12 Nov 2006

Words of Wisdom, from Speech Never Given

//This is a famous email hoax that circulated the www during 1997. Now it is here on kuncisudu???. Read on.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

//More on this email hoax :- Urban Legends


kok said...

The question that has to be asked is does the BN even have a plan to remove the NEP at all? The truth is without the NEP, BN and Umno would break apart and kicked out of government.

So if Umno cannot survive without the NEP, it does not even matter what the facts are because they won't get rid of a policy that will end their tenure in government.

Umno-malays will never remove NEP. Trust me.

Without NEP, how are they going to amass wealth? Without NEP, how are they going to play golf every weekend? Without NEP, how are they going to take second wife?

This proves that ASLI original report is indeed accurate and that the claim by a certain minister and the lame prime minister himself that bumi equity is only 19% is the real rubbish.

Well, can't say I blame them - they are rubbish themselves.

Badawi a leader for all Malaysians? You got to be kidding. He is the leader of the den of thieves known as Umno. As long as Umno is in power, the NEP will remain. Don't ever think otherwise.

Umno is like a person who does not know how to do an honest day work. It is nothing more than a spoilt kid who has been given everything it has ever wanted, and more. Yes, the self-destruction has begun, and there is no turning back unless the voters are savvy enough to vote them out of power.

Sadly, this is unlikely to happen, as Umno general assembly is going to demonstrate exactly how the thieves intend to stay in power at whatever cost - including using the perennial non-malay bogeyman.

Without the NEP, Umno will not survive, so they have to continue to pillage, rape and steal the country's resources without any due regard for the future.

How else could you explain that the APs scandal continues unabated, with the fat lady continuing to issue them in the tens of thousands to her cronies and relatives? How else could you explain that the government-owned banks continue to be bailed out with taxpayers money?

Only NEP implemented by Umno is capable of doing so. The lazy and weak society will not see it as a corruption practice and transgression of public money.

On the contrary, they will take it as a "dream", as we are often being asked by a salesperson initially, "What is your dream?" Of course, instead of drawing the multi layers commission overriding plan, they write: "Join Umno".

Denying BN the 2/3 majority is the wakeup called needed for these contented and lazy people that we will one day be like the US, where the public has the voting rights to get rid of a party that acts not in favour of the majority citizens.

ruyom said...

Many malays don't like to admit it, but once upon a time, they were not Muslims like everyone else!

Malays were part of the migration of Polynesian peoples whose original home was Yunan in China to South-East Asia in what is known as Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia……….

At that time the Orang Asli were already well settled in the malay Peninsula, so that makes them the most legitimate of the bumis.

Malays were animists then for hundreds of years until Indians crossed Bay of Bengal to South-East Asia and spread Indian and Hindu culture to the peoples there.

Hence we had the great Hindu kingdoms which later also became Buddhist kingdoms of Srivijaya, Majapahit, Langkasuka - but main thing to note is that racially the peoples were malays and speak old malay language.

Islam only came to South-East Asia from 1400 after foundation of Malacca by Parameswara. Again from India crossed Bay of Bengal and spread Islam to South-East Asia. Malacca sultans were among the first converts and the rest is history.

Please note that the malays have been Muslims for only 600 years and have been Hindus/Buddhists very much longer - at least 2000 years. Malay culture is very much influenced by Hindu culture including Sanskrit words like the wayang kulit, raja, maharaja, etc.

Unlike Javanese, who are proud of their Hindu/Buddhist past reflected in great empires like Srivijaya and Majapahit, malays are generally ashamed to dwell on their pre-Islamic Hindu/Buddhist past.

On the contrary some malays try to be like the Arab wannabes, trying to cleanse the malays of their Hindu/Buddhist past - in this even the songs and films of P Ramlee become victimized!

If Islam had not come to South-East Asia, malays would still be Hindus/Buddhists like the Balinese which is not a bad idea as Balinese are considered very peaceful people.

miya said...

Umno said: We are the master.

You are the master for -

1. Being lazy lots
2. Corruption
3. Drug addictions
4. Gangsterism
5. Half past six mentality
6. Hypocrites
7. Lying
8. Making a lot of wives
9. Racism
10. Ungrateful

reek said...

Fool of you, Muslims only 20% of world population, others 80%. The majority rules.

Why don't you Muslims become 'murtads', the world will become a much better place, no more suicide bomber, free flow of pork, alcohol, etc……….Muslims are missing all these - that is why they are so backward.

