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JIS digging itself deeper into trouble

This post is dedicated to many of Unspun’s friends who are very loyal alumni to The Jakarta International School (JIS). It is good to see such loyalty in such modern times and shifting norms.

Their alma mater is now in a crisis situation. Police apparently have acted on the report of a parent and have now arrested two janitors who had molested a 6-year old student. They have also detained a woman claening staff for complicty.

The news over this incident has broken and it is all over the mass and social media.

Given such circumstances the only way that JIS can hope to mitigatte the reputational and fiancial damage to itself is to be SEEN to care, to be open about what happened and to have a viable plan to make sure that something like this does not happen ever again.

Yet JIS seems to be doing it all wrong, as picked up in this Jakarta Post story:

School Safety, Security our Priority, says JIS

To begin with it initially chose silence. To any reporter and the social media pack, silence means an admission of guilt. JIS may be thinking that they were trying to solve it in a dignified manner by keeping silent but that is, unfortunately, how the world works. They expect accountability, especially from a prestigous and expensive institution.

Then when it chose to speak up, its statement was full of horrendous word choices.

School security, safety our priority, says JIS

Jakarta International School (JIS) has — until now — kept quite over the allegations of sexual assault involving one of its students.

The reputable international school finally broke its silence today as it stressed its responsibility for the safety of pupils and the security of the school during a meeting at the Education and Culture Ministry on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are here to convey our statements to the Education and Culture Ministry over the allegations of a disgraceful incident that occurred in our school. Our main focus, which we have paid close attention to and will maintain in the future, is to put forward the prosperity of the students and their families as well as the safety and security of our school community,” JIS headmaster Tim Carr said in a press conference at the Education and Culture Ministry on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.

He was speaking after a meeting he attended on the invitation of the ministry’s directorate general of informal and non-formal early childhood education (PAUDNI).

Deputy headmaster Steve Druggan and JIS human resources manager Megumi were also present.

Carr said the school was ready to cooperate with the Education and Culture Ministry, the National Police and other stakeholders in the ongoing investigation.

Responding the reports, PAUDNI director general Lydia Freyani Hawad said she would directly lead the investigative team and the investigation would start Thursday. “The team will conduct a comprehensive audit on JIS,” said Lydia. (idb/ebf)

Instead of saying that they care and regret what happened to the victim JIS chose officialese by saying that they were there “to convey our statements” to the Government. Where is the empathy, the caring, the regret? What’s so damned important about them conveying statements?

Then JIS headmaster was supposed to have said: ” Our main focus…is to put forward the prosperity of the students and their families …” Prosperity? Bad English? Buth it is an American school, manned by native English speakers.

And then Jis said it was “ready to cooperate” with the Ministey of Education? In difficult times when you’re being accused of wrongdoing you” cooperate fully ” with the regulators, you do not signal your intention that you’re “ready to cooperate.” On reading such statements officials would think you’re arrogant.

JIS subsequently denying Ministry officials access into the school does jot seem to signal its readiness to cooperate.

To a seasoned crisis managment professional JIS seems to be digging a deeper hole for itself with such clumsy efforts at communication. A pity because all this will set itaelf up as a prime target for overzealous and nationalistic politicians, carpetbaggers, those envious of its prestige and those given to schadenfreude.

If JIS is serious about trying to salvage whatever good name it has lef, and to remain in business in Indonesia, it must seek professional crisis management counsel fast – and listen to them.

Raiding the Ban for Popular Votes?

Even though you may no agree with it you could understand the reasons why Malaysia’s censors might want to ban a film like Noah – the ultra sensitive Muslims in that country bristle at any attempts to dick around with the religious texts.

But to brand The Raid 2 is a bit more than a mystery. Malaysia has let in ultra violent movies before. There is no religious element to the film unless your religion is violence and its the product of a neighbouring country. So what are the reasons.

We can take it for granted that Democratic Party presidential hopeful Pramono Edhie Wibowo is being opportunistic and nationalistic to question the Malaysian censors. That does not detract from the fact that his question needs an answer.

One can only hope (against all hope?) that the Malaysian politicians and censors have enough wits about them to adopt a more open approach and provide some answers after their disastrous brush with openness over the MH 370 tragedy.

