Monthly Archives: juillet 2014

Happy Parisian Happening – Join in!

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By Emmanuelle Duez, cofounder of the Boson Project and of the Women’Up network

A life adventurer, a passionate entrepreneur and a real lady – to follow closely! 




Reveal oneself

Look to the future


Be Happy… This is Happening !


Happy Happening // The Great Adventure is an event meant to prepare new generations and raise awareness regarding future challenges.

It will be divided in four key parts for the 10 000 participants expected on the 14th, 15th and 16th November.

=> Be Happy…You will shop !

A forest of pop up stores will offer products that appeal to this new generation.

=> Be Happy…You will be stunned !

Because it is sometimes difficult to outline our desires or to dare fulfill our dreams, personalities of all ages have accepted to come and tell us all about their story, in order to reveal the passions that lie within each of us. A magician, an explorer, a philosopher… their record will approach in a poetic way the problematics the Y generation has to face up today.

=> Be Happy… You will be trained !

Special trainings to be creative, to free oneself, and to become a model of the world to come. ça je comprends pas trop ce que tu veux dire

=> Be Happy… You will party !

Zumba lessons, fashion shows, impromptu tastings…the Carreau du Temple will tremble under extraordinary activities, astonishing shows and amazing surprises. A huge party will take place on Friday and Saturday night.

=> Be Happy… and Be There !


Happy Happening// La Fabrique @ Heroines

Organized by the network, ADT Lab, MyLittle Paris, Marmiton and Etoile Casting

14,15 et 16 Novembre 2014

Carreau Du Temple


Everything is Going to Be OK – EGBOK mission

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A presentation by Mr. Osman Khawaja, EGBOK Country Director

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« EGBOK Mission is a local non-profit organization that enables young adult Cambodians from very poor backgrounds to become self-supporting by providing education, training and employment opportunities in the local hospitality industryEGBOK Mission Through a comprehensive approach, including social work support and an emphasis on life skills education, shifts the lives of its students while leveraging the on-going growth in Cambodia’s tourism sector. 

EGBOK Mission’s living and learning centers provide students with a safe home, living essentials, school supplies, transportation and supplemental language and computer courses.  Staff and volunteers offer a range of social services helping students build confidence, explore personal and professional potential and develop life skills.

 EGBOK Mission has grown to partner with ten community partners that work across Cambodia’s poorest regions, enabling successful futures for over 300 underprivileged but highly motivated young adults. EGBOK’s Mission plans to continue expanding by reaching more in-need communities and individuals across the country. »

Service through service –

Testimony from BagoSphere – learning for survival

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From Zhihan Lee, CEO and co-founder of BagoSphere -

BagoSphere is a social enterprise created to tackle rising youth unemployment in the world.

article bagosphere mirror network

Sitting in her home in Pulupandan, Rona shares her story. It is her rest day from work at Teleperformance, a major call centre in Bacolod. She reminds me of a Filipino lady who worked as a domestic helper for my grandfather in the past. I often wonder where she went and what she did after she left Singapore for home. I never did get a chance to find out. But here I am – listening to the side of a story that hardly any one hears – the story of after Singapore, the story of afterworking as an overseas domestic worker. This is a window into the world of what happens after we bid our beloved “auntie” goodbye at the airport.


Rona’s summer job when she was 12 years old was working in the sugarcane fields of Himamaylan. Under the harsh Negrense sun, she would manually harvest sugarcanes from the fields and transfer them onto the plantation trucks, which would then head to the nearby sugar factory. The labour was excruciating for her young body, but Rona had to work to support her own education. Coming from a broken family, she stayed with her grandmother and had to provide for her own basic necessities and school supplies, even her own slippers. “Not shoes, but only slippers,” she remembers.

At the tender age of 21, Rona took the leap of courage to work as an Overseas Foreign Worker (OFW) in Singapore.She had tried different jobs in a bid to fund her college education – from working as a salesgirl in nearby Bacolod to working as a domestic worker in Manila – but she still found herself struggling financially. Rona had a good Singaporean employer who treated her with warmth and respect, and up to today, she is grateful for that.  She tells me her best teachers in Singapore were her employer’s children – they were honest in their comments and always energetic. Rona practiced her English with them daily. She read their storybooks when they were done with them. Although Rona came to Singapore in order to earn money, she ended up leaving with a lot more – good memories, a strong grasp of English and a renewed love for learning.

