Thank You for Being Poor (1)

Posted on: September 22, 2007

In a documentary film of John Pilger called The New Rulers of The World, Pramoedya Ananta Toer says:

Ratusan lamanya Indonesia dihisap oleh negara-negara Barat, bukan hanya Indonesia semua negara-negara kulit berwarna sehingga Barat menjadi kuat, makmur, menguasai keuangan dan perdagangan sampai sekarang. Sekarang kita didikte oleh IMF dan Bank Dunia. Negeri yang begitu kaya diubah menjadi negara pengemis, karena tidak adanya karakter pada kalangan elit.

For hundreds of years Indonesia was sucked dry by Western countries, not just Indonesia but all countries of colored people so that Western countries became prosperous, strong, controlling finance and commerce until this moment. Now, we are dictated by IMF and The World Bank. A country as rich as Indonesia has been turned into a country of beggars, because the elite doesn’t have a (strong) character.

There are two main things that Pramoedya Ananta Toer points out: [1] The fact that Indonesia was occupied by Western countries, mainly Netherlands, for hundreds of years and now Indonesia is being dictated by the economic force of the West, and [2] Indonesian elite doesn’t have a strong character to transform this nation to achieve greatness.

In my previous article A Bunch of Losers I tried to let people know how angry and disappointed I am to see what kind of country we have become, we are nothing but a bunch of losers. That article is actually not an article intended to denigrate Indonesians and generalize all Indonesians as losers, but honestly, if you see Indonesia as a whole I’m sure you won’t find a difficult time trying to understand what the article attempts to say. Don’t forget to watch the Youtube video if you have a good internet connection, listen to the beautiful song, and see how beautiful our country is. “What kind of people who would harm this beautiful country?”

According to Transparency International, in 2006 the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Indonesia was 2.4 which made us one level with Azerbaijan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Togo, and Zimbabwe. Even Timor Leste was better, the new country which once had been Indonesia’s newest province received a score of 2.6, now they have a good reason why they shouldn’t be part of Indonesia. An interesting fact brought by Transparency International is that CPI points to a strong correlation between corruption and poverty, with a concentration of impoverished states at the bottom of the ranking. “Corruption traps millions in poverty,” said Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle. “Despite a decade of progress in establishing anti-corruption laws and regulations, today’s results indicate that much remains to be done before we see meaningful improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest citizens.”

It is no doubt that corruption causes poverty, and I don’t think I need to explain that to our beloved government officials and DPR/MPR members, I’m sure they are smarter than me. But, if everyone seems to know exactly how corruption is probably the only logical reason why we still have more than 35 million poor people then why have I not seen corruptors get shot to death like they do in China? Indonesian government might argue that it is so hard to catch corruptors and it takes a long and boring process to prove that someone is a corruptor. The argument does make sense, putting corrupt officials in jail obviously takes time and efforts, right? Wrong. Please tell me why that everytime we pass over a big house owned by a government official we’ll always say, “Oh, this guy is a corruptor.”

People in this nation have developed a new kind of trait which may already be part of our culture, and this trait is called, “Tidak tahu malu.” I’m not sure whether or not you agree but I personally believe that the corruption disease in Indonesia is so bad that even people who are doing it don’t really think that they are doing the wrong thing, in corruptors’ minds they probably think, “Well, everyone is doing it anyway, it is either to be part of it or just to see it.” In their minds they don’t think that corruption rate is something that could be decreased, it is just Indonesia. Many people support the idea that corruption in Indonesia has become somewhat like “Lingkaran Setan” which literally means an evil circle, meaning there is no ending, since corruption has been decaying this country for so many years from the very lowest level of the government administration up to the highest level.

I don’t know what corruptors have in minds, especially those who corrupt billions of rupiah of people’s money, but don’t they have TVs in their big houses and in their fancy apartments? Don’t they know that even in Jakarta they will find people living on the streets, begging for uang receh for food to eat? Don’t corruptors know that these poor people are becoming poorer and that they can’t even think what to eat for tomorrow? Don’t they know that this is a country where its people have been suffering so badly from riots, economic crisis, and natural disasters? And for your information, which I don’t think our officials care, an international team of earthquake specialists says Indonesia faces another potential “giant” quake in the near future. The scientists, including a team from the California Institute of Technology, say three major quakes in the last week have increased the likelihood of a major disaster. John Galetzka, one of the geologists, expressed how big this next “giant” would be by saying, “If we saw it, we’d just head right into it. I’d shake your hand and say, good luck!”