Why are Jews so powerful?

There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in America, five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100000 in Africa. For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why?

Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 15 dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).

Question: So, why are Jews so powerful?
Answer: Education.

Why are Muslims powerless?
Because we aren't producing knowledge.
Because we aren't diffusing knowledge.
Because we aren't applying knowledge.

Question: So, why are Muslims so powerless?
Answer: Uncontaminated education to be precise. Quality education to be exact. Lack of education.

It is already being mentioned in Islam that these Jews were gifted by God with knowledge. Jews is for Jews.

samp said...

If you are to do a study among all Muslim countries, the level of development will be directly proportional to the level of Islamisation of the country.

Just do a study - you will know the fact. The reasons are so obvious why this is so. I do not want to elaborate here to hurt the feelings of Muslims but I mention just two:

- they sidelined the women.
- how many Muslim nations are in deep religious based wars?
- and plus many other activities against productivity.

You cannot have it both ways. Live in this world or live in the after world. There is time only for one.

This is why I see very bleak future for Malaysia the way it is heading - the day when we 'Talibanise' Malaysia.

Our constitution does not say we are a secular state. But by the same token, nowhere does it say we are an Islamic state either.

A country can be Islamic but yet remain secular in government. Turkey, Egypt and Algeria are prime examples. As long as the constitution remains the supreme law of the land, we are an Islamic country but a secular state.

All these are really non-issues as long as everybody sticks to the original game plan.

Look at it one way, it seems like they want to keep the NEP because they are taking advantage of perks and curbs, keep the Umno linked filthy rich.

First of all, the NEP has no goodwill towards the non-malays. They think that the non-malays are rich and can afford to run overseas because of the drought of local university places available?

This is another fallacy. Truth is a lot of the non-malay parents have to work their asses off, keeping a small unit family, just to use all their savings to finance education overseas because local opportunities are not forthcoming and not available.

Malaysia lose a lot of talents in such a way, especially when the NEP has indeed made certain non-malays very competitive on the global scale. For these people having been successful overseas and given a fair go at the opportunities, they will think twice to come home to adversity in Malaysia.

And that is a fact. Do you know that we lose almost 80% of our local talents to the US, UK and Australia every year! Go check the emigration records. Do you know that the Malaysian contingent is the largest oversea students in Australia, and almost 100% that succeeds takes up Australia PR and citizenship?

That is exactly the formula used by many progressive countries including the US, UK, Australia, even China.

These countries have policies that stress both the affirmative action to aid the poor and complement it with an emphasis on high standards, including robbing other countries of their human capital by enticements such as international scholarships.

So I can't understand why it is not palatable or applicable to the malays! Why lay back when you have the world as a challenge.

The failure of the various Malaysia communities to integrate is not because there is no common language, but the ill will festered by the outmoded communal politics that Umno Youth seems want to perpetuate, the NEP, and the lack of Malaysia kinship (e.g. one race want to be tuan).

It is only nature that human beings and animals learn more from failure than success. So, be prepared for a soul cleansing in the next 10-20 years in Malaysia.

Yes, the one common denominator is that they are all not Muslim countries. Even among Muslim countries, the less that Islamization is the focus of national existence, the better off the society from a social, political and economic standpoint.

That is why Turkey used to be relatively better off in various aspects compared to other Muslim countries but this has been starting to change recently.

Hate to say it but yes, obsession with Islam is anathema to progress, political stability, peace and economic well being.

We agree that it is difficult to manage a multiracial country like Malaysia with its diverse religions and races. It is also obvious from the discussion that the current political and economic model has failed us, particularly with regards to racial integration.

We are heading towards a crisis. We need to have a paradigm shift in our socio-economic model. Otherwise the omens look bad.

Now humans are humans, be it malays, Japanese or Israelis, when one is in absolute power there will be a tendency to sideline the minorities. Arrogance and abuse will crop in. There is no doubt about it.

To be developed, there should be peace, good sense of responsibilities, equality and cooperation. Of course, good leadership and governance is equally important. Every party should not to be made to feel deprived.

I still feel that mixing religion with politics is not wise - for we can see around the world almost everywhere trouble spots are based on religious differences and in countries where religion is part of politics. That is the reason why Malaysia although a Muslim country should remain secular.

yuking said...

Mosques are mushrooming all over the place, even in non-malay majority areas - disturbing the peace of the neighbourhood by blasting their speaker out loud - even when people are trying to sleep?

