Sunday, July 9, 2017

“I Have The Power” Face Mask Design Competition

Advertorial

Unique face mask design competition aims to share the important community message that everyone – including kids, has the power to fight and protect themselves against allergy, cough and cold.

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Over the past one year, Polyclinics have seen an increase of people visiting the doctors for Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) which includes cough, cold and flu.

Simple personal hygiene practices such as wearing a good grade face mask when down with a cold or a cough, avoid sharing of food and washing hands regularly can help to prevent spreading of germs or inhaling of allergens.

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Following the successful launch of I have the POWER Face Mask Design Competition in 2015, Xepa-Soul Pattinson and ADEZIO Allergy & Cold Relief have rolled out the second installation of the creative face mask design competition.

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This year’s best entry wins a grand prize of a LG Pocket Photo Printer PD251 worth S$150. There are also five S$20 Roys-R-Us vouchers to be won. To participate in the competition, follow the following steps:

1. Like and share the competition post found on Allergty Cough and Cold Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/allergycoughcold/?fref=ts)
2. Follow the link available on the competition post on Facebook to download the competition photo.
3. Design the mask together with your child and cut out the artwork.
4. Send the picture of the mask, pictures of your child wearing the mask along with the completed entry form to
contest.participation@gmail.com by 31 July 2017.
* Contest is open to children residing in Singapore of age between 6 to 12 years old. Other terms and conditions apply, For more information on the competition, please visit
https://www.brand-incorporated.com/uncategorized/children-face-mask-art-design-competition/

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Retinal Detachment Surgery

It has been 2 months. It has been 2 months. Repeating to remind myself that this is probably the longest 2 months I had in my life. First time in my life that I had a chance to use my Hospitalization Leave, a full 7 weeks break.

So on that fateful day (Apr 30, Sunday, 8pm), I was wheeled into the Operating Theatre for the Retinal Detachment Surgery on my right eye. The operating table was extremely cold (maybe only those who have experienced it before will understand). Thankfully, there was a layer of warmer for me to lay down on, still I was trembling non-stop. Not sure was it due to the cold or fear.

The Senior Ophthalmologist and a few nurses crowded around me, preparing and ensuring me for the operation. Checking and double checking that I was the right patient, that I knew what type of surgery am I going for, that I am sure it was the right eye not the left eye. List and list of checks. The Surgeon came in and went through with me the procedures and assured me that it will be fine (over 90% success rate). Lastly, the Anesthetist came in and explained to me the risk and procedures of going for General Anesthetic (GA). So I was readied for the operation.

An oxygen mask was placed over my mouth.
”Take in deep and long breaths. Just relax and breathe.”
Slight nod from me and I was counting down in my head for the sleep to come. Many who have gone through GA including my dear wife have told me that it took less than 3 counts and they were knocked out. I counted to 20 and still counting, yet not sleeping. Thousands of thoughts went through my mind. Am I rejecting the anesthetic? Is the anesthetic too mild for me? Will the surgeon start without me sleeping?
”Now we are going to inject in the anesthetic, you will feel a cold feeling through your hand and body. Just relax and go to sleep.”
OMG! They are only starting now! Do I need to recount? 1-2-3…

“Dear. Dear. How are you feeling?”
I am already back in my ward, nurses are transferring me from the operation room bed to my ward bed. What happened?

So it was. I had went through my first experience of admitting into a hospital. My first experience of a drip. My first experience of going under GA. My first surgery.
The surgery was successful and it took slightly more than 3 hours.

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There are 2 big questions I asked my Surgeon, and there are the same 2 questions that most of my friends have been asking.

1. Why did it happen? What was the cause?
2. How long will it take to recover?

What actually happened?
I experienced no pain in my eye. There were no head injuries or trauma. It was not caused by wearing contact lenses. Retinal detachment happens most often when there is a head impact or there will be higher risks if you are into activities like bungee jump, skydiving or deep sea diving. Without a doubt, if you know me, I would never engage in such activities. For goodness sake, I don’t even dare to take the Viking Ship ride.

So the doctors have to exact explanation why I had a retinal detachment. There are some possible explanations.

