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Sunday, June 29, 2014

WORLD CUP 2014 and TEAMWORK


At the World Cup as in life, there are two types of teams. Those that focus on the goal and those that focus on themselves. Teams that focus on goals tend to win. Teams that focus on themselves tend to fight. Though either team may win or lose, where teams are of equal might, those who fight often end in defeat.  However, those who focus on goals, though they may have less might can put up a spirited fight.
There must be some psychology to this because people fear the underdog  and somehow know that pride can easily ruin a team. The key to success is not really in the teams then. The key is in the focus. If everyone focuses on the goal, then all efforts move the ball to the goal. However, if teams play for themselves, it is impossible to get the ball to move towards any goal. However, players that use their strengths to get the ball to goal create a formidable team. The trick is not to let personal views diffuse the teams’ goal.
There are two other teams that make it to the world cup. Little league players with great ball skills and amateurs players who listen to people in the stands. Little league players thrill the audience and keep them talking for a long, long while. Amateur players just came for the show.    
Allan Bukusi

Friday, June 27, 2014

CAVE MEN FOREVER

There was once a man, who during a great famine, took flight at night. As luck would have it he fell into a cave and try as he might he could not find his way out. He soon tired and retired on the cold bare rock, but woke with a fright when he thought it should be light. He once again he resumed his search for the light, but soon his eyes became accustomed to the night.

The next day, or the next night, he tried with all his might to find the light. But try as he might, and lost for so long in night, all he found was more night.  But the next night was not as the night before and before long he forgot about the light and settled on the night and the fish in the stream. No longer hungry but full he settled down for the rest of the night.

One day he saw the light, but having been so long in the night, he ran from it because it hurt his eyes. Convinced that it was what he once knew, he had to gather much courage to face the light. Indeed, he had to make a choice between the pain of the light and the comfort of the night.

At one point or other in life, we all find ourselves in situations like this - not of our making. But when it finally comes to an end, we must make the choice to move on or stay behind. We must step into the light or remain cave men forever.

Allan Bukusi

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Seven Responses to the Saba-Saba debate in Kenya!


KENYA: POLITICS, POWER & NATIONAL PROSPERITY
“Seven Responses to the Saba-Saba debate in Kenya”

Kenyans need the wisdom of God to speak into the current situation of public insecurity, political power struggles and governance challenges in the country. We need to make wise choices to resolve these issues and bring about national prosperity. Saba Saba began as a movement for constitutional reform back in 1990. It heralded the maturing of political expression in the public domain and ushered in the next generation of leaders in the Kenya’s history.While the Saba-Saba debate has arrested the attention of the nation, we must not trivialize our response to the major concerns of law, employment and wealth creation the debate raises. We need a careful and sober evaluation of the context and content of its various claims to establish specific action the nation can take to resolve them.  This article explains how Kenyans can ensure that the country pursues a progressive path through the Saba-Saba debate drawing insights from the current political environment, researched economic principles, current global leadership thinking and historical wisdom.
Major change

