Win a trip to the 2011 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix!

f1 night race

You know the one right? It’s the only F1 GP in the entire world with a night race. I reckon it was an ingenious twist to the F1 format when it first came out – it stands out from all the others and makes Singapore one of the places to be if you’re an F1 fan!

f1 singapore

The actual race will start on the 25th of September with a total of 61 laps, making it a 309.316 km drive. Well, the F1 Grand Prix is of course the highlight of the event but I wonder if you know how they live in Singapore? ;)

sharika

The 2011 Grand Prix Season Singapore lasts from 16-25th of September and is set with parties, fashion shows and performances throughout the season. It comes at a reputed entertainment lineup bill of SGD 5,000,000. That’s slightly over RM 12 million!

shaggy

This mostly goes toward their Live Louder than Life theme this year with a focus on music performances and dance parties. If you remember last year’s theme, it was “It’s Gonna Get Loud” and this year’s will expand on that by giving F1 racing enthusiasts the experience of a lifetime by introducing them to the exciting and glamorous Singapore nightlife!

singapura

That’s right, no one goes to just the race itself. From experience in the F1 races in Melbourne and Sepang, there’s loads of events going on at the time to cater to the fans during the lulls in the action on track.

linkin park

Singapore is one of the most glamorous places to party in Asia – I believe they’re at the #1 spot or close to it according to this clubbing report I read. They’ve got an outstanding lineup of international artists this year – Chemical Brothers, Linkin Park and Shakira is just the tip of the triple A list entertainers coming in.

Here are highlights of the few parties that I think is going to be a blast:

Amber Lounge & Amber Lounge Fashion Singapore
Date: 24 to 25 September 2011
Venue: Temasek Reflection (Water wall behind Millenia Walk)

This is an annual VIP party with F1 drivers and stunning models gracing the club with a fashion show set to beats of international Djs from London to St Tropez.

chem bros

Avalon
Date: 16 to 25 September 2011
Venue: Marina Bay Sands, South Crystal Pavilion

The Chemical Brothers are going to spin here! It’s headlined by The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 and also features Benny Banassi (!!!), Massive Attack and Boy George. The entire list is too long to well, list here, but it’s hard to argue with the Chem Bros playing Dig Your Own Hole while you soak in the panoramic views of Marina Bay…it’s Avalon, the hottest club in Singapore!

Red Hot Racing Weekend @ St James Power Station
Date: 23 to 25 September 2011
Venue: St James Power Station

DJ Angie Vu Ha – Asia’s first supermodel DJ will be spinning there on the 23rd of September. You can also race on the F1 simulators and stand a chance to win exclusive Ferrari merchandize. Need I say more? :)

Bollywood

Worldwide Festival
Date: 16 to 18 September 2011
Venue: Zouk & Velvet Underground (16 September), Avalon (17 September), Tanjong Beach Club (18 September)

Yes, it’s BACK! The Worldwide Festival returns with artists which includes Kyoto Jazz Massive, Floating Points, Mala, Gilles Peterson, Shuya Oniko and more! It’s 3 days of partying in indoor and outdoor venues. This is going to be awesome, there’s nothing quite like a beach party.

performers

Anyway, if you’re a fan of both F1 and partying (it seems like there is a high correlation between the two) you can gear up to the actual event by participating in the Grand Prix PartyBlaster contest. You can hear sample tracks from the top DJ’s who will be performing at the Grand Prix Season Singapore parties and share them.

The best part is when you share a new track with your Facebook or Twitter friends, you’ll unlock a new one!

check

No, I’m just using a US-based proxy. Excellent job in detecting and allowing me to select the correct country though – it’s the little things that matter.

grand prix partyblaster

The best thing about this application is that you get to win a FREE trip for two to Singapore, inclusive of race tickets, airfare, 4D3N accommodation and access to selected clubs and parties all weekend, if you’re the “loudest” (most number of posts shared) user.

twirling

…and hey, even if you don’t win, you’ll have a blast (pun intended) listening to the A list DJ’s. Turn on, tune in, drop out, at YourSingapore.com!

