DJ Chris Ho calling for ‘fckn’ Singaporeans to be killed

From ‘Radio DJ apologises for Facebook post’, 5 April 2014, article by Walter Sim, ST

A MEDIACORP Lush 99.5FM DJ apologised yesterday for a controversial Facebook post in which he called for Singaporeans to be killed. Mr Chris Ho commented on an army recruitment advertisement on the social media platform on Thursday.

The campaign, launched last December, bears the slogan: “How far would you go to protect our home?” The Singaporean wrote in response: “How far…? Let’s see… I’m with you foreigners! Kill the **** Singaporeans but not my friends, can?”

His comment caused fury among netizens and was reposted on citizen journalism portal Stomp. Contributor Tee Seng said: “What kind of joke is this? If he hates Singaporeans so much, why is he still here? I used to be a fan of his but he has gone too far.”

Mr Ho told The Straits Times yesterday he was surprised by the response. “It is such a far-fetched statement that I’m shocked that Singaporeans are taking it so seriously,” he said, adding that the “satirical” message was meant to mock the campaign slogan. “Hello, Singaporeans, you mean you need people to give you a wake-up call to defend the country?” he asked.

“Why should the question be put forth as such? Singaporeans who love the country would know what to do.” He said he wanted to allude to the rising levels of anti-foreigner sentiment here. The ex-Straits Times rock columnist added: “I think Singaporeans are looking for a new Anton Casey… I’m not advocating genocide.”

How far? Too far for some, apparently

How far? Gone too far for some, apparently

It took me a while to ‘get’ the humour behind Chris Ho’s jibe at the SAF ad, and thankfully, I’m not the only one who thinks he’s ‘too cheem’ for me. It’s also hard to tell when he’s sarcastic or furious when he and New Nation bickered online over the post where the latter made fun of Chris ‘falling’ for a satire piece about ‘Man dying in a protest against foreigners‘ (which wasn’t even very funny to begin with). I don’t know what experts on wit think of either example of this ‘satire’, but in my book, satire should have universal appeal, is spontaneous, and actually funny to someone other than the creator. Or maybe it’s just me.

As for the ad, I don’t see anything wrong with asking someone ‘how far would you go’ to defend the nation, even if any response other than ‘I’ll fight to the death’ will be deemed unacceptable. It’s like asking ‘Will you die for Singapore?’, or ‘How much would you give to society?’, a pedantic rhetorical device to remind you of your duty, where an actual answer isn’t expected because we don’t want to hear the ugly truth.  But there’s a double meaning here too if you interpret ‘how far’ in terms of literal DISTANCE, which is more likely to be the case here, looking at the mountains in the background. It sounds sensible at first, referring to overseas stints from Brunei to Afghanistan to get you all geared up for military operations, but if you think about it, the further away you are, the SLOWER you are in coming back in the event of a real ATTACK back home. Either way, the slogan is bound to get criticised, and Chris, or X’Ho, is no stranger when it comes to controversy or criticising his home country.

Dj-ing for Lush aside, Chris is a local music icon who in the early 80′s performed as frontman for Zircon Lounge and is today revered as the counter-cultural antithesis to more ‘wholesome’ ambassadors like Dick Lee.  He also dabbles in ‘spoken word’ album territory, and from his 1999 album ‘X’ with an X’ came a track called ‘Singapore is Not My Country‘, his take on Alfian Bin Saat’s ‘ode’ to the nation (the full transcript here). In the 2000′s, Zircon Gov.Pawn Starz was formed. The album ‘Follywood’ features the track ‘Mouthless Fish‘ about people ‘barely breathing to make ends meet’, with BigO magazine rating it as the ‘most fucking punk rock album we have ever’. Check out this ‘punk rock’ album cover!

Majulah SingaPawnStarz

The ‘shock jock’ has even been filmed getting his PENIS tattooed. In THAI. A Today review of 2008′s Baphomet Sacrum describes him as ‘Singapore’s unfavourite son’.  Anyone unfamiliar with ‘dark wave’ or goth would think track titles such as ‘Satan’s Blood’ and ‘Her Soul’s Demise’ off the Lucifugous collaboration album were devotional hymns of the occult.  ‘No Ordinary Country’ has the refrain ‘Majulah Fearless Supremacy’ and its album cover has lightning logos on it. There’s even a song about the Blogfather himself called ‘Excuse Me Mr Brown’, where Chris calls Brown the ‘next Talking Cock big time’. ‘Talking cock’ being, well, the lingua franca of social media most of the time anyway.

So the first question that came to mind was: What did this multi-hyphenate (author, singer, DJ, film director) celebrity, being Singaporean and all, actually DO IN NS? According to a 2006 Interview with Today, he said he ‘has done everything he could think of to get into the Singapore Armed Forces MUSIC AND DRAMA Company’, and eventually spent 2 years as an actor after BMT. Like, who wouldn’t right? How far then would you go, Chris Ho, to protect this country that you love-hate so much? A question that wasn’t addressed in his FB apology, or maybe it was hidden somewhere so deep and lost in ‘satire’ that I couldn’t detect it with my radar for low-brow fart jokes and all.

There was a time when the man actually made seriously good pop music, without the Singapore-bashing and ‘satire’ getting in the way. Unlike his current ‘uneasy listening’ work, ‘Deeper’ (1992) is heartfelt and uncharacteristically melodious, and no surprise that this came before the ‘Punk Monk Hunk’ days, where spiritual awakenings mean getting your genitals pricked and scarred in the name of art. Pubic hair snipping? Amateur!

Which suggests that Chris is capable for much more than just ranting against the Government or NS, or participating in the Berlin Porn Festival. It would be nice to see that good ol’ innocent side of him once more.

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Stephanie Koh not proud to be Singaporean

From ‘K-pop hunt 3 finalist:I don’t feel proud to be Singaporean’, 13 Jan 2014, article in asiaone. com

Controversial K-pop Star Hunt 3 finalist Stephanie Koh from Singapore says she doesn’t regret how badly she behaved on the reality talent show. In one episode where she was asked to surrender her mobile phone, the 21-year-old had infamously said: “I’ll attack you, I’ll scratch you and I’ll kill you”.