In 2010, a majority public vote at a national referendum launched Kenya on a new journey towards national development under a new constitution.  The major product of this new constitution was the devolution of power to 47 county governors each with its own administration. The first government, elected in 2013, under the new national policy framework has the duty to deal with all the teething problems of the new political order.
The emerging two major challenges of this new order are 1) governance and 2) the distribution of wealth, as governors and other national institutions jostle for control and stamp their authority on administrative processes to legitimize their existence. While devolution has brought administration closer to the people, it has not brought about expected public prosperity, but has significantly increased the cost of government.
This has spawned a measure of public frustration with the process and dissatisfaction among senior and new politicians that has been compounded by mounting insecurity caused by a series terror attacks on innocent citizens over the past year.  In this exasperating situation claims of ethnic bias and marginalization have been made. The nation is looking for salvation and security from anyone who promises peace and prosperity.
On the other hand the national vision promises, “A globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030”. But, what is the meaning of “prosperous” and do Kenyans feel they are advancing towards a higher quality of life? Before we respond to these contextual challenges, we need to examine the contributions prosperity, politics and power make to the current stalemate
Prosperity
Prosperity is often thought to be the possession of material wealth. However, recent thinking on the measurement of prosperity suggests that there is more to prosperity than mere property.  The UN human development and the legatum prosperity indexes include the elements such as; security, political and economic freedoms - even happiness! When these soft factors are included, nations that rank high in GDP (financial wealth) like USA and China drop significantly in world ranking falling behind nations like Norway and Australia. These global prosperity rankings suggest that the mwananchi (citizen) is not wrong to be unhappy with the current situation, or to demand security and peace to safeguard and enjoy personal prosperity.
The USA, the most prosperous nation on earth guarantees every citizen, “...right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. One study of happiness shows that the top three measures of happiness are health, marriage & religion in that order. It may be obvious that health should rank first, but the other two are very revealing. Apparently, happy marriages contribute to national prosperity. While religion, through its open doors and acceptance of people of all communities, races and ethnic backgrounds, has the power to promote happiness and safeguard national prosperity.  
For a nation to enjoy prosperity that prosperity must be available to all citizens and provide opportunity for everyone to escape poverty. However, studies also show that personal prosperity is different from national prosperity. Economic measures of wealth such as the GDP (national prosperity) do not always translate into per capita income (personal wealth). For example, when the government borrows billions of dollars to build industrial plants, this translates into higher taxes on public income to pay back the loan. When this happens, national prosperity comes into direct conflict with personal prosperity.
The public becomes unhappy with national prosperity for two major reasons, 1) if their civil liberties are taken away or 2) if they feel there is no escape from poverty within the economy. Both of these are serious claims that can trigger a revolution by force or by the ballot box. However, since Kenyans recently asserted their civil liberties by adopting a new constitution, the poor distribution of wealth has made them unhappy.
Politics
Sovereign states use politics to develop suitable laws and national policy. However, while politics makes laws to which everyone must abide, effective politics requires leadership sensitive to public needs and concerns. Nonetheless, political leaders sometimes lack the ability or desire to design, develop or implement policy that generates national prosperity. The tragedy of bad politics is that it creates bad laws that create bad economics that open doors to corruption. Insincere leaders use politics to pass laws and policy to protect their own interests rather than the public good. For example, it would be interesting to find out how many Kenyans are “happy” with the recently passed marriage bill that allows men to marry countless number of women. This piece of legislation leaves 50 % of the population feeling vulnerable and insecure and the other 50% in mild shock. Yet this law is now binding, legal and enforceable!
But even “good”, “well intentioned” policy can have the same effect as bad laws if not well implemented. For example imposing high tariffs on imported goods such as petroleum goods, in the interest of protecting the local market from low quality goods, allows wealthy companies to monopolize the trade in those goods and lock out the not so wealthy majority from participating in the market. The object of politics should not be good law, but prudent law, laws that ensure the public interest is secured and ensures the public is not made to bear burdens that benefit a minority or select group of interested parties. Bad laws make the Kenyan public unhappy.
Power
Power is the control of resources, the capacity to enforce law, the guarantor of justice and the patron of privilege. My political mentor explains that though a government has the monopoly of the use of force, it can use it against outsiders to defend national borders, but it cannot turn that force against its own citizens. The moment a government turns that force against its citizens it causes anxiety, insecurity and loses legitimacy. However, though the public may not be privy to the full details of state dealings in the exercise of power, the perceived use of power becomes the measure by which the public judges a government’s commitment to public prosperity. The feelings of being unprotected by one’s own government lead to public frustration.
Power is essential for effective governance in a country but it is also a source of national pride and a focus of personal jealousy. Many people seek power to enjoy positions of privilege and exercise the privilege of power. In Kenya’s case, the implementation of the new constitution governance structure has caused an inevitable fluidity and vagueness in the allocation of authority and power to offices and officials that is yet to be well defined or understood. The public may have to bear with that reality for some time but must be very keen to differentiate between power hungry wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing and genuine shepherds of the flock. Nevertheless, power seekers are not always easily dissuaded and tend to use any means possible to get to power. Africa has time and again witnessed the use of negative ethnicity used as a path to grab power. But power struggles to control national resources, as we know from the DRC, do not allow citizens to enjoy the nations prosperity.
Principles of National Prosperity
National prosperity depends on the state of the “politico-socio-economic enterprise” in a nation - otherwise known as “stability”. Frustration with ill achieved national prosperity can bring about a revolution for political or economic reasons.  However, a political revolution must have ideological content, while economic revolutions can be achieved by a shift in national policy or changes of government at the ballot box. The Saba-Saba debate has an ethnic agenda but no ideology. However, the gap between national and personal prosperity does pose a problem.
But how is national prosperity achieved? Given the complexities of personal prosperity, politics and leaders jostling for power in a nation with a population of over 40 million people, 44 ethnic tribes spread over 47 counties, the answer to that question requires Solomonic wisdom. Fortunately, the origins of the prosperity of Solomon’s kingdom are well documented. The glory of the ancient kingdom of Israel began with an earnest prayer by the king for wisdom to govern the people.  Apparently, it was very clear to the young king that to rule a nation required divine intervention. God granted Solomon his request and in addition, gave him wealth and peace. This set the stage for the most prosperous kingdom in Israel’s history. We can learn quite a bit about national prosperity from studying Solomon’s achievements.
Wisdom
First, Solomon sought wisdom to rule the country. Perhaps he understood that he did not know everything. Perhaps he was humble enough to admit that he did not know what he needed to know. All the same, he sought counsel from God. He sought expertise and insight into matters of leadership, justice and statecraft. The historical account gives credit to his open courts, public works, military organization, employment statistics, diplomatic relations, free trade and all forms of enterprise. No incident requiring justice was too small to elude his attention. Moreover, it is recorded that the people were happy!

