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A Man's Guide to Life/Love in Philippines - Larry Elterman

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

oh, sorry, forgot to answer your question about interest rat

Postby LarryElterman » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:31 am

Rock wrote:Great interview Larry. Wish it had been even longer and more detailed. I can tell you're brimming with knowledge about the most popular part of Abroad on Winston's site.

I'm guessing the Chinese gals you approached were Filipina Chinese for the most part. I'm not surprised you got a cold reception. I think a lot of the Chinese in countries where westerners are often seen with bar girls and pay-for-play companionship try to avoid associating with us. They see themselves as set apart from the indigenous locals and above their poverty and hard life, even if they too come from a relatively modest family.

BTW, first follow-up question: Do those high interest rate opportunities with regional banks still exist? Can you post some fresh info on this forum about that?


Are you talking about the extremely hight intrest opportunties like 20% a year that i wrote about in my book?

They all went bankrupt during the financial crises! Lots of people lost money. No big surprize

Currently i am getting 4 percent on my short term Filipino bank CDs from a reputable bank. This about the highest interest relatively safe investment available.
Larry Elterman is author of A Man's Guide to Life and Love in the Philippines and host of the web site lifeandloveinthephilippines.com
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How do Filipinos survie on $100 a month - Questn from Winsto

Postby LarryElterman » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:02 am

Winston Wu wrote me the following question: He was referring the the low salaries of Filipino workers. It’s a good question so I decided to answer it on the Forumn.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FROM WINSTON

That's very little money and salary. I've always wondered, how can anyone survive on 180p a day or even 300p a day. I mean, mathematically we could not survive on that. It's not enough even to pay rent and food everyday, nowhere near enough.

So how does the average Filipino survive and buy clothes, pay for trikes, food, bills, etc.? The numbers don't add up.

Furthermore, how do all the many SM Malls stay in business? The average price of jeans at SM is around 1000p or more. If someone is making 180p, how can they ever afford to buy those jeans, since they could not even pay for food or bills or their family's expenses and school fees, etc.

So then where do all the rich folks come from that keep SM in business everyday? Someone has to be buying stuff regularly. But who? The average person making 180p a day can't.

I could never add this up. I've asked many Filipinos to explain this mystery to me, but they aren't sure either. My girlfriend just says "Well they find a way to make ends meet" and leave it at that. But still, the numbers don't add up, not even close.

You ever figure this one out?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think I can more or less answer this question.

First of all there are a lot of Filipinos that have access to help. Of course some are married to foreigners or have foreigner boy friends. Many have relatives married to foreigners. Many have family members working abroad and sending money home. Some are friends to more wealthy Filipinos that help them out. There are many pretty young woman being mistresses to wealthy Filipinos that help them out.

There is also a wealthy class in the Filipinos, perhaps a few percent, the ones owning all the land and business, and there is an upper class (but not rich of maybe ten percent)

So there are quite a few Filipinos with access to more than bare survival money.

But still, there are quite a number of Filipinos working and living on 5000 peso’s a month. How is it possible? For sure in the USA this would not be possible, but in the Philippines it is, and here is how:

First lets address housing

Some of them live in large groups in houses belonginging to the family clan. These are extremely basic shacks handed down from generation to generation. There is no taxes or costs associated with these houses (shacks).

Others rent a place with a group of friends. Maybe they rent a small basic apartment for six thousand a month and ten of them live there.

Still others rent what is called a bed space. This is basically just litterly renting a bed in a room with many other people. A bed space can be as little as 500 peso a month. A nicer one with a common room and tv and electricity might be 1000 a month.

Needless to say there is no privacy in any of these situations.

Now lets address food. They don’t eat at resteraunts. They buy there food at the market, and its nothing fancy for sure!

For example, they might subsist on mostly rice, a few vegitables and a tiny bit of pork or dried fish. A half pound of uncooked rice is about 10 peso. They might buy a few vegitables and pork and basically spend about 50 peso a day on food.