We are all allowed to be grateful? Some people just want their beliefs to dominate over others.

You malays can become bloodsuckers and parasites, sucking on income tax from Chinese. Become lazy and stupid and never grow up! Never learn how to work hard!

The 1969 riot is because malays are jealous and barbaric! Just like thieves and murderers! Nothing to do with reason and justice.

It is time politicians especially from MCA, try not to pull wool over our eyes.

Malaysia is heaven on earth if compare with Sudan, Iraq or Afghanistan. I think what trying to say is that, Malaysia is so low in the level of social liberties enjoyed that we are only slightly better than a country with a totally autocratic regime.

However the roads in the city center are not even paved!

So having old vehicles spewing pollutants in the air, filthy toilets and chaotic traffic woes, is unexpected.

If the only way you can look is down, the only way you can go is down.

The next time a BN minister says that all Malaysians should be thankful because we don't have war and famine like Iraq or Sudan, bear in mind that what he/she really meant is that despite the BN politicians being heavily corrupted, ineffective at administration and totally racist, we should suck our rage in and shut up, because nobody gets killed in a war or dies of hunger in Malaysia.

tim said...

Umno is not only immune from corruption but from any crime. They have become a law unto themselves. Umno arrogance has reached the zenith. Now let wait until it self-destructs.

Federal Laws - Taking care of federal issues.
State Laws - Taking care of state issues.
Syariah Laws - Taking care of Islamic issues.

Umno Laws - Taking care of corruptions, cronies and benefits distribution issues.

This Nazri no different from Najis……….

By the way Anti-Corruption Agency is run by Badawi.

Christopher response to Nazri "Umno immune from ACA ruling" really makes our politicians looks so uneducated when it comes to the laws of the nation.

coolooc said...

F*** Muslims and all malay pig in Malaysia.

I feel ashamed to call myself a Malaysian nowadays because you malay pig are making us losing our pride day by day by corrupting the once dignified image of this country, you know Malaysia is now a laughing stock among the non-Muslim countries in the world!

People despise this country still protecting the lame lot and not doing anything to improve the deteriorating situation, still practising double standards among its own people, still expelling the non-malay genius to other countries, still depriving the rights and benefits of other races to its own race, still criticize and blame the Chinese for their minority poverty.

Hey, what is wrong with you malay pig? Haven't you fed yourself enough with the loots yet? Still want more? What a worthless thieves bunch!

You malay pig are worse than a maggot. We need leader not a faggot to rule this country. Get lost you freak!

For all the bad things you stupid melayu babi say about the Chinese, when you are in trouble and big shit, what do you do?

You come crawling back on your knees to the Chinaman to help you, because you can't trust all your malay pig who are rapists, sodomy incest culprits, drug addicts.

Without the Chinese, you malay pig will still live on trees, swinging from tree to tree like monkeys or forages on the ground by your 4 legs to eat all the shit.

You malay pig are a truly ungrateful lot - the minute all the Chinese leave Bolehland - you malay pig will collapse into the sea and die - that is your destiny!

I guess the problem of malay pig race is their culture - it is in born in their gene - nowhere in the world that you will see affirmative action is focusing on the majority because it is always the minority that need the protection.

Worst, the minority in Malaysia has been systematically been marginalized just to suppress them of their growth.

Let the malay pig make Malaysia the most corrupted place to live in and see what happened in 2020? I guessed malay pig will go back to Indonesia as Malaysia don't belong to them, they are also immigrants from Sumatra, Sulawesi, Jawa, etc.

Please get it into your pea-sized otak udang plastered with layers and layers of tahi babi encased in your kepala kayu that Malaysia belongs to the Orang Asli who are the true bumis of the country.

Niffy pellmell malay pig are in fact pendatang haram who swam across the Melaka Strait illegally from Sumatra. They should be caught, given severe caning and deported back to their pig sties in Sumatra.

kentanjim said...

Don't be like that, stupid Mahathir! Just look after your own shit! You are in a deep pool of dinosaur shit!

Singapore has all the reasons to be proud, beat your stupid ass a million times over in every area of governance of a country:

- Good government, close to 100% corruption free
- Education systems
- Economic progress (shit, compare Malaysia foreign reserves to Singapore, shame)
- City planning and cleanliness
- Transport systems
- SIA (while MAS had to sell shares to your crony and then relegated from buying back - hanky panky!)
- Racial harmony
- Housing development
- Health care systems
- etc……….

Long list to blur your old blurry eyes! You have got 22 years, not only did you not manage the country well, you messed it up.

