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mixed race wedding

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mixed race wedding

Postby punggol_dreams » Sun, 11 Apr 2010 7:31 pm

Hi,

I'm British and I've just got engaged to a Chinese (Cantonese) Singaporean. Just wondered if anyone could fill me in on typical wedding traditions / customs that we should follow. Here's a little of what I know, with questions:

1.Pre-wedding photo shoot - how soon before the wedding should this be?
2.Guo Da Li gifts to bride's family - not exactly sure when this should be, but know that I am expected to give a pig and hong bao to her mother (pin jin). Is this still common?
3.ROM can be part of the wedding day or before - is this correct? How easy is it to fit it into the actual day?
4.Actual day starts with groom and brothers going to collect the bride. Bride's sisters require a series of challenges to be completed as well as hong bao! How much is acceptable to give the sisters?
5. Tea Ceremony with bride's parents. Do we serve all of her older relatives?
6. Groom takes bride back to grooms place for a further tea ceremony. My question here is what to do if the groom's parents are divorced and will not sit next to each other. Should we have 2 separate tea ceremonies? Also parents will be flying in, is it acceptable to have tea ceremonies in hotel suites / Serviced Apartments?
7. Lunch? where is it usually held? Groom's place?
8. ROM ceremony - I assume this can be anywhere, not just the ROM building. Also, is it possible to ROM on any day of the week?
9. Wedding banquet - Is it possible to cater for a mixture of Chinese, Jewish, Vegetarian, Muslim, Hindu guests? Also are there any traditions we should follow during the dinner? Guestbook? Cutting the cake? Going round the tables for a drink? Any others?
10. On a more financial note, am I right in saying the couple usually pay for everything (photos, dress hire, banquet etc) and the hong bao covers some of it?
11. Date - I heard there are auspicious dates to get married depending on the time of birth of bride and groom - how do we find out about ours?

We realise that there may need to be a lot of compromises (afterall thats what marriage is about!), but appreciate any advice. Would love to hear about past experiences of mixed race weddings.

Thanks in advance.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 11 Apr 2010 8:09 pm

I married a Malay/Eurasian local last year, so cannot comment on marrying Chinese.

What I can tell you though is that you can have a 'ROM' wedding (i.e. civil ceremony) on any day of the week. You need to do two things present your dox and yourselves at ROM beforehand to get clearance. Then book a date. From memory you can only book something like 30 days pre your desired date (if you want it to be held at ROM), and believe me if you snooze until the morning of the 30th day, all the slots will have been grabbed.

So then you have to consider other venues. From memory ROM restrict your group to be a maximum of 12. An alternative is what we did, get a civil ceremony on the pavillion/back-lawn of the Raffles. It was $2k+ or ++ for a package incl food, flowers, the works etc for 20 people. Approx $50 extra per head over that. We had about 25, it was lovely.

You can cater to any tastes food wise, but of course all the ranges of food will come at a price.

I found the Singapore Brides magazine forum MOST useful just to read through and get a feel for things (yeah, even as a British guy! :) )
http://www../cgi-bin/ ... ?pg=topics

Might be worth copying your questions over there as well. One shocker for me, was that for Chinese, the Hong Bao will be loaded relative to what they think the cost of your hospitality is. So you might get $50+ for a canape reception at Raffles, but $100-200 at a Ritz Carlton sit down. There is, believe it or not actually an informal H-B guide for what to give according to which venue! :D

p.s. One memorable discussion I read, was a lady whose husband to be was in paroxysms of distress that they would not actually end up turning a profit on their wedding day!

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Postby nakatago » Sun, 11 Apr 2010 8:23 pm

JR8 wrote:Might be worth copying your questions over there as well. One shocker for me, was that for Chinese, the Hong Bao will be loaded relative to what they think the cost of your hospitality is. So you might get $50+ for a canape reception at Raffles, but $100-200 at a Ritz Carlton sit down. There is, believe it or not actually an informal H-B guide for what to give according to which venue! :D


said guide has been posted/linked somewhere here...just can't remember if SMS or somebody else posted it.

