A group of Maltese people abroad is an amazing sight to behold. Once they realise it’s unlikely that they’re going to come across one of their odd 400,000 compatriots on the other side of the world, out come the swear words. The feeling seems to also be mutual among half-Maltese people on popular international talkshows.
Štěpán Pechar, a 30-year-old Maltese-Czech dancer and choreographer, was invited to Show Jana Krause, a light-hearted talkshow, on Valentine’s Day. Joining him was Slovak actress Michaela Badinková, who, like pretty much everyone in the studio, can not understand a single word in Maltese.
The 11-minute interview is all in Czech, but at a certain point, Krause asks Štěpán to say something in Maltese. What follows is exactly what you’d expect.
“Xi tridni ngħidlek?,” the half-Maltese dancer starts. “Aħna qegħdin hawnhekk ġo programm.” Quickly though, he sees the golden opportunity to do what many of us only dream of being able to pull off. “U nista’ nagħmel xi ħaġa bħall m’għamilt qabel, mall-familja tiegħi. Nista’ nitkellem pastaż… ngħid ‘żobb’, ‘għoxx’, u dawn l-affarjiet, u ħadd ma jifhimni.”
As everyone else looks on in amused confusion, Štěpán seems to realise that he needs to make a quick clarification to any Maltese members of the YouTube audience. “Niskuża ruħi lil dawk in-nies Maltin li ħa jaraw dal-programm,” he smiles, fumbling in his words. “Jiddispjaċini, jien m’iniex pastaż!”
“I thought to myself, ‘Fuck it, when will I get another chance to say żobb and għoxx on national TV?” Štěpán told Lovin Malta of the episode. “I even threw in a bit of Gozitan dialect to entertain my friends in Gozo.”
As it turns out, this is not the first time that Štěpán resorted to the Maltese language in a foreign setting. In a comic theatre performance, he was asked to say some words of a ‘made-up, fantasy-language’. With his whole family sitting in the back row at his premiere, Štěpán threw in a list of Maltese swear words. “My whole big family just burst out laughing,” he recounted.
Štěpán was born in Malta and lived in Gozo for eight years. At the age of 18, he moved to Prague for a career in dance. He’s now based in the Czech Republic as a member of the National Ballet ensemble. He also forms part of DEKKADANCERS dance troupe, which was founded back in 2009.