One Merdeka moment
As a purely born and bred Malaysian citizen who highly values her personal independence, it occured to me just how little thought I've placed on the significance of my country's independence. How rarely I think of how lucky I am to be Malaysian.
So on this 48th Hari Merdeka, I've decided to spend a moment in time thinking of what Independence Day means to me other than the foregone public holiday.
My first memory of Merdeka was when I was in primary school. I remember mornings spent at home watching the Merdeka parade on TV, politicians decked in batik shirts and caps sitting on a platform in front of the famous Kuala Lumpur
train station high court with the Moorish architecture. Also, mini 8 year old me waving a mini Jalur Gemilang (the kind with colourful sweets in the flag's pole) by the roadside as part of an Independence Day parade in Ipoh.
Jalur Gemilang, Malaysia's "Stripes of Glory" I remember Agong speeches, Dr. Mahathir's speeches, Merdeka Eve countdowns, firework displays and touchingly patriotic Petronas ads on TV.
Sejarah lessons in school and later on Malaysian Studies during Uni days implanted invaluable nuggets of information and pride in me about my country.
For me, independence means freedom with responsiblity. Freedom of people to choose leaders of their country, freedom to make laws, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the mass media.
I have to admit though, that our country's system is not without its flaws. Inevitable corruption, biased restrictions, favouritism and nepotism are issues that taint the local bureaucracy. But there are few, if any countries that are truly free from them.
The government system is one that I love to hate. It is imperfect but it has also moulded what has become the very essence of Malaysians. Tolerance, the ability to live harmoniously, to give and take and to be resilient despite injustice.
What has Malaysia achieved since 1957?
Personally, I am proudest of 'The Malaysian Identity'. The average Malaysian speaks at least 3 languages- Malay, English and a mother tongue. We are familiar and have at least some measure of respect for culture of other races. We are aware of cultures and food of other countries (especially Western) and are surprised at how ignorant they are of ours. We love food and expect it to be readily and cheaply available around the clock even on big public holidays eg, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali. We've become so accustomed to subtitles in movie theaters and on TV that we miss reading them depite fully comprehending the language.
Language, food and culture, all inherited from our forefathers who were migrants from distant lands have all amalgamated to form the Malaysian Identity. A colourful, dynamic heritage that all Malaysians should be PROUD of. In this sense, Chinese, Malays, Indians, united under our national identity we are all the same.
Happy Birthday Malaysia...
and Happy Merdeka to all Malaysians!
Wouldn't it be nice...
...if you could always trust your instincts?
...if substance was valued over superficiality?
...if people mean what they say and say what they mean?
...if shopping could be a profession?
...if wishful thinking would not be merely wishful?
Thoughts that ran through my head after coming back from Chiang Mai on a 4 day 3 night working trip late yesterday night. As I was holed up the whole day at the hotel in workshops, I didn't get to see much of the place except the night market. However, I did get to see a lot more of my workmates- at breakfast, lunch, dinner, during meetings, after meetings. An eye opener into sides of people that you spend most of your waking hours during working days with and yet you don't really know. Ironic, eh?
Shopping in Chiang Mai is superb! Cheap stuff ranging from clothes- spaghetti tops, dresses, drawstring skirts and pants, wraparound skirts and pants- to beaded shoes, imitation wallets, bags, loads of accessories, food stuff, sunglasses...
I went mad with the browsing, and of course inadvertant spending. Luckily, the things were cheap so I didn't spend that much considering the amount of stuff that I bought. Also, I had limited Thai Bhat which stretched a surprisingly long way.
