镜子

Posted by ~Summer~ on July 23, 2019
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 10年前的今天,我怀着大宝,准备从一个女孩升级为妈妈。初为人母的心情是雀跃万分、惶惶不安和百感交集的。尽管如此,我心中抱着满满的希望和憧憬,只知道我要把世上最好的事物和自己最完美的一面呈现给我的小天使。


光阴似箭,转眼间,10年的岁月匆匆流逝。当妈妈的这段旅程确实丰富了我的人生,给我带来前所未有的快乐,却也同时让我深刻地体会到为人父母的艰辛。身为三宝的妈妈和爸爸,我和丈夫认识到的是同舟共济、互相扶持。但是,有时孩子把我们惹火了,我们难免会起争执。记得有一次,大宝让我大发雷霆,我就忍不住说上一句: “你这个牛脾气,和爸爸一模一样。” 丈夫不服气,也随口回了一句:“她那固执的性格分明是遗传你的。” 当事情平息后,我花了一段时间自我反省,才赫然发现我们的话中都隐藏了真理。


原来,孩子就是父母亲的一面镜子。它能照出我们心中的一切,亦能反映出我们不为人知、内心深处的那一面。透过这面镜子,我毫无保留地看到了自己的优点,也见识到了我内心的缺陷。这一路走来,我在三宝身上看见了自己的脾气暴躁,自己的没有耐性,自己的不完美。镜子仿佛把一切大幅度放大并摆在我眼前,让我躲也躲不开,只能认清自己的真面目。

父母常常埋怨孩子的毛病,譬如不热爱学习,没责任感,没礼貌、不力争上游等,我们是否想过,这些瑕疵其实是我们无形中导致的呢?回想起有一天,我正在厨房忙着煮饭,看见二宝和小宝起了争执。二宝开始调皮捣蛋,年仅三岁的小宝突然举起食指,用苛刻的语气对姐姐说:“我数到三,你最好听我的话。一、二...” 天啊,这行为、这口吻、这态度,怎么听起来那么耳熟呢?我吃了一惊,开始怀疑自己到底为孩子树立了什么榜样。别以为孩子们无视于我们所说的、所做的一切,实际上,耳濡目染,他们时时刻刻都在观摩和学习父母的一举一动。


与其说父母是孩子的导师,倒不如说孩子也让我们有了自我意识,我们的成长过程其实是相互的。陪伴孩子成长的过程中,我们也不断地在了解、改变和提升自己。此时此刻,我知道自己还有很多进步空间,如今想要做的,就是能以身作则,让镜子里的我能有模有样。我也常常提醒自己,若要教育出好孩子,首先要做好自己。要孩子懂得慷慨解囊,自己就要处处为他人着想。要孩子有一颗好奇心,自己就要不断寻求新知识。要孩子勤奋学习,自己就不能怠惰。要孩子勇于尝试,自己就要先跨出安全区。

日省吾身,日进兴学,没有人天生就是好父母,这是需要我们不断地探索、反思和从失败中学习才能逐渐领悟到的。感谢三宝,让我有这个机会和他们共同成长。


This article appeared in my column titled 快乐妈咪 in 联合早报副刊 on 22 Jul 2019. Do keep a lookout for my posts on every 4th Monday of the month, yeah? 


Happiness is... letting our kids play

Posted by ~Summer~ on July 18, 2019
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We love school holidays.

The kids love it because they know that they get to relax, sleep, play and enjoy themselves to the max. I love it because I get to plan our day-by-day activities and we get to spend every minute and every second of the whole of June together. Yes, it might be true that I have to say goodbye to me-time for this period but we-time is so much more precious to me and I would do everything I can to make the most of our holidays.

Since we are still on the no-tuition route and the kids only had a couple of enrichment classes during this month long break, we really had lots of time to spend together and of course, we did lots of mum-and-kids outings too even when Papa was away. You know, I have friends who tell me "Your kids don't need tuition at all? They must be very smart or you must be a good teacher." On the contrary, I doubt any of that but highly believe that letting the kids have the opportunity to let loose, play, feel free and be able to pursue what they love makes them more motivated when it comes to doing schoolwork.