Tai Wah pork noodles @ Singapore Food Trail

tai wah pork noodles

Singapore Food Trail is located below the Singapore Flyer and aims to bring all the best hawker food in Singapore to one place. It’s kinda like the Lot 10 food court in KL – the crème de la crème of hawker food all represented in a single place.

singapore food trail

The setup in Singapore Food Trail has a lot of paraphernalia from the good ol’ days to better set the ambiance. There’s also an al fresco area for those who prefers to eat their food in a more authentic setting.

bird nest

I was pretty parched when I got there so I ordered a Bird’s Nest Drink for SGD 2.50. You can have it hot or cold and the large one comes in that huge tin mug your grandma drinks tea out of (or at least my grandma did) so it’s a pretty generous serving.

pork noodle

There’s a lot of tempting food around but I settled on High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodle. It has the longest queue of all the stalls and I reckon that if it’s so popular, I might as well try it. The people in front of me all ordered the pork noodle with broth (SGD 5) which is their flagship dish.

pork noodle stall

I’m not a big fan of soup dishes though so I went with the dry option. I also upsized it to medium for SGD 7. The dry pork noodle is exactly the same as the one with broth, except they seperate the soup into another bowl so it doesn’t saturate the noodles.

pork noodle soup

The Tai Wah pork noodle broth is really something to behold. You can see the quality of the soup with your naked eye – it takes a lot of boiling to get the marrow and nice bits out of pork bones and it makes the soup really good. I wished I had ordered the regular version, I wanted more of the soup.

pork noodle dry

The pork noodles is awesome too – it has most parts of the pig inside it and the noodles are nicely flavored with a slightly spicy sauce. There’s pork wantons, pork belly, pork meat balls, pork liver and even a sprinkling of dried cuttlefish. The dried cuttlefish is ingenious – it adds texture and flavor as well as a break from all the porcine goodness in the noodles.

pork noodle tiger

It’s goes very well with a cold Tiger on a hot Singaporean afternoon. Gotta drink the local suds when you’re there. :)

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!

orang utan

Heh! I’ve always wanted to title a blog post like that. In this case, there is at least some semblance of logical justification for it. I was in Singapore a few weeks ago and one of the things that we did was have breakfast with orang utans. There were also pythons for you to hold, it was a great start to the morning, truth to be told.

python

However, the highlights of my trip there were mostly towards the arts and theater scene that Singapore has to offer. I bugged Kristine to organize my itinerary around this show by Yukichi Matsumoto which I have been itching to catch. It showed at the Singapore Arts Festival 2011 and this is the first time the Ishinha theater group has done a performance outside of Japan.

entrance

Ishinha has very high standards for their stages and choreography. They build the set and props themselves and they’re quite partial about how it turns out. It was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen. It’s held outdoors and I love the passion they put into their work – “This is a rain or shine event”.

rain shine

I expected this to be a niche show but I was surprised to see the packed. There were two Japanese men seated to my right and a bunch of Caucasians on holiday on my left. The seats are stadium type wooden boards – no frills but we managed to sit very comfortably by NOT sitting on the seats itself but on the one below you and using your seat as a backrest.

seating

I can’t credit myself for that though – the bunch of Caucasian ladies started sliding down and I thought that looked like a mighty fine position to be sitting in. You’re not disturbing anyone and your chiropractor would thank you for it. It’s all about the back support. Thus, I slid down as well and the woman grinned at me and said “It’s much more comfortable this way, eh?”

Yes, it is ma’am. Yes indeed. :)

programme

When A Grey Taiwanese Cow Stretched is a 120 minute performance with no intervals. You have to come in before it starts or the doors close. That’s the way to go about it. No disturbances from late arrivals.

I was actually very surprised by the performance. I expected it to be good but it just went and blew my mind.

ishinha

The stage structure is built in front of a city landscape which is integral to the story as a juxtaposition. When A Grey Taiwanese Cow Stretched explores a lot of themes from migrants, to the war and occupation of Japanese troops and how it affects their people. It’s all in Japanese and there’s subtitles to the side but what I really enjoyed was they way it was performed.

