Brainworks Total Learning Academy

Hi All,

I was wondering if anyone had heard of / know of the Brainworks Total learning Academcy? I am currently in talks with the HR guy and wanted to know a little bit more about them....

Are they reputable? Has anyone ever worked or knows of anyone working there? Is it legitamate?

I haven't found much on the internet about them on any forums and know that many other SE Asian countires run recruiting scams etc and was hoping this wasnt one of those schools!

Thanks in advance for the advice :)

Hello LaraGF.

Welcome to! :)

Hope other members will be able to give you some informations about this academy soon.

Thank you,

Hi Lara,

I have worked there. Message me privately with any questions; I'm happy to get back to you!

[at]brooksyangon -> Do not hesitate to share some informations on the forum. It could be useful to other members. ;)

Thank you,

Yes Please share info online as I am in contact with HR there too!


Thanks for the replies guys! Zac, how is your interview process going?? Have you managed to find anything else online about the school?

Im really hoping they are legitimate as they seem like a good school from the website and the HR guy seems great!

Have you applied for many other jobs there yet? :)


Yes I have applied for a few other schools in Myanmar and am waiting to hear from them. Apparently their semester starts in May...??

Anyway, my interview with Brainworks is actually tomorrow.

So I hope all goes well.

What other info do you have on them?

Amazing! Mine is on Thursday i think im just waiting back on confirmation...i hope yours goes well! from email he seems nice!

Are you going for the primary school or pre school position?

I think they have a holiday for 2 weeks in April but he asked me when i would be available and im free from march onwards. Are you teaching in Shanghai at the moment?

I havent found any more info on them, there are no reviews online (this fills me with hope becasue you google some other countries and its bad stuff that comes up) but i think they have only just started hiring foriegn teachers..dont quote me on that hah!

Where are you from? It would be random if we both ended up there, but great we wont be the only ones! :)


I actually have no idea what position I am applying for!! We will see how it goes! And YES it would be quite funny if we both end up there! SMALL WORLD!! :)

Yes I have been teaching in China for the last year and ready for a change. Right now I'm not in Shanghai but on an island a little south... called Zhoushan... quite beautiful...

Hey we should connect on skype ... ?? keep in touch :)

Hi guys,

I've also applied for a position at this school and agree that it sounds great. The only thing I was a little worried about was the social side of life in Myanmar, so it's great to see a few people talking about it on here! Maybe see some of you soon!

hı lara ı know thıs school.The one i know locatıon ıs ın Kamayut
280, U Wisara Road, Kamayut Township, Yangon, Myanmar.
It has reputatıon. :) dont worry about that.But ım not clear what you mean by run recruiting scams.

Hi everyone,

I hope I'm not too late adding input here. I actually don't know loads about Total Brainworks, but I do think that it may run off the Myanmar school calendar, not the international school calendar.

April is the Buddhist New Year(Water Festival) and so all the schools shut down for at least a few weeks. I think many Myanmar-calendared schools end in March and start back up again in June. Total Brainworks may not do this, though, if they are operating on an international school calendar. It sounds like you will all know more about that by now, anyway. :)

I believe the majority of the students are Myanmar. Most of the international schools in Yangon are mostly Myanmar. My child attends ISY (International School Yangon) which is an American-based curriculum.

I would just be sure that the school you plan to teach at helps you with processing your Visas and your housing. Housing is a big issue in Yangon at the moment; prices have skyrocketed and it can be difficult to find affordable accommodation. If the school pays for your housing - or at least most of it - that will help significantly. Myanmar is much more expensive than people realize. Of course, you can live minimally, but if you've been living in larger, metropolitan/modern cities, then Yangon will be quite different.

There's actually an awful lot you can do in town and I know how hard it is to find out what daily life is like here. I would recommend checking out to get an idea of the regular events. It's a community website geared towards expats, providing a comprehensive list of things going on. Hope that helps.

I have a blog - - I have lots of resources on there. Also, you are more than welcome to message me. More than happy to help out. :)

Good luck with everything!

Wow this is amazing... Hi Im Anni from Virginia and I have had an our long skype interview with Bob this week and it.he seems quite legitimate and really nice.  It sounds like a great school and Im really hoping to get the job.  But I know what you mean, it seems a little scary to just jump into a school like this, thats not an international school, it's more like a business, Its definatly a for profit school.  However, it seems like he has a good curriculum and well, I hope to see some of you there!

