Buddha's Lost Children (2006) Poster

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Stunningly moving and inspiring
cuzz3333 September 2006
This true story really is as the caption says: "a breathtaking true story of compassion and tough love". Even if you have no passion for Buddhism or Thailand, as one might expect you'd need to have, this film is a must see. This little community in the remote hills of Northern Thailand is not portrayed as exotic and alien, but instead brought to life with a pallet of our most familiar human emotions. Mark Verkerk follows their struggles and joys through an observational style of storytelling, allowing you to look and discover for yourself this spectacular world. In this way you are given an insight into the lives not only of the fascinating character of the Abbot Phra Kru Ba, but more importantly into the lives of the novices; the lost children of this troubled border region. You can hardly not be moved by this gorgeous portrait. These characters undoubtedly will enrich your life with their joy for life, compassion, strength, wisdom and stunning smiles.
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Inspirational documentary about the hardship of survival
Gordon-1130 July 2007
This documentary is about a Buddhist monk setting up a monastery to help orphans and children in need in northern Thailand.

The film is a linear chronicle of events that happened over one year. The children are "lost" because they lost their parents, or simply because of their parents are too poor to raise them. In the beginning of the film, we see a mother giving up her son because she cannot afford to raise all her kids. She entrusts her son to Kruh Bah, a monk dedicated to changing the lives of others. In his words, he is a medium to pass on knowledge to children. Not only does he teach the teachings of Buddha, but also very basic things such as the importance of brushing teeth every day. The children also get to learn how to handle animals, and how to do so with respect.

The film is full of love and care. Even after some youngsters tries to pick a fight (using alarmingly long harvest knives) with him, he forgives and offers them jobs for a month, so that he gets to teach these youngsters what life is about.

I think this documentary is inspirational. It portrays how life is like when every day is a struggle for survival. It tells me how life is in other parts of the world, where people are not as materialistic. It is a part of the world and a culture which I am unlikely to be able to experience first hand. Though the film is a bit slow, it is worth the watch!
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Buddhas Lost Children is a true and honest story about what love and dedication can do to connect to other people and enrich your own life.
thijssmit12 September 2006
Buddhas Lost Children is a documentary but it watches like a movie. It tells the story of a Thai-boxer becoming a monk called Phra Khru Bah and taking care of orphans in a very poor region in the north of Thailand. Although the story is not always logical to follow because there are jumps in time and space the real story being told here is that of love, dedication and sharing. It may sound soft but when you take the time to watch this documentary you'll find out that life over there is very tough and it takes a lot of creativity and flexibility to take care of the many children Phra Kru Bah has under his care. Watching Buddhas Lost Children brought me into a certain mood that made me reflect on what is really important in life, that's why for me this documentary is a valuable lesson in what life is really about.
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The chosen children who once were lost
coreline14 September 2006
Buddha's Lost Children is one of my favorites ! This film touches me deeply. An amazing and splendid document about life in Northern Thailand near the border of Birma. The scenery is so beautiful. But this Golden Triangle area is notorious for the drugs culture. Life is very tough here. The inhabitants live in poverty without running water without electricity. No medical care, no schools. Of course many of their children are lost here. But since 1991 a very special man lives here: Kruh Bah, a Buddhist monk, a former Thai box champion. For me he is: the Buddhist Hero on Horseback. He created The Golden Horse, an exceptional monastery. Here Kruh Bah shelters and teaches 20 lost boys and orphans he encountered in the area. This is so moving: we see very young boys leaving their mothers and families for education and to become a novice on horseback. All boys develop many skills and learn Thai boxing and horse riding. When they are grown up, they can spread their wings and start a life of their own. But some prefer to stay here as a monk assisting Kruh Bah with his life changing work. The whole group is traveling around on horseback, changing the whole area into a better place.
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Take your kids to see this one for sure!
efcarter8 January 2007
Excellent documentary about a man, Phra Kru Ba Neua Chai, that used to be a professional Thai kick boxer, but did not find the career rewarding and became a Thai Buddhist monk instead. After a close friend of his dies he realizes his kick boxing career is not truly fulfilling so he abruptly stops his professional career and starts meditating to learn what it is he should be doing with his life. He decides on becoming a monk and opens a monastery high up in the hills along the Thai Burma border. This monastery is called Golden Horse Monastery and becomes a safe haven for orphaned boys from the surrounding villages. Many of these villages are along the route of drug smugglers so the villagers are often abused and scared into helping the drug war lords. Phra Kru Ba uses his kick boxing experience to train the boys in his orphanage to defend themselves only if needed and to help build the boys self confidence. The monastery started receiving donated horses being saved from slaughter houses, so these are used as well to teach the boys equestrian skills and how to care for another living creature. The work of this one single monk is to be commended and the film does an excellent job of telling a great story without imposing any commentary. The monk is not a traditional monk, but he clearly states he is helping the boys first, and a monk second, so a mix of skills are used to teach the boys life lessons. I am sure some Buddhist monks would cringe at some of Phra Kru Ba's techniques; however I am just as sure that they are the right techniques needed in such a tough environment. He is teaching these young boys how to be responsible and respectful, most of which came to him with zero life skills. They are learning life lessons that they would not have received if left alone in their villages. Some boys only stay a few weeks and return home while other boys stay for years. Some boys decide to become novice monks and are taught how to meditate and care for each other. Each novice is given a horse to care for and each novice is also taught how to teach the newest novice. By being assigned the task of teaching the newest novice how to train and how to care for a horse they themselves are learning they have these skills. You can see the confidence grow within these boys in a very short window of time and it is a beautiful experience to witness. The stories that unfold in this documentary are heart warming and honest. A great must see film.
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Commercial masterpiece in documentary film-making
hedyvb18 September 2006
Against a backdrop of extraordinarily beautiful and vivid images, this stunning Mark Verkerk film tells the story of a Buddhist monk and the work he does with poor children in the desolate and dangerous Golden Triangle region of Thailand. The monk and a devoted nun take these young children under their wings and teach them everything from how to wash themselves and brush their teeth, to how to ride and take care of a horse. However, what makes this film as unique as it is is that this monk has an edge...