Can you imagine? I mean imagine it, Indonesian villagers have to face this next big earthquake with nothing: no food, no health support, and obviously no money. Again and again, they will have to see tears and blood. Their stupidity somehow just can’t understand that there are some people who corrupt billions of rupiah from this country so easily, and for some even with pride. Corruption in Indonesia is so frustrating that I think the government should start thinking to set up a “Let’s Corrupt 10%” regulation which legalizes officials to corrupt people’s money as much as 10% of their monthly salaries. Yeah, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? So, let’s corrupt!

But, what about the fact that more than 35 million people in Indonesia still live in poverty, that they have no access for education and better life? What, which poor people? Oh, you mean those people, c’mon grow up, they need us and we need them, no big deal. Next time you see those people just tell them, “Thank you for being poor.”

Picture was taken from here.


31 Responses to "Thank You for Being Poor (1)"

This is another fantastic article by monkey.

I just watched that documentary couple of months ago, The New Rulers of the World. Indonesian government, started by Soeharto regime, allowed Multinational Corporations to exploit our poor and needy people to work like crazy in, for instance, Nike factory, in return of extremely low salary.

Indonesian government also bastardly allowed monetary institutions, like IMF and World Bank, to control Indonesia’s financial activity because those government officers knew exactly that they would benefit from this.

Main theme of monyet’s article and the documentary is exploitation of the poor. Okey, let me make a correction, they are about selfihly-and-proudly-done exploitation of the poor.

Concerning the corruption thing, I have to admit that I am one of those who believe the evil circle of corruption in Indonesia has reached almost-can’t-be-solved degree. The practice of corruption does not only exist within the framework of governmental institution, it has rooted even to students, workers in gasoline stands, those who participate in commercial activity, and so on. They are left without any better option but to imitate their “smart” government.

I hate to tell this because it is about people and their organization which I know well. They hate their “boss” for having an authority to manipulate the budget for every event they conducted.
Now you think that they are good guys and their “boss” is the bad guy, don’t you?
You’re completely wrong, they envy their “boss” because they wish they were the “boss”. They even unashamedly strive to kick the “boss” out of the organization and replace him.

Now, look at the province of Papua. Since 2000s, our government has allocated some money to the province of Papua and if I’m not mistaken the amount is quite big. Where did those money flow? Most of the areas in Papua are still unreachable by land transportation since there are not so many railways. WHERE DID THOSE MONEY FLOW?

Sometimes, those corruption doers also try to put people who oppose their activity into trouble, like by transferring them to places which are far far away from central (PS: I’m not reffering to certain people). Our government is somehow much of a muchness with the USA’s government: you are either be with us or against us. This is ridiculous, we are prevented from doing something right, the government prefers to preserve the continuity of this evil circle.

What’s the function of Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan and Komisi Pemeriksa Kekayaan then? I don’t think people who work there are stupid, those corruption doers have been excelled in manipulating their bank balance and hiding some of their money somewhere else.

Anyway, I really like the idea that rich people need the poor to be persistently poor in order to get richer and richer and I think mr.monkey also has the same thought with me. “Thank You for being Poor” sounds controversial, but I love the title and the content as well. I’ll be waiting for the second part of this article.

Tasa, thank you (again) for this conscientious article. Tweak it a bit here and there, I think it’s ready to be sent to The Jakarta Post. Just include a few citations and sound more op-ed. A few more practices, your articles will shine bright. As bright as your smile. 🙂

Yuki: Thanks bro, your blog is something I can’t miss too.

Anyway, The New Rulers of The World is really a good documentary film, it really shows how globalization plays a big role in Indonesian economy. It is sad to know how Indonesian labors get a small fraction out of the big profit that business people receive. I know, it’s an unfair world we’re living in.

I like yor idea that corruption is something yang sudah mendarah daging for Indonesians, I’m extremely sad to realize that.

Yeah, Papua is still so primitive man, people there live in jaman batu, yet they have Freeport the world’s lowest-cost copper producer and one of the world’s largest producers of gold. Where has the money gone?

