book review caitlin moran how to be a woman
Books, review, thoughts

#CurrentlyReading: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

book reviews

If you know me, you’ll know that I have something of an addiction to books. I own roughly 350 books spread across 4 bookshelves around my house, and I have absolutely no intention of stopping until I get my own Beauty and the Beast style library. Am I asking for too much? Possibly. Will I give up? Unlikely. Anyway, unhealthy obsession aside – I’m starting a series of blog posts called #CurrentlyReading – essentially book reviews before I’ve finished the book, just because the book in question is just too damn good to wait (or  too terrible to continue).

caitlin moran how to be a woman

To kick off this literary love-affair, I’m excited to share Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, published in 2011 by Ebury Press.  I first heard about Moran through one of my favourite BookTubers (Leena from JustKissMyFrog), and put her on my to-read list along with another 20 or so books. I completely forgot that I wanted to buy How to Be a Woman until I saw it at Blackwell’s in Newcastle (also known as my second personal nirvana after Waterstones) and quickly snapped it up before my little brain could forget again. I am now hooked. This book is part-memoir, part-humour, and 100%  pure wit. She takes us through her own life, from awkward childhood through to impossible puberty and that mysterious thing called Womanhood in a seemingly effortless thread of questions, like:

  • Why do women get Brazilians?
  • Do we have to get Brazilians?
  • Why is everyone asking me about babies?
  • Why is everyone asking me about my love life?
  • Why is everyone getting married?
  • What about porn?
  • Why do bras hurt?
  • Is there a better name for ‘the vagina’?
  • What are the worst names for ‘the vagina’?
  • What’s this ‘fashion’ thing?
  • Children?!

And so on and so forth, hilariously mingled with Moran’s very relatable personal anecdotes. I rarely laugh-out-loud when reading, but this one has had me snorting cappuccino out of my nose in the most unattractive way possible. One of the blurbs on the cover is from Grazia and describes the book as, “The book EVERY woman should read.” Quite frankly I’d like to take this further and say anyone who is or indeed knows a woman should read it, even if it’s just for the laughs. We do our best learning when we’re laughing anyway. I like to think so, at least.

Let me know if you’ve read this book or anything else by Caitlin Moran in a comment below! What are your thoughts? Is this something you’d read?

-Kelly

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international women's day
malta, thoughts

The Sound of (the Prime Minister’s) Silence

On the 5th of March the unofficial memorial set up by mourners following the assassination of investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was swept away overnight. Maybe ‘they’ thought that people would forget; uwiva, let it go ħi. Granted – overwhelming apathy and failure to stand up to the abuse of power is essentially how we got here in the first place, but they were wrong about this one. I write ‘they’ because I assume it took a few cowards to move that many tributes so quickly in the dead of night. Within hours, fresh flowers, candles, photos and banners sprang up once more, with those seeking justice for Daphne and fighting for freedom of speech feeling more determined than ever. I guess that one backfired. The people will not forget and they certainly won’t be silenced.

 

Daphne Caruana Galizia Memorial

Photo credit: The Shift News

 

Hush now

That’s what I want to talk about today – silence. You see, silence can be very loud. When somebody (a dirty politician or sham bank, for example) works hard to keep you quiet, then there’s a 99.9% chance that you know something that’ll see them exposed as the frothing cesspits they truly are. That’s bad for business. They’ll probably try to bully their way out of it by flinging out libel suits like a manic chimpanzee might fling excrement, or threaten to sue you, your grandparents, your auntie and the next three generations of your family if you speak up. Too often, the bullies win and the ones blowing the whistle are left vulnerable. This silence is one of fear.

