Categories
Tourism Malaysia

A Home Away From Home in Malaysia’s Far North

Roots – that is why there is always that need for us Malaysians to return to our hometowns, which we affectionately call “kampung”. We want to show our children where and how we grew up, we want to instill in them a sense of belonging and at the same time give them their identity. And of course, it is essentially a reunion of loved ones.

So if you want to learn more about Malaysian culture and tradition, go to their roots. I suggest that you stay at a homestay in a traditional “kampung” and you will find out why Malaysians are known for their warmth and friendliness, as well as what makes them tick. I hope it will become one of your most beautiful memories in Malaysia. And in the process, you’ll gain a new family too.

Under the Malaysian Government’s Homestay Experience programme, tourists can easily get a dose of life in the village. The programme registers a few hundred villages that have expressed interest in hosting tourists in their private homes to provide them a glimpse of life in Malaysia’s beautiful countryside.

Besides that, you’ll get to spend a majority of the time with your host family doing activities that will help you immerse yourself in the local culture.

If one day you’ll find yourself heading towards the northern region of Malaysia, check out these homestays:

1. Kampung Ujung Bukit, Perlis

At Kampung Ujung Bukit, the homestay is built near the rice fields with the limestone hills as the backdrop, offering picturesque and peaceful surroundings. Some of the houses are built on wooden stilts, while others sit on rock formations.

Each house bears the name of a hill, like Bukit Bintang, Bukit Keteri, Bukit Jernih, Bukit Emas, Bukit Nyattuh, Bukit Lagi, Bukit Padang, Bukit Kecil and Bukit Chuping.

At Kampung Ujung Bukit, let yourself attune to the local customs and try to fit in as best you can. As you are going to eat what your host family eat, so challenge yourself to try some of the local delight such as bamboo shoots and clear pumpkin soup, ikan termenong and ulam pokok kedondong.

Take part in activities such as tarik upih pinang (pulling the betel nut fronds), cycling and making emping (crackers). Famed for the succulent Harumanis mango, you might find yourself busy plucking ripe mangoes from the trees at the mango plantations nearby.

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Perlis Equestrian Training Centre for an unforgettable adventure with horses, as well as Bukit Ayer Recreational forest for some eco-adventures.

Homestay Kampung Ujung Bukit
Jalan Kurong Batang,
01000 Kangar, Perlis
Contact person: En. Ed (012-448 6305) / Puan Faezah (017-5986504)
FB: https://www.facebook.com/UjungBukitPerlis/

2. Homestay Relau, Bandar Baru Kulim, Kedah

Strategically located right along the border between Penang and Perak, Homestay Relau is a small traditional Malay rural township in the Southern-most part of Kedah Darul Aman, and it is surrounded by lush green hills with unspoilt natural beauty giving the town an extra edge over other rural locations in Kedah. Most of the host family are farmers, many of whom still practice traditional agricultural and farming methods.

By staying here, you will get a glimpse of the life of a rubber-tapper and a paddy-field farmer. Why don’t you try your hands at rubber tapping or paddy planting /harvesting (seasonal)? These experiences will open your eyes to the daily realities of your host family’s world.

Most of the houses in Homestay Relau are fringed by tropical fruit trees and as the “adopted son or daughter”, you will have the privileged to eat just about any fruits you want and as much as you want. Just imagine all those delicious tropical fruits like durian, mango, rambutan, and mangosteen, you name it and they’ve got it.

One of the most favourite activities at Homestay Relau is the traditional batik painting, where you will get to learn some basic points on batik, and another one is learning how to dance the traditional dances. The basic steps are relatively easy to learn. With a little practice, you will soon find yourself swaying to the music!

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Sungai Sedim Recreational Forest and Junjong Waterfall, to name a few.

