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Translink Buzzer Blog

Fun poll: What do you read on transit?

Do you read in transit?

What do you read on transit? Let us know in this poll!

Today, we are spending less time reading recreationally as we spend more of our leisure watching television, streaming video, and checking our social media accounts. The transit system might be the only exception—where reading, perhaps out of necessity, is still quite popular.

In a past Buzzer blog poll, we asked how you spend most of your time on transit. Most of you said you look out the window, listen to music, or read. In another poll, over 77 per cent of you admitted you’ve peered over somebody else’s shoulder to read what they were reading before.

Now we want to know what you read on transit in this fun poll! Is it the Buzzer, a newspaper, your textbooks, or is it a novel?

Let us know by voting for your top-five below, leaving a comment, tweeting us @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at!

What do you read on transit? (Select your top-five!)

  • News/Newspaper (21%, 61 Votes)
  • The Buzzer!!! (13%, 38 Votes)
  • Fiction (12%, 35 Votes)
  • Textbooks (8%, 24 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 22 Votes)
  • Fantasy (7%, 19 Votes)
  • Magazines (6%, 17 Votes)
  • Mystery (6%, 16 Votes)
  • Sci-fi (5%, 14 Votes)
  • Comics/Graphic Novels (3%, 10 Votes)
  • History (3%, 10 Votes)
  • Biography (2%, 7 Votes)
  • Catalogs (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Romance <3 (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Horror (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Poetry (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 105

Author: Allen Tung

Fall Bike to Work Week is Oct 27 to Nov 2, 2014!

Bike to Work Week is Oct 27 to Nov 2!

Bike to Work Week is Oct 27 to Nov 2!

Join thousands around Metro Vancouver and bike to work this fall! Bike to Work Week encourages both new and experienced riders to try cycling as part of their daily commute.

Cycling can be the fastest way of getting around, especially in more urban areas of Metro Vancouver. It’s also one of the healthiest and most enjoyable ways to travel.

HUB will be setting up over 30 celebration stations across the city offering free bike repairs, coffee, snacks and prize draws! Register and track your commute at and be eligible to win prizes.

Each day that you log a trip you’ll be entered to win a new bike and you’ll help your organization win an organizational award.

And as always, our friends at TravelSmart will join in the fun and help out at the Celebration Station at King George Station on October 30. Swing by and visit their booth, and perhaps pick up some great bike goodies to take home!

First timer?

Planning to hit the road with your two-wheeler for the first time? It can be a little daunting, but we’re here to give you a few tips on how you can get to work safely, on time and ready for work!

  • Plan your route. Check out TransLink’s cycling maps, plan your trip using, or login and create maps of the routes you plan to take on HUB’s website.
  • Park your bike. Find out where at your destination or workplace you can lock your bicycle.
  • Be prepared. Dress accordingly, have a spare tube, pump, and tools, and plan ahead for showers, extra clothes, or extra time for a leisurely ride.
  • Ride safe. Wear a helmet and always follow the rules of the road.

Let’s reach back into the Buzzer blog archives and grab some of our existing pointers for biking to work too!

Do you plan to bike to work during Bike to Work Week or are you always biking? Let us know in the comments section below, tweeting us at @TheBuzzer, or emailing us at!

Author: Allen Tung

Thankgiving holiday service on Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! (Photo: John/Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Happy Thanksgiving! (Photo by John, CC BY-NC 2.0)

A reminder to our customers that Monday, October 13 is Thanksgiving!

Bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus will all be operating on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. The West Coast Express and TrainBus will not be operating.

Remember, since it’s a holiday, you only need a single-zone fare to travel across all zones all day!

Service returns to regular weekday schedules for all modes on Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

Need service and trip planning information? Our Customer Information team is here to help! You can reach them at 604.953.3333 and on Twitter (@TransLink), 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days a week.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Author: Allen Tung

TransLink 101: What is short turning?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

A 6 Davie bus on Graville Street

A 6 Davie bus on Graville Street

Sometimes situations beyond our control, such as weather, road conditions or heavy traffic affect how reliable our service can be.

