Every new year deserves a list. We produced our first one last year. If this year’s version reminds you of what we wrote twelve months ago, it may say something about the state of the nation and our state of mind!
So here’s our Malta wish list for 2011 – what we’d like to see more and less of, over the next 365 days of living and working in Malta.
1. Bad Roads. We’re in the second decade of the new millennium. Yet we still have flood zones and no-go areas every time there’s a heavy downpour. People still die on the roads because of pot-holes, bad-grip, poor lighting and more. What happened to the infrastructure money that was supposed to be invested in our road network?
2. Dogma. It’s not just the lack of an intelligent discussion on important issues such as divorce, education and urban development. It’s the celebration of polarisation and entrenched views which gets to us. We’re trying not to fall in that trap ourselves.
3. Noise-pollution. Shotgun pellets, petards, damaged exhaust pipes, fierce church bells at five in the morning, planes doing practice landings at Malta Airport because it’s cheaper to pollute here than West Germany.
4. Fake bi-lingualism. We’re supposed to be able to communicate in Maltese and English. With the current education curriculum, we risk churning out a generation than can do neither. We cannot assume that both languages are taught in the home. There are many foreigners moving to Malta and sending their kids to school. The fabric of our society is changing as we speak, whether we like it or not.
5. Racism. It’s alive and kicking and sits very uncomfortably with our post-colonial history and Christian upbringing. Islands that look inwards cannot be happy places.
1. Greenery. There are pockets of scrub land we can recover. Illegal buildings that can be demolished to make way for open spaces. We drive round green roundabouts. How about some gardens where there are none?
2. Books. We love games and the iPad as much as anyone else, but there is an ever-greater need for kids to get their arsenal of communication skills locked in. We need libraries in each town.
3. Disability-sensitivity. Many parts of Malta and Gozo are inaccessible to people with wheel-chairs. It’s time for Malta’s laws to be aligned with those in the EU to facilitate community-living for people with disabilities.
4. Wi-fi. An old favourite. Every square in every village should be wi-fi enabled.
5. Citizen media. We may be in the era of WikiLeaks but you can still see blatant patronage and abuse of power, at the most micro of levels. Start a blog, start a Facebook page, go on Twitter, do some citizen journalism. You too have a voice, and have the tools to make it heard.
Happy new year to you all.
Photo: Leslie Vella