Homestay Relau
Persatuan Homestay Relau,
Lot 1064, Sri Impian, Relau, Kedah .
Contact person: En. Helmi (+6012 – 488 3620)
FB : https://www.facebook.com/Homestay-Relau-Kedah

3. Homestay Mengkuang Titi, Penang

Located about 25km from Butterworth and 32km from George Town, Homestay Mengkuang Titi is a comprehensive village that still retains its rustic traditional charm and culture. The traditional homes of the villagers here exude a cozy ambience for visitors as they are beautifully crafted with wooden structure and intricate architecture. At Mengkuang Titi, you’ll enjoy a wide spectrum of vibrant culture and exciting art activities. Indulge in the natural wonders of its agriculture, cottage industry and traditional games today.

There are always lots of things to do in a homestay and Homestay Mengkuang Titi is no exception. Try your hand at rubber tapping and watch how latex is processed into rubber sheets, or join the villagers in plucking coconuts from trees and savour its delightful water, or learn how to weave mengkuang mats.


Grab the opportunity to learn to make kuih bahulu, a traditional and scrumptious Malay cake. Kuih bahulu is also a popular snack during festive seasons.

Take part in traditional dances or musical performances such as Boria, a musical performance that is unique to Penang. Boria, the traditional parody theatre that was first originated from the ancient ta’ziyeh culture of Persia is known for their medley of traditional music and chorus singing.
Test your skill in traditional Malay games such as top spinning, or gasing, and sepak raga, played by the men and congkak by the women.

Visiting Mengkuang Dam is a must because it is the largest water storage in Penang with a capacity of 23,639 million litres of water. This dam also features a well-landscaped garden with rubber and pine trees as well as wildlife.

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Penang War Museum at Bukit Maung, which was built by the British military in 1930s to protect the island.

Homestay Mengkuang Titi
Mo. 679, Mk. 19, Mengkuang Titi, 14000 Bkt. Mertajam, Sbg. Perai
Contact person: Rohaizat Bin Hj. Othman (+6019 – 412 7095)
Email: [email protected]
FB: https://www.facebook.com/homestaymengkuangtiti15/

4. Homestay Kampung Beng, Lenggong, Perak

Homestay Kampung Beng is an achingly beautiful village on the edge of Lake Chenderoh. It is located about 23km from Lenggong town and 45 minute drive from Kuala Kangsar.

Homestay Kampung Beng is made of six smaller villages comprise of Kg Durian Lubuk, Kg Beng Dalam, Kg Dusun, Kg Sekolah, Kg Durau and Kg Batu Ring. The main mode of transport is by boat or sampan.

The villages are surrounded by scenic views of lush green forest, lakes, waterfalls and mountains. The breathtaking view is one of the reason Kg. Beng is often the preferred filming location to renown film makers both locally and internationally.  Among the films shot in Kg. Beng was Anna and The King and Penanggal, as well as the popular “Petronas Raya” advertisement directed  by the late Yasmin Ahmad.

Residents here in Homestay Kampung Beng still conserves their traditional kampung way of life. Their warm hospitality, laid back activities and rich cultural heritage will guarantee a truly nostalgic kampung life experience.

Most of the villagers are rubber tappers, so most likely you will get the opportunity to tap a rubber tree. You can also visit their deer farm located in the kampung itself and see for yourself how they manage the farm.

Kampung Beng isn’t called mini-amazon for nothing as its river is filled with many species of freshwater fish such as tengalan (carp), kelah (river carp), kerai (carp), sebarau (carp), baung (catfish), lampam jawa (Javanese carp) and patin (river catfish); thus its most popular activity is fishing at the nearby Tasik Raban and Sungai Perak.

Be brave and try out your host family’s traditional cuisines, which include ikan pekasam (fish preserved in salt brine), gulai tempoyak (gravy made from fermented durian), sambal ayam serai (chicken with lemongrass sauce), kerabu umbut (salad made from young palm tree shoots), and many others.

Other activities you can do at the homestay are trekking the nearby hilly jungle to get to a glorious waterfall known as the Lata Gelongsor, as well as visiting the King of Pattani’s shipwreck site. Tok Beng, the founder of the village was believed to be a Prince of Pattani.

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Kota Tampan Archaeological Museum (the museum displays a diversity of archaeological finds from the local area) and the limestone caves in Lenggong Valley.

