From Sex And Love To Hirunika’s Defender

by Wimalanath Weeraratne

Hirunika’s Defender and Enrique Iglesias

Today’s world revolves forward by creating new situations and finding creative solutions for those situations. New inventors and innovators evolve and revolve the world with new solutions. However, some revolve around themselves and do not go forward. In fact their progress is backward.

Referring to the incident where a female fan was suspected of having thrown a piece of lingerie at world-famous singer – Enrique Iglesias during his ‘Sex and Love World Tour’ held on December 20 in Colombo, President Maithripala Sirisena recently said the following:

“I must say these things. I cannot stay silent like the Sinhala Buddhist that I am. Whoever has hard feelings I don’t mind, I will talk about these things if they cause any damage to our values. I would not allow anybody who embraces alien cultures…. to destroy the greatness of the motherland and our proud culture… To make the dream for rising as a great and valued nation by safeguarding our thousand years old proud culture, we should give higher significance for our values and heritage…”

As a very seasoned politician with over four decades of experience, Sirisena has seen many problems crop up and disappear before him like dew before the sun. He would not be politically insignificant, not at least during this five years of his tenure as the Executive President of this country. No one can destroy him…. except himself.


Mahinda’s culture

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his tenure of nine years, destroyed the cultural and ethical values of our system like never seen before. He always boasted of a great culture…. A culture so great…. So magnanimous…. So upright…. which had never ever existed. Whilst harping of a two-and-half millennia of Sinhalese Buddhist culture on one hand, he embezzled billions of rupees of public funds and scavenged our fledging economy on the other! Committing even a thousand crimes he showed his people that he is not willing to ‘bow down’ before the international community.

“We are above anyone else!” mentality was a highly contagious epidemic spreading throughout the Sri Lankan population ruled by Rajapaksa’s iron fist. We believe that we were much greater than Egypt, Greece or India.

“The United States of America has a history of barely 200 years whereas we in comparison had 2,500 years of unbroken written history. There are poor Indians who still excrete on the road. As such we are greater than India,” some would say. Although there was a ‘Public Performance Control Board’ to regulate films, etc., President Rajapaksa seem to be the final competent authority. Some even offered Rajapaksa overall supervision when directing films on Arahant Mahinda. Rajapaksa was said to hail from no lesser than the Shakyas – the clan to which the Lord Buddha belonged to. On one hand the Rajapaksa regime not only made this empty void swell beyond proportion but also made maximum use of the Buddhist clergy and religious establishments for its own benefit. Sadly, on the other hand, the Rajapaksa regime destroyed the very fabric of those values created by our culture. Sri Lankans are naturally prone to respect the divine relationship between the king and the religion. Although during the times of the Sinhalese kings the rulers feared to exploit this relationship and misuse the confidence of their subjects, Rajapaksa and his cohorts had no such shame and never thought twice when doing so.


What is culture?

According to Prof. Raymond Henry Williams (31 August 1921 – 26 January 1988) who was a highly influential Welsh socialist academic, novelist and critic and Professor of Drama at the University of Cambridge, Culture is “one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language.” (Keywords -1983)

Accordingly Culture can be defined in two ways. One is advance works of art – from dramas of Prof. Sarathchandra to friction of Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara to cinematography of Lester James Pieris to poems of Monica Ruwanpathirana. These master-pieces resemble the crème de la crème of the modern Sinhalese culture. Second and as according to Prof. Wimal Dissanayake, culture envelopes everything we do in our day-to-day lives. From horror films to cartoons to commercials to posters everything is part and parcel of culture. How can art of advertising be anti-cultural in contrast to Dr. Sarathchandra’s work? If everything what we do is part and parcel of culture, whether good or bad, no one can control or regulate human nature let alone the President. Although the culture changes from time to time the cumulative results of the changes remain. For instance, the political culture of this country is shameful. The representative of the people does not represent the interests of those whom he is intended to represent. He engages in business and mega deals, misuses public property, kills, rapes and pillages. Isn’t this much worse than throwing a bra during a performance? Former statesmen of our country from DS to Dudley to Bandaranaikes, from NM to Colvin to Philip did not rob the public. But after the 80s everything turned upside down. Politics came under the rupees and cents. The political culture shifted from DS to JR. This culture, where the public is taken for a ride, cannot go on forever. Although there are some positive changes following the opening of the economy, there are many negative consequences that came with it.


