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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Parental Negligence Kills...

We heard of children being kidnapped, raped, and murdered sometimes due to lack of supervision (such as Nurin Jazlin Jazimin case in 2007).

We heard of a father reverses his car over his own daughter.

We heard of parents forgotten and left their baby in the car seat, and the baby died due to heat.

We heard of children drowned, sometimes even under the parent's nose when they were distracted but for a few minutes.

Now, just a few days ago, we read about a baby boy less than a month old was starved to death due to parent's prolonged binge drinking with friends over a few days. Below is the news article taken from

Friday March 27, 2009
Baby dies, drunk parents forgot to feed him

MIRI: A baby boy, less than a month old, starved to death after his parents allegedly forgot to feed him because they were too drunk.

The baby died in the intensive-care unit of Miri Hospital yesterday morning and a police report has been lodged.

Police now want to question the parents, in their early 30s from a longhouse in southern Sarawak, who came to Miri to work and were renting a house at a low-cost housing scheme near the Sarawak-Brunei Highway, some 12km north of the city centre.

Relatives found the baby unconscious in the house and rushed him to the hospital at about 3am on Wednesday.

Miri deputy OCPD Supt Ismail Paduka Idris confirmed that the baby died in the morning.

“We are investigating claims that the parents had indulged in a prolonged drinking spree and had neglected the baby.

“Initial investigations show that the baby might have been so severely neglected that he suffered fatal consequences.

“We want to find out whether this was due to carelessness,” Supt Ismail said.

The couple also have a three-year-old daughter.

The above are but only a few incidents about parental negligence that were being reported. There were probably countless of other incidents that were not reported.

The purpose I'm writing this article is not to express my anger nor to point my finger at them parents and starts the blame game rolling. Rather, it is as a wake up call. A reminder. Far be in from me to judge others as I'm not perfect myself.

For those who think that these parents are terrible, utterly irresponsible and therefore, should be punished for their act of negligence, you are absolutely right! But do not forget that no one is perfect. We are all messed up in our own ways. Some of us are even capable of doing the same thing, or possibly things worse than these (we just don't know it yet). I'm someone who believes that until you're lying on your death bed breathing the last few breath in this world, do not ever let words such as "I'll NEVER do such a thing" rolled off your tongue so easily without any serious consideration because you may find yourself committing the said "crime" someday down the road.

As a Christian, there are a few phrases in the Bible that speaks to me very strongly regarding these matters:-

1. In John 8:7, Jesus protecting the prostitute from the accusers, said "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

2. Matthew 7:3-5  "Why do you observe the splinter in you brother's eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, 'Let me take the splinter out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother's eye."

3. And of course, in Luke 23:34, while Jesus was crucified on the cross, at one point, he said "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

I believe in second chances because I believe in a God who believes in second chances.  Of course there are some who has worn out their second chances, especially those who are aware of their mistakes yet remain unrepentant.

The above drunk parents will not be charged with any criminal offence as the police investigation revealed that it's a tragic mishap and there was no criminal intent on hurting the baby.

Were the parents irresponsible? - Extremely

Were they stupid? - Definitely, but hopefully not anymore

Could the tragedy be prevented? - TOTALLY

Did they want the baby to die? - I most certainly hope not

Do they deserve a second chance? - In my humble opinion, YES.

Did they deserve to be punish? - Yes, and trust me, they are really having it right now.

Personally, I hope this experience, and the second chance they get will mould them to be better parents. And I do think they are really suffering right now, unless they are totally heartless. Frankly, I believe only if you're a parent, you'd fully understand the feeling of guilt, fear, and regret that one will go through when we put our little ones through pain, suffering, and in some cases - death, whether on purpose or by accident. The experience will haunt them for life. 