He's a former Thai box champion. And has a sense of humor to boot. He's clearly seen and experienced life in all its complexities. This tends to make him very human and accessible. Which is also evident during the journeys he and the novices make from village to village, where the locals can do with some positive influences. Beyond all else, the straightforward and tough love with which the monk treats these boys has clearly reaped its rewards. And is a joy for the viewer to behold.
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A warm and positive film about 'tough love'
medusastone6 October 2006
Buddha's Lost Children is an interesting registration of a man that tries to create a better life for the people around him by giving them a sense of self worth and awareness of their decaying culture. He mainly does this by taking in children in the Golden Horse Tempel and teaching them respect, wisdom, Thai-boxing and life's lessons. This documentary was clearly made with a lot of love, the same amount of love Phra Khru Ba gives to the children in his monastery. Mark Verkerk keeps a certain distance and no judgments about the things that happen in front of the camera. He's just there to record the special energy that surrounds the monk and his positive deeds. Truly a sweet, positive movie with beautiful images and a life-lesson that isn't cliché but gives you the urge to become a better person.
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Anyone with a love for the Far East should see this movie
ekaptijn23 October 2006
Buddha's Lost Children manages to suck you right into the lives of its main characters. Director Verkerk and cameraman Heijnen were able to enter the "realm" of monk Phra Khru Bah and film him and his novices skin close. If you think all Buddhist monks spend their days meditating and worshipping, you'll get a refreshing insight into a more up-to-date version: this Thai counterpart of the Ratcatcher-of- Hamelin-on-horseback has a full time job dedicated to offering poor boys a future away from poverty, drugs and violence. The monk is the kind of father children are drawn to, admire and fear at the same time. A parent they'll worship once they're grown. The relationship between the monk and his right-hand-nun is one of utter respect and dedication. Even under the most difficult circumstances, their synergy make things happen. Although less featured in the film, the unconventional nun seems to be at least as important to the boys as the monk is.
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Buddha's Lost Children
dannatyo12 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The documentary "Buddha's Lost Children" directed by Mark Verkerk shows the life of the famous in Thailand Buddhist monk, Khru Bah Neua. During the last 15 years, he dedicates his life to orphaned and abandoned children, raising and giving them everything they would not get if they stayed in their villages. This film is about dedication, compassion and pure love, love to everything Khru Bah has and everything he does. The film demonstrates the basic Buddhist's canons and ideas about life. So Khru Bah teaches his disciples not to steal, not to lie, and more importantly, he teaches them to concentrate on their own minds and to have them in peace. When the new novice comes, the monk demands from him not only basic repetitions of the Sutras, but pure concentration on them. And judging by that, Khru Bah decides whether he will be a good disciple or not. When something bad happens, Khru Bah always proclaims: "That is because their hearts are not yet in peace". So for him, as for a Buddhist monk, the internal state and presence of internal harmony is the most important thing, and that is what he wants to teach his novices. According to the same principle, he calls the tattoo a test whether you can take your mind out of body or not. If it remains there, the tattoo will hurt. This was very interesting and new Buddhist viewpoint that I grabbed for myself. Another important aspect of this film is that it destroys the stereotype and misconceptions about Buddhism as the most peaceful religion, which does not permit any physical or mental pressure. Khru Bah says: "If the horse is stubborn, the child needs to beat it. If the child is stubborn, I need to beat him". So he shows them what is right and what is wrong, but as now they are incapable to distinguish between it, sometimes they need to be punished to reach that understanding. He shows them that life is suffering, and only through the dedication to teachings, concentration and peaceful heart, you will become a better person. What I personally liked the most about this film is the way it is shooted. Because it is so natural, there are not any artificial and high colored scenes. The film shows real lives, real emotions, real people, without any trials to make it more beautiful or more appealing to the eyes of viewers. And looking on that, you feel that you are travelling with them, you see with your own eyes how poor these people from villages are, you hear the cry of that little boy, you feel how kindly the monk talks with you. You feel immersed and affected, that is why the movie touches your heart, and for me, even makes me cry during some episodes. Overall, it is one of the best documentaries I have seen so far. The story itself is incredible, and sometimes it is very hard to believe that there are such people like Khru Bah, who are so generous, so kind, so caring. And I think this film should be must-watch for everyone independently of the interest in religions, because it teaches us that despite of any harsh conditions of life, it is still possible to be good and to do good to others in any way that you can. Until there are people like Khru Bah, the world is safe.
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Teaching and appreciating
araika_nurka11 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A movie directed by Mark Verkerk describes a life of a monk named Khru Bah who dedicated himself to teaching of children to basic knowledge which life demands. In addition, «Buddha's Lost Children» tells a story of every children becoming a monk. Thru Bah and his novices live in Northern Thailand, the Golden Horse monastery. A films shows a regular life of the monk and his teachings. Thru Bah is the one who spend 15 days and nights to find peace and calm of soul.