In the rare event that a bus is regrettably significantly behind schedule, Transit Supervisors and Transit Communications (T-Comm), the traffic control centre so-to-speak for our bus operations, use “short turning” as a way to get buses back into the schedule.

“When a bus falls behind schedule, the bus can be ‘short turned’ – meaning the operator is directed to drop any passengers off and then go directly to another location on the route,” explains Fergie Beadle, Supervisor of Surrey Transit Center Operations. “This puts the bus back on schedule and then back into service.”

Often this means a bus ending its trip short of the terminus to begin the return trip in order to get back on schedule.

On the SeaBus, short turning exists too – although its done a little differently since you can’t really shorten the route of the SeaBus! At the direction of the bridge, the SeaBus will simultaneously load and discharge passengers in order to regain schedule.

Author: Allen Tung

Poetry in Transit interview with Jane Munro

Poetry in Transit: Jane Munro

Jane Munro (Photo: Imaging by Marlis)

Poetry in Transit, now in its 18th year, aims to profile talented British Columbian and Canadian poets and provide our customers with poetry to read on their commutes. This year, there are a total of 20 poems on the system – 10 poetry car cards on buses and 10 transit shelter ads.

One of them is “Old Man Vacanas, 11” by Jane Munro. I had the opportunity to chat with Jane about the poem and her work:

Who is Jane Munro?

I’m a Vancouver-based writer and poet.

Would you be able to tell us a bit more about “Old Man Vacanas, 11?” What were the inspirations behind it?

My husband had Alzheimer’s disease. We lived in an isolated area on the “wild coast” of Vancouver Island. I was his caregiver until he had to move into a nursing home. He died in 2013. This is the final poem in a sequence called “Old Man Vacanas.” You can find the whole set in my new book, Blue Sonoma.

How would you classify your style of poetry and writing? What inspires you?

In form, this poem is inspired by vacanas, ancient South Indian prayer-poems. Vacana means “saying” or “thing said” in Kannada, the language in which the 12th Century poems were written. They use colloquial diction and imagery drawn from village life to deal with philosophical questions. Unlike those original vacanas, my poem is not addressed to Siva.

What’s a ‘great’ poem for you?

One that moves me and sticks in my mind – a poem I’ll read again. Jane Hirshfield says, “A good poem is a bit like a volcanic island. It creates new terrain for the soul.” In a volcano, the stuff coming up was previously hidden. Poems can make visible—and invite us to pay attention to—individual and social shadows. If Jung’s right and we need to agree to the whole experience to get a full life, then incorporating what was molten and unformed into a concentrated pattern of words gives us new ground—a place to explore, camp out, maybe even plant a garden. Oddly, though it may at first strike us as “new terrain,” we recognize and trust its reliability and its continuity with the rest of our experience: now that it’s there, it’s there.

Who’s your favourite poet and/or somebody that has heavily influenced your work?

I’ve loved poetry since my mother sang nursery rhymes to me. A wide variety of poetry delights me and enriches my life. I can’t begin to list my favourite poets. Many poems have influenced my work. Even nursery rhymes!

What does Poetry of Transit mean for you?

I love having a poem riding around on transit, catching the eyes of passengers. It’s a wonderful outing for a poem. Too many poems stay closeted in slender volumes. It’s great to have one out and about. I hope lots of people read it.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?

Yes, I take transit. I often ride the 99 bus to UBC and back. It’s wonderfully convenient to take SkyTrain to and from the airport. Crossing the harbour on SeaBus feels like an adventure.

Peer into your crystal ball, and tell us what you see for yourself in the future.

More writing – more books – more poetry readings – more yoga, and more travel. My next big trip will be to study yoga in India.

Is there anything you’d like to add or share?

I’m a member of Yoko’s Dogs. We write collaborative poetry.

Thanks your time Jane! “Old Man Vacanas, 11” is from her book, Blue Sonoma, and you can visit her website at Join the conversation using the hashtag #PoetryInTransit!