Sex and love

Enrique Iglesias’ concert held on December 20th saw an unknown female fan throwing a bra at the singer. However, the incident should have ended then and there. There is a famous story taught in Zen Buddhism called the ‘Two Monks and a Woman.’

A senior monk and a junior monk were travelling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side. The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman. Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey. The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened.

After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them. Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could not contain himself any longer, and blurted out, “As monks, we are not permitted to touch a woman. How could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?” The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the river shore, why are you still carrying her?”

Just like in the Zen story, majority of us Sri Lankans are unable to keep the woman on the shore after crossing the river. What is most hilarious is that no lesser being than President Sirisena himself is unable to forget this incident. He made an outrageous claim that the organizers of events of this nature i.e. Mahela and Sanga should be whipped with toxic stingray tails. We as Sri Lankans thoroughly oppose this outrage against this duo that brought much fame to our country to be beaten by stingray tails. In the event they commit a heinous crime, we would not hesitate to do so. But not because some unknown woman throwing a bra at a singer in a performance, where the son or son-in-law of the very President is speculated to have attended.

If so how much more should politicians, who have gone after dollars from Avant Garde and other mega deals, be treated? Mahela and Sanga have committed this mistake for the first time in their whole career. But how much more have the politicians of our country taken us, the public, for a ride? Mr. President, are you prepared to beat corrupt politicians with toxic stingray tails?


A genuine man

However to a certain extent I believe that President Sirisena criticized this act with a genuine intention. As a villager from a remote hamlet in Polonnaruwa he did not have the pleasures of a rich, spoilt upbringing of children of today’s society. Although discipline must be inculcated, boosting of pseudo value systems like done by the Rajapaksas should not be entertained.

It is a known fact that the President loves classical music of Visharada Amaradeva or Victor Ratnayake. Such a leader is unlikely to love rock or pop music, no doubt, but the President cannot impose his taste on his children let alone the public, because taste differs from generation to generation and person to person. That is why we believe that his own son or son-in-law has all the rights to go to see Enrique’s concert, though Sirisena may dislike the Latin singer.


Indecent behaviour

President Sirisena came out with the stingray story in Ampara. It is unlikely that the poor villagers of Ampara would care to buy even the lowest available ticket of Rs. 5,000 to see Enrique play live in concert, enjoying a mug of beer.

At one instance Enrique is seen hugging a young girl. Is this something for which he should be criticized for? There are instances where singers have engaged in strip parties or stag nights but head of states of those eras such as former President Bandaranaike Kumaratunga did not waste time to criticize these things. It is not worthwhile for a President to comment to everything which happens in the country. How many times have strippers or nude fans invaded the pitch during international matches? Does it mean that we have to stop playing cricket?  The concert was not a religious event and likewise Enrique’s fans were not expected to constraint themselves unnecessarily.


Forgetting burning issues

Some try to link the throwing of a bra to the postponement of the local government elections. This is a cock-and-bull story as throwing a bra has taken place towards singers have happened countless times in other countries. Likewise, the majority of media was pre-occupied with Hirunika Premachandra’s saga a week ago.

A week before it was the President’s outrage over the bra-throwing incident. Neither of these two have a direct bearing on the day-to-day lives of the ordinary citizens. In the wake of President Maithripala Sirisena completing the maiden year of his tenure, the public is yet to see tangible results in most areas which the new United National Front for good Governance (UNFGG) had promised before it came to power on January 8, 2015.

Admissions to schools, re-settlement of IDPs, punishing mega-dealers, putting a stop to bribery and corruption, bringing the killers of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Prageeth Eknaligoda and Wasim Thajudeen to justice, resolving the national question, cost of living are a few of the hundreds of issues yet unresolved. Unfortunately our people are still pre-occupied with the bra thrown at Enrique and Hirunika’s defender.

What topic for next week?


