Being gracious, a strength or weakness?


Prince Charles being gracious. [Photo source: Daily Express]

By JoeAm

Many witnessed the marriage of royalty in the UK this past weekend, with impressive pomp surrounding the happy circumstance. Prince Charles substituted as the father of the bride and was masterful as the gracious dominant male authorized to walk her down the aisle and give her to Prince Harry.

Then we have President Duterte, who relentlessly seems willing to prove that there is a wide range of human capacity for being gracious, or being absent it.

Indeed, Prince Charles and President Duterte could hardly be recognized as coming from the same humanoid species.

Many Filipinos have inverse values, seeing apology as weakness and gracious behavior as arrogant snobbery and condescension. Most students of good human bearing see apology and accountability as mature and responsible, and graciousness as a sign of education and compassionate ways.

Here’s what says:

gracious, adjective

  1. pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous.
  2. characterized by good taste, comfort, ease, or luxury: gracious suburban living; a gracious home.
  3. indulgent or beneficent in a pleasantly condescending way, especially to inferiors.
  4. merciful or compassionate: our gracious king.

Well, Prince Charles seems to have the bearings of all four, although one is hard pressed to say who he would consider ‘inferiors’. I mean, a distinguished royal who is happy to march a divorced half-Black bride down the lily white chapel aisle of Windsor Castle and give her to his son . . . that is pretty cool to this bi-racially married scribe. I tend to think he does not condescend to anyone. A gracious prince is a prince for all the people.

President Duterte on a rant. [Photo source: GMA News]

Now President Duterte, I’ve heard, actually is courteous and soft-spoken when with people he likes. And I suspect he does his best to display good taste with dignitaries such as China’s President Xi. Does he have good taste at home? Maybe, but he fondles women in public. He rants and curses regularly. He is beyond condescending to inferiors, he jails them or maybe has them killed. I know of none who considers him merciful or compassionate.

Indeed, it is his being the OPPOSITE of gracious that endears him to Filipinos. People without dreams tend to lash out, and that seems to be most Filipinos. Many seem wrapped up in bitterness and are on the hunt for someone to punish. They can relate to their non-gracious leader.

So what is an outsider like me to do? Respect a cultural way that seems to prize being rude, or advocate for being gracious?

Well, I think there is a place in the world for the bad cop and the good cop, but I don’t think both deserve being promoted or put a leadership role. Respect for laws that bind a community in harmony only work if the leader is a good cop. Otherwise, citizens end up paying hell, either under the bad cop or later after he has passed.

Striving for gracious is important, I think. It is the path to understanding and peaceful diversity.

It is compassionate, by definition, and compassion is needed for clean, safe, productive living. Compassion demands respect for others.

It is what bullies lack, even whole nations like China.

I hope the Philippines embraces gracious as a commoner’s way of living right. Not something to despise because of futility. Not something to grant to corrupt people and thugs just because they have power. I recoil at the notion fed to us by PCOO that President Duterte ‘graces’ the events he attends.

He does not.

He dominates them.

Gracious is the best path to opportunity and self-fulfillment, and success as a modern nation.


Perhaps the Philippines needs a Department of Etiquette, or a Department of Deportment. It would make the rude and crude so much more visible and perhaps get rid of them from government service.




Belatedly but sincerely, I’d like to wish this unconventional, dynamic, impressive royal couple good health, riches beyond money, and a long, fulfilling, loving togetherness. JoeAm


Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, 22 May 2018 [Photo Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock via People Magazine]



55 Responses to “Being gracious, a strength or weakness?”
  1. edgar lores says:

    1. I like the reach of this post, that events happening halfway around the world affect us. And so it must be that events happening at home do influence people halfway around the world.

    2. The idea of the world’s interconnectedness is expressed in the West by John Donne’s poetic insight that “no man is an island, entire of itself.” And in the East, it is captured in the Buddhist notion of interdependency.

    3. Indeed, Duterte has put himself and the Philippines on the world map… not in a nice way but in an ungracious way. Instead of the world gazing with delight at Filipinos congregating in the streets, wearing masks of prince and bride, waving flags, living in the moment and dancing in joy at an event of great import, the world looks on in horror.

