Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Open letter to Father Lucie

It's taken me some time to write this letter as I am a devout believer in Christ and Moses just as our Maltese saviour was. So I take my time to send off missives to errant clerics. I'm doing exactly like Moses, who took his time with Aaron, his erring brother and Christ, who waited till quite late to do something about the Judases in his midst.
We have lost our own upright anchorman—Joe Grima— just because he told you to go get some pervs to show you the ropes.
I find it mystifying and gruesome and horribly unchristian that the ropes of some bells have put our sturdy Joe in this position. And even worse is the thought that our Joseph—a leader of amazing strength and unwavering principles—has had to accept the anchor's resignation.
It's so fitting that these two big bulwarks of straight talking both share such a great name. Joseph was the biblical boy who first shot to power and stardom under the Egyptians then went on to get the Jews out of their slavery and into some form of liberation. Exactly the same as Joseph and Joe are destined to do here on this barren, weather-beaten rock which has withstood the ravages of a Gonzi-led clique of evil-doers. Only a Joseph and a Joe can see us out of our suffering and deliver us back to the land of old and plenty. Then you come along and with your words of disrespect cause all this mayhem.
He—our Joe Grima, anchorman supreme—showed class even in his oratory and words against you. You—who were ordained and thus supposedly holy—are ordinary and crass.
Our Joseph—the leader—is amazing. And he said something beautiful. Yes, because his words are pure poetry. All his deeds are those of prophets, seers and supreme beings. Only he can don the mantle of the Dom and give us back our hope and our belief in ourselves. Malta needs hope and mellifluous words. And we have it in Joseph.
Joseph has stated that the face of the labour party is not that of Joe Grima. Now I hope you will not go and scribble (tħarbex sounds ever so more apt) some silly words about this face of the labour party. Mind you no one ever reads your newspaper which should speak of our saviour (the Dom) in reverential words if it is really a Christian paper. I, for one, never even read your article about our beloved saviour, but if Joe Grima has asked you to be damned (in, I accept, much more melodious words than mine) then I know, without doubt, that all you have said is bilge and slimy stuff not worth reading.
I expect you to ignore me and write about this face image our leader used, which, you will undoubtedly find easy to say, has a few strange connotations. You will now surely say that the face of the movement might not be of Joe Grima but deep down if you scratch away the face you get Mintoff's old-style party, replete with brashness and complete disregard of what is sensible and sensitive. I know you wish harm on our party and our real leaders. You will write that if you remove the veneer, the outer covering of smiles and good-natured ways, you will discover a world of rabid mintoffianism.
I imagine your rag will also claim that if Joe or Joseph are ever in power they will do what Mintoff sometimes used to do and ban some newspaper or other because they think it is fomenting untruths about our glorious island. You might also say that we will try withholding this perfidious internet and the ways of the modern world from being left to rampage in modern Malta. You will obviously mention the lie that Mintoff, in his infinite wisdom, had tried stopping faxes and computers from being widely available, or at least that he made it infinitely expensive to buy and use them.
Who uses the fax now anyway? Who even knows what it was used for? See—Mintoff was a genius even in that—he didn't want us hooked on something which was going to be useless a few years later. We saved a lot of money because of him. He was a saving saviour in all senses.
Dear Lucie don't you dare keep fomenting hatred and lies about our glorious past. Because of you we have lost one of the most important voices to appear on our super One station.
We await the election results to turn the tables with Joseph to take over as Prime Minister. He will then immediately call you to come to Malta for a prize. He will immediately bestow on you the first honour of persona non grata. This used to happen often in the times of Dom when we showed the world we feared no one. The Prime Minister will immediately pass on the reins of TVM to he who deserves it most—Joe Grima—who, with a bow and a few expletives, will accept the post.
May you become truly Christian in thought, deed and scribbling.
In Dom we trust,
Lead soldier

Monday, 18 June 2012

He comes from Barcelona

He comes from Barcelona

Anyone who loves laughing can't not have heard of that Basil Fawlty catch-phrase in the title above. Times have changed drastically—the series ended, John Cleese married a few dozen times and now I doubt if the watchdog checking all drama, comedy and skits would allow such a racist slur in a programme. The idea that all Spaniards are idiots—even if I would love to hear it often—just can't be aired on TV.
A real waiter from Barcelona recently served us in a seaside restaurant. No I won't be naming names as I don't want to be fed for free—or actually I would want that so anyone who would like to feed me please feel free to do so. I might then plug you if you are worth saving or unplug you if your service or fare is less than serviceable. The place I went to was great and the waiter was even greater. He was very polite with beautifully spoken English with a siesta feel to it.
At a certain point this waiter—let's call him Pedro—said that he wasn't really a waiter. So we all piped up with—are you studying? No says he—I'm in TV production. So, we asked, what brought you here? Love seemed the reason to one of the diners now getting all curious. No—I come from Barcelona Pedro explained. Basil could not have said it more eloquently—but what's wrong with that we asked, while trying desperately hard not to laugh at his unintended joke. Oh he said unemployment is really bad and I didn't—couldn't—get a job. So I came to Malta. Hopefully, went on Pedro, I'll be able to get into TV. But in the meantime I'm learning a new line. I've learnt English and I get to meet a lot of interesting people. I think he added the interesting because he did wish us to tip him well. But he was courtesy personified. So tip he deserved a few times over.
Besides the obvious laugh that he comes from Barcelona a few things struck me while being served by Pedro. One is that unlike a lot of us in Malta Pedro thinks that being a waiter is not a servile job—it gives you dignity and it also makes you learn about food, you meet people and you learn the different ways of people from various lands and cultures.
The other striking thing was that our friend from Barcelona felt it would be easy to come here and get a job. In fact he even asked a friend—also from Barcelona and unemployed—to come over. They now both work here and have a life worth living, much better than remaining at home without a job. I know we have problems—or rather a load of problems—on this rock of ours but shouldn't we be thanking God (or whoever we all thank nowadays) for our many blessings?
Thank you Pedro—you helped me enjoy a great dinner and you made me love our little isle with all its foibles and faults a little more fondly.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Mankind not inclusive enough

Now I'm going to venture on to religious ground—not physically of course—so if you're scared or worried about me being blasphemous or irreverent please move on to a more erudite and religious blogger. He talks loads of sense while I talk and jabber useless twaddle.

But remember twaddle is hardly always useless. I mean, we humans sprang out of dust so even dust, that most undignified of materials, is quite important and if it wasn't for it we'd have remained a playful thought in God's inner mental chambers. Of course I'm not sure if the Almighty does have any such chambers, and less sure what the connection between twaddle and dust is.

Anyway let me get to the hot part of my thought process seeing I am hardly divine and definitely not an illuminated being. My gripe of the day is this: do we still talk of mankind being saved by Christ the Son of God? What about Androids? Aliens? And machines? Have I really lost my marbles I hear most of you say. Should I be pelted with egg, stoned to death or given some new life sentence to pass my time down in a Vatican dingy dungeon?

Before you damn me, hear me out—and please stop grinning about my marbles. If mankind (or is that womankind?) has been saved by Jesus Christ we are forgetting the rest of the universe and outer universe which now, it seems, is teeming with planets. These could harbour life in any sort of form—either super-intelligent and so will not bother with us who are, to them, unbelievably primitive, or else super-dumb and cannot communicate with us as they are like our vermin, carrots or hamsters. They do not necessarily bear the shapes of these latter species but the end result is that they do not—and cannot—communicate with us. Just as hamsters do not talk to us or understand why we enjoy seeing them poke fun at us by going round and round in a wheel while conveniently caged and fed by humans.

End result is that when Christ came down to save Man he forgot the possible and now probable aliens. Is that a slight, but rectifiable, omission? Should the scriptures be re-written and some little mention made of inhabitants of the planet Zork and other such still-to-be-discovered lands? Now let's hear you laugh out even louder. What if machines and androids develop further and become thinking beings with a soul? This is serious so do please keep a straight face. Today all this sounds like utter garbage and a madman's bilge.

Take a leap back millions of years and if you look in the mirror you'd see yourself as a tiny—or large (I know not whether our propensity for obesity was already in our genes then)—fish with hardly any thought of humanity, civilisation or a soul. But we fought, we managed to not get fished out of the huge pond of the oceans and we evolved out of the sea and into some crawling, then walking, being. Down the line we descaled and turned from fish to ape I know not how. Then we stood slightly erect and became apes and somehow made the final evolutionary leap to homo sapien-hood.

Just as we moved on and progressed—or regressed—into humans, machines and silly robots might one day evolve and turn into something else which will then, most definitely and defiantly, have a soul. When you exclude everyone else from the equation of being in Christ's thoughts and plans do keep in mind that mankind is hardly being kind to all the other species which could need salvation and entry into the gates of heaven.