A death of his close friend followed by a vivid dream made him to be a monk and spread knowledge and experience with the ones who demands it. The film shows how children lost in poor family lives and who are living with no purpose met an opportunity to develop and experience a warm, inner and outer warm of the mind and body.

«Buddha's Lost Children» teaches people to good things. Here a monk and the children make a good to their environment: rebuild a temple, share with a knowledge to improve people, help materially to poor families. Also, close link between humans and people is represented through respect to horses.

This movie teaches to appreciate everything we have now. A monk's influence to the relationships between the children, their perceptions of life and love let every viewer to rethink about these things. Love is defined from the another side: tough love makes us even stronger to overpower weakness. Besides, appreciation of the current condition is also one of the teaching of the film because it emphasizes harsh and poor conditions of hill tribe people.

«Buddha's Lost Children» shares with not only monk's lives, but also teaches us that every difficulty is another opportunity to make a good. The film is definitely must watch, especially for families with children.
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Movie you will not regret watching
gulnazsultanova10 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Usually I do not expect documentary movies to affect me emotionally, but this film was a good surprise. The director made a great job showing us the insights of Buddhist culture by an example of life and work of a monk called Khru Bah. Boxer in the past, Khru Bah now dedicated his life in religion and helping orphan children by taking them in the monastery and teaching Buddhist religious traditions. I especially liked the way the director focused on children's past, revealing their stories. Most of Khru Bah's followers experienced difficulties in their lives - almost everyone either lost their parents or could no longer be raised and supported by them, but the monk's work gave these children a chance for a better future. Living in the Golden Horse monastery, these children are provided with basic self-care supplies and taught to follow Buddhist customs. Sure, it was not easy for them to adjust to a new place and get along with new people, but Khru Bah and nun's patience and wiliness to help soon gained children's trust. The director provides us with a good opportunity to know what a real life in the monastery looks like. Khru Bah is an example for his pupils to follow, and his actions, his way of solving different kinds of conflicts taking place affect children's view on life, showing them the importance of compassion and support. Thus, we could say that the monastery is like a new home for all these children, and Khru Bah is playing a role of the father, even giving them new names and being strict when the situation asks for it. The setting takes place in the Golden Triangle, which is a border territory in the Northern Thailand known for drug dealing. And again here is something I did not expect to see in the movie - it is a way Khru Bah emphasises the danger of drugs and importance of avoiding them. "How can your village be strong when your bodies are weak and addicted to drugs?", he asks from the citizens of one of the villages they visit. It can be seen that people respect him as they listen to his speech and advice. And when the monk with his pupils start their day visiting villages, the citizens make contributions in the form of food and other necessary stuff, as they believe that by doing this they would improve their karma. Also as Khru Bah and his pupils often move in dangerous regions it is important for children to be able to stand for themselves, so the monk teaches them how to do boxing using his own past experience. I think that this is an important scene to point out because it contradicts the general stereotype about Buddhism being a non-violent religion. Khru Bah shows that it is possible to follow Buddhist religious traditions and develop your physical strength at the same time. And the Buddha himself demonstrated after his experiencing of asceticism that a weak body is no good for the enlightenment. So Khru Bah emphasises the importance of both body purity and strength and clear mind. So the movie was both informative and interesting, and I personally enjoyed watching it. The work of Khru Bah and nun Khun Ead is very important, in my opinion, because they not only teach young children to follow Buddhist religious traditions but most importantly provide a good example of sympathy and compassion and give these children an opportunity for a good life.
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A bridge to an outstanding culture
kamillazhangulova9 February 2018