1. High degree of myopia (near-sightedness) means higher risk. High myopia would cause a lengthening of the eyeball. The elongation of the eyeball strains the attachment of the retina. Simply said, the higher the degree of near-sightedness, the higher the risk of having retinal detachment. The prevention for this is to disallow progressive myopia to happen (and that is something else totally). For reference, my degree of myopia is -850 (left eye) and -950 (right eye).

2. Aging has caused the vitreous to slowly shrink. The vitreous is gel-like substance inside the eyeball that helps the eye to maintain a round shape. When the vitreous shrinks and starts to separates from the eye (layman term, no longer sticking onto the interior of the eye), you will have a vitreous detachment. In most cases, a vitreous detachment is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment. A note of reference, a vitreous detachment is a common condition that usually affects people over age 50, and is very common after age 80.

Hence, the combination 1 & 2 is probably the cause of retinal detachment in my case.

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What are the symptoms of vitreous detachment? This is a crucial question and probably one of the main reason why I am writing this post to share with all of you.
As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina that we may notice as floaters, which may appear as little “cobwebs” or specks that seems to float about in your field of vision. If you try to look at these shadows they seems to dart away quickly.
One symptoms of a vitreous detachment is a small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. This is what happened in my case. The increase in floaters may be accompanied by flashes of light (lightning streaks) in your peripheral, or side, vision.

Like I mentioned earlier, a vitreous detachment is common as we age, and is usually not sight-threatening. But when a vitreous detaches it may cause a pull on the retina and if the pull is hard enough, it will cause a macular hole aka retinal tear.
(Side note: if you have a macular hole in one eye, there is a 10-15% chance that a macular hole will develop in the other eye over your lifetime.)
When a macular hole happens, this can lead to retinal detachment. So it is crucial to detect a macular hole early and a surgery can be avoided. However, if there is a retinal tear, with early detection laser surgery can be done to repair the tear, thus avoiding a retinal detachment surgery.

My 4 days journey from retinal tear to retinal detachment.
Thursday at work, I have suddenly realized a sudden increase of floaters in my right eye, I was slightly annoyed at it and thought maybe my eyes were tired from the long hours of wearing contact lens and work.
Friday morning, changed a brand new pair of contact lens and the floaters are still around. No pain, no flashes of light. Then in the afternoon, I start to see a tiny black spot on the bottom left corner of my eye, like a speck. But this time it doesn’t dart away when I look at it like the floaters. Ask my wife to check my eye and she cannot see anything suspicious. By night time, the dot has grown bigger.
Saturday morning, the dot has now covered one quarter of my eye. Starting to worry and thoughts of seeing an eye specialist crossed my mind. Tons of work to do, I have decided to postpone the consultation to Sunday. Night time, still no pain, no flashes of light. The dot is almost covering half my right eye’s vision.
Sunday morning, most eye clinics are closed so I went to see an Optometrist friend. He took a photo scan on my right eye, when the pictures are out, he immediately instructed me to go to the nearest A&E and get warded for a possible surgery.
At KTPH, one Ophthalmologist checked and confirmed it was a retinal detachment. Senior Ophthalmologist double-confirmed the diagnosis and highly recommended retinal detachment surgery because there is no other choices left. Time check – 4pm.
OT checked and booked. Eye Surgeon informed and booked. As it was an unscheduled surgery and in such a short notice, an emergency call was activated for the Anesthetist and some other OT nurses. Operation scheduled for 8pm sharp.`

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What was done in the surgery?
The Surgeon operated on my eyeball, making an incision to draw out the liquid that has seeped into my eyeball because of the retinal tear. After that the Surgeon performed a vitrectomy surgery to repair the retinal detachment by placing a gas bubble in eye. The gas bubble acts as a cork to stop the migration of fluid from the vitreous cavity to the subretinal space. In this way, the retina is reattached and kept attached until significant scarring takes place to keep the retina attached by itself.

The gas will usually disappear on its own within 6-8 weeks. During this period, air travel is highly discouraged as large changes in atmospheric pressure may cause the gas bubble to explode. Probably by then, it may not be just lost of sight.