Because, if they don’t they’ll be delivering to Prabowo a golden opportunity to shore up his popularity. (Thx for the spot Andi).

A spat with Malaysia is something relished by many Indonesians and if a spat breaks out over The Raid 2 Edhie will be able to ride the wave of nationalism and Malaysia-bashing.

All not good for Indonesia and Malaysia…unless it is a conspiracy between the powers that be in both countries to advance Edhie’s electoral prospects in the first place…Hmmm…Unspun’s been watching too many conspiracy movies lately.

Presidential Hopeful Criticizes Malaysia for Reported Banning of ‘The Raid 2′ – The Jakarta Globe.

A scene from the ‘Raid 2: Berandal.’ (Photo courtesy of Merantau Films)

Jakarta. Democratic Party presidential hopeful Pramono Edhie Wibowo asked Malaysia explain why the country’s film board had banned “The Raid 2: Berandal,” the ultra-violent but internationally acclaimed Indonesian martial arts film that was released in theaters last week.

“It is very unfortunate that the Malaysian government banned this movie without giving any reason,” Pramono said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The movie was scheduled to hit Malaysian screens on March 28, but as of Tuesday, it had not been shown anywhere in the country. There has been no official statement from the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia on why the movie by Welsh director Gareth Evans had not been screened.

Calls to the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia were not returned — but the film does not appear on the board’s list of approved new films. The Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment on the ban when contacted by the Jakarta Globe.

Pramono called on the Malaysian government to view the film as a positive contributor to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) film industry.

“I also demand that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively perform its mediation function with the Malaysian government,” he said.

A Malaysian movie site, cinema.com.my, reported that Malaysian audiences were disappointed by the lack of screenings in the country.

One moviegoer, Nicholas Lim, told the site he was disheartened by the ban because he had enjoyed the first movie, “The Raid: Redemption,” which was not banned in Malaysia. The second film, however, contains more scenes of graphic violence than the first.

“The Raid 2″ was released in Indonesia on March 28. More than 300,000 people saw the film during its opening weekend.


How the media will report the MH370 incident

When a plane goes missing, it is a terrible experience for the families and loved ones of the victims. The uncertainty, the waiting and the frustration of not knowing can be heart rendering. The best we all can do is send our thoughts and prayers for the victims and their loved ones and, in Unspun‘s case, perhaps help people to understand how the media is likely to treat crisis-like situations like this and better prepare them for what they are about to read or see in the media.

Any crisis-like situation like MH370 goes through four stages. Stage 1 is the “Breaking News” stage. Almost all of the information is focussed on “what happened”. In this case the facts are that MH370 disappeared with no telltale signs such as a radio call or signal. This is strange, but speculation would not help. Facts are the only currency in crisis-like situations.Unspun thinks Malaysian Airlines’s CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya has handled the matter relatively well, with the factual delivery of his core statement at a press conference earlier today.

We have been seeing the characteristics of this stage in the media coverage but it has already morphed into Stage 2, which is focused on the “drama” of the victims or their loved ones’ responses, as well as the response of the perpetrator/responsible organization. This is a crucial make-or-break stage for Malaysian Airlines as the spotlight will turn on how they are responding to the situation, and the possible causes of the incident.

Malaysia Airlines will need to constantly update the media and the families of the victims as they will, rightly or not, be judged by how responsive and open they are with sharing information. This is a difficult task if the search and rescue teams do not find the wreckage of the plane soon but it is something that Malaysia Airlines would have to handle with great delicacy.

If Ahmad and his team handle things well they will be able to avoid Stage Three of a crisis: The Finger Pointing Stage. At this stage the media tries to focus on the “Why” of the incident and experts will be trotted out to speculate on who should have done what. Malaysian Airlines may not have the answers as airline incidents like crashes take a very long time to investigate, gather evidence, perform the forensics and come to any conclusions. But this would not stop the media, pundits and the general public from trying to place blame on someone.