Like I said earlier, we're all messed up in our own way. Some of our mistakes are repairable, but unfortunatly, there are some mistakes you just can't do-over, but life goes on. Instead of pointing fingers, I'm just going to use the couple's story to teach, and remind myself of my duty as a parent and to pay more attention to my kids, and make sure that they are safe.... but of course have to try hard not to get over paranoid LOL! Otherwise I'd be putting my kids through a different kind of hell. The last thing you want is your children growing up with emotional and mental bondage fearing and thinking that the world is out to get them :P.

Arghhh! Living a balanced life, easier said than done LOL! No one and nothing is perfect, we just got to do our best according to our own abilities.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Post-meal Acrobatics = Post-meal Clean-up

Not too long ago... ok, fine, it may be a while ago, maybe 2 - 3 months back, I had a funny experience that brought back some memories. So why did I take so long to write about it, well, I always had some more important stuff to do or blog about and this story was always at the back of my mind, and now, I finally managed to pen it down. Well I'm not exactly penning it down but you get the idea :P.

I was at my friend's place practicing some songs for another friend's wedding, when we finished our practice and were just hanging around his house chatting, at one point the wife had to go out to fetch the daughter from the in-laws' place. While she was out, we're still hanging around and my friend's son didn't go out with mommy and was with us the whole time. We were chatting, and my friend was playing with his boy, throwing him up in the air, swinging him around, turning him upside down etc. The kid was obviously having a blast, but the dad was getting a little tired so we decided to take a sit and chill.

While we were chilling and talking, the kid was still sticking to his dad, hugging and going around his (rather big size) dad like an obstacle course, and suddenly, he became very quiet and looked really serious.

From my experience as a father, most of the time when a kid suddenly becomes very still and serious, it could only mean 2 things:-
1. He was shitting or already finished doing the deed.
2. He was about to throw up (vomit).

Well, it was the latter. The son threw up all over the dad, the couch and on the floor. We helped him a little bit and had to cut short our visit.

On the wedding day itself, I kinda brought it up and both the husband and the wife were there and we're having a good laugh, that was until I brought up the fact that the son vomitted because the dad was throwing him around after meal, than I heard the "shh! shh!" coming from my friend. Apparently while the wife was aware that the son threw up, she was not informed of the cause LOL!!

This kinda brought back some memories about my eldest son, who's going to be 6 years old in about a week's time. When he was younger, he really threw up a lot. When he was a few months old, after every feed, if he was to raised his legs and kicked the air, or when we raised his legs to change his diaper, most of the time, it would result in him vomitting, and the amount is really scary. He could vomit like 80% of the milk that he just drank. We were VERY worried at first, but since he was growing well despite of all the wasted milk, we slowly gotten used to it. And it wasn't until just recently his vomitting tendencies have reduced significantly.

So the moral of the story is :-
1. If you want to a have post-meal acrobatic fun with your kid(s), be prepared to do some post-meal cleaning up.
2. Don't hide important details from your wife. She will know about it anyway, so it's much better that you confess your sins with your own mouth rather than her finding it out from an outside source LOL!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Remedy For Nighttime Cough? Or Not? You Decide

I came across an email making some pretty crazy claim about an unlikely remedy for nighttime cough. Obviously as a parent, my children's nighttime coughs can be worrying, so when I came across a claim like this, it's hard not to get curious about it. Some of you may have read about it, but anyway, here is the email I received:-

"How to stop cough in 5 minutes!!!
This is a must try....

We have all been kept awake by our own or someone else's cough. Try this and pass it on. The tip and not the cough. ANYTHING is! better than antibiotics. Even babies could benefit from this and the parents wouldn't worry about the safety of their child. And of course, it is harmless and free from any type of side-effects.

WOW! I was raised, and raised my kids with Vicks. How come I never knew this? I can't wait for my next cough. Amazing!

READ IT ALL. It works 100 percent of the time, although the scientists at the Canada

Research council (who discovered it) aren't sure why.


To stop night time coughing in a child (or an adult, as! we found out personally), put Vicks Vapor Rub generously on the bottom of the feet at bedtime and then cover with socks.