…On the topic on viewers expressing the view that her behaviour gives Singapore a bad name, she said she is not bothered about it. “I wouldn’t actually bother about representing this country because to be honest, I don’t really feel proud to be a Singaporean,” she said.

“Everyone here is so small minded, everyone here is so submissive, everyone here don’t know how to think outside the box, no one here is creative, everyone here just thinks the same way, full of the same rules, and it’s too rigid for my taste,” she told RazorTV.

Stephanie later posted a vlog ranting about why Singapore sucks, making comparisons between Singapore and Australia wages, invoking sympathy for ‘artists’, and blaming the education system for mass manufacturing ‘homework robots’. I didn’t have the patience to listen to a K-pop wannabe complain for more than 10 minutes, so here’s a summary of her main points on why being Singaporean is nothing to be proud of based on the asiaone screenshots.

1. No place for an artist.

The finest example of how artists aren’t appreciated here is the My Grandfather Road saga. Yet, despite Sticker Lady Samantha Lo’s scuffle with the law for her street art, she has managed to find a ‘place’ for her work in Sentosa. If you’re aspiring to be a digital CG artist, there’s Lucasfilms’ Sandcrawler at Fusionopolis. So yeah, you may not be able to get permits to display a dead shark in a tank or even get arrested for using the Singapore flag as an artpiece, but to generalise that art as a career path is a dead end in Singapore is probably stretching it. And, oh, there’s this small local film called Ilo Ilo. Perhaps Stephanie may have heard of it.

2. Singaporeans are narrow minded.

This suggests that we’re fixated on only certain things in life and not open to new experiences. I was expecting Koh to expand on this point to talk about the paper chase and PSLE, but she began complaining about how we’re brainwashed by mainstream media propaganda, and comparing what a waitress would get in Singapore vs Australia. Granted, we’re still a conservative lot, uncomfortable with homosexuality and stuff on the Internet, but that speaks more of the Government than the people of Singapore. I don’t know if she went on to discuss the chewing gum ban.

In a similar vein, someone by the name of Zing waxed lyrical about London some years back;

In London, I can be a saint or a sinner. I can be City boy, goth girl, punk kid; I can be in with the media, in with the cool kids, I can drop rhymes in East End ghettos and I can drop cash in Mahiki on cocktails. I can be posh, poor, upmarket, downmarket, chav, toff, hippie, indie. I can be gay or straight, man or woman.

Zing also bragged about being ‘mugged’ in London and having to need stitches. No I’d rather not be mugged at knifepoint, nor ‘drop rhymes’ thank you very much. And who wants to be ‘poor’?

3. Singaporeans are not creative

This is where the ‘homework’ robot argument comes in. Sure Singapore may never produce the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks we suck at creativity.

When you’re very structured almost like a religion… Uniforms, uniforms, uniforms… everybody is the same. Look at structured societies like Singapore where bad behavior isn’t tolerated. You are extremely punished.

Where are the creative people? Where are the great artists? Where are the great musicians? Where are the great singers? Where are the great writers? Where are the athletes? All the creative elements seems to disappear.

Perhaps what our critics mean is the lack of innovation and risk-taking, even if such elements may not necessarily lead to noble enterprises. One ex-Singaporean Brandon Wade defied the odds to let his creativity flourish in the US. He runs sugar daddy websites.

‘Creativity’ is subjective of course. Stephenie thinks Jack Neo films are ‘super amazing’ and does cover versions of Gangnam style. Ironically, Jack Neo’s movie success came  from capitalising on the exact same things that Stephenie is whining about. If we weren’t oppressive in some way, ‘I Not Stupid’ wouldn’t have existed. The fact that we’re renown for being a nanny-state makes any sort of creative output noteworthy, like ‘Wow imagine that, a thumb drive invention coming out of boring, sterile Singapore!’. Which did happen, by the way.

4. Singaporeans are submissive

Well, totally. Unlike those buggers rioting in Little India.

5. Singaporeans are not happy, and not nice.

Stephanie tries to impress with some dubious statistics about Singapore being the smallest country in the world with the highest suicide rate. What has the size got to do with suicide anyway? Yeah, we’re not shiny happy people and we grumble a lot. We’re not as ‘nice and friendly’ as the Australians, and aren’t generous when it comes to smiles, emotions, or helping strangers. It needs work I have to admit, though I rather be given a scowl on a train than have someone mug me or insult my race in broad daylight. Again, a case of selective observation and the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome. The average Australian may treat you with zealous hospitality if you’re there visiting, but it might be a different story if you’re there taking someone’s job.

6. Everybody just follow rules

This point is related to all 5 previous points. Everybody loves a rebel, the one who bucks the trend, who goes against the mainstream. ‘Breaking the rules’ has become such an overrated motivational cliche that we forget that for every person who makes it big as a non-conformer, there are other rule-breakers subscribing to the same gung-ho thinking who fall by the wayside.

Stephanie goes on to say she won’t be here for long and will be scooting out of this godforsaken place (I’m guessing Australia where she can join 50,000 of ex-fellow countrymen). I wish her all the best and I’m sure all unhappy, submissive, uncreative Singaporeans are spurred into proving some of her gripes about the country wrong. Not sure if Australia would welcome with open arms someone who mocks her fellow countrymen on Youtube, or feral enough to scratch you if you get anywhere near her precious phone. She ends her video challenging anyone to come up with something worthy to be proud of as a Singaporean. That’s easy: I’m proud of our food, though I don’t know if Stephenie’s diet consists of only kimchee and sour grapes. Maybe she should try some humble pie for a change. That would help a lot if you’re settling down in ANY foreign country and can’t afford to piss people off with a snarky attitude.

I would argue that you don’t have to be ‘proud’ of your own country to be perfectly happy living in it. Singapore has things to be ashamed of, but so does everywhere else in the world. And even if Australia turns out to be a disappointment, it’s unlikely that someone committed to romanticising the country and its way of life would admit that they made the wrong decision to pack their bags and leave in the first place. Let’s be ‘nice’ and just leave her be, shall we.

Purple light army song promotes sexual violence against women

From AWARE Facebook page, 15 Nov 2013 and ‘Offensive verse of army song banned’, 16 Nov 2013, article by Jermyn Chow, ST

(AWARE) Ever wonder if speaking up about sexism really creates change? Here’s one case where it has! Earlier this year, AWARE learned of “Purple Light”, a marching song sung by many NSmen, which included the lines:

“Booking out, see my girlfriend
Saw her with another man
Kill the man, rape my girlfriend
With my rifle and my buddy and me.”