After some time the incident will go into Stage 4, which is the Resolution or Fallout stage. The publicity is tuned down a notch as the focus shifts to either funeral services, government inquiries or special hearings. And even if  Malaysian Airlines conducts a successful closure strategy to the incident, the facts and myths of the matter live on in Google and social media, ready to pounce back with a vengeance if the airlines makes any mistakes.

It is a difficult situation and one can only hope that Malaysian Airlines has trained itself well in Crisis Management so that it will be able to provide crucial information and support for the victims’ families and loved ones throughout the incident and maintain enough control of the situation to continue to do so.

Brushing up the past

Today, I taught my 12-year old son how to polish his shoes. He was intrigued by the process and pleased with the outcome of eyeing his scruffy shoes looking much more presentable after a coating of bootblack and brushing.

Even a small and not too difficult task, I felt good, having passed on to my son something that my father taught me when I was a kid. Till this day, whenever I polish my shoes the smell of the bootblack and the brushing and polishing to coal a dull sheen from the leather always reminds me of me being fascinated by this thing that my father bought me.

It was a boys’ thing, something passed from father to son for generations. Many years from now, I hope that my son will feel this way too.

Did you father teach you how to polish your shoes too?

Did you father teach you how to polish your shoes too?

Cutting through the clutter about the Cut the Crab incident

One of the ever-present threats of companies in the Food and Beverage business is food poisoning. This is especially so when you deal in seafood that spoils easily.

Cut the Crab, a hip new restaurant chain with a great gimmick – eat the crabs served on the table without plates, forks or spoons – recently found out how difficult it is to deal with allegations of food poisoning, especially when these allegations are boosted by social media. The allegations, and their consequences especially when they are amplified by Twitter, provide an interesting study for students of crisis and issues management.

So what are the salient learning from this incident (which has been summed up meticulously in  Zeit Post - see below)?

  1. Hip restaurants attract hip, young diners who use social media extensively. If they have a complaint, whether justified or not, they will Twit first, think later. Companies that court such clients must have a response plan or a SOP to handle complaints, especially when the swarm starts to scale up these complaints.
  2. The chances of seafood spoiling at some point in time are very high, even when you take all the right precautions. So anyone dealing with seafood – and food generally – must prepare for the probability of complaints of stale, spoiled food or food poisoning. The restaurant should have a response plan not only to investigate the complaints and how to reach out to the victims – but also to demonstrate these actions to the media.
  3. The media, especially news portals with dedicated food writers such as detikfood and Okezonefood, will pick up whatever is hot on Twitter and run with it. Their coverage will in turn fuel a spate of Retweets and comments, in a Voracious Cycle around the issue. Controlling the situation means slowing the momentum of this cycle by engaging both the individual users and engaging the media proactively to demonstrate that you regret the incident, the reasons why it could have happened and what steps you are taking to remedy the situation – the Three Rs of crisis management.
  4. When under siege it is never a good idea to sound defensive or to point fingers. It only arouses people’s suspicions of you when you are already under intense scrutiny. Therefore saying that you’re a victim of sabotage by rivals is a definite no-no

The Cut the Crab incident is still on the boil (ok, pun intended) at this posting. Will the franchise emerge out of this unscathed, as continued crowds at the restaurant even after the Twitter-news portal brouhaha broke out, seem to indicate; or will their business take a hit? Let’s watch the incident unfold.






Cut the Crab, Pelanggan Keracunan Makanan – Zeit Post


Mungkin akan terasa asing bagi anda mendengar nama restoran Cut the Crab. Tapi jika anda orang yang up to date dengan berbagai macam restoran seru di Jakarta. Cut the Crab adalah salah satu restoran seafood yang fenomenal.

Cut the Crab, Makan Kepiting dengan Bebas


Tentunya anda tidak makan kepiting layaknya di restoran all you can eat. Bebas yang di maksud adalah anda bisa makan dengan tangan dan bergaya seperti di rumah. Penyajian nya juga unik, pesanan anda akan datang di dalam kantong plastik bening dan di tuang begitu saja di meja makan. Tentunya meja sudah di sterilkan terlebih dahulu sebelumnya!

