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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Pinoy Doctor Coppélius – Well, sort of…

His CV shows his varied exposures – from working as a part-time radio announcer, a telesales representative, a mainframe programmer, a freelance Web and graphic designer, and an I.T. assistant – but Oliver dela Rosa Ocampo found his real calling in dollmaking. Yes, making dolls – which is, the dollmaker says, no kid’s game.

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In Arthur Saint-Léon’s originally choreographed ballet Coppélia (with ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter, and music by Léo Delibes), the macabre character created by E.T.A. Hoffmann (in Der Sandmann, The Sandman; and Die Puppe, The Doll) in Doctor Coppélius was turned into one who was sentimental yet comedic (albeit in a somewhat pathetic kind of way) – he made the doll Coppélia so life-like, he fell for her (a la Pygmalion) hard, he wanted to give her life. The closest he got, however, was making hearts – one heart, in particular: that of the main male character Franz – flutter with love, proving the greatness of his invention, which, many thought, was real, meaning, obviously, that he was THAT good.

Oliver dela Rosa Ocampo: “The ‘business’ idea came when I saw the voodoo dolls being sold in Session Road (Baguio City) during the Panagbenga Festival. The dolls are plain and boring, and are quite expensive. I thought maybe if I could make better looking dolls, I could sell them for profit.”

Alas, the biggest lesson supposed to be derived from the story is on the truth of love – Franz, who was engaged to be married, in the first place, realized the follies of his ways and returned to his fiancée Swanilda. What is not often (if at all) mentioned is the artistry, the focus on coming up with something good that Doctor Coppélius, in his own way, represented (the story was, after all, said to have inspired Charles Babbage – the oft-cited/attributed inventor of the computer) with his making of something what may be seen as trivial, a doll

And it is in this that Filipino dollmaker Oliver dela Rosa Ocampo shares an affinity.

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CREATIVE PIECES

“I started making these dolls early this year (2009), around January,” Ocampo recalls. “I was playing around with pieces of felt cloth one lazy Sunday, and came up with small pillow dolls (plushies). I posted (their) photos in my Facebook account, and some friends inquired about them – one even told me that it could make for a great Valentine’s Day gift.”

Early on, of course, “I had no intentions of selling them or making them for profit. When I made my first dolls, it never really crossed my mind that I could sell my creations. I gave them away as gifts to close friends,” Ocampo says. “The ‘business’ idea came when I saw the voodoo dolls being sold in Session Road (Baguio City) during the Panagbenga Festival. The dolls are plain and boring, and are quite expensive. I thought maybe if I could make better looking dolls, I could sell them for profit.”

So Ocampo experimented on various designs and materials to come up with his version of a voodoo doll.

“I added accessories, I designed the packaging, and then I posted the photos on the Internet. A few days later, people started to inquire about them and I got my first orders. I even have people asking if I could display some of my dolls in their shops,” he says.

From then on, the dollmaking business was on.

BEYOND FIELDS

Interestingly, Ocampo did not – and still do not – belong to the artistic field, as would be surmised considering his chosen field of interest.

“I’ve been with the training and development field for five years now, and I’m currently working in a business process outsourcing (BPO) company in Baguio City,” says Ocampo, who, nonetheless, has extensive background in design and advertising.

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His work experiences are as varied as his, err, materials used for dollmaking, however, having been a part-time radio announcer, a telesales representative, a mainframe programmer, a freelance Web and graphic designer, and an I.T. assistant – perhaps reflective of his educational background, since Ocampo is a graduate of Computer Programming in Business Systems from STI College in 1996, while also having an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Major in English from Baliuag University and CAP College Foundation Inc. in 1994.

LIMITED EDITIONS

“My family is very supportive of this venture. I even have my Mom help out in making some of the dolls. My Dad was the one who taught me how to use the sewing machine, in case I intend to use it for future projects. Most of my friends and co-workers buy my dolls and are really excited about them. They are the ones telling their other friends and friends of friends about my dolls,” Ocampo says of the support system he has that helped – and still helps – his entry in the field easier.

Thus, the challenge for Ocampo is not confronting homophobia, i.e. facing the erroneous association of dolls (much more dollmaking) with effeminacy, but in delivering the quality of dolls he wants. “Since my dolls are all hand-stitched, I have to limit the number of orders I get. This is very crucial to maintain the quality of the dolls that I create. And that means I cannot take in huge volumes of requests at a particular time,” he says.