We were troubled that NSmen were bonding over misogynist lyrics about committing sexual violence against women. So we raised our concerns with MINDEF and SAF.

And now we have excellent news: MINDEF and SAF have confirmed that they took steps to investigate. They will “immediately halt” the singing of these lyrics, which they describe as “contrary to the values of [their] organisation”.

It’s really encouraging that MINDEF and SAF are prepared to listen to feedback, recognise this as an issue and take action on it. Thumbs up!

(ST)…Aware’s executive director Corinna Lim said in a statement yesterday that the group was alerted to the offensive lyrics by seven national servicemen during a workshop in July that was held as part of Aware’s ongoing campaign to stop violence against women.

Ms Lim said: “These misogynistic lyrics tolerate and normalise the violent sexual abuse of women, condoning gang- rape as a justified punishment for infidelity.”

She added: “Such lyrics may encourage young men at impressionable ages to objectify women, and contribute to an environment where violence against women is trivialised.”

If I had sung such a lyric during road marches or battalion runs I would have remembered it till now, but I don’t. I would also never think of participating in AWARE workshops to protest about army songs like these 7 NSmen did. In another version of the song, ‘rape’ is replaced by ‘beat’, which doesn’t make it any better by AWARE’s standards. Purple Light has devolved over the years, from a rousing ode to loyalty and patriotism to the extent of ‘burying yourself with your rifle and buddy when you die’, to one containing a tasteless, but more importantly, unfunny verse re-enacting some angry boy’s sick fantasy.

This is how the ‘clean’ version sounds like, with the violence and misogyny replaced by ‘broken heart, back to army’, where the recruit seeks solace in the Purple Light trinity that is ‘my rifle and my buddy and me’. No sir, nothing remotely kinky about that at all.

From the AWARE post, it seems that the Legion just wants SAF to stop singing those specific lyrics, but makes no mention of calling for the song’s BAN altogether, as interpreted by TRS. Maybe it’s time we standardise the song to the wimpy ‘broken heart’ version, but I doubt that anyone who continues to belt out the X-rated Purple Light would get any form of actual punishment beyond verbal abuse such as ‘KNNBCCB’ (next on the list of AWARE’s banned army words, perhaps?)

AWARE may nitpick on marketing bloopers like green eyeshadow for women and trophy boyfriend advertisements, but intruding into camp affairs like marching songs, swear-words or CB leaves is like a group of Girl Guides trying to infiltrate a Boys Only tree-house and telling them not to use ‘boobies’ as a secret password. We often use the phrase ‘fuck spider’ in camp but you don’t see the SPCA banging on our doors demanding to stop this gross bestiality. MOM are not taking NSmen to task for making their maids carry backpacks for them, and the Nature Society is not at all concerned about us messing with taxonomy when we name plants after female genitalia. For decades, NS has taken obscene liberties with sex equality, yet we haven’t become a nation of rapists and wife-beaters, as AWARE is terrified of us turning into after singing Purple Light while marching.

But it’s not just army songs that are too ‘rapey’ for their own good. What does AWARE think about Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines then, a massively popular song that’s not confined to army grounds but blasted out there on the airwaves for little children to hear. Oh the humanity!

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you

Or God forbid, Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby’s Got Back.

That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough
‘Cause you notice that butt was stuffed

Why, we should also abolish the classic analogy, or rather ‘objectification’, of rifles as soldiers’ ‘wives’, since we do a lot of weapon ‘stripping’, chain them up in an armory once we’re done with them, ‘muzzle’ them and rest our cheeks against their butts. The frequent use of ‘Guniang’ as a taunt is also degrading to the women, depicting them as the ‘weaker’ sex. Or ban sexy SAF Drama and Dance performers after a victorious field exercise and have them replaced by Village People tribute bands instead, singing ‘Macho Macho Man’, with our rifles and our buddies and… well, you get my drift.

That is where, I wanna be

Ironically, there’s a Purple Light Walk held in the US which aims to raise awareness of domestic violence. Also, a Purple Light movie in the works, which I hope has none of that sexist, misogynistic content that made Ah Boys to Men such a disgrace to the SAF. One Ah Boy actor, Ridhwan Azman, made the news after slapping his girlfriend. Not sure if the ‘Purple Light’ verse was playing in his head then, like a Satanic rock song coaxing one into sacrificing a virgin at the altar. In fact, AWARE nominated Ah Boys to Men for the prestigious Alamak award for its unabashed sexist violence (with a 48% vote), instead of calling for its rating to be revised to R-21 or something. We should really have an award for AWARE’s complaints, called the ‘AWARE Insistently Yakking On Hombres’ award, or ‘AIYOH’ for short.

Maybe AWARE  should propose its own ‘You Go Girl!’ remix of  Purple Light, which would probably contain lyrics like:

Purple line, take to Sengkang
Lao Tiko, staring at me
Take my heels, stab his birdie
With my BFF and my Prada and MEEEE

Went shopping, got GSS
Saw my man, with another girl

Take my scissors, cut off his testes
With my BFF and my Prada and MEEEE

And we guys would just laugh it off, or cringe nervously, instead of complaining about graphic genital mutilation.

Postscript: Mindef later clarified that the song hasn’t been outright banned, but confirmed that the original version was indeed the ‘broken heart’ one. Despite the army having us ‘training to be soldier’ and ‘fight for our land’, there’s nothing a killing machine can do to confront his cheater girlfriend and her new guy except confide in his buddy and hug his rifle sobbing to sleep. I’d suggest removing the stanza altogether.

68 ordinary Singaporeans can’t save the NDP song

From ‘Netizens slam NDP 2013 song’, 18 July 2013, article by Lok Jiawen, TNP

It’s a birthday song that’s supposed to bring a nation together. But this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) theme song, One Singapore, has become the target of criticism, even before it is officially released.

“On par or even ‘better’ than Rebecca Black’s Friday”, “horrid” and “jialat (terrible in Hokkien)” are some of the online comments on the song, released online by The Straits Times on Tuesday.

Written by NDP creative director Selena Tan with music composed by local music director Elaine Tan, it is sung by a choir of 68 everyday Singaporeans.