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Postby raden888 » Sun, 11 Apr 2010 8:52 pm

You could do a truly Singaporean wedding and have the reception at the HDB flats grounds :D aka a HDB Hall.

Catering for various ethnic and religous groups should be a breeze in Singapore.Caterers should be used to that but not sure if they will be familiar with the demands of Jewish guests especially if they're ultras. They will most likely use the 'halal' guidelines instead.

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Postby beppi » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 12:50 am

I believe it is up to you and your bride-to-be to decide how you want to celebrate one of the most important days in your life. Don't let others dictate that!
At least me (European) and my wife (Chinese Singaporean) did it this way and were (and still are) happy with it, even if my parents-in-law would probably have preferred the usual Chinese hotel banquet instead of a party with friends (and catered Indian/Western food) at home.
We also had no photoshoot, no rings, no red packets (we told guests we prefer presents of non-financial nature, but not all followed this), but the same love as other couples.
We did, however, conduct a tea ceremony, just modernized it from broom serving tea for her parents and asking for permission to take her away, to both serving tea to both sets of parents - and accepted their well-wishes though we didn't need permissions.
It all costed a fraction of what "normal" weddings here cost (if memory serves me right, around S$5k included the "honeymoon" of two weeks backpacking in Madura).
But then we are a special couple (aren't all intercultural ones special?).

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 7:12 am

Bravo to you Beppi!

I think what you pulled off is difficult to achieve. As, as much as you have your own ideas and plans, it seems to be inevitable that you will get laden with expectations and guilt-trips from the extended family, and all the 'aunties' will be telling you what you really 'should do'. (This happens in western weddings too of course).

This has to be the #1 source of stress during the build-up to the day: dealing with everyone else's expectations. So I suppose if you set a clear boundary early on (No! We're doing this our way!) it might help.

An example of the intra-family silliness for me was that two of my aunt-in-laws refused to attend our wedding, due to the fact that I did not convert to Islam to marry my (token) muslim wife [apparently it offended their religious sensibilities]. This is despite my wife and I having previously been welcomed as chief attendants (maid of honour/best man), at both of their own daughters weddings. Sometimes it is like the aunties love the opportunity to poke a stick into the bees nest and rattle it around a bit.

Our plans ended up a little more complex/elaborate than originally planned, but we got away without doing the full on expected thing, and I still reckon everyone (who attended :) ) left happy.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 9:04 am

Actually, what you two have done is getting more and more prevalent today. I've notice it happening more and more as newer generations are exposed to a wider range of customs. I did much the same almost 27 years ago. Then there were a LOT of raised eyebrows back then, hell, even the mixed marriage was rare then, but my FiL (R.I.P.) fortunately, worked his entire life with the British Military in Seletar Camp and my wife grew up around the British families there so they were somewhat liberal. However, there were some in the extended family who were not so inclined. Subsequently they came around but we did have two receptions. One for my wife and her friends, most of which were western expats or local entertainers or media people (my wife used to be a professional entertainer here). And, as somebody mentioned earlier, we also had a reception the following day in an HDB community centre primarily to give face to my wife's father (traditional style without any alcohol as per his request) and his friend and acquaintances. As far a the Hong Bao is concerned, it was a mixed bag, some boxed gifts, but probably 2/3's in red packets/purple packets. Needless to say, we didn't "break even" or come anywhere close. But neither of us were looking for or counting on that anyway.

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 9:15 am

Hmmm...

I got off easy. As my FiL is 1/4 Irish and formerly a catholic. He converted 40+ years ago to get married through necessity and practicality. So the Parents in law are very open minded.

My own parents married, not cross-race, but cross nationality over 50 years ago, and that again must have been some hurdle to cross back then.