Homestay Kampung Beng
33400 Lenggong, Perak
Contact person: Mr. Akmal (019 – 574 7160)
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pg/homestaykampungBENG

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

WHAT LIES “BEHIND THE ISLAND”?

On the southwest of Penang, there is a sleepy town called Balik Pulau, literally meaning “behind the island,” that offers a glimpse of yesteryear. I salute the person who gave this town its name; there’s no need to give the town a fancy name, just a simple Balik Pulau would do.

But there’s nothing simple about Balik Pulau. What lies “behind the island” are beautiful sceneries, fresh air, quaint villages, street art, hospitable people, delicious food, empty beaches and peace and quiet. Let me show you what lies “behind the island”.

Balik Pulau Street Art

George Town has long been known as one of the street art capitals of the world. A prominent Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevi was commissioned to paint eight murals depicting the cultural and heritage of the island, which sparked the street art craze in not just Penang but the whole of Malaysia.

But street art in Balik Pulau depicts real people. Julia Volchkova who hails from Russia, paints the people she has met around the villages. Her murals on the pre-war buildings around Balik Pulau portray a rubber tapper, a fisherman, an Indian lady, a Hakka lady, as well as a martial artist in a pose.

Image via Julia Volchkova

Half the fun of the street art is hunting for the paintings, so what are you waiting for? Just head southwest of Penang and start your search for Volchkova’s murals and other drawings from various unknown artists.

Pasir Panjang Beach

I have a secret to share – did you know that Balik Pulau has a beach that is empty of tourists? That’s right, the beach at Pasir Panjang Beach is your own private playground. Here, you won’t have to fight for a space to set up your picnic spread. Just enjoy the empty beach to yourself, collecting beautiful seashells, chasing little crabs, angling, or simply enjoying the beautiful sunset. I must tell you, though, that swimming is not advisable here – the 2004 tsunami had eroded the beach and there may be steep parts and strong undercurrents in the sea not immediately visible to the eye.

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm

Did you know that the Royal Society recently reported that goats are much more attracted to people with big smiles plastered across their faces? Well, if you want to test it out, go visit Saanen Dairy Goat Farm in Permatang Pasir, Balik Pulau and find out for yourself.

Oh, for your information, Saanen goats are a white or cream colored breed of goats, named after the Saanen valley in Switzerland. So, please smile widely while you are feeding them the Rose and Napiar grasses. Entrance to the farm and feeding activities are free of charge. At the farm, you will get to learn the daily operations of a dairy goat farm from milking until the distribution process. Don’t forget to check out their ice cream, yogurt, feta, goat’s cheese and pudding made from fresh milk.

Address:

298 Mukim 1 Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang
Tel: 019-5163017
Messenger: m.me/SaanenDairyGoatFarm

Countryside Stables Penang

Nestled in the midst of the Sungai Burung agriculture area in Balik Pulau is the privately-owned Countryside Stables that offers its visitor all kind of riding activities.

To date, it is home to 35 horses of various breed including miniatures horses, Shetlands ponies, pure bred Arabian horses, Polo pony, Thai, Myanmar and Malaysian ponies, Percheron, and other animals such as donkeys and deer.


Upon entering Countryside Stables, an entry free of RM10 (adults) RM5 (children) will be charged. Some of the activities include joy rides and guided rides for children and adults, animal petting and feeding, as well as horse carriage rides.

Address:
Lot 10050 Jalan Sungai Burung, Kampong Jalan Baru, Balik Pulau
Tel: 012-408 0678
Messenger: m.me/countrysidestablespenang

Kuala Sungai Pinang

Kuala Sungai Pinang is a traditional fishing village that looks like it is frozen in time. It is worth a visit if you have never been to a fishing village and curious about the daily life of a fisherman. At the village, you get to see fishermen tending their nets while their old-school boats sway gently at the dock, or just enjoy the view of the villagers hustling for the catch of the day. It is simply nostalgic. Besides that, some of the friendly fishermen offer boat rides until the mangrove area and the nearby surroundings. Kuala Sungai Pinang may just be the place for poetic inspiration.