Ms Tan has shrugged off the criticism, saying that music is subjective and that even she has songs she likes and dislikes. Local music icon Dick Lee, 56, who penned the NDP theme songs in 1998 (Home) and 2002 (We Will Get There), questioned the need for a new song each year.

Getting theatre people to write NDP songs is probably a bad idea. Selina Tan of the acclaimed Dim Sum Dollies may have written the decent ‘Love Your Ride’ jingle, but put her creative talents under the cloak of patriotism and you have a disaster waiting to happen. The same NDP curse befell playwright Haresh Kumar, who conceptualised the ‘Fun Pack Song’. There’s something about the crescent moon and stars that regresses artistic people into children, because that is exactly who the annoying cheerleader vibe of ‘One Singapore’ appeals to. Some have commented on the ST page that it belongs on the Kids Central channel, or should be celebrated as a Children’s Day song. The rest talk about comas and bleeding ears.

There’s even a rap thrown in the mix, which goes:

Yo, I may look like I’m a tiny thing, here I am I can bravely sing!
For sure I’m gonna give you my everything, that’s how I play when the recess bell rings
I’m gonna give it my all, cos this is my home, I love (x4) my Singapore

To my knowledge this is the only ever rap composed for an official NDP song, though there have been rap ‘remixes’ of NDP classics. The ‘recess bell’ line doesn’t even make sense, because how kids ‘play’ during recess has nothing to do with nation-building. When kids that age ‘give their all’, it’s almost always for PSLE, not for the nation. Furthermore it’s 2013, not 1993 folks, nobody starts a rap with ‘YO’ anymore. I forsee inverted baseball caps if there’s ever a video for this ( I was wrong. There were caps in the MV, but not inverted).

But to me the biggest culprit of this track is not the recycled lyrics (even the song title is recycled, see below), the forgettable tune or the sheer waste of 68 voices, but the ‘stuck in the 90′s’ production. It sounds like they’re reusing the same TV theme instrumentation from the days of ‘Under One Roof’. There’s nothing resounding or sweeping about ‘One Singapore’ like an anthem should be, it just sounds like a 90′s opening theme for Moulmein High. The ‘Woah-oh’ chorus is something our grandparents may relate to, though.

Dull and uninspiring without the cheesy bombast of the songs of the past, some patriotic soul ought to save this mess with a simpler acoustic version (my prayer answered below), because the current orchestration belongs more on a direct shopping channel or The Pyramid Game ending credits than on a grand stage with millions watching, or ANYWHERE from the 21st century.

It’s not the first time we’ve used an anonymous choir for NDP songs. Some of the most memorable songs were not sung by local celebrities, like Stand Up For Singapore and We Are Singapore. In fact, there’s a far superior NDP song with the same ‘One Singapore’ theme sung by a bunch of nobodies, with more rousing melodies, better production and an emotional climax that will put the whimper of an end of the 2013 song to total shame. It’s the underrated  ‘One People, One Nation, One Singapore’ from 1990. And that’s, believe it or not, from TWENTY-THREE YEARS AGO.

With so many years of experience in NDP songwriting you’d expect these songs to get better with time. Sadly, the reverse is happening. For once, this is one NDP song that is in desperate need for a REMIX. Any takers? (There’s a acoustic version already as we speak courtesy of local boy/girl indie crooners The Animal Parade. Now this is what I call music. Selina Tan, your salvation is here and she wears a Minnie Mouse hat.)

Kurt Tay getting C-cup breast implants

From ‘Singaporean man goes to Thailand for surgery to get C cup chest’, 23 May 2013, article by Foo Jie Ying, Naqiyah Shapudin, TNP

…Security guard Kurt Tay, 27, has money and wanted something to boost his confidence – breasts. Not a fake chest to bypass the exercise route, but breasts as in mammary glands. C cup, about the size of a grapefruit, no less.

…He said he chose to go to Bangkok instead of doing the operation here as it is much cheaper to do it overseas. He said that a breast implant surgery in a local Government-run hospital would cost him about $10,000, while doing it at a private hospital would set him back a whopping $16,000.

In contrast, breast implant surgery in Thailand costs an average of $4,000 to $5,000, he said. The silicone breast implants, which were used on him, brought him from a flat chest to a C cup.

…The plastic surgeon who runs JJ Chua Rejuvenative Cosmetic and Laser Surgery added: “A sex change would comprise the chest area as well as the private parts. I only want to assist patients when I know it will help them.

“If you have a female upper body, then you must have a female lower body too, right?

“In my opinion, his assessment of himself is wrong, there’s no halfway with this kind of thing.”

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If it’s one thing that both sexes are not happy about when it comes to the upper body, it’s having flat chests. Men no longer obsess about penis size like they do about having a glorious torso built like Captain America.

Moobs. Me like.

Whether it’s brands like Abercrombie and Fitch or James Bond, the archetype of a rippin’, upper body sculpted to warrior perfection has pervaded the male perception of the ideal body. Pectoral implants are no longer scoffed at, nor reserved only for males with a congenital condition known as ‘pectus excavatum’ which gives one a sunken chest appearance. It also sounds like a naughty spell Harry Potter would cast on Ron Weasly in the shower as an April Fool’s joke.

When it comes to breasts, men may be even more fussy than women about size. Too flat, and you worry about getting beaten up at the playground. Too round and saggy, and you can’t go for a swim without parents urging you to cover up with a bikini because you’re scaring the children. ‘Moobs’ are no laughing matter when you have gynecomastia though. Most fat guys are game to display their bellies, but would hesitate to showcase a wobby pair of man-tits. After all, a rotund stomach is traditionally a sign of prosperity, while moobs are impropriety which in the past would have landed you a contract with a travelling freakshow circus with the bearded lady or the Siamese twin. The difference between Kurt and the rest of us is that he longs for a pair big and bouncy enough to fit a bra with, while we would be happy just to have one sturdy enough to stop a speeding bullet. You’re free to Youtube Kurt showing off his newly found assets, though you’re likely to stop watching a minute into the video not because of his bizarre before-and-after shots, but because of his broken English. He sure has a lot to ‘get off his chest’, this Kurt fella.