Good luck guys.  I also had an interview with Bob (on Friday).  Seems like a genuine guy, and the school sounds like a solid place to work for (yeah there's a profit element, but trust me you could do a lot worse).  I don't feel as though my interview went as well as it could have.  I had some slight reservations regarding the work-load not meshing with my part-time studying - along with the idea of shared accommodation - which in hindsight won't be an issue.  Perhaps wasn't as in-depth as I could have been as a result, but what can ya do....

Does anybody have any information about Brainworks? I'd appreciate any information. Thanks


Hi - I'd be really interested to know what the outcome of everyones' interviews went and if you are presently placed with the school and how you are finding it.

I have just applied for a position as well and am starting the process.  All of the questions and issues you have raised are quite pertinent to me.  Any thoughts, insight or advise would be most greatly appreciated.


Hi All,

I have worked there before. Now i just took a break from my career as I wanted to start a family and give time to my children.

I hope that my comments will help all of you.  That school is an International School (Not Myanmar School). But they started the first school with local teachers. Now there are altogether 11 schools  and all the schools have really good name in the market.

And Myanmar is a great country to stay and don't believe things about Myanmar from the news or internet.

I learned really a lot from working there and they took care of their staff's personal development as well. Every single day was magic for me and I am very sad to leave from a great organization!

What I like about Brainworks Total is that they are not like other international schools, they teach their students to love their country, Myanmar culture and language. I think a great school should teach the students to become a great citizen.

They started recruiting International teachers two years ago and they have really good international staffs there now. Two of my friends are working there. I hope you all made a great choice of joining there.

Take care!

Perhaps Total has changed if there is a positive comment here from a previous teacher. Also peole are different so i understand this. it did NOT work for me or the toher teachers there when i was. I have worked internationally and I have never found a more nightmare situation than this. It is a "Positive Thinking" school and run through the T Robbins philosophy. before I do not see so great difference between "how things seem to be" and "how they actually are." yes seems good at the start and then wow can't beilve what kinds of things i see there, not at all like i read on site before i come, seroius, or interview they seemed like professionals not at all! crazy man, like a dream place right. The management seem like they all suffer with great mental complexes caused by this Mr. Robbins way of life and if you do not agre with this philosphy it is very very very hard to be here, and it is a deranged philosphy at teh end of the day. Please please be careful if you approach this. THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM. I learned the hard way. good hearts not for here.

ps yangon is great man, it rocks, dont worry about that. that's the best part. total is the nutcase.


I have just had an interview and accepted a position at Brainworks in Yangon. I am currently living in London and will be going to Burma/Myanmar in June to start work.

I read some of these comments with trepidation as the internet is only personal opinion. For me Brainworks seems very interesting. The man who interviewed me was fantastic and has said he will meet me at the airport. I have had comprehensive and detailed documents sent through regarding both the job and living in the country. The whole thing seems very professional.

Of course, It all remains to be seen until I actually get there but my motto is "if you don't try you can't know". I am embracing the whole lot and going for it.

Let me know how it goes and possibly see you there : )

Interesting to read that there is an Anthony Robbins approach.  That would make sense from the way the recruitment advertisement was worded.  After applying and resending all pertinent information, I was once again asked "to indicate why I should be choosen to join such an awesome group of people". I now see the connection and will bypass appying.  Anyone there now, I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts.  One person wrote me and said there was a scam school in Myanmar.  Anthony Robbins training is definitely that.  I've been Myanmar three times, and the housing is outrageously expensive [at]3k a month, plus the fees the students pay is over 1200$ a semester!  That's a lot of money coming from some wealthy Myanmar people.

Hi! I also have an interview with Bob this Sunday. he told me all the positions for Yangon have been filled therefore the only ones available now are in Taunggyi. Does anyone know much about living here? He did tell me it would be a quiet lifestyle, which is fine with me. But I would like to have some things to do on the weekends:)

Hiya!  it's nice to meet a potential fellow employee. I have accepted a job at brainworks in Rangoon and will be arriving in the beginning of June. I'm hoping there will be lots of people to meet ad hang out with and do exciting weekend activities - like travelling and exploring our new home! If you do get there let me know :)


Has anyone heard or found out anything further about Brainworks Total?

