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REFSA Quarterly Issue 1, 2016: Public Transport Matters
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Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconAugust 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Gandhi once said that we should "be the change" that we "wish to see in the world" and the speakers at our upcoming event have been doing just that.

Join us next Monday night, at the Library For Social Democracy, for an insightful sharing session by young people who are trying to effect change in Malaysia. Our very own intern, Yen Khai will be sharing his thoughts on interning at Refsa - Research For Social Advancement.� #thecityinsitute

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Facebook IconAugust 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement added 6 new photos — at Library For Social Democracy.

We had a full house for "City Design for People" yesterday! Mr Kun Lim — award-winning architect — spoke on his projects and experiences in urban planning.

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Facebook IconAugust 21, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement attending City Design for People at Library For Social Democracy.

Great turnout at Mr Kun Lim's talk, "City Design for People." Now until 4PM!

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Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconAugust 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm

We're just one day away from our intriguing event of city planning! The speaker, Mr Kun Lim has over 30 years of experience in architecture and masterplanning. He has worked on major projects around the world including the New Jersey State Aquarium and the KL monorail; he was also the concept master planner of Putrajaya at the early stages of its conception.

Hurry and register today, there's still time!

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/city-design-for-people-tickets-27142230141

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Facebook IconAugust 19, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement at Library For Social Democracy.

Mr Kun Lim — award-winning architect and Putrajaya's concept master planner — will speak on urban planning this Sunday, 2PM. Event details: bit.ly/2bBDppR

Here's an article by REFSA Chairman and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong on the finance behind the construction of Putrajaya.

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malaysiana: Putrajaya

liewchintong.blogspot.my

"I made Putrajaya, yes? It’s not for me. It’s for the future. In fact, I had planned to resign in 1998. Had I resigned in 1998, I wouldn’t (have gone) to Putrajaya at all. But it doesn’t matter to me. And the house for the prime minister, because the incoming prime minister, I thought, was going to…

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconAugust 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm

How can we make our city functions better? How different designs may change the city and the livelihood of people?

#TheCityInstitute, REFSA, will be hosting the concept master planner of Putrajaya, Mr Kun Lim on coming Sunday 2pm at Library For Social Democracy. He is also the Design Principal of Kun Lim Studio LLC in Seattle.

Interested to join the discussion? Register now: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/city-design-for-people-tickets-27142230141

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Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconAugust 19, 2016 at 12:41 pm

A little background information on our esteemed speaker for this Sunday's event at the Library For Social Democracy. Mr Kun Lim is an award winning architect with over three decades of experience in #architecture and #masterplanning.

Register today to avoid disappointment as places are limited! More information is available here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/city-design-for-people-tickets-27142230141

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Facebook IconAugust 18, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement at Library For Social Democracy.

How can cities be better planned to meet the needs of a burgeoning urban population? What are the most pertinent issues which arise in city planning?

REFSA, the city institute, is pleased to announce that we will be hosting Mr Kun Lim, the concept master planner of Putrajaya, for a talk on Sunday, August 21st. The talk will be centered on urbanisation and city planning.

An alumni of the University of Houston in Architecture, he has over 30 years of experience in the field including as the concept master planner of Putrajaya during his time with BEP Akitek Sdn Bhd in the 90s. He is currently the Design Principal of Kun Lim Studio LLC in Seattle.

Join us this Sunday at the Library For Social Democracy for an exciting event on city planning. Click on the link below to register as places are limited. Don't miss out, register today! #cityplanning #urbanissues #thecityinstitute

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/city-design-for-people-tickets-27142230141

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Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconAugust 17, 2016 at 11:32 am

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REFSA - The City Institute

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Research for Social Advancement, REFSA is a progressive, not-for-profit research institute providing relevant and reliable analysis on social, economic and political issues affecting Malaysians with the aim of promoting open and constructive discussions that result in effective policies and good gov...

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconAugust 17, 2016 at 9:43 am

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement updated their cover photo.

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Facebook IconAugust 16, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement added an event.

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City Design for People

City Design for People

How can cities be better planned to meet the needs of a burgeoning urban population? What are the most pertinent issues which arise in city planning?

REFSA, the city institute, is pleased to announce that we will be hosting Mr Kun Lim, the concept master planner of Putrajaya, for a talk on Sunday, August 21st. The talk will be centered on urbanisation and city planning.