Some years back, a ‘less dashing’ Kurt ‘Nong Nong Ago’ Tay Foo Wei broke into the scene as comic relief in Singapore Idol (Ironically he may have had bigger breasts then compared to just before the op). Just look what you’ve done to contestant self-esteem, Idol judges. Thank God we’ve stopped this Idol nonsense, otherwise we’d have superstar wannabes checking into either psychiatric wards post-rejection, or flying off to Thailand to turn themselves into Pamela Anderson. Kurt still considers himself a Handsome, Charming, Dashing, BUSTY superstar till this day, and has even launched a Mandarin single and music video. I won’t be surprised that he had tried for the Final 1 auditions but got booted out, either because he’s not good enough, or NOT weird enough to qualify.

Both Kurt and men with meek chests want the same thing: Confidence. And this is one man who has ample cupfuls of it, though it may have crossed over into some narcissistic, body dysmorphic, boob-fetish disorder. If our local doctors don’t accept clients who do things ‘halfway’ in fear of psychological damage, there’s nothing stopping people from pursuing their body modification dreams elsewhere, at a cheaper rate too, whether it’s having gigantic breasts, buttocks or an extra one of each. Boobs on a man are not so extreme as compared to having vampire fangs, split tongues or inserting protruding objects in your face or limbs to make you look like a horned lizard. I would think most women would rather make out with a man with boobs than a guy with a bagel jutting out of his head.

Kurt may well be an unwitting crusader against gender stereotypes with his breast augmentation, like “If a man wants to feel sexy by having big boobs like a woman,  WHY NOT?”. Women who strap their breasts down or play with strap-on dildos can probably relate. He may also be sending a message to all fat men to EMBRACE the gift of moobs, to love their bodies and the ‘woman’ in them instead of wasting their money on ‘body sculpting’. After all, macho men like Robert De Niro breastfed a baby in the film Meet the Fockers, Arnie got pregnant in ‘Junior’ and our local actors cross-dress even on National Day. Some men tape grapefruit to their chests to feel good, Kurt Tay had silicone pumped into his. I wonder if the Noose team, in light of the declining quality of their skits, are watching Kurt keenly as we speak.

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Water Wally peeping at boy in the shower

From ‘PUB music video draws flak online’, 22 May 2013, article by Nigel Chen, My Paper

…Water Wally, the national water agency PUB’s water-droplet mascot, has been drawing mixed reactions for a music video which was posted online on April 15. The video, Water Wally Shower Dance, which was uploaded on PUB’s website and YouTube, features the mascot in a rap ditty, reminding children and adults to keep showers to under five minutes.

…PUB said that, by the end of the year, pupils in 185 primary schools would have learnt how to do the Shower Dance as part of its “Time to Save” programme. So far, pupils in 28 primary schools have been taught the dance….However, the video has drawn some flak online, with 186 dislikes on YouTube, compared to just 50 likes, as of 7.40pm yesterday.

…Ms Candy Kang, creative director of advertising agency Available, said: “The comedic nature of the dance, coupled with the exaggerated movements, detracts one’s attention from the original message of the video.” She also pointed out that a particular scene where Water Wally walks in on a boy showering in a bathroom is “inappropriate”.

Ms Kang added: “It shows someone (Water Wally) intruding on a boy’s privacy while he showers, which could also be seen as an outrage of modesty.”

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 8

Water Wally has a habit of barging into toilets. In the ‘Adventures of Water Wally’ cartoon, the perky little droplet charged into a forest latrine to turn off running showers and taps in the episode ‘Camp H20′. Although he has been accused of being a creepy paedophile or a serial murderer inspired by Psycho in this PUB video, Wally is portrayed as a heroic little squirt in the animated series who lives in an alternative universe where entering uninvited into showers to remind people not to waste water is the neighbourly, considerate thing to do.

In fact, Wally’s wide-eyed intrusion may be exactly the reason for the video’s success; by scaring little children into not bathing at all. I, for one, would hesitate to take a shit now without making sure the door is locked, though I would also be wary of Wally magically leaping out of the toilet bowl when I flush and dragging me into a raging vortex of my own piss and excrement. I didn’t think Wally needed to even handle a door knob. He could have transformed into a little puddle, seep beneath and door and watch you bathe all he wants before casting a charm that makes you para-para non-stop.

The ‘Shower Dance’ itself, if you ignore the terrible Black Eyed Peas influenced rap, is a mash-up of various genres of the art form spanning decades of pop culture. Allow me to break the moves down to argue why the Shower Dance has nothing to do with showers or contagious epilepsy at all.

The Hippy Hippy Shake

The Hippy Hippy Shake

The Robot

The Robot

Gwiyomi/Para Para

Gwiyomi/Para Para

Zombie Walk

Zombie Walk

I tried doing the first sequence of the Shower Dance while bathing myself and all it did was get the entire bathroom wet, not my naked body. With all that outburst of energy splashing around it’s not easy to ‘keep it to 5′. It also doesn’t emphasise on scrubbing behind the ears, under your armpits or between your toes. It’s probably more efficient to bathe with a scoop and pail, or use targetted wetting by directing the showerhead at dirty areas, but how can anyone boogie while holding some damn thing in your hand?

To help us keep track of our shower times, PUB distributed waterproof timers last year to stick on our walls. It’s probably a miracle device for people with OCD, but I want to get out of my bath after a long day REFRESHED, not feeling like I’m being buzzed out of bed for work. Rushing people into taking quick baths aside, we should also discourage couples from having prolonged sex in the shower and jilted teens from sitting in there crying all night with the water trickling down their sad faces like what they do in Mediacorp dramas.

Good try, Wally and PUB, but this shower dance thing is a total wash-out.

Cradle of Filth banned from St James Powerhouse

From ‘No venue for Cradle of Filth’s gig’, 28 April 2013, article by Tan Yee Kun, TNP

THEY were set to play on Friday night in Singapore for the first time. But three days before UK extreme metal band Cradle of Filth’s ticketed gig at Powerhouse at St James Power Station, the owners of the venue decided to pull out, leaving fans in the lurch and the organiser scrambling for an alternative stage

Tickets were priced at $100, with an early bird rate of $80 and $120 at the door.

Mr Dennis Foo, chief executive of St James Holdings, told The New Paper yesterday that he was alerted to the band’s background by one of his “associates”.

