Dear Peaceful Inhabitants of an Ancient Island,

Two diligent Australian students take a summer course in Balinese cultural studies with a major in booty shakin

There are several things you should know about the hordes of young Australians visiting you this week who are collectively known as “Schoolies”.

The first thing is, some of them actually own shirts. Sure, they haven’t worn them much this week, but they do own them.

Also, many of the young ladies own pants that descend below the buttock region.

OK, so they haven’t actually brought any of these pants to Bali this week, but trust us, they do own them.

The second thing you need to understand is that Schoolies Week is an ancient and venerable initiation ritual in Australian culture.

Indeed, it is much like your own Galungan Festival, which celebrates the victory of dharma (natural law, decentness) over adharma (unnaturalness, immorality).

Now, this might seem counter-intuitive given that Schoolies Week appears to be little more than planeload after planeload of drunken brats vomiting on your lovingly-mopped nightclub floors and posting upskirt photos of themselves on social media.

But no. Our Schoolies are in fact mocking the evil spirits through their seemingly repulsive, yobboish behaviour, thereby bestowing a blessing on your enchanted isle.

It’s subtle, but this is what they’re doing. Really it is.

And old blokes wearing Bintang beer singlets are so immersed in your culture that they’re one step away from converting to Hinduism. Oh, and Schappelle Corby thought it was marjoram.

Glad we cleared all that up, then.

Twitter: @antsharwood

Comments on this piece close at 8pm AEST

Most commented


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    • Brent says:

      11:57am | 19/11/12

      Any “parent” that lets their kids go to Bali for Schoolies has failed their role as parent.

    • Stevo says:

      12:07pm | 19/11/12

      Unfortunately, most presumably are over 18… “adults” and are thus, technically, out of their parents’ control (if not just plain ‘out of control’).

    • PW says:

      12:06pm | 19/11/12

      No need to apologise to the people of Kuta-Legian. They love it. It makes them the richest town in the entire country. And by the way, a good many of the locals are in fact from elsewhere, particularly Jakarta, attracted by all the money.

    • Ex says:

      12:07pm | 19/11/12

      The third you need to know is that the Australian media will blow this out of proportion as they do annually.  It will be the worst schoolies ever, the most out of control, the most nudity, the most moral danger, the greatest danger to mankind - how will we ever survive?  In reality 45,000 kids will behave themselves and 100 will be arrested, but you won’t hear about the good kids.

    • Jolanda says:

      12:16pm | 19/11/12

      I am with you Ex.  The focus is always on those who are bad instead of those who are good.  We should focus on the good to encourage good behaviour instead of all the attention being on those who misbehave.

    • Laura says:

      12:23pm | 19/11/12

      The article on this morning is a good example, the title is “Schoolies completely lose it in Bali” then a full page describing the horrors of schoolies in Kuta, the drugs, the nudity, and one line at the bottom saying

      “Local police officers reported no trouble except for increased road congestion caused by schoolies riding scooters”

      Increased road congestion?! Wont somebody PLEASE think of the children??

    • Anthony says:

      12:29pm | 19/11/12

      Where is the evidence that it getting any worse? I suspect if twitter, face book and digital cameras on phones had been around in the 70’s you would have seen the same thing. Get a grip

    • Libfail says:

      12:32pm | 19/11/12

      the Balinese businesses are not as stupid as the Australian businesses.  They wont happily turn away huge amounts of business then cry poor to the government about needed to slash wages etc. 

      Schoolies is a MASSIVE money spinner.  if the GC hasnt worked out the economic benefits yet, then I’m sorry, they’re done for.  I dont blame young schoolies going to places such as Bali, GC schoolies has become such a locked down, sanatised experience who would bother?  they clearly hate schoolies and make it know each year.

    • Ex says:

      12:51pm | 19/11/12

      No the PC brigade has to ‘save’ them and thus they must be told to chew 24 times before swallowing, left lace over right and look both ways to cross the road.  Without this hysteria, they would never survive.

    • Bear says:

      01:16pm | 19/11/12

      Ex. Sounds like the wowser police to me. We have no fun so must stop everyone else from having any.

    • Ex says:

      02:01pm | 19/11/12

      Bear, in your haste to judge others and grace us with your worldy views, you failed to recognise sarcasm.