Personally I think KPK is doing a pretty good job, compared to what we had in the past, this institution at least has captured some big corruptors. But, I think they should do better.

Yes, we have the same thought. I believe that corruptors think that they should mantain this condition, keeping poor people stupid and uneducated, to make sure they can be richer and richer. What do you think we should do?

Thank you for your wonderful insight.

Jennie: I thank you Mba. Do you think so? Mmh, so you think I need more citations? I’ll try to find some then. I’ll give you the revised edition then. I hope someday I can write as good as you, I need to learn on how to write from the heart more. Anyway, I just finished reading your e-book Mindset Sukses, thank you Mba, it’s very inspiring 🙂

My smile? Some friends of mine make fun of it, but who cares. Whaha.

Thank you Mba.

Tasa, you already write from the heart. The thing is, to be published, an article should sound “less from the heart” meaning not too subjective. The author’s bias should be subtle as possible. Overall, you’re on the right track.

Thanks for the advice Mba 🙂 Wait oke. Hehe. What I meant was it’s so hard to write from the heart for longer articles or books like you have. Maintaining the energy to have a constant rhyme in writing a book is really challenging, it’s just too long.

You right sa, its hard to tell that corruption is something that already “mendarah daging”, the main problem is the system in our government, if our government can cut the bureaucracy’s and be more transparent of what they doing, this country shouldn’t be like this, if they can implement good corporate governance like the private firm does, corruption will be difficult to find. I can’t talk much about poverty, this like unsolved problem in every countries. Generally speaking, great articles sa.

I admire your articles partly because I can see you really care. Your genuine engagement makes them especially convincing. I think that’s an asset you should cherish. It is a great quality – and a (almost unique) selling point.

This column is another good example. It’s stirring and to the point, in my opinion. You write about an undeniable, worrying reality. To an involved outsider like me, corruption seems to be in all veins of Indonesian society.

Just one minor question. “It’s no doubt corruption causes poverty” you say, semi-quoting Transparency International. But as far as I know a significant correlation between poverty and corruption doesn’t necessarily mean corruption is the cause of poverty (although no doubt it does a lot of damage to all aspects of society). It might also be the other way round: poverty breeds corruption.

As for me, I think the main cause for corruption and poverty alike, are failed states, weak government, lack of institutional checks.

How about you?

Dude,you seem to talk of the present situation. what is next????Blaming the corrupt officals and calling urself not gonna change the situation. Come on, developing countries need IMF and World bank loan..Though both are in hands of western world.Though they dictate those coountries..Yes,Poverty breeds let us fight against poverty… Corruption is people’s is difficult to eliminate..When I land in Indian airport 5 yrs back, I cant come out of customs without I just need to carry my cases and come out…no one to ask..Even the Airport janitors have a writting in shirt-NO TIPS PLEASE— For any developing country, free –Education,health to poor are important for progress. Let me tell u what India did 20 yrs back… Education is free for all in public schools.. in these schools they serve Lunch to Children that too egg a day.. Transportation is free to these children..Child labour is banned.. no child below the age of 15 can work..The poor and needdy are called BPLs-below poverty level..and for them government sells essential commodities in cheap rate..There are many schemes for poor to make sure they have better life.. Low interest loans so they can start their own poultry and small scale industries..even to start internet cafes…Health care is free in Government hospitals even they perform free surgery..
Above all.. Indonesia need to stop exporting house maids to gulf countries.. I had been in Dubai for 3 yrs.. I know how these small innocent gurls suffer under these arab bastards..they just earn less than 100$ per month and work for more then 12 to 15 hrs..SBY first need to put a full stop this.. India doesnt export small gurls as house maids…legally atleast!!! We cant wipe out corruption…But we can wipe out Poverty…

Corruption is a tough situation indeed, it seems that there is no solution to this, because no matter how hard they try, it’s still going to exist. there is no way that we can totally fight corruption, all we can do is to diminish its effects.and how?that’s what we need to figure out. My guess is, the reason why Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan seems a little unuseful is because they’re one of the government bureaucracies,which the workers are associated with the corrupt politicians. Corruption profilerates every branch of government agency.