Unfortunately, Rona’s spark for learning did not last long. Back in her hometown of Pulupandan, Rona got married and settled down. Her family was struggling financially and she had to provide for her children. She earned some extra money by doing laundry for others and selling home-cooked food. She even went abroad for another stint as an OFW, this time to Kuwait for 2 years. “Anything, anything, to earn some extra money.”

In those tough years, Rona admits she was resigned to her situation. She never thought she would learn a new skill again. However, in 2013, her mum hears about BagoSphere through an outreach effort to Negros Women For Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) Project Dungganon members. She went for the selection tests and excelled in all of them. Rona also qualified for the NWTF Special Education loan through her mother, who is a Dungganon member. And so her journey in BagoSphere began.


Rona thoroughly enjoyed her training at BagoSphere. This was her chance to learn again, “to become somebody different”. In those 8 weeks, she felt a lot younger – being surrounded by her younger and lively batch mates. In turn, her batch mates called her Momsy, looking up to her for her confidence in English. Unlike the others, she didn’t have big dreams, she says. All she wanted to do was to provide for her children, to be able to buy the things they wanted.

Rona successfully graduated from BagoSphere Batch 5 and found employment at Teleperformance, a major call centre in Bacolod. She works in the night, and takes care of her children and household chores in the day, squeezing in precious hours of sleep whenever she is free. She is now able to buy the little snacks and toys that her children want. Work at the call centre is challenging, but Rona is grateful for this opportunity, to be “someone other than a maid”.


From the sugarcane fields, to the shores of Singapore, to the classrooms of BagoSphere and finally to her workplace at Teleperformance, Rona’s love for learning has brought her on a journey to many places. She has surely come a long way and we are glad to be a part of that journey.

Your 20s are for learning – Make them last!

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By Lara Dudley, a passionate consultant, an amazing mentor and friend – Singapore

Your 20s are for learning

Take that burning desire to DO SOMETHING on a journey of curiosity & discovery.

I was 21 years old and had just declined a Corporate Finance job in London to jump on a plane to China. My mission … errr … to be honest – I wasn’t too sure! I just knew that I didn’t want to be in an office for 80+ hours a week.

The optimism of escape turned into self-doubt a couple of months in. I couldn’t

concentrate during my Chinese classes (note to self – rote learning doesn’t work!) and

my insecurities mounted as Facebook stalking led me to believe that all my friends were

Living It Large in London having just banked their Goldman Sachs bonuses.

“Ahhh – What am I doing with my life?“

I could feel this burning desire to DO SOMETHING, yet was hugely frustrated with my

lack of direction. I simply didn’t know where to start. My head was saying “Economics

Degree + Dwindling Savings = Get A Job In Finance”, yet, my gut was saying that there

had to be something else. I turned to a friend, who ended up saying …

“You know Lara …. There are some people in life that know exactly what they want and

just go straight for it. They’re totally driven towards that goal. And you know what? …

You ain’t one of them Lara!”

Great! That was reassuring! My friend went on to say that my lack of direction was

a-ok! It was normal and there was nothing wrong with it. He recalled a saying I’ve

adopted ever since …

Your 20s are for learning and your 30s are for earning.

My mindset suddenly shifted. Instead of going into analysis paralysis over how I was

going to earn my way through life, I started to look at life as an opportunity to learn.

This is especially true in our 20s, when the majority of us have no kids, no mortgage …

and no mega responsibilities other than to pay our basic bills.

So that was all 10 years ago. Now that my 30s are on my doorstep, here’s a summary of

the top 4 things I’ve learnt so far:

Learning #1 – Everything is figureoutable

Even rocket science. No matter what we want to create or make happen, we can figure it

out. Consulting The Google is an easy first step and thanks to LinkedIn you can always

get connected to the right people.

Learning #2 – Celebrate the (F)learnings!