So let's scrap the use of the word mankind, womankind and humankind and add on all beings who one day might have feelings and hate us for offending them so awfully by excluding them from celestial bliss.

If I have offended your religious sentiments because you deny the theory of evolution and think that the story of Adam and Eve is a literal story please forgive me. If I have offended any other religious sentiments or described evolution quirkily or wrongly I apologise profusely. Finally if you are an atheist, well I can't do much about that.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Can the world wake up and admit Malta is its centre?

Oh no. Today I am lost; completely and utterly lost. When we changed to summer time I verified the time on the world clock website and Malta is not listed.

Well—for the petty ones amongst us— if you search for Valletta you do get the time and date but it doesn't stare you in the face. You have to search for us while Fulda, Targu and even Arkhangelsk are there. Does anyone except maybe Mr Wikipedia or his geography professor know where those places are?

As I said I was jolted and hope all us true Maltese people—readers, bloggers and all those who comment regularly online—will join together and protest most vehemently.
How dare these idiots not list—where it can be seen immediately—the time of day of our dottiness? This is an outrage worse than the worst snide remarks lashed against us implying that we think we are the centre of the world. We don't think, we know and we are.

Where in the universe do they have leaders like ours? Who matches our style or singing capabilities at song festivals dedicated to shrieking and wailing? In this country we can now read porn at university at our leisure with no rector hectoring us heroically to save our soul and stashing some poor literary hack into some faraway dungeon.

Stitching as a play, which anyway no one really wants to watch, can now safely be staged with the actors cavorting in their undressed shame, with no shining buckles to come in the way or bore us to our dearth. As I said we can watch dramas where directors can say to actors to hell with your ludicrous dresses to hide your gloriously glutinous behinds. We are now a true land of the free and the liberal.

As our minister of culture said, our carnival is now to be unfettered by any arcane laws or rules—which didn't even exist anyway— and we can have a proper free-for-all in jokes and mirth as long as it is done only in those five days of carnival.

During the King's reign—why don't the feminists protest against this yearly injustice of having a king but no queen to head the mayhem during our most unpolitically correct carnival?—no one will arrest you if you wear a wig in Vallettaville looking impolitely like some discarded politician or if you go around walking aimlessly like an empress down Nadurway.

We are the centre and we know it; just because some idiot at this infernal world clock site—a shambolic shame of a site if ever there was one—thinks time stood still a few hundred years ago we will not let that affect our mood or fun in the real centre of the world.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

When giants ruled our world

What's with this world? As the giants of our public life go off to a pleasanter after-life, some of the ones who remain seem like little gnomes.

Censu Tabone and Peter Serracino Inglott have left this vale of tears—or rather left us to bewail our tearful situation. Strange that when the giants strode we hardly realised how they were changing our way of life and what giants they were. But then maybe the way of our life is to realise how much we love something only when it is taken away.


The circus at the Sliema local council goes on with a councillor resigning a few days after he was voted in by an electorate seemingly bent on inflicting more harm on itself than is inhumanly possible even in the vale of tears that is becoming Sliema.

At least this councillor had the decency to leave and not join the opponents. And he is not playing some other game more in tune with a Tom & Jerry cartoon as is happening in the more august and imposing parliamentary buildings.

Poor mayor of Sliema having to go through all this just a few days after his triumphant election to rebuild the pieces after the mess of the previous council. From past experience I can attest that the mayor is a most adept, capable and trustworthy person who will, I have no doubt, manage to succeed. But the situation has not been made easy for him.

And maybe this is where this seemingly insignificant event can be seen through national eyes—and the small man syndrome kicks in. Most commentators called for the exclusion of the Sliema councillor who erred terribly when he said pejorative stuff about his labour employees and all other labourites. But the party erred on: they just asked for his forced apology and kept him on the party ticket.

This to me smacks terribly of trying to add sugar and sweet syrups to apples which are bad. The party needs to wake up and whenever possible it needs to do some proper and serious weeding to avoid throwing bad apples at us.


Just to keep this piece fully balanced: both parties seem to be hell-bent on causing themselves unending harm.. In Attard the local councillor who polled most votes on the Labour ticket was the self-same one who willfully, and in a rage, damaged the balustrades in front of the Attard church.

That the rest of the council, in a fit of fitting consensual fraternity, forgave the councillor for his past misdeeds is irrelevant. It is the party that has erred —and the electorate seems yet again intent on perpetuating the choice of these bad apples. Maybe we, the voters, have an innate love of anything surreal. I mean isn't it normal to go on a rampage and destroy parts of church property, get convicted and subsequently get voted as councillor of the village?

With such stalwarts and giants of destruction in our midst—especially the parties' candidate sieve—I do feel like having a good weep for the old times when the circus came to town just once a year and it was thankfully staged only in a tent.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Of women and CoWs

I will stray from politics as some are uber-annoyed when I as much as mention politics. I thought the august, austere and awesome world of politics needed a bit of a smile, even just my kind of twisted and forced smile.

Women’s day was celebrated recently but I missed out on that great occasion to render homage to all the women in the world. Hurray, as the cliché goes, to all the so-called weaker sex: where would we be without mothers, wives, partners, sisters, girlfriends and the occasional calendar girl? I promise there is no gun pointed to my head to force me to admit this. I do think, believe and confirm that the opposite sex—let no one call them weaker— is gravely and constantly needed.

My duty done to all women I now move on to more important stuff. The Council of Women (COW?) issued a most interesting statement about the state of women in Malta. The bovine abbreviation is my invention and does not—in any way—reflect my feelings about the national council or women in general. As I stated above I have only awe and appreciation for women of all ages and sizes.

On to the statement now.

The Council of Women, as expected from most women in committees and other bodies like the EU, stated that quotas should be introduced through which more women would be chosen for parliament and other places like company boardrooms.

As various other commentators, employers’ representatives and more erudite bloggers—even women — have pointed out this is total garbage. If we need more female MPs why can’t women voters vote them in?

And if the Council of Women feels that not enough candidates are being presented by the political parties why don’t they join the fray? Get on with it, organise a women-only party and stand for election. Then you can take over this island’s government and get all our roads fixed and deficits dumped. We might see larger, more advanced places like Germany follow suit and put in women at the helm.

Asking and exhorting political parties to have quotas won’t solve much; the parties—who will do anything to garner votes— will ultimately get more women on board through these recommended and silly quotas. True, these women will be elected but only because the rules would favour them and stipulate their election. Most probably they won’t be too good at their job.

Whatever the Council or the EU says, if people are chosen not on their merit or qualities but just for their colour, sex or creed it’s as bad as authorising asses to run our country or companies or local councils.

I’ve just seen the local council results and it doesn’t seem as if women are coming on top. Pity: we sure needed a change from more boring male-dominated politics.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Changing our beloved San Ġwann to San Tumas

Will Tom Cruise come or won't he? This seemed to be the main question doing the rounds in Malta. Now it's back to politics, on-rushing meltdowns and oligarchs. Makes it all sound ominously like Putin's Russia.

In our isolated bliss we seem to forget the dramatic worries of other countries surrounding us. Now our wonderland is faced with a question of great import—will Tom Cruise come or not? This was meanly eclipsed by silly events like who sweeps our local roads best and who sweeps most problems under his local carpet in the most meaningful way. But we need to find out: will the Tom Thumb of cinematic world grace us with his presence and pay 12 million euro for a mega-mansion or will he not come here for even a few nano-seconds?

The problem is of world-shattering proportions and before Gonzi and his once merry men were thrashed at the local polls all our chattering classes and sub-classes were discussing the grave question regarding which house our Tom could have set his eyes and wads of dollars on. Celebrity gazing be damned and banned.

I mean do we really care what happens in Syria, Greece and Russia? So what if Greece is deprived of our hard-earned millions, the Euro falls and Greece wins back its Drachma? For all we care, or should care, they can go back to bartering. They can give us their Acropolis and we might give them our San Ġwann which would be the great barter of the year. Tom Cruise could go as part of the deal too.

San Ġwann is, in fact, where Tom Cruise will be living if his estate agent is to be given any credence. Yes I know the publicist said he isn't interested—which usually in celebrity PR terms means he is. That's what showbiz is—all glitz all glamour and all a façade, a mask for saying one thing and doing, and thinking, another. Sort of like our glitzy world of politicians—they say blue but they mean red.

But if dearest Tom comes will he move to San Ġwann? Will he stay long or just a few days? All is like mission impossible to find out: even the film industry in Malta, which till a short while back was all agog that Mr Cruise was filming his next film here, has now told us that this fact is hardly verifiable.

And back to San Ġwann. If Cruise crashes onto this place, formerly called Msieraħ, we then should change its name yet once more. This time change it to San Tumas (Tom in Maltese for all my English-only readers). This will be done in honour of its most acclaimed—and desired— resident-to-be.