In lieu of dialogue, they use a form of rap to communicate. Known as Jan Jan Opera language, it’s a kind of Osakan street rap – it goes from a rapid staccato to a slow, ponderous chant. It’s quite unique and a very effective way to get the narrative across.

when a grey taiwanese cow stretched

It’s a very intense performance, especially if you have good seats (Thanks Kristine!). Don’t be surprised to see a troop of performers staring you down and intensely shouting about the pain they feel. One particular bit of dialogue that I found very well executed and poignant is:

You had affairs!
South American women.
With big bottoms!
Did you notice their breasts?
Shangri-la.
Paradise, isn’t it?
*sarcastic

I just wish I had enough money leftover to buy the soundtrack, it’s definitely worth it.

artscience museum

I also visited the ArtScience Museum for Salvador Dali’s work. The museum is shaped like a lotus (though some say it looks like a baseball mitt, including myself) and it’s actually quite vast inside.

I don’t think captions would do the great man’s work justice so I’m just going to post up the photos:

dali

melting clock

statue

The other thing that I really enjoyed was The Lion King at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

pride rock

I’ve seen the West End production but the Singapore one was even better. The acoustics and the seating arrangements beats the one in Lyceum Theater near Convent Garden.

It’s just progress – the Marina Bay Sands theater is just more modern.

I also loved how they localized The Lion King Musical with a sprinkling of Mandarin and references to the Merlion. Don’t expect them to break into a refrain of “The (Mer)lion sleeps tonight” but there’s enough little touches that differentiates it and it’s an awesome performance by a new cast assembled from around the world.

pumba

Now, why don’t we get all this stuff in Malaysia? Oh well, at least I can visit Singapore instead of flying all the way to London next time I want to see a good theater performance.

lion king cast

Oh, by the way these are some of the upcoming performances in Singapore:

Cirque Éloize iD – Now until 26 June 2011
Kylie Minogue – Aphrodite Live -29 June 2011
The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber – 7 to 17 July 2011
Korean Music Wave 2011 – 15 July 2011
Paramore Live in Concert – 21 Aug 2011

If you’re interested in all that Singapore has to offer, hop on over to YourSingapore.com where there’s something for everyone!

Things I did in Singapore

sentosa

Sentosa! You know the best thing about traveling solo is that you meet all sorts of people from different countries. This is Mai from Thailand. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here and there’s a lot of new additions…

…like the luge. My first luge experience was when I was 13 while on family trip to New Zealand. The luge in Sentosa is from a Kiwi company too.

studio m hotel

I stayed at Studio M Hotel which has an awesome concept – your room basically has two floors – the ground floor is where you work, chill and take care of your sanitary needs and there’s a loft upstairs where you sleep. I was half afraid I’ll wake up, fall out of bed and come crashing down to the ground floor but no, that didn’t happen, so fear not. ;)

singapore arts festival

Singapore Arts Festival 2011. I was particularly interested in this one. It’s an outdoor arts fest which happens annually and there was one show in particular that I wanted to catch.

When A Grey Taiwanese Cow Stretched. I ran out of hyperbolic adjectives trying to describe this Osakan rap theater performance – moving, groundbreaking, engaging. It’s every bit as I had hoped it would turn out to be. It’s the first time they’re showing it outside of Japan too.

salvadore dali

Salvador Dali had an exhibition in the ArtsScience Center too. I love his work. You feel like you’re tripping when you’re not. Hands down my favorite artist overall – my favorite piece of work would be Edmund Munch’s The Scream but Dali is in a class of his own.

iberico pork

Pre-theatre tapas at Santi. I love the Iberico pork. Lovely porcine delights.

lion king singapore

The Lion King! Yup, the Singapore performance is every bit as good as the West End cast and they had a lot of localizations too. Gotta love that touch.

ku de ta

Drinks @ Ku De Ta with Joyce and Clem after the show. Amazing views.

universal studios singapore

Universal Studios Singapore!

battlestar galactica

I headed straight for the Battlestar Galactica rides – it was a staggering 75 minute wait for the Human and a 90 minute wait for the Cylon but I went for both anyway…

merchandize

…and got some of the merchandize to boot. Yay! I’m a huge fan.

tai wah pork noodle

I ended it with a large bowl of Tai Wah Pork Noodle and a bottle of Tiger in the Singapore Food Trail. :)

There’s so much I still haven’t written about – the trip was amazing, loved the art scene and theaters in particular. Thanks to Singapore Tourism Board for having me!

seal

…and no, this is NOT a seal. :p

O woe! I lost in Resorts World Sentosa casino, chaos theory and the SGD 400 text message

resorts world sentosa casino

Dammit! I popped out of Universal Studios for a quick smoke (you get a UV chop for reentry) and the casino was just beside it. I had told myself:

DO NOT STEP INTO IT

last night. I passed by it on my way in but never thought about going in. It had an:

ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTERS HERE

large blinking neon sign in my head.