Even persistent, heavy, deep coughing will stop in about five minutes and stay stopped for many, many hours of relief. This works 100 percent of the time, and is more effective in children than
even very strong prescription cough medicines. In addition it is extremely soothing and comforting and they will sleep soundly. I heard the head of the Canada Research Council describe these findings on the part of their scientists when they were investigating the effectiveness and usage of prescription cough medicines in children, as compared to alter! native therapies like acupressure. I just happened to tune in to a.m. Radio and picked up this guy talking about why cough medicines in kids often do more harm than good due to the chemical makeup of these strong drugs, so I listened. It was a surprising finding and found to be more effective than prescribed medicines for children at bedtime, and in addition to have a soothing and calming effect on sick children who then went on to sleep soundly.

My wife tried it on herself when she had a very deep constant and persistent cough a few weeks ago, and it worked
! She said it felt like a warm blanket had enveloped her. The coughing stopped in a few minutes, ! and believe me this was a deep (incredibly annoying!) every few seconds, uncontrollable cough and she slept cough-free for hours every night she used it.

If you have children or grandchildren, pass it on. If you end up sick, try it yourself and you will be absolutely amazed.
How to stop cough in 5 minutes!!! This is a must try..."

Well, I cut and pasted it word for word, even the mistakes LOL!

And me being me (as in cautious and sometimes paranoid), I decided to go online to do some research regarding this "amazing" claim. While I found out that there are a lot of people claiming this to be true and that it really works, there are a few articles that I came across that sort of put me back on the cautious mode.

The first article is "Avoid applying Vicks VapoRub to babies, pediatricians say" from This is a very good article and I highly recommend people to read it before using the above method.

Then I came across a very interesting website,, which investigates rumors, urban legends, old wives tale etc. On the website, there was an entry on this claim and the status of the claim is Undetermined, ie, can't say if it's real or not. Interestingly, this website posted a statement by the National Research Council Canada (NRC) denying that they ever said that Vicks VapoRub can be used on the sole of the feet to counter nighttime coughs. Go and read the whole article here.

Which then lead me to the actual statement issued by NRC from their very own website, and it's titled "Foot Rub Cough Cure: Fact or Fiction?".


In my opinion, if you have been using Vicks VapoRub for your children all these while and they don't show any signs of adverse reaction to it, there is no harm in giving this remedy a try. Who knows it might actually give you a peace of mind during those otherwise cough-full nights.

However, if you want to give this method a go but have not used Vicks VapoRub before, please read the above articles carefully and heed the warnings below:-

1. Always, always, always, read the label before use!
2. DO NOT use adult Vicks on children under 2 years of age! I believe they have products meant for babies.
3. Any problem, please consult your doctor.

For those who still want to give it a try, here's some pictures to guide you through the simple steps:-

Use Vicks VapoRub


Apply generous amount at the sole of both feet.


Cover it with socks to prevent staining your bedsheet.

Please Share: If anyone tried this method before, or is planning to try it, please share with us and tell us if it actually works, or not. We thank you in advance. :P


Thursday, March 12, 2009

DHA Overdose?! Really?!

No, not really. Depends. Well, read on.

One day, my 19 weeks pregnant wife asked me to go online to check how much DHA can a pregnant mother take safely. Is there such thing as DHA overdose? Since the DHA supplement we're taking is 300mg per tablet, she just want to be sure that it's not too much.

Well, what the wife wants, the wife gets (usually).

There's a short answer, and a long answer. Being a long-winded kinda guy, I'm gonna give you both LOL! Short answer are for those who just wants the quick answer to the question "Should I take DHA? And how much DHA is recommended?". In the Long Answer, I will give you more information and findings with regards to topic like "Why is DHA important?", "Why is Vitamin A dangerous?", "What kind of fish can I safely eat?" etc. Well, here goes.