    3.1. Horror at Filipinos lying in the streets wearing masking tape, marchers waving placards of protests, some Filipinos living in dread and others dancing with glee at an event that shredded their Constitution to pieces.

    4. The wonder of British royalty marrying American democracy, of white aristocracy merging with African-American commonalty, is a magical event. The main underlying motif is the 18th-century discovery that all men are created equal. Not only aristocrat and commoner. Not only Anglican and Roman Catholic. Not only black and white. But also man and woman.

    5. The Royal Wedding was a fairytale come true.

    6. In the Philippines, we have a fairytale of a rampant monster. Of a Bluebeard who preys on women. Of an ogre who feeds on humans. Of a Dracula who drinks blood.

    7. Sensible Filipinos are waiting for a hero or heroine to save the nation from the monster. It may be that no single champion is forthcoming. It may be that each must become a champion. In this way, there is no over-dependence on anyone. Instead, there is individual independence, as shown by Meghan and her mother, and societal dependence, as shown by British royalty, balanced in harmony.

  2. Andres 2018. says:

    Hate fuels PH, ever since. Hate breeds praise, praise breeds popularity, popularity breeds success, success as a politician. Thats why those who aspire for a seat, whether as mayors or senators, weaponized this emotion of hate. Even the President used hate to win him his seat, hate the drug addicts, condemn them, kill them. People love hate. Mercy, pity, love, graciousness? No room for it now.

    Prospected candidates for next year’s election enter the lime with clad in suit of hate. What to hate this time? Hate the yellows, hate them really good. Mercy, pity, love, graciousness? No room for it next year.

    Even before the presidency of Duterte, hate was already employed. Hate Binay, hate Corona, hate Gloria, hate Erap, and even before that hate Marcos. Hate is forever the most efficient out there, better than mercy, pity, love and graciousness.

  3. alicia m. kruger says:

    Oh, what a disrespectful and ungracious prince of darkness the Philippines have!

  4. Graciousness presumes generosity of spirit and goodwill. Who has that in the Philippines?

    1. Most dynastic rulers are generous and of good will only to epal and/or bind with utang na loob.

    2. Filipinos among themselves often lack goodwill. Injustice De Castro the most extreme example.


    VP Leni seems to have genuine generosity and goodwill – her programs are not epal or anything.

    The “royal” debut of Duterte’s granddaughter was of the Imeldific spirit – our turn to splurge, NOW!

    A lot of the corruption now revealed is similar – it is the mindset of victims justifying their excesses.


    Generosity of spirit and goodwill I think leads to the cake growing larger, all prosperity increasing.

    Lack of both leads, at worst, to looting the cake and forgetting to bake more – Philippines today.

  5. NHerrera says:


    Talk about graciousness with a good dose of diplomatic language, Albert del Rosario, former secretary of foreign affairs and ambassador of the Philippines to the United States, takes a different tack — he urged On SCS: Let us help our President; and offered a non-confrontational set of practical suggestions.

    He ends with a call for patriotism — if required — which I believe includes himself [Del Rosario], an elderly statesman:

    The President believes, however, that those of us who endeavor to speak in the spirit of being helpful are not prepared to sacrifice ourselves.

    We ask our leadership to have more confidence in our people.

    To support our President, to secure our nation and to ensure the future of all Filipinos, we need to believe that there are many of us who are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice for our country, especially when called upon.

    Many Filipinos want to be of help. Let us respectfully convey to our President that we eagerly await his inspirational leadership by doing what is right for our country.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        The Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge were both raised and nurtured by a Filipina nanny, so was the paramedic and his children (so he told me) who carried me to an ambulance and kept me unworried to the hospital. The true Filipino is the quintessential citizen of the world. In dreamt countries ruled by philosopher-kings with Filipinos as vassals, you will have heaven on earth. In a society of honor the discourse elaborates the causes and effects of a hell on earth.

        This piece, any which way it jabs or holds as full Nelson, TSoH has done it again for a count of three in UFC in the octagon of conscience.

        It remains no one stands alone, even the chief of the fallen angels who rules the Hades. Admirers, adorers of perverted beliefs, there always will fools be. They who clap their hands above their heads in support of evil shall forever stalk their prey.

