House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Any story related to building in the LOS, whether everything turned out hunky dory or not!

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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:16 am

BKKBILL wrote:
eyecatcher wrote:sorry guys, ....I think it was Roger mentioned to me that this splurge on writing is actually an outlet for stress....thats pretty fair. we all deal with it differently; I seem to carry it around with me and combine it with worry and negative outcomes.

I found your build story interesting at first unfortunately it seems to have dissolved into a continuous put down of how Thais think and work which never sits well with me. One thing for sure is if you keep having them lose face on the site it will cost you dearly one way or another, Relieving stress at the cost of others on the job will prove to be unproductive and costly as you are starting to find out.

Sometimes taking a laissez-faire attitude can pay big dividends, since most of the small things will be covered and strength isn't being compromised most of your stress is not their problem but yours. Writing to relieve stress is probably good taking it out on them on the job is not.

Well that is my opinion anyway.


Simple solution Bill if you dont like my story, my way of dealing with people,my sarcasm and my battle of wills. Dont read it.
My guess is you will continue to read it, and wait eagerly for MY big cock up when I need the builder to rescue me.(that will happen of course)

As Kiwi says I am trying to make this interesting and real. its my "Game of Thrones" and I want people to chip in.
My way of doing things will not be same as yours; likewise my teams way of doing things doesn't always sit well with me.

But, this is my job, my money, my design and if the builder doesn't want to play ball then he can simply wander off into the distance; remember I dont need him particularly as my own building experience can complete this job alone albeit in another 12 months!

I will respond to Kiwi and drop in a few "spoilers" as I am a few days ahead
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:46 am

kiwimartin wrote:I have to disagree Bill. I think this is the most interesting building thread currently running. I find Eyecatcher completely self aware and self deprecating...and the evolving relationship with his team is fascinating...at least for me. Its the first thread i open each day, and i check for updates! Thanks Eyecatcher, i for one am both educated and entertained . A first rate yarn in the making mate!


I should have said to Bill "are you not entertained?" :lol: (he could visit me if he wished as he is only 45mins from me)

Thanks Kiwi; I will continue my struggle to keep this entertaining even if it does look like a series of attacks; its not all like that, but a drama is that. Conveying that I immediately rushed to get some eyewash for the guy who splashed concrete in his eyes; going to the pharmacy for some medecines; buying them redbulls or beer every day; lending them my motorbike to go and get wall anchors;ice twice a day; giving them my large ice bucket and almost all my tools; and allowing them to take 3 or 4 mangoes off my tree every day .....all of which I have done could make me out to be a self conceited angel..........drama is best, a bit of comedy and a true record of what I am going through.

If you go back to before day 1 I predicted this would happen as I have atrocious people skills.

spoiler to come: Did I ask them to break out one of the beams?
spoiler to come: What happened when I let rip at one of the girls?
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby pipoz » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:15 pm

eyecatcher wrote:
kiwimartin wrote:I have to disagree Bill. I think this is the most interesting building thread currently running. I find Eyecatcher completely self aware and self deprecating...and the evolving relationship with his team is fascinating...at least for me. Its the first thread i open each day, and i check for updates! Thanks Eyecatcher, i for one am both educated and entertained . A first rate yarn in the making mate!


We all express our Builds in different ways, as we view them and to me that what this Forum is for.

Whether it includes, humor, criticism, building education or simply expressing our own opinions. It all adds to the pot.

Keep going eyecatcher, as I for one enjoy reading the in depth daily reports.

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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:46 pm

“Day off”
TFFT !! peace at last

Today the team are taking a well earned rest so it gave me chance to try and set out the staircase for them. I was pretty choked about them installing another reinforced beam without putting their brain in gear.
DSC_0501.JPG
Clueless!
Now I have made a staircase profile It quite clear the beam is set too high and the carriage shutters are at the wrong angle. Well they can sort that tomorrow, its going to be awkward now to set it so that one of the risers is aligned with the beam.
DSC_0499.JPG


One thing that is concerning me are the amount of surface cracks on the top of one of the beams that was poured only 36hrs ago. There is a 3m long beam that has 20 cracks roughly correlating to the rebar positions.
There are about 40m of beams that were poured and 28 cracks in total; so that’s 70% of the cracks within 7% of the beams. That statistic stinks doesn’t it?