Zulfi, I’m impressed with your knowledge of Indonesian government. You probably know more about it than I do!Shame on me, lol.


Gilang: So, you have a wordpress account now? Great man. I agree, the system of our government is something that needs to revolutionized. It’s hard to do so because it’s still very much controlled by people from the new order (Orde Baru), but I’m sure our young generation will have the turn. Thanks bro.

Colson: Thank you for your support, again. Your comments have been inspiring and insighful.

Yes and no. Yes, if you see that poverty gives people tendency to corrupt more as they are not financially secure. No if we agree that people who live in poverty are the ones who simply don’t have a chance to improve their living quality. People who corrupt are people who have positions, in this case in government institutions, which let them be able to corrupt people’s money. You might argue that some officials may be underpaid, but according to one organization people in poverty live on less than $2 a day. So, for officials who are paid that much then your argument is correct, but what about those who corrupt billions of rupiah? I don’t think they’re underpaid. In my opinion people in poverty are people who don’t have any chance at all to corrupt, because they don’t have access for anything, but that’s debatable though. It is indeed an evil circle, poor people who corrupt outside the government system as Yuki mentioned do that partly because the big corruptors just corrupt too much giving the government no chance to improve the poor economically.

Failed states or governments indeed cause corruption, and corruption causes poverty. Corruptors have a so-called mission to maintain the crippled system so they can keep corrupting. In a country like Indonesia corruption makes the government unable to improve its economic progress for poor people, the money intended to support poor people by providing more jobs or education is shamefully corrupted, like always.

Zulfi: I just wrote a fact, expressing what I feel on what’s happening in Indonesia, I don’t think that’s wrong. What next? That’s something the government should think and we might wanna give some ideas. Do you think by giving lots of solutions I can then change my country?

Indonesia should learn from India and others.

Helmet_h3ad: Theorically, KPK is actually a pretty much independent institution, apart from the government. But, yeah, they should do better.

@Helmet_h3ad:I dont think I know that much about indonesia.. I know what comes in news paper.. U can read one of my article about Indonesia:

Hey buddy, in Manhattan India is having a big festival celebrating its 60-year independence. Great. I guess they want to let the world know that India is growing like hell. Nice.

Well, I saw that in magazine too.. Every year they celebrate in NJ, now they had jumped into NYC.Do u guys celebrate Indonesia Indepedence day bash in USA

Finally, an article i cannot disagree with. And this time, not only is your article straight from the heart, but you have hard facts to support your ideas.

About the corruption-poverty relationship, I have to agree with Colson’s argument. It’s one of those chicken-egg debate, where you can see both as the initial cause. Nevertheless, the most important thing is to note that these two variables are highly intertwined.

As for the corruptors, yes, indeed they do have 42″ flat-screen television, and are subscribed to Indonesia’s cable-tv providers. But the reason they’re called corruptors is not because they are rich people who somewhat missed the opportunity to realize that others (the poors) are living below the line of poverty. But they are the people who gets rich by exploiting the poor. So, when they do see the poors on television, they heartlessly say… “haha, look at them, suffering for the sake of my indulgence of luxurious life.”

Pardon the language, but to this I say.. F**k the corruptors!

If I were the government, I would establish a secret agency with a team of assassin-like experts, and the main task is to kill Indonesia’s corruptors. But there is a risk to that… our country will have no government! (since most of the the corruptors are the government people ) haha… so, until people like mr. guebukanmonyet is ready to take office, perhaps we have to wait and prepare for the big struggle.

Oh, and I really like your idea of Justifiable Corruption, you know, the whole 1o-percent-corruption is okay. I think it’s a witty sarcasm. It’s parallel to the whole idea of justification of cannabis. Touche!

Do you remember how for 32 years, Soeharto manage to propagate Indonesians that he’s the father of development, that communism is evil, and that Ebtanas is the best education system? Obviously he was successful in indoctrinating people with a certain type of mindsets. Now, why can’t we apply this strategy to indoctrinate the people with an anti-corruption mindset?

You know, replace PPKN (the obligatory moral courses in primary and secondary schools) with the whole teaching that corruption is bad. Maybe we should even include “Corruption is the key to all of Indonesia’s depravity” as Pancasila’s number six. Let’s start an anti-corruption revolution, shall we?

Anyways, good article.

