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Introduction H ow to use this book? Chinatown 

Buddha Tooth relic Temole and Museum Tong Heng Confectionary Hunting for collectables Crazy World Cafe Shots @ Ann Siang Little Drom Store/K ki P.S Cafe Littered W ith Books


Independent boutiques at haji lane Shop ethinic at Arab Street Mint Museum of Toys Shisha Cat Socrates Thhirtysix Food for thought Golden Mile Complex

Little India

Night and day Bar Cups and Canvas Banana Leaf Apolo Tekka Centre Swee Choon Dim Sum Mustafa Centre Thieves Market Little India Arcade Mani the parakeet Henna Tattoos


You are bored of the travelling around tourists spots. Those overpriced admission tickets to something you’ll probably only see for a short while doesn’t appeal to you. You like and want to see places where locals hang out, eat and shop. To you, there’s something special about travelling the off the beaten track. Something about unplanned journey excites you, you want to explore, experience and discover. Pick up this book, you’ll love what you see. W ith Tiny Tours, we challenge you to travel around Singapore completely unplanned.

HOw to use t hi s book?

Maps of each places are attached to the booklets. On the map highlights the places that Tiny Tours features. This is one why you can use this guidebook: 1. S  elect all the places you want visit using the post-its provided. 2. R efer to the maps given 3. C  reate your own journey (or not) 4. Explore Another way you can use the guidebook is to turn to a page at random and whatever is on that page, head there. Lastly, use the blank pages for anything you want! Take notes down, draft your journey, stick memorabilias on the pages or even doodle! It’s your call! Have fun!

C hi n at o w n largest historic district



Buddha tooth r e l ic temple & museum

This temple in the heart of Chinatown cost a staggering S5575 million to lease, construct and fill with artefacts. Be a witness to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museums grand Mandala – inspired architecture and interior decor based on the art of the Tang Dynasty. Devotees say the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum houses a sacred item, a relic known to be the tooth of the Buddha. This is the temples main highlight and namesake; on the fourth floor, you’ll discover a 3.6-metre-high, 426-kilogrammes-

heavy gold stupa housing the relic (around half the gold was donated by devotees). You can only view the inner chamber twice a day so be sure to check out the times. Wander around the temple’s four floors and visit a Buddhist Cultural Museum, a relic chamber, an ancestral memorial hall, pagodas on the roof and the Lotus Heart teahouse serving vegetarian fare.

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288 South Bridge Rd Singapore 058840 +65 62200220


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Tong heng confectionary 12

For some of the best traditional Chinese pastries in town, Tong Heng Confectionery has been around since the swinging 1920s and has never lost its magic touch. Still going strong along Chinatown’s South Bridge Road, Tong Heng is where locals head for pastries during Chinese New Year, weddings and baby showers. Don’t resist the inviting aroma that is Tong Heng’s tell-tale sign of its top-rate pastries. This humble store arguably serves some of the best egg tarts around You’ll soon be having warm memories of the melt-in-your-

mouth egg custard paired with the perfectly-flaky pastry. The array of treats are on display for your choosing, including the unique spicy and sweet curry putts; char siew sao* a golden-baked pastry with pork filling; lao puo bing* an old favorite known as wife’s biscuit; and the fluffy egg cakes. Purchase at least five items and you’ll get them packed in a good ol’ traditional cardboard box. 285 South Bridge Rd Singapore 058833 +65 6223 3649



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Hunting for c o l l e c tables 14

Chinatown is chock-a-block with the typical souvenir store, but For the eclectic, the unusual, the artistic and the precious, Chinatown offers you its own little spots. Step headlong into... Odds ‘N’ Collectables, a ramshackle store spilling over with local collectibles. Not for the faint-hearted, wrestle though this untamed trove of items, including l95Os ads and posters, birdcages, cups, car plates and any artefact imaginable. A more Oriental experience, you ask – well, you might like... ..Ming Fang Antique House for its Chinese artefacts including Buddha statues, jade items and even Mao statues. Chen’s Collections along souvenir-saturated Pagoda Street is a haunt for the true collector. Hunt down the precious figurines,


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Crazy world Cafe 16

Housed in a quaint shophouse along the traditional Temple Street in Chinatown, CrazyWorld exudes a homely vibe with its no-frills design and unpretentious crowd. You won’t find bling or glamorous vanity tables here. In place are monthly live music performances and photo exhibitions featuring local musicians and artists who otherwise slip under the radar. In order to promote the “Made in Singapore” label, CrazyWorld Cafe have even developed a retail section where you can find totes, notebooks, and other items produced by local designers. Of course, being located in the middle of an eating haven like Chinatown, they have not overlooked the importance of good food. Instead of serving up the tried and dried Western menu,

they remain true to their cause of promoting everything home-grown by keeping their menu largely Singaporean - you can’t get more local than good ol’ Chicken Curry! It you’ve always wanted to lend a hand to budding local acts, this is the place to be. As a bonus, you’ll be drawn into the genuine camaraderie between the owners and patrons; true Singaporean hospitality that is rarely talked about but there all the same in little flourishing nooks like CrazyWorld Cafe. Join them in their courage in taking the road less travelled, all in the name of giving that bit of support to the local music scene.