 

Titi Kerawang Waterfall

A cascading waterfall and natural pool await visitors at a scenic road between Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang, on the western side of the island. Since there are few waterfalls in Penang, a visit to this waterfall, which the locals call Titi Kerawang, is a must. The cool environment and dense greenery make the waterfall an ideal picnic spot. Local people normally come here in droves during the weekends and public holidays for recreation.

Stepping Stone Centre

The centre showcases a variety of high quality crafts which can be purchased. These include hand woven scarves, tie and dye bags in vibrant colours, home-made soaps, candles, etc. All products are made by members with special needs who have channeled their skills and abilities into a viable career. Stepping Stone is a support centre for community living run by an NGO, the Asia Community Service.

Address

53, Jalan Bharu, Bukit Satu, MK 1 Pulau Betong, Balik Pulau

Contact Number
+604 866 5349

Bao Sheng Durian Farm

Your visit to Balik Pulau is not complete if you did not go to a durian farm. In fact, every year between May and August, durian is the only fruit that draws visitors from near and far to Balik Pulau. There is this farm in Balik Pulau called Bao Sheng, which offers its visitors a compelling durian tasting experience. Savor the distinctive taste of Malaysia’s king of fruits in their tasting sessions as you learn about various types of durians and how to pick the best ones.

Address:
150 Mukim 2, Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6012-411 0600 / +6012-401 0800
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.durian.com.my

Matahari Cycle Tours, Balik Pulau

One of the best ways to explore Balik Pulau is on two wheels as you can easily meander through the villages and go off-the-beaten path to really get to know the locals. Matahari Cycle Tours is one of the prominent tour agencies that promotes the area. Cycling through Balik Pulau will allow you plenty of opportunities to get a perfect photo of the traditional villages, plantations, paddy fields and the farms.

Matahari Cycle Tours Travel Sdn. Bhd.
Contact No: +6019-4480440 (Mr Syed and Ms Princillia)
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.cyclematahari.com

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

WHAT LIES “BEHIND THE ISLAND”?

On the southwest of Penang, there is a sleepy town called Balik Pulau, literally meaning “behind the island,” that offers a glimpse of yesteryear. I salute the person who gave this town its name; there’s no need to give the town a fancy name, just a simple Balik Pulau would do.

But there’s nothing simple about Balik Pulau. What lies “behind the island” are beautiful sceneries, fresh air, quaint villages, street art, hospitable people, delicious food, empty beaches and peace and quiet. Let me show you what lies “behind the island”.

Balik Pulau Street Art

George Town has long been known as one of the street art capitals of the world. A prominent Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevi was commissioned to paint eight murals depicting the cultural and heritage of the island, which sparked the street art craze in not just Penang but the whole of Malaysia.

But street art in Balik Pulau depicts real people. Julia Volchkova who hails from Russia, paints the people she has met around the villages. Her murals on the pre-war buildings around Balik Pulau portray a rubber tapper, a fisherman, an Indian lady, a Hakka lady, as well as a martial artist in a pose.

Image via Julia Volchkova

Half the fun of the street art is hunting for the paintings, so what are you waiting for? Just head southwest of Penang and start your search for Volchkova’s murals and other drawings from various unknown artists.

Pasir Panjang Beach

I have a secret to share – did you know that Balik Pulau has a beach that is empty of tourists? That’s right, the beach at Pasir Panjang Beach is your own private playground. Here, you won’t have to fight for a space to set up your picnic spread. Just enjoy the empty beach to yourself, collecting beautiful seashells, chasing little crabs, angling, or simply enjoying the beautiful sunset. I must tell you, though, that swimming is not advisable here – the 2004 tsunami had eroded the beach and there may be steep parts and strong undercurrents in the sea not immediately visible to the eye.

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm

Did you know that the Royal Society recently reported that goats are much more attracted to people with big smiles plastered across their faces? Well, if you want to test it out, go visit Saanen Dairy Goat Farm in Permatang Pasir, Balik Pulau and find out for yourself.

