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Kristang people

Kristang people

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The Kristang are a creole
Creole peoples
The term Creole and its cognates in other languages — such as crioulo, criollo, créole, kriolu, criol, kreyol, kreol, kriulo, kriol, krio, etc. — have been applied to people in different countries and epochs, with rather different meanings...

 ethnic group of people of mixed Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 and Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

n (Malay) descent based in Malaysia and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. People of this ethnicity have strong Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 heritage, some British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 as well as Chinese and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n heritage due to intermarriage, which was common among the Kristang. In addition to this due to the Portuguese Inquisition in the region a lot of the Jews of Malacca assimilated into the Kristang community. The creole group arose in Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

 (Malaysia) between the 16th and 17th centuries, when the city was a port and base of the Portuguese. Some descendants speak a distinctive Kristang language
Kristang language
Papiá Kristang , or just Kristang, is a creole language. It is spoken by the Kristang, a community of people of mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry, chiefly in Malacca and Singapore....

, a creole
Creole language
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, making them have features of natural languages that are normally missing from...

 based on Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

. Today the government classifies them as Portuguese Eurasians.

The Kristang language is formally called Malacca-Melayu Portuguese Creole, made up of elements of each. The Malay language, or Bahasa Malaysia, as it is now called in Malaysia, has changed to incorporate many Kristang words. For example, garfu is Kristang for "fork" and almari is Kristang for "cupboard"; the Malay language incorporated these Kristang words whole.

Scholars believe the Kristang community originated in part from liaisons and marriages between Portuguese men (sailors, soldiers, traders, etc.) and local native (Malay) women. The men came to Malacca during the age of Portuguese explorations
Portugal in the Age of Discovery
During the history of Portugal between 1415 and 1578, Portugal discovered an eastern route to India that rounded the Cape of Good Hope, discovered Brazil, established trading routes throughout most of southern Asia, colonized selected areas of Africa, and sent the first direct European maritime...

, and in the early colonial years, Portuguese women did not settle in the colony. Nowadays intermarriage occurs more frequently between Kristang and people of Chinese and Indian ethnicity rather than Malay because of endogamous religious laws. These require non-Muslims intending to marry Malay-Muslims first to convert to Islam. Eurasians are not always willing to alter their religious and cultural identity in this way. In earlier centuries, Portuguese and local Malays were able to marry without such conversions, because such religious laws did not exist.

The name "Kristang" is sometimes incorrectly used for other people of mixed European and Asian descent
Eurasian Singaporean
The community of Eurasians in Singapore is descended from Europeans who intermarried with local Asians. Their ancestry can be traced to emigrants of countries that span the length and breadth of Europe, although Eurasian migrants to Singapore in the 19th century came largely from other colonies in...

 presently living in Malaysia and Singapore. This includes people of Portuguese descent who were not part of the historical Kristang community, and people with other European ancestry, such as Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 or British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

The name comes from the Portuguese creole kristang (Christian), derived from the Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 cristão. A derogatory term for the Portuguese-Malaccan community was Gragok (slang term for Portuguese geragau or shrimp, referring to the fact that the Portuguese Malaccans were traditionally shrimp fishermen). The community historically called themselves gente Kristang (Christian people).

Portuguese expeditions


Malacca was a major destination in the great wave of sea expeditions launched by Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 around the turn of the 16th century, and it eventually was controlled as part of the Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

. The first Portuguese expedition to reach Malacca landed in 1507. The Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) noted that the Malays first called them Bengali Puteh (White Bengalis), as the Portuguese brought to mind traders from Bengal but were more pale skinned. In the early years, the Malays called the Portuguese Serani (short for Malay Nasrani, meaning followers of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 the Nazarene.) A story was recorded that the Portuguese landing party inadvertently insulted the Malaccan sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 by placing a garland
Garland
A garland is a class of decoration, of which there are many types.Garland may also refer to:-Places:*Garland, Arkansas, a town in Miller County*Garland County, Arkansas*Garland, Maine, a town in Penobscot County...

 of flowers on his head, and he had them detained. In 1511, a Portuguese fleet came from India
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

 to free the landing party.