This movie certainly provokes a wide variety of emotions - astonishment, respect, appreciation, and remorse. Filmed by Dutch director Mark Verkerk and his team, for a period of one year when they were living together with the Kho Bakh and his sangha, movie provides a viewer with an extremely nuanced depiction of how this outstanding orphanage functions. Scenes of a day-to-day routine of monks, scenes of unusual rituals and customs, scenes of interaction between monks and laymen - offer us to see and understand one of the most interesting culture in the world. Viewing this movie would give a tangible insight into the fundamental philosophy of Buddhism, and provide quite sophisticated point of inquiry into the life of common people living in problematic regions of Thailand. Kho Bakh represent, or at least at some time represented, a quite widespread type of individual in a Thai society. Man working in a Thai boxing, and being just one of the ordinary fighters. But, one day he become wondering about the impermanence of life, and staring from this point life of his, and life of number of other people have changed, and I hope that will yet change. He decided to devote his life to helping others. Changing life of people who are actually in need, changing their attitudes, behaviors, by spreading knowledge and sharing what he has. Story of Kho Bakh is incredibly inspirational in a way that he used to be an ordinary man for a large part of his life, and one day he chose to make his life meaningful. Meaningful not only to himself, but for whole community. Life of the monastery, in my opinion, is very vividly showcased in this documentary. It certainly offers a nuanced perspective on what does Kho Bakh in his new career of monk, what changes does he bring into the society, and what way of living those children living in his orphanage-monastery have. While almost all of the parts of the movie unveil significant portion of information regarding the monastery life, some of the scenes were crucially thought-provoking. For instance, scenes of how Kho Bakh goes into different villages where a significant part of citizens subsist on drug-dealing industry, and tries to share the knowledge that this is a wrong way of living. However, he does not simply explain it to them, but also helps them to undergo this obstacle by providing them jobs, and sometimes even helpful 'presents' that will help them on ways of starting their new lives. Another interesting scene that appeared vibrant to me is when young boys who were one of those villagers that come to one of the Kho Bakh's temples to help monastery to rebuild it were beginning to start a fight. The speech that Kho Bakh, and later a nun of the monastery gave to those men was so emotional, and peculiar in a way that emotions of those men who were treated by monastery's officials were filmed very vividly. By this scene, I think, the influence which presence of this monastery and Kho Bakh on the life of these societies (not including individual cases of boys whose lives are significantly improved by his initiative) can be observed. Presence of this outstanding, I would even say - phenomenal monastery certainly helps people of Thai community. The problems that people living in the region called "Thailand's Golden Triangle" are showcased in this documentary in a very lively way. At some points there I had even experienced a feeling that I was present there with the filming team, and talked with those people. The feeling of sorrow about the conditions in which those people live, and the feeling of appreciation about the changes that Kho Bakh's work bring arise at the same time, and it then evokes a sense of understanding about significance and effectiveness of Buddhism. Stories of Sukh, and other boys that were suffocating from malnutrition that found refuge in Kho Bakh's orphanage is very touching. These stories make one believe in the humankind. While at the beginning the directorate of the movie seemed quite primitive, close to the middle of the movie it becomes apparent that this way of filming is what makes it special. Through combination of everyday scenes from monastery's life and sincere interviews of Kho Bakh and nun the importance of this monastery's existence and its philosophy is explained in the most meaningful, and touching way. The ending of the documentary was like the final stroke that made it even more beautiful. Philosophy of Khu Bakh- that his mission is to teach believe to make choices - is extremely inspiring. I believe that this documentary can make people believe that if someone really wants to improve the living of others, then despite any obstacle that he could face during his way - it is achievable. That being a positive agent changer in a society is not unrealistic, and could be made only by some super-extraordinary individual, but by any man who just chose to do so.
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Buddhist school of life
aruzhanmeirkhanova9 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Cast: Phra Khru Bah Neua Chai Kositto, Pan Saen, Nehn Suk, Khun Ead,Pan Saen and Boontam Director: Mark Verkerk