24 Temple Street Singapore 058569 +65 6223 7553


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shots @ ann siang 18

Espresso, photographs and sake shots are on a triple roll here at Shots @ Ann Slang Hill. Housed in a stylish shophouse, this cafe is a sight to behold with walls adorned with beautitul framed photographs and the only four-group La Pavoni traditional lever coffee machine in Asia on display. Apart from serving up some wicked drinks, Shots @ Ann Siang Hill also features a small gallery that showcases the work of local and regional photographers. The 4R-photo kiosk in store may seem gimmlcky but nevertheless altords guests the chance to buy some good fun, memories and entertainment.

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8 Ann Siang Hill Singapore 069788 +65 6224 8502 central

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Li t t l e drom store/ k ki 20

In an obscure corner of Ann Siang Hill sits a quaint two in one storecafe – K ki and Little Drom Store. K ki (literally means cake in Japanese) sells an aray of artisan cakes with wide range of different flavours while staying true to their specialty of light and airy Japanese inspired mousse cakes.


The little drĂśm store houses countless dream clouds, random knick knacks and also collections of all things inspiring and heartening. It aspires to bring people from all creative walks of life, to promote and share their work with the rest of the world. 7 Ann Siang Hill Singapore 069791 +65 6225 5541 central

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PS . C a f e


This popular Sunday brunch destination has made a name for itself with its culinary repertoire. Meet the PS. Burger, the undisputed crowd favourite. The juiciness of its wagyu patty infused into camembert cheese, bacon, tomatoes and fries evoke a sinful experience to be desired. Matched by the original truffle shoestring fries which combine the aroma, crispness and size that made it a guilty pleasure for many who have savoured it. Desserts at PS. CafĂŠ are also a gastronomic force to be reckoned with. Sweet delights such as the double chocolate blackout cake are baked to offer decadence of epic proportions. Experiment with

your taste buds and try the original steamed ginger pudding. This unique creation adds an Asian twist to the traditional pudding by introducing ginger finished with earl grey anglaise and vanilla bean ice-cream. At PS. CafÊ, culinary creations are artfully prepared in the open kitchen to give a subtle sense of vibrancy that somehow complements the languid atmosphere all around. Homely yet chic, it’s where the best of contemporary comforts are indulged in. 45 Ann Siang Rd Singapore 069719 +65 9797 0648 23


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Li t t e r e d with books 24

Freshly voted as Best New Bookstore by Time Out Best of Awards 2011 is Duxton Road’s new little darling, Littered With Books, a charming independent bookstore housed in a 2-story conservation shophouse. It boasts a range of carefully selected fiction and non-fiction literature, travel narratives, food literature, recipe books, crime and thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy and award winning children’s books. The store is a haven for avidreaders and anyone seeking a quiet retreat away from the usual madding crowd, despite being in the heart of the Central Business District. The glass skylight on the first floor and large colonial-inspired windows on the second allow for plenty of natural sunlight to stream

into the store. In addition, the shophouse is blessed with high ceilings and has been tastefully decorated to create a sanctuary that is both captivating and inviting. To top it up, the owners and staff are friendly and knowledgeable, making the experience of discussing bestsellers and recommendations just a touch more bespoke. Littered With Books has just made reading hardcover books sexy all over again, so ditch your iPads and Kindles and head down to this little gem to discover some really fabulous reads the good ol’ fashioned way. 20 Duxton Road Singapore 089486 + 65 62206824



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B u g is trendiest hang out


Independent b o u t i q u e s at haji lane Young hearts, run free‌ along Haji Lane. This may look like a tiny little back alley, but come closer to unravel why this cluster of quirky retail stores and independent boutiques are such a magnet for young creative types.