        Because the monarchy or aristocracy is not a fairy tale of fantasy BUT LARGER THAN LIFE’S REALITY, I am emboldened to recycle a comment:

        I was planning to write on Harry and Meghan’s wedding of many (twelve?) generations on the single thought to proclaim that their Royal Wedding had put a humane face to the aristocratic pomp and splendor of Monarchy’s history in Europe. But I wasn’t there and done that and without evidence like a Wakarang.

        And now I may add, and so also the millions of LOVERS all over the world who watched the amalgamation (in sickness and in everything until death) and who regardless of color already knew, listened to the homily of what is LOVE by a black preacher.

        • Challenging question. If Filipinos broadly are happy, comfortable, and successful as vassals, would it be a mistake to try to teach them western ideas of graciousness or personal ambition? My own answer is it would not be a mistake. Because so many Filipinos today are caring around a bitter anger, and the nation can’t succeed if its main personal drives are envy and vengeance.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            If as I conjectured elsewhere that history is a canvass of jig sawed events which can be transported across time and space, it could happen as will be triggered by imbeciles, a blood flow in the streets, a re-enactment of the French Revolution, or a Sodom and Gomorrah for a people’s rebirth. Graciousness might have the quality of meekness (peoples’ power with the use of flowers) without the balls to shed blood for righteousness.

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          The Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge were both raised and nurtured by a Filipina nanny, so was the paramedic and his children (so he told me) who carried me to an ambulance and kept me unworried to the hospital. The true Filipino is the quintessential citizen of the world. In dreamt countries ruled by philosopher-kings with Filipinos as vassals, you will have heaven on earth. In a society of honor the discourse elaborates the causes and effects of a hell on earth.

          This piece, any which way it jabs or holds as full Nelson, TSoH has done it again for a count of three in UFC in the octagon of conscience.

          It remains no one stands alone, even the chief of the fallen angels who rules the Hades. Admirers, adorers of perverted beliefs, there always will fools be. They who clap their hands above their heads in support of evil shall forever stalk their prey.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            So, TSoH averred Popoy is a riddler and this could be one riddle. What is it in MATH that made Harry-Meghan wedding surpassed the predecessor Royal Wedding of William and Kate? When the union is a mathematical equation ?

            HINT: It is still a mental work in progress to flesh out my equation (ala Einstein, E=mc2):

            Ph Political Dynasty equals vote-buying plus mendicancy squared

            PPD = VB + M2

            Ano nga ba?

            • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

              Sirit na? Ang Corny eh.

              LOVE = POWER (according to the Christian Preacher)

              These posts are not to slow or water down, or douse cold the flaming discussions in TSoH of what is terribly wrong that’s going on in the country right now. The Chief Chef in hell might say slow burn or slow cooking produces the most delightful eternal meal for Wakawakwaks.

    • NHerrera says:

      I may add that compared to the injustice done to the handling of the ouster of SC Chief Justice Sereno — with the complexity of legal issues associated with Impeachment and Quo Warranto to the man in the street; and to whether or not the Hateful Five of the 8 Justices should have ethically participated in the CJ’s lynching in the equally hateful HOR and then pass judgment on her at the SC — the matter of fighting for what is ours as a country stirs a simpler, purer, higher level of ennobling emotion, I believe, uncomplicated by the former ethical or legal issues. After all, the teachers and their students still sing and/ or listen to the line in the National Anthem: ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo

  6. arlene says:

    The new norm nowadays I think are lying, cursing and propagating fake news. I also watched the wedding ceremony of Meghan and Harry. Despite their wealth, they seem so gracious to their countrymen.

  7. Micha says:

    I’m just glad the British monarchy had been relegated to its symbolic role in the function of power. It’s a dying institution, a relic, an artifact of, what appears in hindsight now, flawed human attempt to organize society.

    That the heirs try to stay relevant in the modern age by marrying commoners won’t hide the fact that the British monarchy, like all monarchies, is anti-democratic and a perversion of human aspiration for justice and is antithetical to the more noble Jeffersonian code..

    Don’t be fooled by the drama and the pomp, the gala and the glamour of a royal wedding. For underneath the grandeur is rottenness, corruption and ostentation of power.