Author: Allen Tung

The Meniscus Series – Marpole bus shelter fun by the Emily Carr University of Art + Design

One of the seven bus shelters part of the Meniscus Series commissioned by commissioned by chART: Public Art Marpole (Photo: Emily Carr University of Art + Design)

One of the seven bus shelters part of the Meniscus Series commissioned by commissioned by chART: Public Art Marpole (Photo: Emily Carr University of Art + Design)

In the past, we have shared with you neat and cool bus shelters from around the world in our Links & Tidbits. I’m here to tell you we have ’em here in Vancouver too!

The Meniscus Series, commissioned by chART: Public Art Marpole, an Emily Carr University of Art + Design research project, has transformed seven Marpole bus shelters along Granville Street between West 63rd Avenue to SW Marine Drive.

The bus shelters, managed by the City of Vancouver and CBS/JCDecaux, have been wrapped with vinyl inspired by a photograph series from Emily Carr alumna Nathalie Lavoie!

The Meniscus Series … depicts two bodies of water merging: fresh water from the Mackenzie River as it is dropped into the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean. By mixing these specific waters, the artist is referencing her own experience of moving back and forth between her home along the river in the Northwest Territories and Emily Carr University on Granville Island. This movement between the two waters challenged her sense of place, her understanding of site, and what it means to carry history from one location to another.

The scientific term “meniscus” refers to the curved surface of a liquid in a container. In this series of macroscopic photographs, one type of water is dropped into a container of another type, thus disrupting the meniscus and making it impossible to accurately read the measurement. As the two waters mix, the transformation alters the solutions in a process that is simultaneously creative and destructive. These photographs makes visible the transformation, capturing the moment at which it is most noticeable but not measurable.

» Click here to learn more and see more pictures of The Meniscus Series

chART is a research partnership between the Marpole Business Association and Dr. Cameron Cartiere of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

More cool bus shelters!

* Note: Most bus shelters, including this one, are managed by the municipality they’re found in and not TransLink. The majority of TransLink managed bus shelters are found in or around exchanges and stations.

Know some yourself? Share them with us in the comments section, tweet them to @TheBuzzer, or email it to! We’d love to see them.

Author: Allen Tung

Missed it? Markus Moos and Gil Peñalosa’s Rethinking Transportation talks are now online!


Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas, brought to you by TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program, was back at Simon Fraser University on Tuesday, September 16 and Wednesday, September 17!

Gil Peñalosa

Gil Peñalosa

Dr. Markus Moos

Dr. Markus Moos

Markus Moos, Assistant Professor, School of Planning at the University of Waterloo, spoke on The New Generation: Are Millennials Changing the Game? His talk looked at how Millennials’ values, preferences and priorities could affect your work, commute, home and community — now and in the future.

Internationally acclaimed “healthy cities” expert Gil Peñalosa‘s talk, Future Livability: Boast or Bust?, explored whether Metro Vancouver can maintain its “Livability Credibility” for the next 30 years

SFU Continuing Studies now has both talks archived on YouTube! Click here for more information about the talks and the speakers.

Author: Allen Tung


TransLink 101: What are detours and why do they happen?

TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We’re going back to basics again with TransLink 101—explaining TransLink and its operations!

One of our buses travelling on Broadway!

One of our buses travelling on Broadway!

Detours happen when our service has to take a different route than normal for reasons such as construction, parades, and city events. Whenever possible, these are always communicated to our bus operators and customers well ahead of time so you can plan ahead!

“It is primarily communicated to the Operators via an Operator’s Bulletin posted in the Transit Centre and by email to those Operators on our email list,” Fergie Beadle, Operations Supervisor at Surrey Transit Centre, tells us.

TransLink’s Mobile Transit Alerts!

For our customers, the detour information is posted on the bus stops along the affected route. Our Customer Information team also shares it on’s Transit Alerts page (click here if our mobile-friendly site) and tweet it out on our @TransLink Twitter account as soon as they receive them.

Customers can also give them a call at 604.953.3333 and our agents will be happy to let you know where the bus is going and help you plan an alternative route if you like.

What goes into determining a detour route? It’s actually not as simple as finding a way to get around the obstacle! A number of considerations and factors have to be weighted.