The end result of 3 nights of "browsing" at the night market
1. Accessories galore! Love 'em all. 2. Ooh, check out my bedsheet of sheeps. I count them when I can't sleep. HeheI think I've earned the reputation of being somewhat of a shopaholic amongst my colleagues. I beg to differ. I'm more of a browser, and as some of my friends can tell you, I like to compare prices to get the best deal and am fickle minded. So that's the reason why I can spend so long shopping and prefer to do so alone: so people don't get impatient and irritated with me!Besides shopping, also went for my first Thai massage. It cost me RM 20 for an hour. Not bad eh? Before going for it, I was told all sorts of things:"They touch you EVERYWHERE!" "They pull you up and swing you around (?!) at the last bit!""You can't sleep, it's more of a vigorous kneading unlike Balinese oil massages which are more relaxing!"Despite all 'dire' warnings, me being the [self-proclaimed] adventurous soul that I am, decided to try the massage anyway...The massage place which was recommended by other colleagues who had tried it out the previous day was just opposite Sheraton Chiang Mai, the hotel we stayed in. I went with 3 other colleagues. We were first served warm water followed by sweet spiced tea. We changed into loose fitting garments and our feet was washed by the masseurs in a bowl of water scented with rose petals and slices of green lemon that smelt like limau parut. The curtained off massage room had flat mattresses with pillows and blankets and was cool and dark. There was a scent of sweet incense in the air. We were given a choice of "soft", "medium" or "hard" massage. I chose "medium."Contrary to all above statements, the masseur didn't touch me EVERYWHERE-lar...and I almost fell asleep. There was a lot of bending and stretching involved but no crazy, Tarzan swinging me around her body move by the masseur which was what my wild imagination had pictured after hearing the comments. All in all, it was a very relaxing experience. Thus, proving that your OWN experience is your best measure of things. Sometimes, what people say should be taken with only the tiniest pinch of garam.
It was a weekend of indulgences...
Friday night after work was spent with friends at Chillis MidValley. Six of us, just the correct number for a comfy booth at Chillis. We ordered only 3 main entries and shared among the 6 of us- salad, pasta and a mixed platter of finger food. Despite that, all of us had our fair share! The highlight was the dessert- Hi and Mighty Pie! And hi and mighty it definitely was...
Calorie-laden, utterly sinful dessert
4 inches of ice cream piled wedge-shaped (we were all wondering how they managed to do that and concluded that they probably had a mould or something) on top of a an inch thick crumbled Oreo cookie base and topped with a lattice of chocolate and caramel sauce! Mmmm...pure, sinful indulgence in every bite! Stuffed as we were from the main courses, the 6 of us still managed to polish off the dessert. Where grass, branches, flowers are all edible!
It seemed only fitting that after dinner, we proceeded to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I enjoyed the show, it was quirky and funny just like the book and really made me laugh. There was also literal eye candy with molten chocolate streams and a colourful candy wonderland where sweets grow on trees. The stuff that chocolate lovers (like me) dream of!
Brought back my childhood memories of the old movie- the 1971 adaptation of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Roald Dahl books. Ah, the nostalgia...he he...
Saturday saw me shopping at One Utama. I had a colleague's BBQ to attend later at night at Mutiara Damansara and decided to do a bit of shopping before it since I was going to be in the vicinity anyway.
I enjoyed walking around, taking my own sweet time, browsing, comparing prices, being my fickle self, trying on same patterns in different shades, before deciding on what I really wanted to buy. Ended up with 5 items and my bank account a lot poorer.
My haul from shopping
Bought a pair of shorts from DP, a turquoise sleeveless blouse (which was on 50 percent discount!!) and jeans bag from TopShop, a sleeveless black polo-T and trackpants from Wh- where "Everyone is Beautiful." Spent about 4 and the half hours, which is pretty fast for me considering the number of items I purchased! He he, anyway, retail therapy really did make me feel much better and lifted my spirits a bit. So it's money worth spent I say! =D
Sunday, I woke late at about noon. Had a leisurely breakfast cum lunch while reading the newspapers and watching highlights of West End musicals on DVD- performances from Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Cats, My Fair Lady... followed by re-runs of Desperate Housewives. Just a lazy, indulgent Sunday afternoon. What was missing was just fresh raisin scones, lightly dusted with icing sugar, with real cream and fresh strawberries for tea! Sighh...
Mmm..typical English tea...I miss Glasgow!
Going out later for dinner with some friends for a catch up and farewell of sorts. A friend is leaving to work overseas and don't know when will be the next time we will be meeting up again. At someone's wedding perhaps?
Despite a relaxing wekeend, I still don't feel recharged for the week ahead...
Hungry Ghost Day Nightmare
I had a nightmare yesterday night or rather, early this morning.
It involved me and a friend in a fatal car crash. I was driving my baby Wira and we were on a trip somewhere, I think. Then we came to this hill and I must have been reversing. For some reason, I found that my auto "D" gear wasn't working! So the car kept sliding down the hill and nothing I did seemed to be able to stop that!