Not sure if they have saints and such like in Scientology of which our intrepid Tom is a great believer and proponent. But for the sake of getting him here I'm sure we could turn San Ġwann first into a city then into a scientology experiment. After all when we had the Muslims here I'm told that most of us donned a few burqas and we hastily turned our prayers towards Mecca and Allah. And we're still here to tell the tale and we also won back our most Christian of ways. Pour in your millions Tom we will not worry about your ways or wayward religion. In fact you'll feel quite at home with our home-grown band of cranks.

For the sake of peace and comfort living, our Tom be praised and honoured soon in our own backyard.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Busher than Bush?

Some local council electtions are in the offing. Most councils have been a total disaster and should be dissolved pronto. Some other form to govern localities should be put in place even sooner.

The Sliema council was disbanded, and about time too. But now—till my grand scheme of finding a new way for local government is concocted and stealthily put into action— we have yet to vote in newer, hopefully fresher councillors, to keep Sliema clean, functioning and tidy. Easily enough said but seems sadly impossible to actuate.
What’s with these councils? Do they attract the worst villains or is the villainy set in motion once they take the oath of office? Enough idiots, unscrupulous turncoats and alleged pilferers exist to last us a lifetime in Sliema. May the new ones who are voted in be honourable men and women.

I wish the contestants well—and may they all do their job with no whiff of scandal, petty fighting or unbelievable changing of allegiances. And please, if any contestant is already acting hideously—even before he takes his oath of office—let’s flush them out immediately. No apology is enough—get him out before he wreaks even more long-lasting havoc.

Another contender seems to have been offended because he was called a clown. Can we also have his candidature revoked? I always thought clowns made the best politicians anyway—only sad part is that politicians do not all wear fancy, colourful garb. And most politicians also wear much bigger shoes than are fitting for them: just like clowns.

I laughed out hysterically loud when I saw a few posters—and unbelievably, even a billboard—saying we should vote for someone called Busher, and proudly telling us she is a foreigner. No harm there I say—the more varied contenders we have in the field the more coalitions, failed majorities and musical chairs we can expect. The Sliema circus seems to be extending its run.

But hold on. Let’s analyse the British woman who is contesting. Can someone really vote for anyone who just by name promises to be Busher than Bush? Remember Bush the younger? He talked garbage and acted terribly, going into wars where no one should have gone and moving the world into its rotten state of today. If my name was anything close to Bush I’d have changed it even before I was born.

So she might mean well but the last thing I want to see in dearly cherished Sliema is someone in council who could further fan the fires of feuding in a locality whose name ironically translates as—I hope Ms Busher was told this—peace. Poor Ms Busher I really didn’t wish to bash her this way. She is more than welcome to fight for her seat in council and if she gets elected I am sure she will find nothing but heroic cooperation from everyone around.

But now let’s go back to the times when Malta kept leaping backwards even beyond third worldom. Back then our country was nicely put on a par with the worst regimes. And we also had a strange law to regulate foreign interference. No one could come to Malta and denigrate Dom or his minions or his millions of followers. I promise I’m not harping back to those times, lest I am accused by some of being tied to our recent, but thankfully buried, past.

I’m just mentioning a slight change in attitudes. Back then we had foreigners accused and roundly—and rudely—deported just for speaking up about what they saw as undemocratic and wrong. This happened just because they were foreign. Today these same foreigners can, in theory, become our Mayors and councillors. Thank god for the golden age of yesteryear.

Off you go now and if you do live in a locality that votes go ahead and do so even if local councils should be banned—it’s all we have for now so let’s keep our vote useful and a guarantee of our liberty. Even if they resemble circuses it’s always better to choose your own kind of circus. So vote sanely..

Monday, 5 March 2012

Same-sex marriages to boost an MP’s reputation

So Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has now waded into deeper—and gayer—waters. Not happy to have got his divorce papers and laws all organised and dusted off in our oh-so-Catholic isle he now wants marriages of the same sex ilk. Can Malta take another of these liberal earthquakes?

Nothing wrong there I dare say. The more varied our marriages and partnerships the better it is for our society. We need colour, we need fun in this our century and millennium which are fast turning into the gloomy tunes ones. Add on not just colour, say I, but all gaiety or else we are surely going to end up seriously suffering from some mad malady. We might even all turn into parliamentarians.

It wasn’t enough that all year we used to look forward to carnival where we could have had our own spot of politic-free, politically correct fun and revelry. Now our minister of culture—and carnival is the epitome of culture especially in our shores—has fished out a law, or a lack of a law, that we used to think, all 400,000 of us for more than half a century, barred us from laughing at politicians during carnival.
So come February next year you can bet your last euro cent—if that funny coinage is still around—that the political parties are going to ruin the party for us all. Carnival—which I must admit has become a right boring snooze-fest—is going to be even more excruciatingly boring what with floats that flatter our fave party and other floats that flatten the reputation of the rest of the parties.

I hope some enterprising—and upright—Member of Parliament will call for proper respect of the rules of financing and propriety of the carnival floats. Otherwise the floating voter will definitely desert our politicians. And they—the floaters who decide who wins elections—will not even turn up at carnival. What worse shock and horror could afflict us? How oh how could the minister of culture—even if he has changed by next year and become a labour one—cope with such catastrophes?

Back to happy marriages and sexual unions of all shapes, shades and shady groupings. Our enterprising Dr Pullicino Orlando first put a wedge into our Catholic weddings. His actions and subsequent law launched all our folk into a flurry to disengage themselves—en masse and cut off from true Catholic mass— from their sacred, supposedly life-long unions. And now he is clamouring for more varied unions. Less is more sometimes for our king maverick.

Like divorce I am in reality—and seriously—very much in favour of same sex marriage or at least that the state recognises same-sex unions. Of course I’m not sure if our inclusive Bishop of Gozo will be hooting for Jeffrey’s proposed law.

Good luck dear Jeffrey—we, the happy and also the less happy will always put you on a pedestal of trust and utter fealty. Your uprightness is our beacon to see us through these our least of gay times.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Say boo to the bullies

Sometimes football shows us up in our true colours. No not the colours of one of the teams we are passionate and blind about but it throws some light—or at least does so for me—on how society has developed, or, rather, regressed.

During the Carling Cup final between Liverpool and Cardiff the national anthems of the countries the teams represented weren't played. Set aside the daftness of one country which is grandly touted as united—the United Kingdom—having two anthems. Imagine a team from the north of Italy playing Rome and having two anthems played—one of Bossi's Padania and the other one of whatever remains of poor Italy. Did I say daft?

Anyway it is even dafter that national anthems are ever played when two clubs are playing each other. This is modern football we are talking about. So I doubt there are too many players in the Liverpool colours who live in Liverpool and grace the Liverpool kit through choice and not because of shining lucre. Cardiff being in Wales, I imagine even less people want to live there—and I do hope the Welsh still have a smidgen of humour . Or is humour one of those rare bits of life nowadays?
But the interesting –or rather terribly tragic–reason the anthems weren't played was delightfully dafter.

The authorities or whoever decides on the playing or otherwise of anthems thought they mustn't play the anthems and it seems never will because during the last game between two teams from England and Wales both anthems were booed. I see. Or rather I don't wish to see the logic of this.

So the unruly louts—also sometimes derisorily called football fans—dictate what happens in stadia? I thought that it's the authorities with their batons and other batty implements who usually bully us, the common folk and other supporters of football teams. Not the other way round.

It's not that I wanted the anthems played or sung. The last thing I find appropriate before a football fest is a baritone rendition of God Save the Queen and an anthem sung in whatever language the Welsh sing their anthem in. But since when should a boo, a jeer or a cacophony of both change the ways we want to go? Maybe the fans at that particular game were strangely erudite and musically gifted and felt the anthems had been sung badly so they had to refrain from their cheering of the bands or singers.

The world is surely becoming a strange place to inhabit when jeering can have such earth-shattering results. I always thought booing was part of life and of our freedom to criticise. If it was too much—"over-the-limit" booing– then when is too much? And if the authorities, for some strange reason, worried that the playing of the anthems could lead to mayhem and murder then maybe they should have taken more drastic measures by banning the game completely and, like proper spoilsports, shared the spoils, the cup and the proceeds between both warring clubs.

After all during this game someone might have jeered the referee and linesman (or whatever they are called nowadays) and these could have been mortally offended, packed their whistles, flags and balls and gone crying all the way home before the final whistle.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Are the atheists going to burn me?

I'm shaking and I'm quaking in my seat as I contemplate my next move. I never thought this could happen to me—especially in liberal, let's-take-things-easy Malta. I'm typing this in the basement of a hideaway dug-out far from all the angry throngs of attendant atheists, inhumane humanists and unsexy secularists.