“First and foremost, we try to have our buses miss as few stops as possible when we have to divert our service,” Lance A., a Work Leader from Customer Information says. “But many things can affect where we can actually send a bus.“

Fergie says the primary consideration is to ensure our buses can travel along the streets safety. Is the street wide enough? Can the bus make any turns required?

Having trolley wires can affect which streets we can use when our trolley buses have to detour and if they need to travel long distances. For shorter detours, they are equipped with a battery that allows them to travel about eight blocks with the poles off the wire.

View of T-Comm from Duty Manager’s desk.

A glimpse inside T-Comm from 2010

Transit Communication (T-Comm) tries to stick to main roads because it has to be able to corner and navigate on a street that we don’t normally use,” Lance adds.

“We can only turn down a street that our buses are actually able to use, that’s why we often try to detour buses onto roads where we already have regular bus service, whenever possible.”

Detours can sometimes mean missed stops along a route, but operators at their discretion and when safe to do so, will provide service along a detour route. A good idea for riders is to let the driver know where you would like to go.

“I’d always recommend waving a bus down when it’s not on its normal route, especially on those unexpected detours. The driver may not be aware of where all these new stops are, and you don’t want to miss your bus!,” says Lance.

In the rare event of an unplanned detour, such as due to heavy congestion, a police incident, or a motor vehicle accident, T-Comm and Transit Supervisors use TMAC (Transit Management and Communications System) to deliver the detour information to affected operators.

Reroute messages can be delivered solely to drivers of affected routes via TMAC.

A reroute message delivered to 341 drivers on TMAC

Operators get a text message on their screen letting them know about the specific detour. The system is smart enough to only alert operators on the affected routes.

At Customer Information, they publish text/email alerts as soon as they receive them. These notifications can involve planned detours, which they often know of weeks in advance through internal bulletins.

These service-related updates could also be related to unplanned detours. The information in the text message that is sent to drivers is seen by Customer Information in a report form as soon as that report is received. At that point, Customer Information will send it out as an alert to riders.

“Detours are a huge part of this job, we need to update the public as quickly as possible when our service is on detour,” says Lance. “Subscribe for text andemail alerts for your route, and follow @TransLink on Twitter so you’re never be out of the loop!”

Author: Allen Tung

Kids and high school students ride free for International Walk to School Week, Oct 6-10, 2014

International Walk to School Week (IWALK) is October 6 to 10!

International Walk to School Week (iWalk) is October 6 to 10!

Once again, TransLink is inviting children and high school students to ride for free during International Walk to School Week (iWalk) from October 6 to 10!

Note: Regular fares apply to adults accompanying children and high school students on the system. 

Did you know?

  • Two of three Canadian children are not getting enough exercise each day.
  • Active school travel can increase a child’s ability to concentrate.

TransLink has been supporting iWalk for the past seven years. It is part of the TravelSmart for Schools initiative for children, educating them about all of their travel options and building a future generation of transit riders.

Both walking and taking transit promotes good health and independence, while keeping greenhouse gases to a minimum. Our transit system is fully accessible to riders of all abilities.

This year we’re adding something new. TravelSmart is launching Walktober – a month long campaign to encourage walking to school, walking to work and walking for pleasure!

To make walking even more fun, TravelSmart is hosting a geocache challenge for the month of October! Find out how you can win prizes by hunting down one of the nine TravelSmart caches hidden throughout Metro Vancouver. Start now!

Plan a field trip!

If you’re a teacher, it’s a perfect time to take advantage of this offer by organizing a field trip during iWalk. Here are some tips:

  • Travel off peak hours: Try planning trips during “off-peak” hours – between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Plan ahead: Use TransLink’s online resources including the Trip Planneror Translink’s mobile website with real-time Next Bus. Planning the trip could be a fun class project in itself!
  • Play: TravelSmart’s online interactive game, Tripsters, is a fun way for kids to learn about walking, cycling, carpooling and public transit as well as a great way to engage children about transportation issues in the region.
  • Author: Allen Tung

Poetry in Transit returns for its 18th year!