That is why no matter what, I will always try to carve out time for family fun and remind myself that my kids' childhood should be happy, carefree and filled with wonderful memories. I believe that most of you think like me, right? It's just that as the kids get older, it's harder to keep sight of that and easier to lose track in the pursuit for academic excellence. That is why we are here to remind each other along the way. In June's "Happiness is...", it's all about letting our kids play.


We visited the Children Festival at Gardens by the Bay and stepped in the the world of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4. The kids had a blast at all the carnival games, especially at Star Adventurer where they got to ride yoyo cars and Bo Peep's Adventure, where they had to go through an obstacle course.

I was half thinking, these games are so easy and straightforward, take for instance throwing hoops and beanbags at targets. Will they really want to play, especially the eldest who is turning 10 already? It turned out that they had a really good time and didn't mind playing the games over and over again. It's a reminder to me how these kids don't need fanciful toys or gadgets to make them happy; all they need are simple activities and the company of a loving family and friends.







Oh check this out, we met Woody and Buzz Lightyear too! It was a good way to excite the kids for the upcoming Toy Story 4 movie too, which I was very much anticipating because I remember the third movie back in 2010 was sooooo good!


While we didn't go for an overseas vacation this time round, the hubby was telling the kids "You still get to go out almost every single day with Mama, it's still a holiday!". I don't like the kids to take things for granted so I always remind them just how blessed and lucky they are too. I guess our closest thing to a vacation was our 4D3N chalet and the kids got to go to the beach four times during that period to build sandcastles, swim in the sea, hunt for sea creatures, blow bubbles, run around and just enjoy the company of their cousins and friends.



I wonder if I would have loved to visit KidZania as a kid - if they had such establishments during my time. That said, my parents would hardly have been able to afford it so we would have probably given it a miss. As for my own kids, this is their nth time to KidZania Singapore already and they are still loving every visit because of all the fun they get and things they learn.






The boy became a firefighter for the first time ever and you could just see the huge beam on his face when he had to extinguish the 'fire' with real water. It's so nice to have siblings in times like this too because you are never alone in the queue and you always have someone there to keep a lookout for you. The sisters are wonderful in making sure he is well taken care of and he is just so lucky to have not one, but two of them who dote on him so much. Take for example, the eldest sister gave up her slot so he could play when there were only two places in the Candy Store queue and the second sister stepped up to assure me "Mama, I will take care of him, don't worry." Aiyo, these babies make me tear sometimes.


As for the big girl, it was also her first time trying out Mountaineering and even though it was a lengthy wait, I think it was all worthwhile because I saw how she started off with wobbly steps and emerged more confident after that. It sometimes gives me a poignant feeling to see how this girl is blossoming into a fine young lady and turning a decade old but she will always be my pride, my joy and my baby girl deep inside.


All kids love indoor playgrounds, right? Well, I know mine do, and very much in fact. We were at the grand opening event of Kiztopia, which by the way is the newest, biggest and most fun playground in a mall and you definitely have to check it out if you haven't. The banana boat is one of our favourite highlights but the kids also love all the pretend play, dressing up, trampolines, interactive AR games and oh, the super slippery slides too.


For me, the best part of the day was meeting two very inspiring celebrity mums who I've looked up to for a long time. Fann reminded me on how we can still be hands-on mums no matter how busy our lives get, and instead of worrying about your kid or your pants getting wet at the beach, why not all get wet together and just enjoy those frolicking, carefree moments. Jaime is my constant motivation to stay fit and carve out time for workouts, and rather than seeing it as a chore or something you dread, embrace it and make it a part of your lifestyle. 


Despite having to travel far, we also finally managed to check out 22 Stories and were surprised by how crowded it was! Well, it seems like a lot of kids were happy to see their childhood tales come to life as they explored each of the experiential rooms. We came up close with Princess Jasmine, the Genie, Princess Penelope, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and more. The kids' favourite was the room filled with balls though and three of them had so much fun just falling over backwards while I tried so many times to take a synchronised boomerang shot of them doing that. Haha.




