Letters to the Editor | Saturday, May 27, 2023

Warriors from Cautata village escort the President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere at the official opening of the Great Council of Chief meeting on Bau Island, Tailevu on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Review team’s recommendations

WHAT if the GCC had met after the GCC Review Team had completed its task following the nationwide consultations?

This would have enabled the GCC to consider and subsequently endorse — among other agenda items — the review team’s recommendations.

That would appear, in my humble opinion, to be a more logical sequence.

I guess there were other considerations to be made — which I am not aware of — resulting in the GCC meeting first before the review team had actually completed its work and submitted its report.

The review team will now really have its own recommendations already cut out for them, given the GCC meeting resolutions made on the chiefly island of Bau.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Not ‘what’!

So we have been told the iTaukei have many issues.

I think what the issues are have been known for decades.

Anyway, do the chiefs of Fiji know why the iTaukei have so many issues, why there has been a failure in addressing these longstanding issues and how they propose to solve iTaukei issues from now onwards?

I think the focus should be on “why” and “how”.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

A warning

Much is being said and written about the GCC in the past weeks.

Many are asking about its purpose, meaning, and even relevance.

Many are advocating an expansion and change in its membership to include women, young people, and even non-iTaukei.

At the risk of criticism, may I sound a warning and urge caution against the risk of changing and modernising an institution to such an extent as to render it unrecognisable.

Even Parliament does not have reserved seats for women, young persons, or non-iTaukei.

Daniel Fatiaki, Nailuva Rd, Raiwai, Suva

GCC reconvening a new beginning!

“Holding the title of chief is not an ornament.”

This message, which was shared by Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna to the iTaukei chiefs of his time, was echoed by His Excellency Ratu Wiliame Katonivere when he opened the Great Council of Chiefs meeting on the chiefly island of Bau.

The reconvening of GCC after 16 years, as alluded by His Excellency, is a new beginning for Fiji.

The Government has brought hope and smiles.

First, it repealed the draconian MIDA and then re-employed the laid off workers of Air Terminal Services (ATS).

Talanoa and dialogue sessions have become the new norm, and this is highly appreciated.

I’m sure the GCC will safeguard, defend, collaborate, and promote inclusivity and racial harmony in Fiji.

People have gone through a lot and it is time to patch the wounds of hatred and division and unite every Fijian.

The multicultural opening on Bau Island added glamour to the high-profile meeting and the coming together of the different ethnic groups under one roof marked the beginning of a new journey — one embedded on values of hope, trust and unity.

On the other hand, I agree with the learned Professor Steven Ratuva that addressing issues faced by the iTaukei will help address problems facing other ethnic groups.

As I conclude, I salute and thank The Fiji Times for the extensive coverage from the chiefly island of Bau this week.

Vinaka vakalevu!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Worth remembering

Fiji is what today because of the contributions of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna.

Many children in Fiji had never heard of the former statesman, a war hero and a scholar.

They need to know about him and especially the indigenous students need to know the history.

A first native Fijian to graduate with a degree.

A great leader worth remembering for his guidance, foresight and contributions.

Thank you Coalition Government for adding a public holiday in the calendar again.

Navneet Ram (TD), Lautoka

Political will

I must congratulate our PM Rabuka and our Coalition Government for their decision, guts and the political will to make the necessary changes suitable in moving our country forward.

To mention a few, the return to work of those terminated Fiji Airways and ATS relatives and workers during COVID-19, public holidays, return of the GCC with the Ratu Sukuna and Girmit days which is part and parcel of our heritage and Fiji’s history that envelopes our progress and identity.

There are many more surprises to come as the first 100 days promises have lapsed, but four years have just started.