I'm hesitant, as it's proving very difficult to find any information about the schools and company online.

If you've worked here, I'd love to hear from you. Please private message me.

All of the correspondence I've had so far has come from Bob. He sells the schools well. It appears to have a fantastic ethos...

Please let me know your thoughts.


Anyone over here have heard of BrainWorks Total Group of Schools in Yangon, Myanmar? It would be great, if people can share information on the school with me as I am expected to join it by June end of 2014. I am selected as a High School Science Teacher (Biology and Chemistry).

Your honest info will be greatly valued.

Arunava Das

Ohhh gr8, I guess I found a mate, even I got selected yesterday itself, The principal, by the name of Mr. Bob asked me to report by 19th June 2014 there, Well have u heard of the school before? Or are there anyone like us who have worked there before us?

Also Bob was telling me about the Visa issues, what he said was every 70 days, I need to fly out to Bangkok and do the visa from there, however the to and fro flight costs and visa costs will be paid by him. This appeared to be a confusing one for me.

The second one, they are gonna pay us in US$ and the hard fact no international banks in Yangoon, which means he told me while I go to Bangkok for Visa renewal I may open an account with any one of the international banks there and transfer money to my parents in India.

Is that sounding feasible to all of u?? Just asking whether you also heard the same from Mr. Bob?

Do ping in ur replies


Hey guys.
I been through the whole conversation well I have been as an Instructor for short time. Its really very genuine  School having huge amount of facilities for Staff members, student and administrator. According to my Point of view it will be the great opportunity  for the international teaching staff. No doubt it doesnt have any branch in other international countries but this Brainworks total itself is a very  well maintained school.  I think you guys should go for it.
Dont worry about the visas process as it totally handled by the school management team. They will pay off of your travelling as well as visa expense. Rest about the salary yes, they will pay the salary in US DOLLARS which is quite impressive for me . More over there are some banks located close to the school who can convert the US Dollar as we wish for. In a nutshell,  I didnt face  any problem while being there.
For me It was a wonderful experience while being there. 
There are some links which I want to share just for the reference of school. Please go for further details.


Best International School In Yangon

Starting in June unfortunately did not work out for me, I really liked what Bob had to say in my interview, I will be moving to Myanmar in August/September and was told that I would be contacted if they need anyone. I'd love to hear more from those that go through with their positions, good luck!!

Stumbled on this post today and have lots to say.

I was an English teacher at Brainworks for over a year. There is so, so much I could say about that experience; everyone is different and will react to an environment like Brainworks in their own way, so its hard to make a blanket "go for it" or "stay away" recommendation. The simplest thing is to tell you my experience and break it down into pros and cons:


-Fully unprofessional upper management (including and especially Bob) is a joke. A joke that could be funny were not your livelihood to some extent in their hands. If you accept the job, you'll begin to sense what I mean when you get your first group email regarding teachers' behavior addressed to "our awesome international teachers."

-No respect for privacy, personal independence, or a work/life separation. If you live in school accommodation, the maid and guards will be reporting your actions and lifestyle to your school. Your head of school and Bob both have access to keys to your home and personal bedroom and will enter it if they want to. (I watched this happen).

-Contract says "occasional weekends." Depending on if you teach preschool or primary, this means about 1 weekend function/month. (Some of those are 2 day events.) If you are unfortunate enough to be crossing over and teaching both preschool and primary, plan on working an average of 2 weekends/month.

-School leadership so focused on the Tony Robbins positive attitude approach that they fail to recognize/address/resolve issues when foreign teachers present them and instead turn that into an attack on the teacher's flexibility and adaptability levels. (Eg: the school will take your passport when you arrive for processing and reporting your stay to the myanmar government. by law this must be done within 24 hours of your arrival. your contract says you'll get your passport back within a few days. FOR MONTHS, the school routinely kept our passports after visa runs for 3-5 weeks. An awful long time for such an important document to be held by a scammy company that you don't trust.) (On that note, though, we had it infinitely better than the foreign Chinese teachers, who had to surrender their passports upon arrival and only got them back when they completed their contracts. Sketch.) If you raise an issue, you'll often be told by Bob that "This is Myanmar" ... but you'll soon realize that the majority of your frustrations are ironically created by an australian man in hr, and what he should be saying is "This is Total and we are inept."