Sounds like we did a lot already for the hols? Well, there's still so much more, haha. Let's see. We also made it to the second season of Rainforest Lumina, Having missed the first one, we were quite excited to see how this would play out. While it was a refreshing experience to walk in the zoo at night and the interactive activities were fun, the kids were a tad disappointed to realise that we could only see virtual animals, not real ones, along the journey. So, to make up for that, we hopped over to Night Safari rightafter that and stayed till nearly midnight as we watched the Creatures of the Night show - which we've done so umpteem times - and then took the tram all around the park. Yup, that's the awesome thing about having a 4-park pass. I think our family still prefers to come up close with our animal friends any time and they never fail to excite us and leave us in admiration.



We have been taking the public transport as much as we can, even if we are travelling to Sentosa or the other side of the island. I make that my resolution in order not let the kids take taxi rides for granted and they have become accustomed to travelling on trains and buses too. Sometimes, we had to change trains three times and the entire journey can take over one and half hours, so I'm pretty proud that they don't usually complain but come up with their own games to play or just sing - quietly - on the train.

On one weekday afternoon, we made our way to the media event for Goodman Open House and since we arrived early, I brought the kids to Cafe Melba for lunch. Gosh, why the food so expensive one? We didn't save the cab fare just to spend it on food, haha. So we ordered a couple of kids' meals and a lasagna to share before they decided they wanted to run on the field and play catching.

Our highlight of the day was letting the kids have a go at batik painting and chinese ink painting. Yup, these little art lovers of mine are always thrilled to try out activities like these so we were thankful to Goodman Arts Centre for the opportunity.





Right after that, we took the train again and embarked on a long journey to get to Jewel, where we were going to meet the hubby for dinner and a late night movie. It's so much cheaper to watch movies on a weekday than weekend but we don't always get to do that if we want to be together as a family, so it was a date that I cherished.

Talking about movies, we watched so many during the holidays, be it at the theatres or on Netflix. Let's see what we caught at the cinemas. Men in Black International, Godzilla, Aladdin, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and of course, Toy Story 4!

Some people asked me how my youngest manages to sit through all the lengthy movies and let's just say he had plenty of practice since he was born. And, popcorn always helps too. He's been really good for the past year and if he could survive Avengers: Endgame from the start to end, I think he can do it for all the rest too. We always share the behind-the-scene footages with them too so they know how the movie was filmed and reminded them that they are never to pick up the violent acts or swearing words, if any. I don't think refusing to expose them helps but rather, it's more of educating them as we go along.



Science Centre has always been one of our favourite places to visit so we were thrilled to have the chance to check out DinoQuest, which runs till 31 August. It's a great exhibition for the little ones to more about these prehistoric creatures, the science of palaeontology and the process of fossilisation as we get transported into the lost world.



To make the most of our day, we stayed on in Science Centre till it closed at 6pm! Angel's favourite part was visiting Butterflies Up Close, again, where she got to see all her pretty, colourful friends and hold them too. She was always on the lookout for any butterfly which got stuck behind the bushes and in between the walls and would rescue them too. Yup, this girl still aspires to be an entomologist someday and no matter what she hopes to be, she will have my support and encouragement.




Back in Jewel again? Yup, we visited it a few times in June and even this month too. I have a review and giveaway coming up for Canopy Park, so stay tuned for that, okay? Meanwhile, we also checked out the Changi Experience Studio and you can read my previous post here. It was like a fun-filled arcade for the kids and a great learning opportunity for everyone to learn more about aviation and our airport history.




We also had friends over at our place and would swim all day long. Haha. It was nice to make new friends or catch up with friends that we had not seen for a long time. We would order Grabfood takeaways but that's okay in exchange for fun and play, right? Yup, I've learn to not beat myself up on days when I am unable, or too lazy, to cook and we are happy to either walk to our nearby kopitiam to dine or just order food in. 有的吃就好,一家人在一起最重要。

Oh, and some fast food once in a while is okay too, right? Haha. I'm not trying to be a negative influence or advocating junk food for our kids, I'm just saying it's okay to keep one eye closed at times and let go of rules. We were lucky to be in Marina Square at the right time and bumped into Ronald McDonald, Hamburgler, Grimace and Birdie! Well, my kids only know one of them and that's not a surprise. Thanks for giving us the free spins and food vouchers to celebrate your revamp!