There are also the expenses incurred to ensure high quality of goods. “Felt cloth is very expensive, but in order to maintain the required look of certain dolls, I do not substitute other fabric over felt cloth, however costly,” Ocampo says. “Divisoria is still the best place to get the materials that I need, so whenever I deliver orders to Manila, I take the opportunity to go there and purchase as much materials as I can.”
As far as marketing is concerned, “thanks to the Internet, I can easily reach people not just here in the Philippines, but also abroad. Word of mouth is very important, that’s why I am very critical about the quality of my dolls.”

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FORWARD LOOKING

Ocampo is already looking forward to, one day, owning his own doll shop in Baguio City – all the while offering workshops on, yes, dollmaking. For now, Ocampo’s dolls “are marketed mostly via Facebook and my Web site where I get majority of the orders. In Manila, my sister sells them in a small shop in BF Resort, Parañaque. If you’re in Baguio City, you may find them in Locus Cafe in Nevada Square. You can also check out my dolls during my weekend workshops at Cordillera Coffee in SM City Baguio,” Ocampo says.

The dollmaker is happy to have found dollmaking as a, well, call. “Aside from the profit, designing and creating these dolls help me de-stress. It also allows me to enjoy my passion for design. Whenever there are orders, I make it a point to schedule the deliveries so as not to interfere with my work. That means I get to keep my job and earn extra from the dolls,” Ocampo says.

And with that, Doctor Coppélius’ spirit (the jovial one, if it exists at all) lives on in the Philippines, as the focus on making dolls that moves, really touches people continues.

For more information about Oliver Makes Dolls, call (+63) 9296807986 ; email olivermakesdolls@gmail.com; or visit olivermakesdolls.co.nr.

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Tips for activists: How to prepare for a protest

For a protest like Pride to actually work and for change to happen, it pays to make sure the protest is tightly organized.

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One of the best ways to get the attention of our elected officials is to protest peacefully. Together our voices can be heard and we can help enact legislation to end discrimination.

For a protest like Pride to actually work and for change to happen, it pays to make sure the protest is tightly organized.

That means that everybody has to have their protest plans down pat. How? In this article, we are going to go over how you can prepare for a protest to make sure it is peaceful, you are protected and your message gets heard.

Keep it pithy

You should have your messaging on point. It should be clear to anybody there what it is that you want. 

If you can make a clever play on words, try to keep it short. That way it is easy to remember and even has a chance to go viral to make its mark on the media.

Long winded slogans are less likely to be remembered and may even have the opposite effect of your intentions.

For a protest like Pride to actually work and for change to happen, it pays to make sure the protest is tightly organized.

Put it on a shirt

When you have your slogan on point, get it on a sign and on a shirt. Your sign may get lost or damaged, but as long as you keep your shirt on your message will still get seen.

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It is easy to get your message on any kind of garment these days from a customized apron to hoodies to t-shirts. With direct to garment printing, you can put anything you want on some clothes. 

Order some with your slogan and wear one yourself and then pass some out for others to wear to really spread the message.

Go as a group

Another way to make sure your message doesn’t get drowned out at a protest is to make sure you have a group with you. If you all are wearing the same customized shirt, then it will be harder to miss the message.

Then, it is always safer to have numbers on your side. Having a group means that if something happens to you at the protest, there will be people who know you need help.

Make a plan with your group

If you are able to go with a group, make sure you are all on the same page before you leave.

Have certain times when you check in with each other in case you get separated. Also, have a meeting point where everybody has to be at a certain time when it is time to leave. 

When anybody is later than 30 minutes to get to the spot then you know something happened and you need to find your friend.

Having a group means that if something happens to you at the protest, there will be people who know you need help.

Have an emergency contact number

You may have to make a call if you get detained or if you need to coordinate with your group if you get separated.

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This can be tricky if you lose your phone or have it taken away from you. That’s why you should carry emergency numbers with you if you don’t know the number of your contact by heart.

In fact, a good idea is to write these numbers somewhere on your body. 

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Most common preventable health issues

To prevent any of these illnesses, start working out on a regular basis, reduce your food portions, and eat a healthy diet. You can consult a nutritionist and gym instructor to help you identify a diet that will suit your body and metabolic needs, as well as the best work out for you.

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The United States spends more on health care than any other nation, with over 75% of the health issues revolving around chronic conditions. Research further shows that seven out of ten people die of chronic illnesses, most of which are preventable.

Although people are constantly reminded of the importance of proper diet and workout routines, these common preventable health issues are still an issue. 

