides services for registering names for stars in the sky.)

They labeled this as an eternal gift for Shinhwa, as well as for Seoul City.

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What can I say?

Kpop fans, you never fail to amaze me!

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