Divine favor
Solomon’s Kingdom is not the only one to seek divine intervention. The wealthiest nation on earth today, has inscribed “In God We Trust” on its currency. The founding fathers of America seem to have understood something that we tend to forget today - Prosperity is a favor entreated of God. The worst rulers in history go down as having no fear of God or love for fellow man. They do not receive divine favor.

Peace
Peace is a precondition for prosperity. War of any sort is a drain on a nation’s wealth. The fact that USA declared “war on terror” led to a major downturn in economic performance in later years. Hitler was eventually defeated because he ran out of funds to keep World War II going. War is not only destructive; it gobbles up profit (GDP) and kills national prosperity by diverting resources away from economic activity.

Free enterprise
There are in fact three types of enterprise; productive, destructive and unproductive enterprise  Productive enterprise results in the production of wealth in line with Adam Smith’s model of free enterprise. The use of ones God given gifts, talents and abilities to create value for others inordinately creates opportunities for others to create further wealth. For example, if a farmer grows cotton, the weaver will make carpets and the shopkeeper has things to sell to customers who need his goods.  One person’s initiative triggers the multiplication of wealth in a nation. For this process to yield maximum results, it must be “free” of manipulation. Unfortunately, Kenya’s production process is flooded with middlemen. While USA has 6 enterprises for every 100 people, Kenya has only 3 registered enterprises for every 1000 people.

Destructive production is theft! Theft is an activity that deprives one person of their wealth and puts it in the possession of another without adding any value to the economy. This obviously demoralizes the producer and depletes the production of wealth in the economy. It also produces endemic poverty.  War, political bickering and ethnic violence are all forms of destructive production.
Unproductive enterprise is the use of policy and legislation to block, punish and muzzle enterprise in order to protect markets to favor privileged interests or interest groups. Such enterprise inhibits the creation of wealth and awards it to undeserving groups. Kenyan parliamentarians recently changed the law to increase their own salaries. Such a move is unlikely to spur productivity among citizenry or inspire them to pay income tax. High tax rates (16% VAT), High loan interest rates and other tariffs have the same negative effect. Interestingly prosperous nations such as Hong Kong and Singapore maintain tax rates as low as 2-3%.
Employment
Everyone in Solomon’s kingdom seems to have been fully engaged or employed. Similarly, wealthy nations have high employment rates. A large part of the GDP (national prosperity) is produced by employees earning consistently high per capita income (personal wealth). In other words, wealth in prosperous nations is generated by wealthy employees! While the high unemployment rate in Kenya is unacceptably high, the 60% who are employed contribute very little wealth to the GDP (national prosperity). In other words, Kenyan workers have no idea how to prosper in employment Kenyans do not know how to create and manage wealth! There is an anecdotal story told that says, if all the wealth in the world was redistributed equally in the name of “justice”, it would take but a short time for that wealth to return to its first owners.  Simply because those who never earned it before would not know what to do with it. This is the unfortunate tragedy of the Kenyan employee who is unable to gain any personal wealth after a lifetime of employment.