The car kept picking up speed as it slid down the long slope and reached the frightening speed of a roller coaster. Only this time, it wasn't an amusment park ride, it was my car, going backwards and at alarming speed!
Predictably, we crashed, died and I actually saw our bodies -although covered in blodied cloths-in the mangled wreck that was my car. I was hovering over the accident site like those souls you see in ghost movies who still linger around after their physical self has already died. A difference was that I did realize that I was dead in my dream...Scary eh? *shiver*
Well a consoling thought is that dreams never do come true, do they?
Just feeling exasperated
Today was one of those days where nothing really goes wrong, and YET, nothing really goes right either.
Boss's birthday. We only found out after lunch when we saw a bouquet of roses on her desk. Created a big hoo-haa at the office, and was the highlight of the day. It was a bit funny cause we bumped into the delivery guy while going to lunch and we were actually debating on who the 'lucky' recipient of the flowers were...little did we know...
Since none of us knew that it was her birthday, we lunched at our usual kopitiam where my pork ball noodles and iced water cost less than RM 4.
No interesting mails, no interesting online conversations, did a lot of proofreading and transcribing instead. Nearly fell asleep, it was so hard to concentrate. Even tea didn't work this time. Must have been all the late nights and postponed sleep accumulating and finally crashing down on me today. A wonder that I'm not sick yet! Which would be good, I can take MC! Hehe... I just wasn't in the mood to work at all, restless like hell and left work at 5.30pm on the DOT!
Decided to head to Mid Valley. Thought I could beat the Federal Jam. Mana tahu, already jammed! At least did manage to skip the stretch part between Taman Jaya and Jalan Universiti which wasn't jammed yet but from then on it was bumper to bumper all the way to Mid Valley. NICE!
At MV, it was kinda hard to get parking, just circled the car park enough times to get me irritated when I spotted a car reversing and flicked my indicator light on.
Went first to get tickets for a movie this Friday. There was a queue, not super long but I think I waited 20 minutes. Got the tickets, not perfect but at least it was far enough from the screen and there were still tickets left, not a total waste of effort. See what I mean about nothing going really wrong, but yet nothing really going right either?
Met up with a couple friend for dinner. It was comfortably nostalgic in a way, as we used to hang out a lot before they got together. Things are different now. As a friend aptly put it, the dynamics of friendship are different now. Guess things change but dosen't mean it ain't for the better right? Bought a top with some vouchers I got for splurging on skin care the other day. Only paid RM 1.93 for a RM 40-something-after-discount-top, not bad eh? Browsed around some more and regretted not getting a denim bag I spotted at Top Shop in Pyramid yesterday cause I couldn't find it in Top Shop MV.
Oh, got a cake for Boss tomorrow from Strudels as well, felt that it was my duty to do so. Guess there's nothing wrong with showing appreciation, but why do I feel like I'm being so fake? *sigh*
Usual routine of eating some fruits and nuts before showering and sitting in front of my laptop. Mum called, talked to her, PL called, talked to her too. Still feeling down in the dumps, a mood that not even talking, shopping, blogging has cured! Sometimes I wish things would go terribly wrong and then I would at least have a reason to be depressed instead of this half-baked "not-bad-but-not-great" day where I can't event have a reason to RANT pitifully enough for people to emphatize with me!!
Heading to try sleep therapy now.
A weekend with friends
Good food, good wine and great company, what more could you ask for for a great weekend?
OK, OK so the food wasn't anything out of the ordinary and we didn't even have wine, but certainly, the company was what made the weekend a well-spent one.
Geo came down for the weekend and we spent quality time together. She brought the sunshine from Penang down South to KL! It was a haze-free Saturday and Sunday. Never have I been so happy to see the sun after more than a week of choking on air with an acrid stench of burning everytime I ventured outdoors.
If I were writing a food/restaurant review, this weekend would have certainly been the perfect one for mixing work and pleasure. And since I wasn't writing one, it was all about focusing on the pleasure of dining with good company. Hehe, how fun!!
From TGIF at the Curve, Japanese buffet at Saisaki Wisma UOA, Souled Out at Sri Hartamas, to Picollo Mondo at Midvalley and Delicious at Bangsar Village, we sampled a wide variety of food and also added some miliage to my Baby car.