The kids were asking me when we were at Wonderland in Westgate "Mama, why nobody? We are the only ones here." The answer was because not many mums are so xiao ding dong to let their kids climb walls and go down slides.... when it is RAINING. What if they slip and fall? What if they catch a cold? What if this or that happens? What if?

But what if they had fun and remember this night as one of the best nights of their lives because Mama played in the rain with them?

The hubby joined us after and said "Isn't it raining?" but he promptly shrugged it off and continued to let them have fun. That's us. We know but we let go. We keep an eye on them but let them play. We set the rules but we break some too. It might not work for everyone but it's the parenting style we've chosen and are used to.


One of our favourite places to hang out is the arcade and the kids always have a ball of a time there. Thanks to BYKido, we checked out Fat Cat at Somerset 311 and it was one of the few times we were at an arcade early in the morning. Haha. I love how all of us get to play our favourite games and try out new games together. It's always about bonding for us even though the kids were pretty stoked to exchange their tickets for toys and snacks too.


The hubby had to work overnight on one weekend but that didn't stop me from taking the kids out to play at SAFRA Punggol where we joined in the Families for Life Celebrations and had a wet and wild time at Splash @ Kidz Amaze. The funny part was while the kids wore their swimsuits there, I had on my long sleeved swim shirt and a denim shorts over my swim shorts (of course lar, too short and sexy mah). I completely forgot about that and jumped into the water with the youngest and went on the slide before I realised.... uh oh, now my shorts are soaked and I don't have an extra pair. Lol. Oh well, we just have to make the best of such moments, right? So we continued to have fun for one hour and after we showered, I used one of our wet towels as a makeshift 'skirt', tying the ends with our hair ties and we went for lunch at McDonalds. Yes, I seriously did that.



If you have not booked your tickets for the Bicentennial Experience - which is free - please don't wait any longer! We heard that there are still tickets on weekdays for July and August but you have to act fast. This multimedia sensory experience brings you back in time to witness key moments in Singapore’s transformation from as far back as 1299 and is a great learning experience for the kids. We enjoyed every bit of it and the hubby, who is usually not easy to impress, gave his thumbs up and said it was superb and well executed too. I hope it makes the kids realise how blessed they are to be living in modern Singapore and never take what we have for granted because our pioneers have all put in and sacrificed so much for us.


Okay, we are almost there! We also met up with our friends from A Million Little Echoes and I'm so thankful to have gotten to know this inspirational fellow blogger mum-cum-friend-cum-sister and glad to see how well our kids can get along. They have a blast every time we meet and this time was no exception when we gatecrashed their stay at Village Hotel Sentosa. Haha. Thanks for having us at the pool and letting us watch cartoon (for a while) in your cosy room! My hubby managed to join us and he was so smart as to suggest dabao-ing food over (famous duck rice from ECP, yummy!) so we had a poolside dinner while the kids continued to splash around after eating.




Last but not least, we also had a day of fun in Nestopia in Sentosa so that I could fully utilise our free passes before they expire. The kids loved it the first time round and my only regret was that I wore a dress so I couldn't join them in climbing the net structures. This time, the hubby was suffering from a bad blister on his foot so it was up to me to accompany the littlest up over and over again. He needed my encouragement at every step but boy, he did it and even went down the super steep and slippery tunnel slide with me too! Woohoo!

I have to say the structures are not easy to scale and this boy specially chose the hardest one which was really tight and hard to move around (for my size). I had to lay myself flat at every tier before finding the opening and hurling myself up. There were over a dozen tiers and we did it not once, not twice but many, many times that afternoon. I'm amazed I didn't get rope burns lor. Even the staff was surprised I did it with him again and again. Haha. I am just happy that I was there to help him overcome his fears and for once, I put my phone away so I could focus on being fully present too.





Of course, a trip to Sentosa would be incomplete without riding the cable car so we made sure we did, and we even caught the sunset too. My kids love the cable car and I love seeing their big smiles and hearing their loud squeals every time we do so. I'm not sure for how many years more we will enjoy doing all these simple things as a family, but I'm surely gonna cherish them for as long as they last.