A flearn is what you learn through a failure. A brilliant word that’s celebrated all the

time in the Start Up world and deserves to be embraced in all schools & companies too.

If you’ve ever done a complete belly flop, don’t shy away. Instead, reflect on your form,

see where you slipped up and go back onto that diving board to give it another go.

Learning #3 – Gather a Tribal Council

It’s pointless thinking in a vacuum. You’ll go into analysis paralysis. Save yourself time

and energy by assembling a core group of trusted friends, family and mentors to act as

a sounding board to your ideas. They’ll soon become your chief cheerleaders as you

embark on something new and face those inevitable flearnings.

Learning #4 – People pay you for your talent passion

PowerPoint finesse and excel financial plotting aren’t anything special. There are many

super talented people out there and you’re kidding yourself if you think you have a

unique skillset to bring to the table. My Dad recently reminded me of this and told

me that people don’t pay me for my talents; they pay me for my passion. If you’re not

passionate about something, either drop it or change your mindset.

So as I enter “my 30s are for earning” stage of life, I’ll be adopting this last Learning

- People pay me for my passion – as my new mantra.

So how can you start flearning today? Well, here are a couple of questions that might help you get started on your

journey …

● What events/projects/encounters have you had that got you super energized and


● What are some of the things you really want to learn in 2014?

● Who’s a person you could talk to figure out the next steps in your (f)learning


Lara Dudley works with mission-driven businesses to turn their biggest challenges

into their biggest opportunities. She’s a pragmatic optimist, partnering with you to

turn new business strategies into something real.



For a smile – PSE, a true vocation

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Founded 20 years ago by a French couple shocked by the poor children of Phnom Penh forced to work in the garbage dump, PSE now welcomes more than 6500 students and is building a new campus. Pour un Sourire d’Enfant, French for « for a child’ smile » does exactly that, even to adults.

But let’s be honest, not always as the route has been long and bumpy as paved with many issues and excitements. Today, the organization is managed by Khmer professionals and has an international board of experts, all having at heart the future of all the underprivileged children accepted into the school. PSE grew and now has several areas of expertise.

First they have a very well trained team of social workers who managed the recruitment and follow up on every single family sending her child to PSE. Students were all destined to a miserable life. Thanks to PSE they get a chance to study, they feel safe, are able to develop and to show their full potential. The organization aims at empowering them enough for them to get a skilled job. They can arrive to the school at different ages but yet the common criteria is that none of them has reached the grade 12. They all go to a « foundations class » in order to regain the adequate level for their age and then they are placed in partnering public schools to pursue their studies until the grade 12. When they reach that limit, PSE gives them the opportunity to attend a vocational school and get a training in business (sales, marketing, accounting mainly), in hotel management (front office, room service, restaurant) or in IT/media.

Most students live with their families but some do not have relatives or their situation at home puts them at risk so 650 of them stay in the boarding school. And it is true, they smile. They smile because they know how lucky they are to go to school for free, they smile because they get to exercise, to play, to sing karaoke. They smile because they are treated with respect and because they can they that they have a future. They smile because they will be able to help their families and that comes up first when you ask them why they are happy indeed.

The smile nonetheless does not take away the problems, there always are right? These children are often traumatized and many have attention disorders. It is mandatory to show them what respect and discipline is. They fight, they are scared, they do not share and talk freely, often they lack a sense of responsibility, they are sick, they demand constant attention and care. Children, but not really. They know the bad side of life but have to learn how to lead their lives, a huge teaching challenge.

Teachers are numerous at PSE. Mostly Cambodians and some long-time established foreigners uniting their strengths and professionalism to serve the community. It all feels like a very big family. Managers first take care of the mandatory requirements – main classes, health, food – but also innovate and improve the programs every year. For example, the dean of the hospitality school had the great idea to give modeling courses to his students to help them regain confidence in themselves and also changed all their uniforms: huge success among the students who now are all very proud of their school and work hard to deserve the honors. Same happens in the business school where teachers use online programs to help students prepare for interviews and other create role games for the students to better understand the structure of a company and how to better find their dream job in the service that best matches their abilities. PSE offers computers labs, a restaurant and a boutique all for the students to try and train. Teachers are key but there is a lot of peer to peer training going on too and they encourage it.