I dared say, in my blog, something about the silly atheists (sorry silliness for pairing you with such vileness) and other sods who wish that St Paul hadn't paid us a visit a few thousand years back, during which visit he consigned us a super brand of religion. As a careful—and historically correct—reader of my blog pointed out, we have been for 2000 years very Christian in religion (and ways I'd imagine) except for a short time when we all turned to Islam as our true religion when our Muslim masters were so unchristian to us.

The wrath wreaked on me by the silly atheists was hardly credible. Atheists called a special session of their plenary council and issued an edict against me. The atheist Pope, after reciting the Atheist rosary, called for a vote to prove that all atheists believe implicitly in Him. After the vote He pronounced himself supreme Atheist who was surely and supremely even more infallible than before. Yes the Atheists' vote was incredibly even more resounding than the recent one asking for the PN to reaffirm GonziPN as PM.

For all the unwashed let me explain: in my previous post I dared poke fun at the atheists and they—or at least the ones who comment on the Times online version, and various other enlightened Facebook users—rebuked me for daring to do such horrid things. I also dared say that our erstwhile authorities should—once they wake up from their slumber party—"unearth" a "real" Pauline letter to the Maltese (and Gozitans in case their bishop, in his infinite, sacred sagacity, joins up with the atheists in chasing me into exile or excommunication)saying he enjoyed himself here.

I think the authorities should also issue another "official" Pauline letter saying:
"Dear fellow fundamentalists,
Some bloggers might be witless and hardly worth reading but some just poke fun, even if this fun, I have to admit, is a bit base or baseless. But I—supreme patron of the faith of Malta (and Gozo) —do hereby declare that if my future detractors do not have a sense of humour then maybe they should do like I did circa 2000 years ago and change their faith. No Atheist worth his salt can be naturally fundamentalist—or lack a sense of humour— and it seems to me you will feel more at home and comfortable with the fundamentalist religions of whatever denomination.

You are, obviously, more than welcome to not read any blog or this silly letter of mine but please remember you only have a short stay on this temporal state (unlike us lucky Christians who have a whole eternity of feckless fun, harp-playing and laughter awaiting us) so take it easy, smile and laugh out loud a few times a day. Your gravity astounds and worries us.

Oh, and by the way I did produce the first rabbit stew—was a divine dish with a sprinkling of viper's tongue which I shared with all the population of those dotty isles.

(authentic signature here)
Paul "

Friday, 24 February 2012

Atheists are now attacking our St Paul

So St Paul came to Malta via a shipwreck. Some idiots, and a few atheists, think it would have been better if the sea was less choppy and he'd have had an easier trip to Rome to go meet his end with trusty, don't-mention-cockerels, Peter.

These disillusioned souls reason that we'd have remained jolly old pagans enjoying all our liberty and liberalised ways with no popes or bishops to keep us all good and holy. First of all I do hope they realise that in that case—if we missed the boat and didn't embrace Christianity, thanks to its sinking—we'd have had at least two great holidays less in our calendar. Because besides celebrating the shipwreck with a holiday Malta also has another holiday—June 29th when the two erstwhile apostles were dispensed to kingdom come. Where would we Maltese be—if we were pagans— without our feasting and our rabbit stew?

St Paul achieved a lot for us as a nation. One of the most important things was that divorce was introduced nearly 2000 years after he casually visited us. He came, I imagine on one of the cruise ships passing by our shores which unfortunately hit a huge rock on its way while trying desperately to bypass us.

Now imagine if we had accepted divorce 2000 years before it became part of our laws. First of all we would have been bored to death by it: even liberals would have clamoured for its repeal to give us some colour and zest. Secondly we'd have had no referendum—which excited us no end. Thirdly what would Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando have been born to achieve if not grant us our divorce laws? Imagine a world of such boring sameness as one without Jeffrey.

A few other extras gained by St Paul's visit and our subsequent conversion to Christianity: no pope would come racing around our island thus obliging all roads ministers to get some roads nicely tarmacked—for fear some papal encyclical condemning potholes would be issued and the minister responsible burnt at the stake.
The list of good stuff St Paul bequeathed to us is endless. So please you silly heathen detractors keep off our backs.

One of the things we should definitely "unearth", even if we have to forge his signature, is a letter sent to us by St Paul. In it he tells us what a great time he had here chasing vipers and swimming in our limpid sea. He will end his missive by saying how he wished he had stayed on in Malta and therefore would not have gone on to the next, to-die-for, stop in his tour.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Winning elections and song festivals in Scandinavian Malta

Going back a couple of weeks I heard a lot about local songs, singing and trashy songs and trashier gloves. But I have to admit I am one of the few unwashed –figuratively, of course—who didn’t watch the song festival which chooses our Eurovision representative. Shame on me. I also missed San Remo with its lovely cut dresses and glorious butterflies: double shame on me.

So forgive me if I stray where bolder pens have strayed and said more erudite, more measured words than silly me. My words regarding our local song-fest are based on hearsay, newspaper cuttings, online comments and general bitching.

Kurt Calleja, the winner of the song for Europe, is, may I admit immediately before I am accused of familial bias, unrelated. Thank the lord of singing for that. Well as unrelated as one can be here on the rock. Till some months ago it could have been called the “sunny” and “warm” rock—now it’s the windy, freezing rock so maybe our actions are soon going to become conditioned by climatic changes. We seem to be trying hard to join Scandinavia what with our weather.

If we do become Scandinavian—like good old boring obedient Scandinavians—we will promptly pay our taxes, be orderly in all we do, never let our doggy soil the soil or the pavement, and we will generally pale into insignificance. But at least the rock will be even greener than it used to be. We will become like one of those specially-kept roundabouts in Malta. Freezing it might be—and numbingly boring—but we will all have great fun never doing anything wrong. And we will never smile.

Back to the Eurovision. And if I may be allowed some politics—I’ll give you my vision and what Dr Gonzi seems to be hatching as supreme leader of his party and of this dotty part of the world. Joining Scandinavia, through cold and calculated climatic changes, is all being orchestrated by Dr Gonzi in his infinite proximity to fundamentalists and their ever-pliant God. Malta will then garner enough votes from our newly acquired “neighbours”—the Finns, the Great Danes, the Swedes, the Norwegians and Icelanders—to definitely make it finally and with great fanfare to the exalted Nirvana of all real Maltese: the Eurovision finals.

With a final almighty push by geographically moving us, as a country, to the east we could also get a few more votes and reach Super-Nirvana—which would be actually winning the Eurovision song festival.

Malta will, at last, be united—we will surely then wave just one blue flag (oops I forgot we already do that as the big parties, nowadays, seem as blue as anything) and we will be one nation, one dream, one klaxon-playing nation of unrivalled revelry. The most prestigious and mind-numbing show will be won by us at long lordly last.
And Dr Gonzi and his evil accomplices will then call a snap election. And snap we will have another GonziPN victory. Miracles, if sanctioned by Eurovision victories, are yet possible.

Just in case Dr Gonzi’s diabolical plan fails, and the Labour movement sweeps into power (are they, when they win the election, going to wave blue flags too?), the new leader of the opposition can always watch and laugh as Dr Muscat, and his erstwhile assistants and various economic gurus, figure out how on earth they can organise and subsidise the 2013 Eurovision song festival being held in tiny Malta.

We could then move closer to Greece to guide us on how to go on winning festivals, over-spending and being bailed out a few dozen times.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A bumpy road for Dr Gonzi

During the Times debate hosted by InterContinental Malta, where one actual Prime Minister sparred happily and contentedly with one maybe soon-to-be-Prime Minister, little was heard about how the government, in its wobbly state, can be sustained if Franco Debono pulls the plug on it.

Of course, the lawyer MP from Għaxaq will not do the final hara-kiri move of dumping the government. He can hardly afford to lose such a great spotlight. Even the said debate was hogged by his comment to The Times while the debate was going. Lawrence Gonzi must curse his ghost that digitally, virtually and most perniciously haunts him, teases him and drives him batty.

But maybe there is some sense in Dr Gonzi’s thinking. Like many a driver I have gone quite a distance with a slow puncture, sometimes knowingly, more often stupidly. You do it – the driving – inelegantly but you still get there, so elegance be damned.
Not sure how the Oxford dictionary – or whatever means of finding meanings to words is used today – defines “slow puncture” but I always thought it meant one of four tyres in a car that is deflated. OK, the Nationalists are a deflated lot right now and seem in total disarray and all polls seem to be pointing to a real axing by the voters. But, as I was saying, my slow punctures hardly stopped me from getting to my destination. In fact, in view of our roads, the strange thing is that we are constantly driving with half a dozen slow punctures.

