Sorry Plato, democracy sucks

When joining the company I work at I was interviewed. I was assessed for my competence and then hired based on my performance and experience. I signed a contract which states that for me to remain at the company I should, well, you guessed it: work. I should do things in a manner that is expected of me. I should consistently perform well. If I drop my standards or stop delivering I expect to be fired. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way, I’m being paid to deliver.

If I went to a car showroom and ordered a brand new car, I stipulate what I want from it and what I expect it to include. If, when the vehicle is delivered, it fails to meet my expectations, then I would, quite naturally refuse to pay for it.

What I can’t understand is why politics does not work in exactly the same way. Why do we go out and vote based on a set of promises when politicians are never held accountable for their actions? True, sometimes a politician loses a job, but that’s when they try to steal 60 million, not when they fail to deliver on an electoral promise.

At the moment I’m finding the whole pre-unannounced-elections advertising campaigns hilarious. Labour have hit the nail on the head with their billboards (the only local medium I follow is outdoor advertising – I don’t watch TV or listen to the radio and I don’t read local print media). They are consistently quick to the mark, have brilliant locations and are always witty. Very witty. Their rebuttals of PN’s adverts are always hilarious, and PN’s attempts have paled in comparison.

However it means absolutely nothing. If I wanted entertainment I’d head to tumblr and browse my stream. This election is not about an amusing billboard or ten, it’s about our country.

Labour might be much more amusing than the nationalists, however they’re still a set of pricks in suits who think they can smile their way to power. No sir, you won’t be conning this guy again. I want a sign of commitment.

Fuck your political promises.
Fuck your phoney smiles and €1000 suits.
Fuck your coffee mornings.
Fuck the people who vote for you because their family says so.
Fuck idiots idolising politicians.

I want measurable electoral promises. And then I want a contract. Sign a legally binding contract that you will be personally liable if you do not deliver on your promises and you will get my vote (if your promises make sense to me).

Fix the fucking roads, give us a university that works, get rid of all the bums who abuse the system, clean the place up and make it possible for us to make the country something we can be proud of.

We have let 60-odd dorks ru(i)n the country for long enough. Why should we look up to them? It is them who should be licking our feet for doing the real work. For providing the country with the manpower it needs to run. For being absolutely amazing at our jobs and consistently out-performing our international counterparts in so many fields that are not sexy enough for the idiots running our media to cover.

I’m sorry, Plato. Politics might have been a good idea in the time when people needed a brain to vote, however now it is just an easy way to mask corruption and to promote incompetence.

We can’t trust politicians because their word holds no value. This is the time for specifics. For things to be laid out in black on white. For politicians to be held accountable if they want to earn my vote.

A storm on a pizza, or The death of journalism in Malta

Most people love their country. Most people feel duty-bound to defend it at all times, no matter whether it’s right or wrong. I am personally more patriotic than I care to admit, because when push comes to shove I will always back my country in matters of importance (if I think we’re right).

I also believe, however, that we can’t only see things through rosy glasses, and that for us to ever improve someone needs to point out problems and issues and offer constructive criticism wherever possible.

So recently Malta played against Italy in a World Cup qualifier. So, we lost by two-goals to nil. So an Italian guy living in Malta commented about the match and taunted us about it on Facebook.

Lesson number 1: Social Media Marketing

From a social media marketing point of view it was a dumb thing to do. It was not dumb because he posted the comment, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and he who never taunted anyone else can throw the first stone. It was dumb that he posted the comment from his restaurant’s page. Social media is a double edged sword. If you intend using it to market your business, then take it seriously. Plan each and every post well. Time them, test their success and improve upon them constantly. Do not post random comments from your business’ page, that’s what personal profiles are for.

Lesson number 2: The official death of Malta’s national newspaper

The Times is officially being driven by click-hunters. They have stopped caring about good journalism and have fallen for sensationalism. Yes, I know, it is a cliche, but they have truly became what they despised. How can a spat on Facebook be national news? Where is the sense of responsibility, of owing it to the nation to filter the good from the bad, to only cover subjects that matter, intelligently.