An alumni of the University of Houston in Architecture, he has over 30 years of experience in the field including as the concept master planner of Putrajaya during his time with BEP Akitek Sdn Bhd in the 90s. With firms in Kuala Lumpur and Seattle, Mr Kun Lim has worked on projects in multiple countries and his works have been featured in reputable architecture journals and also presented at international conferences.

Mr Kun Lim’s involvement in the early planning of Putrajaya is of particular interest as the building of the administrative capital has long been a contentious issue; Mr Liew Chin Tong, MP for Kluang and REFSA Chairman has previously written on and also raised questions on Putrajaya in the Malaysian Parliament.

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconAugust 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement added 15 new photos — at Library For Social Democracy.

The third and final semester of our Political Philosophy course ended yesterday. Dr. Tony See concluded it with a discussion about Žižek's analysis on language and subjectivity.

Congratulations to all participants!

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Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconJuly 22, 2016 at 11:13 am

Join us for the 3rd semester of classes on Political Philosophy!

Class #1 commences tomorrow, from 2-6pm at the Library For Social Democracy. This first class will be an Introduction to 20th Century Democracy.

Register here: https://goo.gl/e8bc9t

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Some local councils in Selangor recently imposed a ban on polystyrene packaging at Ramadan bazaars, this was in line with the state's upcoming 2017 No Polystyrene Campaign.

However, how is such a campaign to succeed if the relevant enforcement agencies are unable to prevent the use of polystyrene at a event organised by the state? Stringent enforcement is key to the success of the campaign.

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Selangor holds Raya do… with polystyrene?

themalaymailonline.com

AMPANG, July 10 — With the Selangor government seeking to ban the use of polystyrene for packaging food, it was ironic to note that some stalls at the state Hari Raya celebration here yesterday served up a feast on plates that looked to be made

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement
Facebook IconJuly 13, 2016 at 10:04 am

Prefer getting your #REFSAupdates in 140 characters or less?

Then follow us on Twitter!

https://twitter.com/inforefsa

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At an estimated cost of RM60 billion, the Government must be forthcoming with the future tender process and also the minute details of the project. In the overview prepared by MyHSR, traffic congestion on the Causeway is identified as one of the main justifications for the project; however, the proposed alignment in the overview shows that the line will not pass through Johor Bahru city. So, how much of a reduction in traffic will it result in?

Read more about our concerns on the project in the latest Refsa Quarterly. #thetransportissue

https://issuu.com/inforefsa/docs/refsa_quarterly

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Singapore-Malaysia high speed rail plans inch closer

news.asiaone.com

UNDER the hot Hainanese sun, a bullet train speeds down the east side of China's southernmost province. Leaving Haikou in the north, it passes coconut trees and building projects, skirting the South China Sea coast.Its final destination is Sanya, about 300km to the south, which it reaches about 90 m...

The imminent imposition of a 2 hour parking limit in KL City coupled with an increase in parking rates have drawn considerable criticism from the public. The minister in charge has stated that traffic alleviation and more public transport usage were the reasons for the change.

However, the public transportation system in KL still leaves much to be desired. Read the piece, by our Senior Fellow, in the latest REFSA Quarterly on why centralisation is to be blamed and how a devolution of power will bring about much needed change. #thetransportissue #devolutionofpower #thecityinstitute

http://www.refsa.org/others/refsa-quarterly-issue-1-2016-public-transport-matters/

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Refsa - Research For Social Advancement shared Library For Social Democracy's photo.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

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Library For Social Democracy

Selamat Hari Raya, Malaysia!

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement shared their event.

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Contemporary Political Philosophy: The Rise of Democracy 当代政治哲学:民主的崛起

Contemporary Political Philosophy: The Rise of Democracy 当代政治哲学:民主的崛起

In this third and final segment of our Introduction to Political Philosophy course, we will introduce students to the main theoretical perspectives, concepts and debates on democracy in contemporary political thought. We will bring to life Plato’s and Aristotle’s discussions on democracy, the debate between modern philosophers such as Spinoza and Hegel, and the transformation of democratic theory and practice in the twentieth century. In addition, we will also link our discussion to political struggles in postcolonial nation-states in Asia. Some of the key concepts that we will examine include equality, liberty and fraternity, power, assemblages, and postcolonialism etc. Some of the key thinkers that we will be examining include Deleuze and Foucault, Badiou and Zizek etc. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to understand some of the major theoretical debates surrounding democratic and socialist strategies and movements in Europe today.