DSC_0505.JPG
surface cracking

So what other clues do I have to explain why this happened.?
Well this beam in particular I recall as being the last one to be filled and as I was one of the bucket handlers it seemed we had emptied the wagon and still had a little bit to go. They were scraping up slop from the floor, and collecting the dregs from the lorry……..I was waiting for that bucket to be passed to me……..and yet I got it…!!!…and she got it back at speed thrown to her feet “mai ao nam!!” At that point I think the boss intervened and said no slop or else” we cant fool this one”
Then 5 minutes later something odd occurred, after the wagon was emptied ; another bath full of concrete came out?
Did they mix some in the wagon and I didn’t see what was going on? Or was it simply the dregs stuck around the drum spindles? Who knows but I am suspecting a rogue mix with no aggregate or no cement.
The beam also is located where it gets direct sun most of the day, although it was 7pm when we finished concreting.
Still rapid drying and evaporation……………….
Ok so those are the facts, I decided to seek further opinions, so in conjunction with my own limited knowledge of heavy reinforced in situ concrete work, but sound building experience and a lot of research on the internet I was faced with a decision as to whether to allow this beam to remain or should I insist that it be broken out and started again.

Of course stupid me went over the top when the wife arrive home late after a very busy and stressful day and blurted out that I am not happy with the beam and I think I am going to ask them to replace it………….how to upset someone in one easy lesson……come and ask me!!

She had been home no more than 20 minutes and decided she wanted to drive the half hour back to the spa to sleep there.
I don’t wonder why I am on marriage number 3 already.

She always tells me not to go around the houses when I try to tell a story, just get to the point…..so I did, in one sentence!!! Hahaha

When she calmed down………. at 1 am, fast asleep I sneaked in bed beside her .

And time for bed; said Zebedee.

stress level 10/10 :evil:
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:30 pm

Day 20
At first light; I reassured her about the approach I will be taking about this beam.
I already had an opinion why this cracking had occurred. Firstly I am confident it is common plastic shrinkage cracking due to rapid drying of concrete that had too much water in it. In addition possibly not the correct amount of aggregate and sand in that last small batch which was thrown together. On top of that at 7pm the team just buggered off, as it was getting dark and didn’t spend a further 10 minutes tamping that top surface. The evenings are as hot as a European summer day but we don’t often realise this.

My plan is today to ask them to remove the shutters as I want to inspect the sides of the beams.
If I see the cracks from the surface running vertically down the sides, or a distinct lack of cement/voids/aggregate exposed then I will say I am not accepting this beam,
DSC_0502.JPG
cracking highlighted

For now I want them to keep the underside props in position and leave them until the floor planks are laid. Then when the in situ slab is poured thereafter the whole floor is working as a single unit and the beams are also working together equally……….so in fact structurally if any of my “lesser” loadbearing beams fail, the rest will carry the burden.
That may sound like a flippant remark but I ask you :
In your lifetime did you ever see a concrete beam fail :?:
In your years of building experience did you ever see a concrete beam fail :?:
If you saw a beam fail did you see the rebar yield to its breaking point?...as a catastrophic failure :?:
If you saw a beam fail, or even crack did it have a masonry wall underneath providing longitudinal support. :?:
For me, 35yrs in construction the answer is No, to all of the above.

What I have seen, and I would say this is the most common type of beam failure, is due to corrosion of rebar along the bottom side resulting in ferrous oxide/chloride expansion and blowing off bits of concrete, not the scenario in a watertight domestic dwelling one would hope.

So today they removed the shutters, remember I asked them to cancel the floor planks until at least 3 full days, well if we are back in the queue for tomorrow I am ok with that, the next day even better, but I am reckoning tomorrow is plank day again.
DSC_0503.JPG
beams and bathroom cast
DSC_0504.JPG

I looked at all the beams and I was very pleasantly surprised, the finish was lovely apart from those seemingly unavoidable steps where shutters meet each other!
The beam in question had no flaws whatsoever down its 400mm face both inside and outside. :D
DSC_0507.JPG
beam looks good


The beam stays, :D and only the wife took the brunt of their sloppy workmanship. :oops:

I think I got something wrong there!! And I learnt a bit about jumping to conclusions. :oops:
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby Roger Ramjet » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:52 pm

eyecatcher wrote:One thing that is concerning me are the amount of surface cracks on the top of one of the beams that was poured only 36hrs ago.
eyecatcher wrote:Then 5 minutes later something odd occurred, after the wagon was emptied ; another bath full of concrete came out?