Plot: "Buddha's lost children" is a story of a wandering monk Khru Bah and his disciples traveling along the borders of Thailand aiming to rebuild a temple 100 kilometres away. The borders on the road are full of poor villages, residents of which have problems with drug addiction. A former Thai boxer Khru Bah, who found his mission in monkhood aims to help such villagers to deal with their problems. His altruism is not limited to the villagers, since he also manages to spiritually educate and bring hope to orphans and children from poor families - his disciples for new life. This spellbinding narrative about a daily life of the monk and his small community during a year-long adventure, is definitely worth dedicating time to.

Review: The Dutch director Mark Verkerk rather than capturing a documentary about the Buddhism itself, focused on its narrow aspect - life of a small representative part of Buddhist sangha residing in the area of Golden Triangle in Thailand. It is worth noting that the director and his crew observed their daily activities of Khru Bah and his followers throughout a year and succeeded in portray their life in a realistic way.

The documentary focuses on three young disciples of Khru Bah, each with a different story of becoming a monk. Suk was a muted child with sad eyes, who finally became exemplary for his peers and who plans to pursue monkhood in the future. Pan Saen joined Khru Bah, since his mother had no means to feed him for, but grew into a stronger child with a good concentration. Boontam, the 4-year old who had problems with his legs and barely could walk, became the youngest member of Kru Bah's community and for his great heart and happy attitudes was ascribed traits of the potential Buddha by his teacher. All of these stories are different in certain ways, but what unites them is that they all grew into stronger personalities under the mentorship of Kru Bah.