Ilustrasi: Penyajian Cut the Crab yang di sajikan di meja makan

Wow seru sekali bukan? Tentunya dengan penyajian yang unik ini, banyak orang yang penasaran dan kembali lagi untuk pengalaman lain menyantap makanan seafood. Restoran ini mengusung kepiting sebagai salah satu menu spesialisasi. Restoran ini juga ramai dan selalu penuh pengunjung pada akhir pekan.

Baru kali ini terjadi pemberitaan yang mencuat di media semenjak di bukanya restoran ini pada Mei 2013. (Belum di ketahui apakah ini restoran di CTC Cikajang atau cabang lain).

Masalahnya ..

Pelanggan yang Keracunan Makanan

Tentu tidak ada restoran yang ingin mencelakakan pelanggan, apalagi menyediakan sajian yang tidak segar dan berpontensi mengandung racun.

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Why you need to help your new employees find jobs elsewhere

Having staff retention problems? For years we struggled with this problem, trying to stop people from leaving.

Then one morning we thought” “Why are we trying to stop something that can’t be stopped?”. So we changed strategies and and decided to manage the departure process instead.

We put together the Chrysalis program with Indra Soebardi from AAC – she’s the only headhunter who was imaginative and adventurous enough to get a grasp of what we are setting out to do – and rolled it out to the staff last week.

Will it work? Time will tell but if you’re interested in the details and the concept read this post below from our blog:

Chrysalis – A New Approach to Growing Our people

Here’s a wild idea. Come to work for us. We train you and groom you to be a first-rate communications practitioner. Then, after three years if you’d like to spread your wings and leave us for greener pasture, we’ll help you and we’ll even make sure you’ll get paid for this.

That is the basic idea of Maverick’s new career advancement program, Chrysalis that we announced last week. Stunt silence was the first reaction when people heard Ong Hock Chuan, the big boss, broke the news. I’m sure the second reaction, though probably uttered silently, was, “Is this for real?”

Yes, it is for real. Through Chrysalis, Maverick will help those employees who express a desire to explore new career opportunities outside of Maverick, providing that they have worked with us for at least three years. AAC, an Executive Placement Consultancy with specialty in the Communications industry, has bravely partnered up with Maverick.

“We know young people tend to stay in a company for two to two and a half years top before they start itching for new experience. We understand that need, so with Chrysalis, we ask them to invest at least three years in Maverick and learn as much as they can because we think that’s the minimum time you need to put in to become a capable communication practitioner,” explained Ong. “It will up your chance in landing in-house higher communications positions.”

Read more…

Walking the walk with a home-away-from-home for journalists

We Public Relations professionals often preach to our clients that they should take care of their key stakeholders. We talk the talk but how many of use walk the walk?

Even in this digital age that has seen the rise of social media and the decline of traditional media, the latter is still important, establishing in giving credibility to a story or source.

Journalists remain a, if not still the, key stakeholder to public relations professionals. Yet what do PR peeps do to take care of them? Apart from the birthday greetings, cakes and flowers, the visits and company-paid lunches, what else do they do to engage and make themselves useful to this stakeholder?

Not much. So we at Maverick thought it would be a good idea to set up a Journalists’ Corner in our office, so that these journos will have  somewhere where they can file stories, chill out or hang out.

We think that if more PR agencies and communications firms do this for journalists it would help them do their jobs better. The details of this facility, that we launched last Friday, are in the blog entry below that I wrote for Maverick: 

A room of one’s own for journalists

This is something that we at Maverick have been wanting to do for years. But we had been hampered by lack of space and then one thing or other got in the way.

Finally, after tall these years, we were able to turn an idea into reality yesterday when we launched our own Journalists’ Corner at Maverick’s new office.

What’s the Journalists’ Corner? To us, it is a place we create specially for journalists in the field who may need a place to rest and relax, recharge themselves and their handphones, do some work or chill out among themselves or with consultants over a cup of coffee or a game of Wii.

Continue reading…

Kisah Dua Polantas Yang Menghentikan Iring-Iringan Mobil Gubernur NTT | Share With Irfan

From Nusa Tenggera Timor, from Rayhanzhampiet.com,  comes this uplifting tale of two courageous policeman who had the temerity to stop the Governor’s convoy because the outrider cars were illegally using sirens.