Tukai Lagonilakeba,

Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna – A divine spark

Ratu Sukuna chosen by destiny to guide our nation

A true and compassionate soul

A scholar, statesman, philosopher and visionary

Committed and dedicated to serving Fiji’s people

A genuine statesman whose dream

To make Fiji a prosperous nation

Love for people overwhelming

His soul cried for traditional values

Struggled he to uplift enduring values

Today we stand on the threshold of violence, disunity and hatred

Longing for peace, unity and love

Let’s rekindle our lights in the deep teachings

Of our beloved Ratu Sukuna

Let’s spread the essence of his thoughts and dreams

Of uniting the different races in Fiji

Let’s make our nation more vibrant and compassionate

Forgiving and loving through his legacy

In the true and sincere spirit of humility

Let’s open our hearts and minds

To allow his thoughts to enrich us to move Fiji forward

It’s a joy to renew and re-ignite our nation

In honouring, recognising and celebrating Ratu Sukuna day

By declaring it as a national holiday

This revival is a milestone in itself

Let’s make the Life and works of Ratu Sukuna

A centre stage in the school curriculum

Let every child in Fiji take pride and joy

In studying Ratu Sukuna’s contributions to Fijian society

Let’s rejoice and celebrate his legacy

As an authentic, exemplary and visionary leader

And his lifelong commitment to public life.

Bhagwanji Bhindi, Laucala Beach Estate, Nasinu

Co-operation & unity

“People are happy” has been a popular expression since the December, 2022 General Election.

The Coalition Government’s many initiatives and policy changes have been welcomed by different groups, and by society at large.

And major civil society organisations like the church have actively promoted reconciliation, cooperation and unity.

Personally, I was very pleased that Dr Padma Lal was able to finally bring her husband Professor Brij Lal’s ashes back home for internment.

Since 2009, the couple had been forcefully exiled and not allowed to enter the country.

The declaration of Girmit Day and Ratu Sukuna Day as public holidays has been generally received with appreciation.

The conversations and reflections regarding Indian indentured labourers and its legacy together with discourses on the accomplishments of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna are most likely to increase shared memories of all citizens.

These are likely to bring about a greater national consciousness and common national identity.

The Government’s restoration of tripartism in labour and industrial relations is another significant policy change.

With representatives of the three partners, employees, employers and government sitting together and addressing how best to improve the conditions of workers and increasing productivity, there is a likelihood of improvement in employee well being, and the level of employer satisfaction.

It is generally accepted that the principles of democracy are first and best learnt and practised at the local level.

The return to elected local government councils is fundamental to restoring democratic institutions in the country.

The movement away from hand picked representatives in farmers’ organisations and other bodies are also transformative in enhancing a culture of participatory democracy.

These are some significant changes that will promote cooperation and unity which augur well for Fiji’s future.

Professor Vijay Naidu, Suva

Don’t divert fund

Even when I was at school, I never did any homework.

Once one of my instructors told me there are no stupid questions only stupid answers.

Haven’t we had enough research on when the girmitiya came to Fiji, what they ate, how they were treated etc?

When you budget for celebrations, use the money for celebrations, do not divert money to so called researchers.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Name change

I am excited that the GCC has convened this week after a lapse of some years.

I would like to humbly suggest a name change, that is, to revert to its original name.

Council of Chiefs, instead of Great Council of Chiefs.

Bose Vakaturaga instead of Bose Levu Vakaturaga.

Matt 23:12: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Tomu Tui, Suva


Serious consideration should be given to retired teacher Suliasi Kalounisiga’s finding that there was a correlation between non reading young students and indiscipline (FT 26/5).

As a former welfare-probation officer I had found most of the young offenders who had gone astray were school dropouts.

Further research studies would help our understanding of the problem and possible solutions.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Poor people

Why are people poor?

Another major reason why people are poor is because they do not want to do hard labour work even though they are offered good wage rates.

At least this is what I have observed in my community.

They have become accustomed to spoon-feeding in the past 16 years.

With all due respect, most poor people complain about the cost of living, yet continue to spend money on alcohol, kava and tobacco despite the price hike for these products.

Thus, unable to break the cycle of poverty.


Seat belts

Many times in the Western Division I’ve seen police officers not wearing seat belts while driving.

In 2019, LTA did a survey where many lives were taken while not wearing seat belts.

Instead of setting example for citizens, they are taking the law into their own hands.

Seat belts do save lives!