    There is nothing that separates Duterte from the British royals.

    Duterte too wants to be bestowed royal powers and the attendant airs of a royal court populated by cronies and sycophants.

    • Fascinating point of view. I can see the pretentiousness of both royalty and a rough, aspiring dictator. But I think royalty tends to inspire by representing a higher-minded civility whereas there is no higher social purpose to rough authoritarianism. The latter thrives through fear, not aspiration.

      • Micha says:

        Duterte hasn’t yet accumulated enough wealth to allow him to acquire finesse and civility.

        Earlier British kings were also brutes. It was only when they have plundered enough wealth and live in ostentatious lifestyles that they acquired gracious traits and habits.

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          Fifty years ago (1967-68) twelve Filipino students heard repeatedly the semblance of Micha’s comments against British Royalty in a humble English pub twenty miles from London in a little village of Silsoe, Beds., England. Two students were taking their DPhil, the rest taking a year of PG Engng Courses.

          Pubs all over England’s villages opens at 6pm. The Pinoy students, many but not all in many a night for almost a year got soaked with British folklore and beer with oldie locals. Very few after a few pints will rant about their Kings and Queens, how them poor folks were supporting the blue bloods. Villagers didn’t like being awakened in their sleep by noisy cars of students returning from either Luton or Bedford after their R & R. The interaction weren’t so friendly until graduation night.

          Learning that they are entitled to invite two guests each and with no Pinoy relatives to attend their graduation the Pinoys and other foreign students decided to invite the villagers as their own guests. That broke and thawed the cold ice in little Silsoe village when British Masa meets British intelligentsia with banter and laughter while holding their pints of beer. Been there, done and heard that short part (not fake) of Canterbury Tales. For the first time too, may be a Pinoy delivered a seminar to introduce his country to Brits students and faculty.

        • Of course old wealth is usually more civil than new money. But old aristocratic houses also tend to acquire certain traditions with time. The Philippines has nothing comparable.

          The last real animal among English kings was probably Henry VIII. His daughter Elisabeth I will probably have inherited his ruthlessness, otherwise she would not have managed the colonization of America and the defeat of Spain so well. But she had a lot more finesse.

          The English throne, like the Catholic church, is an institution that has managed to survive by adapting to the times to preserve its legitimacy. In 1936, Edward VIII had to abdicate (resign) because he wanted to marry a divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson.

          Even Prince Charles’ marriage to Lady Di back in the days was an advance by English royal standards, because her disco lifestyle was somehow not quite the standard then. That Lady Di suffered the stiffness of the English court is known. It is not just a comfortable life.

          Most old dynasties go by stiff rules of protocol. Journalist Letizia Ortiz who married then Prince Felipe of Spain – and is now Queen – lost a lot of weight when she first had to adjust to the strictest royal protocol of all, the Spanish one. Always half a step behind the king etc.


          The most sympathetic royal houses are still the Dutch and Scandinavian ones, because they are less on pomp and more on modesty than the English are. The present king of Holland married an Argentinian in 2002. For some Dutch activists, the issue was not that Maxima was not royal, that did not matter anymore in Holland (and besides they say the Argentinians are the aristocrats of South America) but that her father was a Pinochet crony.

          There was the somewhat scandalous marriage of Norways present King Haakon with Mette Marit, a single mother with a somewhat wild past, in 2001. So as we see, the English throne is just adjusting to the times, while the avantgarde are the Dutch and Scandinavians.

          The most famous commoner to marry a European royal was of course Grace Kelly, but then again the House of Monaco are still considered former pirates by the old nobility. And her daughters were also good at filling European tabloids. Stephanie of Monaco made a song about her scandalous boyfriend in 1986, the text could also be from young Kris Aquino: – enough of tsismis for now..


          Seems most European royals also did not impoverish their people, except the Russians. Probably spending the plundered wealth at home makes the difference. Russians also liked to buy stuff in Western Europe while Western European royalty gave jobs to local people by hiring local craftsmen, artists etc., buying local crafts. Not to defend oligarchy in any way, but they also say Indonesia suffered less under Suharto than the Philippines under Marcos because the Suharto family spent most of their money at home – “baduy” as the Indos are.