One of the 20 poems that will be featured around the system on buses and transit shelters! (Photo: Gerilee McBride)

One of the 20 poems that will be featured around the system on buses and transit shelters! (Photo: Gerilee McBride)

TransLink will once again be partnering with the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC) to bring you the eighteenth year of Poetry in Transit!

Running since 1996, this program is a great way to profile talented British Columbian and Canadian poets and provide our customers with poetry to read on their commutes.

There will be a total of 20 poems on the system – 10 poetry car cards on buses and 10 transit shelter ads – over the next year. We’ll be profiling one poet and their poem each month on the Buzzer blog for the next ten months, so be on the look out for those!

To mark the launch of this year’s Poetry in Transit, ABPBC will be presenting an event on Sunday, September 28 at 4 p.m. as part of Word Vancouver. A bus with all car cards will be on display on Homer Street by the Vancouver Public Library on Georgia Street.

The event will be hosted by Vancouver’s outgoing Poet Laureate Evelyn Lau. She tells us Poetry in Transit is an important initiative that allows poets to reach more people – bringing poetry into everyday life.

Evelyn Lau (Photo by Pearl Pirie / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Evelyn Lau (Photo by Pearl Pirie / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“Every year, poets who are selected for the program tell me how they appreciate having their work reach audiences that wouldn’t normally pick up a book of poetry or attend a poetry reading,” she says. “I think we all as poets feel our audience tends to be narrow and tends to be fellow poets. Something such as Poetry in Transit reaches far beyond that community.”

Evelyn credits the program for bringing poetry into public spaces so people who wouldn’t consider themselves poetry fans can run into one while waiting for a bus.

“It’s such an amazing way for them to engage with literature and in a way that is just part of everyday life. Here you are going home from work and you’re having an intimate experience with a poem. You can react to it in a really emotional way or just find it amusing,” she says.

“I’ve heard from a number of writers who have had emails from complete strangers who have read their poem on the bus and had some kind of response to it. It is extremely gratifying.”

TransLink is proud to be supporting this program by donating ad space from the company’s reserve. It is also supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC), Creative BC, BC Transit, and the Vancouver Writers Fest.

You can join the conversation about Poetry on Transit by leaving a comment or on Twitter by searching and using the hashtag #PoetryInTransit!

Author: Allen Tung

TransLink is proud to support Raise-a-Reader Vancouver 2014

TL employee Cheryl reads to her son

TransLink Media’s Cheryl Ziola reads to her son

TransLink is proud to be supporting this year’s Raise-a-Reader program on Wednesday, September 24!

Ian Jarvis (TransLink CEO), Fred Cummings ( TransLink VP, Engineering and Infrastructure Management), Colleen Brennan (TransLink VP, Communications and Customer Engagement), and Neil Dubord (Transit Police Chief) will all be volunteering their time to hand out special editions of the Vancouver Sun in exchange for donations.

They will be out and about at Waterfront Station from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. – rain or shine!

Wednesday, September 24
7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Waterfront Station
Corner of Seymour and Cordova Street

All proceeds raised will go to children and family literacy programs, such as the Canucks Family Education Centre, Vancouver Public Library Foundation and Decoda Literacy Solutions.

TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company office employees are also voluntarily supporting this annual literacy event. They’re doing this by donating their favourite books to help promote this important event. TransLink is part of a month-long youth book donation drive in support of literacy programs and non-profit organizations throughout the region. Books will be donated when the drive ends in mid-October.

Stop by Waterfront Station tomorrow, say ‘hello’, grab a free paper, and help support literacy among young people and their families!

Author: Allen Tung

Buzzer illustrator interview: Dino Pai

Here's Dino's illustration on the left and Dino on the right!

Here’s Dino’s illustration on the left and Dino on the right!

Yer! Yer! Time for another Buzzer illustrator interview!

The September issue of the Buzzer is now on the system and we had the pleasure of working with Dino to illustrate our cover this month. If you didn’t know, we feature a different illustration and artist on each issue of the print Buzzer and on the blog!