    • Steve says:

      12:41pm | 19/11/12

      The reason the schoolies are heading to Bali is because they’re sick of all the police-state do-goodery prevalent in the Nanny State Republic of Ausfailia. You can’t even go to a music concert in this country any more without being practically strip-searched and dog-sniffed and police everywhere. The local obsession with safety, decorum, political correctness and general pathetic judgmentalism that has poisoned this once-free country to the point where young people now have to travel overseas to experience the very concept of freedom and let their hair down. How sad. Shame Ausfailia, shame.

    • Brent says:

      01:29pm | 19/11/12

      I agree the hysteria locally would make some schoolies want to go somewhere else, and the recent attempts to package and sanitise the leavers experience probably rankles those that think Schoolies should be like a extended cut of the movie Project X instead of a McDonalds happy meal served up by the local PCYC.

      It’s a fact that these kids are going to experiment, and indulge in some risky behaviours in this period. All you can do is hope they make the right choices.

      However, sending them to Bali and hoping it goes ok takes a special type of head in the sand, with rampant corruption, open selling of drugs on the street, access to vehicles and alcohol together, and the penalties for drug possession being so severe. Add someone with an under-develoed ability to see and anticipate the consequences of their actions and who is participating in a right of passage that has at it’s cornerstone risky, alcohol and drug fuelled behaviour is simply a recipe for disaster.

    • andye says:

      02:51pm | 19/11/12

      @Steve - “The local obsession with safety, decorum, political correctness and general pathetic judgmentalism that has poisoned this once-free country to the point where young people now have to travel overseas to experience the very concept of freedom and let their hair down.”

      Not completely. Warehouse parties and Bush Doofs exist to provide this kind of thing, as long as they can successfully avoid the police finding them.

    • gobsmack says:

      02:52pm | 19/11/12

      “being .. dog-sniffed”

      I like that term.

    • Laura says:

      03:26pm | 19/11/12

      Brent if your 18 year old child doesn’t know that buying drugs in Bali is a dumbarse thing to do, then I shudder to think what the real world has in store for them.

    • JoniM says:

      04:16pm | 19/11/12

      Great idea Steve !
      Pick Bali because it is not ” police- state do goodery” ???
      You heard about their drug laws and enforcement up there ?
      Ask that Corby girl or the Bali 9 kids about the laid back nature they have to kids partying up there !
      Can’t wait for this week’s news stories to come out of Kuta !

    • PW says:

      05:36pm | 19/11/12

      Na. The reason it’s heading to Bali is because it’s cheaper.

    • K^2 says:

      12:48pm | 19/11/12

      Let this be a lesson to all girls about to embark on schoolies.

      Be careful what you do, because one day your photo might get published on the Punch with you pulling a spaz-face while your mate grinds up against you.

      Was it worth it girls?  That facial has been burned into my retina now - I’m still laughing at you.

    • Me says:

      01:20pm | 19/11/12

      Let loose, kids!!  It’ll be some of the best times you’ll ever have & some of the best lessons you’ll ever learn smile  And if it’s neither, then the best is yet to come.

    • Pedro says:

      01:30pm | 19/11/12

      Do we even know if the girls i the pic are indeed Australians? I say they are not.

    • St. Michael says:

      01:44pm | 19/11/12

      Come on, K^2, if it was, say, Miranda Kerr and Jessica Gomes doin’ the nasty in Bali you wouldn’t have complained… wink

    • Me says:

      01:47pm | 19/11/12

      Sorry, K^2.  That was supposed to be a general comment, not a reply to yours smile

    • John L says:

      04:04pm | 19/11/12

      It is an awesome spaz-face though.

      You can tell it’s still fairly early in the evening mainly cause the spaz-face is saying “I’m so into this music” instead of the late night “Where am I anyway?” and the grind has a good 6 - 9 inches clearance.

      Still, I’m sure that most of us at one point or another have had a photo taken of us while getting our mongo on.

    • Gregg says:

      12:54pm | 19/11/12

      ” The second thing you need to understand is that Schoolies Week is an ancient and venerable initiation ritual in Australian culture. “

      Somehow I do not know about it being an ancient ritual and it is more likely something that has developed a lot more so in the just past couple of decades and much more so in the last decade.