He said: “We decided not to allow the concert (to be held at) our venue after we were sounded out, and after we checked their website. Their content (contains) heavy (anti-religious) elements and vulgarities.

“St James, as a responsible operator, cannot allow these types of performances on our premises, especially when our entertainment licences are at stake.”

The lead singer of CoF Dani Filth comes from the ‘heart of the English countryside‘ and helms a band that sings about ‘vampires and werewolves’, except that extreme death metal isn’t the kind of stuff you’d hear on a Twilight soundtrack. ‘Dark’ and ‘morbid’ lyrics betraying a scholarly grasp of medieval occult and Crow-inspired make-up aside, the folks at Cradle of Filth turn out to be pretty normal people in real life who actually smile and don’t look like they’re about to impale you with a pitchfork or grow giant fiery bat wings and drag you down to Hell, as the Inokii Facebook page reveals. They have, however, caused quite a stir with a T-shirt featuring a nun in a ‘compromising position’ and features extreme Jesus blasphemy. Sounds not that far off from Lady Gaga antics.

Still, Dennis Foo and the St James honchos should have done their research before committing to a venue for the band. Just as someone didn’t like Adam Lambert’s gay lifestyle, one of Dennis Foo’s buddies thought that Powerhouse was no place for raging dark metal full of blood, questionable ‘lords’ and overall damnation. I have no idea what Foo’s or his associate’s religious inclinations are, though ironically in 2001 the man was responsible for the DEVIL’s Bar at Orchard Parade Hotel, a themed waterhole for a football club that calls itself ‘The Red Devils’. He also put up a white paper on his own to lobby for the casinos. A black metal addict may very well damage his hearing from his music or be a sucker for the Antichrist, but a gambling addict does far more destruction to himself and everyone else around him. I’m not sure which of the two is the greater ‘evil’ here.

Surely, the band title itself should alert you that they’re not here to do Bon Jovi or Nickelback cover versions. Although most people attuned to milder forms of elevator music would freak out at the guttural incantations of extreme metal, it’s worth noting that the genre has a rabid following here, one website listing the number of metal bands at a stunning 197! We’ve also had our share of ‘underground’ metal festivals such as 2011′s CARNAGE fest, which features names like Cardiac Necropsy and Remains. Cradle of Filth sounds tame in fact (Every bundle of joy leaves behind a cradle of filth) compared to the nightmarish likes of Devourment, Dying Fetus, Blood Anatomies, or ANALDICKTION. The latter is a local band by the way, and it has a song called ‘CB destroyer’. Mommy…

Any literate person WOULD know if a band is black metal or not simply by looking at its name. It’s either has death imagery, virulent disease, or scary Latin words straight out of the Necronomicon in it.  In fact, you can think up one yourself in a jiffy, like Lethal Injection, Rigor Mortis or something pants-pissingly terrifying like Final Examination, Internal Security or One Direction (STRAIGHT TO HELL). If, however, you don’t know anything about the macabre or John Milton you’re no better off than a D-grade horror movie, an ageing professional wrestling tag team (Legion of Doom, Demolition), or a bad Kiss tribute band.

Last year, another metal band ‘Inquisition’ was banned from performing at the True Metal Invasion fest for reasons unclear. I checked out some of the lyrics and found Satan-summoning and song titles like ‘Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm’. That’s what you get when you combine a love for the occult and quantum physics. The song ‘Crepuscular Battle Hymn’ has the lyrics: Crushed from the blow of my hammer strike/ Thrones made of gold crumble from the blast. Which sounds like freakin’ Thor’s anthem, for God’s sake. Hardly the kind of stuff to possess horny boys so that they can molest little girls. Ban this but allow ‘Motherfather’ Gentleman’ on radio? May the scythe of my Leviathan lord lay a thousand curses on your rotten soul.

Megachurch funding Sun Ho’s music career

From ‘City Harvest’s Kong Hee and 4 others questioned by police’ and ‘City Harvest’s Crossover Project lies at heart of CoC inquiry’, 26 June 2012, ST

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and four others, including former board members, were arrested on Tuesday morning following a probe into financial irregularities of the church by both the police and the Commissioner of Charities (CoC). Among other things, the CoC found financial irregularities of at least $23 million from the church funds. Its spokesman said the funds were used with the purported intention to finance the wife of pastor Kong, Ms Ho Yeow Sun’s secular music career to connect with people.

…At the centre of the inquiry by the Commisioner of Charities (CoC) is the City Harvest Church’s Crossover Project and the misrepresentation on the use of the charity’s fund. The project was set up in 2002 purportedly to use Sun Ho’s secular music to connect with people and reach out to non-Christians. By 2003, it had drawn flak. According to the CoC, an individual alleged in the media that the charity was funding Sun Ho’s music career.

This attracted public attention. Although the person eventually issued a public apology and retracted his allegations, the church faced media scrutiny. In response, it issued press statements and made several representations to its members to state that they had not funded Sun Ho’s music career. However, unknown to the executive members of the board, the church’s funds were used to run the project, said the CoC.

In Jan 2003, a CHC member named Roland Poon told the ST that he was ‘encouraged’ to purchase five copies each of Sun Ho’s two albums at the time, and accused church leadership of using funds to push Ho to superstardom.  He later spent tens of thousands publicly apologising in various media out of sudden, dramatic repentance. I wonder how the same man would feel now if the very people he pointed fingers at almost a decade ago were found to be guilty of misusing donations to manufacture a pop star, one who sells sex more than gospel to the masses. What if he was RIGHT all along? It would be the most wasteful apology ever.

There’s nothing wrong with Ho’s ‘secular’ music (other than being utterly tuneless and forgettable) and a sex-kitten image even if she’s a pastor’s wife, though critics were quick to notice Sun Ho’s extravagances once they got bored of her peek-a-boos. In 2003, she was at the Hollywood Film Festival promoting her debut single ‘Where Did Love Go’ in a RED ARMANI SATIN GOWN. This was a track produced by the legendary David Foster, the man behind the success of classic syrupy balladeers like Celine Dion, Elton John and the reason why karaoke is still alive today. Miraculously, this formula of a mega-producer combined with a virtual nobody from Singapore  propelled ‘Where Did Love Go’ to the top of the Billboard Dance charts. It’s likely that the fee paid to Foster alone cost more than the profits of Sun’s first album in Singapore. Minus the CHC fanbase of course.