Course Outline
1) Introduction: Democracy in the 20th Century

2) Democracy in America: Tocqueville and Madison

3) Democracy and Power: Deleuze and Foucault

4) Empire and the Multitude: Negri and Hardt

5) The Communist Hypothesis: Badiou and Zizek

6) The Hatred of Democracy: Ranciere and Chomsky

7) Democracy and the Postcolonial: Fanon

8) Conclusion: Where are the Asian thinkers?


The course which open for the public and political workers is coorganised by REFSA and DAP Political Education Department.

Speaker’s Bio

Tony See is currently teaching in the National University of Singapore (NUS). He has a PhD from the European Graduate School (EGS), MA in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore (NUS), BA (Hons) in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and a Diploma in Law from the University of London (UOL). He is trained in Continental European Philosophy and he was a student of Michael Hardt, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek. He has a research interest in Politics, Philosophy, Economics and New Media. He has published a book on Political Philosophy entitled Community without Identity: The Ontology and Politics of Heidegger (New York, Dresden: Atropos Press, 2009) and he is currently working on a new book on Political Philosophy based on Deleuze’s A Thousand Plateaus.

Dates : 23, 24, 30, 31 July, and 13, 14 August, 2016
Time : 2pm - 6pm
Venue : Library for Social Democracy, 5th Floor, Wenworth Building, Jalan Yew, Off Jalan Pudu, KL
Registration Fee : RM 200 (https://goo.gl/e8bc9t, Pay upon attending the first class, Student and DAP Party Worker Price RM 100)

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement added an event.

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Contemporary Political Philosophy: The Rise of Democracy 当代政治哲学:民主的崛起

Contemporary Political Philosophy: The Rise of Democracy 当代政治哲学:民主的崛起

In this third and final segment of our Introduction to Political Philosophy course, we will introduce students to the main theoretical perspectives, concepts and debates on democracy in contemporary political thought. We will bring to life Plato’s and Aristotle’s discussions on democracy, the debate between modern philosophers such as Spinoza and Hegel, and the transformation of democratic theory and practice in the twentieth century. In addition, we will also link our discussion to political struggles in postcolonial nation-states in Asia. Some of the key concepts that we will examine include equality, liberty and fraternity, power, assemblages, and postcolonialism etc. Some of the key thinkers that we will be examining include Deleuze and Foucault, Badiou and Zizek etc. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to understand some of the major theoretical debates surrounding democratic and socialist strategies and movements in Europe today.

Course Outline
1) Introduction: Democracy in the 20th Century

2) Democracy in America: Tocqueville and Madison

3) Democracy and Power: Deleuze and Foucault

4) Empire and the Multitude: Negri and Hardt

5) The Communist Hypothesis: Badiou and Zizek

6) The Hatred of Democracy: Ranciere and Chomsky

7) Democracy and the Postcolonial: Fanon

8) Conclusion: Where are the Asian thinkers?


The course which open for the public and political workers is coorganised by REFSA and DAP Political Education Department.

Speaker’s Bio

Tony See is currently teaching in the National University of Singapore (NUS). He has a PhD from the European Graduate School (EGS), MA in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore (NUS), BA (Hons) in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and a Diploma in Law from the University of London (UOL). He is trained in Continental European Philosophy and he was a student of Michael Hardt, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek. He has a research interest in Politics, Philosophy, Economics and New Media. He has published a book on Political Philosophy entitled Community without Identity: The Ontology and Politics of Heidegger (New York, Dresden: Atropos Press, 2009) and he is currently working on a new book on Political Philosophy based on Deleuze’s A Thousand Plateaus.

Dates : 23, 24, 30, 31 July, and 13, 14 August, 2016
Time : 2pm - 6pm
Venue : Library for Social Democracy, 5th Floor, Wenworth Building, Jalan Yew, Off Jalan Pudu, KL
Registration Fee : RM 200 (https://goo.gl/e8bc9t, Pay upon attending the first class, Student and DAP Party Worker Price RM 100)

Refsa - Research For Social Advancement shared Phoong Jin Zhe 冯晋哲's post.

