Tag Archives: Books

Cartoonist Arif Rafhan reflects on how travel has shaped his way of thinking | Instant News



Late chef and travel documentary maker Anthony Bourdain once said: “Travel isn’t always beautiful. It is not always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But it is okay. The journey changes you; It should change you. Arif Rafhan, comic artist, pre-production illustrator and teacher, would discover the truth of these words firsthand. Between 2001 and 2003, a young Arif (then in his twenties) and a group of college friends decided to travel to Southeast Asia. Away from his comfort zone, Arif has encountered both good and bad things, unexpected experiences. The artist recounted his adventures in a Bahasa-Malaysian-language graphic novel Pelempang Realiti, which was published by Maple Comics in 2015. Pelempang Realiti has the raw energy and hijinks of a group of college friends. The views they encountered on their journey shocked and drastically changed their state of mind, so much so that Arif decided to record his experiences. Earlier this year, the graphic novel was picked up by Singaporean publisher Epigram Books and translated into English as Reality Bitchslap for international audiences. “My Maple Comics publisher offered me this deal. It was their initiative and we made the deal and that’s how Reality Bitchslap came into the picture, ”Arif, 43, explains in an interview. Arif’s work has been published in over 10 books to date by MPH, Buku Fixi, Maple Comics, and Marshall Cavendish. These include comics, content illustrations, and cover illustrations. “This Reality Bitchslap book is the most truthful work (by me), so getting caught is so satisfying. It’s like the circle has come full circle, ”he says. Language translation aside, there weren’t many huge (artistic) changes when Reality Bitchslap was lifted straight from Pelempang Realiti. Drawn in black and white, Reality Bitchslap documents Arif’s visits to places such as Hanoi, Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Cultural misunderstandings, culinary experiences, and even toilet mishaps on the road are all portrayed through Arif’s offbeat storytelling. He doesn’t forget heartwarming memories, like meeting a group of friendly musicians in Indonesia. Other memories aren’t that precious, especially when Arif and his friends are tricked into visiting a seedy Thai brothel and almost have serious problems. Arif served as a translator for Reality Bitchslap, working with Epigram Books and his friend Yanty Ishak, who served as his personal editor on the project. His travel experiences were shaped by the fact that he traveled at a time when technology was less advanced. “We went to these countries before the smartphone era. Nowadays, information is at your fingertips and you don’t have to worry about asking locals for directions or recommendations, so less risk of getting scammed too! Much safer, of course, but less adventurous, “says the Ipoh-born artist.” I love road movies. I love the stories that started with one person turning into a better person at the end of the movie. This trip is so fascinating that I wanted to tell a similar story and looking back our trips to these countries are the perfect story to tell, ”says Arif. Photo: Filepic In creating his book, Arif mentions being inspired by cartoonists such as Robert Crumb and Joe Sacco straight to road movies and works by directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Ed Burns. The biggest challenge in telling a travel story through the graphic novel medium like Reality Bitchslap, he says, is maintaining momentum. “Like any other travelogue, the story has to be interesting in each location and I had to decide what is best to represent each location and that is the dilemma. So for this book, I split the story into parts to keep the moods going; such as social issues, food and music and these elements should be contextually beneficial to my story, ”Arif explains. “It was truly an eye-opening experience; mingle with the locals, eat cheap local food, and chat with the old people … you’ll find we’re all the same. We are connected human beings, by blood, values ​​or and we should be proud to be Southeast Asians, ”he says. Arif has been busy with various other projects this pandemic year. He worked with Singaporean writer / collaborator Melanie Lee on a new book, titled Amazing Ash And Superhero Ah Ma He is also writing a new graphic novel, a coming-of-age story of a kid in Taiping, Perak in late 1980s. Arif has also been working closely with legendary cartoonist Lat since October 2018 for Lat’s next graphic novel (in progress) titled Mat Som 2. “I’ve been working with him for two years now and he’s a great experience for me. He is very accommodating, generous and helpful and reminds me to be attentive and to spread positive vibes. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity. Maybe I will write a graphic novel on my experience working with him, “says Arif. Currently travel is limited due to the pandemic, but Arif is looking forward to traveling again.” I think we can travel again, but as they say, ‘new style norma l ”. For me, it opens up much more recent narratives and stories as the world adjusts to a new standard that we’re all strangers to. So I’m optimistic about it and look forward to bringing my family back to travel. More information on Reality Bitchslap here. .