Then there’s optional silence, far more telling than the silence discussed above. By saying nothing, people speak volumes. Amid all the public outcry and disgust at this underhanded move to erase her memory (and with it hush-up the call to defend freedom of speech and demand justice for her murder), our most illustrious Prime Minister has been very quiet indeed. Wait, sorry – he/his PR team has been quiet about this particular issue, but very busy tweeting about other things. On the 5th, @JosephMuscat_JM was mainly retweeting news about his favourite football team (Milan FC, in case you were curious) and the VOT16 result (16 year-olds can now vote in Malta, and how convenient for the PM that this news item was around to distract the masses on this specific day). He’s also been very talkative about his other smokescreens – I mean accomplishments. His account, like his time as PM, thrives on sycophants praising the hell out of this government, telling the world how proud they are to support his party. They genuinely believe they’re living in l-aqwa zmien (the ‘best of times’, Labour’s slogan). They do it so fervently that you’d think they’ve never heard of car bombings, a slain journalist, the Panama Papers scandal and shady dealings with even shadier people. He has said nothing about the clearing – not on social media, and not on any news articles or in any interviews. Nothing. Whether he gave the go ahead for the clearing or not is completely irrelevant – his silence, his failure to condemn the act, is what makes those responsible feel justified. It’s a failure to do his duty as PM. This silence is one of complicity.

And then there are all the questions. Why so silent? Who has the most to gain from having Daphne’s memory and public outrage fade away? Who has the most to lose when we do get #JusticeForDaphne, and who has the most to lose from real freedom of speech taking root in Malta?

Failure upon failure

Muscat’s deafening silence and the government’s overwhelming lack of action in response to the assassination is made far more apparent by the Solvakian government’s reaction to the recent murder of 27-year-old journalist, Jan Kuciak.  Kuciak was investigating tax fraud that had ties to the government; he and his partner were found shot dead in their home.  Three government officials have resigned (Malta: zero) and the president (who has the same powers as ours) has called for action in the form of an election or reshuffle. So – which Slovakian officials resigned?

  • Culture Minister, Marek Madarič
  • Chief State Advisor, Maria Trošková
  • Chair of the Security Council, Viliam Jasan

The Maltese equivalent of these officials would be something like Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, Owen Bonnici; Minister of National Security and Home Affairs, Michael Farrugia; and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carmelo Abela. Just putting it out there.

Our government’s response has been abysmally bad. The sheer arrogance of our PM and his gang of cronies is actually astounding at this point. It’s an arrogance that became even clearer when Muscat was asked about his thoughts regarding the government’s accountability in the case of Daphne’s murder following their Slovakian counterpart’s response:

Naħseb li l-accountability tagħna hija li nsibu min għamel il-qtil […] u nsibu min bagħat dawk il persuni. (I think that our accountability is that we find the ones who committed the murder […] and find who sent those people.)

This is not accountability. This is an arrogant cop-out. What he’s saying here is that in his eyes, it’s all done an dusted now. He can try to wash his hands of the matter with as many bogus answers and smokescreens as he likes – the blood won’t rinse out so easily. Too many questions and crooks remain. It’s the same arrogance that we’ve somehow let politicians get away with for years. Now we’re reaping the rewards, and with the current opposition leader in place, the outlook seems pretty bleak right now.

Why do so many of us not only tolerate this open sewer of a government, but embrace it? Support it? Glorify it? Why do so many people idolise and hero-worship party leaders, acting like they can do no wrong and ready to ignore every evil and attack anyone who dares to oppose the great leader’s views like some sort of twisted mercenaries?

Your elected officials are there to serve the country. To serve you. They’re not doing us any favours (unless they’ve bribed you with some fancy government job, then yes they are because this isn’t a meritocracy right now). They’re being (over)paid to do a job, and believe me – if you or I were doing as a bad a job as them at our 9-to-5, we’d be fired and out the door by the end of this sentence. But that’s the fate of mortals like us; the gods sitting in their lofty parliamentary seats have (unanimously) approved amendments to the Pension Bill, meaning that MPs are eligible for a massive pension after serving for just five years. That’s a potential pension of €40,000 on top of their social security pension. Us mere mortals have to make NI contributions for around 25-35 years for a fraction of that amount. Considering their recent job performance, that hardly seems fair, does it?

-Kelly

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malta, thoughts

The situation is desperate.

There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.

Daphne Caruana Galizia

I’ve been trying to write and re-write this blog post for a while now. Part of me still can’t quite believe that Daphne Caruana Galizia is dead – murdered. Assassinated, to be precise. Every time I sat down to write this words just failed me. So I guess I’ll try to keep things simple and attempt to articulate what’s been happening in my head.