At that time, Portuguese women were barred from traveling overseas due to superstition about women on ships, as well as the substantial danger of the sea route around cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

. Following the Portuguese colonization of Malacca (Malaysia) in 1511, the Portuguese government encouraged their explorers to marry local indigenous women, under a policy set by Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

, then Viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. To promote settlement, the King of Portugal granted freeman status and exemption from Crown taxes to Portuguese men (known as casados, or "married men") who ventured overseas and married local women. With Albuquerque's encouragement, mixed marriages flourished and some 200 were recorded by 1604. By creating families, the Portuguese men would make more settled communities, with families whose children would be Catholic and loyal to the Crown.

The Dutch takeover


A powerful sea power, the rising Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 nation took Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641. This coincided with a civil war in Portugal that ended the 60-year period known as the "Union of the Crowns" (1580–1640), when Portugal was joined to Castilian Spain by political marriage. Almost all political contact between Portugal and Malacca ended. Portuguese trade relations with the former colonial outpost of Macau have continued to this day.

Even after Portugal lost Malacca in 1641, the Kristang community largely preserved its traditions, practicing Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 and using Portuguese and Kristang language within the community.

Present status


The Kristang community still has surprising cultural and linguistic continuities with today's Portugal, especially with the Minho region, from where many early settlers emigrated. The Kristang continue to hold some church services in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, and Malaysians often refer to the community as "Portuguese". As the Kristang language is not taught in schools, it is nearing extinction, with the exception of within the Portuguese Settlement
Portuguese Settlement, Malacca
The Portuguese Settlement is a Kristang community in Ujong Pasir, five km from Malacca City, Malaysia.The Kristang are a Malaysian ethnic group with mixed Portuguese and Malay and for some possibly Indian or Chinese ancestry, which arose during the Portuguese colonial period .In 1933, 11 hectares...

 in Ujong Pasir Malacca
Portuguese Settlement, Malacca
The Portuguese Settlement is a Kristang community in Ujong Pasir, five km from Malacca City, Malaysia.The Kristang are a Malaysian ethnic group with mixed Portuguese and Malay and for some possibly Indian or Chinese ancestry, which arose during the Portuguese colonial period .In 1933, 11 hectares...

.

The Kristang people in Malaysia do not have full bumiputra status. A Status which applies to indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 ethnic groups. However they have been given the privilege to apply to be members of a trust scheme known as Amanah Saham Bumiputra. This is a privilege shared by Malaysians of Thai
Thai people
The Thai people, or Siamese, are the main ethnic group of Thailand and are part of the larger Tai ethnolinguistic peoples found in Thailand and adjacent countries in Southeast Asia as well as southern China. Their language is the Thai language, which is classified as part of the Kradai family of...

 descent. The government sponsored this program to help the Malays increase their participation in the national economy. The Kristang community in Singapore is part of a larger umbrella group, known generically as the Eurasian
Eurasian Singaporean
The community of Eurasians in Singapore is descended from Europeans who intermarried with local Asians. Their ancestry can be traced to emigrants of countries that span the length and breadth of Europe, although Eurasian migrants to Singapore in the 19th century came largely from other colonies in...

 community. Some members have emigrated to Perth, Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....

 over the past three decades.

The Portuguese Settlement
Portuguese Settlement, Malacca
The Portuguese Settlement is a Kristang community in Ujong Pasir, five km from Malacca City, Malaysia.The Kristang are a Malaysian ethnic group with mixed Portuguese and Malay and for some possibly Indian or Chinese ancestry, which arose during the Portuguese colonial period .In 1933, 11 hectares...

 is a thriving Kristang community in Malacca, established in 1933 with the goal of gathering the dispersed Kristang community and preserving their culture. A simple village of poor fishermen for many decades, it has recently become a major tourist attraction. This has helped to improve the income of the Kristang population.