I spent a number of hours posting to you about conrete, how to pour it, how to check it and how it should look in both beams and columns. The references I sent you in regards to my build, Aptley's build and Max's build all gave in great detail how you should vibrate the concrete, or failing that tamp it with some PVC pipe. I also posted photos of concrete that did not have enough cement, had too much cement and had all sorts of cracks appearing in them with a complete explanation of why they appeared and what to do about it.
You cannot blame anyone other than yourself, you were there, you were supervising the job. If something went on with the truck you would have heard it, to mix conrete in a cement truck makes a lot of noise as the driver must rev the engine to about 4,000 revs for 5 minutes. For them to mix it on site means you would have seen it being mixed from your vantage point. It is your responsibility, nobody elses, you appointed yourself foreman over these Thais and you should supervise or let them do their job as instructed by their foreman or builder.
The photo of the beam is disturbing, it could be caused by drying too quickly, not enough aggregate or lack of cement, but whatever it is you need to stand next to the workers who mix the concrete and count what they put in. On Max's thread and on mine are the correct amounts. If it came off the concrete truck you need to get a company rep out there now.
If you got soup from the cement company all you have to do is ring them and they will investigate. It's your job to climb on the back of the cement truck when it arrives and make sure the mix is good. If it isn't then it needs to be sent back. Soup at the end will be soup at the start, just tell the driver to take it back and ring the company and tell them why.
You must read what I wrote to you in the emails, otherwise you will need to pull down all the beams and columns and redo them.
You can't keep blaming the Thai workers, they are just doing what you order them to do. They have little or no knowledge of building, all they are are uneducated labourers trying to earn a living on a miserable wage.
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:56 pm

day 20 contd
we haven't even started day 20 yet!

Today steady day, just 3 boys, 1 girl and myself today. I wanted to set out the two staircases at the back and set up the shuttering for them.
I realised now that the Thais want to make a job much more complicated that it needs to be. They would rather spend a day on a job than an hour, and make each job a two part operation…
For example, I cut the staircase profile for them; then they set it in the wrong position and the final step height was not correct. He said no problem make right in next bit.
I said no, we will set up the shutter once and fix timber across exactly 195mm high. Then concrete finished first time. Not we make concrete roughly then “render” step again.

I saw the girl set up the rebar under the stair carriage. All the bent ends at different angles from pointing down to pointing sideways. I said lets make the rebar beautiful please and turn all the ends to hook into the horizontal bar. Its stronger and better.
DSC_0508.JPG
staircase taking shape
DSC_0514.JPG
just the foot to anchor to the floor and some tidying up.

It takes exactly the same amount of time to make the rebar beautiful and correct as it does to make it useless and a mess.

That staircase took some time, the bottom flight I mean and it’s not right. For what ever reason its 30mm higher than the decking level…..so I had to now establish a new decking level (yes 30mm higher)

Yesterday I proposed a method of fixing the floor. I certainly wasn’t having them cut into my beams again to fit another beam to carry the head of a 5 flight stair and 2 concrete planks.
We will bolt some angle iron to the wall 100x100 or 75x75 on 3 sides and two 100x50 steel to trim the stairwell. Simple quick job an hour or two and will be ready for the planks.
The foreman wouldn’t make that decision (his boss went back to see his ailing mother again) because it involves money.
I told him a 75x75 angle is 1000bt for 6m, enough to do 3 sides, and 100x50 at 600 baht can be doubled up to carry a stair head and act as bulkhead plus another small area we need. 1600bt plus a dozen bolts……I just saved 5000bt 3 days ago suggesting he doesn’t need to make a deep concrete beam, cmon man!
He is going to be spending 150k on steel for the roof and the decking as it is, so why piss about man?
I am not having a concrete beam so think about skyhooks instead!!

Eh I tell you, if you guys think your job is going swimmingly then I can assure you know nothing about what’s going on or don’t understand what they are doing.

So whilst I am out for an hour looking at all the steel sections at Global and Thai Watsacrap they are making a rebar cage.?
I say nothing, maybe its for another job?(I hope) :shock: So they go for lunch and I go to measure it. 17/1800 long. That’s my two 800 flights ?

As expected the new cage represents header beam 330 deep it appeared and they set it up in position. All propped up on timber supports.
DSC_0509.JPG

Again I say to them …why the concrete beam? How will you fix the concrete to the existing timber decking? And why is the concrete beam 1700 long when my decking is actually 2500mm long; How will I get my water tank in the room under this beam? what supports the end of this beam? I had to motion with my elbow that the end over the water tank will it have column inside the tank? Otherwise it will collapse……the penny is dropping….slowly slowly
My detail shows simple square shs columns with 100x50 floor decking joists. The concrete stair can likewise link up onto a double or triple steel beam arrangement. Simple easy. No headaches to fix and no worries about getting a 1000litre tank in.