Short Answer:-

Q: Can you overdose on DHA?
A: Depends on what it's made of. Some DHA is obtained from liver such as cod liver oil, which contain the Retinol form of Vitamin A, which should be avoided altogether by pregnant mothers since it's toxic. Pregnant mothers should avoid eating food that contains liver. If the DHA is obtain from the body of the fish, then it is safe, and you won't really overdose on that. Also if you're taking DHA supplement, make sure it is molecular distilled or obtained from originating algae. Otherwise it may contain dangerous environmental pollutants such as mercury, dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), which can interfere with the development of the baby during pregnancy.

Q: How much DHA should I take?
A: According to, the National Institutes of Health and the International Society for the Study of Fats and Lipids recommends a minimum of 300 mg of DHA a day.This website recommends that if you don't think your DHA intake is sufficient, you can take 100mg of DHA supplement daily. Generally, if you are taking 2 - 3 servings of fatty fish per week, it should be sufficient. However, be very careful in choosing which fish to eat as some of them has high level of contaminant such as mercury and should be avoided altogther. Look for the title "What type of fish can I eat?" under the Long Answer.

Q: So should I take DHA supplement?
A: If you feel that you are not taking enough DHA, then it's a good idea to supplement, since DHA is particularly important to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. With regards to dosage, anywhere between 100mg to 300mg, depending on your normal diet, should be sufficient.

Thus ends the Short Answer.

Here comes the Long Answer.

Long Answer:-

Q: What is DHA?
A: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an Omega-3 essential fatty acid. DHA is the fundamental building block of the brain.

Q: What are the benefits of DHA?
A: An excerpt taken from the article "The Omega-3 that should be on your mind" by Dr. David Perlmutter says this:
"It is essential that the fetus receive DHA while in the womb for optimal brain and eye development. Moreover, recent studies clearly show that infants who receive optimal levels of DHA in the womb and through nursing perform better on cognitive tests.

But DHA is not just baby food. Clinical studies show that in healthy adults, high consumption of DHA is associated with a reduced risk for developing Alzheimer's, dementia and age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness. Low levels of DHA in red blood cells are associated with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children, as well as cognitive decline in the elderly."

According to an article "DHA & Pregnancy: Should women take a DHA supplement while pregnant?", the author, Julie King, listed a few benefits of DHA to pregnant mothers:-
1. DHA & Children's IQ: Studies seems to proof that DHA helps to improve the development of the brain and might actually produce smarter babies.
2. DHA helps to prevent preterm labour: Research has shown that women who take DHA supplements during the last trimester of their pregnancy are more likely to carries their babies to term.
3. DHA & postpartum depression: studies have shown that women who have a higher intake of DHA in pregnancy are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression after giving birth.

The article also says that DHA is found naturally within breastmilk. It is also added to infant formulas because it is believed to be an essential nutrient that helps assist in the brain and eye development in babies and young children.

Read the full article here.

Q: How much DHA should I take?
A: National Institutes of Health and the International Society for the Study of Fats and Lipids recommends that healthy adults consume a minimum of 220 mg of DHA a day. The panel also recommends that pregnant and nursing women consume at least 300 mg of DHA a day.

Q: What are the sources of DHA.
A: Food that contains DHA are :-
- nuts
- seeds
- eggs
- soy beans
- tofu
- cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
- Cold-water fish, such as mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, black cod, anchovies, and albacore tuna
- Cod liver oil (should be avoided by pregnant mothers as it contains vitamin A)
- Fatty / oily fish
- microalgae
- and of course, fish oil supplements

When you buy fish oil supplements, ensures the quality and purity of the product. Fish oil supplements that have gone through the process of molecular distillation is safer as it will not contain dangerous environmental pollutants such as dioxins, mercury, and PCBs which can interfere with the foetus's development. Another alternative is to go for "fish oil" supplement made of microalgae, which is where the fish got their source of DHA at the first place.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in plants such as whole grains nuts and seeds is ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), but what you really need are long-chain omega3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA that are found in fatty acids. In theory, our body can convert ALA into the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. However, it's extremely difficult for the body to do so. And, even when it does happen, the amounts produced are too small to have any significant effect. So fatty/oily fish is still the best sourse for DHA and EPA. HOWEVER not all fish are safe to be eaten. Which begs the next question.