1. Obesity and overweight 

Over 70 million adults and 13.7 million kids are obese. Although you can control your weight with a healthy diet and regular work out, only 23% of US adults get the required amount of exercise in a week. Obesity increases your chances of contracting chronic illnesses such as hypertension, stroke, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, break, colon, and prostate cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, among others. To prevent any of these illnesses, start working out on a regular basis, reduce your food portions, and eat a healthy diet. You can consult a nutritionist and gym instructor to help you identify a diet that will suit your body and metabolic needs, as well as the best work out for you. 

2. Tobacco related illnesses 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that an estimated 34.2 million adults smoke cigarettes, which accounts for 13.7% of the adult population. According to the research, tobacco is responsible for one death in every five. Smoking causes cancer, leukoplakia, increases the chances of early delivery and stillbirth for pregnant mothers, and teeth decay and loss. While a dentist can help with teeth whitening and decay, most people still wonder; is charcoal toothpaste safe, and can it be used to whiten teeth? While charcoal is known to absorb some poison and keep it from spreading in your body, it does have some negative effects that outweigh any positive aspects you might see at first. The best option is to visit a dentist and quit smoking.

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3. Drugs and alcohol abuse 

Without a doubt, there are many illnesses associated with drugs and substance abuse. While they don’t in themselves cause illnesses, they increase infection risks for diseases such as depression and anxiety to sexually transmitted diseases. Besides this increased risk, being addicted to drugs causes problems at home, work, school, changes in behavior, money issues, and physical health issues such as lack of energy and motivation, red-eye, and weight loss or gain. Drug abuse is rampant in both young and old, with alcohol, marijuana, and cannabis being the most abused drugs. Breaking this habit requires that you get professional help and have support from your family and friends. 

We know what we ought to do to prevent these common health issues, but most people still find it challenging to start the journey. Whether it’s the belief that they can’t contract these illnesses, being ignorant, or not having enough time, being strong-willed is vital in starting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Making a step a day could be all it takes to form healthier habits that will keep these illnesses at bay. Start and keep moving despite the challenges you face.

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In the Scene

Clubs and bars must support women by cracking down on sexual aggression

Women practicing ‘feisty femininity’ overtly resist unwanted encounters and this approach can arguably play a role in ending gendered violence. However, such responses may expose women to risks and place the labour of managing unwanted incidents onto women directly.

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Photo by Nick Fewings from Unsplash.com

Nightclubs and bars must create a supportive environment that cracks down on unwanted sexual attention and allows women to enjoy their nights out, according to a new study.

Increasing numbers of women are prepared to speak back to sexual harassment while enjoying a night out with female friends by confronting the men responsible and telling them clearly and robustly that their behavior is unacceptable.

But researchers say that such a response – which they dub ‘feisty femininity’ – is complex and can result in backlash. It, therefore, needs businesses within the Night Time Economy to take seriously unwanted encounters in order to foster safer venues and help to end gendered violence.

Researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Liverpool worked with colleagues at Liverpool John Moores University to explore women’s navigation of unwanted sexual attention when in bars and nightclubs. “Unwanted Sexual Attention in the Night-Time Economy: Behaviors, Safety Strategies, and Conceptualizing ‘Feisty Femininity'” by Clare Gunby , Anna Carline, Stuart Taylor and Helena Gosling is published in Feminist Criminology.

They conducted focus groups with young women in Liverpool and discovered two broad forms for unwanted sexual attention when women went out: ‘the pick-up routine’, which men used to start sexual encounters; and ‘showing off for the lads’, where males engaged in undermining and abusive interactions with women for the purpose of impressing their male friends.

Encountering ‘the pick-up routine’ tended to prompt the use of ‘diplomatic’ rejection responses, which were carefully constructed in order to manage a potentially aggressive reaction. In contrast, ‘showing off for the lads’ approaches were more likely to spark a robust ‘feisty’ rebuttal from the targeted woman.

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Article author Dr. Clare Gunby, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, commented: “Young people, globally, are starting to demand accountability for sexist structures and norms, partly due to the re-emergence of feminism and activism on University campuses and beyond.

“Women practicing ‘feisty femininity’ overtly resist unwanted encounters and this approach can arguably play a role in ending gendered violence. However, such responses may expose women to risks and place the labour of managing unwanted incidents onto women directly.

“Indeed, our participants felt that staff in nightclubs and bars did not take their concerns around safety seriously. Hence, women’s informal strategies for dealing with unwanted attention become especially important because more formal lines of recourse often remain unavailable.

“Venues must, therefore, play a key role in creating a safe environment that makes it clear that unwanted sexual aggression will not be tolerated. There must be a multipronged approach across the Night Time Economy to addressing sexual violence.”