It’s a never ending list of failing to think about what they are doing and moreover I get my wife accusing me of not opening up to new ideas relating to the Thai way of life or Buddhism but these guys are not opening up to new ideas from the West of how to improve their standards, learn something new, be the first to impress on their next job.

I wanted my staircase 800 wide, told them 10 times, wrote it on the carriage ply marked it for them. As most things we plan its for a reason. My reason is because is because if it’s any wider I may not be able to fit a 600 worktop and a washing machine comfortably. :?
All the rebar fitted, I said 800 wide, yes yes, it doesn’t look 800.
It was 900 wide. Why 900; now I cannot fit my kitchen, Yes you can build wall on the steps.
Sorry but why would I want to make it awkward to build a wall on the steps which are not in block increments and then have to build another wall underneath the stairs and then have to cut all the blocks to the angle of the stairs.
I want to build a wall in two hours with no cutting not two days with lots of cutting and waste.

My hair is falling out…………… :evil:
Stress level 10 (out of 11)
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby Roger Ramjet » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:04 pm

eyecatcher wrote:I wanted my staircase 800 wide, told them 10 times, wrote it on the carriage ply marked it for them. As most things we plan its for a reason. My reason is because is because if it’s any wider I may not be able to fit a 600 worktop and a washing machine comfortably.

If you wanted them 800 wide it should have been clearly marked on the foreman's and builder's plans. A copy of those plans should have been pinned next to the staircase.
As for the shuttering staying in place, I've already told you the bottom shuttering should remain in place for at least one week whilst they build the supports for the reinforced slabs that will sit on them.
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:18 pm

Roger Ramjet wrote:
eyecatcher wrote:One thing that is concerning me are the amount of surface cracks on the top of one of the beams that was poured only 36hrs ago.
eyecatcher wrote:Then 5 minutes later something odd occurred, after the wagon was emptied ; another bath full of concrete came out?

I spent a number of hours posting to you about conrete, how to pour it, how to check it and how it should look in both beams and columns. The references I sent you in regards to my build, Aptley's build and Max's build all gave in great detail how you should vibrate the concrete, or failing that tamp it with some PVC pipe. I also posted photos of concrete that did not have enough cement, had too much cement and had all sorts of cracks appearing in them with a complete explanation of why they appeared and what to do about it.
You cannot blame anyone other than yourself, you were there, you were supervising the job. If something went on with the truck you would have heard it, to mix conrete in a cement truck makes a lot of noise as the driver must rev the engine to about 4,000 revs for 5 minutes. For them to mix it on site means you would have seen it being mixed from your vantage point. It is your responsibility, nobody elses, you appointed yourself foreman over these Thais and you should supervise or let them do their job as instructed by their foreman or builder.
The photo of the beam is disturbing, it could be caused by drying too quickly, not enough aggregate or lack of cement, but whatever it is you need to stand next to the workers who mix the concrete and count what they put in. On Max's thread and on mine are the correct amounts. If it came off the concrete truck you need to get a company rep out there now.
If you got soup from the cement company all you have to do is ring them and they will investigate. It's your job to climb on the back of the cement truck when it arrives and make sure the mix is good. If it isn't then it needs to be sent back. Soup at the end will be soup at the start, just tell the driver to take it back and ring the company and tell them why.
You must read what I wrote to you in the emails, otherwise you will need to pull down all the beams and columns and redo them.
You can't keep blaming the Thai workers, they are just doing what you order them to do. They have little or no knowledge of building, all they are are uneducated labourers trying to earn a living on a miserable wage.


Roger, thankyou. The decision to keep the beam was mine based on my findings as a surveyor. Yes I appreciated your advice; but your advice to knock it down straightaway was based on what?, You didn't see my photos when you arrived at your decision only my description of what occurred. I am not blaming anyone because there is no problem with the beam and the late mix scenario; well I wouldnt swear in a court that they did that because I wasn't watching it. When we release the supporting props tomorrow after a week then if I see stress cracking on the underside I will again make a judgement. But as I referred, that beam is not going anywhere especially with masonry underneath it.
Anyway that was a week ago; onwards and upwards eh? :D
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby pipoz » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:19 pm

Hi eyecatcher, leave your bamboo beam props in for 21-28 days. I did.