Fishing


Since Portuguese times, the Kristang have been living by the sea. It is still an important part of their culture. Even today, with only 10 percent of the community earning their living by fishing, many men go fishing to supplement their income or just to relax with their neighbours. Traditionally men fish from small wooden perahus, or by pushing the langgiang, a traditional bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

-poled shrimp net through the shallows.

Music and dance


Kristang music and dance, known as the Branyo
Branyo
The Branyo is a form of dance from Malaysia traditionally danced by the original Portuguese colonists of Malacca and their present-day descendants in Malaysia and Singapore. It is a development of the Portuguese folk dance corridinho from the Algarve. Branyo has been an integral part of the...

, can be easily mistaken for the Malay Joget
Joget
Joget is a traditional Malay dance that originated in Malacca. It was influenced by the Portuguese dance of Branyo which is believed to have been spread to Malacca during the spice trade. In Malacca, it is better known as Chakunchak...

, which is believed to have developed from the Branyo. The adoption of western music instruments and musical scales by traditional Malay and Indian orchestras suggests a strong Portuguese influence. The most popular branyo tune is "Jingkli Nona", regarded as the unofficial "anthem" for Portuguese Eurasians in Singapore.

Portuguese fado
Fado
Fado is a music genre which can be traced to the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. Fado historian and scholar, Rui Vieira Nery, states that "the only reliable information on the history of Fado was orally transmitted and goes back to the 1820s and 1830s at best...

music is not part of the Kristang culture, since it originated in the 19th century, after most cultural links with Portugal were cut off. The Kristang culture tends to have more joyful expression than the characteristic melancholic mood
Saudade
Saudade ) is a unique Galician-Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English. Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return...

 of fado.

Cuisine


Influenced greatly by other local ethnic cuisines, Kristang food is similar to Malay cuisine, with the additions of stews and the inclusion of pork in the diet. Some roots of Portuguese-style cuisine are evident in kristang food; however, it has more of an eastern than western style, related to years of local influence and ingredients. Early Kristang and other colonials adopted the same ingredients used by the locals. Many Kristao also eat by hand like the Malay. Typical Kristang dishes include curry dabel, porku tambrinu (babi asam stew) and pang su si cake.

Name


Kristang people traditionally have used Portuguese names. Malaysian Muslims of Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

, Malay, and Indian
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin
A Non-Resident Indian is an Indian citizen who has migrated to another country, a person of Indian origin who is born outside India, or a person of Indian origin who resides permanently outside India. Other terms with the same meaning are overseas Indian and expatriate Indian...

 descent use typical Muslim names.

Religion


The Kristang are in general practising Roman Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 (Natal) is the most festive occasion of the year, when many Kristang families get together to celebrate by eating seasonal dishes, singing carols
Carol (music)
A carol is a festive song, generally religious but not necessarily connected with church worship, and often with a dance-like or popular character....

 and branyok, and reveling in saudade
Saudade
Saudade ) is a unique Galician-Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English. Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return...

. Like many other Portuguese-speaking Catholic communities around the world, the Kristang also celebrate a string of major Saints' days
Calendar of saints
The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the feast day of said saint...

 at the end of June, beginning with St. John
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 (San Juang) on June 24 and closing with St. Peter (San Pedro), the fishermen's patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

, on June 29. The June festival of St. John's village is a major tourist attraction of Malacca. Tourists come to observe the festivities, which are religiously based.

Portuguese influence on Malay language


The Portuguese ruled Malacca from 1511 to 1641. About 300 Portuguese words were adopted in the Malay language. These include:
  • kereta (from carreta, car);
  • sekolah (from escola, school);
  • bendera (from bandeira, flag);
  • mentega (from manteiga, butter);
  • keju (from queijo, cheese);
  • meja (from mesa, table); and
  • nenas (from ananás, pineapple).