Turn up after 1pm from Monday to Saturdays to find the stores open and in full swing. Resident style haven Soon Lee is good for sassy dresses and bags; while online bloggers make their presence felt at The Blog Shop where they hawk their best stuff in the real world. Pick up nifty carriers for your laptop with Fabrix Cases at Loft & Public. Know It Nothing celebrates craftsrnanship for men with taste with shirts, suits and designer glasses that are spiffy to a T, Finally, settle down for a scoop of ice cream at Pluck along with their sumptuous furnishings and accessories.


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Sh o p e t h n ic at A r a b Street 31

The shoppings great at Arab Street.. if youre not iooking for a designer fashionista outfit (thats what Orchard Roads for). As once upon a Rafflesian era. The area imported whatever the local Muslim community needed. This tradition remains and it’s quite visible in Kampong Glam’s wares of Arabian/Muslim origin around Arab Street.

rattan handicrafts (head to Rattan handicraft); non-alcholic perfumes (make a beeline for Jamai Kazura Aromatics) that are custom-crafted to the wearer; and batik* shirts as well as diaphanous sarong kebaya (look for Toko Aijunied).

There are intricately woven carpets (check out Tawakai Oriental Carpets): a bewildering array of fabrics like Thai silks, glittery sequins, or French lace (anywhere along Arab Street); wicker chairs. baskets and cutesy central

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If you’ve ever regretted throwing away those old Barbie Dolls and Gi Joes, there’s e pretty good chance you’ll see them again at Mint Museum of Toys. Nope, these toys are not for sale (the collection is worth an estimated whopping S$5 million) but a $15 dollar ticket will get you in to view a collection of 50,000 toys from over 4O countries whose lineage stretches over a century.


Impressive numbers aside, more impressive is how one man engineering consultant Chang Yang Fa - amassed the collection over a 30-year period. This private museum was set up in the hope of igniting that Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys (reed: Mint). Go gage over vintage Marvel heroes and the Disney pantheon nostalgic Betty Boop, Tintin and Popeye toys, and marvel rare pieces miraculously culled from the l800s. Adult : $15 Child 2 to 12 years old: $7.50 Child below 2 years old: Free Senior citizens (60 years old and above): $7.50 2 adults & 2 children: $36 3 adults & 1 children: $42 26 Seah Street Singapore 188382 + 65 63390660

Mi n t m u s u e m of toys 33


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puff the m a g ic d r a g o n : s hi s h a What do you do after a platter of shish kebab and Saffron rice? Here’s an idea: when in Arab Street, act iike an Arabian and smoke Shisha. Shisha in Singapore is similar to its global counterparts: coals burn out flavoured tobacco, the smoke passes through a water pipe, out of mouthpieces and into the lungs. The difference lies in where. Most restaurants such as Ambrosia, the Mediterranean Restaurant and Cafe Le Caire let you dine and puff away in cosy niches along the pavements surrounded by lamps pieced together from mosaic tiles and lovely plush carpets. All the better for you to soak in Arab Street’s down tempo vibe. whilst shooting the breeze – or in this case, flavored smoke – with friends.


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c at s o c r at e s 37

Housed in a discreet corner on the third floor of Bras Basah Complex, has long wowed fans with its eclectic collection of products. Apart from crowd-pleasing stationery, one can also expect to find a quirky selection of homeware and lifestyle products. A film photography enthusiast, Hellen holds film photography exhibitions in thestore once every two months. Featuring pictures that are submitted by the store customers.

black, is open to all customers who wish to take a breather and relax. Reread your favourite book, listen to the falling rain outside the window, or take notice of the steam rising from your hot beverage. lf that sounds like your idea of a great afternoon, you know where to go. 231 Bain St Singapore 180231 +65 6333 0870

The Stores little sitting space, invitingly decorated in red and central

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t hi r t y six 39

Understanding cameras, and toy cameras in particular, is a niche craft. For these needs, professional help and advice can be found from the experts at ThirtySix. Also known by its online incarnation, 8storeytree, ThirtySix opened its doors in 2009 to become Singapores first toy camera boutique. The store promises to keep photography geeks and casual shoppers trigger happy with its extensive range of cameras, accessories and films. True blue lomography fans should also check out the store for its exclusive range ot lomography products that can’t be found off its website. Sunshine Plaza Singapore 189652 +65 6337 6916