Wrap your columns in glad-wrap/plastic, if you haven't already and see if you can do the same to your beams. Gives the cement-structure time to cure a the correct pace

A few top surface cracks in the beam due to rapid drying (shrinkage) aren't anything to worry about, I have seen plenty in slabs and beams in my lifetime, some we opened up to check and others were obviously deep so they were epoxy injected. If there is no evidence on the side of your beams that the cracks go deep, then you are Ok.

You can always get an angle grinder out an hit some of the cracks in the beam top, just to see how deep the go, if you are curious. 8) . Chances are they only go 20-30mm then stop

As a added precaution I built my block walls up to the underside of my concrete roof ring beam, then dry packed the last 25mm (between block and beam) with some bags of LANKO non shrink grout (not just you normal mortar), so that the ring beams are actually supported by the block walls. Its just added comfort, as even if the wall is only under part of the beam length, it will significantly reduce the span length of the beam in your favor

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Beam Surface Cracks
Last edited by pipoz on Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:30 pm

Roger Ramjet wrote:
eyecatcher wrote:I wanted my staircase 800 wide, told them 10 times, wrote it on the carriage ply marked it for them. As most things we plan its for a reason. My reason is because is because if it’s any wider I may not be able to fit a 600 worktop and a washing machine comfortably.

If you wanted them 800 wide it should have been clearly marked on the foreman's and builder's plans. A copy of those plans should have been pinned next to the staircase.
As for the shuttering staying in place, I've already told you the bottom shuttering should remain in place for at least one week whilst they build the supports for the reinforced slabs that will sit on them.


My bottom shuttering has been in place a week Roger no need to get on the high horse again.
I am making the decisions here, and when I need advice "upfront" I will sing out but offering advice on stages already complete is not appreciated.
Just read it.
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby Roger Ramjet » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:13 pm

eyecatcher wrote: am making the decisions here, and when I need advice "upfront" I will sing out but offering advice on stages already complete is not appreciated.
Just read it.

Strange as this may seem to you, we are all trying to help you.
Most, if not all of us have gone through this all before.
If you'd care to look at my building story you'll see I was flooded out for 3 months and had to travel to the house by boat to feed the workers who stayed to look after the place.
If you don't want advise that's fine by me.
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:26 pm

pipoz wrote:Hi eyecatcher, leave your bamboo beam props in for 21-28 days. I did.

Wrap your columns in glad-wrap/plastic, if you haven't already and see if you can do the same to your beams. Gives the cement-structure time to cure a the correct pace

A few top surface cracks in the beam due to rapid drying (shrinkage) aren't anything to worry about, I have seen plenty in slabs and beams in my lifetime, some we opened up to check and others were obviously deep so they were epoxy injected. If there is no evidence on the side of your beams that the cracks go deep, then you are Ok.

You can always get an angle grinder out an hit some of the cracks in the beam top, just to see how deep the go, if you are curious. 8) . Chances are they only go 20-30mm then stop

pipoz


The columns have been wrapped for 10 days so far and there is no reason to unwrap them is there until they fall off. The beams cannot be wrapped because of all the propping timbers but they have been getting a three times a day hosepipe blasting.
We used the grinder elsewhere on a beam, and it showed a lovely cross section through the concrete. No qualms about it. If I see any cracking to the underside then it can simply be supported by a a couple of flitch plates or even a couple of shelf angles to each underside corner. There is always a non destructive solution.
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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby pipoz » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:34 pm

Re There is always a non destructive solution

Correct, 35 years of construction has taught me that there is nothing that cannot be fixed structurally, (be it a concrete or steel structure), if one needs to, and in most cases the solution is relatively simple

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Re: House Extension to "Baan Thai" Chiang Mai

Postby eyecatcher » Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:08 pm

Day 21….I don’t want them anymore.
I am going to lock them out. :lol:

Of course I have to get them to roof stage but seriously I cannot let them continue any further. I want to do this job myself then I cannot blame anyone but myself.


Wife arrived home late from the spa, nearing midnight and as a result this morning she was very tired. She didn’t speak a word until she said I think the builder wants to speak to you.
It was about the staircase.
I am trying to explain to them where the top tread should be set, where the first riser should be set and the profile I cut needs one of the risers cutting off because the first flight they already set too bloody high despite my seemingly constant supervision!.

Then I can see him thinking about the trimming beams and what will carry the floor.

All that to try and translate when she doesn’t even understand building or the mechanics of it, plus being overtired took its toll…………..she just erupted and stormed off back to the city. :shock: :shock: :shock:

and its not even 9am yet!

People have had worse:
391613_10150904325960114_658630113_21246120_1354380464_n.jpg
jai yen yen
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