So far you have 1000 for the bed space and 1500 for food. That’s about 2500, and leaves 2500 for everything else.

Clothes? They don’t buy them at the SM mall, that’s for sure! They buy them at second hand shops where a pair of Jeans is 50 to 100 peso, and a Tee shirt is 20 peso. Shoes are second hand slippers (flip flops) costing 20 peso, or if they splurge for new ones, rubber flip flops for 80 peso.

They cant afford to go to the doctor or dentist. They don’t go to movies. For a lot of them the rest of the disposable income goes towards drinking!

By the way, want to get drunk for cheap? A big bottole of tanduay rum is only 100 peso or so, and this is luxury. You can buy rot got almost pure alcohol and for about 20 peso get roaring drunk.

It’s a pretty picture? Could you live that way?
Larry Elterman is author of A Man's Guide to Life and Love in the Philippines and host of the web site lifeandloveinthephilippines.com
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Re: oh, sorry, forgot to answer your question about interest

Postby Rock » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:57 am

LarryElterman wrote:
Rock wrote:Great interview Larry. Wish it had been even longer and more detailed. I can tell you're brimming with knowledge about the most popular part of Abroad on Winston's site.

I'm guessing the Chinese gals you approached were Filipina Chinese for the most part. I'm not surprised you got a cold reception. I think a lot of the Chinese in countries where westerners are often seen with bar girls and pay-for-play companionship try to avoid associating with us. They see themselves as set apart from the indigenous locals and above their poverty and hard life, even if they too come from a relatively modest family.

BTW, first follow-up question: Do those high interest rate opportunities with regional banks still exist? Can you post some fresh info on this forum about that?


Are you talking about the extremely hight intrest opportunties like 20% a year that i wrote about in my book?

They all went bankrupt during the financial crises! Lots of people lost money. No big surprize

Currently i am getting 4 percent on my short term Filipino bank CDs from a reputable bank. This about the highest interest relatively safe investment available.


Larry

In your book, you mentioned some Philippine Rural Bank 5 year CDs covered by government deposit insurance for up to P250,000 per CD were offering very high yields.

In a post financial crisis editors note, you stated that a few of them did eventually fail but the deposit insurance was fully honored for principal and some of the accrued interest. I took that to mean that many others survived. Have all the rural banks stopped offering such products or has the FDIC style backing been withdrawn?

I owned a fairly similar very high yield product in Brazil all through the crisis and it did fine. The currency fell about 25% against the US$ but regained that all within a year and the interest rate was adjusted way down to single digits. But the principal remained fully intact and I eventually withdrew it all after the local currency fully recovered.

Sometimes I find that seemingly high risk products can actually help diversify during volatile periods if their correlation to global markets is low. Some types of currency trading products fit this bill, especially those which lock in small arbitrage spreads. Again, the 2 that I follow did not suffer at all during the 2008/9 crisis. They both yielded an 8-9% annual return in a base currency of US$.
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Re: Chines and high interest opportunities

Postby Rock » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:18 am

LarryElterman wrote:
Rock wrote:Great interview Larry. Wish it had been even longer and more detailed. I can tell you're brimming with knowledge about the most popular part of Abroad on Winston's site.

I'm guessing the Chinese gals you approached were Filipina Chinese for the most part. I'm not surprised you got a cold reception. I think a lot of the Chinese in countries where westerners are often seen with bar girls and pay-for-play companionship try to avoid associating with us. They see themselves as set apart from the indigenous locals and above their poverty and hard life, even if they too come from a relatively modest family.

BTW, first follow-up question: Do those high interest rate opportunities with regional banks still exist? Can you post some fresh info on this forum about that?


For the record i was talking about real chinese people who grew up in china. Filipina with chinese blood are still Filipino in my mind. I have found some chinese men to be friendly to me, but never chinese women. Im not making a judgement here, im only telling my own experience.