Five Mandarin platinum albums aside, she’s also the only Singaporean artiste to ever appear at the Grammys twice.   In 2007, the good Christian diva image was shed, and a collaboration with Wyclef Jean of the FUGEES resulted in CHINA WINE, with Ho channeling a premenopausal Nicki Minaj going by the street name of ‘GEISHA’. By taking such gimmicky liberties with all things Asian, China Wine is to Christianity as Annabelle Chong is to Singaporean film.  Most Singaporeans would have realised by now that Ho wasn’t going to be the Asian Charlotte Church. If she had worn crucifixes over lingerie in her performances there wouldn’t be the slightest hint of irony at all. China Wine even sounds like a euphemism for some date rape drug, judging from the raunchy chorus:

China wine, china wine, china wine, china wine, china wine, china wine
Mix da china wine with di dutty wine

I’ve no idea what ‘di dutty wine’ means, though it sounds like Jamaican slang for semen. More telling is the following line:

Look upon da girl a shes a dirty wina
Ed Hardy, dats her designa

(Sun not only wears Ed Hardy, but used to own a store at Heeren with husband Kong Hee. Her wardrobe’s full of it too. Apparently hip clothing sells better than bibles)

Sun Ho in an alternate Christian universe

2009 saw the release of ‘Fancy Free’, which had Ho in MILF meets Lady Gaga Ninja garb while sounding like Gwen Stefani. The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn, the creative hand behind Britney Spears’ Toxic video. A couple of saucy videos, expensive collaborators, endorsements from congregation and you’ve earned yourself a Hollywood home. In 2010, it was reported that Ho rents her place in Hollywood Hills at $28,000 a month, supposedly sharing the same ground that Brad and Angelina walk on. If she could convert either one of them, all would be forgiven. China Wine included.

With CD sales plummeting worldwide and Ho not producing a hit single since her turn to the ‘vamp’ side, it’s not possible for someone to lap up a lavish Hollywood lifestyle without a ‘little help’ from your flock. Whether by the Grace of God or shrewd ‘investments’, Ho has put Singapore ‘on the map’, even if she’s been packaged and sold like a comfort woman with dreadlocks while at it. It doesn’t, however, excuse the CHC bigwigs of turning the prayers and generosity of many into one bad Ed-Hardy endorsed dancehall-reggae-rap -astrophe after another.  Interestingly, in a 2003 Today article, it was reported that Ho was named one of the Outstanding Young Persons by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. One of the past winners was a certain CEO of another charity who later got himself into trouble as well using funds for dialysis patients to affix gold taps in his toilet.

His name? T T DURAI.

Postscript: As befitting of a charismatic leader, CHC members continue to support the shamed Kong Hee, clamouring for him outside court, tweeting words of faith and encouragement and a certain Christopher Pang  being so bold as to threaten the COC with defamation in a written letter to MCYS Minister Chan Chun Sing. Meanwhile the cash till rolls up to $50 million, with luxury property in Sentosa added to the windfall, and Kong Hee is desperately tweeting verses from the Bible like the one below,  forgetting to include @JesusChrist in his plaintive pleas. Not sure if Chan Chun Sing belongs to any denomination himself, though he used to study at Economics at CHRIST’S COLLEGE, Cambridge.

NDP Committee ‘singing’ A Nation’s March

From ‘Netizens hit out at a video of NDP song’, 15 June 2012, article by Fabian Koh, TNP

A VIDEO recording of a new National Day Parade (NDP) song for the marching contingent has drawn flak after it was posted online on Wednesday. Meant to introduce the key members of the NDP 2012 Parade and Ceremony committee, it featured them singing the song A Nation’s March.

But their performance has drawn brickbats for being out of tune, unprofessional and, in the words of some critical netizens, “an epic fail”. Some feel that the performance was unacceptably below par.

Despite the brickbats, there are those who feel the idea of making a video to motivate the marching contingent and help them learn the song was a refreshing one by the committee, and applauded the efforts put in.

Although intended to ‘introduce’ the key members of the NDP committee, not a single person was namechecked in the video. Being ‘unprofessional’ aside, most of these guys sound like they have never even stepped into a SAFRA karaoke room. But perhaps the lack of quality in army personnel singing could have been compensated with enthusiasm and patriotic verve, which was clearly lacking in the video. It’s OK to sing badly and laugh about it afterwards; no one expects a crooner out of a colonel.  However if you want to dish out a propaganda war tune in all seriousness, at least do it with gusto and lung power like you would actually die for the nation, with fists clenched, not swaying like a conductor for some children’s woodwind orchestra. No one’s going to march to this believing they have something to fight for if you guys struggle and wince your way through this like a vegetarian walking into an abbatoir.

The chorus has the following rhyme pair: We are Singapore, a nation we ADORE. The sweet cuddly word ‘adore’ doesn’t fit into a war cry. It’s like putting a teddy bear in a tank, or getting the New Zealand All Blacks to do pirouettes. If they wanted something to rhyme with Singapore, they could have chosen ‘…and we will GIVE IT ALL’,  ‘our nation and MORE’, or ‘a nation WITHOUT WAR’.  So this could be one of the reasons why  ex-Committee chief Colonel Nelson Yau quit suddenly in March this year: He saw the lyrics sheet for this song. Maybe he also found out that the Facebook page for this year’s ‘Loving Singapore, Our Home’ slogan is NDPeeps. Anyone not familiar with teenage slang would think this year’s parade will be a hardcore voyeur fest.

What’s this song for then? Cyberpioneer reports that A Nation’s March is the background music for the Commitment to Defence March, or to be hip about it, (C2D). It also includes student uniformed groups like the Boys and Girls brigade as you can see from the video where no one opens their mouths (i.e the best bits), which explains the ‘contemporary soft pop’ angle to dilute an otherwise triumphant march which may be too harsh and overpowering for kids. Someone needs to remix this pronto, something more befitting of an industrial, state-of-the-art, military machine to showcase our might and scare our enemies, not tickle them.  Skrillex would be ideal.