Motoring enthusiasts will obviously cringe at the suggestion that cars have six wheels. But let’s give ourselves a potential puncture count: four wheels to move car: check; one spare wheel, which, with all the bumps, is definitely punctured as well: check; last but hardly least, my brain is punctured with all the bumps in our pristine roads, so sixth puncture: check.

More importantly: Is there a minister responsible for roads, by the way? If there is, please Dr Gonzi, don’t divide his ministry, just divide his body from his head and pass it on to some laboratory to make sure no similar human is ever entrusted with roads in any future Cabinet. Is this roadie rogue of a minister part of the oligarchy, by any chance? Where is his sense of shame? Resign, say I, to the screeching ayes of Dr Debono and a few other road users.

If you think our Roads Minister is bad and you are contemplating changing him, her or it, for a spanking new Labour one take a deep breath: they will be even worse or just as bad.

Let me explain why: Msida has a red-led council. They are at the moment – have been for some centuries actually – doing some road works.

And I know it is the Msida council not the central government because they have notices visibly reminding us that all this work is being undertaken by the said council. They took an age to finish one road – which was in a devastated state while pipes were being installed by the same council – for so long I thought it was some new road works strategy: we rock you while you drive on our little, dusty rock.
Anyway, after the long wait, the road was tarmacked. Great, I thought, purring along on the new glittery surface. Two days later I passed again – back to its old potholed and moonscaped state. Worse than before they laid the tarmac.

We, the taxpayers, rage, get frustrated, we are offered silly detours that lead nowhere and we lose precious time of our productive life while these road works go on, and never-endingly, on.

And the Msida council, which, I repeat, is Labour-led, could be a symptomatic reflection of what we can expect from a Labour Roads Minister: utter road mayhem where money is spent to give us more of the same potholes or deeper, shameful chasms.
Let’s get back to that infernal slow puncture. As I said, before road and ministries’ rage interrupted me, we can live with a slightly deflated tyre. We will get to our destination even if our car will hobble there.

We can live happily with the slowness but maybe not Dr Muscat who must be dying to get a grip of our roads and sweep them clean. See him stand there with his jack ready to change the tyre and rev up.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Serious piece of humour

There are various articles, treatises, volumes and journals about the sad relationship between comedians and depression.

The last I read was that Jim Carrey—who seems to laugh and smile even when he is trying hard to be serious—suffers from bouts of depression. Maybe the fact that I, on the whole, am not a depressive could be an indicator of how awful my humour is.
That is the correlation between humour and depression: good comedians have it, bad comedians pass depression on. A former British politician who had the same problem as Jim Carrey—seeming to laugh and smile even when the worst tragedies struck—must have been a good comedian. And the way Tony Blair has made riches out of nothing must have been the real reason he was laughing away at tragedies. And whoever made him whatever he is in the Middle East must have had an even better sense of depraved humour. Or should that be deprived?

But I soldier on—like a crazed mountain climber I try hard to find humour in anything and all the time. The minute I become manic depressive I will realise I have been successful. I don’t know what the main reason for this depressive streak is but maybe the fact that trying to get people to laugh is no laughing matter could explain it.
Laughing is a serious matter. Take my last article in The Executive—if you have managed to get to this point then you are advised to reach out and read my previous one (

If you are such a sucker for pain then read on. I never knew that management journals of the magnitude of The Executive could harbour such painful sights as masochistic readers. But obviously we all have loads of stuff still to learn. We never know what lies behind closed doors and on the peaks of mountains.

But, as usual, I inanely digress. Let me get to the point.

Someone dear to me –yes I too seem to have a masochistic streak—told me how he enjoyed my light-hearted article in The Executive. I beamed as I usually do when I find someone as kind as that. My smile was even bigger than Jim Carrey’s and Tony Blair’s contorted into one, as I tried following what he said after that. He said: “What was the point of the article?” I gasped in solid exasperation especially when he pointedly stated again how he had thoroughly enjoyed it. Words failed me. Now words, except in some terrific tragedy, hardly ever fail me. Not being a guru in management or laughter or a guru at anything except saying the truth, I said I didn’t know. I was being serious and not my mocking, usual self when confronted with the unknown.

I re-read the piece. The worst thing any writer can do is re-read his published stuff, especially if it is “humorous”; nothing can be worse than trying to dig out the humour and explain it. I fretted, I sweated, I cried.

I re-read it again and tried hard to see what sort of management content it had. I did not manage to eke out any plausible reason for the piece. So I just blurted out that I thought it was funny and couldn’t explain it. Try explaining why John Cleese, Jim Carrey or Billy Connelly or any other comedian is funny and you sound dafter than Inspector Clouseau when he explains some problematic clue. (For the younger generation of readers, Clouseau was the terribly bad inspector in the Pink Panther films. Not the cartoons. Oh no I’m back to my point—explain anything especially humorous and you fall flatter than a pancake.)

So once my management piece of humour failed I thought to hell with it. If I jot down an explanation of why I feel I should write humorously I know I have failed miserably and seriously.

So expect more of this but please don’t ask me to explain what it all means. When that happens I understand what Jim Carrey and Co must feel.

This concludes my article but, unfortunately for you who are too serious and take life a tad too importantly, it does not conclude my series of articles about nothing in particular.

This article first appeared in The Executive January 2012 no 38

Friday, 3 February 2012

Round and round the bend

What with all the talk of cri­ses and Buddhist pos­­sible, pro­­bable or palpable coups, we tend to forget all the rest of the news. Francesco Schettino, with his nefarious deeds, has been sidelined and our personal worries and plans are all shelved as we talk, discuss and dissect our national situation.

It is, in fact, slightly odd to talk of roundabouts. I get the feeling that everyone will say who cares about what role roundabouts have. All this is very true and wise men would definitely tell me to talk of something more palatable to our mood: talk of Franco Debono’s reading, Lawrence Gonzi’s laments or Austin Gatt’s plans to drive us safely into another PN victory would be safer ground to traverse.

But I’ll stick to roundabouts. I have no idea what has happened in the political field up to the time this is published. You might be reading this in full electoral mode or you might be living in a land of arcadia where Dr Debono rules and does not rile, rant and act the ever-errant party stalwart. Because, in his own words, he is a very dedicated party stalwart. Not sure what Buddha says about parties and toppling of governments but I have a slight feeling he wouldn’t be too happy with what Dr Debono did, and is doing, to the nation these last few weeks.

I did take a roundabout way to get to my point but that is what roundabouts are for, after all. To take you to a point by going round and round in circles and that is exactly what I seem to be doing. But my point is this. Actually, no, I need something from Dr Debono. He should do something about roundabouts and their uselessness. He seems the only one to be saying things and these things are actioned. I mean Dr Debono said: Let there be two ministries out of justice and home affairs and, pronto, two ministers are conjured up by the Prime Magician.

He says Arriva need to run on time and out goes Dr Gatt, the bulldozer, and Dr Gonzi sends said Dr Gatt to doze off while he, said Prime Minister, magics a task force to run the bus service efficiently. At least, it seems efficient because no one talks much about it.

We have more exciting fare to topple the government with. Pronto, pronto all he wants Dr Debono gets. Except a ministry or a Buddhist monkdom.

Maybe that is what we should do: get Dr Gonzi and Joseph Muscat to get their intellect together – not sure if that would even come close to Dr Debono’s – and cobble together a unified government under Dr Debono. His mission: get the roundabouts out of the way or he resigns. Would give him a few more gripes to throw at his party leaders.

Anyway, off with the heads of silly politicos. Let’s stick to roundabouts. Yes, roundabouts. Let me prove my case. There are quite a few of these massive, terrible, earth-shattering, car-battering roundabouts. That is a fact no one can deny. Or am I so obsessed that I see them sprouting in all shapes and odd sizes all over the place?
Proceed slowly and take in the utter madness of these roundabouts. Ok, so get to the one – slowly because we are approaching a major roundabout – in Gżira next to what we used to call the gas tank. Now, as you approach it from St Julians on the way to Valletta, look to your left. There, most oddly, is a sign saying: “Please observe roundabout rules”.

Now this surely deserves more attention than silly ministries and other mystifyingly boring mysteries Dr Debono rants about. So, if here I am exhorted – I just love the word “please” inserted there – to obey the roundabout rules, does it mean the rest of the roundabouts in Malta can be totally and legally disregarded?

Bear with me a few more seconds. Yes, I know the traffic is slow and the roads are bad and the driving is atrocious. But, don’t worry, we will get to the end one day. So, as you meander round to the roundabout you say, ok, like the ever silly citizen I am, I shall do what I am told to do. And if you do that and obey the rules of roundabouts here you could be stuck till Dr Debono opts to topple Dr Muscat’s new government of all shades and shapes.

Assuming Dr Muscat will accept a fellow school chum who outshone him in form two grades. Or, maybe, Dr Muscat’s secret weapon of mass Nationalist Party destruction are his report sheets.