Ravinesh Ram, Lautoka

Rain man

The famous Tom Cruise song in the movie Rain Man titled “Iko iko” comes to mind as we bid farewell to May, 2023.

Awesome feeling to be living and breathing.

Go Fiji go and keep it going.

Toso mada kaukauwa dina na veilomani.

Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Rd, Nabua, Suva

Nothing wrong

There is nothing wrong with our current Fiji 7s national team.

As Olympic rugby 7s champions and gold medallists from a tiny South Pacific Island nation, it is the bigger rugby nations that sweat over Fiji’s 7s team.

With the bigger rugby countries — their large pool of rugby players, their newest technology filled gyms, latest high performance supplements, high profile coaches and yet, on any given day, cannot contain a rampant Fiji 7s team if we want to win.

A poor showing in Paris and finalists in London in seven days.

Despite playing with only six men for pretty much 15 minutes or three quarters of the finals, the game’s outcome was an anticlimax with Argentina victorious.

For a half fit team the results for this 2023 HSBC 7s Series are ordinary.

No big deal.

Fiji’s current national 7s players are good and they can do better if very fit.

However, we definitely need an out-and-out speedster on the wing.

A very fast winger is missing in our national 7s team for the past two seasons and the introduction of one will definitely make a huge difference.

It is the only missing ingredient in our national 7s team to have the world see our “Bula Boys” at their very best.

And if we have one in the team for the New York 7s in two weeks… well, show Fiji the money!

Epeli Rabua, Loloma St, Tamavua, Suva

FRU defends team

After being winless during the 2022/23 HSBC WRSS and emulating the painful losses during the 2010/11 IRB WRSS, the boys returned home.

None of our players received any international award.

In fact, no Fiji 7s team player made the HSBC Dream Team which was dominated by players from the mighty All Blacks 7s, Los Pumas and Samoa.

A lot is at stake as the boys prepare to defend their second Olympic Games title.

FRU has defended the team, but a thorough SWOT analysis must be done to capture our weak areas and identify the reasons for the dismal outing.

Fans have every right to demand success on the battlefield.

We are the two-time Olympic Games gold medallists and holders of the Melrose Cup.

Hence, there should not be excuses for not winning a single tournament from the 11 tournaments.

FRU, please get the ball rolling and get frank opinions from rugby experts and critics.

If the axe has to fall, let it be.

We need results from our group of world class players.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu


Hearty belated congratulations to Ben Gollings and the boys for qualifying for the Olympics.

To use a military analogy — the boys have had it tough through the 2023 battles but the war ain’t over yet.

The team has some mighty elusive midget submarines.

They are good.

Retain them.

What is simply needed now are the battleships in the mould of Vakurunabili, Dranisinukula, and Tuivuaka etc.

And the good news is there’s sufficient time yet to find, gather and blood them into the system to take on the giants from teams such Argentina, GB, Samoa, USA, South Africa and the likes.

Get the above into place and the contingent is set.

Bring on 2024.

The team will be ready to battle it out.

And an after thought-for the stout critics so far – why don’t you get onto the pitch and replace the coach yourselves!

Go for it boys!

William Rosa, Ba

Lautoka’s guardian angel

Repeka Nasiko compiled a well-articulated piece titled ‘Lautoka’s guardian angel’ (FT 26/05) via the ever-popular and inspiring People column.

The piece focused on retired matron Ema Diloi who is a well-known figure in the Sugar City and has delivered hundreds of newborns into the world during her illustrious career.

For a good part of her life, Ema had been pregnant mums’ guardian angel as she provided support and care during pregnancy, labour and birth.

Ema retired in 2016, leaving behind a legacy and skill set that was unmatched.

Her story shared her journey and colourful carer and I’m thankful that Ema gave her best as a midwife.

As she recalled the hard-fought times, Ema shared that her career in midwifery had not only brought many great life experiences, but challenges that were overcome through sacrifices and friendship.

Lautoka’s guardian angel deserves accolades for her service to the city and Fiji.

As I read her story, I thought about the sacrifices midwives make and their endless and valuable contribution to Fiji.

