egrant michelle muscat
Adult Life, Funny

5 Ways to React to Daphne’s Egrant Bombshell

Ah, Malta. Sometimes I feel like our relationship is a lot like the Eurovision song On Again Off Again by legendary duo Julie and Ludwig. I love the tan you give me over the summer months, but hate the sticky humidity and general BO that washes over the island; I love your history and rich cultural past, but hate the unbridled construction and simmering racism I still see; I love the Maltese countryside, but hate how little we do to protect it.

But right now, most importantly, I hate the way we do politics in Malta, but I love the laughs (sometimes nervous ones, in desperation) we get out of our situation. The Panama Papers scandal was a huge deal, but our government pretty much failed to do anything about it. Enter journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who has been building up to what I call the PanaBomb all week, and finally dropped a big one on us today. How do we react? What do we do? Luckily, we have gifs for every occasion thanks to, well, the internet.

1 | “I knew it!” / “Għidtilkom jien!”

The ones who ‘had a feeling’ this was coming all along, and have been telling you for aaaaages (or since DCG dropped that massif hint the other day). Anyway, they’re pretty pleased they called it. Give ’em a bit of figolla.

panama papers michelle muscat egrant

When you know they’re lying because you’re about to serve up some screenshots.

2 | The Stoics

These guys won’t be phased. They’ve become hardened to the harsh reality of the political world, and can’t be shaken by this latest revelation. Well, either that, or they’re sick of hearing about it and just want to enjoy the rest of Skjetti in peace.

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3 | Tistgħu tgħiduli x’inhu jiġri hawnekk?

Translation: Can you tell me what’s going on here? 

These are the ones who either aren’t bothered, aren’t interested, or are just plain oblivious to the world around them. Let them carry on enjoying life without the oily shadow of corruption hanging over their lives (che drama!), or give them a brief summary.

panama papers egrant

4 | MADONNA MADONNA, NO!

These people are panicking, and probably pretty devastated by the news. That being said, they also probably had secret accounts and were recently exposed on a certain journalist’s blog. This is a minority group. Nothing to see here.

madonna madonna no

5 | The Ones in Denial

So what if there’s evidence? It’s all lies. All of it. Everything. Nope. Mich and JoJo wouldn’t do this to us, would they? Our PM and his wife wouldn’t screw the country over like that, right? Not the people who voted for them, at least? SAY IT AIN’T SO!

panama papers michelle muscat egrant

BONUS: The Ones Who Were in Transit 

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Well, ladies and gentlemen, what can I say? Grab a cup of tea and what’s left of your Easter goodies and watch the Maltese drama unfold.

-Kelly

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HOW TO HAVE A DEBATE IN MALTA
Adult Life, Funny

How to have a Debate in the (Maltese) Comments Section

I do this strange thing where I ping-pong between either being cripplingly shy, or not being able to stop myself from voicing my opinion on something. That ‘something’ is usually related to gender, women’s rights, racism, civil rights, religion, and whether or not we should be putting pineapple on pizzas. Sometimes, I can’t stop myself from entering the dark, dank abyss that is Malta’s comments section. There are a few publications that actually moderate comments, meaning that some of the downright abusive stuff doesn’t make it through – but sometimes they kind of…delete the civilised, well-structured comments responding to things like ‘your parents should have taken the morning after pill so you wouldn’t exist’ and ‘you’re an idiot’.

how to have a debate judge judy eyeroll

Last week I got well and truly stuck in a debate (I use the term very loosely) on whether or not we should secularise schools – the news article was basically reporting the opinion of a local Muslim leader, one shared by many Maltese people. He said, in a nutshell, that we shouldn’t be teaching one religion at school, using the education system to indoctrinate children into one faith while making those who have been raised in another one to feel somewhat marginalised. It’s a fair sentiment. It makes sense. Educating people about the different religions of the world would, in turn, lead to a more tolerant society and lessen the chances of radicalisation across the board. The fact that he was a Muslim leader, however, sparked some serious xenophobic outrage loosely disguised as religious fervour. Anyway, enough of that – here’s a quick go-to guide on how (not) to have a civilised online debate, with the help of the iconic Judge Judy (because why not?).

