Everyone likes to think that they’re special. Everyone feels unique in their own little way, and believes that their little quirks and idiosyncrasies make them distinctive. Yet, in a small country like Malta, some differences can be enough to make us feel out of place. Here are some instances which can make you feel alienated in Malta.
1. If you try to eat healthily
“U ejja mbilli tieħu Quality Street? Mela int għandek bżonn tonqos?” The pressure to binge eat crap food is immense. If you’re on a low carb diet, or on a restricted calorie diet, or logging your food intake, or trying to maintain any sort of diet at all, you are as alien to Malta as a four-headed green humanoid from the Planet Zorg.
The fact that you’re trying to remain fit and healthy, or gain a six-pack, or shed a few pounds for summer, is literally inexplicable to everyone around you.
2. If you prefer to be polite
There are some lovely quaint Maltese traditions. Queueing is not one of them. Neither is waiting for someone to finish their sentence before retorting. If you’re in a discussion and you’re not yelling at the top of your voice, then you shouldn’t expect your point to come across.
If you actually show that you take umbrage to other people raising their voice, you’ll be met by an injured “Le ħi! Jiena minni leħni jgħajjat!” Your yearning for a calm, controlled, peaceful environment is not something your fellow countrymen can understand.
3. If you don’t want children
If you’re married or in a relationship and nearing the age of 30, society has decreed that you must yearn for offspring. When you say that, actually, you’re not that interested in procreating, there are a few reactions that you may be met with.
Disbelief is most common. Then you’re asked if you’ve tried and haven’t actually managed to make a baby. Then you’re looked at as though you’ve confessed to a propensity to eating baby pandas. Acceptance of different opinions regarding reproduction just isn’t a thing.
4. If you’re not anti-abortion
As everyone hassled about the exact point in time when the MAP exerted its influence, you were honestly scratching your head because, to you, a fertilised egg, a blastocyst or an unimplanted embryo are not actually human beings. In fact, you’d go as far as to say that, in certain circumstances (or even in most circumstances), the right of a woman over her body trumps the rights of what you deem to be, at most, a potential human being.
But the likelihood is that you keep this opinion of yours under wraps because, here in Malta, abortion is not something that can be discussed.
5. If you care about the environment
Take a stroll to Malta International Airport. Watch the hordes boarding the Ryanair flight to Bournemouth or Pisa. As they face up to the security guy, watch them rummage in their fanny packs to triumphantly withdraw a proud sheaf of papers upon which lies the barcode which will allow them to fly through the air to their destination.
Just try and download your boarding pass onto your phone and you’re met with a distrustful glare. Similarly, mention the fact that you separate your waste, and a derisive scoff is what you’re met with. U ejja, it’s not like your little effort is going to make a difference, anyway!
6. If you’re not slavishly loyal to a political party
You can be a laburist. You can be a nazzjonalist. You can vote AD, Patrijotti or tal-Ajkla. You can even switch parties from one election to the next. What you absolutely cannot do is only partially agree with “your” party of choice.
If your party decides that eating baby pandas is a laudable act, you must either commit to the consumption of these furry beings or else change allegiance completely. There is no middle road. It goes without saying that not voting for anyone is a cardinal sin deserving of death.
Are there any other instances in which you’ve felt alienated from Maltese society? Let us know in the comments section below!