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And because I have the gas bubble in my eye, after the surgery I have to keep my head in a special position for 2 weeks, depending on which part of the retina was reattached. In my case, I have to lay on my left side when I rest for 2 weeks.

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Addition to the vitrectomy surgery, a scleral buckle (silicon band) was placed around the outer layer of the eye. This relieves pulling (traction) on the retina, preventing tears from getting worse, and it supports the layers of the retina. The scleral buckle stays in the eye forever, unless the eye rejects it which will imply further surgery to remove and redo.

3 hours later…

“Dear. Dear. How are you feeling?”
I am already back in my ward, nurses are transferring me from the operation room bed to my ward bed.

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I didn’t stay long in the hospital. The very next day, on Labor Day (1 May) I was discharged with a ridiculous big bag of medication. I had to take like 3 different kinds of oral medication and 3 different kinds of eye drops. My 7 weeks of “holiday” has started.

Then come the second main question. How long will it take to recover?
According to the doctor, I have to rest as much as possible for the first 2 weeks. And I did. I slept for long hours, woke up to eat a bit, take my medicine and immediately back to sleep. By the end of the first week, my body and left ear were aching terribly from the “one position” sleeping posture. I recommend to get ready your salon pas to relieve some of the aches.
No heavy lifting as well. So I had to refrain from even carrying out the trash, pulling out the chair, bringing out the dishes. For some moments I felt like a useless person, but for some moments I felt like a king. Maybe the medications are playing on my emotions as well.

This was how my right eye looks like on Day 1 after surgery. You cannot see the while at all.

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Day 3 after surgery. A very small bit of the white can be seen. Eye was teary most of the time, maybe because of all the eye drops I have been applying.

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Day 7, one week after surgery. Back to hospital for my first review after operation. Doctor said the eye pressure seems fine, and the retina is healing well. Another great news, I was allowed to put on my glasses for daily activities. Initially, I thought I have to wear an eye patch over my right eye when I wear my glasses, but Doctor said no need. Woohoo! At least I can have some vision with my good left eye. Back home to more eye drops and rest. Thankful for my wife who took one week’s leave to take care of me. Love!

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Day 14, two weeks after surgery. Still pretty much the same, but I was finally able to change my sleeping position. However, due to the surgery, I was not so comfortable sleeping flat on my right side as it will sort of put pressure on the eye. It took me almost one more week to slowly adjust back to normal sleeping posture.
And my hair is getting longer. During this period, I had to do all activities slowly and with minimum hassle. I washed my hair with plain water no shampoo, I didn’t dare to scrub my hair much too. I washed my face with just water.

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One month after surgery, my right eye has healed quite a bit. Almost all the red is gone. No more oral medication, eye drops have been reduced to only 1 bottle. Life is slowly getting back to normal. I can take short walks around my flat just to have some fresh air. But all the walks are limited to about 15mins. Probably because I am using my left eye more than usual, I get tired quite easily. Even though I don’t need to sleep as much as the first 2 weeks, but I still have to close my eyes and lay down every 3-4 hours gap. Recovery is slow and rest is necessary.

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6 weeks have passed since the surgery and I am due for my second review. This time round, the doctors took more time to examine my left eye instead of my right eye. My right eye is recovering well and it seems the gas bubble has totally disappeared. I was given the green light to travel if I want to. One of my greatest worry was the need to give up  running after surgery, but the Surgeon assured me that running is okay as long as I take it slow and don’t force myself. As for lifting heavy weights, he recommends to not do weight lifting for another month or two.

Good news is I am ready to be back to work in 1 week’s time. Better news is the doctor who checked my left eye found that certain parts of my left retina has sights of possible tear, probably like my right eye’s condition. So doctor suggested me to consider doing the laser surgery on my left eye as a preventive measure. But there is no guarantee that after the laser surgery, the left retina will not tear. Now the decision is to either do the surgery to prevent or wait till there is a tear then I do the laser surgery. My head tells me to do the preventive laser surgery. My heart tells me to wait till I am more ready.