Poor Mabel. If only she could see what her legacy would become I’m pretty sure she’d be the first one standing outside its doors with a flaming torch in hand.

It is a pity. I loved the paper and I still love the institution that gave me my first job and taught me so much. I just can’t tell what’s going on through their heads at the moment. Hopefully someone will wake up and realise what’s happening some time soon.

Lesson number 3: The line between nationalism and xenophobia is a fine one

And the Maltese tread along it very precariously. The reaction something gets when it involves a foreigner doing something to Malta or someone Maltese is as ridiculous as it is scary. Guys, build a bridge and get over it, the world is not only made up of Maltese people. So please judge people on their own merit, not by the cover on their passport or their accent. If someone taunts you, you can taunt back in a friendly manner, not get up in arms about it. And, yes, I know Ruzar Briffa’s poem too, thank you very much, but for heaven’s sake – learn the difference between an insult and oppression.

Micro-lesson: Facebook groups

Anyone who adds me to a Facebook group like the one that was created for this will be immediately unfriended and reported to Facebook as being “annoying”. Just sayin’.

And finally…

I’m off to have a pizza at this pretty little place in Xemxija, not sure if you’ve heard about it.


Shot with a Canon EOS 50D (w/ 17-55 f2.8 IS USM lens)

  • Shot on Aperture priority
  • Focal Length: 55mm (35mm equivalent: 88mm)
  • Aperture: f2.8
  • Exposure: 1/2500s
  • ISO 100

I spotted this windmill in the middle of a field while on a day-trip to Gozo last week. I’m not a big fan of heavy editing to give pictures a retro look (I know I do it, but not too often). This one just begged for it – I felt that as it is it could have been a shot taken somewhere out in the Wild West in the US some time in the ’60s.

(#80 of 366 X 2012 project)

P.S. Yes – I know, I’m lagging behind in posting my daily updates. I have been incredibly busy lately, and have been finding it very hard to cope with everything. What’s keeping me going is the fact that I know that most of the daily material is being created – I’m just not finding the time to edit and post it.

I have an excel sheet with all the photos I’m meant to upload and articles I need to link to and it does not look as depressing as the state of this blog :(

The Quccija

Quccija Tray
Photo, erm, borrowed from Flickr. Click on it to be taken to the users' profile.

My first nephew turned one in December. To celebrate it, my brother and his wife organised a small celebration at their house. It was just the immediate family: my parents, my brothers and sister and the respective better halves.

The reason for the meeting? Well, quite naturally to augur baby Diego a very happy first birthday, but as part of the process the little prince also had to decide his career. How? Through of a Maltese tradition called Il-Quccija (pron: qu-chee-yah). I can’t give a translation because I have never encountered the tradition or anything like it anywhere in the world, but I can explain what it’s all about.

In a quccija, which is held on a baby’s first birthday, the parents and relatives of the child set up an area with a variety of objects (preferably safe ones) which symbolize different career paths. The child is then allowed to roam freely and in theory should precipitate towards the item that indicates what he will do when he grows up.

Research shows that the tradition dates back to the 18th century – and quite naturally the objects that used to be presented to children at the time were indicative of the skills that were needed then. It was far more likely to find tools of traditional trades like carpenters, shoe-makers, stone masons combined with religious or army related objects. Since this was before the age of political correctness, girls used to be presented with a different set of objects which targeted female-oriented jobs.

Nowadays boys and girls practically get the same set of objects. Modern-day items would include:

  • A spoon – Chef
  • A gavel – Lawyer
  • A calculator – Accountant
  • White-board marker – Teacher
  • Stethoscope or thermometer – Doctor
  • Bible – Priest/ nun
  • Money – A successful entrepreneur

Parents usually take the liberty to add or remove items, and as such there is no strict set that must be present. At the end of the day it is just a bit of fun and recognised by all present as being such.

And just in case you were wondering – Diego picked up a banking security key (which we took to mean wealth/ or being a banker) and the spoon (so he might be a wealthy chef).

(#15 of 366 X 2012 project)