My one sibling married cross-race. So.... maybe I got away easy with all of that in the past :)

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Re: mixed race wedding

Postby Saint » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 9:43 am

punggol_dreams wrote:Hi,

I'm British and I've just got engaged to a Chinese (Cantonese) Singaporean. Just wondered if anyone could fill me in on typical wedding traditions / customs that we should follow. Here's a little of what I know, with questions:

1.Pre-wedding photo shoot - how soon before the wedding should this be?

This is something we didn't have done as me being an old traditionalist didn't want to see the bride's wedding dress before the ceremony. We had ours taken a few days after.

2.Guo Da Li gifts to bride's family - not exactly sure when this should be, but know that I am expected to give a pig and hong bao to her mother (pin jin). Is this still common?

Yes, the traditional still happens at the pure Chinese weddings I've been to

3.ROM can be part of the wedding day or before - is this correct? How easy is it to fit it into the actual day?

Yes the ROM can form part of the wedding day which is what we did. You still go to the ROM place to register with all the appropiate forms etc and then you are given the un-signed Wedding certificate. You then need to hire a JP to perform the wedding ceremony on the day.

4.Actual day starts with groom and brothers going to collect the bride. Bride's sisters require a series of challenges to be completed as well as hong bao! How much is acceptable to give the sisters?

I got away with this as I didn't want to see my Bride before the ceremony but I have taken part in this ritual at a couple of bro's wedding, for some strange reason they like having a token Ang Moh there. The amount to give the Sisters is really just a token gesture as it's more the ritual of having to perform challenges and bribing the Sister to release your wife to be. Also the times I've been to this ritual, the Groom has also given the Bros a token Hong Bao but can't say if this is the norm?

5. Tea Ceremony with bride's parents. Do we serve all of her older relatives?

In theory yes, and remember the single members of the family, the kids, will serve you tea and expect an Hong Bao in return. The kids know this part very well and will make a long queue!

6. Groom takes bride back to grooms place for a further tea ceremony. My question here is what to do if the groom's parents are divorced and will not sit next to each other. Should we have 2 separate tea ceremonies? Also parents will be flying in, is it acceptable to have tea ceremonies in hotel suites / Serviced Apartments?

We had the Tea Serving Ceremony at the Hotel after the wedding reception with both groom's and bride's family.

7. Lunch? where is it usually held? Groom's place?

Breakfast, brunch, lunch all seems to roll in to one as both Bride & Groom's parents put on some grub

8. ROM ceremony - I assume this can be anywhere, not just the ROM building. Also, is it possible to ROM on any day of the week?

I'm pretty sure this can be anywhere as I've been to a wedding ceremony that was performed at my local bar! And yes any day of the week.

9. Wedding banquet - Is it possible to cater for a mixture of Chinese, Jewish, Vegetarian, Muslim, Hindu guests? Also are there any traditions we should follow during the dinner? Guestbook? Cutting the cake? Going round the tables for a drink? Any others?

The traditional Chinese Wedding dinner is very vegetarian friendly but hotels can cater including all Faiths. You might want to consider a buffet?

10. On a more financial note, am I right in saying the couple usually pay for everything (photos, dress hire, banquet etc) and the hong bao covers some of it?

The couple normally pay for all the photos, dress hire etc but the banquet all depends on the size and just how many table your bride's parents will want to cater for all their family, friends, work colleagues etc but traditionally the hong bao is suppose to cover the banquet.

11. Date - I heard there are auspicious dates to get married depending on the time of birth of bride and groom - how do we find out about ours?

The mother of the bride will normally drag her along to some old fortune telling aunty who will tell you if the date you've chosen is ok, at a price of course!

We realise that there may need to be a lot of compromises (afterall thats what marriage is about!), but appreciate any advice. Would love to hear about past experiences of mixed race weddings.

There are compromises but it's really what you as a couple want and feel comfortable with. Only my Old Man came over from the UK to attend the Singapore wedding as we had a Church Blessing and reception back in the UK a few weeks later. Try organising 2 weddings/receptions!

Thanks in advance.