Back to the roundabout, where we were stuck for quite a while. Unless you get out of the roundabout in an unbuddhist manic panic and break the most fundamental rule of roundabouts – give way to your right – then you stand no chance of getting home or listening to your favourite parliamentary programme on time. If you are an unbeliever, next time you use that roundabout check out if you really obey the rules.
Roundabouts drive me batty. And I try hard to not drive at all – as my old battered self in my old hardened car are not fit for roads, potholed or not. These lead us all into temptation of having rampant road rage. I have managed to write about roundabouts and, in my straightforward, stable way, avoided all thoughts and words about the unmentionable crisis.

May you have an enjoyable crisis, which, as Buddha I’m sure would say, was as unnecessary as Malta’s silly roundabouts.

This article first appeared in The Times on February 3, 2012

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Let’s give Franco Debono a few extra seats

As we fret and ponder the lifetime of a government, I must admit, a bit sadly, that this is a land of fools.

But at least even in our fights and constitutional crises we seem to win quite a few accolades. What with the silliness at Parliament, with Buddhist mantras being oohmed away, we surely deserve winning the award of being the best laughing stock of the world. Or rather the laughing stock of no one—because, let’s face it, did anyone in the wide, wild world really realise that we in Malta are in the midst of a crisis?

Dr Debono managed to get the media to fret away, ferreting out anyone who was a has-been, and has lately become a bigger has-been, to give us his views and prediction of what is in store for us in this mini—or should I say maxi?—saga of tottering governments and other such interesting fare.

So besides the likes of me spewing out my definitely unwarranted, and unexceptional, views, we had all sorts of people giving their two-cent senseless bits.

One of the last to join this fray was Dr Joe Brincat. Dr Who? I hear all the world, including most Maltese, ask. Dr Brincat came up with quite an interesting solution to a potential repetition of what Dr Gonzi’s government is suffering right now.

It seems Dr Brincat said that if a party gets a one-seat majority in parliament we should give that party an extra 2 seats so that the party in government will always be assured of a majority in parliament.

The reasoning is that an errant MP could never threaten to vote against the party in power and, by such a vote, bring down the government. Sounds like excellent advice from the learned, former minister. But delve deeper: what if said errant MP joins up with one of the other loose cannon ball members of parliament, Dr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando or Jesmond Mugliett? So maybe two extra seats aren’t enough. Why not give the party 5 to make sure? Or just in case Franco Debono is made Prime Minister—first Buddhist to lead our country I’d say—and the rest of the naughty Nationalists turncoats turn against him, why not give him, as potential Prime Minister, an extra 50 seats to make sure he has a long period in power?

Errant MPs seem to be quite easy to conjure out of our parliamentary system’s quirky hat. Although Joseph Muscat in his infinite knowledge –were his marks in Predicting Science better than Franco’s?—said that all Labour candidates have been vetted thoroughly and will not be causing any trouble.

The Labour brigade definitely have a better net than the silly Nationalists.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Let’s burn the infernal witch

If Franco Debono hadn’t been such an interesting person I don’t know what some, or most of us, would be writing about. For example did anyone realise that in Malta we’re now officially part of some arctic bloc—or is it just me freezing away? And maybe Dr Debono could enlighten me: can we form part of a block of ice or are we still neutered according to our sacred constitution? Or is the unnatural cold nature’s way of spewing out its anger at us Maltese for being such errant kids? It could be Nature saying “suffer, ye little mortals cos you’ve had it a bit too good for your own sakes.”

If it weren’t because of Franco’s quirky parliamentary behaviour—or at least threatened behaviour—we’d be seeing many photos in newspapers and websites of people’s clothes left in wardrobes and coming out wetter than they would from the washing machine. We’d be discussing our chances of winning the Eurovision song festival, the Champions League, Miss World and the World Cup. And we would be lamenting Arriva’s late or non-arrival. So let’s all be grateful for our parliament—it gives us most fodder for our sorest eyes and blasted ears. Carry on with your ways and silly shallowness—all is forgiven because you give us a bit of fun and clowning in these drab, grey days.

What with Franco, Joseph, Lawrence, Beppe and various other varied and wearisome politicos our life is ever so colourful. In fact here on this fair isle the season of Panto never seems to cease.

It’s true we, or the politicians and their defenders and detractors, hardly seem to care that in Panto everyone is exhorted to be nice to each other—yes we should be nice even to the lawyers and other such heinous baddies and opponents. Even the Prime Minister said we should be nice to each other and not find fault with opponents like Dr Debono—see he too is straight out of Panto. He, the Prime Minister, for now at least, told us he has loads and loads of text and email messages coming from Dr Debono at all strange hours of the day and night. Maybe the errant MP had a secret crush and now, thwarted, he has turned it into a need to crush the Nationalists singlehandedly? The mind, as they say, boggles.

To hear Franco, and his new found Labour friends and Saviours, who back him and talk of him as Malta’s latest and best, unsung hero to solve and save our motherland, we are surrounded by evil and evil-mongers waiting desperately to get us all fried and flayed and fired into the deepest pits of hell.

One particular blogger—not me thank god I’m pure, virginal and hardly matter—is called worse things than evil. She, whose-name-I-dare-not-utter, because some monstrous curse will come down upon me, is the evil one; the witch; the sorceress causing all sorts of horrors.

All labour-backers and Gonzi-rubbishers seem to be in agreement that the Prime Minister should gag “her”. This, I imagine, in the name of the now-defunct censorship board, the Ayatollah and the Taleban. Are we in some backward country, by any chance, where gagging is easy, fine and sanctioned by the top echelons of society? If we live in the land of the free then why and how stop her?

Mind you, if, as variously and vicariously claimed, she is a definite no-holds-barred, fully-confessed witch, I’d imagine it’s more the remit of our Archbishop to have her banned and exorcised. His holiness, in his infinite grace, should have her quartered; or dipped, first into the ice-cold sea for a further confessional and then straight away to be burnt at the stake.

The head of our local Catholic church would see his stakes rise ever so sharply if he does as I bid him and crucifies or burns the bitch of Bidnija (as you see I give you no name or else I’m cursed).

A witch in our midst and the usually quite vociferous bishop of Gozo lies dumb at such satanic grossness? Burning her in some great, monstrous bonfire could also give us some added spectacle to our oh so boring lives, and would also keep us warm for a few hours.

We could ask John Dalli, Sargas or some other energy saving magician to stoke the fire for the burning of the witch and her followers, fellow-witches, admirers and readers. Her burning could see us through this infernally cold spell. And at last the witch queen could be doing the nation a great service. Maybe she could then garner a few awards like some medal for serving the republic. “For getting rid of yourself, we the people, award you a full list of medals.” I seriously doubt whether anyone would want to pin any medals or pendants on her charred remains. So maybe she had better not arrive at the palace on her broom.

Such horrors are not for kids or even for adults’ ears—so her name is never ever mentioned in public or in writing. She is “she”; the legendary horror—the gorgon of our times.

So if for nothing else I hope the electorate will choose wisely and opt for Dr Joseph’s amazing technicolour team to lead us into serenity and lack of strife both in and outside Parliament. And this will rid us, once and for all, of the wicked witch’s waylaid ways.

At last the Catholic Church, and the Labour party, will be united as one and the nation will be truly blessed.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Let’s bungle away bunga style

So Dr Debono, in one of his rants and in his infinite humility, told us that he might go to Italy to further his lawyerly career and live happily ever after with no one unearthing his thesis or report cards. I, like the unbiased blogger that I am, wish him well.

I’m not sure if he showed us his marks in Italian or if any wily law student dug deep enough to see his proficiency in that language. With such a great mind I’m sure the Italians will not just let him be a great lawyer but will get him into politics. He will surely be offered a number of ministries as unlike our idiot of a Prime Minister the Italians know how to choose their ministers. I imagine he will be given a number of ministerial posts ranging from penal reform to justice to party financing.

From the little I know about Italy it desperately needs Dr Debono to solve its ills and plights. He might also take over finance—I’m sure Frau Merkel from Germany will put her foot down (ouch) and get him that post. Italy’s ailing and failing economy needs desperate cures. Monti, poor deluded soul, move over, our unbelievably educated man is soon coming there.

And if Bossi, or his unruly Lega Nord, are up to any silly trickery and threatened treachery about declaring the North of Italy independent under the name of La Padania, our intrepid lawyer from Ghaxaq will surely be able to heal all rifts between the erring parties and get them to a table together. Not just to discuss but to surely smile, answer a few phones and ultimately embrace gracefully and jointly forget all past troubles and silly petty rows. All will be solved and all will be united.