Notable Kristang people


Malaysian
  • Tun Jeanne Abdullah
    Jeanne Abdullah
    Tun Jeanne Abdullah née Danker is the current wife of former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. She married Abdullah Badawi while he was in office. She was his second wife after the death of the Badawi's first wife, Endon Mahmood....

     a.k.a Jeanne Danker - Former First Lady of Malaysia.
  • Tony Fernandes
    Tony Fernandes
    Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandes CBE is a Malaysian entrepreneur and the founder of Tune Air Sdn. Bhd., who introduced the first budget no-frills airline, AirAsia, to Malaysians with the tagline "Now everyone can fly"...

     - CEO of Air Asia.
  • Roland Xavier - Well known Malaysian Professor of Entrepreneurship.
  • Datuk Eugene Campos - The Hon. Consul of Portugal & Patron of S.A.F.T.E.A. (Selangor and Federal Territory Eurasian Association). Well known businessman.
  • Joan Margaret Marbeck - Malaysian Author - Language Is the Soul of our Kristang Heritage


Singaporean
  • Jeremy Monteiro
    Jeremy Monteiro
    Jeremy Monteiro Jeremy Monteiro Jeremy Monteiro (born June 20, 1960, Singapore, is a Jazz Pianist, Singer, Composer and Music Educator. He has performed and won critical acclaim in many parts of the world, in addition to numerous occasions in Singapore, where he has been dubbed "Singapore's King...

     - Singaporean Jazz Pianist, Singer, Composer and Music Educator.
  • Andrew Lim - Jewish Television star, actor, popular radio broadcaster and Chabad Follower.


Australian
  • Sarah Marbeck - Malaysian born Australian female model.
  • Royston Sta Maria
    Royston Sta Maria
    Royston Sta Maria Royston Sta Maria Royston Sta Maria (b. 24 November 1951, Malacca City, is a Malaysian singer-songwriter.-Early life:Royston attended the St. Francis Institution where he obtained a Grade 2 in the Overseas School Certificate and the Malaysian Certificate of Education....

     - Well known Singer and Songwriter from Malaysia.

See also (Related ethnic groups)

  • Eurasian
    Eurasian (mixed ancestry)
    The word Eurasian refers to people of mixed Asian and European ancestry. It was originally coined in 19th-century British India to refer to Anglo-Indians of mixed British and Indian descent....

     – various ethnic groups of mixed European-Asian ancestry
  • Anglo-Burmese people - ethnic group from Myanmar
    Myanmar
    Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

  • Burgher people
    Burgher people
    The Burghers are a Eurasian ethnic group, historically from Sri Lanka, consisting for the most part of male-line descendants of European colonists from the 16th to 20th centuries and local women, with some minorities of Swedish, Norwegian, French and Irish.Today the mother tongue of the Burghers...

     - ethnic group from Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

  • Eurasian Singaporean
    Eurasian Singaporean
    The community of Eurasians in Singapore is descended from Europeans who intermarried with local Asians. Their ancestry can be traced to emigrants of countries that span the length and breadth of Europe, although Eurasian migrants to Singapore in the 19th century came largely from other colonies in...

     - ethnic group from Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

  • Filipino mestizo
    Filipino mestizo
    Filipino mestizo is a term used in the Philippines to describe people of mixed Filipino and foreign ancestry. The word mestizo is of Spanish origin, and was originally used in the Americas to only describe people of mixed European and Native American ancestry.- History :Spanish periodThe Spanish...

     - ethnic group from the Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

  • Indo people - ethnic group from Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

  • Macanese people
    Macanese people
    The Macanese-born Portuguese people or simply the Macanese people refer to an ethnic group which originated in Macau since the 16th century, consisting mostly of people with some Portuguese ancestry.-Culture:...

     - ethnic group from Macau usually with some Portuguese ancestry
  • Mardijker people
    Mardijker people
    The Mardijker were a community in amongst others Batavia , made up of descendants of freed slaves. They could be found at all major trading posts in the East Indies. They were mostly Christian, of Indian and some Portuguese ancestry, and spoke a Portuguese patois...

     - ethnic group from Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

    with Portuguese ancestry

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