Have you read Phoong Jin Zhe's article from the latest REFSA Quarterly? Collect your FREE copy from our office or pay to have it delivered to you! You can also read it online here: bit.ly/2615SO7 #theTransportIssue #CitySolutions #TheCityInstitute

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Phoong Jin Zhe 冯晋哲

My article to draw my imagination towards my hometown Kota Kinabalu to be a liveable city was published on latest REFSA Journal.

Full edition at: http://www.refsa.org/others/refsa-quarterly-issue-1-2016-public-transport-matters/

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Kota Kinabalu can be role model of liveable city in Malaysia

By Phoong Jin Zhe
DAP Sabah Publicity Secretary
DAP Sabah Public Policy Director


When I was much younger, I remember following my mother and aunties to the city ith the traditional mini buses. Back then, people of different races and ethnicity sat together and talked in many different languages. The environment was harmonious, and it gives me that sense of belonging to this city.

Within ten years today, things have changed. The number of cars have increased by many folds, resulting in the many traffic jams we have today. It only gets worse day by day.

Statistically, over past two decades, the modal share of public transport users in Kota Kinabalu city declined drastically from 34% in 1996 to a mere 4-8% in 2014. In other words, this means at least 34 out of 100 people took public trasports back in 1996, whereas today, only 4 to 8 people out 100 opts for buses and taxis.

In comparison to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu has a lower usage of public transport in the city. Almost everyone in KK owns a car or two. The Greater Kota Kinabalu Plan forecasts every single person to at least own two cars in the near future.

The idea of Greater Kota Kinabalu (GKK) is defined as a big conurbation comprising Putatan, Penampang, Inanam, Papar and Tuaran. It is home to nearly 1 million people and is about one-third of Sabah’s total population. Over the past few years, KK is experiencing rapid urbanization with many high-density apartments and condominiums mushrooming. This also results in urban sprawling, where more people come from the rural areas to the city or suburbs.

As a result, traffic congestion will only get from bad to worse.

In June 2015, The World Bank released the Malaysia Economic Monitor report with a specific thrust – Transforming Urban Transport. It addresses urban mobility as a key challenge to Malaysia’s developed-nation ambitions. A failed and congested urban mobility would not only become an obstacle to economic growth, but also destroy a city’s competitiveness as a whole.

To be specific, traffic congestion has contributed a GDP loss of 1.1% to 2.2% every year, according to the report by World Bank.

Therefore, it is high time for us to transform the reliance on private transportation, into a comprehensive and well-connected public transportation network to provide better connectivity and to reduce traffic flow.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when unveiling the 11th Malaysia Plan proclaimed that Kota Kinabalu will be a “Growth Catalyst City”. He however, failed to outline the roadmap on how to make KK a better city with better connectivity. As The World Bank warns, if limitation to urban mobility continues to become a major problem, the potential and competitiveness of a city will be harmed and dented.

In order to achieve urban mobility, the government of the day must be dedicated to stop the sprawl of private vehicles and start building public transport facilities. The World Bank in its report suggested establishing a lead transport agency at the metropolitan level, and introduce measures to manage the usage of private transportations in heavily congested areas. It is thus, vital to start identifying and implementing sustainable financing options for public transportations.

An integrated transport agency is important to handle the planning and delivery stages of public transport solutions. As of now, transport-related entities are controlled by various agencies at different governmental levels. For instance, JKR (Road), LPKP (Licensing of public transport), DBKK (Urban Planning and Public Transportation Planning), State Government (Land and State Road), Federal government (Funding and Allocations) etc. Without better inter-agency coordination, the public transport system is bound to fail.

Among the various cities listed by World Bank as models are London, Vancouver and Paris, in which they all have an integrated transport agency to plan and execute relevant transportation policies and construction in the city. It is crucial for us to consider adopting this idea and to fulfil the increasing demand of transportation in the city.

Besides poor planning, it was also highlighted that extensive reliance on private transportation is one of the leading factors resulting in limited usage of public transport. According to studies, transport and congestion costs are high, leading to reduced well-beings and reduced household disposable income.

According to the report, transport costs in Malaysian cities are higher compared to other East Asian countries. Compared to other countries, Malaysian households spend a relatively large share on transport costs. About 10% of Kota Kinabalu’s household expenditures are spent on transportation costs, slightly higher than Kuala Lumpur and any other cities in Malaysia, and 59% higher than other East Asian Countries such as Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The higher share on transport costs on top of the lower household income causes KK folks to live with a tighter belt. If a relatively cheaper and efficient public transportation system is in place today, reliance on private transportations will reduce, and this in return would signal an increase in household disposable income.