We were in the same situation when we got married, me a Brit to a Singapore Chinese. We decided to have a West meet East wedding as there were some Western traditions that we both wanted, especially me.

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Postby raden888 » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 12:38 pm

I would go with the buffet option the easiest way to please everyone especially in such a multi-cultural environment.

I'm a product of a mix marriage :cool:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 1:02 pm

raden888 wrote:
I'm a product of a mix marriage :cool:


Does that make you schizo? :P Sometimes have multiple personalities is advantageous as you can always blame it on the other one! :lol:

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Postby carolynW » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 1:41 pm

We had two weddings, 1 in KL (as bulk of rellies there - Chinese, I planned this one) and one in Vancouver (as bulk of other rellies there - Jewish, he planned this one)

1.Pre-wedding photo shoot - how soon before the wedding should this be?

Did only at the Vancouver site on that day. KL had my cousin the amatuer photrographer

2.Guo Da Li gifts to bride's family - not exactly sure when this should be, but know that I am expected to give a pig and hong bao to her mother (pin jin). Is this still common?

We arranged tradtional large baskets filled with goodies (chocolate dates, jewish biscuits, stuff) that were carried in by his friends behind him during the arrival ceremony.


3.ROM can be part of the wedding day or before - is this correct? How easy is it to fit it into the actual day?


Did this in Canada. The ROM was also the female rabbi under the chuppah

4.Actual day starts with groom and brothers going to collect the bride. Bride's sisters require a series of challenges to be completed as well as hong bao! How much is acceptable to give the sisters?


We did the opposite, we collected the groom as I have a tonne of relatives that all congregated at my grandfathers home. A contingent of antique cars went to collect him and his mates from the hotel. I think we prepared a hong bao for the youngest boy in the family who customarily had to open the car door.


5. Tea Ceremony with bride's parents. Do we serve all of her older relatives?


Yes or NO hongbao!!!

6. Groom takes bride back to grooms place for a further tea ceremony.


We did this all at one venue and it gets quite tedious as we had a big family. The in laws are divorced too so they went separate times but my parents who are divorced sat together.

My question here is what to do if the groom's parents are divorced and will not sit next to each other. Should we have 2 separate tea ceremonies? Also parents will be flying in, is it acceptable to have tea ceremonies in hotel suites / Serviced Apartments?


Do what is most convenient to you.

7. Lunch? where is it usually held? Groom's place?


We had dinner and 2 options, if anyone failed to indicate option then they got the chicken 9and were prewarned. My husband was nicer in vancouver and ordered a variety.

8. ROM ceremony - I assume this can be anywhere, not just the ROM building. Also, is it possible to ROM on any day of the week?


Sorry no idea.

9. Wedding banquet - Is it possible to cater for a mixture of Chinese, Jewish, Vegetarian, Muslim, Hindu guests? Also are there any traditions we should follow during the dinner? Guestbook? Cutting the cake? Going round the tables for a drink? Any others?

Sorry no idea too but I do suggest you keep the jewish dancing bit in, that was fun.


10. On a more financial note, am I right in saying the couple usually pay for everything (photos, dress hire, banquet etc) and the hong bao covers some of it?


We paid for it ourselves and no one had any say.


11. Date - I heard there are auspicious dates to get married depending on the time of birth of bride and groom - how do we find out about ours?


The best date was what suited us. Well it was weekend in KL with dinner, tea ceremony oh and I had chinese lions too... then everyone flew to vancouver for more festivities, where each day we got to spend with guests doing bungee, zip lines, luge... etc, need the adrenaline before taking the final plunge!!!

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Postby therat » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 3:05 pm

raden888 wrote:You could do a truly Singaporean wedding and have the reception at the HDB flats grounds :D aka a HDB Hall.

Catering for various ethnic and religous groups should be a breeze in Singapore.Caterers should be used to that but not sure if they will be familiar with the demands of Jewish guests especially if they're ultras. They will most likely use the 'halal' guidelines instead.


presently, this only happen to Muslim.
Now Chinese not longer doing this.