8 Comments for “From Sex And Love To Hirunika’s Defender”

  1. raj

    Srisena has never said that as a real Budhist, he will never let war criminals unpunished. does he think it is a normal crimes? History repeat itself. He will deliver justice to victimis of war crimes. Instead, he will protect them.

  2. Gon Ponil

    You keep on blaming MR with out any evidence- for example “Rajapkse Regime destroyed our culture” I want to ask you how? If not for MR you will not have a country to live and you will be worshiping King Prabakaran.!!!

    Have some respect for what the man (MR) achieved and love for your motherland.
    You paid mouth peices of Indians and foreigners forget we can think for ourselves – we can figure out for ourselves. In the mean time you are exposed.

    Just for your information read below. Traitors are not new to Sri lanka. The current politicians were there in the past 30 yrs and did not do any thing to destroy LTTE – they actually helped LTTE.

    Read below.. (from :

    Exposure and aftermath
    In 2002, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the government and the LTTE and all LRRP activities were ceased. The military believed that the targeting of high profile LTTE leadership by the LRRP was a prominent factor in prompting the LTTE to agree for negotiations.[5]

    On 2 January 2002, a police team led by SP Kulasiri Udugampola raided an LRRP safehouse in Athurugiriya, a suburb close to the capital, Colombo. The unit was accused of planning to assassinate leaders of the recently elected United National Party government. Six personnel were arrested, including Captain Nilam, the leader of the unit. Four soldiers and a former LTTE cadre were also arrested. In addition, a number of weapons were also taken into custody, including explosives, anti-tank and thermobaric weapons. Details of this raid and the weapons were made public through media. Attempts by the military hierarchy to get the arrested personnel released failed, and Army commander Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalla issued a public statement revealing the true nature of this unit. The arrested personnel were released only after interrogation on 13 January, under orders from Defence Minister Tilak Marapana, who expressed outrage over the police raid.[9]

    Reactions to this incident were mixed. Initially there was a public outcry that the military was planning to assassinate UNP leaders. However, after details about the unit were revealed, the police was accused of compromising a State secret. The military leadership was also blamed for being unable to prevent a “serious breach of national security”.[10] Soon afterwards, the LTTE began a campaign to eliminate the members of the LRRP, and those who were suspected of assisting them. A key informant of the unit, known as Mike, was abducted and killed by the LTTE on 20 January. More than 80 persons involved with the LRRP were assassinated after this. The government did not take any significant measures to stop this, and requests made by the state intelligence agencies were ignored on the basis that it will affect the ceasefire.[10]

    Small Teams
    Small Teams
    The Army Commander, under the direction of the Defence Minister, appointed a Court of Inquiry to investigate the activities of the LRRP. The conclusion of the court of inquiry was that their activities were legitimate and all military hardware found were obtained through legitimate means. As the public controversy on this incident and the killings continued, President Chandrika Kumaratunga appointed a Commission of Inquiry to probe the safehouse raid. The Commission’s conclusion was that in addition to compromising national security interests, the raid was a “total betrayal and absolute treachery to the nation”. The report also included a list of officers of the police and army responsible for the incident.[10]

    A special team was set up by the Chief of Police to investigate into the actions of Udugampola and several other police officers.

  3. Physician (Mr.President) heal thyself. Women are made to sell their bodies to the very people who are supposedly stationed to guard them, to feed their families in certain parts of our country. Don’t try to hoodwink the masses. We punished the Great Rajapakshe Rajuwo’s regime. So don’t try the same tactics. Discipline your sons and daughters first. We elders are capable to guide our dear children to lead a virtuous life. What proof to say a girl did it? It could have been a setup?

    Labour to fulfill promises Forthwith. If not? time will tell. Then sadly it might be too late and another golden opportunity lost for Mother Lanka.
    God Save Our Country.

  4. Dear Mr. Weeraratne,

    Dealing exclusively on your comments on the “Love & Sex” show, regarding which our Executive President seems to have been quite incensed, I can’t help wondering why the President blames the organizers of the show for vulgarity & undermining our values & that he will not allow such shows in the future, when the culprit, as all know, was a infatuated fan, who threw her bra onto the stage.

    How anyone can blame Mahela or Kumar for this, beats me..! I would have expected a little more reasonableness & commonsense from MS.