I think my favourite place of all would be the Delicious Deli/Bistro/Restaurant at Bangsar which I patroned with Lisa and Lih Rui. The carrot cake we had was rich and sinfully delicious with lashings of thick cream cheese, the chicken pie was fresh and baked to perfection with a creamy, savoury filling with chunks of chicken, the hot chocolate was made with real, melted milk chocolate and the orange juice was superb- freshly squeezed with the tangy taste of real oranges with nothing of the sacharrine-loaded synthetic taste of the bottled variety, which I detest.
The ambiance of the place was fantastic too. The decor was artistic-modern, with lots of glass, mirrored walls and comfortable cushions. Bird cages hung from the ceiling as part of the decor and also doubled as lamps. Definitely a place to visit again with friends for a cosy catch-up or idle chit chat.
After this weekend of meeting up with school and Uni friends, I can't help but reflect on how far all of them and myself have come in life. How far we've come from being nerdy school girls and 'clique-y' college students to open, confident and matured young adults with a whole life ahead of us.
Friendships have changed and deepened and perhaps what struck me as most touching was that despite what we've been through apart from each other, our personal responsibilities, personal problems and worries, each one took the trouble of spending some time showing concern and taking an interest in each others lives.
I hope that we can continue doing so for many years to come.
Trying to be IT savvy
Well, a bit of good news. Managed to retrieve four of the seven pictures I accidentally deleted from what I thought was the "server" in my company. The best ones are still lost but at least I've obtained some of them back although in low, low, low resolution...
Oh, I was told by the IT guy I didn't really store them in the server itself (which should have a recycle bin according to Rach if it's Window OS) but some data storage space we refer to as the "Temp folder" where data, once deleted is gone forever...Anyway(s), point is, can't retrieve it from the server/temp folder/data storage space.
I surfed around the Net yesterday and found an interesting website with information on how to retrieve deleted files from the camera memory card. Hmm...decided that was my only hope..followed the instructions and discovered the way to convert the camera memory card to a physical disk drive. All you needed was something call a "card reader" and you could run the software Davory/WinHex to retrieve the deleted files. So anyone who has accidentally deleted some important photos from your camera, all hope is not lost, especially if you haven't used your camera to take other pictures.
Only down point is, the files received are tiny, and you need to pay $$$ to get the full installation to retrieve them in high resolution. I heard that you can get crack codes so that you don't have to pay for the full software...Aiyo...mumble, mumble, jumble, IT garble...hehe..so much for being IT savvy!
Just another manic monday
"It's just another manic Monday, wish it were Sunday..." courtesy of the Bangles. Somehow the DJ on Light and Easy (the channel that I tune my radio alarm clock to) likes to put this song on Mondays at around 7.30-8am, the time when I usually rise and shine. Isn't it just a GREAT song to start your day off? Manic Monday!!! &%#@!!!!
Well my Monday was just that- MANIC in capital letters! First of all, had an appointment with a physiotherapist who made me wait 1 and the half hours for her, reading out-dated issues of CLEO in the Physiotherapy Unit of the hospital. I finally gave up waiting and wrangled my way into the rehab unit itself to see the person in charged of the pulmonary rehabilitation program I was supposed to talk to her about. Managed to get some work done at least and snapped some good photos. But what took me less than 15 minutes had cost me the whole morning!
Made it back to the office for a quick lunch of mixed rice and then everyone was asking me about my Langkawi trip. I decided to put the pictures onto the temp server so that my colleagues could access it freely. I screened out photos that contained my face and clicked OK to the Windows prompt of "Are you sure you want to delete these items?" Then, after sending a work e-mail or two, a thought suddenly struck me, SHIT, did I back up those photos that I just deleted?!!? Frantically checked 'My Pictures' folder on my PC...N.O.!! No pictures there, my God, heartache man, the pictures were really nice ones, and I seldom have many good pictures of myself. *sigh*
I panicked and tried everything I could to retrieve them...asking my office "IT" guy (he isn't really IT trained), clicked Undo which would only go back so far (and I deleted the pictures on the office server which dosen't have any backup so Undo wouldn't do any good), even emailed a IT manager only knew from reading his blogs. Sigh, no success so far.