I definitely think I have outdone myself this June holidays and despite the exhaustion, there is a strange sense of achievement and gratitude in knowing we did and accomplished so much. Let's never forget to let our children play, no matter how busy life gets. As for ourselves, always stay young at heart and remember what it means to have fun too. Till more updates in July!


KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities opens in Singapore!

Posted by ~Summer~ on July 11, 2019
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We love watching circus shows. Besides being entertaining and funny, I think more importantly, they inspire and remind us that we humans can stretch beyond our limits and achieve the seemingly impossible - as long as we believe and work hard towards our dreams.

That said, we have seen a handful of live circus acts in the past few years and there are times when I can't help but wonder "Is there gonna be anything new this time?" because there has to come a time when ideas run out, when we have watched too many circus shows and when the acts just start to repeat themselves, right?

Well, I was proven to be wrong when we were at the premiere of KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities last weekend. I can't tell you how many times I held my breath, went "Wowwww", thought to myself "How do they even do this?", felt my jaw drop, my heart stop and my mind blown. Oh my gosh. It still makes me tremble and feel excited as I write this and I can't even begin to describe how we were awestruck by the show. Even the kids enjoyed it from start to end and couldn't stop talking about how incredible everything was to them - from the whimsical setups and fascinating costumes to the amazing acrobatics and breathtaking stunts. Cirque du Soleil has never disappointed us but after watching KURIOS, I have to say this is their best production to date and it will definitely be a shame if you miss it.


Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where perspectives are transformed and everything becomes possible. Set in the 19th century in a steampunk world, a scientist - the Seeker - believes that there is a hidden world out there and invents a machine that defies the laws of time, space, and dimension. What is real and what is not? Be prepared as the cast of 47 artists from 17 countries - including world-class gymnasts, acrobats, contortionists, hand-puppeteers, yo-yo wizards, clowns, actors and musicians - turn your world upside down.

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil


Did you know? All the performers are responsible for applying their own make-up for every show, which can take them between 40 minutes and two hours. More than a hundred costumes were created to dress the cast of KURIOS and there is total of 426 props used in the show, the most of any production in Cirque du Soleil’s history.

KURIOS features many innovative, unseen before acts which was part of the reason why it blew us away. I have to give my thumbs up to Cirque du Soleil for their creativity and boldness in coming up with these new acts. Their consistent theatrical, character-driven approach - and absence of animals - is something that I deeply admire too. Yup, it's all about the human limits and achieving the impossible.

I asked the hubby and kids to name me the acts they love most so here's sharing some of the our favourite highlights from the show. Check out more clips on my IG highlights or go to Cirque du Soleil's YouTube channel to see more. Before that, here's sharing KURIOS' official trailer which will give you a good idea of what to expect.



1) BANQUINE

This was Angel's favourite act because she was amazed by how the artists could perform such synchronized acrobatics and stack up such tall human pyramids. Their movements and timings were so precise and well-coordinated and while they made it look easy, we all know that it took lots and lots of practice, and falls, before they got to where they are today. I love how this segment has no props at all, just purely skills and determination. You've got to admire them for that.

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil

2) UPSIDE DOWN WORLD

I initially thought that this was just the usual chair balancing act and it probably wouldn't have made it on our list if so. Can you imagine our surprise when we saw that they did the handbalancing not just the right side up, but wrong side down too? Yup, there were two acrobats, one was stacking chairs up from ground and the other was hanging from the ceiling and doing the same thing - just the upside down way. I couldn't keep my eyes off this act and the upside down perspective was so refreshing too - there were gasps from the audience when we looked up and even though we might have an idea of what was coming, it was very thrilling to see the cast upside down and all they had were wires hooked to their backs. It was simply amazing!

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil

3) ACRO NET

This was the hubby and Asher's favourite act of all. The boy was saying "It's like a trampoline" and "How they jump so high?!" while the hubby was impressed by the flawless teamwork among the artists. Using a wide net, they did somersaults, flips and jumped up high onto a ladder in the air, even catching each other in the midst. The hubby said it was not easy to keep the momentum going and the team had to work hand in hand to catch the correct timings, help the peformer in the middle break fall and enable him to keep up the height of his jump. A team effort and a job well done!