          • Of course the nobility were rent-seekers – I once posted here about bridge tolls shared with the higher clergy. Or river tolls, the original robber barons were along the Rhine river, those nice castles along its banks were once tools of extortion. Or certain monopolies.

            Even the right to hold a market in a town was a right given to that town by a lord who had his cut of the earnings – the origin of taxes. And if one goes back far enough in German history, for example, there were times Italy made more money from them than local people did as everything that was good came from there – marble, paintings, wine, shoes, even guns. One of the oldest gun manufacturers in the world is Beretta, 500 years old, Italian warlord period when the likes of Sforza and Borgia competed for power in the Northern Italian plain.

          • Micha says:


            And that is exactly the trouble with monarchies all over, they try to legitimize their rule by illegitimate and undemocratic means. It’s an institution that has served its purpose in its time but is now, in light of democratic renaissance, obsolete and outdated.

            It’s vestiges just now try to cling on to whatever vestigial power and privileges and accumulated wealth they still have but, by and large, it’s a defunct institution. It is kept alive by its hoarded wealth and the stupidity of starry-eyed suckers in the royal hoopla.

            • But people seem to have a need, worldwide, to have something symbolic to admire. Constitutional monarchies are amazingly stable, their figureheads give their nations something to rally around. Just like the idea of God is also a symbol to rally around.

              People being slightly irrational beings, better have them rally around old and by now harmless monarchies than around dictators. Better around the cross than the swastika.

              Germany has no constitutional monarch, but its Presidents may not be much cheaper than the Dutch monarchy as every former President has certain lifetime entitlements including a small security detail and a small staff plus the kind of “never-work-again” salary + pension.

              • Micha says:

                Irineo, our choice is not limited between a dictator and some benign royal grandma.

              • The third alternative is as I implied a ceremonial head of state, like the President in many parliamentary systems.

                it makes sense as a President is usually there to inspire while a Prime Minister has to be a manager who passes work to ministers and supervises them. Usually a person who fits both roles well is extremely rare, often the good workers are boring motivators and vice versa.

              • Besides,why not let a country have its constitutional monarch if they choose to have one? Holland and Scandinavia countries would surely vote to remove them if they wanted to. England I don’t know really, as there is still more of an intransparent class divide over there.

              • edgar lores says:

                It seems that at this stage in the development of mankind, people need the fairytales of royalty and religion. The two R’s.

                Well, add riches. And that makes three R’s.

                These three R’s are the symbols of man’s upward reach.

                They are also magic, the alchemy by which the dust that we are is transmuted into a grand substance. We are stardust and we yearn to re-form into stars. Rich stars. Royal stars. And God-is-with- us stars.

                The three R’s are the fountains of power.

                Even in non-constitutional monarchies, government officials constitute a form of royalty and they lord it over the nation.

                The glue that binds us are the fairytales, the stories, the narratives of wealth, royalty, and religion.

                For the enlightened man, the three R’s don’t make sense. There really is no need for great wealth, royalty, and religion. There is just the need and the recognition for sufficient wealth (to live a comfortable life and read or write books), equality (to live in peaceful equanimity with our fellow men), and truth (to live without illusion and with integrity).

                I imagine people will say that to live without illusions would be boring. I don’t think so. I think it would be to live in appreciation and gratitude for the sun, the breeze, the food, the drinks, the solitude, the companionship, and all that life has to offer. There is greater magic in these things than what the three R’s can provide.

              • Anyone who is bored by reality, which presents as opportunity the adventure of exploring many unknowns (intellectual as well as geographic), is a boring person.

              • Micha says:

                Irineo, this ideological approach of marrying democracy with feudalism, however benign, is what prevents true democracy to flourish even in so-called western democracies.

                If we keep on treating fellow citizens like fragile little children that needs to be governed then they will continue to behave like fragile little children.

                True democrats advocate for empowering and active political participation of the people.

                The way to start this is by guaranteeing their economic freedom. You do not expect citizens to acquire political maturity and/or rationality if you subject them to brutal poverty and economic enslavement.

                That is how the feudal masters in Europe were able to keep their power for so long, keep their people economically enslaved.

                And that is also how our present day plutocrats in what we call capitalist democracies are able to capture and corrupt the democratic project.