PSE is a learning community. Everybody learns from everybody as long as the communication chains are maintained. It is a formidable lab to experiment innovative pedagogical tools and methods and the structure is able to move. That is why it moves forward! Many partners are now attracted to work with PSE: local and international Universities, local and international ngos, local and international companies. They all see the potential: PSE not only explores ways to bring the best out of people but also does good. In the 21st century, challenges faced by developing countries are more and more also found in the west. This laboratory should indeed catch our attention and our energy to not only try out but find out they keys to human capital development, individually and collectively.

Let’s contribute to the next big surprises, shall we?


From the farm to the keyboard – Passerelles Numériques

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Pins on the map of Cambodia. All these places will be visited by counsellors from Paserelles Numériques (PN), an ngo in Phnom Penh who provides teenagers with 2 year programs to teach them how to become computer programers and developers. A way out of poverty and a direct access to a brighter future.

100 new students per year get the chance to be selected based on their social and economical backgrounds. They come from all over the country and only need to show strong motivation and a good enough English level in order to make the most of the opportunity. Without PN, they could not have pursued their studies and most likely would have remained in misery for the rest of their lives.

50% girls, 50% boys. They come to live on PN’s campus and not only learn about English and computers but also about soft skills, respect, responsibility, hygiene, etc. They received a 55$ stipend every month to buy their own food and other basic needs and therefore learn how to handle a budget. They are also taught how to research the information they need, to share this information with others, to organize their thoughts and think creatively.

Indeed, the Khmer language is a very figurative language and does not allow for much imagination; a problem when they need to understand the needs of a client and create a new website or app. The staff of PN is made of some permanent Khmer citizens, permanent foreigners and some high caliber consultants coming on their free time to contribute to this mission. PN receives the support of different companies, mostly international ones as it is not common at all for Cambodians to help others aside from their very close circle. Local enterprises contribute by hiring the students when they graduate.

Students are divided into classrooms and all have a computer. It is a big challenge at first for them to learn to think by and for themselves. Even Khmer teachers tend to learn everything by heart and then ask their students to do the same. Therefore, PN not only trains its students but also its teachers for the curriculum to improve and for more savvy people to be able to then replicate the model elsewhere and empower more people. Especially in English, the methods used to learn English in Cambodia are bad. They first ask students to repeat, repeat, repeat. Eventually then they will teach them how to read and how to write. But in the end, it all relies on memory and people never really master the language and understand the ideas behind the memorized words.

PN has 50 employees for 200 students and programs costing 2000$ per teenager. It is hard to make the model sustainable but they manage very well. Big names such as Econocom, Accenture or the Gates Foundation support the organization and allow this non-conformist school to give the same opportunities Westerners now crave for to Cambodian disadvantaged youth.

Scale is key, so we can only look forward to the next step. For ngos it is even harder as they depend on external funding and have difficulty retaining skilled employees. Technology is soon reaching more and more individuals in Cambodia. Maybe PN could scale up its impact by creating pedagogical tools to enable more people to get the basic level of education needed for attending like-minded schools and learning exciting skills for life?

Often, the answer lies in us – maybe it is the same for organizations?!

Permission to dream – soon granted in Cambodia?

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Past, erased.

How do you educate the younger generations when all the intellectuals have been killed? That is what happened in Cambodia under the Khmers Rouges’ regime. No more books, no more teachers, no more schools. Only the rules, and religion serving them. Buddhism also teaches you to accept your place in the world and to be resilient, and that is exactly what Cambodian politicians have used over thousands of years to educate what they believe were their masses.

Children suffer in Cambodia, but they do not fight, they resist and their resilience is impressive. With the latest economical improvements not all kids have to battle to go to school, but most. Some middle class children now have access to public schools but also to more and more private schools: Montessori models, international ones, « Smart kids », « Bright Future », institutions which find inspiring names to attract the new money. The business of education is more about business now than about education.