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The ten best travel books of 2020 | Trip | Instant News


For most travelers, 2020 has been a complete dud. Due to Covid-19’s strict travel restrictions, countries around the world have closed their borders to visitors, and airlines and cruise ships have grounded part of their fleets. The closest for many of us to the real journey is to live vicariously through social media accounts and perhaps a quick (and safe) journey here or there. Fortunately, one of the good developments of 2020 is the large number of published travel books that will help ease the reader’s urge to travel. We’ve rounded up ten of our favorites for the coming months. Art Lurks in New York City: An Illustrated Guide to the City’s Secret Masterpieces Getting fired is something most people hope to avoid throughout their careers, but for Lori Zimmer, it was a blessing in disguise. Suddenly, the art curator had time to explore her adopted hometown of New York. “I didn’t know what else to do with my time, so I started walking all the streets of Manhattan and started noticing the city’s abundance of art,” she says. at Smithsonian. “I would go home and research each piece.” His curiosity resulted in a blog titled Art Nerd New York, and ultimately led to this book on the city’s hidden art scene. Released this fall, Art Hiding in New York showcases works of art hidden in plain sight, from a Soho loft filled with 280,000 pounds of dirt to a World War II memorial along the Hudson River, hidden by the daily tides. The book couldn’t have been better timed, highlighting public art, much of it outdoor and accessible, as so many art institutions have faced closures due to Covid-19. Each item is associated with a colorful illustration by artist Maria Krasinski. Spirit Run: A 6,000 Mile Marathon Through The Stolen Lands of North America As the son of working-class Mexican immigrants, 19-year-old Noah Álvarez knew he could easily follow in his parents’ footsteps and work alongside them in an apple. packaging plant. But when he heard about Peace and Dignity Journeys, a Native American First Nations organization that hosts ultramarathons, he jumped at the chance to change that course. The result was an epic four-month, 6,000-mile journey across North America on foot, from Canada to Guatemala, crossing deserts and mountain passes alongside a group of runners representing nine Native American tribes. In Spirit Run, Álvarez tells the story of his journey and comes face to face with the same country his parents left behind in search of new opportunities in the United States. By accident Wes Anderson As a filmmaker, Wes Anderson has an instantly identifiable aesthetic. His penchant for a vivid color palette, symmetry and nostalgia, as seen in The Royal Tenenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom, has won him legions of fans. One superfan, Wally Koval, created an Instagram account in 2017 called @accidentallywesanderson where he and his wife, Amanda, solicit and present photos of other fans from places around the world that eerily resemble the settings of the Anderson films. The effort turned out to be so popular (1.2 million subscribers) that they recently created a book featuring 200 color-saturated photos taken from their social media account, with sites that include a fire station in pink plaster in Marfa, Texas, and a sandstone and marble fort. in Rajasthan, India. The Whale Museum you will never see: and other excursions to Iceland’s most unusual museums Despite being one of the least populated countries in Europe, with a total population of around 330,000, Iceland has an unprecedented number of museums covering a range of subjects, ranging from the expected (the National Museum of Iceland, the National Gallery of Iceland) to the less obvious (the Icelandic Phallological Museum, the Icelandic Punk Museum) . In total, the country is home to 265 museums containing millions of objects. In a treasure hunt for the singular, author and artist A. Kendra Greene (she is currently a guest artist at the Nasher Sculpture Garden in Dallas) visits the abundance of Icelandic institutions in search of the country’s strangest artefacts. She discovers a number of objects that are truly scratchers, including a chastity belt designed for rams, a dried bull penis shaped into a whip, and a sculpture of the body of Christ made from a pile of dried fish. . Lost Pianos of Siberia Covered in snow and ice, Siberia is a land better known for its harsh environment than its connection to piano music. In her first book, author and journalist Sophy Roberts shines a light on the desolate region’s fascination with the instrument by venturing into the freezing cold to hunt down pianos since their peak of popularity in the 19th century. During her three-year adventure through the snow-capped tundra, she discovers how the piano was part of a strong