Interesting. The PRC is such a mixed bag. And 10-20 years ago, the red Chinese seemed like they came from a different planet. Nowadays, it really depends. China is so damn big and regional variations can make a material difference. In Chengdu, female strangers were usually warm when I approached them. Just four hours away in Chongqing, they were much colder and more cautious. Many Chinese keep to themselves and the group when traveling out of country, especially if its they are not used to foreigners.

So I don't know how many girls you approached, what era you approached them in, or how they looked. I'm sure overall, Filipinas are probably a lot simpler.

By the way, do you believe it is easy for a westerner to meet and date Chinese Filipinas? What regions and cities do you find most of them in?
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Postby globetrotter » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:52 am

Surviving on 180p or 300p a day is easy.

That is 27 to 46 CNY, about 810 to 1360 Yuan a month, exactly what people in my little city live on.

Their budget is this:

Rent: 100 Yuan a month for a 120 Sq foot room with one CFL naked bulb over head. No bathroom.
Shower: They shower in a 2 Yuan per shower facility in town, a business. It has towels and such. They only do this once a week as they have little body odor.
Food: 10 Yuan a day or 300 Yuan a month
Mobile Phone: 23 to 100 Yuan a month
Transportation: 60 Yuan a month. The bus is 1 Yuan each way.

1 Yuan is 15¢ or a little less than that.

Total = 100 + 10 + 300 + 100 + 60 : 570 Yuan a month. $83.21 USD.

Savings: 240 to 800 Yuan a month, 29% or more, exactly what most Chinese save as a percentage.

On the higher end (1360) they can go to internet cafes for 2 Yuan an hour, 100 Yuan a month. Save for an e-Bike (1300 CNY), a motorcycle (3,000 CNY), and trips.

That is how they do it, that's how my assistant lives. I have been in her 'apartment' and it is one room, about 15ft X 15 ft. No Aircon, some heat.

That being said I knew people who lived in Manhattan in 1985 and they lived in a place that was 12 X 20 for $800 a month.

You would think that girls in such a situation would be throwing themselves at someone like me who is rich by comparison and earns 6X the average local wage, and you would be wrong. They want a Chinese guy, someone who speaks Chinese. Money is important, but it's gotta be within their social constrictions, and Rural China has values like Rural America in 1920. People don't casually date, they don't have girlfriends it's a 'Trial Marriage' when they live together. Serial dating is just unheard of. If a woman consents to a date with you she has a very good 'feeling' about you and is considering marriage. 3 dates, she is definitely considering marriage. If she has sex with you it is with the expectation that you will marry, and if you go to meet her parents that is when you are supposed to ask them for permission to marry her. The entire timeframe for that scenario is 6 weeks.

Big cities, BSG, Shanghai and such, entirely different. Some 2nd tier cities different, too. A few 3rd tier maybe.
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Postby FreeYourMind » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:57 am

Rock wrote:
Winston wrote:Hi all,
Steve Hoca's interview with Larry Elterman has just been uploaded!

Listen to it here:

http://www.happierabroad.com/podcasts/Larry_Elterman_Interview.mp3

I haven't listened to it yet, but I will later.

Hope you all enjoy it!

Winston


Hey I'm already more than half way through and still listening. You're doing great Larry. I like the way you keep steering Steve away from bashing American women to the much more interesting topic of the Philippines and its women.


I appreciate what Steve is doing but he really needs to work on his interviewing skills. He constantly interrupted Larry mid-thought when he still had much of value to say but wasn't allowed to. He also tends to throw out too many sentence fragments.

Larry seems to have the Phils nailed down very well.
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Postby Free » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:26 pm

Funny sidebar coincidence, Larry's voice sort of sounds like a cross of Wu & Ladislav. The tone, the delivery. :lol:
Maybe it's something in the water there. :lol:

I liked how Larry mentioned that some of these issues that bother us are not just an American thing, but more like venturing into a Western thing. I have found some of the same social falls in parts of Europe as well.