Perhaps it’s unfair to blame the singers or the director here. As the latter, you wouldn’t want to order a bunch of rugged army officers to do re-takes or sing like they have over-sized testicles without having to ‘knock it down’ right in the middle of the studio. If anything, this clip and it’s ‘Making Of’ video just shows that army men (and woman) can be just as camera-shy, awkward and atonal as most of us. At least the ‘Sing-Gah-Pore’ enunciation wasn’t so obvious as one would expect from army regulars, though I think this would sell better if they had a Hokkien version. Still, a song to accompany a march makes more sense than a Lady Gaga rip-off to promote a ‘fun pack’. Thank God no one raps in here too.

Since no one put captions on the video, I thought I’d take a shot at identifying some of the more prominent singers myself, using this very helpful list from a forum.

First singer. Colonel Roland Ng, Chairman of Parade and Ceremony sings only 4 words (‘Forward we’re marching on’)  Got that ‘How did I do?’ look on his face thereafter.

Lieutenant Colonel Clarence Tan: The guy who looks like he’s having the most fun among the lot. Turns out he’s also Parade Commander. Well chosen, I say.

OMG! It’s Tay Ping Hui! No..it’s just Major Kenneth Chiong, Chairman Parade and Marshalling. Got that ‘What am I doing here’ face. Sings better than Ping Hui though

Master Warrant Officer and Parade Regimental Sergeant Major Tamizh Kannan singing to the floor. Hope he doesn’t shout commands like this too.

ME5 Phui Peng Sim, Chief Trainer or The Conductor. The future is in his hands. ME5 means Military Expert by the way(Dunno about the ’5′. Expert in 5 things?). The guy behind watching remains emotionless.

Senior Warrant Officer Tang Peck Oon, Chief Trainer. This guy shouldn’t be singing the most important line in the chorus. He doesn’t even wear his headphones properly

Lieutenant Colonel Ning Tau Yee, Chairman Special functions: Oh man, you’ve got to hear him to believe it (1.28). Only 3 words solo, yet….

OMG! They got Andrea Bocelli on the team!
Wait a minute..no, it’ just Master Warrant Officer Lee Yong Kwang, Chairman Engagement. And very engaged in this song I must say.

All together now! And yes, someone is snapping his fingers to the beat. Encik, it’s called a Nation’s March, not a Nation’s Jitterbug!

K-pop vs J-pop

From ‘Unfair to compare K-pop to J-pop’, 5 May 2012, ST Life!

(Tay Wan Xin): I am writing on behalf of many J-pop supporters regarding the story How K-pop Beat J-pop (Life!, April 26). Although it might be true that K-pop is the in thing now, is there a need to write such a biased article?

Using Ayumi Hamasaki to compare with Girl’s Generation is not fair. Hamasaki is a J-pop icon who has been in the music industry for a long time. Girl’s Generation is an idol group which only recently became famous. Hamasaki definitely wins hands down.

Besides, I do not think that the Japanese culture is dying out. People seem to have forgotten that most of their favourite anime, such as Pokemon and Doreamon, are part of Japanese culture and their childhood. Even popular K-dramas such as Boys Over Flowers, City Hunter, Playful Kiss and many others are adaptations of original Japanese manga.

(Goh Jia Jie): …The article has incited virtual violence in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, drawing a line between J-pop and K-pop and dividing individuals who appreciate music. It has resulted in an even more tense relationship between K-pop and J-pop fans in Singapore.

Not a fan of either, but I hope nobody has died defending their musical turf in what appears to me as a rather harmless rivalry, like the sort between top England football clubs, Britpop bands of the nineties, Mac vs Microsoft users or Zoe vs Fann.  Singaporeans generally lack ‘groupie solidarity’ when it comes to supporting their own musical talents. No one will be arguing if Taufik Batistah has more ‘swag’ than Sheik Haikel, nor do our local bands and idols have the kind of obsessive, exclusive following that has earned J and K-pop ‘cult-like’ status. The rest of us who live in the real world tend to differ passionately over who makes the best chicken rice in Singapore instead. Whether fans of J or K pop, without these kids HMV would have disappeared a long time ago and I thank God that their obsession is keeping the CD format alive.

Japanese pop music has been trending in Singapore for much longer than Korean music, long before it was rebranded as J-pop and even before the first Pokemon was born. According to this ST article, the craze was born in the aftermath of the All Japan Red and White festival which was screened on local TV in 1981. K-pop really began to take off at the turn of the millennium (Seoul Music, 22 Aug 2000, ST), with girl groups like SES and Clon setting the stage for future performers. Shinhwa was the first K-pop band to perform here, and that was as late as 2006.  The genre is still relatively young and it’s hard to think of a Korean hit song without someone rapping over it, if not auto-tuned. Manufactured to bubblegum perfection, it’s no surprise that K-pop has had greater success here, riding on the tidal wave of pop exports like drama serials and horror movies. Still, it’s unlikely that your slick RnB-heavy Korean boy bands of today could rival 80′s J groups like Shonen-Tai when it comes to versatility and staying power. Or looking like actual men for that matter.

Indeed, it was a time when the hair drew as much attention as the dance movies. Shohjo-Tai, the female version of Shonen-Tai above,  look like they actually eat three proper meals a day. You also didn’t need 48 members to launch a single then. Most producers would be happy with trios, not an entire classroom.

What K-pop lacks in wackiness and variety, the Japanese have more than made up for it in style. If pop and RnB isn’t your cup of tea, you have the choice of techno (Steve Aoki), or Ogre You AssHole.  Other J-rock/punk bands have names like Maximum the Hormone, Bump of Chicken or Sons of All Pussys.  They even made a movie about a death metal band called Detroit Metal City.

If you need more evidence of J-pop’s staying power, look no further than the universally recognised catchy little 1963 ditty that is ‘Sukiyaki’, which singer Johnny Nakamura brought to the region when the word ‘pop-star’ was still in quotation marks.  It was also probably the first Japanese  contemporary track ever heard by Singaporeans. K-pop fans talk about the genre’s success in ‘crossovers’ into US markets. This guy scored a No 1 on the Billboard Charts before most K-pop fans’ parents were even born. Girls’ Generation could ‘bring all the boys out’ and will never achieve what Sukiyaki did for Asia in the face of legends of the time like the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

And of course, there’s Kitaro, still alive by the way. It’s heartening to see musicians sticking to the dying trade that is New Age Music and not sell-out by dressing like pimps. Alas, only spa owners would use his works now.


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