The study sheds light on women’s navigation of unwanted sexual attention when in bars and nightclubs – about which little is known, especially in the UK context. In addition to ‘feisty femininity’, the researchers found that women had developed three other risk management solutions:

  • ‘Emotion management’ – offering a tactful and diplomatic explanation for their lack of interest (in order to mitigate negative reactions when rejecting men).
  • ‘Men as protector’ – specifically going out with male friends or using a boyfriend (actual and mythical) to reduce the likelihood of an unwanted encounter.
  • ‘From individualism to camaraderie among the girls’ – cutting an evening short, moving to another venue, laughing off unwanted attention or stepping in to stop men from exploiting drunken friends and strangers.
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“There was a shared reticence to report unwanted incidents to venue staff or police as women felt that any report would be shrugged off and that no one would care due to the perceived normality of such practices when out in bars and nightclubs,” Dr. Gunby notes.

“The lack of formal sanction for such behaviors could arguably play a role in their maintenance, prompting women to fill this gap by taking it upon themselves to monitor friends and strangers.”

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Health & Wellness

Guide to dealing with a new mental health diagnosis

It’s important to remember that mental health is a very wide categorization and not all disorders are the same or even similar.

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It’s estimated that around one-third of use will have to deal with a mental health issue at some point in our lives. But although there are still those who don’t understand fully how mental health works the stigma surrounding such diagnosis is thankfully on the decline.

It’s important to know how to deal with a diagnosis of this kind. It can be very upsetting and confusing, you will no doubt have lots of questions but it can also be a very good time because it means you are suddenly on the course to getting the help you need and this will ensure that you can live your life in a better manner. This is the start of a new phase of your life, and here we will look at some of the ways to start dealing with this situation.

Read Up on Your Diagnosis

Although we are as guilty of anyone of doing this it’s important to remember that mental health is a very wide categorization and not all disorders are the same or even similar. If you take depression as a particular example, even this is a very vague diagnosis and can vary wildly in both its symptoms and its severity. Other conditions such as schizophrenia can exhibit symptoms such as hallucinations, both auditory and visual, delusions of grandeur and you can have all or some of these and they can come and go. So whatever you have it’s good to get an idea of what the symptoms are and what the causes of the condition are as well.

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Look for Support

These days it’s important to know that you don’t need to suffer alone and there are plenty of resources and sources of help. First of all, you will have the doctor or Psychologist who diagnosed you and they should always be your first port of call for support. If you stay on top of your condition and regularly stay in touch with your medical professionals then it can prevent relapses and critical issues, even having to end up being admitted to hospital. But if you do end up having to spend some time in a hospital ward then it’s not the big issue it was in the past. You are suffering from an illness and shouldn’t feel bad for seeking medical help, think about it you wouldn’t berate a cancer sufferer for taking chemotherapy, so mental health treatment should be no different.

Permanent or Temporary

It’s also important to remember that not all mental health conditions are permanent, some of them indeed are and you might need to manage them throughout your life. However, you can end up with a reactionary condition that is temporary. This can be a reaction to a stressful life event if this is the case understanding adjustment disorders is very important.

Be Patient

Patience is also a good quality to have. Being diagnosed will a mental health issue can be a long process, and it may have taken a good while to even get to this stage. What you also find is that once you have the diagnosis it can take a lot of trial and error to get the right medication and the correct dose, so bear with it while they take the time to work it out, this is fairly normal.

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Talk to Your Family

Your family is most likely feeling a little apprehensive as well as often in a family setting they are dealing with something like this for the first time. So it leaves your loved ones feeling unable to help and not knowing how they can best be supportive. What can be helpful to them, and to you, is keeping them updated with how things are going, and they will then have more of an idea of what’s going on.

Dealing With Being Misunderstood

Although we mentioned at the start that awareness of mental health issues is much improved from where it has been in the past there is still a great deal of misunderstanding of what certain conditions are all about. If we take schizophrenia as an example, many people still confuse that with split personality syndrome, which in itself is a condition that is disputed as to its existence. Mental health is always a field that is progressing and new conditions and diagnoses are coming around all of the time, if we take gender reassignment, there are still those who wish to try to force individuals into a gender identity they don’t agree with can lead to poor mental health results. 

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Travel

Why a used car could be perfect for a backpacker in Australia

If you are giving the matter some serious thought, let’s look at why a used car makes for an ideal solution for a backpacker in Australia.