-Apparent distaste for foreign teachers by Burmese leadership staff and some teachers. But who could blame them? Your starting salary is 15x what the starting Burmese teacher at Brainworks makes in a month, plus you have housing and airfare, more holiday time, less teaching hours, less responsibility, and more immediate recognition and leadership opportunities. You have the privilege and wealth of a westerner, and you'll be in and out in one year while the Burmese teachers know that this is their entire life's opportunity.

-scattered efforts at curriculum and lesson planning coordination, varied by school/level/type of classes taught.

-MOST IMPORTANTLY: False representation of the school during recruitment led many teachers to feel they'd been duped on arrival. This is an upper class school, where a single student's yearly tuition fee exceeds what their teacher makes in a year. It's a for-profit company backed by mainly Singaporian investors that exists to make money. I never heard or nor met a remotely poor student attending on a scholarship--my students all had drivers, maids, nannies, and the like, and their parents were clearly part of the "elite" in yangon. If you want to "make a difference" in the lives of poor Myanmar students, this is not the school for you.


-you get to live in myanmar. an unbelieveable, amazing, heartbreaking place like none I've ever seen before.

-great salary for ESL in asia

-privacy issues aside, school housing is excellent and to a much higher standard that expected. half the teachers literally live in furnished mansions, with a maid and security guards.

-overall, sweet and well-behaved kids. happy parents, enthusiastic co-workers, and generally helpful and supportive heads of school.

-opportunities for growth and leadership, especially in terms of training local burmese teachers and bringing new ideas and programs to the school.

-fun and rewarding job.

-always paid in full, on time.

IN SHORT: If you can stay away from school housing, keep a low profile and keep clear of Bob, and manage your expectations before arrival, you'll probably be fairly happy. Each branch is its own world and most of the time you really can stay away from management's issues if you want to.


Thank you Willow. Finally an insight in to TotalBrainworks...

I decided to turn down the invitation to work at Total, something just didn't sit right with me. Bob was a great salesman, but I had my reservations.

After saying that I did not want to teach there and that I wouldn't be going to Myanmar, Bob began persistently emailing me. I felt uncomfortable and awkward, so decided that no reply was probably better than longwinded emails or Skype 'chats'. In the end I got a curt and some may say outright rude and immature email.
I'm glad I decided to stay away.
My main concerns were:
Visa Runs;
Lack of Bank Account;
Forceful persistence by Bob;
Even after requesting contact details of current staff, I wasn't able to have an honest conversation with anyone;
Wage being offered in comparison to other westerners in Yangon (meaning flights out or sourcing your own accommodation would be near impossible;
My 'interview' with Bob lasted well over an hour. During this time I felt like he was hard selling to me, rather than the other way around. In fact I barely spoke at all...?
A gut feeling.


It's a shame though, as I really wanted to live in and experience Myanmar. Perhaps I will, just not with Bob/Brainworks.

Hi there,

Did you go?

How are you getting on if so?

sorry, please read my next post  :thanks:

I can also share my thoughts on working for Total for almost two years, which was probably the worst and weirdest years of my life. Let me first say that Total is NOT a scam. They pay you on time and there is no secret plan to screw foreign hires. No, it is only their absolute ineptness, carelessness, and brain-dead terrifying brainwashed Tony Robbins philosophy that is the reason why the foreign teachers (... and the Burmese staff, and the teachers, and the parents, and the kids, and even the administrators) get screwed. I would say if you are an extrovert who can deal with any crazy/confusing/contradictory experience and chalk it up to being a "cultural exchange" then Total may be for you. "Mr." Bob is especially terrifying. Behind that faux-smile is a repressed monster that is only held back by the "think-happy-thoughts" garbage that he ingests daily from Mr. Robbins. The leadership of this school is diseased, creating such a toxic culture that it seeps all the way down to every leader and teacher, even the children, where every gimmick and program is an attempt to squeeze more money from parents and more prestige from the community and more work from the teachers, who are not encouraged to have any sort of outside life from work lest this be seen as a sign of their poor dedication and work ethic. The most toxic, and confusing part of this culture is the incredible disconnect-- can we say cognitive disassociation-- between how things actually are and how everyone is supposed to "believe" they are (see: Brainwashing 101-- haha it almost sounds like Brainworks!). Sometimes you can go crazy between what you are seeing and what everyone else seems to be seeing and experiencing. The only type of person I can imagine surviving here, rather than the poor Burmese staffers who repress the junk they are fed to get barely-higher-wages and stay in the system, is the one who is just so go-with-the-flow that they can hang with all of this crap. Because yes, you do get visas and you do get money, and you do get housing. And also the dictator-in-waiting, who will absolutely thrive here. Enjoy.