…but I succumbed. *hangs head

I wanted a mere SGD 100 win – just one bet at the Baccarat table – that was how modest I was vs my 5 figure bets last time. I just exchanged SGD 200 for chips.

Thus, I put SGD 100 on a hot table where everyone else had their chips on Player as well, and also on Tie. I had a STRONG URGE to move it to Banker to ruin everyone’s mojo but I didn’t. I also wanted to bet on Tie since in my last sojourn to the casino it came out as a Tie the first time…but I didn’t.

Guess what?

Round 1:
Tie

Remaining chips: SGD 200 (no win or lose)

Round 2:
Banker wins with a fucking natural nine (Ace, 9)
Everyone was still on Player – literally thousands on the Player side and when the Tie came I had an EVEN STRONGER URGE to move my chips to Banker.

This would have ended in a happily ever after story with a small SGD 100 win (my aim) if that had been the case. It wasn’t.

Remaining chips: SGD 100

I moved to another table since there’s this dude exchanging money and I wanted to be fast.

Round 3:
I told myself, don’t let the pitfalls of being attached to Player dictate your bets. I didn’t listen. I bet on Player.
Banker Wins.

Remaining chips: SGD 0

I topped up another SGD 200 for the buy in. Now I have used SGD 400 (about RM 1,000) in the casino and decided to end it once and for all.

Remaining chips: SGD 200 (after another SGD 200 top up for a total of SGD 400)

Round 3:
I put SGD 200 on Player despite it being an obvious Banker dragon (roll) on the table.
Player came out with a 7, which I thought was pretty safe, considering Banker only had a 3.
Banker drew again for an 8.
FML.

Remaining chips: SGD 0 (again)

Considering I only brought SGD 300 over and I lost SGD 400 (which is technically SGD 200 if you recall that I won SGD 200 in Marina Bay Sands casino) I didn’t have any more money to bet since I used some money for topping up taxi fares, drinks at Ku De Ta and a souvenir at Battlestar Galactica.

I think I’m down to SGD 12 or so in my wallet.

I shouldn’t have gone in. I told myself the SGD 200 win at Marina Bay Sands casino was good enough but I went through that door anyway. I lost SGD 400 (about RM 1,000) in the process. It took just 10 minutes to lose that.

It seems that I’m cursed in Genting casinos. :p

I’m totally broke now and it’s all my fault. T_T

Oh well, at least they checked my age to verify that I was above 21. Small consolation. :x

Chaos theory and the SGD 400 text message

You know how chaos theory goes right? Anyway, being broke is no fun, but looking back, if I didn’t lose in the casino, I wouldn’t have gotten a text message from an old friend (13 years since we first met).

It was technically two text messages and a phone call but it totally made my day. I mean, seriously, it’s damn worth it if chaos theory deems that must happen for this to happen. Heh!

Thank you for making my day. You know who you are. I still can’t wipe this stupid grin off my face. smirk

15 minutes in Marina Bay Sands casino = pure win

marina bay sands casino

Now there I was, arriving at Santi at 6:15 pm for the 6:30 pm dinner (tend to be on the early side) when this vista greeted me. I didn’t come to gamble though – I just have SGD 300 (about RM 750) on me so I opened the door the Santi…except it didn’t open. The lady came out and told me that they open their doors at 6:30 pm so I had 15 minutes to kill.

…where else can I go? smirk

I strolled down to the casino and I AM SAD TO REPORT THAT NO ONE BOTHERED CHECKING MY AGE. Has my liver been ravaged by my years of abuse that I look my age again (which is 30, btw)?

Saddened by the fact that they only wanted to see the cover of my passport to verify that I was a foreigner (locals have to pay a fee to enter the casino) I morosely trudged down and went to the nearest Baccarat table.