First, there came the shock and disbelief. I wandered around the city pretending to look for the right place to sit down and do my work, but really I was in a strange daze, only half-listening and half-seeing. Everything seemed a little muffled. There was the shock at the fact that there was yet another car bombing in Malta, then there was the dread that came when reports came in that it was Daphne. She seemed indestructible to me. Fearless. Relentless. Hungry for justice. I didn’t always agree with what she did or how she did things, but that doesn’t matter – who the hell agrees with a person on every single detail? She was a role model for someone like me – an outspoken Maltese girl who fancied herself a bit of a writer, even when her writing was average at best. Who else did I have? How many strong, intelligent, precise, eloquent female writers did we have on our rock? How many of them have the courage to stand against corrupt politician after corrupt politician, with libel suits and threats coming hard and fast? I couldn’t do it. Hell, sometimes I hover over the ‘publish’ button on this blog wondering if what I’m saying is ‘ok’ – what would I do if I was about to expose another dirty politician? I’d be too scared to click. I’ll probably hover over ‘publish’ and tweak and edit this for an hour before I upload this.

Next, the grief. The morning after the news broke things sunk in properly. I was in bed scrolling through Facebook and pausing at the Maltese headlines that were flooding in. I stopped and read Matthew Caruana Galizia’s heartbreaking status about the moment he heard the blast and rushed to his mother. I read about the moment he was in that field, surrounded by pieces of his mother. Policemen standing, unable to do anything – of course, the police force should have done something when she reported the threat on her life two weeks prior. Now it was too late. Then I just cried. For him and for her and for what it all meant or could mean. For what my home country has become – a mafia state. Words seemed to fail.

The anger and frustration came hot on the heels of that sadness. Outrage. Disgust. They all melted together and the words came back to me in a flurry. Here’s what I shared on my personal Facebook, because I still feel the same:

“They” (Who are they? The powers that be, regardless of political allegiance) might not have ordered the hit but they’ve created the exact conditions that facilitate this kind of brutality. Every politician and law enforcer is accountable. We’re accountable. We’ve allowed for it through overwhelming complacency as a nation.

Oh, and if the police didn’t protect Daphne, how can you be confident that they’ll protect YOU? Your family? That they’ll ‘protect and serve’ because you’re a human being and not because you’re on the same ridiculous “football team” of a political party? That they won’t leave you high and dry because you speak out against corruption (again, forget party colours), or be one of the idiots car-cading to the sound of your death bells? When police rejoice in the murder of a journalist (with no consequences, of course) something is very, very wrong. If you feel safe, you’re not listening hard enough. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying enough attention. If you’re not disgusted, you should be. Keeping quiet is how bullies and scumbags win, or feel they’ve won. We need now, more than ever, to speak up and speak out when we see wrong being done by the people in charge. Forget your party. Fuck the party. This is about your rights and your country. A country that is getting more fucked up by the day.

There have been protests. Vigils. Sit-ins. Some people are standing up and doing things to try and get some sort of justice in the rotten EU state of oh-so-sunny Malta. My only hope is that they don’t stop – that we don’t return to the same lackadaisical attitude that brought us to this point.

There have been statements made by ‘politicians’ trying to ride on the back of this tragedy. The same politicians who just weeks earlier were slagging Daphne off and trying to escape from her pen. Some dared to suggest that heqq, you have to be careful what you say hux (that’s a summarised form of it, anyway). As though pointing out corruption and expecting the culprits to be held accountable opens you up as fair game. I’ve even seen a worrying number of keyboard warriors banging on with their ‘shame on you’s directed at the grieving family for not wanting key figures from our corrupt government to attend the funeral. People are ridiculous.

We still have some strong writers in Malta, but it’s not every day that we get a DCG. That brings me to another thing that’s been on my mind recently – the abysmal state of journalism and news in Malta. Where do our journalists come from? What are we doing to foster good investigative journalism? Are serious journalists even safe anymore? It doesn’t feel like it. Our news outlets are questionable at best, filling their pages or websites with the usual partisan bullshit and barely ever scratching the surface of what’s really happening in Malta. I’ve felt uneasy about this façade we’ve been presenting to the world for a while now. Oh, look, we’ve got the EU presidency! Oh, and look at this, Valletta is the city of culture 2018! Oh, and we did this, and that, and the other! EUROVISION! A news article about toilet hygiene while people are still demanding justice for Daphne’s assassination!