cultural push to westernize the region led by Catherine the Great in the late 1700s. Soon, piano music was introduced. which has become ubiquitous in Siberia and appreciated by all members of society, from the nobility to average citizens living in remote villages far from the modern world. The result is a book that describes the important roles that surviving grand and upright pianos, distributed everywhere from sleepy villages to forced labor camps established during Stalin’s reign, played in Siberia’s past. Wild Feast: In Search of the Last Untamed Food Foraging and hunting for food was the norm in North America 200 years ago, and people’s diets consisted mainly of foodstuffs resulting from labor. physical. Fast forward to today and hunting and gathering is like a trip to the supermarket or a drive-through. In this travelogue, author and geographer Gina Rae La Cerva travels the world in search of some of the last truly wild foods on the planet. Her journey brings her to a cemetery in Denmark, where she searches for wild onions shoulder to shoulder with the country’s renowned chefs, and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she investigates the “bushmeat” trade which is running through the region’s rainforests and resulting in the illegal poaching of wildlife to please the palates of the European elite. World of Wonders: to the glory of fireflies, whale sharks and other astonishments For her first book, an illustrated collection of essays on nature, Aimee Nezhukumatathil recounts how, throughout her life, of a writer and mother , she often sought advice in the natural world. With each tale, the award-winning poet conveys the lessons she learned from peacocks, red-spotted newts, whale sharks and other creatures, and how she applied them in her daily life. About the peacock, she writes: “What the peacock can do is remind you of a home that you will flee and come back all your life.” She also has a fondness for the axolotl, or “Mexican Walking Fish”. The amphibian has a wide, sweet smile, which encourages the perpetrator to smile even when the going gets tough. The Address Book: What Street Addresses Tell About Identity, Race, Wealth and Power In real estate, everything revolves around “location, location, location” and The place you live often defines your place on the socio-economic scale. (Concrete example: Park Avenue in New York automatically sums up notions of luxury.) Author Deirdre Mask presents this case in his book on the history of addresses and what they all mean. From the roads of modern Germany named after Nazi soldiers to urban America with streets dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she tells the stories behind the addresses, while examining the growing global epidemic of homelessness. shelter and what it means to have no address at all. Refuge: America’s Wildest Places While America’s 62 national parks receive most accolades (and for good reason), it’s the country’s national wildlife sanctuary system that deserves a closer look. . These natural expanses, of which there are 567, are among the most pristine and unspoiled territories in the country – and they also don’t draw large crowds like, say, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. (Read: you can actually be one with nature there.) Author and nature photographer Ian Shive makes his point in a new coffee table book featuring over 300 color images of over 40 shelters, including the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge near the tip of the state archipelago, the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming, and the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. After leafing through this book, you will ask yourself: “Yellowstone who?” Roadside Americans: The Rise and Fall of Hitchhiking in a Changing Nation At one point, seeing someone walking alone along an open road with their thumb pointed at the sky was a thing current. For many, even, disappointing a stranger’s walk was a rite of passage. But these days, it’s a rare sight. Jack Reid, an expert on American culture, takes readers on a wild journey through the history of hitchhiking, from its beginnings at the turn of the 20th century, when car ownership was becoming more and more common, until ‘to the hippie, feminist and racial movements of the late 1960s, which saw the “thumb stumbling” as an act of liberation that literally thumbed its nose at the status quo. It also offers hypotheses as to why the mode of transportation collapsed right after the rise of the Reagan era. (Plot twist: Reagan was a well-known hitchhiker himself.) Having trouble seeing our list of books? Turn off your ad blocker and you’re good to go. By purchasing a product through these links, Smithsonian magazine can earn a commission. 100 percent of our profits go to supporting the Smithsonian Institution. Like this article? Subscribe to our newsletter.