Then it was time to go with my boss to meet someone who would be going to give us an editorial workshop. So I went and had to give her useful input and suggestions and take notes even when I was aching over the loss of my photos. Uggh..we took a cab together and didn't have much to say to each other except work which was fine with me as it gave me time to brood over and think what options there were to retrieve my photos.
Got back to the office about 4.30pm after my afternoon appointment and immediately started tinkling with my PC's Undo functions again and thinking of how to retrieve the lost photos. An online friend suggested that I do an online search. Discovered a program called 'Davary' short for Data Recovery. And ran it on my Hard Disk. Went through thousands of photos that were retrieved...none of them mine. What I need to figure out is how to connect the camera's memory card for the program to try to retrieve the lost photos. I know this is clutching at straws and I'm not an IT smartie but at least I tried my best to recover them right??
What with all the appointments, questions over my Langkawi trip and time spent trying to recover my lost photos, needless to say, I got little work done! Leaving me with an extra-large load for the rest of the week! G.R.E.A.T!!
Tanjung Rhu Langkawi
(Sunset at Tanjung Rhu Beach)
I'm writting this post from Langkawi! Wow, I'm really impressed by the resort that I'm staying at- Tanjung Rhu. http://www.tanjungrhu.com.my/english/home/main.html One thousand, one hundred acres of poetry is the resort's apt tagline. I couldn't agree more. This is a good place to get creative skills/juices flowing...
To think that initially I was rather lukewarm about coming...Glad that in the end I'm here. But it had to take me really stepping into the resort and into the room (which is huge and comfortable) to really get me a wee bit excited about being in Langkawi. They also have a long list of activities from yoga classes, to windsurfing, to mangrove swamp visits and the resort has it's own private beach which I've been told is magnificent...aiyo, don't think I have enough time to do everything esepcially with the conference that I have to attend...arghhh!!
(Resort and lagoon)
The resort has lots of greenery and foiliage, with lots of palm/coconut trees- I can't tell in the dark as I arrived at 9.30pm. The rooms surround a central lagoon pool which also doubles as a swimming pool. The restuarants are all open-air from what I noticed just now and they diners were serenaded with live orchestra complete with violin, cello, double bass. Hearing the strains of a string quartet really creates an air of polished opulence and luxury, just at like Suria KLCC where they occasionally serenade you with live orchestra/jazz/grand piano music while you shop. Perhaps making you feel "rich" will make you spend more?
This resort looks more like a high-class, swanky apartment rather than a holiday resort. The rooms are all housed in low-rise buildings (about 4 floors max) and even the reception area isn't like the typical hotel. In fact, I was checked-in in my room itself and was served the welcoming drink there as well. There was also a "fruit of the day" basket which today happened to be dukung...yum...I love the tangy sour-sweet taste of the fruit. I wonder what it will be tomorrow??
(Room of luxury..Mmm...but all alone!)
The room is equipped with a plasma flat-screen TV and DVD player! And the bed is king sized with complimentary chocolates in a quaint little box. The bathroom is also huge and so well equipped with toiletries that I really didn't have needed to bring anything. There's even cotton pads and cotton buds. How complete is that?!! Another plus point to this trip, I didn't need to share a room!! Ahhh...privacy!! Hehe, guess the pharma company ain't that cheapo after all.
Well, at least it's a good ending to a really tiring day. Had a late night again yesterday. Slept at about 3 am plus doing last minute packing. The plane journey wasn't that long, just 55 minutes from KLIA. I slept all the way. It was terrible dry in the plane cabin and I was ready to conk out the minute I arrived here. But after getting such a warm reception-welcome drink and all and being impressed with the friendly staff and great facilities at the resort, I'm all energized. I really think that I'm a night owl at heart and I'm at my most active when the sun had dipped below the horizon...Heheh...oh and FREE internet service as well! PLUS PLUS PLUS point. I'm such an internet addict eh?
Makes we wonder, how much does a night of luxurious comfort cost at Tanjung Rhu?
It's one of those days again when you feel physically tired but your mind is ever so active. I actually switched off my laptop at a reasonably early time for me at 12.30 midnight and plonked on my bed (although with my lights still on) and tried to go to sleep. Evidently, -as I'm here blogging- I was unsuccesful in drifting off to dreamland.