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil

4) ROLA BOLA

This balancing act was Ariel's favourite one and she was truly amazed by 'the uncle who can balance on cylinders'.  Sure enough, we have seen this act over the years and while it has always been an exciting one because it looks like the performer could fall over any time, KURIOS took it to the next level when this artist had to do it in the air while moving to and fro on a big swing. Yup, impossible, right? And surprisingly, he did it so well! We had the chance to meet him afterwards and I told him in person how awesome his act was and how much my kids enjoyed it.

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil

5) THEATRE OF HANDS

This is the one that started off slow and was unlike any other Cirque du Soleil acts we had seen so far. I mean, hand puppeteers? Surely that's not their forte and a highlight of the show, right? It turned out that all five of us enjoyed this segment so much because of the creativity, humour, expert techniques and seamless flow. The hands told the story of a person, clad in miniature hat and and shoes no less, who could dance hip-hop, swim and eventually fell in love. It was amazing to see how they filmed it right before our eyes and while this didn't make our hearts stop like those signature death-defying stunts, it did capture all of our hearts and left behind such a wonderful memory of the show.

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil


Other than the above five acts which have been highlighted, audiences are also look forward to:

- Aerial Bike
No trapeze act? Don't worry, they've got one that's even better - a bike that takes off into the air. See how the female performer does trapeze like tricks on it and even turns it upside down. She is so strong and inspiring!

- Contortion
These contortionists never fail to draw all the 'oooohs' and 'aaahhhhs' because they can do what we feel is humanly impossible. Flexible, strong, steadfast and unwavering - you have our admiration.

- Yo-Yos
Be amazed by the tricks and techniques from the two-time world Yo-Yo champion Black. How can he have perfect control and be so masterful at these Yo-Yos?

- Aerial Straps
See how the conjoined twins get separated as they fly above the stage and do amazing acrobatics that require incredible strength. They were literally flying above the audience seated at the front so that was quite a thrill to see them up close.

- Chaos Synchro 1900
We love juggling acts but this juggler takes it to the next level - both literally and metaphorically. What I love most is how he combines with dancers and percussionists to bring forth an amazing act with catchy beats that create a fantastic atmosphere for the audience.

- The Invisible Circus
This amused the kids most because we've "never seen anything like this.. and we never will". Yup, a circus made of cast who cannot be seen - including a lion - be stunned and keep your eyes peeled to the stage to see what happens next!

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil


Image credit: Cirque du Soleil
Also, don't forget to admire all the beautiful and intricately designed costumes on the characters who each plays an important role in the show. One of our favourite moments was seeing how Mini Lili emerged from Mr Microcosmos' big belly - that utterly surprised everyone in the audience too.

Image credit: Cirque du Soleil

KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities is definitely a spectacular show that we will talk about fondly for a long time and we will always remember how it took our breaths away. It is suitable for the entire family and even the little ones will be fascinated, amazed and hopefully inspired by all the astounding acts. Catch it from now to 18 August at Under The Big Top!





Thanks for having us at the premiere, Sliding Doors Entertainment, and for your dedication and continuous efforts to bring wonderful shows to our shore.

******

KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities

EVENT DATE
Sat, 6 Jul - Sun, 18 Aug 2019
Tues - Fri: 4.30pm, 8pm
Sat: 4.30pm, 8pm
Sun: 1.30pm, 5pm


VENUE
Under the Big Top
Bayfront Avenue, beside Marina Bay Sands

DURATION
Approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes
(including 30 minutes interval)


TICKET PRICING
From $95 onwards for adults and $85 for children (aged 2-12) 
Note: Children under 2 years of age may be admitted free of charge provided they do not occupy a seat (they must be seated on the lap of a parent or guardian). 

Get your tickets here before they are all gone! For more information about the show, go to https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios.

Disclosure: We were invited by Sliding Doors Entertainment to the premiere of KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities in exchange for writing this review. All photographs are my own, unless credited otherwise. All opinions are our own.


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