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The best travel books to inspire Wanderlust | Instant News


Woman reading a book in a hammock in a tropical garden getty Travel looks a little different these days and many people stay closer to home, avoiding planes and faraway destinations. Even so, the curiosity for other cultures, wild landscapes or passions and hobbies around the world has not diminished. Books have always created a window into an unacceptable worldview. Read on for the top picks of titles that inspire the urge to travel. Adventurous women and globetrotters Complicated and engaging, the women of Mia Kankimaki The women I think of at night: walking the paths of my heroes are all explorers. Through each chapter, you will discover women who went against the grain and embarked on personal adventures to shamelessly live their lives with passion and fervor. You will read the story of a woman who ran a coffee plantation in Kenya; a travel writer who suffered from depression until she sought medical advice to explore the high seas; a Buddhist nun who became the first white woman to enter Lhasa, a forbidden city in the mid-1920s; an inventor who traveled the world with just a handbag; and much more. A love letter to horses around the world Sarah Maslin Nir, reporter for the New York Times, loves horses, their guardians and the stories that come together. Through her book, Horse Crazy: The Tale of a Woman and an Animal Loving World, readers are taken on an insider adventure in the equestrian landscape across America (New York, California). , Virginia, etc.). Plus, is the deeper dive into Nir’s education as she writes about the nannies who raised her, the accomplished and mature family she never really felt a part of (including a father who survived the Holocaust), and how horses helped her cope with a lonely childhood. Read a book and drink a hot drink from a red cup. getty Learn survival skills from an expert If you’ve always wanted to learn to navigate the night sky, tell the time in the sun, light a fire without a match, keep warm in an igloo, make a canoe or confidently exploring nature around you or in faraway destinations, then you’ll love reading Richard Wiese’s book, Born to Explore. The chapters in this book read as a survival guide, giving you tools and tips for safety, navigation, shelter, food, weather, and spending lots of time in the great outdoors. Relying on science, mental reasoning, adaptability and interpersonal skills, you will be endowed with outdoor knowledge and skills after reading. From Guatemala to America The New American, by Micheline Aharonian Marcom, is a novel that takes you through the experience of an undocumented “dreamer” student named Emilio who, after having a car accident in California, is expelled towards Guatemala, a country he never knew. Emilio arrives at the border between the United States and Mexico and must confront law enforcement and a group of infamous characters. The book takes into account real-life interviews with refugees from Central America, and the author is the founder and creative director of the New American Story Project, which documents migration stories and the lives of New Americans. Wildlife detective thwarts hawk thieves Rare falcon eggs from a remote area of ​​Wales have been discovered at Birmingham International Airport in Britain, strapped to a traveler. The Falcon Thief: a True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird, written by Joshua Hammer, tells the story of a bird of prey egg ferryman and the wildlife sleuth who attempted to stop it. Readers are transported to Patagonia, Zimbabwe, the Arctic Circle, Dubai and other places across the planet on a thrill ride for the ages of this book, based on interviews at the premiere. person, essay transcripts and media reports. Books on the desk in the library. getty Women in the Workforce Filled with beautiful photographs and indelible stories of women working as tech giants, farmers, miners, taxidermists, cowgirls, firefighters, pilots, teachers, doctors, architects, butchers and more, Women’s Work: Stories from Pioneering Women Shaping our workforce is captivating and inspiring. The Photograph, by Chris Crisman, will stay with you long after you finish the book, a hardcover that should be given to every woman in your family, regardless of age, career, or ability. Get off the bus where tour buses don’t go: Chicago’s Hidden Sites of the Mysterious, Macabre, Ghostly, and Glamor, written by Gerry Lekas, is a must-read title for anyone visiting or living in or near Chicago. Through the pages of this book, learn about the history of the ghosts, gangsters and Hollywood of Windy City. You can plan a self-guided tour for yourself – the guide includes specific addresses and descriptions to light the way. Eco-Adventures Athwart the Planet Travel Writer, animal lover and author Jeremy Hance suffers from OCD and chronic anxiety, but he doesn’t let that stop him. In his autobiography, Baggage: Confessions of a Globe-Trotting Hypocondriaac, he visits different countries with his fiancée and talks about his challenges with mental illness. Beyond destinations – South America, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean – it’s a story about personal resilience, adaptability, courage and the importance of nurturing strong relationships. Getty present book Be Strong and Proud Traveling through different countries as a woman, especially solo, can offer unique challenges that men are free to. Rude: Stop Being Nice and Start Being Bold by Rebecca Reid, is a bit of a manifesto, which encourages women to stand up for themselves, to achieve what they want in life and to travel the world with confidence and assertiveness, keeping their personal safety and conscience in mind. The insight in this book is useful for women who navigate relationships, social responsibilities and obligations, careers, and health. Connect with writer, Wendy Altschuler, on Instagram. .