1 | Pretend not to be a racist/Islamophobe/xenophobe

(While totally being a racist/xenophobe and launching personal attacks on anyone trying not to be a racist/xenophobe)

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A lot of comments section lurkers love to hide behind the illusion that they’re basing their arguments on some sort of religious moral highground, when in reality they’re just using religion as an excuse to spew venom. If they were the staunch Catholics they were pretending to be, I’m pretty sure they would be less like this, and more ‘love thy neighbour’:

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2 | Use ‘Go bekk to jor kantrij!’ ASAP

(Translation: ‘Go back to your country’ – the ignorant person’s go-to comeback when their close-minded and sometimes hateful views are questioned by someone who might be foreign, but also might just happen to have a different skin tone/ethnic background)

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It’s not really their business, but I was born in Malta and have lived here all my life. That doesn’t save you from the ‘get off my island’ bullsh*t that seems to be a shared sentiment among our so-called patrijotti, apparently. I was told to pack up and leave Malta if I didn’t agree with their opinions. Great job, guys.

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3 | Be as petty as humanly possible

Losing the argument? No problem. Abandon whatever semblance of a point you were trying to make (MALTA IS A CATHOLIC COUNTRY IT’S IN OUR CONSTITUTION) and start throwing and picking on particular words to launch playground level insults. Example: Using the expression ‘flogging a dead horse’ could result in…

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That’s the way to win, right? (It’s not, you’re being a d*ck.)

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4 | And then be even more gross and rude

The comments directed at me were quite a mixed bag. I was called, among other things, a prostitute, a ‘weed of society’, a ‘shame to my sex’ just because I was pushing for tolerance and saying that we should keep religious studies at home and at doctrine classes. I don’t have an issue with different opinions – I have a big problem with how so many seem unable to keep things civil, and go for pure venom instead. I was raised to stay as respectful as possible. Others seem to prefer getting personal.

how to have a debate in malta

I wonder if he spelt my name wrong on purpose, or if it was an honest typo. Either way, implying I am a prostitute, are we? Cute. Adding a sprinkle of sexism into the mix to keep things fresh.

how to have a debate judge judy

5 | GET WEIRD

Are you bleeding out on the Comments Section operating table? No worries. Use a dictionary definition of a person’s surname to try and win some dignity. You’ll fail miserably and look like someone with the social skills of a stroppy teenager, but hey, you feel good. Low-grade bullying is awesome, right?

how to have a debate

Now this guy was interesting, because while he thought it was acceptable to hold a full inquiry into my surname and origins, he refuses to use his own name. Unless his name is “Mustaccun”, which I  sincerely hope is not the case.

If that fails, repeatedly insist that  you find the person ‘hilarious’, and do your best to belittle the person you’re talking to, because that is totally going to help you win and look like the mature pure-blooded Malteser  bully you are. Prosit, ħaqqek wejfer! (Translation: [Sarcastic] Well done, have a wafer/biscuit) 

how to have a debate in malta

how to have a debate

So there you have it, my internet friends. I really don’t take it personally if you or anyone disagrees with my or anyone else’s views about, well, anything. It’s okay to have different opinions – that’s an incredibly important part of moving forward as a society, and I’d hate to live in a place where everyone had the same thoughts about the same issues. Debating through different points of view is how new ideas are born. 

It’s not, however, okay to be rude, get personal, and insult people for not sharing your opinion. Hiding discriminatory views behind something like religion isn’t just weak, but kinda of insulting to other believers of that faith. It’s not okay to live by the ‘like it or leave Malta’ attitude that so many seem to subscribe to. What gives me hope is that I see a shift in attitudes when I look around my generation and beyond. Some say I’m cynical, but it just gives me hope to see more tolerance and kindness coming through in our society. Be kind to each other. There’s enough hatred around.

-Kelly

Have you ever received insulting/abusive/uncivilised comments in response to a fairly-expressed opinion? How do you handle it? Share in the comments below! 

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Adult Life, thoughts

New Year, Same Me

Happy New Year, ladies and gentlemen! Now that the festive season and all the food, parties, and self-indulgence it brings with it are fading away into your Instagram feed, we can finally sit down together for a little 2017 chat. Tea? Check. Biscuits? Also check. Alright let’s get started.

new year's resolution tea

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I can be a little very cynical when it comes to the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ mantra. What’s wrong with ‘old’ you? And what’s so new about ‘new you’ just because you’ve changed your hair colour, bought yourself a fantastic new handbag, or started going to the gym? These are all fine, noble pursuits and pretty exciting on a personal level, but they’re not really ‘profound’ enough to actually change your already-great self, are they? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a case of ‘New Year, better me’, by which I mean you continue to work on being the best version of yourself you can be, no matter what that thing you’re working on may be. It might sound a tad cheesy, but hey – some cheese is good.

So rather than giving you a wishlist of all the things I’d like to start doing this year, I’m going to change things up a little with a look at 4 things I want to continue doing this year. Here we go.