Hearty thanks to all our hard working midwives!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Under the mango tree


We’ve done it!

The Great Council of Chiefs meeting has ended after 16 years when Mr Bainimarama tried to shut the mouth of our leaders.

Vinaka and now it’s our turn.

I shall ask Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum over to the Western side of Fiji.

The biggest round-about in the Sugar City has two big mango trees.

That is where you normally hung your election banner and the banner your FijiFirst approved.

The city in which you just had your meeting when the rest of Fiji tried to celebrate the life of our brothers and sisters who gave their lives for the sugar industry of this country.

Yes you also did use their hall — the Girmit Hall.

The two mango trees for you, and the rest of your party can use the shade from the three big vaivai trees.

I will ask my ‘one-talk’ brothers from Navutu to prepare a 24-hour homebrew.

This will be sweet because they will use the ‘bu’ homebrew (green coconuts).

Beniya Naiqumu, Saweni, Lautoka

Customer service

I had never spent Mother’s Day away from home except this year.

So, last Sunday, I made the decision to treat my mother, mother-in-law, and better half to a trip to Lautoka.

My father and daughter joined in as well.

It was intended to eat lunch before going to the Village 4 cinemas to watch a movie.

The movie, I assure you, was the highlight of the treat because the lunch failed to impress us.

We made a reservation at a well-known eatery in Lautoka near the Village 4 cinemas and placed our order for a family-sized pizza.

We were informed during the drink ordering process that they were out of stock of soft drinks and that I would need to go purchase them elsewhere.

While we waited for our order in the air-conditioned lounge, we saw a lot of flies.

We were informed that they lacked “Mortein” spray when I asked them to exterminate the flies.

Even though we made an effort to ignore it and concentrate on the family reunion, the pizza’s poor quality stifled our efforts.

I had never had a pizza as bad as that.

Our lunch treat was ruined by the pathetic customer service.

I’m baffled as to how this restaurant is even holding on to doing business in Lautoka.

I apologised to my parents and made a self-promise never to eat at that specific restaurant again.


Fiji soccer

I understand FRU headquarters is going through a cleansing process thanks to our good A-G.

Mate please, have you forgotten the Fiji FA and all its affiliates?

I understand it will take you more than four years, but please all soccer loving people of this country have no choice but to wait and support you on this one.

Never mind our world ranking goes down a bit, we shall wait for you sir.

After what you have done with rugby, you are our only hope.

Change is a must and long overdue.

Please step up and bring that change.

I believe three quarters of Fiji’s population loves and soccer and I bet half of them are registered voters.

I requested the former A-G the same through this column but instead of investigations, he went in as chief guest.

The rest is history.

Please don’t follow the same path.

Go get ’em and make them history!

A. Shariff Shah, Savusavu

Visionary power

Ratu Sukuna, son of Fiji

A leader, a warrior, a legacy

With strength in his heart and wisdom in his mind

He sought to unite and strengthen his kind

Born in the islands, a chief from his youth

He learned from his elders, the Fijian truth

With courage and honour, he stood for his land

And fought for his people, with sword in hand

As times changed and Fiji grew

Ratu Sukuna knew what to do

With vision and purpose, he led the way

And helped shape a nation, day by day

From the battlefield to the halls of power

Ratu Sukuna was always in the hour

A voice for justice, a force for good

A man who did what he knew he should

His legacy lives on, in the Fijian heart

A symbol of hope, a work of art

For Ratu Sukuna taught us all

That with strength and wisdom, we can stand tall

So let us honour his memory today

And follow his example, come what may

For Ratu Sukuna was more than a man

He was a hero, a legend, a Fijian

But Ratu Sukuna’s legacy extends beyond war

He helped shape Fiji, a nation to adore

His vision of unity, of one people, one land

Is a legacy that still guides us, hand in hand.

Avenai Serutabua, Nabukelevu Village, Serua

Ratu Sukuna Day celebration

This has been such a blessing as we come to the end of a week-long celebration of the national Ratu Sukuna Day for all schools which started from May 22 to 26, 2023.