This sounds absolutely terrifying and psychologically scarring.

some extras notes in reply to comments after my first post....
regarding visa runs--actually though this seems to be the sketchiest part of the contract, 70 day visa runs are totally normal and many, many working expats in yangon have to do them. the problem is myanmar's business visa laws that make obtaining a long-term visa prohibitively more expensive and bureaucratic than simply flying to-and-fro every 90 days and getting a new visa. actually its quite nice to get a short break of modern civilization ever 2.5 months and most teachers really looked forward to these trips. your visa (every time) is still a business/working visa sponsored by total, and you'll find lots and lots of expats doing the same thing on your flights in and out. so no need to worry about that.

the lack of bank account can be a real issue, though, but there's really nothing the school can do about it. even burmese people don't trust burmese banks and keep all their money in cash locked in safes in their homes or offices. the school will give you your own safe for your bedroom (but unfortunately it can be picked up and carried away, and it isn't fireproof--so i ended up stashing cash in various places in my bedroom hoping if one stash was taken, the thief/thieves would assume that was it and not look for the rest). in nearly two years there i didn't have any issues thankfully. i also recommend getting a bank account in thailand if you can, or wiring money home from bangkok on visa runs (another reason they come in useful). all in all, the fact is myanmar is a cash economy and there isn't much total can do about it--all the schools on its level pay in cash.

i really appreciated the comments above about the toxic culture in the school--it really couldn't be more true. the worst experience i had there was when a senior teacher told all the staff they "have to dance" "have to smile" and "have to look happy" at the morning assembly or face "consequences" because a film crew would be there. i think that says it all.

I'm glad that the truth about Total Learning Academy is finally coming
out. I think willow85 and T-Mac45 have done a great job in their
portrayal of the school. I also worked at Total Learning Academy, but
only lasted six months.

Yes, Bob and the others in management do a great job of painting a
nice picture of themselves and the school before you arrive. However,
once you are there and start to experience problems (even minor
problems), their true colors begin to show.

My greatest problem was their treatment of local teachers. These
teachers are overworked and underpaid. Yes, they are getting paid a
little more than government schools, but they are being worked to the

There is a lot of work to be done both by the local teachers and the
foreign teachers.(and not a lot of support) However, a lot of time is
wasted on meetings and "trainings." All of the local teachers are
exhausted and overworked, but they were forced to go to training
during the students' break. This is when teachers are the busiest
grading exams and preparing for parent teacher conferences. Some of
the local teachers like going to these training sessions. However,
instead of finding a time that is convenient for the teachers,
management forces them to go when they are the busiest.

Another problem I had was with the curriculum. There was none. (They
told me they had one.) The students had a bunch of English workbooks, but the
units were not related to each other even though they were by the same
publisher. These books were a complete joke. They had no content and
were not interesting for the students.  The English books they were
using when I was working there were from around 1994-1998. They didn't have anything recent.
On the back of the books it said, " To be used
exclusively in Bangladesh." Given the money these students pay, you
would think the school could afford to purchase something better.

Like others have mentioned the following are problems you will have no
matter where you work in Myanmar unless you are a diplomat or are
working for the U.N.

Foreigners can now open a bank account in the country, but with U.S.
sanctions there are problems transferring money. This is a problem no
matter where you work in Myanmar. If you work at a legitimate
international school that is accredited such as ISY, they can usually
have your money directly wired to your account in your home country.
However, most schools and English centers just pay cash. (The school
that I'm working at directly transfers my paycheck into my account in
the States.)

Visa Runs - Most foreigners in Myanmar have to do a visa run every 70
days. There is nothing wrong with this and as mentioned by others this is
extremely common and normal. The school provides you with
the needed documentation (as well as money) and you can even do a visa
on arrival if you qualify. The problem with Total Learning Academy is
that you have to constantly ask them for the paperwork. I would let
them know a month in advance but the papers would never be done.
One of my coworkers just changed the date himself on previous documents given by the school
and had no problems.