The World Bank in its studies used two major cities, namely Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL) and Greater Kota Kinabalu (GKK) as their case studies. It concludes that the solution of transport for GKL is “Late Intervention” because the urban sprawl over the past thirty years was too fast, and the population as well as numbers of private transport increased dramatically. The best that could be done is to intervene now, at a later stage.

On the contrary, GKK is in need of “Early Intervention” while there is still room for transformation and changes. Point of note: There is already a mention in the report that “GKK is showing signs of congestion”. So, better start before it is too late.

Although DBKK has released its “Public Transportation Masterplan” as well as “Greater KK Plan” earlier on, it seems that the development stage is not on track, which will then lead to failure to deliver at a later stage. I believe that DBKK is lacking in power and resources to implement the plans fully.

In addition, the said integrated transport agency should not be controlled solely by the federal government. Decentralise planning and implementing powers to the municipal level– DBKK. Let DBKK have the full power topped with sufficient financial resources to develop its own public transportation system in town. We cannot leave it to SPAD or the Federal government to decide everything. What can we leave it to an officer who is sitting inside an SPAD office in Putrajaya to decide on what is supposedly to do in Kota Kinabalu, which is more than 2000 kilometers away? Obviously, it would not work well that way.

Under the existing Greater Kota Kinabalu plan, the government has actually announced implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in town. Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during his budget speech in Parliament last year announced that RM1billion will be set aside to build this project to enhance mobility and ease traffic congestion in KK city.

I am fully in support of this BRT project, but there are many concerns that arises as we are currently in the dark over the details.

In my view, RM1billion set aside should focus on the quality and quantity of bus, as well as facilities for passengers’ convenience, instead of structural and architectural beauty like elevated bridges, which will cost more but brings lesser direct convenience to users. The first elevated BRT in Sunway is a perfect example of a failed case. The construction costs a whopping RM600 million, for a mere 5.3km trail, but ridership is low because ticket price costs up to RM5.50. That is an average RM1 for each kilometre. This is unacceptable and cannot be repeated in Kota Kinabalu with a much lower population density.

BRT buses run on a dedicated lane just like any other Rail Transits. Instead of building it in the sky which will cost more, a special road or lane could be set up on the ground that links bus stations, pedestrian routes, bicycle lanes etc. Such incorporated structure will provide convenience to end users and help to increase the usage of public transport.

In comparison to LRT, BRT is much cheaper and more suitable for lower-density residential areas like KK. According to studies done in 2012, the construction cost per kilometre for BRT is €8million (for 10km). LRTs on the other hand, costs €27million per kilometres.

Besides, one of the reasons why BRT is more suitable for KK is because KK has a lower density of population and BRT is able to extend deep into sprawling dwellers in smaller areas. LRTs on the other hand, connects larger cities with higher population density.

If it is done correctly, holistically and comprehensively, KK will be able to pride itself as a leading role model of liveable city in Malaysia.

The most important task currently is to regain public confidence and successfully persuade them to use public transportation. There are a few key factors to achieve this: Punctuality, quality, safety, convenience, and cleanliness. I am sure, we do want to witness the RM1billion project becoming another white elephant project.

My apologies to friends and colleagues in KL. I must say that perhaps it is too late to fix KL’s public transportation woes. KK meanwhile, has a better and brighter chance at becoming the model public transportation hub in Malaysia.

Phoong Jin Zhe

Our Quarterly Issue 01/2016 is out! Get your FREE copy to discover how "Centralisation Kills Local Public Transport," read about Petaling Jaya's pilot transit-oriented development (TOD) model, and more. #theTransportIssue #CitySolutions #TheCityInstitute

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The second semester of classes on Modern Political Philosophy ended today.

The lecturer Dr. Tony See delved into Marxism extensively in the last class. Participants learned about use value, exchange value, stages of history, alienation, differences between socialism and communism, Marx's critics on liberal democracy, Lenin's misinterpretation of Marxism, and how China created Marxism with Chinese characteristics.

It was a fruitful class.

At the end of the class, participants received certificates of completion from Dr. Tony See.

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