      There does seem to be a certain ammount of shallowness to our society where we just continually promote it, especially seeing that multiple deaths have occurred and on the Gold Coast in particular where they even close of areas to public use, even for residents.

      All people at any time ought to be able to travel to anywhere and if a place gets a bit crowded it ought to be a personal choice as to finding somewhere else.
      Likewise if there is hooliganism and drunkedness, then just let the police handle it and if conditions dictate that more police are needed then those apprehended should be fined according to whatever the cost of policing is, perhaps even a substantial government bond put in place for people at those times and recognised as schoolies to pay for any accomodation and the ultimate cost to taxpayers extracted from bonds before refund.

      We then might start to see a bit more responsibility on the part of both schoolies and parents or otherwise it’ll at least cost them.

    • HC says:

      01:17pm | 19/11/12

      TL:DR version;

      Waaah won’t somebody think of the children?  Waaah I’m old and I don’t like these young people having a bit of raucous and riotous fun.

      Responsibility comes later, let these kids have some fun before they end up old and bitter and cynicised by a world full of b!tches and sons of b!tches.

    • Haxton Waag says:

      01:55pm | 19/11/12


      Speaking for myself, I am happy to note that I am becoming rather more mellow with age ... having been in a rather bad mood for most of the last fifty-odd years. There is hope for the decrepit. smile

    • Gregg says:

      02:09pm | 19/11/12

      I’ve always had my fun HC and always will but there’s something like being responsible for not just yourself and not expecting others to pick up the $$$ nor pieces.

    • Katherine says:

      01:06pm | 19/11/12

      No wonder Aussies have such a bad name abroad. Whatever happened to a bit of modesty and decorum. What lessons are parents teaching their children these days? Once upon a times girls behaved in a more restrained manner and most men respected that. Now all girls seem to want to do is drink as hard as the boys, get into fights, bare their breasts and screech as loud as they can! Then they get surprised when males don’t treat them with respect. When will they learn that respect starts with self respect and respectful behavior towards others.

    • Ryan says:

      02:14pm | 19/11/12

      damn straight, all they are looking for these days is a ‘splash’ of short-lived infamy…Dread to think that some of these bimbos will become mothers themselves one day….

    • Bear says:

      02:16pm | 19/11/12

      Where do you live prudezilla? I’d like to know where these bare breasted girls are. I havent seen any in this country. I think they are running wild in yours, and my, imaginations!

    • Laura says:

      02:33pm | 19/11/12

      Katherine, when was this ‘once upon a time’ the 60s? The 70s? The 80s? Free love & disco & cocaine?
      I’m quite sure nobody experimented with drugs & boys & alcohol in those eras, hmmm?  Methinks you’re suffering from a case of rose coloured nostalgia Katherine.

      “Dread to think that some of these bimbos will become mothers themselves one day…” Oh please, surely you aren’t naive enough to believe that your own mother didn’t play up in her youth?

    • Katherine says:

      03:00pm | 19/11/12

      Bear I guess you have to hear and see it to believe it. Not telling where I live as there are already enough spectators.

    • PW says:

      05:43pm | 19/11/12

      They try to drink as hard as the boys, but mostly end up projectile vomiting in a range of fluro colours. Never fear, though, it doesn’t take long for these darlings to learn to hold their drink.

    • a don says:

      01:12pm | 19/11/12

      The day I stat tut-tutting our youth in Asia is the day I ask for euthanasia.

      Do not care what the media says about you - as long as they spell your name correctly. These kids love it. They are in the news. They are in the news doing what teenagers do best. Displaying their maturing bodies and their as yet under-developed brains.

    • Chris p says:

      01:16pm | 19/11/12

      And you’ve always been an angel no doubt Anthony ? there’s nothing more hysterical than a bunch mid 30’s bloggers getting on their horse about the youth of today

    • Anthony Sharwood

      Anthony Sharwood says:

      01:49pm | 19/11/12

      Fair call, I nuded up once or twice in inappropriate places when I was young. Probably just feeling a bit robbed too, cos we didn’t have Schoolies in Canberra where I grew up. School ended, ya just quietly went and joined the public service or got the hell outa town. PS, No longer mid 30s, am wrong side of 40 these days!

    • Ex says:

      02:20pm | 19/11/12

      Never permitted to nude up in the Senior Citizens Meeting again I hear.