Q: What type of fish can I eat?
A: According to The U.S. FDA and EPA:-
"By following these 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.

1. DO NOT eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.

2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.

3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week.

Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but serve smaller portions."

You can read the full article by FDA and EPA here, which I highly recommend that you do so.

To get the mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish compiled by FDA and EPA, click here.

You can also read the article "The Best Types of Fish for Health" by Mark Stibich, Ph.D. from

Q: Why should pregnant mothers avoid liver (including cod liver oil) altogether?
A: Vitamin A comes in two forms, animal based, which is retinol, and plant based which is betacarotene. Liver, and liver products such as pate, liver sausage, even cod liver oil, contains very high levels of the retinol form of vitamin A, which can be harmful to your developing baby, particularly in the first trimester. To read more on this subject, you can visit these 2 websites:-

In conclusion:
Pregnant and nursing mothers should make it a point to take enough DHA. Eating the recommended amount of fatty fish together with DHA supplement of high quality and purity should give you the sufficient amount of DHA needed for you and your baby. As long as you follow the guidelines found in this post and in all the 3rd party articles provided here in, you should be pretty safe. Of course, feel free to search around for more information if you want and I'd appreciate if you share any interesting findings with me :).


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Can I Afford To Go Organic?

Being a parent, obviously one of the more important things in life is your children's health, and one of the question that my wife and I have been struggling with for quite a while is whether to go organic or not. If you look at the health benefits of organic food, such as:-
1. Lower pesticide residue
2. Higher nutrient level
3. Very good for children (as they are still developing)
4. Absence of potentially harmful food additives
5. Generally a better health outcome;
I should go organic. There's only one reason that's stopping us from going all out for organic food, which is this:-
5 apples for RM23.36, RM2.59 for 100gram.

Proof of Quality :)

Yes, what's stopping me from going all out is the price. Organic products (at least in Malaysia) usually cost 3x to 4x more than normal products. I can normally buy 5 apples from our usual wet market fruit stall for only RM5.00 but I need to pay close to RM24.00 for 5 organically grown apples. But I have to say, they taste extremely sweet and good, no doubt about that.

But regardless of what most organic food advocates argue, that you shouldn't put a price on quality of life, paying 4x more for something when your pay stays the same is extremely difficult for some, and near impossible to those who are in the lower income group. Putting the blame on cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc. and saying that in order to afford organic food, people just need to change their lifestyle, ie stop smoking, drinking, buying branded clothes, are just downright ignorant, shallow, self-righteous and arrogant. Why? Because they sounded as if quitting substance abuse and changing lifestyle are like changing clothes, and heck, some of us are not even using those substances.

Not only that, it is not unanimous in the scientific world that organic products are definitely better than non-organic products. There are still debates going on about organic vs non-organic. I'm not going to go into the debate, so if you want to read more about it, visit the following sites:-
1. Organic or Not Organic - A neutral and well written article on this subject
2. Organic Food & Farming (pdf) - A very thorough report to counter the argument that organic food is not necessary better than non-organic food.

The verdict, after doing my research, is that I'm still pro organic, for now. I'm sure in the near future, more research and evidence will be able to shed more light on this subject. Which brings me back to the issue of costs. My conclusion is that my wife and I will try to our best to go organic for food that are listed to have high pesticide content. What list you say? Well, Environmental Working Group (EWG), a not-for-profit organisation, has been compiling a lists of vegies and fruits, in fact, a list of 43 vegetables and fruits and rank them according to their pesticide content. I know that this is a US based list, but since I can't seemed to find any such lists provided by our local authority, that list is the best guide I can find.

Here's the Top 12 worst (highest pesticide content) and best (lowest pesticide content) vegies and fruits.
The Dirty Dozen and Cleanest 12 (Click to enlarge)

Click here to get the printable One-pager pdf file provided by

I also find this website to be helpful as an additional info to the above list.