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Stanford Travel Bookstore Launches Crowdfunding Project as it Fights for Survival | Trip | Instant News



It’s a wet autumn day, a second lockdown is looming and, like many in the UK, I dream of distant coastlines, sunny highlands and wild adventures. Anything but the unholy twinning of the pandemic and the British winter. My shelves are well-equipped to meet my fantasies, filled with reminders of past trips: every country map to ride the Pan-American Highway motorbike, a guide to trekking in the Sinai Peninsula, the classic Michelin 741 map Sahara from London to Cape Town ride, a map of the Tehran tube system, a kayaker’s guide to British rivers and more Ordnance Survey maps than you could shake a carbon fiber hiking stick. This isn’t an unusual library for someone who’s made a living in travel, but there’s something else that ties these pieces together: They all came from Stanford, the downtown travel and maps bookstore. London. Founded in 1853 and operating in Covent Garden since 1901, Stanfords is an institution – and an institution loved by anyone who has ever felt the slightest whiff of the urge to travel. Judging by the outpouring of sympathy and support on social media, I wasn’t the only one who felt pain at the news that Stanfords was facing the shutdown – and that was before the announcement of the second lock. There is something about losing Stanfords that hits you hard. Like all the best shops, it offers more than that: it’s a home away from home, a haven in rough seas, and (under normal circumstances) attracts travelers from all over the world. The Original Stanfords Card Room In response to the crisis, Stanfords launched a crowdfunding program with a range of rewards available for donations ranging from £ 5 to £ 5,000, ranging from a cup of coffee to personalized cards, books and tours of its cartographic archives. His goal is to raise £ 120,000 to help him survive until spring 2021, when he hopes London has recovered and people can travel more freely. As CEO Vivien Godfrey explains, this sum will allow him to continue paying rent, taxes, salaries and additional costs incurred to secure the Covid store. For me, London without Stanford is unthinkable. It seemed like it would always be there – because it had been so long. Born in 1827, Edward Stanford started out as a cartographer, becoming the Queen’s official cartographer before entering retail and creating and supplying maps to Florence Nightingale, Ernest Shackleton and Amy Johnson. Stanfords has evolved over time and in recent years has hosted events including book launches and adventure movie nights, as well as the establishment of the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards. In January 2019, he moved from his Long Acre site to a new home (just around the corner) in Mercer Walk. Behind the scenes, the mapping service has gone from providing military surveys to Neville Chamberlain to designing full-scale production maps for the James Bond films. But from a customer perspective, in an increasingly bland street landscape, Stanfords remains an example of an independent retailer with a heart, actively supporting authors and specialist publishers, and employing staff with a love and knowledge of what’s on the shelves. Cartographer Martin Greenaway has worked at Stanford for 27 years and is afraid for his future. Attendance collapsed during the pandemic, leading to a 75% drop in sales, and online sales also fell 15% due to restrictions on global travel. “The store survived a bomb in the blitz,” Greenaway said. “So I really hope we can get over this, but I’m worried. Stanfords was such an important part of the history of the expedition, and there is nowhere else like it. Legend has it that Stanfords survived the flash bombardment thanks to its large number of such tight Ordnance Survey maps, which helped stop the path of the flames. It will take more than a stash of OS Landrangers to beat the current crisis, but globetrotters, wheelchair travelers and Stanford lovers can help. Of course, we can still plan our future trips and buy our maps and books directly from their website. We can also donate to the crowdfunder, helping to ensure Stanfords survives as the spiritual home of the traveler and will always be there when the world opens up again. .