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While backpacking around Australia is one of the best ways to see the country, sometimes it can be a bit difficult to sort out transportation. Ridesharing is an option, but it is not always feasible. When you are roughing it and living out of your backpack, you may also not always have the budget for plane flights and more luxurious travel options. 

For these reasons, investing in a used car can make a lot of sense for a backpacker in Australia. If you are a little light on funds, or if you want to use your savings for other purposes during your travels, you can easily find low rates when it comes to financing a used car loan

If you are giving the matter some serious thought, let’s look at why a used car makes for an ideal solution for a backpacker in Australia.

Freedom Of Movement

One of the biggest advantages of having access to a used car as a backpacker in search of adventure is the ability to move freely at your own pace. Used cars will allow you to move around the country where you want and when you want. This makes it ideal for spending more time seeing the things that intrigue you the most and to bypass the areas that are less interesting to you.

Conversely, relying on public transportation or even plane flights places you at the mercy of the schedules set by the companies involved. You are also likely to be more confined to larger urban centres where this type of infrastructure exists. Used cars, on the other hand, will provide you with the ability to venture into areas that are less commonly explored in the country.

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Fits With A Backpacking Budget

The great reason why buying a used car is good for a backpacker is that the price is usually just right for such a travel budget. While a new model may be out of reach for a traveller with a shoestring budget, a used car can be a prudent investment. After ensuring that the used car you are thinking of buying is in good working order and not in need of major repairs, you can be confident that the investment will provide you with affordable transportation for at least the duration of your trip.

Store Your Belongings

While a car is not always the safest place to store valuable possessions, it does represent a reasonable option for keeping your things secure. It can get tiring to constantly have to watch your backpack. Lockers are usually available at hostels and major transportation hubs, but these places are a hassle to travel back and forth to constantly.

When you have a used car at your disposal, you will be able to keep your belongings locked in the vehicle or even hidden from view in the trunk. This provides you with a more flexible means of keeping your possessions close by but does not require you to continually check in on them.

Split The Cost

Travelling with a used car also allows you to fill up the remaining spaces with fellow travellers. Beyond the benefits of meeting new people and making friends along the way, this will also allow you to cut down on the cost of fuel for your trip. By ridesharing with friends or even with trustworthy strangers, your travel budget will be able to take you further down the road.

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Used Car, New Adventures

For the reasons outlined here, consider making the investment in a used car as a backpacker. While it might seem like a bit of an investment, you will be pleasantly surprised at the many benefits that it can bring to your travel experience.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

The fears we can all face and how to overcome them

Figuring out what is causing you to feel fearful and then facing your fears is an excellent way to overcome them.

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Dealing with fear is something many people have to handle on a daily basis. Some people have such high intensity towards something they dear that it stops them doing it or causes them to feel anxious and stressed when faced with the situation. However, while it may not be something you completely get over, you can learn to deal with the fear itself. Or certainly get to a point where you are prepared to handle the situation.With that in mind, here are some of the common ways people can face their fears.

IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY.COM

Finding alternative ways to face the fear

Fear can manifest in many different ways, it may be that you develop anxiety because you have to go to the dentist. It could be that you that you fear career progression or you get anxious about anything to do with your finances. Figuring out what is causing you to feel fearful and then facing your fears is an excellent way to overcome them. You could also try alternative things to calm your nerves, such as twisted extracts, herbal remedies designed to calm you down or even therapy that can help you talk through the fears that you have and how best to combat them. 

Try and focus on other things instead of what you are afraid of

Let’s be honest, a real common fear for some people are bugs, insects, spiders and creepy crawlies. They aren’t exactly the most pleasant thing to be in the company of, and they can make your stress levels rise the moment you set eyes on them. Of course, you can try and rid your home of such things by using powerful bug sprays, repellents or gas bombs, there will always come a time where you will face it head on. Sometimes in situations like this, the best remedy is to focus on other things. Perhaps what you are doing at that moment, maybe focusing on how small they are, or just concentrating on your anxiety levels. Doing this can take the focus away from the fear and keep your mind occupied on something else. Focusing on other things can help in other scenarios such as your career, your home life and other factors that are causing you to feel fearful. 

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Be positive about the situation

I understand that it is easier said than done to be positive about things, but often this form of mindset can help you in all sorts of circumstances and dealing with something you are fearful of is one of them. A common fear might be the fear of heights, so going up tall buildings or getting on a plane may feel like the biggest challenge in the world. Positive thinking, such as remembering the feeling of liberation and exhilaration when you have faced a fear, can be a good way to feel you up with the right sort of emotion to face the fear. 

Let’s hope some of these tips help you to face your fears in the future. 

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