The community of Khru Bah is not limited to him and his disciples. It is impossible to imagine a life of this community without a nun, Khun Ead, who is responsible for a variety of daily tasks, such as cooking and healthcare. Moreover, there is a strong interdependence between villagers and monks; since villagers earn merit once they give alms to the monks. Still, one of the episodes depicts that monks led by Kru Bah provide blankets and food for some poor villagers, standing in a long queue. This shows an altruistic component of Kru Bah's community.

One might be prejudiced that the Buddhist monks behave in a very peaceful manner. The documentary reveals, however, that Khru Bah places great importance on the discipline among his surrounding and can even apply physical strength to the ones, who break the order. This applies to villagers, who wanted to fight each other in one of the scenes, and also to his disciples who are stubborn and are unwilling to follow their master's directions. Such behavior might be shaped by his past as a boxer. It should be mentioned that Thai boxing is a necessary skill for his disciples as a means of self-defense. At certain moments, Khru Bah appears as an authoritative figure, but this only emphasizes his prestige among people. This illustrates a high degree of respect for monks within a whole Buddhist community.

Overall, the director and his crew made a fascinating job in showcasing life of a small Buddhist community. By demonstrating how multiple aspects of Sangha life intertwine with each other, they help a viewer to get a complete and realistic picture of the monks lives. Although, Kru Bah is far from being a usual monk, his life is an inspirational story about the strength of will, purity of intentions, mutual help and discipline.
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Documentary that definetely succeded expectations
lolatalap8 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Frankly speaking, at first I was somewhat skeptical about the Dutch film with the word "Buddha" in its title, however, after watching it, my opinion completely changed. It may not be the most precise representation of Buddhist monks' lifestyle, but it certainly gives us a good insight on it. The first thing that attracted my attention was the fact that events of this documentary take place on the border of Thailand, Burma and Laos- the area that is called the "Golden Triangle'. Since this region is infamous for its history of production and trade in opium, I was interested to see to what extent the film would be able to show the reality of situation faced by people living there. Though it was not the primary goal of the movie to cause sympathy, it certainly succeeded to provoke my emotions. Harsh living conditions of villagers were portrayed pretty accurately, but what affected me more were children and, of course, Khru Bah hilmself. As we are shown, some children initially did not want to go to the monastery, I myself even felt sorry for Pan Sean who had to leave his family. However, The Golden Horse monastery is more than a place where monks live and practice religion - it is primarily home for many people. As time passes, we can definitely see how the care children receive in the monastery begins to change them, they even begin to refer to Khru Bah as to their father. Considering the fact that relationships between monks in the monastery have to be neutral, it appeared somewhat controversial at the beginning. But now, after watching the documentary fully, I can say that this film's goal is not to simply represent certain aspect of religion- it is to represent humaneness and love. As Khru Bah said, this type of love is pretty tough, it's not weak. Through discipline he wants to make these children strong, that's why sometimes he has to be firm. That is probably one of the main reasons why his novices practice Thai boxing. This phenomenon also actually seemed quite confusing to me since I did not associate Buddhist monks with such type of sport. However, it indicates that documentary succeeded to once again break the stereotype that Buddhism is pacifist religion. I found the scene of rebuilding of the temple quite imposing, more particularly, I was impressed by Khun Ead. At first glance the fragile nun could efficiently suppress conflict that almost turned into a fight among young volunteers from the village. Even though Khru Bah first noticed the discord, it was Khun Ead who carried out "educational work" most part of the time. Overall, watching Suk, Pan Saen and other boys growing up, gaining experience and socializing was pleasurable and refreshing. At the beginning I had a feeling that this was going to be a very tough film that would show mostly difficulties that children and the monk has to overcome every day in order to survive. Indeed, this suggestion was not fully wrong, however, contrary to my expectations, at the end I found myself in a really good mood. Doubtlessly, people like Khru Bah should be depicted in media to show their good deeds and promote such kind of behavior among others. He and his novices reminded me that we should appreciate what we have and left me with the thought that happiness can be achieved even in such hard and sometimes dangerous conditions.
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