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food for thought 41

Tucked away behind the Singapore Arts Museum along Queen Street is a chic glass house with a simple mission and a large heart. The place in question is Food for Thought, a trendy bistro that goes beyond its cool crowds and indie aura by adhering to its concept of ‘serving good food for a good cause’. Food for Thought adds an extra dose of feel-good into your cuisine with the knowledge that your order benefits various charitable causes. For instance, a simple meal of Chunky Sausage and Tomato Linguine helps to support equal education and environmental protection in underdeveloped nations. lt doesnt

end there; proceeds from the sale of socially conscious products that are available in the cate also contribute to a scholarship fund tor children in East Timor. You won’t be disappointed by measly servings; Food for Thoughts servings are as generous as its heart, and their fare as good as their cause. 8 Queen Street Singapore 188535 +65 6338 9887


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Golden Mi l e Complex 43

Golden Mile Complex is Singapore’s Little Thailand, a place where you can find all things Thai right here in Singapore. Formerly known as Woh Hup Complex, it has 411 shops in total, and you’ll find all sorts of authentic Thai food, CDs, beer, fashion and you can even watch a Thai band or two perform at night live. Golden Mile Complex is also a great place for cheap and tasty Thai food, which is arguably the best in Singapore. It’s also known for its number of travel agencies, with buses departing to and returning from Malaysia regularly. If you want to experience a bit of Thailand, then the Golden Mile Complex a mustvisit on your trip to Singapore. 5001 Beach Road Singapore 199588


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L i t t l e I n di a the most colourful district


night a n d d ay bar

What goes best with a beer or cocktail? At Night & Day, apart from the usual good company, chances are you’ll get some art and music with your alcohol too. The bar-gallery gives a hint of what it has to offer from the get go – the store is housed on the second floor of a refurbished art-deco shophouse above a sari shop; a ‘vandalised’ stairway leads visitors up to the actual space. Night & Day is owners Randy and kelIey’s vision of an alternative art space where friends can gather to chill out over some drinks. The gallery periodically showcases the work of up and coming Asian artists, and local acts play 6 mix of jazz, electronica and experimental sounds on some nights. The space is understated, yet vivid with the personal markings of graffiti artists, designers, and even the occasional guest. Art aficionados will enjoy this laidback space conceived by like-minded 47 people of the same passions. 139A/C Selegie Road Singapore 188309 +65 6884 5523


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Cups and c a n va s

Synonymous with its name, Cups N Canvas is all about the harmony of art and coffee, in a cafÊ-studio setting coupled with elements of fun, vibrancy and homeliness. Its name was born out of an artist’s personal experience, where he often finds himself late at night, surrounded with empty cups of coffee around his work table while furiously painting away on a canvas due for submission. This sight is all too familiar for the avid artists out there.

the extended arts belt of Singapore. With its rustic charm as seen from its cozy interior, Cups N Canvas seeks to revive the creative and fun-loving side of people who may be robotized by the fast-paced, mundane citydwelling lives from time to time. 139 Selegie Road Singapore 188309


Cups N Canvas welcomes anyone who simply enjoys artisanal coffee and good old comfort food to drop by this nesting place, located along central

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Banana Leaf Apolo

After a day of sight-seeing at Little India, treat yourself to the authentic tastes of North and South Indian cuisine at The Banana Leaf Apolo Restaurant as you tuck into hearty Indian curry with steamed rice and side dishes served on traditional banana leaves, not plates. To truly get into the culture, you can even forgo the cutlery and try eating with your hand like a local! Musttry signature items include the Fish Head Curry, Squid Black, Apolo Chicken Masala and garlic naan for a culinary experience like no other. 54 Race Course Rd Singapore 218564 +65 6293 8682



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Tekka Centre

Part wet market, part food centre and part shopping mall, Tekka Centre is a place where several ethnic communities converge to create a multicultural shopping fiesta. Established in 1915, Tekka Centre moved to its current location in 1982 and is a landmark in Little India. Previously known as Kandang Kerbau, the centre is used by Chinese vendors, Indian stall owners and Malay retailers, and sells everything from casual clothing, hardware tools and religious paraphernalia, to traditional Indian fashion and watches. It has several tailors specialising in clothing alteration, and also popular food offerings. The bottom floor of the Tekka Centre has both South and North Indian food, Chinese dishes and Malay cuisine. Its wet market downstairs sells fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables that have been flown in from Sri Lanka and India. 665 Buffalo Road Singapore 210665



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S w e e ch o o n dim sum

Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant is a well-known and an established local restaurant where people from all walks of life have come to enjoy Dim Sum for almost 50 years. Located at the heart of Jalan Besar, in the district of Little India, Swee Choon provides air-conditioned as well as alfresco dining in the back alley. Whether it is for breakfast, dinner or supper, you can enjoy and savour a wide variety of Hong Kong and Shanghai dim sum. At Swee Choon, quality is never compromised

and only the finest herbs and ingredients are used in our food preparation, in order to give their patrons a delectable treat. Their freshly prepared Xiao Long Bao, Char Siew Bao and Portuguese egg tarts and many other delicacies have received raved reviews.