Conclusion
In conclusion, we already have a new constitution whose implementation is the equivalent of a political revolution. However, we still need economic solutions to our wealth challenges. There is a lot of work to be done by the public, the government and politicians to enable us to achieve the prosperity we all desire. We therefore recommend the following action;
1.       Select kings who fear God to entreat and attract the favor of God to bless us with wisdom, wealth and peace. We need a president, governors, leaders, lawmakers and government officials who fear God.

2.       Employ wise men and women; competent experts and specialists in their own fields to manage national resources and specific ministries at all levels of government.

3.       Unleash, encourage and protect the entrepreneur. Do not burden them with high taxes or administrative legislation that discourages them to take risks and exercise their creative gifting.

4.       Make good laws that ensure prompt justice. Remove bad laws that create fear, insecurity and unhappiness. Weed out poor legislators and teach lawmakers to enact policy that counters corrupt and immoral practices. Repeal laws that protect monopolies, middlemen and rent seekers.

5.       Make government bureaucracy open, transparent, user friendly and available to serve the public without prejudice and ensure that public works do not appear to serve private or sectarian interests. 

6.       Promote peaceful coexistence in families, among neighbors, ethnic groups and welcome diversity in county trade. Pursue peace with all neighboring countries to secure personal and national prosperity.

7.       Teach employees how to prosper in employment and address the mismatch between educated (schooled) graduates and unemployment in industry and engage idle human capital in the economy.
In these seven responses, there is work for all of us to do. However, from all our leaders we will require the added measure of visionary leadership, personal maturity and patriotism.

God Bless Kenya

Allan Bukusi

Monday, June 23, 2014

Corruption is policy, legislation or law that secures the undue advantage of one over another.

Corruption is policy, legislation or law that secures the undue advantage of one over another. A lot of rhetoric goes into condemning the corrupt, but not enough energy goes into making laws that discourage corruption. However, laws in themselves are insufficient in their ability to conquer corruption. Only flawless character can achieve that.

Allan Bukusi

Saturday, June 21, 2014

War is unsustainable for the simple reason that it destroys enterprise.

War is unsustainable for the simple reason that it destroys enterprise. Those who front war must rebuild what they have destroyed if they are to rule. That is a further expense that usually drains the thrill of victory and profit from the economy. The strong is enjoined with the weak to the extent that both can only become mediocre.

Allan Bukusi

Prosperity = H2W


What is prosperity? Some say wealth, riches or affluence. However all these words do not quite capture it in the whole. These words imply a level of achievement or attainment that is above some sort of threshold value like “one dollar” or “1000 dollars”. Presumably, the one who has more is more money prosperous than the other. Some say happiness, but even that is a relative state. You can be happy with a little and unhappy with much. But prosperity also implies “more than enough”. More than enough to enjoy, to be able to share or perhaps, unfortunately, to waste.
A few years ago, I wrote a book called How to prosper in employment. The central argument in this book is that every employee can achieve prosperity. If prosperity is to be measured it must apply in equal measure to all human beings. This means it must be attainable by all rather than just a few with special qualities. Health is a quantity that is a state of being while wealth is acquired. However, both contribute to prosperity. Wealth without health is suffering while health without wealth can be a drudgery.  “Healthy wealth”, combines the personal and property values of prosperity and puts the concept of prosperity well within the reach of every human being. The question then is, “Do you have enough health and wealth to be happy?”
If health, wealth and happiness line up in good order for you then you are most blessed among men. However, this also means that you do not need to be the wealthiest to be the happiest, neither does being the poorest make you least prosperous. It also means that having wealth does not necessarily make you prosperous. Prosperity can be attained despite and in spite of your level of economic empowerment. It also means prosperity is a state you can create for yourself.  Prosperity = Health x Happiness x Wealth or P=H2W

Allan Bukusi

 

 