This was a cold table (meaning it’s empty, no punters playing and you’re the first one to warm the seats and cut the deck) so I sat at the lucky Number 6 spot and exchanged SGD 200 for chips.

…now I’m REALLY BROKE this month (and the next) so this is the MAXIMUM I am willing to wager. I sat down on a minimum SGD 100 bet table so I had to bet with a black SGD 100 chip each time. However, that was the plan anyway, I would have bet that amount even on smaller buy in tables coz I really don’t see the point in putting down SGD 25.

Well, since it was a cold table, the female dealer shuffled the cards while I played with my chips. I wanted to bet on Tie since this baccarat table pays out 8-1 for a tie. However, I am also VERY attached to wagering on Player (a weakness that even 5 figure losses has not been able to remedy) so I put in on Player instead. T_T

Buy in: SGD 200

Dealer says: “Cards facing up or down?”

I say: “All face up, let’s make this quick I need to be somewhere in 15 minutes.”

Round 1:
SGD 100 on Player
Player draws a natural 8
AND BANKER DRAWS AN 8 AS WELL
FML it was a Tie after all. >.<
Chips remaining: SGD 200 (no one wins or loses on straight bets if it’s a tie)

Round 2:
SGD 100 on Player
Player draws a natural 9
I didn’t even have to look at the Banker
WIN SGD 100
Chips remaining: SGD 300

Round 3:
SGD 100 on Player
Player draws King
Banker draws an Jack
Player draws a 3
A THREE!!! WTF!
Banker draws a 5
FML MAX
Player draws ANOTHER FACE CARD – QUEEN! (which means I’m still at 3)
Banker draws…a 6
Heh! Well, that was three straight wins in a row.
BTW, that makes Banker 1, lower than a 3.
Chips remaining: SGD 400 (nett win of SGD 200)

I didn’t even want to bet anymore – three straight wins in a row (or at least no losses) is good enough for me. I wasn’t even at the table for more than 3 minutes, all in all. The rest of the time was spent accidentally walking out and queuing in to come in again and going to the cashier and I was STILL early for dinner – had to wait about 2 minutes.

SGD 200 (around RM 500) is not that much but it covers some of my Singapore expenses and it’ll help with groceries when I’m broke for the next two months. :D

marina bay sands casino chips

Yes, this is the infamous toilet shot again, coz casinos generally frown upon cameras – you can bring it in but you probably can’t take photos without getting kicked out. Except in Amsterdam.

I just can’t wait to be king!

lion king musical

I’m flying to Singapore this weekend to catch The Lion King musical (among other things). I’ll be staying at the awesome Studio M hotel near Clarke Quay and there’s a lot of fun stuff on my itinerary that I’m really looking forward to! I’ll also be watching Matsumoto’s theater performance When a Gray Taiwanese Cow Stretched at the Singapore Arts Festival.

This is the first time Ishinha’s play is showing outside Japan and being a huge fan of theater, I know I’ll love it! I made a special request to see the play (thanks Kristine!) so my itinerary is kinda packed to accommodate for this but it’s all going to be great fun since I haven’t been to Singapore in a while.

It’s time to pack and grab my passport. I can’t wait to go! :)

I’m going to Singapore!

delucca

I attended a dinner hosted by Singapore Tourism Board a couple of days ago at Delucca, One Residency. The dinner was held to unveil the new YourSingapore.com site on the digital front with a blogger engagement program. It just so happens that I’m one of the two bloggers going on an all expenses paid trip to Singapore! :)

delucca kristine

The restaurant was decked out with banners displaying the different facets of Singapore. That’s the lovely Kristine over there – in hindsight, it was a bad idea to stand next to her in my color clashing outfit. ;) I just got back to KL and most of my wardrobe is still at the laundry. Heh!

fresh

Fresh here was the one who pointed out that my shirt and jeans color combination makes her want to stab her own eyes out with a hot poker. Okay, she didn’t exactly say those words but that was the gist of it. Easy to say when you have a color matching outfit to the romance themed banner. :p

delucca restaurant

I love the themed banners in the restaurant displaying the different facets of Singapore. There was a bit of mingling around and then we all settled down for dinner.

bread

Delucca is an Italian restaurant with a simple but superb starter of bread drizzled with olive oil and oregano.