The theme for Ratu Sukuna Day celebration 2023 was “Celebrating Visionary Leadership for Fiji”.

School-based activities were organised to commemorate this occasion.

Students were enlightened with Ratu Sukuna’s life, culture and beliefs which bonded them with the history of Fiji.

I sincerely applaud the stakeholders, teachers, parents and students who made this celebration a memorable one.

RONITA Chand, Korovuto, Ba

Following footsteps

As Fiji is poised to celebrate Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day come Monday, May 29, 2023, it will be most fitting if at least one iTaukei woman and man, from each division, steps up to follow our very own statesman’s footsteps and proceed to Oxford University to obtain their LLB or better.

Fiji needs the younger generation to make necessary preparations seek higher education in Oxford.

Other citizens should step forward to accept similar challenges and make Fiji better and greater for all its citizens.

Our future leaders need to be well-educated and properly grounded to handle the future graced with peace, prosperity and good health.

Additionally, our coups should be things of the past; never to re-surface again.

Enough is enough, please.

Sa rauta, Viti.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Let’s pack Churchill Park

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua will need every ounce of support and voice when the likes of Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Isoa Nasilasila, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Joseva Tamani, Vilive Miramira, Meli Derenalagi, Frank Lomani, Teti Tela, Eroni Sau, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese, Zuriel Togiatama, Emosi Tuqiri, Samuela Tawake, Leone Rotuisolia, Elia Canakaivata, Peni Matawalu, Kemu Valetini and Michael Naitokani.

They face the Moana Pasifika in Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Luteru Tolai, Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Michael Curry, Mike McKee, Penitoa Finau, Alamanda Motuga, Solomone Funaki, Jonathan Taumateine, Christian Lealiifano, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Levi Aumua, Fine Inisi, Tima Fainga’anuku, William Havili, Samiuela Moli, Abraham Pole, Chris Apoua, Mahonri Ngakuru, Mircale Faiilagi, Ereatara Enari, Fine Inisi and Jonah Mau’u.

The battle is a Pacific battle — full of pride, passion, sweat, tears and excitement.

Moana is winless and the visitors will aim to spoil our party and get their first win for the season.

Let’s paint Churchill Park blue Drua fans and cheer for our boys.

A bonus point win is a must versus the Moana Pasifika.

To The Fiji Times sports team led by Rohit Deo and Filipe Marayawa, thumbs up for adding spice to the Drua versus Moana battle with the fantastic stories.

Waiting with bated breath for the kick-off!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Crossing signs

As an international student of the University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus, there is a concern about the lack of crossing signs on the road between USP and Damodar City Centre.

As pedestrians, we often face a lot of challenges when crossing the Laucala Bay Rd especially when it is busy.

And I have witnessed someone getting hit by a car along the Laucala Bay Rd, trying to cross to the other side.

It is important that local authorities take action and install a crossing sign on Laucala Bay Rd and all major roads and intersections in Fiji, if possible, to guide pedestrians especially those new to Fiji and their traffic systems (Since there are students from other USP countries living in the USP hostels/dormitories) and since pedestrians are the most vulnerable on our roads, there is a need for crossing signs.

Establishing a crossing sign along the Laucala Bay Rd will not only ensure the safety of pedestrians but also help to promote responsible road use among drivers, since it is the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians to share the road and adhere to traffic laws.

Since there is an increase of foreign students to Fiji’s USP, the need for crossing signs increases.

I urge relevant authorities to prioritise the safety of pedestrians and consider the installation of crossing signs as a necessity.

Let us strive to make our roads safer for everyone, especially foreign students.

Tevita Tongilava, Raiwaqa, Suva

‘Close’ coach

I must commend the work done by the Fiji Bati coach, Wise Kativerata.

It’s been a while since we’ve witnessed the head coach of a national team to be closely involved with grass roots rugby and creating opportunities for talented players.

The acknowledgement by Vitalina Naikore (FT 26/05) of the Fiji Bati coach’s push and guidance only shows his commitment to the sport and players.