Anyway, this is my take on organic food, I hope you find it useful, but like I said, as for me, I will try my best to buy organic food for the "high risk" food. You gotta decide for yourself what is best for you :P


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jason Mraz is Maximum Awsomeness - [Random Ramblings]

Just came back from Jason Mraz - Live In Malaysia 2009! And my oh my, what a night!!

It was simply one of the best concert I've ever attended. Mr. A-Z is definitely one of the most talented, versatile, flexible, entertaining singer, and boy can he really sing, and dance too. This Mr. Feel Good is definitely the Real Deal! This is the type of concert which I personally really enjoy, as oppose to concerts that rely more on props and countless costumes. I feel that I could really connect and enjoy the raw talent of the artiste rather than getting distracted by dry ice and sequins.

The concert started pretty much on time, which is great, though I can't exactly remember what time it was. It was sometime between 8pm to 8:30pm. Like most concert, the sellout crowd was cheering at every Tom, Dick and Harry that walked onto the stage LOL!

When Jason Mraz finally appeared, he opened, predictably, with "Wake up everyone, how can you sleep at a time like this...". Yes, the first song was "Make it mine".

While I remember all the songs he sang, I can't really recall the order so I apologise before hand if my info is a little inconsistent with the actual event :P

After the opening song, he followed-up with "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)" and somewhere nearing the end of the song, he mixed it up with Oasis's "Wonderwall". For those who are familiar with Jason Mraz's live performances, this will come as no surprise, but it was still really good to experience it firsthand.

Some of Mraz's greatest assets are his spontaneity and cheekiness and we definitely got a lot of that tonight. At one point he was asking the crowd:
"Who's here with your best friend tonight?" - to which the crowd cheered
He then asked: "Who's here with your best friend tonight because you're madly in love with that person?" LOL!
Of course the song that came after that was "If It Kills Me".

Being a seasoned entertainer, Jason Mraz has topnotch showmanship and can really engage the crowd, asking us to do some fun, silly stuff with him from time to time such as making funny sound and funny dance moves, he even slipped in an inspiring line or two. For example, he was teaching the crowd to do the silly cool moves of high five, low five, back five and high ten in preparation for his next song "The Dynamo Of Volition", before the song he said "If there's anyone of you out there who's too cool to do this dance moves, or maybe this is not your style, or you have an IMAGE to upkeep, well, DON'T LET YOUR MIND STOP YOU FROM HAVING A GOOD TIME." Simply priceless :)

All in all, the concert was simply awesome. The theme of the night is all about love and feeling good. We have a guest artiste Penny Tai (戴佩妮) (I'm pretty sure it's her) who did a duet for the song "Lucky" with Jason Mraz. If I have any complaints is that the sound system was a little on the soft side. It could definitely be better. And of course, I wished it was longer. The concert ended at 9:55pm, a total duration of roughly 1 1/2 hours, and he didn't sing 2 of my favourite songs: "Curbside Prophet" and "Wordplay". Time flies when you're watching Jason Mraz.

For 1 1/2 hours, on the night of 4th March 2009, Jason Mraz sang, dance and stole our hearts (I know, it sounds gay), and he left us with the best quote of the night:

"This is my first time in Malaysia, but DEFINITELY NOT MY LAST!" So I'm expecting more of live Mr A-Z awesomeness hopefully not too far into the future.

Here's the list of songs he sang in no particular order:-

1. Make It Mine
2. The Remedy (I Won't Worry)
3. Life Is Wonderful
4. You And I Both
5. If It Kills Me
6. Geek In The Pink
7. A Beautiful Mess
8. Live High
9. The Dynamo Of Volition
10. I'm Yours
11. Lucky
12. No Stopping Us
13. Butterfly

Other interesting / related read:-

1. A review by Mr. DX (Blog: A New Chapter In My Life)

2. A review by Joyce Lyn (Blog: purple bananas & red shoes)

3. A review by Neil (Blog: Ahem!)

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