1. Learning how to cook

learning to cook

A fair few posts ago, I talked about learning how to bake. It’s not that I don’t like baking, but actually cooking a full meal is way more satisfying to me (and generally less naughty). Right now I’m trying to learn a little more about Japanese dishes like ramen, onigiri, and omurice, but I also love trying different Italian recipes. It’s a slow process, but I’ve got some willing test-subjects to help me along the way and taste my cooking. Poor things.

2. Reading more

reading

For a while I would scratch my head, wondering where all my reading time had gone. When I was doing my A-levels, I could devour an entire book in one day, so what happened? Here’s what happened – Netflix and social media. Oops. In 2016, I worked on getting things under control and made time for my beloved books, and there’s no reason to stop this year. I own almost 400 books – it’s not like I’ll run out of reading material any time soon.

3. Choosing quality over quantity

new year's resolution

And I’m talking specifically about clothes, shoes, make up and accessories that might cost more, but last longer and usually feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good bargain and will never stop hitting Primark as long as I live and breathe, but there’s no way in hell that you’ll catch me spending hours trawling through the place and leaving with 3 or 4 bags of socks and (future) regret. These days, I tend to make it out of there with one bag of goodies and zero pounding headaches, and I try to invest in better-quality brands for my wardrobe staples.

4. Keeping it simple

new year's resolutions

I generally try to use this approach in most areas of my life – writing, recipes, relationships, and even my personal style. When it comes to writing, I’m positively ruthless when it comes to editing and chopping off entire sentences or paragraphs which add nothing to the work. When it comes to recipes, well I just don’t have the skills to try more complex cooking – but we’ll get there eventually. Relationships – no games, tell the truth, and always say what’s on your mind (even if you might be wrong). When it comes to what I wear – as I’ve grown into a semi-functioning adult, I find simpler cuts and colours more appealing than the patterns, prints, and slogans of my teenage years – but I won’t shy away from the occasional over-the-top necklace, though. Keeping things simple is liberating. 

That’s all for today – have a prosperous year, guys.

-Kelly

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thoughts

My Top 5 YouTubers Right Now

If memory serves, the first Youtuber I ever properly followed was Ray William Johnson from =3, a channel devoted to taking a look at recent viral videos with hilarious commentary and an excellent Watchmen comic background. This was around 7 or 8 years ago, and although I’ve ditched poor Ray I’ve discovered a bunch of new content creators that have me absolutely hooked on their channels. Here are 5 of my favourites in no particular order!

iisuperwomanii – Lilly Singh

I first followed Lilly Singh because I thought her videos were just plain funny (especially the ones where she’d parody her own parents), but quickly discovered that ‘Superwoman’ was an all-round inspirational powerhouse encouraging women to build each other up in a world where we’re taught to see each other as competition. Bravo, Lilly.

Sharla In Japan / Sharmander

This Canadian ray of sunshine is one of my all time favourites when I’m looking for anything and everything related to Japan. I’m planning to visit the country in the near future, so her videos give some great insight into what Japan is like, where you might like to visit, and what kind of (sometimes rather strange) food you should sample. And there is a very, very cute cat named ‘Maru’ involved.

NB: It’s almost impossible to mention Sharla without giving a quick shoutout to awesome Youtubers like Kim Dao, Taylor R, Rachel and Jun, Micaela, Mimei, and Texan in Tokyo. In truth, I watch all of these brilliant J-vloggers in equal measure! 

Abroadin Japan – Chris Broad

Are you sensing a theme here? I confess – I’m a little obsessed with Japan. Chris Broad is the sarcastic and dry-humoured host of Abroad in Japan, an excellent channel covering a pretty awesome range of topics, including personal favourites like ’12 Tips for Learning Japanese’, ‘Teaching Swear Words to Japanese People’, and ‘Reading your Ridiculous Hate-filled comments’. Here’s the video that got me hooked on the channel:

4 Refinery 29

This channel is just top quality when it comes to lifestyle videos, but my absolute favourite series is called Try Living with Lucy. Lucy Fink is a charismatic 20-something stop motion artist and YouTuber with a penchant for taking up 5-day challenge like this one below – it almost got a heavy sleeper like me into waking up early, and that’s saying something!

5 Just Kiss My Frog – Leena

I stumbled upon this quirky channel when looking for videos about studying English as an undergraduate many moons ago. I’ve been totally hooked ever since thanks to an intoxicating combination of brains, wit, (beautiful) books, body positivity, and a generally magical personality that has any subscriber feeling as though they’re sitting down for a cup of tea and a chat with their good friend Leena.