As many know here, we could list several third world spots where you can much more easily go up to strangers and talk to them. I think most would agree that doing so in France, Germany, Spain, etc. can be more difficult. Definitely not as tense as the U.S. but still not as easy as third world spots.
Put me in Paraguay for a week then put me in France for a week. Guarantee I will make way more friends and girlfriends in Paraguay.
A good deal of Western lands are infamous for tighter cliques, and they are taking life at times way too seriously, as well as judging and analyzing too much.
The irony is that people in third world lands tend to have tougher times, tougher conditions, yet seem warmer in ways and more open.

I would add, as an aside, I myself know of a large amount of various Europeans who were also fed up in their native lands and moved on to southeast asia and latin america, so this has to say something of sorts, the same as the fleeing from the U.S.

Some at this forum have done ok in western & northern Europe, but I think they would also agree, third world lands can be much easier with less of the barriers for meeting others, and relationships seem less complicated.

Something I would like Larry (or someone else) to discuss in the next interview, is the actual freedom they experience in the non-Western lands.

I've experienced it, but I'm not the one being interviewed.
To let listeners know that there is much less judgement in third world lands.
Humans judge, it's natural and part of a survival skill, but we see people in Western lands going too far. Maybe it has helped their societies to weed out the "losers". Who only knows.
Certainly though there is high judgement. We've all heard others around us making fun of someone else. I've heard and noticed all sorts of terrible, unnecessary things, from all ages and all classes. Whether it's the U.S., Canada, western/northern Europe, etc.
Someone is made fun of because they sit at their table "oddly". I saw them - they were only resting their chin on the back of their hands. Who cares!
Or someone was made fun of because they had swirls on their collar of their shirt. My word! Who cares! I thought overall they looked fine.
The list could go on and on.
Now, what this can tend to do to individuals who are not badboy, jerks & bold not caring what anyone thinks, it can make your average joe (or even sally) feel that if everything is not perfectly in place, or if they are not sitting or walking just right, they will be judged and of course in ways outcasted.
Whether or not they are actually being judged, they will still feel as if so simply because we've learned over and over that people actually do this!

Transport yourself to a third world land and the change is amazing! Sure, you're being judged, but it's an overall general action of you being simply an outsider. They either pay no mind, or simply don't care if you sit at the table a little differently or have swirls in your collar, etc.

THIS is freedom!

I think aside from the other perks such as more easily meeting people, and females of course, many expats are lured by other things, some they are not aware of, and I would bet, this feeling of more freedom I just described, is one of them.
As a human. As a social being, this is very important!

Even when in relations with women from third world lands, it seems to flow better, more free, because you know you are not being analyzed as heavily, and if they do find something out of place, it's not a big deal. As well, there are way less hoops to jump through.
Let's say you kiss your lady. I've heard too many times from Western girls talking to others, or to myself, of how their man was too sloppy, came in at an odd angle, kissed too long, and on and on. Even if you are a secure guy, knowing all this judgement is out there when no one is perfect, still can make a person feel on edge as if always being judged.
Kiss a lady from a third world area and you really know they are not thinking like this so heavily! Yes they may notice some things, but they just let it go and it doesn't get in the way of the flow. Or they simply do not even notice.
Here again are more feelings of freedom, less to no inhibitions.

Please, one your guys being interviewed, touch on this. It is part of the lure of others going abroad and part of what keeps them there. I don't think all realize it. They're just enjoying themselves and the large weight lifted, but don't know specifically why.
If you agree, then please discuss some of these differences between Western and non-Western lands.
This is not just an American or anglo-land issue.
It is definitely a step up going from the U.S. or Canada to western/northern Europe for example, but once you go to several of these third world lands, it's easy to get hooked to the feeling of higher freedom, easier flow (not referring to infrastructure), simplicity, humble natures, etc. and therefore desire less to return to even Europe and most definitely not to the U.S. Lower cost of living also is a lure as well.