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Travel through time with true stories | Entertainment | Instant News


Books can be our personal time travelers, taking us back in time to learn about fascinating people and events we might not have heard of otherwise. Such books can be another kind of portal, which opens us to curiosity, creativity and courage. Read More Books to Borrow The following book is available in many public libraries. “Ten Days a Madwoman” by Deborah Noyes, various photos credits, Viking, 144 pages Read aloud: 10 years and over.Read yourself: 10 years and over. By the late 1800s, 23-year-old Nelli Bly had already made her journalistic mark in her hometown of Pittsburgh when she decided to move to New York City, convinced that one of the area’s leading newspapers would hire her. at once. Despite her experience, ambition and tenacity, finding work for a woman was very difficult. Determined to write more than plush articles for women, Bly made a bold and courageous decision in accepting her editor’s suggestion to convince doctors that she was mentally unstable, to have herself admitted to the insane asylum on Blackwell Island and reported on the living conditions and treatment by staff of the patients. What was uncertain was how he would manage to get her out. Quick, fascinating and overflowing with courage and determination on many fronts, this true story is incredible. Librarian’s Choice Library: Reading Public Library, Northeast Branch , 1348 N. 11th St., ReadingLibrary Executive Director: Bronwen GambleBranche: Betty O’NeilChoices This Week: “Stand Straight, Ella Kate” by Kate KLise and Mr. Sarah Klise; “How You Got So Clever” by David Milgrim; “Looking Like Me” by Walter Dean Myers Books to buyThe following books are available at favorite bookstores. “Dark Was the Night” by Gary Golio, illustrated by EB Lewis, Nancy Paulsen Books, 2020, 32 pages, $ 17.99 Hardcover Read aloud: ages 5 – 8 Read yourself: ages 7 to 8 Willie Johnson was born in a small town in Texas in 1897. As a young boy, Willie enjoyed singing and playing the guitar from his cigar box. At the age of 7 or 8, Willie went blind, but Willie didn’t let his blindness get in the way of his life. He continued to sing and use his voice to uplift people, telling them not to be afraid of the dark. Willie knew full well that there was both sadness and joy in the world. As he grew older, so did his music. Using the blade of a pocket knife, Willie ran it along the steel strings to create a unique new sound called slide. Traveling from town to town playing his music in the streets for coins that people would put in his pewter mug, Willie’s reputation grew. Finally, a music company asked Willie to make a record that sold thousands of copies, and his song, “Dark Was the Night” touched people deeply. Willie Johnson would never know, more than 30 years after his death, NASA created something of a time capsule. send into space to portray life on Earth and promote peace for any civilization that might intercept it, and among its content was Willie’s recording of “Dark Was the Night.” Moving text and lush illustrations combine perfectly to make “Dark Was the Night” an exceptional book by an extraordinary man who has given hope and light to so many, perhaps even those far from our planet. “Jefferson Measures a Moose” by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by SD Schindler, Candlewick, 2020, 41 pages, $ 17.99 hardcover 7 – 10 years old Read it yourself: 7 – 10 years old Thomas Jefferson was interested in many things, especially to figures and facts, and relentlessly recorded his findings. Jefferson also loved to read books, so when a famous Frenchman named Buffon wrote a book about America, Jefferson read it. To Jefferson’s horror, Buffon claimed wild inaccuracies about America, a country he had not even visited. Among other false statements, Buffon wrote that America was a terrible place where nothing de bon could not grow, the birds did not sing, the dogs did not bark, and all the animals were too small. Jefferson wouldn’t accept America being portrayed in such a negative light. Getting down to the task of proving Buffon wrong would require precise numbers and measurements, which Jefferson was well qualified to do. It was an extremely long and expensive undertaking, and Jefferson wrote a book with his findings and went so far as to send Buffon one of the largest (albeit dead) animals in America. Could Jefferson change Buffon’s mind? With its intriguing background, “Jefferson Measures a Moose” is a fascinating slice of a little-known history of Jefferson and America. Delightfully drafted and illustrated, this recommendation provides readers with the concept that tenacity and precision are the kind of good qualities you can count on. Nationally unionized, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] .



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