Educational actors are numerous in Cambodia. There is the state, of course, but the public school system is gangrened by corruption, by teachers’s no-show when they find a better paid job and by the fees collected whenever it is possible. In Cambodia, you have to pay the school to take an exam, to get a photocopy, to have access to a book. For everything, you pay. Many children work to be able to attend school, at least part-time, but often the pressure parents put on them to work in order to help their family is too strong and they give up on learning.

Many ngos in Cambodia are addressing this issue, by delivering books in Khmer, organizing English lessons, welcoming the poorest children into boarding schools, opening vocational schools, training them to get jobs in hotels and offices. Most ngos are dedicated and professionals but not necessarily sustainable so they will never replace a system managed by the Cambodians for the Cambodians. Efforts to enable this system to emerge should become a national and international priority: capacitation.

The objective would clearly be to rebuild an intellectual ground and empower people to take responsibility for themselves and their families and also to develop personally and activities that will strengthen the economy too. But we are clearly not there yet.

The objective of schools in Cambodia now isn’t to allow people to dream and become who they want to be, it is to give them the basic toolset to make a living. There are some exceptions of course such as in certain universities – controlled by the state – which are developing and offering research degrees and more and more international partnerships. For example, the library of the Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh is always full, not a single empty chair! Every single day of the week people come to have access to books, movies, newspapers, even to a US corner sponsored by the embassy, and to “saint computers” made available to students and even to non-university members. People gather for group projects, they read, they write, they exchange and some, dream. But their dreams are carefully watched for by the administration as the Dean of the Graduate School of education explained: “In their soft skills class, students must look for a proverb that illustrates the values of the university, then they have to raise funds to print it on a banner and display it all over the campus. Therefore, the dreams of the community are visible to all and the walls remind us of why we are here and where we need to go”.


Visiting a country by looking more closely at its educational system is fascinating!

It teaches you about politics, economy, people’s lives, hopes and problems, about society in its core. Education is where it all starts and it all ends, it is a circle that never stops.

In Cambodia the same rules apply. People see education as an exit to a better life so they try to learn whenever they can. The ones who are the most hungry for knowledge and with the correct basics identify their needs at present or a problem they encounter and go get the answer in a classroom or online, more and more. They have integrated the concept of life-long education because they do not have the luxury to stop working on the side. Adults here are not familiar with the concept of holidays. They respect the religious festivals and comply with their religious duties but also fill their schedule with many, many things: family, work, English lessons, second job, third job, etc.

Luckily some teachers also follow that rhythm and it is often the sole condition for any improvement in classrooms. Teacher’ trainings are very bad in Cambodia, some university degrees are good but too few have access to them. Usually, teachers do not know enough to quit the very traditional way of teaching: they talk, students listen, no questions allowed. Only some young teachers are doing this job out of passion and keep studying to be able to bring the best to their students. They even sometimes save money to attend university at night to get their masters. The energy is there, but still lacks strengths and isn’t properly allocated towards the people who need education the most.


When asking a father about his dreams for his daughter, he replied: « discipline ».

When asking a 17 years old orphan, attending an ngo vocational business school about her dream, she replied: « start my company ».

Change is here when it gets the chance.

Our responsibility is this one: find solutions to unleash people’s own potential and empower them so they can take action.

Because they will!

Down to earth – in Cambodia

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Cambodia brought me right back to life, and down to earth.