Journos, I was waiting for your comments..Any way u told us an Indian movie story… Killing all the corruptors like the tamil movie-Indian or Hindi movie-Hindustani.. I dont agree with u to blame all government officals as Corrupt..some are really good. Why u want to kill and commit a sin..Judicary system is there is to punish the corrupt.. Corruption can be eradicated only if the corrupt people change their mindset.
If guebukanmonyet Joins politics, appoint me as ur adviser. May be I can bring a revolution.I wont be wasting my time going back of corrupt officals,but I will be looking for avenues to create more job opportunities and develop SEZ-Special export processing the export increases..Iam sure Indonesia can become leading manufacturing country like china or taiwan.

@guebukanmonyet : Who are the olg guys with u in the Home page.. The girls b4 that was better.. Take out the oldies..and display beauties..-heee

Zulfi, of course there was a bit of exagguration when I said all of the government officials are corrupt.. hehe.

You said that the Judiciary System exists to punish the corrupt, yet, it was in fact the Judiciary System who ‘defended’ the greatest corruptor against Times magazine. So… who should we trust? Hehe.


Zulfi: I see, well I wish Indonesia had the same kind of celebration like that too in America, so Americans and the world can know more about Indonesia. Anyway, that’s not me on the picture, and the other two old guys are Fourplay members, a jazz band. Great music man.

Journos: Hi dude, good comment. I agree that this country should think how to doctrinize its young people so that they can hate corruption so much. If Orba could do it then we should have a new kind of doctrinization, the good one though.

So you thinking shooting all corruptors is a good idea? Hehe, but yeah we wouldn’t have a government. Corruption and poverty are indeed related, I believe that all poor countries are governed by corrupt officials.

Dude,forget Indepedence day celebration.. When I was in Dubai, Indonesia Expo was held for 5 days every year before Ramadhan.. display of Indonesian Goods like batik sarongs and other textile materials..Tour operators to Indonesia,events like traditional dances and even fashion shows– No dout Indonesian gurls are so cute.. Even we get Indonesian dishes like Gado-Gado…Is there any Expo like this in USA-in DC or NY area.
oops..You are not the guy in the middle.. who were the gurls who were displayed before.Intro any indo gurls u know in USa to me.. -heeee….

Well, they have a bazaar every august in D.C., you might want to come next year. Cute Indonesian girls? I can meet you up with some dude, hehe. The girls before were my friends, really good friends.

wah..udah lama ga kesini, makin kritis aja blognya… 🙂 apa kabar tasa? lama ga denger kabarnya.. (emang gw siapa? XDDDD )

iya, korupsi emang udah parah bgt.. tau ga Sa, temen gw ada yg pernah dpt tugas karya tulis untuk ngebahas masalah korupsi di perpajakan gtu dan harus bikin solusinya. jadi dia ngadain penelitian dan wawancara lgsg ke departemen pajak.

org yg dia wawancara ngasi tau kalo atasan mereka korupsi, mereka maksa semua bawahan harus terima jatah korupsi itu. jadi klo ada apa2, ga cm si bos aja yg kena, semua staff kena.

pas temen gw ngusulin solusi biar semua koruptor di pemerintahan kita di tangkep aja, org itu malah jawab itu mustahil. klo mau nahan semua koruptor di pemerintahan kita, ya lgsg habis. ga ada lagi menteri, pejabat, dan staff yg tersisa.

waduh..segitu parahnya kah Indonesia?

Who is the gurl in home page…is she also Jazz singer.. But she looks more lile chinese…Trust me you will have more hits for ur blog..

guebukanmonyet:, I used to visit my friend in Alexendra,VA on all weekends last month..I used to hang out in the Pentagon city Mall with him..Now Ramadan month and I stick in Philly..I cant wait for another 11 there any bazar in another 2 to 3 months..If u get a chance to intro…B4 that tell some positive stuffs about me..” The girls before were my friends, really good friends”..
What u mean by Before…now they are ur enemy!!!!:(

Macan: Halo, kabarnya baik2 aja. Thank you. Gimana kabarnya? Iya, tampaknya korupsi memang sudah jadi bagian dari budaya kita. Sangat menyedihkan memang, tapi ini merupakan sebuah kenyataan yang harus kita lawan! Siapa lagi kalau bukan kita coba?