After 7 weeks of resting, my looks has changed slightly. I looked the part of a beggar with my messy hair and messy beard. Can this pass as my passport photo? Hahaha.

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How is my vision now?
I would say my right eye vision is about 80-85% recovered. I need to change my glasses because the degree on my right eye has increased from -975 to -1075. Yes, after operation, the affected eye will have an increase in degree of myopia and yes, I have broke through the 1000 mark.

I have crossed the 2 months mark after surgery. I am starting to walk more to build back my stamina and leg muscles. Soon I will start to do some simple resistance band exercise at home to strengthen my arms and legs muscles. Hopefully by August I will be able to resume slow jogging.

Thank you all my friends who have been praying for me all this while. Thanks to all who have sent me well wishes gifts and cards. It is truly at times of adversity, family’s and friends’ encouragements are so appreciated.

I’ll be back with my update on the laser surgery once I have done it. So far I only know that the surgery will done in about 15mins max, no need to be warded. I can resume work in a few days’ time and no excessive activities for 2 weeks. See you!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017

Review

So it is the largest night run of the year – OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017. Together with Andy (@sengkangbabies) & Nick (@nickpan.runs), the 3 Daddies completed our individual categories with pride.

Andy took on the crown of the race, running his maiden Full Marathon (42.195km) and completing it within 6 hours! Super inspired by our Marathon Dad!
Nick added the jewel for us, running in the 10km race and did his Personal Best under 50mins! He is now the official Flash Dad among us!

And me? I took on the Half Marathon (21.1km) and did pretty well too. Completing in 2 hours 19mins, not my best but second best, so still an awesome result.

With around 27,000 runners coming together for this year’s Sundown Run, it was truly a #SleepCanWait testimonial. But probably one of the biggest highlight for me was to be one of the 12 Sundown Ambassadors, helping to raise funds for my chosen beneficiary – Beat’Abox Group Pte Ltd (@beataboxsg).

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There were a lot of great ideas from the Organizing Committee, but some times the saying is true – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In conjunction with the organizer’s effort to cut down on wastage (uncollected bibs), they introduced the idea of printing running bib on-demand. This created quite an uproar with the participants who for some waited more than 2 hours just to collect their race pack, some even in the rain (as collection was done in the open carpark area behind F1 Pit Building).

By God’s grace, I wasn’t able to make it for Day 1 collection and went on Day 2 instead. The situation was slightly better and I spent about 50 mins to get my race pack.

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One important life lesson I learnt while queuing for the race pack.
True sportsmanship doesn’t start on the race day, it is in our daily behaviours.
I know the participants have the right to be angry for waiting in the drizzle, for the long queue, for the insufficient collection counters, etc. But some of them were outright rude and uncalled for when they started to be angry towards the part-timers who worked equally hard to make things right.

So for the records .. a big THANK YOU to all the part-timers who assisted in any way, from collection to actual day.

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The place was readied for the fringe events and sponsors are getting ready for the runners and supporters.

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Despite the admin issues, the crowd was happy to enjoy a great night of fun and laughter.

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A selfie with my running buddies for the night before the race.

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One other privilege of being an Ambassador, we did not need to queue to enter the start pen. We were ushered from the side and went straight to the front. Quite an entry but quite intimidating too, especially when we see all the professional runners standing a few feet away.

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It was a cool night, the 3 of us tried to stay together and pace each other, but I guess we sort of went solo after the 10km mark. I was trying to stay at my pace of 7mins/km.

The route was pretty ok, except for the last 3km when we had to run up the Sheares Bridge, that was the killer for most of us. I can practically see everyone walking at some point of the bridge. That stretch probably cost me to lose a few minutes of time, if not I may be able to meet my target of 2 hours 15mins.

Water points were well placed and sufficient. Given the experience of the organizing company, I guess this could be the minimum. However, the distribution of the bananas was not clearly indicated. It was done at the 9km mark, and after the race quite a few runners commented that they didn’t see it at all. I remembered it was under the Helix Bridge and the place was a bit dark. Maybe more lights and even a flashing sign would be good.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the run and the beautiful sceneries along the way .