    Also he seems to have mislaid, as another columnist pointed out last Sunday, his commitment as President of multi-ethnic, multi-religious Sri Lanka, and not exclusively President of the Sinhala Budhists & the buddhist culture.


  5. Kevin

    It’s all very confusing. Sri Lankan women had no brassieres to throw at anybody until western Christian missionaries introduced that paraphernalia and made the traditional local women cover up with a ‘sense of shame’ that did not exist prior to western intervention. Now we throw it back at the Westerners (“serves them right”, I say) but then, the traditionalists get upset. Oh, well. When it comes to ‘morals’ there is no end to the confusion: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”.

    The Garb of Innocence: A Time of Toplessness

    Traditional topless dress in 19th century Sri Lanka

    7th Century Sigiriya: “The royal ladies in the frescoes…displayed their breasts. The ladies in waiting wear…a firm ‘breast bandage’ or thanapatiya.”
    “How was it that the Hindu-Buddhist culture in ancient Lanka underwent such changes by the 14th Century so that an upper garment for women became a feature when leaving the house?”

    Not long ago an incident was reported from Peradeniya University in which a fiery feminist fresher from Colombo stood up to a typical campus male senior who tried to rag her, and sent him away with his tail between his legs.

    The senior male had asked the fresher why she was clad in a tight pair of denim jeans, and advised her to come next day “wearing a gauma (frock) in the traditional Sinhala manner”.

    The reply was swift and sarcastic:

    “What d’you mean gauma? Gauma is not Sinhalese; it’s Portuguese. Then I should wear the osariya (Kandyan saree) or perhaps redda-haetta (cloth and jacket). How come you are wearing trouser and shirt? Perhaps, you should wear a sarong or maybe an amude(span cloth) if you want to dress in the true Sinhala manner. Amidst sounds of muted laughter the senior male beat a hasty retreat”.

    National Dress

    The above incident took place about a year ago and is symptomatic of the utter confusion that many people have about what constitutes the authentic national costume or true Sinhala/Tamil dress; despite the fact that it is doubtful whether such a singular mode of dress ever existed at any time in our island’s history. In retrospect, this ignorance might seem natural, especially considering the clothes worn by stewardesses on cheap flightsand others who are supposed to represent our national dress.

    An article in the most recent edition of The Thatched Patio, published by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies attempts to throw some light on this controversial subject. The writer is Dr. Mrs. Nira Wickremasinghe, a graduate of Sorbonne and Oxford, who is now a staff member of the History and Political Science Department at the Colombo University.

    Entitled “Some Comments On Dress In Sri Lanka”, the article reveals some surprising facts, especially on women’s attire in ancient Lanka.

    Nira details the topless tradition of Sri Lankan women according to evidence presented by historical sources.

    The saree and jacket combination that is today worn by women of all classes throughout the island underwent various changes. Apart from some indirect references made to dress in the Mahawamsa, there is hardly any authentic record of the manner in which women are clad in Sri Lanka before the sixth Century Sigiriya frescos. What is certain is that the rule of changelessness did not apply to women’s clothing.”

    Royal Ladies

    “The royal ladies in the frescoes wear pleated robes from the waist upwards, save for necklace, armlets, wristlets, ear and hair ornaments and displayed their breasts. The ladies in waiting wear waist clothes, few ornaments and a firm ‘breast bandage’ orthanapatiya. The Sigiriya style of clothing — Sigiriya frescoes depict women wearing the cloth gracefully draped like a dhoti tied in a knot at the front and pulled down to expose the navel — must have survived a few centuries in Ceylon”.

    “The Sigiriya frescoes illustrate the initial absence of social taboo relating to upper class women exhibiting their breasts. Mazuri has analyzed the theme of dress and nakedness in the history of thought. In Judeo-Christian cultures nudity is closely associated with sin. Nudity began to acquire all the connotations of bodily temptation with the coming of lust and the fall from innocence. The very concept of ‘flesh’ came to imply sensuousness.”