We might miss Dr Debono but Italy and its newly united, newly salvaged nation will be the new paradise. Germany will bow to the new supremacy of Italy. Italians—from Bossi to Rutelli to Monti—will all hail their new saviour, their own liberator and unifier. Prophets, some holy man said, are not made for home consumption or adulation. Go abroad for riches and for fame and for acclaim, the holy book seems to say.

Obviously the ones to applaud us most heartily and gleefully for what we would have exported to them would be the comedians. Ever since Berlusconi was ousted from his prime ministerial position all comedians have been either out of a job or in tears. Most have lost their muse and their scripts have become as boring as the new prime minister who resembles a mount or a mountain range of boring greyness and drabness. The minute the clown prince of politics, the Bunga-Bungler Berlusconi ,resigned comedy in Italy lost its sting as it lost its biggest patron, its biggest target, its most solid, sordid subject.

When Dr Debono moves over there I feel confident that he will give these comedians, these silly cartoonists, a lot of work and a lot of ready scripts. He will also help Italians get back on to their toes, laughing away their tears at the antics of the liveliest politician we could ever have given rise to and, alas, exported.

In fact I think I too will change my mind and cry out—all is forgiven please remain on this fair isle and keep the laughter going—our terribly serious, terribly boring way of life—especially our oh so deadening petty politics—needs you and your colour.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Correction : of missing links

Some of the followers of this blog might have noticed that I had a missing link to a blog post called, "Faux fur and frauds". This happened because after publishing the piece in my blog I changed the title to "Of birds, bards and baptisms". It's easy to change your mind but unfortunately it isn't so easy to change your tracks in the blogosphere. Being completely tech-useless didn't help me or my links. Snide remarks about missing links and people who change their views--or titles of articles-- are more than welcome. Apologies to anyone who suffered unduly because of this lost link.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Of birds, bards and baptisms

What’s in a name some bard asked. Well, a lot, I think most people will say. Anyway said bard said it but I’m sure if we called him Billy or anything as silly, he’d have had us chained and quickly quartered.

While walking around Sliema, trying hard to lose some flab which the Christmas cheer always seems to bequeath on me, I was struck by this name game. Names of streets which seemed quite fitting and right have changed overnight (or did it take years and I missed the changeover? Did it have mini stars and ministers cutting ribbons for the re-christening?).

I passed through a sweet, little street which was always Depiro Junction in my time. I have no idea why it was called thus and have even less of an idea what a junction actually is. But now it’s called Ġużè Cardona Street. Nothing against the celebrated author of course but couldn’t we name another street after him? There surely are a few more deserving streets which are in dire need of a change. Sqaq it-Tiġieġ (chicken alley) in B’kara surely needs a sore change in name. Even if it is an old and apt name does anyone want to live in a chicken pen?

I hear someone say that even politicians have been equated with some fowl species but if I were the mayor of B’Kara I’d surely change its name and be forever remembered as the man of steel or woman of stainless reputation who was no chicken and changed the name of his/her locality to something more appropriate. Change names yes—but only if it is of utmost importance.

Some other streets in San Ġwann have incredibly silly names like Gallina, Korvu and other names of birds and stranger stuff. They might sound sweet and be part of our country lore and all that but they sound completely wrong. And besides I hardly think San Ġwann, even if tremendously beautiful, can be called part of the countryside and birdland. So instead of naming a street in that industrialised and built-up land "tit street", wouldn’t it have been better to grace it with Ġużè Cardona? Again no offence is meant to Cardona or any writer, musician or whoever is awarded a street in his honour.

Name changing, unless it is uber-important, is rather daft. I’ve always been called the same—with some silly variations like vic, and maybe il-vic. As good citizens we should accept as our fate our name as presented, sometimes frivolously, sometimes with a smirk, by our parents.

But lately I did seriously think of changing my name; or try to make it stand out as being mine. I saw a comment on the online Times of Malta by a man calling himself Victor Calleja. I’m sure there are quite a few of us but I flinched when I saw what he had written, convinced that people will surely think it is me. How can I get a name which will get me out of this quandary? Please help with some suggestions so that I can rest assured that only I represent my views and all others are frauds, impersonators and faux victor callejas.

Maybe I need to ask Ġużè Cardona or the bard himself for a distinguishing name? I mean imagine when they name a street (triq it-tiġieġ maybe?) after me and my exploits and everyone will think it was named for this other guy writing even more garish garbage than me.

What’s in a name my foot dear Billy.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Franco is an honourable man

In Roman times, when glory sometimes turned to gore, emperors were deprived of power by being stabbed and dumped. Now we live in more enlightened days so we—or rather one particularly particular parliamentarian—stamp our sillier feet, cry foul at anything under the sun if we don’t get what we want and after unleashing all sorts of threats and blackmail we then stick the knife till the emperor is dethroned. Or dumped so that another election is held.

The likely scenario if that happens, according to most pundits and Austin Gatt, is that Joseph Muscat and his motley, mostly worrying, crew will take over the running of our country. Not being a pundit and less of a prophet, I will not say that the ruination of all we hold dear will ensue.

Franco Debono is—at least till the time of writing—a most honourable of men. As Marc Antony so eloquently said when Brutus and his group murdered Caesar, these—the murderers—were all honourable men.

So what should honourable men do? This particular MP wants, he has been telling us ad unbelievable nauseam, reforms. He wants more transparency. More accountability.
He wants parliament not to be a gathering of hens all gleefully accepting the diktats of some superior cock who moves them around and does to them all there is to do between one cock and many hens. Those poor, abused hens have to bow and obey and follow the lead. So I hear most honourable—and less honourable—men say amen to that. If only we have a government that is not set by diktat. Let all ministers be mini or maxi stars just as much as the prime minister. Let’s, he once famously said, follow the Labour Party style and give all backbenchers a particular aspect to shadow. Of course if he agrees with the Opposition nominating all their MPs to shadow a ministry I imagine he—if he were emperor or Prime Minister—would make all his backbenchers ministers.

No backbencher’s talents, he seems to imply, would go to waste. Of course mayhem would result. And would he, in this farcical vision, accept all ministers to having their say and opposing all or most he says or does, just as he did with most of what Gonzi did?

The stage is set. The nation awaits the moment when the despicable man sinks in his proverbial sword, safe in the knowledge that all the ones who voted for him a few years ago are enjoying his antics and his ways. He keeps talking of representing the voters—yet I have not heard even one of his voters saying he agrees with his way forward. All I hear is Labour voters egging him on, saying he is the champion of democracy and other such drivel. All Nationalists—even the ones who are not so full of cheer for Gonzi and his ways—want is to consign Franco Debono to the bin of history as soon as possible.

So shouldn’t he stop and reflect a bit: if he wants reforms and accountability shouldn’t he exit his little world and ask the ones who voted for him what they really think and do their bidding and resign?

Go on Franco and do one little honourable thing. The whole nation will, for once, be proud of you.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The rascals in our midst

It’s that time of year when we resolve to do all sorts of things and promise ourselves, our wives, partners or the nearest lamppost that we will be better, leaner and super efficient. And we will stop smoking, nagging, snoring, gossiping, picking our nose and picking on everyone while biting heads away cheerily and thinking how sweet and dignified we are.

It’s that time for resolutions. Even if you are reading this after the great day of resolutions I will still talk about resolutions and jog your memory with such boring stuff.

If you still remember anything that happened a few days ago, you might recall that you were stuffed full of too much turkey with all sorts of strange and silly stuffing, too many sweet everythings and too much drink that makes the heart beat faster and the brain groggier than is the norm. At that strange appointed hour when one old year passes on, oh so happily, the baton to the younger sprightlier one, we, the people, promise ourselves we will be more level-headed and more austere in these times of boring austerity and impending doom.

While partying or stuffing ourselves, pangs of guilt over the homeless in Chicago overwhelm us. We suffer through visions of Labour Party supporters totally deprived of a proper and dignified existence because all they can afford is pizza and some paltry pasta or pastizzi (cheesecakes). So we all eat and drink even more to assuage the vicissitudes of guilt. And, then, L-Istrina comes and we give generously – to absolve ourselves completely and for a whole year we feel we have dispensed the best Christianity any man, woman or beast can do.

So what is my resolution? Or was, because I have already broken it.

My resolution was not to rage against anything anymore. To be meek and subdued and to just talk of roses but no thorns, of thrones’ glitter but not of despicable despots sitting on those thrones; to just see the silver lining but not let the rain bother me when the clouds decide to wet my pate.

I had started this writing mission mainly to entertain, not to be a bore, an old mighty bore finding fault and firing fitful tirades against all. So let me take stock of what has happened and try to be as jolly and positive as humanly possible.

The economy in the world is in dire straits. Or, at least, in some places like Greece it is. Some other countries, like Italy, seem to have mountains of problems and need conjurers more adept than Silvio Berlusconi to keep the economy ticking.