Zulfi: Thanks for the advice dude. Too bad, we only have the bazaar once a year. Yeah, don’t worry I’ll spread the good things about you. I meant on the picture before were my friends, well, they’re still my friends.

Thanks Dude…But Who are those gurls… do they stay in Indonesia or USa..


From my perspective we are so damn good to critics and give comment, as we do prevously to fall down Soeharto, but we forgot something….. and we learn something…..

Maybe before we tried to critics some of the point of view we already bring the solutions, not like this after reformation we still face the same problems

hey i agree with Journos’ idea. maybe adding an anti-corruption statement to Pancasila, or maybe make students repeat the statement over and over again until they get sick of it, so by the time they grow up it’s already planted in their minds and they don’t even wanna think about it, or maybe propose a bill calling for the most malicious punishment for convicted corruptors, so cruel they would rot in prison. i mean what else is a better way to combat or prevent corruption, besides assasinating corruptors..

raffaell: You have a point, it seems that right now people feel like criticizing every thing but without giving solutions.

Helmet: Long time no see 🙂 Well, I guess that’s what everybody hopes, a public consensus of anti corruption.

All of the government’s policy (s) have to reach the poorest of the poor at the ground level.

Poverty, corruption, and incapacity of development are the main problem of Indonesia now.

But, actually, the key problem is unemployment.

i think i’ll be the only one who give comment in bahasa :mrgreen:

saya cari sequelnya artikel ini…tapi belum ada ya? hehe oke de

saya setuju dengan pendapat alm. Pramudya AT mengenai kemiskinan di Indonesia. orang miskin memang sengaja “dipelihara” sejak dulu karena dengan menjadi miskin, tidak hanya finansialnya saja yang lemah tapi juga mental dan cara berpikirnya. orang yang lemah akan mudah dikuasai oleh orang yang lebih kuat…it’s sunnatullah atau law of nature.

bayangkan jika, misi tersebut dijalankan sejak jaman penjajahan belanda sampai sekarang? betapa sebuah budaya negatif telah diterima menjadi suatu budaya positif karena program cuci otak yang dilangsungkan selama puluhan tahun yang diteruskan sampai sekarang. akhirnya suatu kenyataan yang salah diyakini benar jika disugestikan itu adalah benar. padahal penyesatan doang!

kemudian, tidak semua masyarakat Indonesia itu miskin…banyak yang telah bangkit dan menjadi kaya. tapi masih ada yang ketinggalan. menjadi kaya harta harus diiringi dengan jiwa dan iman yang kaya dan kuat. karena banyak orang yang kepingin kaya tapi belum siap kaya secara mentalnya. akhirnya banyak orang kaya bermental miskin seperti menginjak2 orang miskin, shopaholic, pamer kekayaan, pelit dsb yang merupakan mental orang tidak siap menjadi kaya.

melihat kenyataan tersebut, yakinlah kita terhadap analisis kritis dan tajam Pramudya AT bahwa orang miskin memang sengaja dipelihara. karena yang dipelihara adalah jiwa, mental dan cara berpikirnya yang lemah dan miskin.

lingkaran setan ini terus berlanjut jika tidak ada orang yang menyadari bahwa ini adalah salah…jika tidak ada yang mau mengubahnya dan memperbaikinya.

kemiskinan, korupsi, sentralisasi, dll adalah rotasi yang memberikan sinergi menguntungkan bagi pemain yang bermain di dalamnya.

makanya, jangan mau jadi miskin…kalo mandiri secara finansial maka orang lain tidak akan memperlakukan anda sebagai budak uang yang bisa disuruh apa saja demi mendapatkan uang, jika kuat finansialnya anda pasti mampu menjalankan idealisme dan prinsip anda sendiri. backing, relationship link bisa diperoleh dengan uang karena money is the mecca, everybody will worship it…salam.

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About Me

guebukanmonyet is Tasa Nugraza Barley. He's a free man with unique thoughts and dreams. He sees his life and this world differently from anyone else. That's because he knows what he wants; and for that reason he doesn't want to be the same. Read why he blogs, here.

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All articles and essays were written by guebukanmonyet. Before commenting remember that Life Accepts Differences.
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