Sometimes we all have an out-of-body experience that makes us question everything in our life. For me, this usually happens when I’m explaining to a stranger that I graduated from a Bachelors in Architecture, but now spend my days painting myself to look like a beautiful woman. The more time passes, the more I wonder what led me so far away from my ‘chosen’ path; but then I see the shit-show that’s being touted as ‘greenification of our villages’ on Facebook and I remember why I left.
Imagine spending four years of your life losing marks because the type of green you chose when painting grass the night before the assignment’s due wasn’t the right shade, and then finding out someone on the island was paid to mismatch turf like it’s a glitch in The Sims. You’d lose hope right?
Now push that a little further and picture it happening a thousand times over with every building you see popping up faster than Ian Borg can widen a road for them, and you’ll have a slight idea why some people stray away from continuing in their line of work.
Truth be told, our education system needs a serious overhaul and the way we are taught and examined plays a big part in the whole ‘not enjoying learning’ experience. But it also doesn’t help that after trudging through years of “it’ll all be worth it soon”, you find yourself answering to a man whose only qualification is ‘I was owed a favour’. It’s not particularly groundbreaking to say that that is not enough reason to be given a position of power and trust.
Doing someone a favour is what earns you a useless pile of inedible foam (aka a Panettone) at Christmas, not a job.
The green carpet with moth holes that coincidentally fit around the surrounding trees (shh, don’t tell the contractors we still have some of those left), is more than just an eye-sore for those who have to walk by it every day. It’s a reminder of the function-over-form-but-like-only-functional-for-today-and-maybe-tomorrow attitude we have on the island. Feels like a bit of a mouthful? Well it is, so happy chewing.
There are usually arguments on both sides of form and function, it’s usually a personal preference (although the two aren’t as mutually exclusive as we pretend they are). Still, one thing both sides can agree on is the fact that things should be built to last, particularly in public spaces.
You can like narrow roads that are beautiful to drive along, or ugly-ass four lane power paths, but if there’s a pothole the size of Filfla there the weekend after the tarmac is laid, we’ve got a problem (and more than a few flat tires).
They say life’s a beach, but things need to survive more than one political term and/or rainstorm, so can it please be a natural one and not the Balluta one?
Whether it’s declaring a climate emergency or promising to work harder to ‘greenify’ the island, we need to create projects with the same mindset the writers of Gensna had all those decades ago: “How can we make something slightly dated that people will still flock back to every ten years, no questions asked?”.
The follow-up (yet equally important) question of “What will Mary Spiteri’s role in this project be?” can be brought up at a later date.