DISTRACTIONS.

The costly aversion of the eyes from the bubbling, open sewers just beneath our pothole-ridden, traffic-choked, garbage-littered streets. Crime. Corruption at the highest levels of government, creating the perfect climate for those looking to do wrong. And yet people persist in keeping their blue-or-red blinkers on, worshipping their leaders instead of holding them accountable for their actions. Make no mistake, voter. You’ll be held accountable for the smallest of crimes – they’ll hold you accountable. But the same rules don’t apply to the ones who supposedly make or safeguard them. Spineless hypocrites (just another term for ‘politicians’).

And I’m sure someone reading this might try to make it look like my views are coloured by one of the major parties on our island. That’s part of the problem, of course. Go ahead – I don’t care. I have no party. To hell with them all. They’ve all failed us. Failed Daphne and her family. We need to start from scratch. Call in pest control because the country is being run by rats. Clean slate. I might be asking for too much, I know.

I won’t be silent. I won’t be afraid. But I don’t think I can bring myself to call that place ‘home’ for now. It doesn’t feel like it.

 

-Kelly

 

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rock werchter 2017
Travel

Arguably Abroad: Amsterdam and Rock Werchter 2017

Well, here we are again. Another travel blog. Hush – don’t look at the ridiculous amount of shopping I did, and ignore the packets of waffles and other Dutch treats next to me. Definitely don’t pay any attention to the two bags I didn’t need that I bought from duty free on the way back. Okay you can look, but don’t judge. I can explain.

Towards the end of last month, I set off for a week-and-a-half long holiday to Amsterdam (my second visit) and Belgium for Rock Werchter – a music festival I’ve been dying to hit for the last two or three years. I like things to be a little organised, so let’s break this down by location, okay?

Amsterdam

This was my first time visiting Amsterdam in summer, and it was absolutely stunning. Vondelpark was transformed from a quiet park made up of greys and earthy tones into a lively hub filled with lush, green grass and countless people relaxing in the sun or cycling around. We spent a couple of hours wandering around and having lunch there and I would 100% recommend you do that too.

vondelpark amsterdam

On our first day, we hit a place called Body Worlds. How do I begin to explain the strange beauty that is Body Worlds? Well, it’s an exhibit about ‘the secrets of happiness and its effects on the body’ – but using real human bodies that have been peeled back a few layers and posed doing normal human things. I feel like I’m not doing a great job selling this one, but trust me – if you’re into the weird and wonderful, then this is a cool alternative to your typical sightseeing.

Oh yeah – and if you want to go to the next level of ‘weird’ (and if you’re not squeamish at all) hit the Museum Vrolik Academic Medical Centre, just a short train ride away from the city centre. Here’s the low-down: this museum is made up of the private collection of…interesting…specimens curated and brought together by a super important Dutch scientist called Gerardus Vrolik (1755 – 1859) and his son, Willem Vrolik. You’ll find roughly 5000 different, um, “specimens”, including (but not limited to) loads of different skeletons, sliced brains, male and female reproductive systems, and various creatures (human and not) preserved in big jars. Moving on…

vrolik museum amsterdam

I’d wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum for ages, and had already spent a good chunk of time exploring the Van Gogh Museum (go – seriously). While the rest of my friends hit the Heineken Experience, I spent around three hours wandering around this huge space filled with century upon century of incredible art, completely in awe of everything. Rembrandt was a definite highlight, and they even had one of Van Gogh‘s self-portraits.