Appreciate the interviews. Keep them up!
"Give me liberty or give me death" - Patrick Henry
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Postby LarryElterman » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:20 pm

swincor_ wrote:
Winston wrote:
Rock wrote:
Your attitude about Chinese is about as positive as Steve's is about America.


No, it's worse. But it's not my attitude. It's my experiences and feelings. I swear to God they are true and I am describing what I've experienced. The incident I described in San Francisco happened. I swear it. 3 hours of Chinese kids around me and not one talked to me or looked at me or said anything to me. How would that make you feel? Why should I deny it? I'm telling the truth, and truth is what matters. Why should I lie? This isn't about one incident, it's a lifelong pattern.

I'm willing to pay money if you or anyone can show me Chinese people who are open and direct and natural and easy to talk you, like me and Steve are. I KNOW I'm not wrong.

I'm so sick of the 0.000000000000000000000000000000 attention I get from Chinese. I can't stand it. It's disgusting and unbearable. Sometimes I feel like I want to do something appalling in public or cause a scene, just to get any attention at all. That's how bad it is. Horrible horrible beyond words.



Then WTF are you still doing in Taiwan?

You don't seem to be the adventurous, bold guy you make yourself out to be. Far from it.

On the contrary, you actually come off as complacent and sluggish, choosing to passively accept a dissatisfying situation rather than show any willingness to take steps to remedy it.

We have seen this pussified attitude from you all too often before.

And since you refuse to get off your ass to find solutions to problems, you deserve the misery you get.


My god swincor_, why all the hostility?

From the short amount of time I have known Winston he has proven himself to be a great guy.

He is in taiwan visiting family

And he has gotten off his ass, haven’t you seen all his pictures and all the things he is done?

So why all the hostility?
Larry Elterman is author of A Man's Guide to Life and Love in the Philippines and host of the web site lifeandloveinthephilippines.com
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Re: How do Filipinos survie on $100 a month - Questn from Wi

Postby momopi » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:36 pm

LarryElterman wrote:There is also a wealthy class in the Filipinos, perhaps a few percent, the ones owning all the land and business, and there is an upper class (but not rich of maybe ten percent)
So there are quite a few Filipinos with access to more than bare survival money.
But still, there are quite a number of Filipinos working and living on 5000 peso’s a month. How is it possible? For sure in the USA this would not be possible, but in the Philippines it is, and here is how:


You can find some stats here, though I'd question their "optimistic" figures on poverty.
http://www.nscb.gov.ph/

Contrast to what the AU government says:
http://www.ausaid.gov.au/country/countr ... untryId=31

"The proportion of the population living below US$1.25 a day in 2006 was 23 per cent or around 20 million people. At the same time, about 44 per cent or over 40 million Filipinos were living on less than US$2 a day."

The exchange rate is about 1 USD = 45 php, so by above estimate (2006):

44% in total lives on less than 2,700 php per month, assuming 45 php : 1 USD * 30 days (month).
23% lives on less than 1,680 php per month
21% lives on between 1,680 to 2,700 php per month
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Re: philippine realestate

Postby Winston » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:03 pm

Rock wrote:
starkeep wrote::?: I own realestate here in the us and have a forclosure in process here now. Has anyone bought any condos there? i have read many things on buying a condo in boracay and ranting it out yearly??? They claim fantastic returns?? Any opinions onthat??? Since the labor is cheap there has anyone tried hiring people to build for them?? Or corporations to own a house there???


Like I said, I wish the interview w/Larry had had focused more on specific details related to the Philippines instead of tangential rants about the US and its women.

But it sounded like a Part 2 will follow at some stage. Perhaps we should post some Qs to Steve ahead of the next interview.


Yes. Steve told me that he will be doing a second interview with Larry.

If you have questions you want Steve to ask him, post them here, and I will copy and paste them to him.