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Re: mixed race wedding

Postby therat » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 3:30 pm

I'm British and I've just got engaged to a Chinese (Cantonese) Singaporean. Just wondered if anyone could fill me in on typical wedding traditions / customs that we should follow. Here's a little of what I know, with questions:

1.Pre-wedding photo shoot - how soon before the wedding should this be?
normally is 3-4 mths before the actual wedding dinner.Can be as early as 6 mth

2.Guo Da Li gifts to bride's family - not exactly sure when this should be, but know that I am expected to give a pig and hong bao to her mother (pin jin). Is this still common?
Yes.
For Cantonese must be WHOLE roosted pig.
Pin Jin is 1 part of Guo Da Li. Normally is you put a amount inside, bride family will took some or half and return it back in hong bao. (For this, you need to check with them how much are they expect. If they expect 4k, don't put exact 4k, put 8k)
For the Guo Da Li , has to depend on how traditional of the bride family is.
Traditional one still had 4 Dian Jin, wedding cookie, etc
Ask them how many table they want.


3.ROM can be part of the wedding day or before - is this correct? How easy is it to fit it into the actual day?
ROM can be before. I did my ROM 3 mth before my actual wedding. Can be on the exact day but might be tired for the newly-wed couple.
In the eye of law, ROM is already official husband and wife but Elder Chinese treat the Tea Ceremony as the official date


4.Actual day starts with groom and brothers going to collect the bride. Bride's sisters require a series of challenges to be completed as well as hong bao! How much is acceptable to give the sisters?
Depend


5. Tea Ceremony with bride's parents. Do we serve all of her older relatives?
Yes. All older relatives, parent, grand-parent, auntie/uncle. Both her mother side and father side.
For elder , u might ask to kneel.
If she has elder sister or brother, you also need to serve but no need to kneel.


6. Groom takes bride back to grooms place for a further tea ceremony. My question here is what to do if the groom's parents are divorced and will not sit next to each other. Should we have 2 separate tea ceremonies? Also parents will be flying in, is it acceptable to have tea ceremonies in hotel suites / Serviced Apartments?
Sure. No problem. As long as your parent is ok.
During the Tea Ceremony, some auntie or uncle might not able to attend, you can serve the tea during the wedding dinner.


7. Lunch? where is it usually held? Groom's place?
Depend. By lunch time, where will you be.
Fetch the bride has a time, some can be as early as 6am



8. ROM ceremony - I assume this can be anywhere, not just the ROM building. Also, is it possible to ROM on any day of the week?
If out of the ROM building, you need to engage a JP. ROM date can be book online


9. Wedding banquet - Is it possible to cater for a mixture of Chinese, Jewish, Vegetarian, Muslim, Hindu guests? Also are there any traditions we should follow during the dinner? Guestbook? Cutting the cake? Going round the tables for a drink? Any others?
depend on the restaurant you engage. Don't think any restaurant can cater what you had mention.
You might need to engage 1 main restaurant and ask them to outsource for you.
Guestbook, if you book a wedding package. Normally it come with you. Ask them



10. On a more financial note, am I right in saying the couple usually pay for everything (photos, dress hire, banquet etc) and the hong bao covers some of it?
Yes. In Chinese, wedding is pay by the couples. Seldom parent pay for the dinner. Some couples might borrow money from the parent.
Just a side note.
Traditional, Hong bao from elder, couple cannot take. As they will pass to the parent instead of the couple. Married cousin/sister/brother , you can take.
Non-married cousin/sister/brother no need to give hong bao.


11. Date - I heard there are auspicious dates to get married depending on the time of birth of bride and groom - how do we find out about ours?
Our birth cerf has indicate the date and time. What they want is your date/time base on Chinese calendar. But don't worry, those master can find out

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Re: mixed race wedding

Postby manutdfan » Mon, 12 Apr 2010 4:07 pm

punggol_dreams wrote:Hi,

I'm British and I've just got engaged to a Chinese (Cantonese) Singaporean. Just wondered if anyone could fill me in on typical wedding traditions / customs that we should follow. Here's a little of what I know, with questions:


I'm British as well - also married a Chinese Singaporean. Slightly different from you in that we were both in the UK, and came back to Singapore for the wedding. I'm now living in Punggol as well!

punggol_dreams wrote:1.Pre-wedding photo shoot - how soon before the wedding should this be?