    • Laura says:

      02:34pm | 19/11/12

      And with that, Ant was banned from the McDonalds playground forever…

    • Bec says:

      02:52pm | 19/11/12

      I too am jealous - did my HSC in 1990 and no such thing as “schoolies” and because of that my children will not be going to schoolies damnit!!!!

    • Markus says:

      03:10pm | 19/11/12

      The Canberra thing to do would have been to rent out a house down the south coast for the weekend and split the cost 8 ways.
      Then hope your parties aren’t crashed by retarded locals trying to track down any drunken teenage girls.

    • Forde Montgomery says:

      01:20pm | 19/11/12

      I think the people of Bali are more than used to drunk Australians as catering to drunk-ozzies is their business model.  Media on their usual bash-the-young tripe.  If you don’t hurt anyone than they won’t be fussed, we could learn a lot from the Balinese.

    • Arnold Layne says:

      01:45pm | 19/11/12

      Is it “bash-the-young tripe” or a thinly veiled excuse to show scantily clad young men & women on the evening news?  Sex sells and rates.

    • Grump Pants says:

      03:53pm | 19/11/12

      Oh Arnold! Not everything is related to sex. You are a victim of the media!

    • Ex says:

      01:23pm | 19/11/12

      Wowser alert!

    • pinkyWong says:

      01:29pm | 19/11/12

      The real Balinese are Hindu or Bhuddists which means they have no issues with drinking or exposed flesh. It’s the non indigenous Balinese who are mainly muslim from Java and Sumatra that have issues due to their religous beliefs. They do the menial jobs in Bali. Unfortunately many view our behaviour as immoral and lewd and clerics use this as fuel for their islamist push.
      While our money does improve their lives but they are still poor by our standards. It holds little sway when their cleric tells them it will send them to purgatory or the muslim equivalent. When you pray that many times daily, the level of indoctrination is all encompassing…that is the frightening point.
      Unless Rhonda and Ketut changes the landscape, I would rather have my kids go to Phuket for schoolies….lot more acceptance. Yes a few hundred bucks more but worth the peace of mind.
      If the Philipines were smart, they would start advertising for our kids…mainly Catholics and we all know they drink like fishes ! lol Except for the dirty old men with young girlfriends…euuuuwwww !

    • Bintang Boy says:

      02:58pm | 19/11/12

      Actually, Buddhists account for about 0.6% of Bali’s resident population. About 93% of the people residing in Bali are Hindu. Muslims account for around 4 or 5% of the resident population.

      And the majority of the people who have come to live/work in Bali from Sumatra (around 50,000 all up) are Batak people from the Lake Toba region in North Sumatra and almost all of those are Christian.

      And if you think that Phuket is any different, you are mistaken.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      03:22pm | 19/11/12

      Why do you think Hindus and Buddhists have no issues with drinking or exposed flesh?

      In Laos, which is predominantly Buddhist, they request you to dress and behave modestly.

      Sometimes folk don’t say anything but whether its Australia or Asia more than a few people look askance at excessive drinking and folk behaving badly.

    • Matt Bracken says:

      01:39pm | 19/11/12

      What right do the media have to publish these photos? to stalk and harass these kids while they party? How would the staff of like it if someone followed them around when they went out on the town? I know the night time behavour of certain journalists who live in Melbourne is far, far worse than anything the Schoolies are doing. Maybe I should snap some pics next time I’m out. These kids are 18, how old is Karl Stefanovic?

    • Rossco says:

      01:45pm | 19/11/12

      Good on these kids for going out and having fun without the eye of the over protective wowser government and police over them, with all those uppity rules and restrictions. Of course the wowser leftie media and Bob Carr will denigrate you all, but thankfully Bali is a wonderfully free accepting land. Good luck to you all and hope you have fun. Wasn’t very surprised to see the typical negative press from the media, who usually do a good job of portraying a false reality mixed with typical kneejerk sensationalism. Had to laugh at the terrorism remarks, like there isn’t a terrorism warning every 2 seconds coming out of Bali. Just another way for the media to denigrate youth and alcohol in general.

    • Doc Goanna says:

      01:57pm | 19/11/12

      Ah, you would be referring to “Manis Kuningan” which is the fun part of Galungan when the spirits of the deceased return to their spiritual homes after having visited their physical homes.