    Hindu-Buddhist society

    “In a Hindu-Buddhist society it is difficult to assess with precision at what point semi-nudity became taboo. The Dhammapadatha Katha relates an incident which took place in the Tenth Century when a lay devotee, Rohini, wore a blouse before Anuruddha Thera only to cover marks left by a skin disease. This indicates that it was still unusual for women to cover their body. Women’s dress was then a cloth round the hip leaving the body bare from waist upwards.”
    According to other scholars like W. T. Keble in his book Ceylon Beaten Track the Jaffna kingdom in 13th Century Ceylon was no exception to this tradition of liberal and sensible attire for men and women. Keble quotes Marco Polo, the Italian merchant, who visited the island in the late 13th Century when King Chandrabhanu, (Sendez-nax) the Javanese warrior, was ruling Jaffna.
    “It is governed by a King whose name is Sendeznax. The people worship idols, and are independent of every other state. Both men and women go nearly in a state of nudity (the writer has cause to envy this climatic adaptation) only wrapping a cloth round the middle part of their bodies.”

    Nira writes that by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries it was acceptable to remain uncovered at home but when going out to wear an upper garment. At this stage the cloth was worn with a separate garment covering the breasts thrown over the shoulders, which evolved into the shawl and breastband.

    How was it that the Hindu-Buddhist culture in ancient Lanka underwent such changes by the 14th Century so that an upper garment for women became a feature when leaving the house? As noted earlier there was no place for prudery and Puritanism in the authentic tradition of Hinduism and Buddhism. One may speculate that it was the rise of Islam in India and the Muslim conquest of south India by the mid14th Century that was responsible for these changes in women’s attire.

    A. L. Bhasham, in his monumental work The Wonder That Was India, notes that for many centuries Indian women did not wear upper garments except during winter in certain parts of northern India. He quotes the example of the Nayar tribal women of south India, who until the mid-20th Century went about topless. Bhasham implies that the Muslim invasions were what altered the dress codes of Indian women.

    In Sri Lanka one may note that there was a great deal of Muslim influence in the Kurunegala kingdom in the first half of the 14th Century, with even a Muslim monarch ascending the throne as Prince Vaththimi in about 1320 A.D. and ruling for nine years, according to the Kumnegala Vistharaya.

    Nira writes of the impact of Western influences from the 16th Century onwards which had the effect of making Sri Lankan women moreconservative in their attire.


    “The costume of the Sinhalese women before the arrival of the Portuguese was abandoned in the Low Country as a result of the widespread adoption of Christianity and the free social intercourse which existed between the Portuguese and Sinhalese of the upper classes. The great majority of women in the coastal belt took to the Portuguese long-sleeved jacket rounded at the back and in front with V neckline”.

    Other witnesses seem to imply, however, that the common folk did not so readily adapt the Portuguese style of dress. One of them is Dr. Fernando De Queyroz who wrote “The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon” in the 17th Century.
    Queyroz writes:

    “Such is the dress of the Lord and Nobles, for the soldiers, farmers and other common folk, have no other clothing save a cloth which they wrap on their head and a small bit of cord round the loins from which hangs a piece of cloth, one palm broad and a cubit in length, the end of which is tied to the same cord covering their natural nakedness”.

    Innocent Garb

    “Those who are able, wear a sheet wrapped around that waist which at night serves them for a coverlet… The dress of the women is not dissimilar… Unless they are Widows, they wear what jewels they can on their breasts… The girls, more even than the boys, wear the garb of innocence up to the ninth or tenth year. Thenceforth the common women folk wear a piece of cloth white, red or striped, twelve cubits of the hand in length and two in breath, half of which they gird round the waist and the other half above the shoulders when they go to work”.


    Nira gives an explanation about the puritanical influences that came with Western colonial rule and the imposition of Judeo-Christian culture on the liberal tradition of Hindu-Buddhist culture that prevailed in ancient Lanka.

    “In the mid-Seventeenth Century under the influence of the puritanical Dutch, lace collars, frills, cuffs and hemlines began to be freely used. Lace-making was introduced as a cottage industry. The influence of the later Tamil dynasty on the Kandyan throne led to a consequent modification in dress in the Kandyan provinces”.


