Of all the Maltese adjectives, none are as divisive as tal-pepe and ħamalli. Broadly referring to Malta’s posh and chav populations, there have been many an endless argument about what constitutes either. Now, dozens of people have come together to try and brainstorm some telling features.
A post on the popular Facebook forum The Salott has already gathered over 100 comments in a couple of hours, and the question it posed was very simple; “What makes someone a ħamallu/a? Let’s keep it fun and refrain from saying ’cause you live in A or B’ please”
Here are the top 24 suggestions that were given by the people who commented, a mixture of self-professed tal-pepe and ħamalli.
1. Outbursts of profanity
The use of swear words (especially in public) was one of the biggest constants in the thread.
2. Gold chokers on men
Some people might’ve defensively replied “Wait, why?!”, but many more agreed.
3. Maltese people at a buffet dinner on a cruise
Extremely specific, but hilarious to imagine. Whoever suggested this seems like they had a very particular first-hand experience.
4. Giving your kids very… unique names
And God knows Malta excels at that.
5. Thinking someone who can speak and write in proper English must be a snob
“Madonna ġej bl-Inglixx, aħna mhux Malta qegħdin?” Yes, Malta; where both English and Maltese have been listed as official languages for decades.
6. Having no concept of an “inside voice”
I.e. shouting. A lot. All the time. Even when you’re speaking to someone right in front of you. About something very personal. In public.
7. Bangle bracelets right up to the elbow
If you’re literally running out of arm, treat it as your body’s way of telling you you should have probably stopped piling up those bangles a while ago.
8. Chewing gum with your mouth open
Another very specific suggestion, but one which is scarily accurate… and also quite disgusting.
9. Having lipstick two centimetres thicker than your actual lips
This one follows more stereotypical definitions of what it means to be a chav, and got quite a couple of people agreeing with it.
10. A pair of huge earrings
The actual analogy used was “par imsielet li joqgħod amorin jitbandal fuqhom”, and we’re living for how hilariously accurate that is.
11. Being overweight but wearing a mini-skirt three times smaller than your actual size
Maybe the overweight part was a tad extra, but we know exactly what this person was talking about. Clearly, they’ve been to Paceville for longer than two minutes.
12. Long nails in very bright (and different colours)
There seems to be a difference between proudly sporting rainbow colours on your nails, and grooming claws into the brightest colours in the world.
13. Blue-black dyed hair
Another extremely (and probably unsustained) suggestion, but one which had several people agreeing. Again, this must’ve been inspired by first-hand experiences.
14. “Wearing stilettos and walking like a newborn goat”
One of the most beautiful images conjured up on this thread. Some women will do anything to constantly be seen in killer heels (even when they’re just wearing a bikini by the pool), and that might lead to some hilarious catwalks. Or is it goatwalks?
15. “Wearing more make-up than a drag queen”
Forget RuPaul’s Drag Race; back here, it’s all about Redeemer’s Drag Rejs.
16. A face tattoo of their significant other’s name
17. Showing your ass crack in public
Stereotypically linked to government workers or people in manual labour, this one goes beyond the concept of ħamalli. Let’s build a future where #CrackGate is no longer a thing, please?
18. Black lipliner on red lips
You know, just in case you needed to accentuate that already super thick lipstick and that drag queen makeup. What a combo.
19. “Driving down a road with the music full on and all you can hear is doom doom doom“
Probably not doom metal, that is. The most popular song suggestions included The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army (no doubt a remix) and Modern Talking’s Cheri Cheri Lady. Oh, and don’t forget your favourite marċ tal-banda.
20. Open shirts with gold necklaces
Think Italian New Yorkers. Or, you know, Maltese ħamalli.
21. “People who don’t know how to queue”
Frustrated at the lawlessness of queueing in Malta, this one person just went ahead and actually called out everyone who doesn’t know how to queue up. How very dare you, all you ħamalli.
22. A pimped-out Ford Escort with fluffy dice hanging from the rearview mirror
A timeless classic. That is, both the Escort and the fluffy dice.
23. English-speaking people who once in a while let a really bad Maltese swear word rip
Loathed by people who are called ħamalli as the real ħamalli, these people might seem like your traditional pepe people… but when they need to swear, they’re going to swear. Colourfully. In Maltese. Unashamedly. And for some people, that’s even worse.
24. Clapping when a plane lands
It’s amazing that a pet peeve like this managed to make it on the list. We’re not too sure whether this classifies as an example of #JustĦamalliThings, but whatever it is, it needs to stop.
BONUS: “Someone who doesn’t fit in with your sense of what’s acceptable or not regarding fashion and attitude”
It’s very easy to see why this comment got a lot of likes and people agreeing. Maybe our definition of ħamallu isn’t as evergreen as we think it is, and it’s just our way of judging people who are either different from us or we just don’t like.
And maybe, just maybe, that says more about us than them.