What’s impressive is that when the Governor complained to their boss, NTT Chief of Police Brigjen Ricky Sitohang about their behaviour, Sihotang  backed them up and told the media that lowly policemen should not fear anything if they carried out their duties according to the law.

Now if there were more policemen and their chiefs who are like that the rest of us would not have to suffer the irritation of private cars and petty officials who turn on their illegally installed sirens to try to muscle their way through the traffic jams the rest of us are caught in.

Someone should promote the policemen and their chief. Indonesia needs more professionals like them.


Kisah Dua Polantas Yang Menghentikan Iring-Iringan Mobil Gubernur NTT | Share With Irfan

(NTT Governor Frans Lebu has the gall to ask the policemen why they halted his convoy after his motorcade was caught using sirens illegally. Photo from Rayhanzampiet,com)

Kisah Dua Polantas Yang Menghentikan Iring-Iringan Mobil Gubernur NTT | Share With Irfan.

Saya sangat tertarik untuk menuliskan cerita ini begitu membaca headlinenya di Tribunnews.com kemarin. Ceritanya Dua anggota Satlantas Polres Kupang, Aiptu Piet Ena dan Aipda Mess Nite, menghentikan perjalanan Gubernur NTT Frans Lebu Raya dan rombongannya, usai melakukan kunjungan kerja di wilayah Kabupaten Kupang, Kamis 10/12013. Penghentian dilakukan polisi saat gubernur melintasi Jalan Timor Raya di Noelbaki, karena kendaraan yang mengawalnya membunyikan sirene.   Gubernur NTT Frans Lebu Raya menghampiri dan menanyakan kepada anggota Polantas Polres Kupang, alasan menghentikan iringan-iringan kendaraan rombongannya, Kamis 10/1/2013.Gubernur Frans Lebu Raya pun turun dari mobil dinasnya, lalu menghampiri dan menegur dua anggota Satlantas yang sedang bertugas. \”Pak Gubernur turun dari oto mobil dan tanya saya. Kamu tahu tidak saya Gubernur NTT, kenapa kalian tahan? Saya hanya bilang, kami tidak tahan bapak. Kami hentikan kendaraan yang mengawal bapak karena membunyikan sirene, dan itu melanggar aturan. Lalu Pak Gubernur bilang biarkan saya lewat, nanti saya sampaikan ke Kapolda,\” kata Piet menirukan ucapan gubernur. Hal senada disampaikan Aipda Mess Nite. Menurutnya, sekitar belasan mobil rombongan gubernur yang dihentikan. Bahkan, ada sebagian dari rombongan yang menendang papan rambu lalu lintas yang bertuliskan pemeriksaan kendaraan. Namun, keduanya mengaku prosedur yang dijalankan saat menghentikan kendaraan merujuk pada aturan lalu lintas, yakni UU Nomor 22 Tahun 2009.

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Kudos to Najib for ordering Ministers to undergo media training

Malysians are so unfair. Even when the PM is doing the right thing they criticise him. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has certainly taken a step in the right direction by directing his Ministers to undergo media training (see Malaysian Insider story below).

Media Training, to those who are not familiar with it, is essentially media handling skills training. Participants learn how to handle the media through messaging, bridging, turning negatives into positives, staying on message, repetition and a whole lot of other skills.

Most PR agencies provide this training, but few do it well. That is, I think, is because they do not emphasise enough the need for the trainees to be genuine in what they say and to be likeable by attuning themselves to the needs and wants of their audience. The public today is not gullible enough any more and they can smell bullshit from a mile away.

As a result, they often turn out a highly skilled, but morally and empathically empty practitioner. Something like a kung fu exponent without the wisdom and integrity to guide them.

To see an example of how little knowledge can be a dangerous thing when not accompanied by sincerity and integrity you need not go further than the example set by the UK’s opposition leader Ed Milliband

As you can see, a highly trained monkey is still a monkey that convinces no one, even though he can end up very entertaining.

How well the Malaysian Ministers turn out will depend on who they are at heart. To a certain extent it will depend on who their trainers are and how brave they are at pointing out the weaknesses of the ministers they train (such as the over-the-top defensiveness of most of them).