      And Katherine (1:06pm) - Australian tourists generally have a great name in places like Bali. They bring money. And, as business people and workers in places like Bali rely on tourism for their economic survival, they are most welcome. The fact that they might drink too much and behave in outrageous ways is immaterial.

      As an older Aussie (who used to be a doctor in Oz) who has lived in Bali for a few years, I have helped many, many teenagers back to their hotels on my motor bike and in my car after a big night.  It’s all fun. Sure, things get out of hand from time to time, but that happens in Oz too, doesn’t it?

      I’ve also taken a few to hospital and clinics to get stitches and get broken bones set as a result of fights, falling in front of cars, tripping, running through windows and so on.

      The images posted on this web site showing people in places like the Engine Room are typical of any night in Kuta during any holiday period. I live about 10 minutes walk from ER and have been there dozens of times. It’s just fun. Sometimes people do get carried away because they are drunk. But that’s the same in Oz.

      It’s not something any government authority here can or is willing to control. Therefore, berating people for being excessive is useless.

      And “once upon a time” is often the first line of a fairy tale.

    • Colin says:

      01:58pm | 19/11/12

      And we wonder why the poor and down-trodden of the world (who have to put up with fat Western tourists who try to bargain them out of the few meagre cents they make) hate us so…

    • Ex says:

      02:07pm | 19/11/12

      or gratefully accept our donations through various aid groups or want to migrate here.

    • Steve says:

      02:14pm | 19/11/12

      No Colin its just you they hate, I got along fine with them

    • Bule says:

      02:29pm | 19/11/12

      Colin - Bargaining is all part of it. The seller sets a high price, knowing they will still make a reasonable profit at half that price.

      I live in Bali. They might be poor, but they are not down trodden and certainly not stupid.

      For example, a market stall owner buys a t-shirt for the equivalent of $1.50 or $2 and asks the equivalent of $10. The tourist thinks they are getting a bargain at $5. The stall owner is laughing - they would have gone down to $3 if pressed and still make 50% gross margin.

      The majority of the locals don’t hate bules any more than Australians hate tourists from another country.

      And if it weren’t for the fat bules, they would be poorer and very much down trodden.  Don’t be mistaken, the locals do well off tourists and do their best to rip them off.

      Example. I go from Legian to the airport and pay around 40,000 Rp in a metered cab. Until recently, if I arrived back from Australia I would be confronted with drivers wanting 100,000 for the trip back. Obviously, I bargained down to something closer to what I previously paid by telling them what I paid a week ago for the same distance. But most first time visitors had no idea what they should be paying. (The government has now rectified this with fixed price tickets for cab journeys from the airport according to distance.)

    • Elphaba says:

      03:04pm | 19/11/12

      Bule is right, and it’s not just in Bali, but throughout Asia. Bargaining is encouraged - as any local/frequent flyer will tell you, it’s good for them, and it’s good for you.

      If you paying the asking price everywhere across Asia, the sellers are laughing at you.  There’s a way that the locals and you can both be winners, and it comes through bargaining. When it’s done with respect and a good sense of humor, it’s a fun experience for everyone.

    • Bear says:

      02:09pm | 19/11/12

      Rhonda’s home so there’s one more free spot at the beach!

    • Dave says:

      02:21pm | 19/11/12

      I wonder how many of them will contract an STD or an STI? Or maybe Alcohol poisoning, cirrhosis of the liver perhaps?

    • Ben says:

      03:50pm | 19/11/12

      Probably a very small number, Dave. What’s your point?

    • Robert says:

      04:18pm | 19/11/12

      Dave, I think it takes a little more than a week or two of boozing to develop cirrosis of the liver so I guess they will need to be satisfied with just an STD for the time being.

    • robert says:

      02:35pm | 19/11/12

      leave them alone.  They will sadly be boring old farts soon enough

    • Mark Britten says:

      02:37pm | 19/11/12

      Years ago a bomb went off in kuta. 200 died yet we go over and stir shit. Wonder when the next one will explode and who do we blame. Our culture or Indo extreme terrorists. We are just a one way country. Been to Indo 12 times. First time to Bali in 1982, it really is a shit hole. Good for a night.