              • What is a bit weird is that the Scandinavian countries are among the most economically equal and democratic worldwide, yet they all retain their monarchies.

                They probably would not vote to remove them. I am not so sure about the English (who have enormous class differences) or the Dutch.

                Also strange: the Scandinavian Kings are also heads of the respective Lutheran churches there. Of course Lutheranism is austere and emphasizes modesty even among kings.

              • NHerrera says:

                A PERSONAL VIEW

                This is not to say that we, or rather mankind, should not strive for what may intellectually or academically, philosophically satisfying [ref, Micha]. There is however reality and the many variants that they manifest that makes our desires on this satisfying scheme or Holy Grail — it there is such a one — a pipe dream. Each country, by reason of its experience-history, has preference for some scheme [ref, Irineo]; and even this evolves through time. Personally, I have a modest view and practice of things, perhaps influenced lately by my current age [ref, edgar]

                There is a phrase known to us — Pareto’s Principle. Uncannily, PP explains the end result of many human behaviors. And even in the technical world, apart from human activities, PP helps explain some phenomenon [e.g. 80 percent of bugs in hardware or software are taken out by focusing on 20 percent of the causes].

              • Micha says:


                As I’ve said I’m just glad that European royalties have now largely remained symbolic in the function of power, that they don’t interfere that much in policies and affairs of the state both domestic and foreign. Scandinavian royals have also, unlike their British counterparts, remained low key. Without using the google search bar I wouldn’t know that the current king of Sweden is a certain Carl XVI Gustaf.

                Nordic pride in their royals may have something to do with their history as conquering warriors of foreign lands and their ethnocultural heritage.

                The combined population of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is just 21 million so it’s much easier to democratize their wealth.

                This reminds me of the population problem in the Philippines which we seem to rather ignore. The 100 million figure is just sheer madness given the resources and carrying capacity of our natural environment. We are way over the limit of sustainability.

                If we could pare our population to around 60 million I’d be a happy camper.

  8. NHerrera says:


    The intended Meeting of Trump and Kim Jong Un just got cancelled. That was too good to be true to start with.

  9. Sup says:
    Duterte: Women cannot stand threats, intimidation
    Responding to the #BabaeAko social media campaign against misogyny and sexism, Duterte on Thursday said there are certain aspects in life that women cannot do, like fighting in a battlefield.

    “Sabi ko nga ayaw ko ng babae, eto naman, kami ay mga babae. Mga babae nga kayo so anong problema?” Duterte said in a speech during an inauguration of a bridge in Davao City.

    Sorry…i choose any of those 62 woman any day over you

    This is a list of women who have been elected or appointed head of state or government of their respective countries since the mid-20th century. The list includes female presidents who are head of state and may also be head of government, as well as female heads of government who are not concurrently head of state, such as prime ministers. The list does not include female monarchs who are head of state

  10. Bill In Oz says:

    There is an interesting and important ‘backstory’ to Prince Charles walking Meghan Merkle down the aisle to the wedding service with his son Prince Harry.

    When Charles was young he met and fell in love with a woman who was not suitable to be his bride, because she had been dated by other men. He was ordered by his father ( the Duke of Edinburgh ) to abandon the relationship.. And the old man organised for Charles to be absent on official royal duties away from London for quite a while.. The woman involved was also ticked off by an aide of the palace.

    His father the Duke is a real bullying prick. So Charles being a bit young & ‘dominatable’ did what he was told. So did the woman he loved; she married tsomeone else.

    Later he met Diana who was considered ‘suitable’ to be his breeding bride… And you probably know what happened later on…A catastrophic royal divorce & car crash which killed her when Harry was 12 years old….

    After a decent interval Charles married his old love despite the hostility of certain senior members of the royal family. Her name is Camila. And they are still together…

    What has this to do with Harry & Meghans wedding ?

    Well Charles not only accepted his son’s desire to marry the woman he loved. He also welcomed her into his own familyvery, very publicly at the wedding service with the world watching, by walking her down the aisle.

    It was a public ‘up you old man’ to his own father, the 96 year old duke, sitting there in the church nearby.

    Charles is a royal family member for whom I have a lot of admiration.

    But emphatically none for Dutters !

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