Just compare the education backgrounds of the two country's cabinet members, and listen to the ministers of both parliaments speak. Even kids can tell you we have a zoo in Malaysia parliament with bunch of stupid monkeys.

Singapore has all the reasons to be proud of. But they don't necessary taunt your thin skin emotional violent loose canon big mouth freaks.

You know from top to bottom, you have shamed your entire race to the max. The world is no longer isolated - it is borderless, news travels faster than the sound of your stinky fart.

And the whole world gets to see the stupidity and idiocy that so define you and the self-proclaimed sons-of-the-night-soil.

Due to the education policies, most young and intelligent Malaysians have either cross over to Singapore and other countries to further their studies.

In fact a great number of them have been earmarked by the Singapore government before their finals to take up PR status and attractive jobs offered. Some of these Malaysians are actually in Singapore parliament to help the nation to progress.

Actually the fact that smart Malaysians who capable are going to other countries be it Singapore or Australia can be a good thing for the country or for Malaysian Chinese in particular.


In the age of globalisation, it is important to have roots and contacts around. These bondages among relatives and friends among all Chinese spread around the world can benefit trade in future. It is a form of bridge to better future. Companies headed by Malaysians can in future help each other.

We can never know what the future in Malaysia will be like given the circumstances. So in a way it is a good thing. It is like the old days when Chinese traded among each other in this region.

So stage one export our experts around the world - next connect each other. That is good. One day maybe someone will initiate an association of overseas Chinese Malaysians eh?

Malaysians are not genetically inferior to Singaporeans - we are the same kind of people except for the proportion of various ethnic groups. The reason why many intelligent Malaysians went overseas is due to a government bent on dividing us along religious and ethnic lines.

For too long Malaysians of all ethnic groups have been bamboozled by scoundrels who'd used divisive slogans to enrich their own pockets and the pockets of their relatives and cronies. Malaysians must unite and give the opposition a chance to do better.

Malaysians have been moving to Singapore for many years now and that has been their long term strategy since they allowed tens of thousands of Malaysians to study there.

aston said...

Does anyone really expect Pak Lah to full frontally outright challenge the malay special rights?

Even if he wants to, he can't - Umno will disown him. I like to think that when he mentioned subsidies, he was thinking of the special ones, the Umno-malays receive as well.

Everywhere I go, it is the same. The malays expecting the government to enforce this or that special privileges. The Chinese expecting the government to pull back those special privileges.

Malays are deteriorating in moral and social values so fast in the last few years that we shudder to think what is going to happen in the next few years!

Apostasy, incest, molest, rape, sodomy, unwed pregnancies cases are getting out of hand and spreading throughout the country!

Islam in Malaysia is a total disgrace. Malays are a disgrace lot. In due time they will take their proper place among the Orang Asli and the Orang Asli will have moved on.

So many malay youths are incarcerated in drug rehabilitation centres, prisons, and that so much money is being wasted on these social delinquents!

A genetically flawed race cannot be fixed by politically. Nature will take its course and globalization will put them out to pasture.

What have we got now?

Brain drain, economic disparity getting wider, poor education system, racial segregation, widespread corruption, inefficiency and uncompetitive on the government departments and others.

Likewise, fixing the nation's problems begin with you - all of us.

pang said...

Dear prime minister, I can assure you 99% of Malaysian Chinese agreed with Lee Kuan Yew since he said what has been a fact to them.

The Chinese BN leaders (so called) are just the Umno yes man, and do not represent the Chinese community most of the time, or almost all the time!

If you allow Lee Kuan Yew to stand election here, you will find that he get all the Malaysian Chinese votes and not you!

Somehow the Umno ministers like to find ways and means to waste their time on such comments yet they do to others without feeling they are wrong at all.

I have noticed a lot of time are wasted talking nonsense all these 30 years or more - which I suspect they do not know how to manage the country until they consult their experts - always at the background mostly foreigners.

I am a Malaysian Chinese living in Singapore for the past 10 years. Life has been great even as a PR. I have never once felt like a second class citizen despite being a PR.

Singapore is a meritocracy society. Everybody has a fair go in life. When I was living in Malaysia, everyday I was reminded that I am second class either through the press or on your everyday work dealings. To put it crudely, it feels like shit!

Why are we Chinese treated like this? My grandfather fought with the malays side by side during World War II defending the nation and now I am constantly reminded that I am second class. When is this NEP going to end? (Of course, we all know the answer is never.)