Let men be

There is increasing interest in the man child or “man-cub” as the Jungle Book would put it. This belated interest seems well intentioned except that it is surrounded by the realization that things are going wrong and that the man cub has the key. It is triggered by an obvious imbalance rather than social advance.
I pity the man cub for several reasons. First, his star is set to rise in the most dubious of circumstances which if he succeeds in conquering; he will also be blamed for causing. Second the demand that the man cub arise means that the he must meet the conditions others have set for his identity. This may be pleasing and pacify some, but may never realize all he was meant to be. Third, if the man cub does rise and take his moral position, this may be more than those who call for his resurrection can handle.
In my estimation, let the man cub be. The focus on the man cub or the girl child will obviously create social imbalance that causes further imbalance. But therein is the key – balance. Establish the balance and all of us will be free to be.

Allan Bukusi

The difference between professors & doctors

Doctors tell everyone what to do. Professors tell you what everyone else is doing.

Allan Bukusi

Friday, June 20, 2014

World Cup 2014: The Glory & The Brave


Watching the Uruguay vs England (2:1) match yesterday was something of a classic. During the game the commentator was at pains to call up a 40 year history of encounters between the two sides. None of the players on the pitch were even alive back then. Then there was the classic number 40 for Suarez and 40 for Rooney. Rooney scored his first world cup goal while Suarez added a forty and forty first for his country. Each came off with a record, a personal achievement but the glory does not always honor the brave.

Discussing the predictions, projections and possibilities with my fellow watchers got me wondering if history really has a part to play in the future. There are some who would argue that it does. Others claim that definite patterns emerge as you examine a series of outcomes. Of course insurance and betting firms make a lot of money off these thoughts, so to them, it really does not matter what you think. But I wonder how you and I would plan our future if we could tell the outcome?
Do we peg our future success to past results, injury or luck or do we peg it to our future hopes and dreams. Do we look at the numbers or do we just go out there and do battle with the odds. Do we use belief systems like “David and Goliath” to fight our battles or do we hold on to traditions and fire power? The World Cup is played out in front of millions of people so it is easy for all of us to judge what the players should do. However, whatever method you use to broker your success be sure to remember that the glory does not always honor the brave, but each of us can take home a private victory whenever we face a test.
Allan Bukusi

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Courage is crying in the rain

The ability to go on when there is no sign of success. The spirit to persist when failure is in the house. The character to try again, when hope is lost and the will to believe when there is nothing to count on. Courage is what is left when danger is all you have.  Courage is what you must do in the face of a fact. It is not about fear or even having no fear.  Courage is crying in the rain. It is within and not without. Courage is purpose. It is not a feeling, but rather what must be done. It really does not matter how it felt. The fact is that it had to be done, no one else did and you got to be the one.

Allan Bukusi

Finishing Strong - Farrar

I have just read a book on “Finishing Strong” by .Steve Farrar. The title is a very attractive read especially if you are above fifty years of age. However, in terms of its leadership message I find that finishing anything takes a whole lot of courage, determination and vision. I like the part where the leader must see what others don’t see if one is ever going to finish at all. Apart from the finishing line, the visionary must be able to see the completed Job and not just the red tape.

I would like to say that visionaries are exceptionally gifted people, except that I know each of us has the ability to envision the things we want. Like character, vision can be developed with patience and exertion. Talent may be a great player in the vision game, but character gets to the finishing line against all odds. At the check-out counter of life, if you can answer “yes” to doing all you could have done despite not doing all you should have done, I’d say you finished strong!
Allan Bukusi

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Have you answered the call to greatness?

It strikes me that great men and women are released by their spouse to a cause greater than themselves. However, it unnerves me that many lesser families will not release their sons and daughters to any noble cause nor will sons and daughters release themselves to any cause above themselves.

Allan Bukusi

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What do examinations measure?

My daughter has just completed an international examination... I wonder what is the role of such examinations in our day and what purpose they will serve in future? Today, they indicate that you have attained a measure of knowledge that can be tested. They form benchmarks in the preparation for careers and vocations. But they also serve to narrow your options if you are not aware of your total abilities. As you move higher in the exam hierarchy, you become less schooled and more competent in a principle.