Am online now and chatting to my colleague and Jacz in Glasgow! Blogging at the same time. Oh, won't you just check out my baby's superb better-than-ever-kick-ass rear view? Hehehe..yup, got her fixed when I went back to Ipoh. It's almost half the price back in good old Ipoh compared to KL! Imagine that! Either the workshops I got quotations from in PJ and Setapak were really out to cheat me or fixing cars in Ipoh is really that much cheaper...My baby is whole again! So happy!
Oh a funny incident to share- I thought there was something wrong with my car radio ever since I sent my car to the workshop to be fixed. I couldn't seem to hear any radio stations clearly. Even at 92.9, Hitz Fm had a fuzzy, background noise that totally irritated me!
I had this nagging suspicion at the back of my mind that maybe, just maybe, the "stupid" mechanics actually cheated and changed my radio/speakers or did something to it causing me to have poor reception. Hehe, silly or what? I didn't think until this morning to check the arial. And lo and behold, the arial had been tucked in nicely probably by the mechanics when they were spraying my car, they meant well, I know.
I pulled the arial to its full lenght and since then, have been enjoying crystal clear music quality. Figures, took me 2 days to discover that. In my defense, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I must have realized that the first thing to do when you have poor reception on a radio is to check the arial, but was pretty pre-occupied these few days and always in a rush to work (finding it really hard to wake up lately) and too tired when coming back from work to really trouble shoot what was causing my radio to act up. Hehehe...
Will be going to Langkawi on Friday night for work. Staying the weekend. It's some sort like a favour for my colleagues as it's a project job that I won't be writing up. Just going to get the recording done and establishing contact with the speakers on behalf of my colleagues. Having mixed feelings about this trip. First of all, it's going to be a twin sharing room. Ughh...Cheapo pharma company can't even give single rooms. Also, it's going to be two whole days alone at a beach resort. Yeah, at least it's a beautful and luxurious one from what I've heard.
Hmm, to look at it positively, I don't have any plans this weekend, and maybe I'll meet someone interesting at Langkawi? *grin* And even if I don't at least I'll have a change of environment even if I spend it doing nothing more than just re-reading Goblet of Fire in the shade of gently swaying coconut tress with a beautfiul view of the ocean in front of me. Hmmm...this trip is starting to look more enticing suddenly even if it's just self-console...=)
Monday night, Tuesday BLUES
Sam Poh Tong in Ipoh admist lush greenery (Pix courtesy of JYLuke)
Feeling the blues despite a long and and somewhat typical weekend at home for me in idyllic and picturesque Ipoh.
It was a busy weekend back home. Busy with lots of family activities and family time. The times spend doing nothing more than just going out for breakfast, having a car ride as a family, celebrating my mum's birthday, doing chores (!!), having my mum nag at me to bathe, my dad asking me to sleep earlier, friendly bickering with my brother...simple things like that that actually comforts me and is a buffer from the hectic independent "singlehood" in KL.That being said, too much of family time would probably have me yearning and scrambling enthusiastically for my life in KL.Ironic ain't it?? Guess you can't have the cake and eat it...*sigh*
Thought that being on leave today, the Monday Blues would be succesfully evaded. Little did I know, Bluezz on Tuesdays hits even harder as having an extra day off work actually makes you even more reluctant to go back to "run" in the rat race!!
Hehe, luckily though in the midst of this post, had some interesting phone calls from a friend. *grin* Not to go into too much detail, in a nutshell we came to realize the truth that guys and girls are really from different planets ie, girls over analyze eg, one simple SMS can spark off a 1 and half hours phone discussion over its significance while the guy is proabably already tucked comfortably into bed/out hanging out with his friends at mamak/watching TV. We had a good laugh over it!
Anyway(s), sort of gave me an uplift from my Tuesday down mood. Until my housemate picked a fight over a simple matter of me forgetting to inform her of a faulty shower head. &%$#@!!! I have nothing to say except that I'm seriously considering finding some less dirty,messy, more "COURTEOUS" housemates- housemates that actually lead a similar lifestyle to my own. I think I have been very patient and tolerant over the past year and especially of late.
Kind of makes me wish I were staying back at home, sheltered by parents, oblivous to the stark reality of people and the world. But as I said, I would probably then be screaming for independence, be it figuratively or in the actual, physical sense. I suppose dealing with difficult and unreasonable people is a small price to pay for independence.