At home, they live on the floor. To sleep they put a very thin mat on the floor, all next to each other, very often sharing the room. Sleeping, but also cooking, eating, bathing, all there. Most houses are made of wood, still, sometimes brick and often do not have any door, nor any furniture. Cambodia is developing and some middle class is emerging, some wealth transformed in huge mansions too. These ones are locked behind tall walls and you can only see big trucks coming in and out of them. Cars, that is also very important in the Cambodian lifestyle. It all measures on the road: the bigger the better. Trucks, cars, tuk-tuks, motorbikes, bicycles, people, is the new chain of life. The road is a mess: noisy, smelly, busy – but that’s just the way it is in Phnom Penh. In Siem Raep, there is a bit more peace and in the countryside it is another world, agrarian. Cambodians go from home, to the road, to work. Many vendors in the streets, they sell food, clothes, mechanic pieces, in short: everything! They are garages, shops, spas, restaurants, hotels, one next to the other. Companies develop too and it has become a highlight to work in an office, behind a computer and all kids dream of being managers: a secure job with not much to do since you are managing, hence not doing much. Managing here as a completely definition from ours in the western world. The sense of responsibility and engagement is different. In Cambodia you commit to you family first, then men with men often, women with the children and the rest of the family. Cambodians do not share much, they is like an invisible door to their souls. What most strokes me is their sole focus on the present: negate the past, can not think of the future. That is something very interesting, they live for now. They first make sure to deal with basic necessities: food, roof, not even health. They work but when the necessities are met for the day, they stop. Only few think ahead, or maybe they do but in a completely different way from us, they won’t tell. Their history influenced it that way: Cambodians are not allowed to dream. It is amazing to see that they are incapable of reading a map, of abstracting things and visualizing them in their minds. Nothing. To indicate you the way on the road they would say “turn right after the gas station”, only they do not know from where you will be arriving so turning right makes no sense. No planning ahead. And the consequences are huge on their daily lives. Pollution, dirt, the misery cycle is harder to break.

Their sense of community is very interesting though. It is hard for them to be alone in an office, they need others, they are used to sharing the plate, and yet they do not really care for community. Family first, you can see them pile up on motorcycles – the father, the mother, the two kids and the baby, all on one -. But the picture isn’t always bright obviously and domestic violence reaches very high rates. Women are numerous to be at risk, of being beaten, of being prostitutes. Because ngos usually fight against “white consumption” but the first clients for hookers are the Cambodians and many policemen even manage businesses. Just have a look at all the KTVs on the road to Phnom Penh airport, like I said, back to life, down to earth. Corruption rules. The political past of Cambodia is very troubled and sequels are visible everywhere.  No need to mention the Khmers Rouge episode, but they are the same ones in power now after a trip to Vietnam and back under new covers. Cambodians now have a new opposition party encouraging them to strike and disagree. The problem is, it is the respect that goes and the revenge and entitlement that stay. Some want to fight, especially the young, and they are clearly the majority as it is very hard to see elderlies, but they do not have the right enlightenment, tools and vision for the future to fight for. If they become richer, they will focus on spending their money and completely forget about their compatriots. The poor help the poor, the rich corrupt the rich. The economy is opening a bit, but there are two parallel ones.

Sometimes they have fun, they love karaoke, going to beer gardens, watching television and eat. That’s the second question they will always ask you “did you eat rice?” – because in Khmer the word “eat” translates into “eat rice”.  Of course first you will see this amazing smile and the famous “hello”. Why do all children instantly look at you with a smile and a hello? Many say that the UN taught them how to properly greet foreigners when they came after the war… no comment. The first question Cambodian always ask is “where are you going?”. It always makes me want to answer back “Where are you going?” – and I did, many answered with a smile.

Smile is always an option, smile is an open door. I came here not knowing what to expect and I found life in its essentials. I guess by always thinking about our future we forget the necessities and how the future is necessarily bound to them. In our worlds, what are the necessities, what is reality, what lies under the cover and now, how do we build. For once let’s not start with the dreams but with the fundamentals. Thank you Cambodia.

What if you could see behind companies’ doors?

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Glassdoor gives you exactly that.

If you are looking for a job, do not miss out on this great tool to learn about: job opportunities, salaries, interview processes, employees feedbacks. This is the tripadvisor of jobs.

In times of change and increasing amount of information to go through it is hard to find what you need and to make sure you do not miss any option because you did not know.

Let’s give a huge « thank you » to the founders


Let’s be unreasonable!

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The Unreasonable Institute aims at creating a world where nobody is limited by its circumstances.

To do that they pick and choose amazing and promising ventures from all over the world to participate in a life-changing 5 weeks program. One house, 50 top notch mentors, more than 100 funders, partners, well a whole bunch of great people to make sure that your ideas reach the scale they deserve.

This values based organization assess its failures and excitements to provide entrepreneurs with their best options to continue improving the lives of millions.

Surely all the more reasons to plug in and enjoy the unreasonable!

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