Whereas this was important in the past when careers were based on principles, I see that careers in future will not be based on principles, but rather on a measure of  character. Many of the principles we studied in school are being taken over by technology. Accounting, design, construction and even medicine are now driven by readily available technology.  The only difference that would make me go from one doctor to another is character. That is because the two doctors will most likely have access to the same diagnosis and interpretation kit. So what will exams try to establish in future? I think they will be designed to measure character and understanding.
Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Do grandparents hold the keys to poverty?

Rather, do grandparents hold the keys to wealth? Interesting question. It may give us a clue to the perpetuation of poverty in Africa and around the world. No generation carries wealth off the earth. Nobody takes wealth to the grave. Every generation either builds up wealth, enjoys or destroys it. Nevertheless, every generation leaves it all behind. If grandparents do not leave wealth to their children and children’s children, they condemn the next generation to another start up cycle. Moreover, if the next generation does not know how to build wealth, that start-up-cycle is the start-up-cycle of poverty. If subsequent generations do not know how to manage and pass on wealth, they condemn generations to perpetual poverty. Unfortunately, many grandparents have no understanding of their contribution to the state of poverty and do not know that it is in their power to change the tide of poverty by establishing the wealth of the family for generations to come. Building wealth making prudent use of resources and deliberately passing it on to the next generation may be the key to establishing a nation.  Grandparents need to use it, don’t abuse it, build it up, teach the next generation and pass it on.

Allan Bukusi

 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Prophets write books, priests teach them kings enforce them.

Prophets write books, priests teach them, kings enforce them. Prophets write laws, priests teach laws, kings enforce the law.

Allan Bukusi

Education may lead to civilization, but only salvation can lead to transformation.


Education may lead to civilization, but only salvation can lead to transformation.

Allan Bukusi

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

MINDSHIFT

Yesterday I attended the Leadership Summit hosted by Anthony Gitonga. He was launching a new book – Mindshift. The audience applauded his initiative and I silently wondered why Anthony had bothered to put pen to paper. The truth is the book assumes we all have a mind (that should be obvious). Why does the mind need to shift?  And who needs to know this? That is an interesting debate in itself. Perhaps our minds are in the wrong place or tend to wander and need to be shifted frequently.

But perhaps what is more important is to appreciate the purpose of shifting one’s mind. The immediate thought that comes to mind is what happens when an archer is taking aim to try and hit a target. If the target is stationary, the archer quickly settles the bow and arrow in a killer position. However, if it is a moving target, the archer has to shift position in order to locate the target. Life is like that. Depending on what you want to achieve, you need to shift your focus. That can upset your mindset. Two people have to read this book. The public and the politician, but first you need a mind.

Allan Bukusi   

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The highest form of reading

Reading may lead to knowledge or understanding. But the highest form of reading is transformation.

Allan Bukusi

You can teach what you know

You can teach what you know, but you can only train what you understand. The difference is not education, it is transformation!

Allan Bukusi

No civilization can advance ahead of God.

No civilization can advance ahead of God.

Allan Bukusi

To leave a legacy...

To leave a legacy; you must live it.

Allan Bukusi

Grow the mind thought by thought

We must grow our minds though by thought. We can exercise them by what we read, but we must grow the mind thought by thought.

Allan Bukusi

To release my full potential

To release my full potential, I must become all God made me to be – which is what God made me to be!

Allan Bukusi

Monday, June 2, 2014

STRIVE TO KNOW THE PURPOSE OF A THING


This week I have been challenged to know the purpose of a thing. The purpose of a thing is the thing, the reason for the thing and everything the thing is made to do. If you do not know the purpose of a thing, then you do not know the thing, its value or what the thing can do. In fact, if you do not know the purpose of a thing, the thing can have no meaning. However, if you know the purpose of a thing, you can begin to know it. If you do not know the purpose of a thing, it is useless to you. In your hands, it will be misused. It would be better if you did not use it.

But, to know the purpose of a thing is no small thing.  To know a small thing is a mighty thing when no one else knows the thing. If you know the thing, you can use the thing. That is a great thing. To know the purpose of a thing is no small thing. It makes a difference between life and death, between success and failure and between the end and the beginning. To know a thing is a good thing. It helps you know where to begin.  Strive to know the purpose of a thing before you use the thing. That way you will not only know everything about the thing, but everything the thing can do.

Allan Bukusi

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