If you have a teaching license or a Master's degree in your own country, I would avoid
this school and work somewhere that is more professional. If you don't and just need a gig while
you explore Myanmar, then this might be the job for you. It wouldn't be very difficult for you
to get a job with them. They don't do any background checks, and don't really seem to care about
the teaching qualifications a person has or doesn't have.

Hi Guys,

I just bumped into this post and gone through the posts. I would like to share my experience with the school. I have worked with the school for 2 years (2012-2014). Previously I have worked in UK & Middle east. I have very satisfying experience with TLA. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time over there. We have nice & polite people around us, students are very nice.

I never heard that teachers are not paid OR even not paid in time. As a professional, when we are paid well, we have to give our best. Few guys have mentioned that School is not doing any charity, we (expats) are getting salaries around 15k, do we do any charity there? Couldn't we sponsor few kids there? How will school will pay the salaries and rents if they are doing charity? Everyone is out there to make money be it investors, management or teachers. So we should focus on what we are supposed to do.

School have provided the best possible facilities in terms of serviced accommodation, transportation, training's & learning environment. It always depends upon us as well that how we can adjust ourselves in different cultures. Major problems start surfacing when we start expecting that I was getting something in UK and that's not available here. We need to understand the culture & society if we want to enjoy & have fun.

Just would like to let you know that school doesn't snatch your passport and do not misbehave you as well. You can leave anytime if you are not comfortable. Obviously, you will not get the benefits if you will prematurely terminate the contract, but it is true for any organization and anywhere in this world. School paid us on time, provided me a nice reference letter as well as benefits after the completion of contract. I couldn't expected more than that.

They do have scope of improvements in certain area's which i have conveyed to the management in appropriate manner and I sincerely hope that they will take care of that.

I always believe in "Think Positive, Be Positive and Do Positive". I don't expect that everyone can have the same thinking & same philosophy about the life. 

Myanmar is a place worth to explore, accommodation is very expensive, vegetables, fruits & food is cheap. have to do visa run after every 70 days, managing cash is bit difficult. Now i heard that international banks have started operating there. Yangon is growing very fast and has been changed a lot in the last couple of years.

At the end, everyone have to take their calls. If you want to come to Myanmar for teaching, TLA is best option.

I had a really disturbing interview with this place- with the owner actually. For the first 5-10 minutes, it was fine. However, then for about 20 minutes he kept ranting angrily about how other teachers had screwed him over by pulling no-shows, trying to ride scooters in Yangon (which is illegal), and going out past midnight. At first I agreed with him, but the last point gave me pause.

He said that his teachers weren't allowed to be out past midnight, to date locals, or to have overnight guests. I replied that I wasn't interested in working for a school where my personal life was monitored, that my 5 years of experience with positive references spoke for itself as to my conduct, and that I don't even drink and wasn't planning on clubbing or womanizing, but also didn't want a position where I wasn't allowed the dignity of being trusted to take care of myself.

He became very angry and accused me of being disrespectful to Myanmar and only out to party. He then began began a ranting lecture. I hung up on him, and he continuously attempted to call me back and send me angry Skype messages/emails until I blocked him on both.

I would caution other teachers to think twice before working for such an individual, and to keep looking for other jobs in Myanmar instead of picking the low-hanging fruit. I have been working in Myanmar now for 2 months at another school and have talked to numerous teachers here, and few have anything good to say about Brainworks except that it's easy to get a job there. I currently make more, work fewer hours, and have better accommodation than that offered by Brainworks. More importantly, I am treated with respect by my bosses.

Glad to hear your comments Krakower.  More recent than others, but the guy who interviews people comes across (see Linkedin) as someone with a 'missing past'.   He shows 15 years of experience running this business, according to Anthony Robbins views, then nothing else in his career history or even educational background.  What does this mean I am not sure?  He has certainly, from photo, been around many years longer than that - so why the hidden past? 
When you said the owner interviewed you, not sure if you meant this 'Bob' or a Myanmar owner?  Another teacher described the former as a monster hiding behind this super positive thinking approach of A. Robbins.  Is he actually the owner?

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