Oh, for your information, Saanen goats are a white or cream colored breed of goats, named after the Saanen valley in Switzerland. So, please smile widely while you are feeding them the Rose and Napiar grasses. Entrance to the farm and feeding activities are free of charge. At the farm, you will get to learn the daily operations of a dairy goat farm from milking until the distribution process. Don’t forget to check out their ice cream, yogurt, feta, goat’s cheese and pudding made from fresh milk.

Address:

298 Mukim 1 Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang
Tel: 019-5163017
Messenger: m.me/SaanenDairyGoatFarm

Countryside Stables Penang

Nestled in the midst of the Sungai Burung agriculture area in Balik Pulau is the privately-owned Countryside Stables that offers its visitor all kind of riding activities.

To date, it is home to 35 horses of various breed including miniatures horses, Shetlands ponies, pure bred Arabian horses, Polo pony, Thai, Myanmar and Malaysian ponies, Percheron, and other animals such as donkeys and deer.


Upon entering Countryside Stables, an entry free of RM10 (adults) RM5 (children) will be charged. Some of the activities include joy rides and guided rides for children and adults, animal petting and feeding, as well as horse carriage rides.

Address:
Lot 10050 Jalan Sungai Burung, Kampong Jalan Baru, Balik Pulau
Tel: 012-408 0678
Messenger: m.me/countrysidestablespenang

Kuala Sungai Pinang

Kuala Sungai Pinang is a traditional fishing village that looks like it is frozen in time. It is worth a visit if you have never been to a fishing village and curious about the daily life of a fisherman. At the village, you get to see fishermen tending their nets while their old-school boats sway gently at the dock, or just enjoy the view of the villagers hustling for the catch of the day. It is simply nostalgic. Besides that, some of the friendly fishermen offer boat rides until the mangrove area and the nearby surroundings. Kuala Sungai Pinang may just be the place for poetic inspiration.

 

Titi Kerawang Waterfall

A cascading waterfall and natural pool await visitors at a scenic road between Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang, on the western side of the island. Since there are few waterfalls in Penang, a visit to this waterfall, which the locals call Titi Kerawang, is a must. The cool environment and dense greenery make the waterfall an ideal picnic spot. Local people normally come here in droves during the weekends and public holidays for recreation.

Stepping Stone Centre

The centre showcases a variety of high quality crafts which can be purchased. These include hand woven scarves, tie and dye bags in vibrant colours, home-made soaps, candles, etc. All products are made by members with special needs who have channeled their skills and abilities into a viable career. Stepping Stone is a support centre for community living run by an NGO, the Asia Community Service.

Address

53, Jalan Bharu, Bukit Satu, MK 1 Pulau Betong, Balik Pulau

Contact Number
+604 866 5349

Bao Sheng Durian Farm

Your visit to Balik Pulau is not complete if you did not go to a durian farm. In fact, every year between May and August, durian is the only fruit that draws visitors from near and far to Balik Pulau. There is this farm in Balik Pulau called Bao Sheng, which offers its visitors a compelling durian tasting experience. Savor the distinctive taste of Malaysia’s king of fruits in their tasting sessions as you learn about various types of durians and how to pick the best ones.

Address:
150 Mukim 2, Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6012-411 0600 / +6012-401 0800
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.durian.com.my

Matahari Cycle Tours, Balik Pulau

One of the best ways to explore Balik Pulau is on two wheels as you can easily meander through the villages and go off-the-beaten path to really get to know the locals. Matahari Cycle Tours is one of the prominent tour agencies that promotes the area. Cycling through Balik Pulau will allow you plenty of opportunities to get a perfect photo of the traditional villages, plantations, paddy fields and the farms.

Matahari Cycle Tours Travel Sdn. Bhd.
Contact No: +6019-4480440 (Mr Syed and Ms Princillia)
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.cyclematahari.com

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

6 REASONS TO LOVE MY BEST BOX

Check out Kuala Lumpur’s latest party spot, My Best Box, over at Berjaya Times Square shopping mall. It’s a family-friendly (no booze) entertainment outlet slash indoor theme park where you can enjoy over-the-top fun with friends and family. Imagine Running Man-type of variety games in which you can outdo one another, enjoy some comic fun, and lose your dignity at the same time! Good, clean, fun, right?