I wish Naikore the very best with her new club as she switches code.

She’s built for the game and I look forward to some exciting highlights.

Sailosi Naewe, Naduru Rd, Nausori

Smply the best!

Has the best simply left us?

The legendary singer, Tina Turner, is no longer around.

This beautiful lady with a powerful voice was well known for her favourite songs especially Simply the best.

What an atmosphere she created when singing this song at the grand finals of the National Rugby League in Australia.

Tina Turner was one of her kind.

Some say her voice was easy to remember while others say it was hard to forget.

She was simply the best but is now in the best of memories.

Floyd Robinson, Micronesia

Singing iron lady

Our simply the best legend and icon singer Tina Turner is no more but her singing and music will be living and breathing forever.

She brought the house and stadium to a standstill during the NRL final when she sang Simply the best and the Brisbane Broncos lifted the NRL trophy… awesome feeling.

Rugby league continues to replay that moment and let us just take time to recognise this singing iron lady whose strong voice will linger in our minds forever.


Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Letter of the Month – April

What a farce!

I LEAVE the country on a water cut which had lasted eight days already; I return 12 days later to no water.

I’m informed that while I was away, there was only intermittent water supply.

After two days of no water, a pile of dirty dishes and laundry and diminishing spare water, I decide to find out what the problem is and more importantly, when the water will return.

WAF seemed to have no idea whatsoever.

I was asked to lodge a complaint which would be given to the repair team.

I got the impression my complain was the first to be received but later discovered the landlord had lodged two.

Who are they fooling?

I asked what the problem was.

The reply came “I’m not in the position to answer that.”

I wondered if that person would be right in any position?

After all, she was expected to respond to customer complaints.

Furthermore, the cost of the call was $2.70.

Perhaps they will deduct that from the bill … only in my dreams, I can hear a cynic say.

It’s just not good enough.

Julie Sutherland, Tamavua, Suva

Letters of the Week | Ending 24/4-30/4

Minimum wage

I AGREE with reviewing the minimum wage in light of inflation.

The question is, can we afford raising minimum wage rates?

I would support raises.

Supermarkets seem to have a free hand at raising prices.

2.04kg egg trays used to cost $11.95 some weeks ago.

Now they cost almost $17.

Control that first.

Donald Singh, Suva

Letter of the Week | Ending 1/5-7/5

Policing spectators 

DESPITE the allocation of double the number of police officers last Saturday – they gave their best – but it wasn’t too long before they cleared the passageway into the ground from Verona St entrance.

Some spectators continually asked for police intervention and a woman got juice thrown at her.

To make matters worse people raised umbrellas which obscured the view of those behind them.

If it wasn’t any worse, there were people standing right near the fence.

Were people to watch their backsides?

If a proper stand cannot be built, I think the spectator organization at the East Grass at Churchill Park needs adult supervision during matches because some adults tend to behave like babies.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Letter of the Week | Ending 8/5-14/5

Pothole story

I HOPE the pothole issue will not be another “in the pipeline story”?

Geoffrey Chand, Lautoka

Letter of the Week | Ending 15/5-21/5

When change beckons

IF we aren’t convinced now, then when will be we?

Ben Gollings should be convinced that his holiday is finally over.

A day before the Hong Kong 7s I had said that I couldn’t get too angry with the British and then I hadn’t said why.

The reason is that it was the British who brought my forefathers to Fiji, a better place than India.

The girmit era, was actually a fortunate event in history.

I don’t hold back with my jokes on this subject as it is offending no one.

We could have been sharing the slums and railway tracks if we had remained in India, but we could also have been one Ambani, Tata or Bachchan, or Modi.

So the argument on what could have been, could rage on and on.

I still thank the British.

They ruled back then.

Rulers don’t necessarily always do things that please everyone, even now, girmit history must be celebrated, and it looks like we are doing that now.

I won’t go political here.

So, Ben Gollings has had his shot at glory.

He must be relieved of the pain and humiliation he is suffering.

See there, I still have a soft spot for the British!

Donald Singh, Suva

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