The last thing I want to do is go back to Malaysia. In the long term, I will change my citizenship to being a Singaporean. I don't want my children to grow up in Malaysia being told that they are second class citizens.

Let us all take the advice of the malays (offer on Umno) and leave Malaysia. Trust me, you won't regret the decision. By the way, Singapore is going for a PR drive. Please check their immigration website for details.

On the Singapore malays. They are not marginalised. They have equal opportunities and also a share of the country's wealth. Whereas in Malaysia, the NEP only benefits a few malays and the majority are left stranded.

On a fine note, do you know who face is on all Singapore dollar notes? A malay, Yusof Bin the first president of Singapore. This will never happen in Malaysia! I can guarantee this. The current president is an Indian. To all who is reading this note, ask yourself if what I am saying is true!

So, stop bashing Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew is calling a spade a spade.

I have lived through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. I can assure you now that the NEP is winding up instead of winding down. I am glad to be out of Malaysia (no offence to anybody).

By the way Badawi, the MCA and Gerakan running dogs are never the representatives of the Chinese in Malaysia, they are just there to lick yours and Umno balls. The Chinese in Malaysia have already disowned them. If the Chinese could, they would dragged their sorry arses to the firing range, and shoot them dead for betrayals!

Just to add: How many times Malaysia politician has openly stated "Malays in Singapore are marginalized"?

The fact is this: When Malaysia politicians saying the Singapore malays are marginalise, they are just not telling the true but playing politic. But when Lee Kuan Yew saying Malaysian Chinese is marginalised, he is telling the true and nothing but a true statement!

Unfortunately in Malaysia, you need to apologise for making a true statement, especially when it touches on Umno politician!

romsam said...

There is always discrepancy between the source the Malaysia government used to produce reports and the source the media is getting.

Later they will say those source from media is rubbish while they don't even know how is their source came about.

Just like the ASLI reports, until right now the government couldn't release the methodology they used to calculate the NEP.

Ask you, if you earn RM1000 per month 10 years ago and if you earn RM1000 now, will your lifestyle is the same?

Only those people who stayed under the 'well' will keep the money under the pillow and still thinking that he is 'rich' forever.

Badawi failed statistic paper, what do you expected his judgment of stock?

Why the destruction in wealth? I give you one word (four if you want to be pedantic) - Umno.

If you look back at all the man made calamities suffered by this bountiful country, the misguided and plainly destructive policies, rampant corruption, hypocrisy, leakages, wastages, it all leads back to that one entity, Umno.

The core or the political center as one puts it, is cancerous and utterly rotten. No doubt, there are good people in the party willing to fight for the values we all cherish, but the hierarchy from the top right down to divisional leaders, is beyond salvation.

Every Malaysian worth his salt feels shame for the downright shameful way the country is being run except the country's leaders. I doubt they know the meaning of shame.

Our resources and public funds are being drained like the 'air longkang'. Of course our economic will also heads toward and looks like 'air longkang'. The management of country economic is given to wrong person like 'kera mendapat bunga'.

Of course we know what happen to the flower. God bless Bolehland.

Brain drain is going on at the rapid pace as rapid as how rapid China and India is growing!

No meritocracy, no transparency, wishy-washy policies, daylight robbery - and we expect investors to come into this country?

Without the EPF propping up the stock market, the paper losses would have been phenomenal. In any case, this government will simply lower the bar and put on the spin that the Malaysia stock market is still in positive territory.

Remember - these people do not know the meaning of the word 'shame'.

We concentrated and invested so much in education but the economy is not growing fast enough and sophisticated to provide good, meaningful and rewarding jobs to our people.

Other countries will take advantage of our educated, hardworking, knowledgeable and skillful people to generate jobs and real wealth for their own people.

This is what competition and globalisation are all about……….borders are disappearing and money and people move easily.

Malaysian stock market, like Malaysia politics, is opaque. By and large, only fools would venture where angels fear to tread.

I would venture to say that the performance of the stock market is, to a large degree, directly proportional to the political culture of this country - the greater the accountability, integrity, transparency - you will see a corresponding growth in investors confidence and foreign investments etc.

The reason why bursa is doing so badly is Mahathir and his capital control. Foreign investors got badly burned when he suddenly changed the rules in 1997.

At that time cap control looked like a good idea, but if you had allowed the market to fall, it would eventually recover to its true value.

In a bull run, a market might overshoot its true value by 100% and vice versa.