191 Jalan Besar Singapore 208882 +65 6294 5292


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M u s ta fa centre

Lucky for you midnight owls. Singapore doesn’t get much shut-eye. Late-night supper joints are a staple here, but for those restless nights, look to Mustafa Centre, Singapores only mall that stays open every clay, all day. It‘s not just the bargains here that Makes Mustafa Centre so fascinating – it’s the sheer variety of wares on display. Trawling through this 75,000 square feet, six-level shopoing complex may be a mammoth task - especially with narrow lanes, and dizzying arrangements – but its well worth the effort. Where else can you pick up everything from electronics. home appliances, jewellery, textiles, clothes, cosmetics, fragrances, to DVDs at bargain prices? Or find in its departmental store food brands from nations such as Turkey and Iran along with an incomparable array of Indian spices? Just remember how to find your Way horne – you’re unlikely to end up where you started. 145 Syed Alwi Rd Singapore 207704 +65 6295 5855



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Thi e v e s Market

The Sungei Road Thieves Market may have shed its shady past as a hotspot for looted ware in the 1930s. But fast-forward to the 21st Century and Singapore’s oldest flea market still hawks scavenged second-hand items and random bric-a-brac (just dont ask where these items are from). Located along the Rochor Canal, expect sun, sweat and lots of makeshift stores (read: spread out tarpaulin sheets with items stacked up for the taking). You’ll find an older generation of street peddlers every day from 11am to 7pm. But lest you think it’s all trash and no treasure, look again. Enthusiasts will vouch that there are rare finds and old, nostalgic items galore, here for the taking. On offer may be banana notes from the Japanese Occupation, old movie posters from the 1930s, vintage Iomography cameras, old records, and good ol’ beverage memorabilia. And remember: haggling is mandatory.



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Li t t l e i n d i a arcade

It’s an utterly Singaporean ambition to be a hub for everything, be it food, transportation, entertainment or whatever else, That might explain why Little India Arcade touts itself as the hub for “all things Indian”. Even better, it fulfils on its promise. These Art Deco–style shophouses, built in 1913, sell all sorts of Indian fashion such as hand-embroidered saris colourful shawls and sparkling bangles. But the true charm of the arcade lies in ferreting out activities that aren’t as prevalent in the rest of Singapore. Get a Henna tattoo, ohomp on oetel nuts (a mildly narcotic fruit that’s supposedly good for digestion), adorn your car or hotel room with flower garlands made with jasmine, ixora and orchids; and don’t forget to try muruku’ – an savoury Indian cracker – and Indian candies for that instant sugar rush.


48 Serangoon Road Singapore 217959 +65 62955998


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Mani the pa r a k e e t

The cards don’t lie, according to the faithful Mani the Parakeet - the fortune-telling parrot. (Mani and his handler, M. Muniyappan, are usually found along the corridor outside a restaurant in Little india.) This rose-ringed parakeet divines the answer to your question by pecking; on a card thats laid out before it. Even if you don’t believe in fortune-telling, it’s fun to watch the bird bop out of its cage and onto the table; eye the cards and pick one with its beak. lf you’re wondering about Mani’s accuracy, we’ll have you know that the bird correctly predicted the winners of all of the 2010 World Cup quarter finals, as well as the Spain Germany semi-final! Now that it’s over, Mani has gone back to its daily grind of predicting lottery numbers, auspicious marriage dates, and your query for your future. Remember to keep it simple for the bird.


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Henna tat t o o s

In the mood for a celebration? Stop by any beauty parlour in Little India Arcade and cover your hands with intricate Henna designs. These temporary tattoos are traditionally worn by lndian women during festive occasions such as birthdays and weddings. And what better way to express your joy then with, and on, your hands?

You wouldnt want to end up with whirls where there should be whorls. It’s almost impossible to remove the tattoos by scrubbing it off, But theres good news; they’ll naturally fade away in about two to fours weeks. 65

The Henna tattoos are created via a process called Mehndi which involves staining the top layer of skin with a Henna paste product. Here`s a tip: pick a Henna artist with steady hands. central

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Reference Adeline. L , Edwin. Tam. (2011). Surprising Singapore: 101 things to do. USA : Oro Editions Shin. L, Edward. L, Christine. L . (2011). Alter:sg : Independent travel guide to Singapore. Singapore, Shin Lin.

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