He was kind enough to take some time out to answer a few questions about the illustration and himself:

How did you come up with your illustration for the Buzzer?
The idea was fairly simple: I went on the bus and SkyTrain with a drawing pad and tried to capture the blissful, tranquil moments on transit with pen and paper.

Your illustration has a tiny bit of retro feel. Are you a fan or are you inspired by illustrators/artist of yesteryear?
Thanks, I take that as a compliment. I definitely look at a lot of illustrators and artists from the past. I suppose my preference for traditional mediums contributes to the retro feel too.

Do you take transit? If so, what’s your favourite mode?
I take the SkyTrain quite often. I really enjoy observing the people and trying to make up stories of where they’re going to and coming from, what the couples are whispering to each other, or sometimes I make goofy faces at the children when their parents don’t notice.

Your illustration is in blue. Any chance that blue is your favourite colour? Why?
My favourite colour is blue indeed. I’m a boyish boy, what can I say?

What’s next for you?
Aside from freelance illustration gigs I am also working on my second graphic novel right now. That, and taking over the world!

Thanks Dino! If you want to check out more of his work, be sure to check out his website and follow him on Twitter at @diinnnoooo.

Author: Allen Tung

TransLink 101’s back: We’re going to explore some more basic questions about our services


TransLink 101 blog feature series banner

We're back with another iteration of TransLink 101!

TransLink 101 is back!

We’re dusting off an old special series and bringing you another iteration of the TransLink 101 posts where we explore some basic questions about TransLink and the work that we do!

What’s TransLink 101 all about?

Last time, we covered off what TransLink does, TransLink’s responsibilities for roads and bridges, fare zones, how TransLink gets its funding, where buses and trains sleep at night, why can’t SkyTrain run 24 hours, and how do we keep the system in a stage of good repair!

We’re going back to basics again, but this time we’re going to focus more on the operations side of things! Our planned topics include:

  • What is interlining?
  • What does it mean when a bus is an express?
  • What is short turning?
  • What does far-side and near-side bus stop mean?
  • What are detours and why do they happen?

As well, we’d like to answer a burning TransLink question you’ve always wanted the answer to! Suggest your topic in the comments!

Author: Allen Tung

Richmond invites your feedback on the city’s Canada Line art plinth

The Art Plinth at Brighouse Station

The Art Plinth at Brighouse Station

Richmond is inviting the public to provide feedback on the city’s Art Plinth at Brighouse Station!

The Art Plinth, fully funded by the City of Richmond, is located at the end of the Canada Line guideway at Richmond-Brighouse. It will be the site of two temporary public artworks over the next two years.

The first piece of artwork, titled Cluster by artist Carlyn Yandle, was installed by the city on Friday! It will be in place for approximately one year before being replaced by another piece designed by artist Nathan Lee.

Feedback can be emailed to or tweeted to @Richmond_BC using one or more of the hashtags #artplinth #cluster or #richmondpublicart.

You can also comment online at

All respondents will be eligible to win monthly transit passes or iTunes gift cards!

TransLink and InTransitBC are supporting this city-initiative by providing access to the Canada Line guideway to install the Art Plinth projects.

Author: Allen Tung


The September 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

September 2014 BuzzerHurrah! The September 2014 issue of the Buzzer is now on the system!

I Love Transit Week was from August 25 to 29 this year and we have lots of highlights from our I Love Transit Camp and vintage bus event as well as your submissions and tweets to share with you!

We also hit 50,000 followers on Twitter! 50,000 high fives to our 50,000 followers. We love ya!

Transit Police has some advice for you when travelling with children on transit and we have information on Thanksgiving Day service. Transit will run on a Sunday/holiday schedule on October 13 and it will be a one-zone fare across all zones!

A reminder to students: GoCards from last school year are valid until October 31 and new ones will be issued to students once school is back in session. The card gets you concession fares on all TransLink services in Metro Vancouver. Just make sure you have it with you when travelling on the system.

And no Buzzer is complete without our usual favourites – Contest Corner, Back Issues, and Coming Events!

Pick up your copy today on your favourite bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express route or by downloading it here.

Author: Allen Tung