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> Am I doing something wrong or is this a bug in Lua?
> I thought "a:b()" was syntaxical sugar for "a.b(a)"(?)

I had the same convern some months ago, and I was told the
reason is because Lua would have a hard time reporting errors
about a missing end with local functions. There is a one line
change to make this work, but I can't remember where (eg it's
a deliberate choice and not a bug). The archives would tell
you the line to change (it's just a test of inclusion count).