Do you have a favourite YouTuber I should know about? Just link me in a comment below! 

Kelly

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Adult Life

Netflix: What’s on My Watch List?

NetflixBlog

I wouldn’t call myself a TV junkie (though others may disagree) – I just really love stories and their telling across different media. Storytelling is an intrinsic part of what it means to be human; even as we sleep, our minds continue to tell stories. Translation: I like TV shoes and I’m not sorry.

thingy

Having Netflix in Malta is a pretty big deal, mainly because people do seem to forget about us here on this patch of the Mediterranean (see Christa Boffa‘s post Welcome to Malta Netflix to find out more). From childhood gems like Pokemon and Goosebumps to countless documentaries and award-winning TV shows, Netflix (practically) has it all. Without further ado, here’s a quick glimpse at what’s on my list less than 3 days into my membership.

TV Shows

  • Suits
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Jessica Jones
  • Narcos
  • Arrow
  • Gotham
  • DareDevil
  • Jane the Virgin
  • The IT Crowd
  • Archer
  • Pokemon Indigo League
  • Fresh Meat
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Californication
  • Penny Dreadful

Documentaries

  • Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
  • The True Cost
  • Atari: Game Over
  • Iris
  • Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
  • Making a Murderer
  • Henry VIII’s Palace
  • We Are Legion
  • Henry Ford
  • Page One: Inside the New York Times

Now I must confess that I binge-watched and became emotionally invested in Making a Murderer. If you’ve been on Facebook at all over the past few weeks, you’ll have definitely seen something about this fascinating (and quite frankly upsetting) 10-part documentary. If questions of crime, justice, and wrongful imprisonment interest you at all, this is one to watch.

Do you have any Netflix suggestions for me to add to my list? Leave them in a comment below.

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Super Mario Land
Video Games

3 Reasons Why You Should Be Gaming

Here we are, a revamped blog and a solid vision of what this is going to become. Welcome!

Super Mario Land As you can probably tell from the title of this post (and my About me section), I like video games. The word ‘like’ is a bit of an understatement; I’ve been hopelessly in love with gaming ever since I got my hands on a hand-me-down Gameboy and a Super Mario Land cartridge. Over a decade and countless games later, the experience has not lost any of its magic, and while there will always be naysayers and frantic anti-gaming groups, let’s just take a moment to look at some of the positive effects of gaming and why it could actually be something we should encourage.

So why should you play video games?

1 | Because they’re not the root of all Evil

The psychological effect of violence in video games and notion that they are to blame for addiction are highly sensationalised in the media, most likely because it sells papers and gets page views. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the people who report on this sort of thing in mass-media have hardly ever actually played games before – but of course I could be wrong. Parents and other concerned parties might read these articles and, backed by a lack of knowledge on the subject, are filled with a mix of outrage and blind panic. There have definitely been cases where addiction led to some tragic ends:

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Terrible parents are terrible parents regardless of their propensity for playing games.

The bottom line is that people who are predisposed to violence or addiction will become violent or addicted to something regardless of whether or not they play video games. The link between increased violence and video games is questionable; a long-term study revealed a ‘correlation between falling youth violence and the popularity of violent games.’ Let’s face it – even the most stressful of Mondays can be softened by a few rounds of gaming, whatever the genre.

2 | Because it’s actually quite a social activity

While it’s worth mentioning that many video games are created with multiplayer/Player to Player experiences in mind, I’d like to focus on actual face-to-face interaction for the purposes of this post.  

Gamers - not all like this South Park version

Contrary to popular belief, people who play video games aren’t pale, blob-type men with an overwhelming desire to stay indoors and forgo bathing from time to time. Simply having this one interest in common can make socialising and meeting new people a breeze; I actually met one of my oldest friends around 8 years ago by asking for help with Final Fantasy X.

3 | Because it’s actually good for you

Like many things in this life, moderation in gaming is key. Numerous studies have shown that playing age-appropriate games has a direct link to good cognitive development and other mental functions – here’s a quick look at some of the benefits associated with gaming:

  • Cognitive Development – greater neural processing, help with pattern recognition
  • Ability to handle failure – video games allow children to experience and cope with failure in a ‘safe’ environment
  • Morality – games like Fallout 3 attribute good or bad ‘karma’ to certain actions in-game; this encourages the user to consider the impact of their actions and reinforces the fact that decisions carry weight
  • Improved eyesight (yes, you read that correctly)
  • Sharper problem-solving skills
  • Better multi-tasking skills

So the next time you hit play on your favourite game, spare a moment to think about the impact it may have had on your life. You might be surprised.

– Kelly


References

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