aud

I’m an avid traveller and I love to go for everything from long trips to Europe to short sojourns a few hours drive away from KL. It’s a passion that my family has imbued in me – we have a tradition of going on at least one family vacation a year.

delucca interior

I first visited Singapore when I was 7 years old. I can’t remember the details of it but I remember it as a very safe place. It still is – I was there 8 months ago, and I had no worries at all walking down the street at 3 am in the morning. I don’t believe there’s any other city in the world where you can do that without fear of being mugged or worse.

door gift

Well, Singapore has changed a lot since then. It’s a constantly changing city – that’s part of the appeal – they manage to preserve their heritage while moving forward and modernizing the city. It’s the perfect tourist destination. It was when I went on all those annual family trips and it still is. I just turned 30 and I’ll continue the family tradition with my own when the time comes. :)

prawns

Back to the dinner, there was a lot of good food and wine. I particularly liked the Panzanella Gamberetto – it’s a Tuscan bread salad with poached fresh water prawns, cherry tomatoes, shallots, olives and balsamic dressing. The prawns were succulent!

gerald

It was a great start to the launch of the new website. Gerald, the Area Director of Singapore Tourism Board took the stage and went through YourSingapore.com – their new site which allows you to see country specific promotions, upcoming events and festivals and even an intuitive travel planner where you can organize your own itinerary.

celebrity-bloggers

They also have a Facebook page where you can see the latest offers and promotions. It’s a great platform for interacting with the Singapore Tourism Board staff and other like minded travellers. There are discussions about everything Singapore and the Facebook page nicely complements the YourSingapore.com website by providing a sense of community.

I was filming the speech when I heard that I was one of the bloggers who will be going to Singapore based on the itinerary that I made earlier this week. w00t!

lion-king

I’ll be going to see The Lion King musical at Marina Bay Sands! This is the first South-East Asian premiere and tickets were given out during the dinner along with shopping vouchers during a contest. I’ve seen the cast perform at West End when I went to London earlier this year and it’ll be great to see the Singapore production. I hear the cast is sourced from London too!

vogage-de-la-vie

Another highlight would be Voyage de la Vie, the theatrical rock circus by Mark Fisher at Resorts World Sentosa. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this and I can’t wait to see it for myself.

universal-studios

I also put Universal Studios Singapore into my itinerary – it’s a place that I’ll love to visit. I’m a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica (it’s an intelligent science fiction series – kinda like Star Trek for mature audiences who can understand the nuances of politics) and there a new ride based on the show. It’s dubbed a “duelling roller coaster” with two simultaneous rides going around and with near collisions mere centimeters apart! I’m excited already. Heh!

bloggerholic

My itinerary is a mixture of culture, adventure, nature and pleasure so I named it such. You can view it here or plan your very own itinerary. It’s really user friendly and everything Singapore has to offer is categorized with excerpts so you can just drag and drop to plan your trip there.

itinerary

I also added some island hopping action (did you know you can see dolphins in Singapore?), a bit of nightlife (you haven’t been to Singapore until you’ve sipped the original Singapore Sling in Long Bar at Raffles Hotel), and a pampering session at a spa.

yoursingapore

The best thing about YourSingapore.com (besides the nifty itinerary planner, which caters for everything from travel to health care tourism) is the country specific deals. There is a lot of promotions going on and you can choose whatever floats your boat.

cindy

There’s one in particular that caught my eye – the Ultimate Fun at Universal Studios Singapore, Resorts World Singapore package which starts from 1st April to 31st July 2011. You can choose to stay from a variety of hotels – including Hard Rock Hotel Singapore and 2 x 1 day adult passes into Universal Studios Singapore. You’ll also get Resorts World Sentosa Singapore gift vouchers worth S$25 and other offers. Choose from a 2D/1N or 3D/2N stay and the prices starts from just S$488 for two!

I think that’s a really great deal.

winner

It was a great dinner and everyone went home with something even if they didn’t win the prizes in the contest. Thanks Singapore Tourism Board!

group

YourSingapore.com allows you to see Singapore YOUR WAY. You can create your own itinerary or choose one of their suggested itineraries and customize it. It’s one of the best official tourism websites I’ve ever seen. Hop on over and check it out for yourself.

gift

See ya in Singapore! :)

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