Still, credit where credit is due, and Najib deserves praise for issuing the directive. If he included a lobotomy for the Ministers, it would have increased the chances of success. like public speaking and other skills, you can learn many tricks but ultimately your performance hinges on one thing – your character.

In the meantime, Keep Calm and Eat Kangkung.

To avoid more gaffes, ministers to learn to speak sensibly – The Malaysian Insider

Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had come under fire for his remarks on the hike in assessment rates. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 26, 2014.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has directed mandatory media training for his ministers to prevent more missteps that have made his administration a laughing stock among Malaysians, sources said.

The prime minister\’s second term has been marked by “foolish” remarks from several ministers that spawned Internet memes and jokes detrimental to Putrajaya’s image, the sources told The Malaysian Insider.

“The prime minister wants ministers to undergo media training to avoid repeatedly delivering foolish remarks,” said a source on the condition of anonymity.

“We do not want Putrajaya’s image spoilt because of statements given by ministers like Ku Nan and Hasan Malek,” the source added.

The source was referring to Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek’s reminder that people should be thankful for having “sincere” leaders who “prioritise people’s needs” above all else, as quoted by Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia.

Read more.

Anton Casey: Incorrigible prat or victim of poor PR advice?

Anton Casey is now a household name to Singaporeans and gone viral around the world. For those of you still in the Dark Ages, Casey is the prat of an Englishman who insulted Singaporeans by calling MRT commuters on the island poor and other insults through his Facebook postings.

When he and his family (he used a photo of his son on the MRT and later in his repaired Porsche to heap insults on the local population), understandably, received death threats, Casey closed his Facebook account and went into hiding after the details of where he stays and where he works as well as past interviews his former Miss Singapore wife made against local men were excavated and posted on the net.

A day later he hired a PR firm, Fulford PR, to convey his apologies to the Singapore people. His apology came up short and came across as insincere  and an attempt at renegaging responsibility and contrition via a poor PR effort (read Unspun here).

As a result, the backlash against him continues to rage and boil with even Singaporean foreign minister K. Shanmugam joining in the chorus of criticisms against Casey’s perceived insincerity and contrition.

What did Casey do wrong in his PR offensive? Simple (and he should ask for his money back from the PR firm he hired for not giving him good advice).

All he had to do was to adhere to the 3Rs of crisis communication that any PR consultant worth his salt should know about – Regret, Reason and Remedy.

Regret – Express remorse, but you need to do it personally and in a heartfelt manner. People are exceptionally good at detecting insincerity. Casey should have written to The Straits Times himself to apologise. The language he used should also be direct and without any fluff. The sentence, presumably penned by his PR advisors, was that “I would like to express my sincere apology to the people of Singapore.” That sounds like a robot or corporate automaton issuing an apology. No rap human who’s really sorry talks that way. They usually say something like: “I am very sorry…I regret my actions..”

But even if he did that it would by itself not be enough to exonerate him. This is because crisis situations like this require him to address the emotions. He should have appeared on TV or released a video of his apology, looking sincerely contrite and saying so in a direct and ernest manner.”

Reason – In his video and letter he would also need to address the why or what led him to this action. In tho he could say that he did not know what came over him, or better still had a misadjusted sense of humour that he now realised could be offensive and wrong.

Remedy – he needed also to tell his audience that he was now seeking psychological counseling or other professional help to make sure that he does not do such a silly thing again.

If he had been advised by his PR handlers to say all this – and also been advised by them that it would only work if he was sincere about the 3Rs or it would not work – then there was a good chance that the would not be reaping the whirlwind even now.

Casey is stupid and insensitive but if he had had good advice he could have mitigated much of the reaction against him. Or maybe he got good advice but ignored them? If that’s the case then he deserves everything he gets. And then some.

(For the sake of clarity, let me reiterate the point I am making here. Casey, if he was genuinely contrite, could have saved himself from the widespread and continued animosity he is receiving if he had good good PR advice and followed them. If he is not genuinely contrite then no amount of PR, no matter how good his advisors are, can help him. At which case the PR firm should immediately resign the account if they value their own reputation.  They should know something about crisis management since they were bold enough to prescribe what the SMRT should do when it faced a crisis here).


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