Rock Werchter (Belgium)

After a few days exploring Amsterdam, we set off on the journey to Rock Werchter. Two trains, a bus ride, and a fair few hours (and not enough coffees) later, we made it to the camping grounds – that, I’ll have to say, was not fun. I’m not a good or happy camper, and I especially don’t like queuing to find a decent spot to pitch my tent. Then there’s the actual camping – ugh. I’m already too impatient to queue for long – add the fact that I’m queuing for showers and toilets is just a little too much.

travel blog

I will admit that it was nice to wake up to the sound of rain drops hitting the tent one morning – but that’s all the positive feedback you’ll get about camping from this house-cat right here. Forget about all that – the music is what we were there for anyway! The lineup was pretty strong, but my must-sees were Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon, Blink-182, Linkin Park, and Alt-J – you obviously can’t hope to see every single act at a festival. I was quite happy to enjoy the rest of the acts sitting down on the grass and being quite possibly more relaxed than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What else can I say? Travelling to see some of your favourite, most inspiring bands and artists live is something else. You can’t compare the feeling you get when you’re right in front of your idols, watching them play songs both old and new. I’m going to try and hit a music festival once a year – where to next?

Which music festival do you recommend? Leave a comment to help me choose my 2018 spot! 

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david walliams what the fuck
thoughts

4 Things Wrong with this Anti-Gay Marriage Ad (other than the obvious)

I generally try to have lowkey Sundays. You know, sit in the sun. Have some green tea while listening to Spotify and reading Time or The Economist. But sometimes the universe conspires against you to make sure your Sunday just tests you – case in point, the following ‘ad’ that was printed in MaltaToday:

gay marriage in malta

Let’s just take a minute to let this one sink in. Ready? Okay, time to break this down and take a look at what’s wrong with this ad – other than the fact that someone actually felt inclined to make an ‘ad’ like this. 

1 | It’s Total Bullshit

We’ve known each other for a while now, ladies and gents. You know I’m not one to mince my words (as hard as I may try for the sake of propriety). I’m a big reader, and I have to say that it’s truly a rare thing to find such a strong, pungent concentration of murky toilet-water as this. I don’t think this ad homophobic rant is representative of all the Catholics in Malta – just the ones who like to use the faith as something to hide behind while they’re peddling their existing hateful views.

homophobia in malta

Oh, and a word of advice to the wannabe Donald Draper who typed this thing out: saying ‘we respect everyone’ followed with ‘but’ a couple of sentences later is basically a way of saying, “forget everything I just said, it’s time to get to what I actually think. F*ck all of y’all.”

2 | It was Printed

Someone actually received this nonsense and said, “yep, this is something I think my publication should print. I like what this says about my newspaper. This is totally fine. Giving these people a platform for their hate-mongering is exactly the kind of thing I can do to make the world a better place today.”

gay marriage malta

What is wrong with people? Are we that greedy and so hard-up for cash that printing something like this is a fair trade-off? Isn’t there some sort of ethical issue here? Isn’t it irresponsible of a publication like this one to print something that just makes hateful people feel justified in their venomous views? I have a lot of questions.

3 | Marriage is…

Who the actual f*ck gave you zealots the right to decide what marriage is? Why can’t we just celebrate love instead of concerning ourselves with the gender of the people doing the loving? The world can be a dark, dank place, so excuse me if I think we should just be happy about the fact that people still have the hope and romance to believe in a ‘happily forever after’. Marriage is a promise two people make in front of their nearest and dearest. It’s a celebration of love and an oath symbolising that those people standing up in the nice outfits are going to do their damnedest to love each other like Kanye loves Kanye (and maybe even more). Your personal views on what marriage ‘is’ should never be imposed on anyone else. So mind your own business.

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4 | The Other N-Word

And by that I mean ‘natural’ versus ‘unnatural’. My coffee is in desperate need of a re-fill so I’ll make this one super easy to understand:

Natural (adjective)
existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.
Examples: The Niagara Falls; Widnet il-Baħar; a beautiful sunset; my love for gin and tonic; heterosexual as well as homosexual relationships between living things.
Unnatural (adjective)
not existing in nature; artificial; man-made.
Examples: My make-up’d face as it appears on Instagram; the colour of my nails right now; the institution of marriage; the law; the Eurovision; Kinnie. 
Sorted? Sorted.
giphy (1)
Oh, and on the off-chance that the person who penned this full-page piece of garbage happens to come upon my distinctly unnatural blog, here’s another word I’ve taken the liberty of finding for you:
what does salty mean
Used in a sentence: “Stop being a salty bigot and let people love other people, get married, and have a damn party. Preferably with a considerably strong open bar.”
giphy (4)
Happy Sunday.*
-Kelly
*Only applicable to those who don’t go around chastising politicians while trying to take the moral high ground via a full-page homophobic rant. Grazzi. 
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what is a slut
Adult Life, thoughts