    • az says:

      02:50pm | 19/11/12

      I always find it amusing when we call Australia the nanny state and how these kids needs to travel overseas to have a good time and to let their hair down, and yet when something goes wrong like someone dies or gets injured, it will be the government’s fault for not having more things in place to protect them.

    • Dusty says:

      02:51pm | 19/11/12

      I’ve just come back from Bali (thankfully missed all the ‘schoolies’) and to be honest, I was at times embarassed to be Australian. It is quite clear that the overall impression the wonderful people of Bali have is that Australians are a bunch of drunks. And more often than not, rude and obnoxius to the locals.
      It is a shame that they do need the tourist dollar because nobody needs the abuse they cop.

    • Baloo says:

      03:34pm | 19/11/12

      I don’t think there is any country that hates Australians more then Australia seems to.

    • Merissa says:

      02:55pm | 19/11/12

      What do you expect? They have come from the nanny state and are quite free in Bali, like birds out of a cage. Indonesia doesn’t enforce a drinking age, neither do many countries in Europe, amazingly it’s only the nanny state of Aus (and a few others) that have such a problem with drinking-related stupidity.  We (Aussies) are so controlled here that we don’t know how to take responsibility for anything, including our own safety. These ’ schoolies’ were raised with things like a 40kmph speed limit around their school, in case they felt like running onto the road after a ball without looking…it’s always someone else’s fault.  In Aus we go by, ‘it must be ok, because the authorities haven’t specified that I can’t’. In Bali they will sell you as much alcohol as you are willing to pay for, but if you fall off the podium and break your ankle, it’s YOUR OWN problem, you cannot sue the nightclub for ‘allowing’ an adult to purchase more alcohol than they can think clearly on. It’s your fault for acting like on idiot. You can drive a motorbike drunk , but if you severely injure yourself it is YOUR problem, pay for medical expenses and the damage, or wind up in prison. In Indonesia the government will not pay you compensation for your road accident, you will have to make a living despite your injuries and compensate the other party. Maybe the Bali schoolies experience is what these pampered kids need, to wake up and realise that you can do almost whatever you want if you take full responsibility for it.

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      03:22pm | 19/11/12

      Gosh Anthony it is terrible how young people today behave. So lacking the modesty of their grandparents from the Sixties and Parents from the 70s/80s. People behaved so much better in the good old days. It is lucky there are people like you to apologise for them. Simple people like the Balinese who would never be sophisticated enough to see the schoolies as an opportunity to make a good dollar and get a win for everyone. Keep up the good work as resident wowser and PC conscience for everyone.

    • Nick says:

      03:36pm | 19/11/12

      This entire article makes me groan. There is no need for an ‘open letter to Bali’. Balinese people aren’t idiots, like everyone else in the world Balinese people have discovered there is money to be made through tourism. They have built nightclubs and bars to attract certain types of people who enjoy certain types of fun. Bali, especially Kuta is a party destination and therefore a very appropriate place for people to go for schoolies. I highly doubt the people are shocked at all by what goes on in the bars/clubs over there.

      An even bigger groan goes to people who think schoolies trips are the end of the world as we know it, you obviously have somehow forgotten being young, carefree and just out of one of the most stressful periods of time in a young life (HSC). These kids spend the whole of year 11/12 getting told ‘this is it’, ‘you’re adults now’ and then everyone complains when they have a drink or God forbid have sex with anyone.

    • Imste2 says:

      03:39pm | 19/11/12

      Is Schoolies a tradition?  I graduated in 1995 (yes we used a quill and ink on parchment in those days) and there was no such thing as Schoolies, at least not in Melbourne.  Is this more American culture seeping in?  Is Schoolies simply the American tradition of “Spring Break” under another name?

    • Ramathorne says:

      03:47pm | 19/11/12

      I’m amazed at the vanity of the current generation. I’m not that old (early thirties) and I can’t remember us ever taking our clothes off to the extent they do now. The sexualisation of these children is abhorrent. I doubt there’s ever been a generation so self-conscious. There seems to be a competition amongst these girls to out-whore each other. It’s disgusting.

    • Sociologist says:

      03:51pm | 19/11/12

      Our youth are in a state of anomie!

    • lingo says:

      06:55pm | 19/11/12

      It should be mandatory for international travellers to have insurance and understand that if they break the law they will be punished according to local custom.
      Aside from that, its not our problem what these youngsters get up to.


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