This urban theme park, if you can call it that, spreads out over 12,000 square feet filled with more than 40 games that you and your friends can enjoy for an entire afternoon. What’s “best” about My Best Box? Well, check out our top picks here:

Reason 1: Dry Pool

Ever dreamed of jumping into a ball pit at those indoor kids’ playground but just too shy because you feel old? Well, at My Best Box, no one is too old for anything, and you can fulfil that fantasy at this indoor theme park. There’s a giant pool pit filled with thousands of light-reflecting crystal plastic balls, so you can jump right in and entertain those fancies of being The Little Mermaid or whatever. So, of course, it’s one of the most Instagrammable spots at My Best Box, too, with props such as unicorn and rainbow-coloured floaties to rock your selfies. You and your friends are going to love posing for selfies in here!

Reason 2: Human Claw Machine 

My Best Box brings this classic video arcade game to real-life at its theme park…and you and your friends are going to have a good laugh over this. Strap up your friend who will be the human “claw” while you navigate him around a ball pit to the toy of your choice. Looks like great fun, but not as easy as you think. Especially when your human “claw” friend has to maneuver in some pretty insane acrobatic-like moves with legs and hands dangling everywhere!

Reason 3: Rain Biking

Think you can out-cycle your friends? In this game, one team pits against another to pedal as fast as they can. The slowest cycling team gets soaked in a big splash of waterfall. Don’t worry about getting wet, though, as there are some cool looking raincoats you can put on to keep you dry. Still, it is a nerve-wracking ordeal when you don’t know whether you are going to end up wet or dry at the end of this competition!

Reason 4: Balloon War

This game is really over-the-top…After strapping up in some XL-sized boxing gloves, protective gear and some serious looking footwear and jumping into a professional-looking boxing ring, you’d expect to throw in some serious punches to beat your opponent, right? Well, it turns out that this game is milder than it looks, actually. It’s all about using the foot pump strapped to your shoes to blow up the balloon on your helmet. The first person to burst their balloon gets a total knock-out. Go ahead and nominate the most muscled-up person in your group for this game. It gets hilarious quickly when the unsuspecting and well-toned “victim” thinks that they have to rely on their physique, only to learn that it’s a kiddy-version of boxing!

 

Reason 5: The Rage Room

Feeling angry lately and need to de-stress? The Rage Room at the My Best Box indoor theme park is the perfect anger-management therapy. But first, you get to look cool in a head-to-toe protective gear, then turn up the music of your choice, choose your weapon of destruction, and go ape as you unleash your anger by banging on glass, throwing things around and such. Ahhhh….all better, right?

Reason 6: Crazy Kartz

Want to feed your need for speed? My Best Box’s Crazy Kartz is a mini circuit where you can whizz around in some super-cool go-kart cars. Maneuver around the tight turns, overtake your friends at corners, and pull on the brakes for a little drift action. Go crazy with your stunts in a safe and well-cushioned environment.

Besides being a fun, colourful and entertaining theme park for casual day outs with friends, My Best Box is also ideal as a private event space with three different rooms to cater for various group sizes. Amp up your team-building, corporate training and other private functions here and tailor-make activities to suit your needs.

For details, contact:
My Best Box
Tel: +603 2775 5117
Email: [email protected]
Website: mybestbox.com.my

 

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Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

Ride through paradise as a star is Borneo

Ride through paradise as a star is Borneo

JUNGLE, palm-backed beaches, wildlife, tribal villages: welcome to Malaysia’s version of a paradise island. The isle in question is Borneo, a huge land mass whose territory is shared with Indonesia. While its most famous tourist area, Sabah, is busy with backpackers, the neighbouring state of Sarawak offers similar wonders in a far more pristine setting — which is why Saddle Skedaddle has just launched a cycling tour there.

‘While savvy travellers have heard of Borneo’s more touristy resorts, the north-west is only just opening up to tourism,’ says the company’s chief Asia guide Andrew Straw.

Pink dolphin. Photo Credit: Metro News

Read the rest of the article here….

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