Btw, I just put their first interview up on YouTube. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOar7BRBAaM
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Re: Chines and high interest opportunities

Postby Winston » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:24 pm

LarryElterman wrote:
Rock wrote:Great interview Larry. Wish it had been even longer and more detailed. I can tell you're brimming with knowledge about the most popular part of Abroad on Winston's site.

I'm guessing the Chinese gals you approached were Filipina Chinese for the most part. I'm not surprised you got a cold reception. I think a lot of the Chinese in countries where westerners are often seen with bar girls and pay-for-play companionship try to avoid associating with us. They see themselves as set apart from the indigenous locals and above their poverty and hard life, even if they too come from a relatively modest family.

BTW, first follow-up question: Do those high interest rate opportunities with regional banks still exist? Can you post some fresh info on this forum about that?


For the record i was talking about real chinese people who grew up in china. Filipina with chinese blood are still Filipino in my mind. I have found some chinese men to be friendly to me, but never chinese women. Im not making a judgement here, im only telling my own experience.


Same here. I knew you meant "any chinese woman anywhere" cause you said that in your interview and used the word "anywhere".

They are just on a totally different wavelength that seems so closed and indirect to us, if you're not on their wavelength. It's not a language issue like Steve said. I speak their language and it's still the same.

Perhaps you, me and Ladislav are more on similar wavelengths. Since Steve is very open and direct and outspoken, I don't think he would fit into oriental east asian cultures either.
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Postby Winston » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:29 pm

globetrotter wrote:I noticed this, with annoyance, as well.

Steve - let your interviewees talk and stop interrupting them. Larry had about 12 times where he was saying something useful and insightful and you would cut him off, he would lose his train of thought, and his insight was lost. I know what the USA is like, I need info from an experienced hand on the ground in the RP.


Steve did interrupt a few times near the end, but 90 percent of what Larry said was uninterrupted. I listened to it a second time and noticed that.

But Steve has seen this post and said he will remember next time not to interrupt.

Sometimes when you are very passionate about something, you do that. It happens on alternative radio.
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Postby Winston » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:41 pm

Globetrotter, is it true what you told me and Steve, that your rent there is only $200 a year?

My God. I could retire for life there right now.

That's a lot less even than in the Philippines.

And you said for $100 a month, you can get a fancy luxury apartment where you are now?

If the girls around you aren't dating older white guys, you should try Chengdu or come to the Philippines. You'd have a lot more fun.

To Larry:

That's interesting and a hard way to get by.

But how do families pay for school and the doctor if someone gets sick or needs surgery? Do they just die? What if the family has no relatives abroad or foreigners to help them? Or their relatives can't afford to or become selfish?

What do they do if they're at a dead end?

So I take it that most people who go to SM Mall are middle class and above then? Is that why they seem more standoffish and snobby. I notice that the shoppers there are like that, but the girls that work there are of the poor class and more open to flirting and talking to strangers. The girls that work at SM said they make 5000p a month too. They aren't being paid fairly obviously.
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Postby Winston » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:58 pm

Free,
Wow that was a GREAT diatribe on "true freedom in third world countries".

I think I will add it to my ebook and send it out to my mailing list.

If you have so much to say, maybe you can be on Steve's show too? You want?
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Postby Winston » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:29 pm

Btw, that guy Dan that Larry recommended told me this about finding jobs in the Philippines. I'm sure he won't mind if I share it with you all.


Hey Winston,
I know a lot about the business scene here. I only know a handful of guys with proper "jobs" most of them for multi-national corporations and they generally got those jobs in their home countries. There are a handful of opportunities in the call center business and then there are the really non-paying lifestyle stuff like dive instructors or live-to-rent barmen etc. In general, I think the Philippines is one of the worst places in Asia for foreigners to make money, especially since there aren't really any English teaching opportunities here. Better to get a cushy job teaching English in Korea and spend your 3-4 months vacation in the 'pines :) Let me know if you have any other questions.
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