    While in the Maritime Provinces or Low Country the men and women became more conservative, this did not necessarily follow in the Kandyan Kingdom or Up Country. Until the late 19th Century many women of the so-called low castes did not cover their breasts, whether at home or when going outside. Nira quotes the 1841 lithograph by Prince Alexei D. Soltykoff:

    “Offering of a Kandyan chief in a temple of the Buddha near the environs of Kandy”, which shows women wearing their saree in the Kandyan fashion and in the foreground two women of a lower caste who are unclothed above the waist. Numerous paintings by British artists of the 19th Century in Ceylon, some of which illustrate this article, are evidence of this reality.


    By the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century came the so-called Hindu and Buddhist reformers, Arumuga Navalar among the Tamils and Anagarika Dharmapala among the Sinhalese, who imposed the puritanical Victorian morality of 19th Century Britain on Sri Lankan society.

    Even since then the average Sri Lankan is thoroughly confused, believing that the traditional mode of attire is to hide the bodily features as much as possible, when in fact the sensible and liberal tradition of Hindu-Buddhist culture in ancient Lanka, that prevailed from the 5th Century B.C. to the 19th Century A.D., was quite the opposite.

  6. Malin

    This is what I have to say about the Enrique Iglias Saga.
    Incident at ENRIQUE INGLIAS Concert is a “Storm in tea cup”

    Spanish singer Enrique Iglias is the current king of the Latin Pop. He is a versatile singer and song writer young and famous. Personally I like his many both rhythm & blue songs though I am not in his age group. Some of his songs like Bailando & Bailomos curry flavour with our Portuguese influenced Baila which has become a part of our culture. Then, But what’s this big hullabaloo about some girl throwing a bra at him ( No one knows whether she threw the bra she was wearing at the concert or brought it separately to throw at him. Only she will know the answer). And, another girl invaded despite any private securities (if there were any) and hugged Enrique. I do not find any obscenity in any of these acts other than may be merely the external manifestation of internal frustration (To own the singer for a split second) of the two girls and I don’t blame them. Such incidents are not uncommon in the musical concerts. It’s how they expressed their feelings and emotions towards the artist and I don’t find anything wrong. I have witnessed live performance of many world famous artists like Late Michael Jackson Tina Turner, Cliff Richards, Engelbert Humperdinck , Elton John to name a few in Melbourne Arts Theatre over the years with fans screaming and dancing. Event Organising Company should take the full blame of this whole episode. I suggest that Mahela/Kumar company should continue to bring more and more world known artistes for Sri Lankans to watch, listen and enjoy but at a reasonable affordable price for many to enjoy but not limited to a so called elite class only. After all music is universal.

    The irony of the whole issue is making this minute incident a storm in a tea cup by President Sirisena getting himself unnecessarily involved and making a reprimanding statement saying those responsible should be whipped with Madu Walige as the incident is uncultured. If that’s the case, firstly he should reprimand his son for attending a such an uncultured event. I don’t personally blame his son for attending the concert as he is another young of the young generation. President has made a mountain of a mole hill may be to divert attention of the people from more contentious issues than this small incident. However if anyone thinks this is an obscene behaviour on the part of the two young girls, how will those so called hypocrites look at the Sigiriya half-naked Frescoes and Isuriminiya lovers. Aren’t they master pieces of all time of our history?
    I know there will be brick bats on me of my honest opinion but I am not a hypocrite because I love music in all forms and varieties.

  7. Ikarus

    The so called caretaker of the culture who shouts should be asked whether patronizing brothels in Frankfurt, by the same individual is not a violation of martial staus in his book of culture?. Because when an ardent supporter of the so called culture patronize such brothels and paid for the lust, it is also in the catergory of destroying the personal culture. Additionally, why talk about these when one of the brothers was AXED TO DEATH by the legal husband of the woman last year upon finding that he is having sex with her. There is a saying that it is better to correct things inside the family before poking the finger into others.. The best is to keep silent on these petty things, because even some those buddhist monks do violate their prime vow (a buddhist monk was sentenced to 7 years in England raping) which they took at the time of being ordained into the priest hood.

  8. Isiirangeen Udarath Wanigasekara

    ආයුබොවං Hirunika

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