We didn't do this.

punggol_dreams wrote:2.Guo Da Li gifts to bride's family - not exactly sure when this should be, but know that I am expected to give a pig and hong bao to her mother (pin jin). Is this still common?


The pig still is - I don't remember being handing over an Hong Bao though! Again, it's slightly different for me because we both came back to Singapore about four months ahead of the wedding to meet the parents, but that's when I "bought" the pig. (In fact, my wife sent her father out to buy it with my money, but your mileage may vary here!)

punggol_dreams wrote:3.ROM can be part of the wedding day or before - is this correct? How easy is it to fit it into the actual day?


We did it a few days before hand - I think there's a limit on how many you can have.

punggol_dreams wrote:4.Actual day starts with groom and brothers going to collect the bride. Bride's sisters require a series of challenges to be completed as well as hong bao! How much is acceptable to give the sisters?


Oddly enough I managed to wiggle out of this one, by inisisting it was bad luck for me to see the bride in the dress before she came to the church! I didn't even realise I was doing it at the time. I have no sisters in law, but my brother in law did get his revenge at the wedding with some party "games"

punggol_dreams wrote:5. Tea Ceremony with bride's parents. Do we serve all of her older relatives?


Aunties, uncles, grandparents, your parents as well. Aunties will usually take the opportunity to make silly comments about babies and having sons. I also served for my married brother in law.

Of course, you then get to sit down and be served tea by your younger unmarried siblings!

punggol_dreams wrote:6. Groom takes bride back to grooms place for a further tea ceremony. My question here is what to do if the groom's parents are divorced and will not sit next to each other. Should we have 2 separate tea ceremonies? Also parents will be flying in, is it acceptable to have tea ceremonies in hotel suites / Serviced Apartments?


Can't help on the divorced thing - our tea ceremony was held in the hotel room before lunch.

punggol_dreams wrote:7. Lunch? where is it usually held? Groom's place?


We went to a good hotel - about 150 guests, 120 of whom I'd never seen before and haven't seen since - there were a lot of my father in laws friends there though.

It's not as bad as it sounds - all guests usually bring a Hang Bao - often containing 8 red bank notes because that's lucky - which when counted up afterwards pays for a good bulk of the wedding expenses.

punggol_dreams wrote:9. Wedding banquet - Is it possible to cater for a mixture of Chinese, Jewish, Vegetarian, Muslim, Hindu guests? Also are there any traditions we should follow during the dinner? Guestbook? Cutting the cake? Going round the tables for a drink? Any others?


Most caters should manage this. Oddly enough this wasn't a problem for us.

punggol_dreams wrote:10. On a more financial note, am I right in saying the couple usually pay for everything (photos, dress hire, banquet etc) and the hong bao covers some of it?


The hong baos gave us enough to pay off the hotel and still have 1500 left over. Which we then gave to my mum in law as she paid the deposit. But my wife had significant funds of her own.

punggol_dreams wrote:11. Date - I heard there are auspicious dates to get married depending on the time of birth of bride and groom - how do we find out about ours?

We realise that there may need to be a lot of compromises (afterall thats what marriage is about!), but appreciate any advice. Would love to hear about past experiences of mixed race weddings.

Thanks in advance.


I think the best advice is to talk - especially to her parents about what's required. Do be aware there is a huge amount of "face" involved - and that her parents will want to "preserve" it.

We had the actual religious/legal ceremony in Singapore, and then returned to Europe and held another ceremony/party there for my family. This did make things a lot easier at one level - it meant that barring one or two things, I was happy to go along with everything required in Singapore.


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