Britain, as an economic powerhouse, has been left behind by Brazil. Not sure what that country produces but I do know they used to have great footballers and greater behinds, which they show off – both football and behinds – all the time on their beaches. Maybe the beaches of Britain need a definite injection of sun and fun to get their economy back on track and beat the Samba band.

With all this faltering and defaulting, I find it hard to remain neutral and not applaud and cheer our situation. We, the people of the Republic of tiny Malta, seem to be doing quite well. True that in football we are still in the pits. But in economic matters, at least, no one is talking of our defaulting and no one seems to be revolting on the streets, or sleeping homelessly without blankets or searching desperately for a job.

Property does seem to be in rather a mess: flats for sale far outdo the flats being bought. But the biggest worriers are the property developers who have sucked the economy dry for 30 years, pillaged our landscape with atrocious buildings and now want the government to do something about their mess.

My resolution was to be good and kind. So here goes: Lawrence Gonzi, beleaguered, belittled and definitely not bemused has, on the whole, done a good job.

I know Kate by his side has lost her eternal smile. Can she be raging and pillorying Lawrence about the state of her economy? Maybe she can’t make ends meet even if her husband has taken home a good pay deal? Could it be he didn’t tell us, the people, about the deal because he wanted to keep it hidden from his wife, so he started a slush fund away from his home affairs minister? And can it be Kate’s heating bills were so high this year that she told her beloved husband that Joseph Muscat’s amazingly described, albeit constantly derided, proposals could be the solution to her economic plight?

I resolved to be good and bash no more. Then Franco Debono and his mindless threats and puerile ways came horrifically to mind and I damned all resolutions and realised that whatever we humans do there will always be among us a few who are wayward. Or who have some delusional affliction.

Whatever happens in the next few days between Dr Gonzi and Dr Debono, and however the tussle is patched up and the government kept afloat, nothing can be properly mended. If we compare the government to a cracked pitcher of water or wine, we might stem the water for a while but eventually it becomes impossible to do so. The crack has become too big to stem and the rascal cannot be assuaged enough.

So, like all spoilsports, Dr Debono has ruined our Christmas, my resolution and, soon, will ruin what was good for Malta.

This article first appeared in The Times on January 9, 2012

Saturday, 7 January 2012

In God we trust ?

Dr Franco Debono has now come out clean. Thank the Lord for that. Or rather let’s leave the Lord out of this for a few days or months. On the same day that Malta was given a cardinal we also found out what irks the Nationalist MP turncoat.

Dr Debono is reported to have said that Lawrence Gonzi is only a prime minister not a god. As a truly intelligent, highly observant, diligent lawyer he just wanted to point out the obvious. Gonzi is prime minister—Debono, far from being a backbencher, is God Himself.

All ye atheists, hear Malta’s clarion call: all is forgiven. I’m sure the newly-appointed cardinal will agree that, in this dire crisis of ours, we can do without this god. Franco Debono is one wild fairy tale we surely can do without.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Alan, keep your post as Dame—but get Frankinstead as baddie

The older I get the more I learn strange lessons and stranger facts. I’m not going to go on about psychoanalysis or some psycho-babble about some of our politicians’ state of mind. Or the state of their mindless idiocy. I’ll leave that to other, more respected, more erudite analysts.

What I am referring to is my lesson in panto. You are not going to see me on stage dressed in sequins and glitz; and you are definitely not allowed to see my legs. They are mine and my intimate ones’ property only. But dare I attack one of our most beloved, most followed, most glamorous, most famous man in Christmas drag?

Alan Montanaro’s dameship is a Maltese icon, a legacy of our country as well known and definitely less reviled than our prime minister. Alan is a man who plays the part of a woman to a tee (or should I say a pea?). If there were panto-Oscars Alan would win pants down. I’m sure even the ones at the other panto production would not despise, or begrudge, this accolade.

So what have I learnt at my creaking old age?

I love panto. I love anything that makes me laugh. I love the colour and the innuendo—and the hilarity of the children is infectious. And when the camp jokes, the sexual jokes and the political jokes just float off the kids’ radar it makes me laugh even wilder. So we, the codgers at the theatre (can that huge hall at the MFCC be called a theatre?) laugh out loud.

Or, as one political guru writing in the august columns of a newspaper, said: LOL. Yes I kid you not—he actually cracked a joke, and said lol. Alan take a cue from this learned doctor who will soon maybe/possibly/probably/definitely be giving advice to Joseph Muscat on how to be prime minister of our land. When you crack a joke for us old- timers, who will miss the modern clue, please lift up a placard with the words: laugh, gentlefolk.

Anyway, so what if I love panto: hordes do. But they don’t brag about it in their blog. Or maybe they do and I’ve missed their blogging? As I was nicely told off when I started blogging—everyone and his dog does it now. So bugger it. But what I have learnt through panto is that Alan is a national institution—he surely deserves that title—and please beware and do not say he is over the top or that he sucks at panto. He doesn’t.But I said he did in a previous blog post ( I also had the audacity to say that Alan should move over and let Franco Debono take centre stage as our best, our most honourable, dame of all.

Alan, lover of fun and sports, posted my piece wherein I asked him to retire, on Facebook (oh Facebook, to thee do we bend low and adore at your honoured, cherished feet). I unleashed an avalanche of boos, jeers and death threats (ok so I exaggerate but seeing as we have just come out of the jolly season I think I am allowed to: double LOL) by his fawning fans and frenzied followers.

Alan solved it all, and the fans, after taking me to some dark, dank dungeon where all baddies are kept, forgave me in true panto style.

Then I reflected and further reflected till I realised I had made a bigger mess in my article asking Alan to move over. Alan, your post is safe: keep it forever more as you make us laugh and forget our worst ills and farces.

But please get rid of your baddie, give Baddafi , or whatever his name is, the chop and put him in a sack to be sent somewhere far, far away. And get Franco Debono with his posturing, his preposterous demands and his silliness to head the baddies of all baddies. Call him Frankinstead or Frankenstein—and keep him chained in a dungeon or turned into brittle stone.

If Dr Franco Debono moves to panto as the baddie, my life will be spared, Alan keeps his tiara and our politics will get back to their normal level of boringly manageable mediocrity.

And if you want to be nice to yourself and have never been to a panto, with or without Alan, make sure you book one of the two productions this coming December. Or go to both and get a double treat. And like chocolates and panettone they are super-sweet but won’t add to your flab.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Proper words fail me

The new year started with a horrific shock, not just to the families of the victims of the incident in Sliema. I never thought I would be writing about anything so sad, so serious and so shocking.

Unfortunately knowing some of the people concerned makes it all the more difficult to comprehend and to accept. To me—a bystander, or at most, a friend—it feels like one of those terrible nightmares you actually wake yourself up from. It is like a horror movie come true. But this is no movie and neither a nightmare. It is the sad reality. The loved ones left behind in the tragedy, the families and the friends, have to live with the horror that has hit them. They have to try to patch the pieces and work out a life knowing the tragedy will be relayed a few millions of times a day in their mind.

While thinking and then writing this I feel I am intruding. I know I could erase what I have just written but I feel I need to convey my thoughts on this sad start to the new year. Actually—and most uncharacteristically—I have felt at a loss for words and a hand seemed to stop me from writing anything these past 24 hours. All subjects seemed inane; all words seemed insane.

So I had to force myself to write seriously about the deaths—is such an incident called a double murder?—of these two young people, which shocked us all on New Year’s Day.

I still find myself knotted up and can hardly think straight. I doubt if we will ever know what really happened and for the sake of us, the intruders, the onlookers, I almost wish we do not learn anything more than that two men have expired. I say this because through our hunger to pry, to find out, to talk and to find reasons and stories that fit, and hypotheses that sound right, we do nothing helpful at all.

Our natural curiosity should be stemmed: and the only thing that matters is to let the families suffer in private, away from the public gaze. Whatever wrong doing needs to be uncovered let this be done but let us all try to keep off the gossip-mongering which leads us into the temptation of believing fantasy to be the sacred truth.

There is a mother with two babies who are just a few months old. Whatever happened, whatever she saw and knew, she has to carry on.

Hopefully, with the grace of whatever God or natural force helps the afflicted in these circumstances; she will make a new beginning and give the children a whole new meaning to their lives, notwithstanding the tragic end of their father.

It is hard to express good wishes when life seems so strangely tough. But to all, even the suffering ones, may the year bring some form of inner peace.

If what I said above lacks proper articulation I ask forgiveness. It is hard to write about a subject which is so fraught with tragedy. If I have offended anyone by my prying, by my words, I also ask forgiveness.

My intention was not to offend anyone. What I do feel guilty about is that I have written all this so that I can move on. If I hadn’t written this piece I would have kept silent forever or at least for a long time. Nothing made sense and all the rest of the subjects, the thoughts, the words seemed trivial and nonsensical.