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I had a good sleep after the race =)

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Thanks to Sundown Marathon for the opportunity to be part of your 10th year anniversary run. I have to say in all honesty, regardless of the areas that were dissatisfactory, the run was a success!

Looking forward to 2018!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Children’s Festival @ Gardens by the Bay

Media Invite

 

March school holidays are here!
This 1-week break is usually the time when kids can take a short break (preferably with minimum homework) before moving on to the mid-year exams in less than 1.5 months time.
So, enjoy the holidays and don’t stay indoor! It is the best time to bring the kids outdoor for some activities and fun!

Gardens by the Bay has brought in life-size colourful dinosaurs for the month of March! Starting from 10 Mar – 2 Apr 2017, you can bring your kids and join Brachy and his friends for entertaining activities like dino-egg hunt, carnival rides, games, crafts, workshops, and even music from the movie “Jurassic Park” performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra!

Children’s Festival @ Gardens by the Bay

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Creative Crafts
Head on down to the corridor leading towards The Meadows or the Supertrees. Have fun with rainbow colours and get creative with crafts like Keychain Shrinking and Pipe Cleaner Sculptures using the simplest materials. Certain activities are free, but others may have minimum charges.

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Sand Art is always a big hit for all kids. Even for Joey, the chance to play with coloured sands and customized her own bookmark is a sure hit.

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Dino Keychain done by shrinking the plastic in an oven after the kids added on the colours. It’s so cute!

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Carnival Rides & Games
What outdoor fun is complete without the carnival fun? Rides and games booths are situated all around the garden for kids and adults to enjoy a time of laughter and “anguish” (when you missed).
Tickets are priced at S$2.50 each, with the minimum of 2 tickets for each game or ride. Pretty costly in my personal opinion, but nothing is too expensive to see the seriousness of the kids’ faces when they play and the fun they have on the rides.

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Jayne is at a slight disadvantage because of her height, but Joey on a few occasions were pretty close in hitting one of the balls.

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This stall proves to be a huge challenge for the girls. Unable to control their excitement, they threw all the balls so hard, none of it landed on the cups but rather all bounced out of the table. Next time maybe.

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After all the fun and running around, it’s a good time to just bring out the picnic mat and rest at The Meadows for some performances. You can get your picnic snacks, drinks or food just beside where there are a few stalls set up for your convenience.

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Back to more rides after the performances.

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For S$20/child, you can experience something different and super fun at the Terrarium & Excavation Workshop organized by The Learning Lab.

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Prepare to get your hands dirty but all for the good of learning.

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Building a Dinosaur Terrarium. All materials will be provided, like the glass jar, the gravels, soil, coloured sand, Fittonia plant, water and the “fossil” dinosaur figurine.

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Joey started by spreading the gravel over the base of the glass jar evenly, as this serves as a drainage for water. Next is to pour in the soil on top of the gravel.

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Create a hole in the soil for the stalk of fittonia plant to be inserted in.

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Love it when I see how Joey carefully place in the plant and took extra effort to make sure that the soil covers the roots properly. Since P1 she has a special interest for science. And she totally enjoyed the workshop.

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Spray water on the sides of the terrarium and on the plants to remove excess soil, as well as moisten the soil.

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Lastly, decorate the soil bed with coloured sand and some more gravel. We are almost done.

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The dinosaur figurine.. Excavation process activated..

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Put in the dinosaur figurine, close the lid and we have our Dinosaur Terrarium!

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Before we headed home, we took one more walk around the place to take some photos of the Dinosaurs on display.

Brachy the blue Brachiosaurus, standing at 16m tall. You won’t miss him.

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Rexy the red Tyrannosaurus at 9m tall.

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Tricey the yellow Triceratops at 7m tall.

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Anky the purple Ankylosaurus at 3m tall.

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Paramummy & Parasi, the pink Parasaurolophus at 4m & 2.4m tall respectively.

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If all these are too fierce-looking for you or the kids, then look out for the more friendly and cute dino walking around for a photo.

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Have a wonderful March holidays!

Parents, just bear with it.. It’s all for the children.

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