What does a slut look like?

what is a slut

Hey guys! I recently wrote a little something for Eve  – let me know what you think! Here’s an excerpt:

Language is a powerful thing when it comes to shaping society and how we interpret the world. The way we speak about women who own their sexuality and refuse to be ashamed of it reveals a cultural assumption that women can either be virgins or whores, and there’s nothing in-between. It reveals a ridiculous level of societal concern (and nosiness) about the sheer possibility that a woman might be promiscuous; religion and state are so concerned about female sexuality that it creates rules, unreasonable dress codes, and even legislation protecting this sacred, purely feminine purity.

[Continue reading on Eve.com.mt]

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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.

panama papers michelle muscat egrant

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 

egrant michelle muscat


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)

giphy

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’:

how to have a debate

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)

how to have a debate judge judy

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.

how to have a debate in malta

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…

how to have a debate in malta

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

how to have a debate judge judy

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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uncertainty anxiety
thoughts, Writing

The Two Sides of Uncertainty

uncertainty anxiety

A while ago I wrote a short ‘creative’ piece and uploaded it on Medium, a story-writing and sharing platform. I had some thoughts I wanted to share about uncertainty – is it something restricted to the realms of anxiety and sleepless nights, or is it more than that? Is it something we need, as humans, to feel excited in the anticipation of things to come? Is it both? I have a lot of questions. Read away and feel free to share your own experiences of anxiety and the in-between!

There’s a reason, I think, why places like purgatory and the dentist’s stark, white waiting room fill us with a subtle sense of dread. A reason why, being quite an impatient species, we’d rather keep a band-aid on or rip it off, tiny hairs plucked out screaming, in one swift motion, and a reason why the time between the fight and the break up builds a tempest in your chest before things quieten down once more. [Continue reading]

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restaurants in malta
Food

5 of My Favourite Restaurants in Malta

restaurants in malta

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this to you guys already or not, but here it is just in case – I love food. Honestly, I can’t think of anything better than an incredible plate of fresh, Maltese king prawns so velvety they could melt in your mouth. And let’s not forget the wine. Or the dessert – preferably something luxurious like  pannacotta, dark chocolate fondant, or tiramisu. Okay, I’m getting hungry just writing this so let’s get to the meaty part of this blog post (pun fully intended).

1 | Club Sushi

It would be fair to say that my strong attachment to this little restaurant comes from the fact that my fellow foodie and boyfriend took me here for a fantastic dinner on our first date – but I swear on my plum sake that this is the place to go to for some incredible Japanese (and Korean) deliciousness. Don’t leave without trying the gunkan and the octopus gar age

restaurants in malta

2 | It-Tmun

This one’s only second because I have to catch a ferry over to Gozo for their amazing food and great service. It’s located right next to the harbour, nestled between some boat houses and bars, so close to the sea you could probably fall in if you hit the Merlot a bit too hard (nobody’s judging, don’t worry).

restaurants in malta

3 | Aaron’s Kitchen 

This restaurant doesn’t just serve up some of the most authentic aljotta (Maltese fish soup) and fresh pasta on the island – it’s also located right in the heart of my favourite place in Malta: Valletta.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHz-SRBgne5/?taken-at=1001332125

4 | Il-Pirata

I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to try this place out. Anyway, it was love at first bite, and I’m in a very satisfying relationship with their lobster pasta and mouth-watering beef tagliata. Zero regrets. 

5 | Zen

“But Kelly, you’ve already done sushi here!” is what I hear you saying – but when has there ever been such a thing as “too much sushi”? Exactly. I went to Zen at Portomaso for my first anniversary, and was treated to a table right in front of all the rice-rolling action. Copious amounts of sushi were ordered and served up on an actual BOAT. A boat. Of sushi. I am so done.

restaurants in malta

Do you have any must-try restaurants of your own? Post your recommendations below and help me add more eateries to my list! 

-Kelly

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